“Though I speak in the tongues of humans and of angels and have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing. And if I give away all that I have and even turn over my body so that I may boast, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
God of love, we thank you for these, your beloved. We thank you for their accomplishment of graduation, their achievement of finding their way to this milestone. We thank you, God, for all those who helped them make it this far. For mothers and fathers, for grandmothers and grandfathers, for teachers and coaches and counselors, for friends and parents of friends. We thank you that somewhere along the way, they have known love, been touched by love, and continue on the lifelong journey of learning how to love.
We ask for you to encamp your angels around your beloved. Protect them from evil. Keep them wise in their decision-making. Teach them to be kind to themselves and to others. Be near to them when they call.
As they say goodbye to what they have known for so long and move into new places or at least new circumstances, help them to care about the world and its creatures. Create within them the desire to care for the stranger across the street and the stranger across the border. Remind them to care for their family especially the old ones who will desire their tenderness and the very young ones who will need their friendship. Teach them to care about the things that matter and teach them NOT to care about those things of little consequence.
Give them courage to speak out against injustice, strength to make it through difficulties, wisdom to know what is required by and needed of them, and joy that sustains them through sorrow. But mostly, O God, keep them in love. Keep them in love with you and the world. Keep them in love with truth and seeking righteousness. Keep them in love with the earth and sky with their rainbows and full moons, flowering trees and running streams. Keep them in love with birds of the air and animals that creep and crawl upon our sacred lands and swim in our beloved waters. Keep them in love with the laughter of children and dancing and holding hands.
Open their hearts wider and deeper so that this will be the generation that teaches the rest of us what it means truly to love.
In the name of love, we pray, Amen.