Fall Convocation 2017 - Invocation & Benediction

Invocation                                                                  September 16, 2017

Today, again, we stand on a threshold.

What lies just ahead is dazzling, daunting, daring.
The journey of this year will ask of us courage, and compassion, and tenacity –which, together, we have in ample supply, even if, for any one of us, there are times when our own reserves dwindle and we’ll need to lean on one another’s supplies.

The journey will reward us – and confound us sometimes – and change us. And it will change the world.

As we begin, again, there are voices around us in the world that are trying to hook our doubt – deeds being done in the world to fill us with fear – forces in the world trying to pull us apart.

But we stand on this threshold with confidence, in good faith, together.
The door before us is open – and we declare again our commitment to enter the realm of learning and to inhabit it fully.
The wall is down – and we declare that nothing will hinder our partnership in making this passage into our work.
The bridges are built – and we declare that we will not allow any hatred or anger to disconnect us from one another.
The vault is unlocked, and we declare that the treasure of learning and understanding belongs equally to all who seek it.
The air is clear – and we declare that we will make our voices heard in holding high the values that we carry.
The work is important – the work is urgent – and we declare, with the old song, that we ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around.

The way is clear, at least for now – and we declare that we’ll follow where learning leads, and go where growing demands, and do what justice and mercy ask of us – and depend on each other when, in the going, the way becomes unclear or the path is hard to see.

Today, again, we step across the threshold of the work that is ours together, and the work that belongs to each of us, alone. Today, again, the journey unfolds before us.
We recognize it as a sacred journey – sacred to the power for good that we hold together, sacred to the power of hope that holds us together.

So we embark – in the name of all that is sacred to each of us alone,
And all that is sacred to all of us together.

So be it.

The Rev. Dr. Richard E. Spalding
Chaplain to the College


Having been called together,
United in heart and spirit,
Let us entrust ourselves to the year that lies ahead,

Confident that the good work which has begun in you
Be carried through to completion,
Enabling you to use your talents to the fullest.

May you have the grace always to make wise choices
and to be faithful to your commitments,
At all times confident in the support of those who love you.

May you know discomfort at easy answers,
Half-truths, and superficial relationships,
So that you will live deep within your hearts.

May you be angry at injustice,
Oppression, and exploitation of peoples and the environment,
So that you will work for justice, equality, sustainability and peace.

May you shed tears for those who
Suffer from pain, rejection, displacement, and war,
So that you will reach out your hand
To comfort them and change their pain into joy.

May you have the foolishness to think
That you can make a difference in the world,
So that you will in fact do the things
Which others tell you cannot be done.

May your humility and integrity be a gift to the world.
And may the Spirit that binds us all be always with you, your loved ones, and all those you serve.

Father Gary Caster
Catholic Chaplain