Rev. Robert Ives ’69, Bowdoin’s Director of Religious and Spiritual Life, delivered the invocation for the College’s 210th Commencement exercises May 23, 2015.
Over 3,000 years ago Moses, the great patriarch of the Hebrew people, journeyed up Mt. Sinai and returned from the mountain with Commandments; 10 Commandments that have been the legal and moral code for generations upon generations. And so today as you, the Class of 2015, set forth on your journey of life, I would share with you commandments, not from the patriarch Moses, but from the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs of your very families, who have since the time of your birth offered commandments and words of wisdom throughout your lives.
Today I share their lofty and loving commandments with you now.
“Get up, Watch out, Shut up, Stop that, Get Lost, Put it down, Give it Back!”
Indeed, Get Up. Get up from your chairs this day and go into this world to help, and to serve, and to create a world that is far, far better than the world we have given to you, a world that can be filled with hope, kindness and peace.
Shut Up. Yes, indeed, shut up the wisdom, the ideas, the amazing education you have received here from these wise and outstanding professors at Bowdoin. Shut up that knowledge within your minds and hearts so that it serves as a wellspring you can use, and draw upon, and be inspired by all of your days.
Watch Out. Indeed, watch out for the people around you. Watch out for the needy, the poor, the heavy laden of life. Watch out for your friends, your neighbors and your neighbors in need wherever they are.
Get lost. Yes, indeed, get lost in wonder, in love, and in the imagination of your hearts. Get lost in creativity and the enthusiasm for what you can do and who you can be in life.
Stop that. Yes, stop to ponder, to pray, to quietly reflect on all that has gone before you and all that is yet to come. Stop and share in the reverence and sacredness and in the beauty of life.
Put that down. Yes, indeed, put down all the anxieties that plague you, and all the fears that prevent you from being the people you truly desire and long to be. Put down all that frightens you, so that you can freely and courageously do what you have wanted to do and become what you have always longed to be.
Give it back. Indeed, Give it back. All that you have learned and received from your families and friends and Bowdoin. Give back the wisdom you have learned, the friendship you have found, the love you have received. Give that back to the world and all before you, for if you do, you will have lived a life truly worth living.
So, dear Bowdoin graduates, always remember these wise Commandments of your parents and live by them as you now begin your journey in life.
May God’s special blessings be with you always.