I will praise the Lord who guides me; yes, during the night I reflect and learn. I constantly trust in the Lord; because he is at my right hand, I will not be upended. So my heart rejoices and I am happy; my life is safe. You will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful follower to see the Pit. You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight.
-Psalm 16:7-11 (NET)

Congratulations to the 2018 high school graduates! As another school year comes to a close our community celebrates with our graduates and all students, recognizing their hard work and the knowledge and skills they gained this year. Soon our families with students will transition to “summer mode,” with more time playing outside, summer sports kicking off, camping trips and vacations being planned, and summer jobs starting. I pray it will be a blessed and safe summer for all.

For our graduates, this Sunday marks the end of one chapter in life, and the beginning of the next. Some will continue their education this fall. Some will start working more regularly. Some will serve our country through military service. Some will feed our nation and world through farming. Some may move far away, and some will stay close to home. But no matter what this new chapter in life brings to our graduates, the Lord will be with them to guide them.

As the Psalmist wrote, “You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight.” There can be great joy and delight in change, but transitions and new chapters are not always easy. There will be hurdles and roadblocks to navigate. During difficult or challenging times absolute joy and sheer delight can be hard to feel, and yet this is what God desires for us. So, we support one another through encouragement and prayer, trusting that God will never abandon us, no matter what each new chapter brings.

Graduates, remember that God will always be with you, wherever you go. Do not hesitate to pray and worship, for God hears you. And, do not hesitate to call upon our community for encouragement in your new chapter in life, for we are walking with you and supporting you. Blessings to you this Sunday at your graduation, and blessings to all who are beginning new chapters in life in our community and beyond. God is with you.