Amidst the pomp and circumstance of graduation, consider your faith as well.
Thousands of graduation ceremonies are held across the United States in May and June. Many schools have two ceremonies. One is the baccalaureate, or religious service, held in a church. The other ceremony has commencement exercises, including the procession (see the video below on the history of the Pomp and Circumstance March). Graduates also hear speeches by the valedictorian and salutatorian and receive their diplomas.
Historians believe that graduation exercises were first held by European universities during the Middle Ages. Today, American educational institutions still retain many of the European graduation traditions. The customary long robes and flat, tasseled mortarboards are derived from European academic dress.
When we become Christians, in a sense we are also “graduating.” Our name is called out and recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Instead of rental gowns, we get permanent robes of righteousness and a helmet of salvation (without the hassle of a tassel). Our “diploma” is the Good News, which God entrusts to us so that we can share it with others.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Like a new graduate, we may wonder what our future holds. While God’s Word doesn’t give us specific details of how our life will play out, it does give us assurance about our future. Before we even knew him, God had a custom-made spiritual career planned for us. He has equipped us with exactly what we need to travel that path.
We can know that our future is secure in his hands as we wait for that final “graduation ceremony,” when our name will once again be called and we will walk across the stage to find God and eternity waiting on the other side. And then our real future will begin.
Watch this video to learn about Sir Edgar Elgar, the English composer who gave us the music traditionally played at graduation ceremonies:
© Dianne Neal Matthews (www.DianneNealMatthews.com). Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books. This article is adapted from her book, The One Year on This Day (Tyndale House).