I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the musical piece “Pomp and Circumstance” since I was in junior high. I’ve always loved to hate it. That’s because starting in junior high, I was in band playing it at every baccalaureate/graduation until my own.
Now, if you were in band like me, you know you know just how bored you get of the tune “Duhhhh, duh duh duh, duhhhhh duhhhhh.” It goes on and on and on…. Year after year… After I had my own graduation walking in to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” I would still hear it throughout all the different graduation ceremonies I attended. It never created an emotional response until this last Sunday.
We celebrated Graduation Sunday in worship and there were some of our seniors present representing our different campuses. We couldn’t have all of our seniors, but some of them were there to help with playing music, reading scripture, and processing in the cross, candles, and bible. At the end of the service, I noticed that the postlude was THAT song – “Pomp and Circumstance”. Yet this time was different.
The graduates gathered along the back wall of the sanctuary listening to the beginning section of the song. Most people wouldn’t recognize it because it isn’t the familiar section that is repeated at graduation ceremonies. Finally, it transitioned to the part of the piece that is so strongly associated with graduation. And for the first time in my life, I teared up at hearing “Pomp and Circumstance.” I was emotional for the graduates who had missed out on so much of their senior years. I was moved by my friends and fellow staff members who were playing the piece as a gift to the graduates. And finally, I felt so tender-hearted that we were all there in that unique moment of history as the family of faith.
These are strange times, but God is able to bring beauty out of the ashes. We have experienced sadness and loss, but there is something reassuring knowing that we are experiencing it together. We are not alone, God is with us, and we have each other.
And as far as “Pomp and Circumstance” goes – I’ll show it more respect. I have a feeling that anytime I hear it in the future it will remind me of a very special memory. Congratulations to all the Graduates – we are proud of you and praying for all of you!