Benediction for the Harvard Class of 2020

Congratulations Class of 2020

By Stephanie Paulsell ,
Interim Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church and the Susan Shallcross Swartz Professor of the Practice of Christian Studies in the Harvard Divinity School

Dear class of 2020:

Professor Stephanie Paulsell graduation bebedictionEven in the midst of our joy in your accomplishments,
we are all feeling a measure of grief.

But as you graduate into a changed world,
I pray that you will find the freedom
that this moment in history surely holds,
and that you seek within its possibilities:

freedom from the way things were
and the freedom to imagine new and better directions;

freedom from worn-out notions of exceptionalism
and freedom for life-giving collaborations across boundaries and borders;

freedom from calculations that leave so many
vulnerable and unprotected
and the freedom to shape a society
committed to a humane, dignified life for everyone;

freedom from ill-fitting expectations
and the freedom to let your lives be shaped
by your deepest questions and your fiercest hopes;

freedom even from what you expected your Harvard degree to mean
and the freedom to make it mean more.

God bless you, class of 2020.

Thank you for all you have contributed to our common life
and for all you will yet teach us about the common good.
May you and those you love travel safely through this time.