Frank DeBoer, a colleague of mine at North Park, retired after 41 years of teaching chemistry to college students. A man of Reformed faith, Frank was asked to give the “charge” to our graduates. I share it with you:
Thank you, Jay—-Ladies and gentlemen, and especially you graduates.
There are advantages and disadvantages to sitting up here:
The advantage is that you can consider yourself as being an important
person, like everyone else on the platform.
The disadvantage is that you have to behave yourself—for some of us that is
Graduates, you and I are about to begin a new phase in our lives.
We are about to enter into new adventures; you, into adventures that you have anticipated for a few years; I into adventures that retirees have considered for many
years, sometimes eagerly, sometimes with dread. As we begin these new phases– these new adventures– remember to look back occasionally to where you came from; consider your foundations.
You are in a physical universe made by our God; we trust that you learned about that universe here at North Park. Improve on that knowledge; be grateful to God for this universe, care for this world.
You are part of the human race which was made by God; we trust that you learned about being human here at North Park. Improve on that knowledge, become more truly human; show that you are grateful to God for being part of the human race.
You are part of a family, of a religious congregation, of a city, of a nation. You were put in these settings by God and you learned of these relationships here at North Park. Develop these relationships as you extend into new families, into new groups.
You were given a physical body by God we trust that you learned about that body here at North Park. Improve on that body; use your body for the glory of God, and in honor of North Park.
You have a brain made by our God; the faculty says that you learned to use it here at North Park. Improve that brain; use it with all your might to the glory of God and for the profit of mankind and to the honor of North Park.
You have a soul, a spirit, made by our God; we trust that you learned about the depth of that soul here at North Park. Expand yourself, your soul, your spirit, in all its manifestations.
Use all of your being in service to the world, to the advantage of mankind, to the honor of North Park, and to the glory of God, whose we are.
Peace be with you. As the Psalmist said, “Unto God the Lord belong the issues of life.”