On May 18, 2024, the Coram Deo Academy Dallas Campus graduated its first class of Seniors. Below is my message for that class, shared at the Class of 2024 Commencement Ceremony.

There have been many times—perhaps more than I care to admit—that I have stood in the hallway outside the doorway to your classroom thinking to myself “I don’t have time for this. I need this hour for something else.” To reflect on what just happened. To prepare for what is to come. To plan, or to pray, or to respond.

But I stepped inside regardless—mostly because I know you well enough not to trust you in a room alone together.

After spending that hour with you in the classroom, God has not once failed to use each of you as a gift of grace: to refresh, or restore, or challenge, or comfort. I leave time with you thinking, “I needed that hour more than I knew. I don’t have time to not have this time together.”

You—as individuals and as a class—have a gift that our mutual friend C.S. Lewis liked to call “the good infection.” You rub off on people. You are like the house of the patient’s girlfriend that Uncle Screwtape describes in Letter 22:

Could you not see that the very house she lives in is one that he ought never to have entered? The whole place reeks of that deadly odour (of Christian love). The very gardener, though he has only been there five years, is beginning to acquire it. Even guests, after a weekend visit, carry some of the smell away with them. The dog and the cat are tainted with it. It is a house full of the impenetrable mystery.

Whether in the classroom or around campus, at a dinner table or in a living room, in Dallas or Austin or Arkansas—I leave time with you changed for the better.

You have shaped me. You have shaped my family—all of them. You have shaped this community and many others beyond it.

Today is an occasion marked by joy—despite the misty eyes in the room—and here is why: This is a big crowd in a big room full of “the good infection.”

But beyond these walls is a bigger crowd in a bigger room.

Sitting behind you are just some of those who have cared for you in this season of your life at this school. In front of you are even more who have done the same in your homes and in your churches. The older you get the more you will realize the sacrifices they have made for you to be here.

Now it is your turn.

Because beyond those doors, there are people you haven’t even met yet who need you. There are a people yet unborn, who need you.

They need you to witness—in word and deed—to the Good News of God in Christ. To pursue ever more deeply the Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of God. Not to shout into the darkness about how dark it is, but to light a candle, no matter how small, wherever God leads you.

It is a joy to send you out with that mission. And we are at peace in doing so, because you are in excellent hands, hands that have been there all along, hands that I pray you will notice more and more as you grow up: you are safe, no matter what you face, in the wounded hands of our Lord.