Two weeks ago, we held our ninth annual Bethlehem College & Seminary commencement ceremony. It was a glorious, worshipful celebration of the goodness and mercy of God and of the perseverance of the students who were graduating. We had 55 students graduate that evening.
Each year, the commencement ceremony is a deeply satisfying moment in the life of our school and our church. As each student walks across the stage to receive his or her diploma, my emotions rise as I see these students, whom we’ve come to know and love during their time with us, prepare to depart from us as they follow the Lord’s leading in the next phase of their lives and ministry. Many will seek full-time ministry vocations, others will pursue further education, while most of the college graduates will seek to work out their faith and ministry in the marketplace.
What I love about commencement is that, while it certainly is a look back at what has been accomplished, it is most importantly a look forward as students ready themselves
for the next exciting phase of life and work and ministry. In many ways, it feels like a commissioning ceremony. We are launching our graduates.
It strikes me as being very much like the commissioning of Saul (soon to be Paul) and Barnabas by the church in Antioch. The church there launched/commissioned Saul and Barnabas and sent them out for the sake of the gospel.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. Acts 13:2-3
During our commencement ceremony, like the Christians at Antioch, we worshipped the Lord. We prayed for our graduates. And, we figuratively laid hands on them, both as we
shook their hands in congratulations, and as we prayed a commissioning prayer over them at the end of the service.
This is a moment of deep satisfaction for us as we launch these graduates into their lifelong pursuit of their own deep satisfaction in the Lord, as they serve him all around the
May the Lord bless them and keep them and guide them throughout all of the life and ministry that awaits them!
With delight and great anticipation for them,
- Please pray for our graduates as they transition into whatever awaits them next—more
schooling, work, ministry, marriage, children, etc.
- Please also be in prayer for all of our returning students and faculty and staff that they might have productive and refreshing summers ahead of them.
- Please pray for the Lord’s grace and mercy to abound toward us as we seek to fill up our incoming freshman class. Pray that the Lord would lead several more well qualified
students to join our fall class.
- And, please continue to pray for our finances. Pray that the Lord would allow us to finish our fiscal year (end of June) having met our need for the year. God is so good!