Dear Class of 2020
Dear Class of 2020
You, dear graduates, certainly have Romans 12:2 as your truth statement. The first part of the verse reads, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world…”
Your last months of school and your graduation itself have certainly made you, the class of 2020, nonconformists. No one saw your senior year ending like this.
However, Romans 12:2 continues, just like you’ll do with your life’s dreams, aspirations, and goals. Let me share the grounding and guiding verse in its entirety. “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (NIV).”
You were derailed at a zenith point in your lives. After all, seniors rule!
I pray you do just that. I pray you rule. I pray you teach us what it means to come back from loss and show us your great gains. Be the class that came from behind and knocked the ball out of the park, maybe even the city or state.
In her 2020 graduation speech, Oprah Winfrey said, “Even though there may not be pomp because of our circumstances, never has a graduating class been called to step into the future with more purpose, vision, passion, and energy and hope.”
She continued. “I wish I could tell you I know the path forward, I don’t. There is so much uncertainty.”
Winfrey is right. Then again, in light of Romans 12:2, I hope this thoughtful and generous voice in our age realizes through you, dear class, that the path forward is certain. This path is challenging, but by choice, default, or some combination therein, consider what you know is true: challenges are the very fiber in your being now. There is no other class that will be able to test and approve God’s will being good, pleasing and perfect like you and your classmates. I will go further. I pray you test and approve God’s good, pleasing and perfect will not just for you, but for all of us by considering what else is true: you have been significantly tested at this significant point in your lives. Lemons to lemonade has not been an option for you. Continue this.
Renew your mind. Renew ours. Don’t let defeat become the norm. Injustice, racism, and political wars don’t have to be the norm, either. They can be extinguished. You are called for such a time as this. Take it.
My 18-year-old niece recently graduated. On the front steps of her high school, this beautiful and bright student stood in her cap and gown with her diploma in hand. School officials, donned with masks and rubber gloves, stood behind her—at a distance. A large, significant mask covered not just her mouth but half her face. It takes the wind out of me to see this picture.
But the wind is not out of any of you. In fact, this is only the beginning. Take this from me because I, too, have graduated in 2020. That mask—your mask—will come off and, when it does, what you say and do with your voice, ambition and potential will make it clear that God chose you to be one of His messengers and meaning-makers. Redefine our shaken, sinful world by a willfulness you will discover is not your own but God’s, the very One who chose not only to be with us, but also to deliver us from evil. Your loss will be our collective gain.
We need you. Each day that leads to the next milestone in your lives, share with us who you are, and, in turn, who we can be because of you.
God didn’t eradicate the COVID-19 virus, or tamp it down for your graduation. The Master of Time is up to something. Find what it is for all of us.