Turn, turn, turn.
I don’t know that we experience cycles of change more than other communities, but in an academic community our schedules move everything towards dramatic transitions. We serve the purpose of receiving and sending. We brace ourselves for the cycles, and adjust our mindsets to prepare for the inevitable turning of a graduating class and our incoming First-years, for the absences of Winter and the moving vans of Summer, marked by the beginnings and endings of the academic calendar.
The transitions are very different for those leaving this community, whose movement away means a sense of freedom and uncertainty, even anxiety, in leaving behind the steady rhythms of change our calendar dictates. For some, this Summer marks a sudden, sometimes jarring, shift into another rhythm: negotiating the sometimes maddening, steady tide of a new workplace; the uncertainty of the rip-current drift of a long discernment process; the sometimes disorienting crush under the waves of the job search.
And not every departure is according to schedule. We hope every departure echoes with a “bon voyage,” but some will leave us as we cry “man overboard!”
For those between here and the next place, with whom God waits, as they are often keenly aware of the growing distance of this community, we pray a sense of our continued accompaniment by their constant presence in our hearts and minds. We hold them to us in prayer.
for the disembarked finding their land legs,
searching for footing in the next step;
for departing coworkers navigating a new course;
for those feeling unprepared,
out of place;
we ask your mercy.
Bring faith where the waters seem unsympathetic,
bring hope where the distance seems too great,
bring love where the churning is too much for a body alone.
God, we ask for solid ground at the end of these reaching prayers. Act for those that we love beyond what our words and intentions can accomplish. Put our hands and hearts to the work of bearing them up, as we can, as we should, as you call us.
We trust you with them, and trust ourselves to you.
The sea of our circumstances is yours. Be gracious.
Whatever the state of our vessel,
may we find “Love weighs the hull down with its weight.”
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.