Commencement 2013: Read The Invocation By Rev. Brad Tharpe, Chaplain of the Claremont Colleges

Let us pause to honor the sanctity of this moment, and to consider that which is within and beyond ourselves.

On this day, we gather as the Claremont McKenna family, and may we have the courage to do what families do on days like these: laugh and celebrate, share our loss and sadness.  May we have the patience and understanding to allow the mixture of emotions to be accepted and honored.  May we know that all of these feelings flow from the same fountain of love for one another.  Let us acknowledge that all of the smiles and hugs and tears of today contain both sorrow and celebration, both sadness and overwhelming joy.

Today we remember the members of the CMC family whom we have lost too soon: Tamar Kaplan, and now Ali Mirza.  Let us offer our sincere compassion and our active care to their families, friends and to one another.  We are grateful for whom they were, and for whom they will continue to be for us all.  And so may we honor Tamar and Ali with how we live our lives in the future and in what we do today.  May we honor them by celebrating this occasion in the way that they would want us to do so, in gratitude and in joy.  And so we are grateful for the effort and perseverance that led to this moment.  We are grateful for those who taught us to think critically, to act compassionately, and to live with integrity.  We are grateful for those who provided food to eat and clean places to sleep.  We are grateful for leaders who have guided this community for many years with passion and vision, and for the invaluable support of family and friends.

As we so often see those shirts that say, “I am CMC,” on this day, may we remember that our true power comes from the reality that we, we are CMC.  We are CMC, and may our “we” be one way through which the holy and the good brings healing and wholeness to our world.  I offer all of this in humility and in peace.  Thank you.