High school and college graduations have been so different this year. There have been celebrations at home, some schools have hand delivered the diplomas, some showed videos of all the graduates or invited famous speakers to give the address online. A school in Indianapolis used the famous speedway for its ceremony. Families got to drive one car down to the renown “yard of bricks” to receive the diploma.
St. Andrew’s University in Scotland still taps the head of each senior with an old cap as a kind of “anointing.” They are remembering the work of the great reformer, John Knox and sending out their grads to make a similar impact in the world.
But regardless of how the ceremony was accomplished, graduates all over the world have one thing in common. They are moving from one stage of life to another.
A graduation is a point of transition. It declares that the individual is moving on. They are shifting from one season of life to a totally new one. Because that transition is so important, we make a big deal out of it. We use all kinds of ways to celebrate their changeover. So, whether the grads wear black robes with colored sashes or silly glasses and flip flops, as a culture we mark the shift in their lives.
We do all that celebrating, because after graduation, things change. Expectations are different. Responsibilities are new and pressing. People expect different responses from a high school or college graduate.
And if you think about it, there is a sense in which Christians “graduate” too. II Cor. 5:17 declares that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come.” Paul is announcing a graduation of sorts. He is letting us all know that when we put our faith and trust in Christ, things are expected to change. That change may not occur overnight, but there is the expectation that we will make an effort to mature and “grow up” spiritually.
It takes work. Just like the college grad who has to find an apartment, budget their resources, and start a “real job,” the Christian “graduate” has some responsibilities to perform as well.
That process is the way we grasp the “newness of life” mentioned in Rom. 6:4. We are indeed “graduating” from one season or stage of life to another. We are to put off some habits and attitudes, put on some new ones and make a real effort to find our true identity in Christ.
So, this week, let’s imagine that we all walked across a stage and turned our tassel last week. Let’s embrace our new life in Christ and get after it as we make Him our all in all.