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Chaplain Parvey offers Commencement invocation

Following is the text of the invocation given at Commencement by the Rev. Dr. Constance F. Parvey, Lutheran chaplain at MIT.

Creator God, to whom all space and time is sacred, we give thanks that once again we gather here at the river, at this magnificent site, to celebrate the spring festival of the academic year. Today we lift up before you and each other an amazing array of gifts of the human spirit, its motivations, talents and achievements.

Spirit God, at this 2001 Commencement we give thanks to all who have supported these students throughout their education, training and growth in relational life. We give thanks for the parents and teachers who have encouraged them to choose this journey, for their mentors who have guided them in deepening and expanding their knowledge, and for all those who have fostered in them a desire to make the connections between science and community to make possible a healthier and safer, more cooperative and just, more peaceful and blessed world.

God of many names, we thank you for the increasing awareness of the common space and time we share: in space as we spin through the universe together, and in time as we become aware that all our relationships rest on our sharing the same era. Though we come from various religious and ethnic traditions and speak a multitude of tongues, marking time some by lunar and others by solar calendars, we are on this immense journey together. Our differences in customs, beliefs and ideas, so important, pale before what we have in common.

God of justice and love, we give thanks that we have this bond with the whole creation and that our lives are lived more fully when we aspire to live this reality. May our new technologies and breakthroughs in scientific research enable us to see more clearly the truth and authenticity of this concrete, embodied, global life unfolding before us.

Wisdom of God, in the midst of all these outward changes, may we also listen for what is happening in our inner space as we encounter others. Reveal to us our own inward, conflicted, unreconciled, sometimes fearful selves. In our personal inward struggles may we find a creative balance between chaos and order; may we continue to equip ourselves with a conscience that is forgiving, reconciling and patient.

Gracious God, within the whirlwind of daily life, may we learn to bring integration into our lives. In the complexities of moral and ethical choices before us, may we exercise our freedom with responsibility, thinking not only of our own families, our nation, but of our planet and all who live here, the home of our children, and our children's children in the thousands of years yet to come.

Suffering and redeeming God, as we go on with our lives, we will face loss, rejection, disappointments; may these experiences also be our mentors, teaching us their truth and guiding us in the art of making all things new.

Finally, God of the ages and ages, now as these graduates cross the threshold of the third millennium, may they commence with courage and conscience, making their unique contributions to the ever-increasing complexities, misadventures and adventures of modern life. For all this, we give thanks. Amen.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 13, 2001.

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