This weekend we honor the high school seniors who have been part of Snowmass Chapel for many years. They have literally grown up before our very eyes. It’s a bittersweet time of year, to be sure, because while this is a new beginning for our high school (and college) graduates, it also means the end of some pretty precious times.

Anna, Elizabeth, Anita and Ashlyn (girls rock!): We have watched you as fresh-faced preschool children dancing and singing so earnestly it made our hearts hurt. As toothless elementary schoolers, you plopped down on the altar steps for a kids’ sermon, hoping you wouldn’t be called on, but knowing if you were, you could say something silly and make the Pastor laugh as only he can. We have seen you as self-conscious middle school students working through what it means to live a life of faith, in a sometimes faithless world. Now here you are standing before us as…well, simply spectacular human beings.

You have grown up here, on the stories of God. Hoping to teach you something, we have learned from you in the process. You’re sometimes too good for us, you old souls. You say things that astound us and make us wonder who’s leading who. Lucky us.

We have prayed for you more than you know, and trust me when I tell you, it worked. Trust me again when I tell you we will never stop. We give thanks for you, for all that you are and all that you will become.

We hope the stories you learned here will sustain you, encourage you, and inspire you to do things you never thought possible. We hope you see your own bright light reflected in the stories of grace and truth and wonder, and when you can’t (or won’t) see it, we pray you will remember the very light of the world. Let God guide you when you think you don’t know the way.

We pray that you remember this place – this House – with joy in your hearts, because we believe there’s no better story on earth than God so loved the world. We want you to find that joy in some other awesome place (but not too awesome). Remember the way Jesus lived, because it will make the world a better place, which would make Jesus happy. It will also make your mamas cry with pride that they raised you to be servants after Jesus’ own heart.

We love you – no, we cherish you. Now go rock that college world!