What’s the latest graduation speech you’ve heard? Something about “be yourself,” “life is a journey,” and “live your dreams?” Or maybe a little deeper like “dare to dream the impossible” or be a “world changer.” I find myself considering what I would say if I were ever asked to do a commencement speech. It seems that the likes of Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton are MUCH more likely than me to get asked to speak at a graduation, but hey, you never know. I’ve felt a certain pull to consider what I would tell 100+ young people on the brink of a big change in their life.
I would like to read them a story. Something along the lines of “The Spooky Old Tree” by Jan and Stan Berenstain. The Berenstain Bears were favorites of myself and all my siblings growing up. We enjoyed their tales of adventure and mystery with simple plots and rhyming words. They usually had mama bear getting the last word about doing chores or telling the truth. It was a practical way for kids to gain wisdom and enjoy learning morals. The Berenstains have even written a Christian series with books such as “The Berenstain Bears: God Made You Special” and “Easter Story.” But I think “The Spooky Old Tree” would be my top choice because it fascinated me as a kid. My Dad would sit us down at night to read stories, and he would often be sleepy. We would have to nudge him or eventually read it ourselves when our frustration mounted at his nodding off. But I remember his heartfelt emphasis on the last five words of the book: “Home again, safe at last.” This set a peacefulness in our souls that our Dad would be there for us, that home WAS a safe place so that when life took ugly turns we could come home and be safe.
As graduates of all ages walk across the stage this June, I pray that they may know the God of peace and mercy who provides a safe home for us. May our home, a place that is not of this world, be in the presence of our Lord and Savior, and may it feel safe. As we reach for the beauty of Jesus’ presence, the joy of his salvation, and his everlasting arms, may we say we are “home again, safe at last.” And as we glimpse this place here in the natural how can our faith not be strengthened on this journey?
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” Hebrews 13:14 NLT