En-Joyful, Joyful: A Word From—And For—Our Sponsor
The Rev. Matt Horne ’78 offered the invocation at his class dinner at Alumni Reunion Weekend, June 6-9, 2013. It is well worth a read here, a loving and lovely reflection of Davidson in the world and the world of Davidson, then and now. Enjoy!
The Latin poet Horace wrote these words to aspiring public speakers: quidquid praecipies esto brevis, which translates as, “When you moralize, keep it short.” But I am not gonna heed this wise advice tonight, because, as it turns out, this is a pretty lengthy invocation. So, if you want to start in on your salads instead of bowing your heads in prayer, I think that will probably be alright, too. Please join me…
Holy God, this evening we invoke your name, your presence, your blessing on our gathering of the Class of 1978.
Some of us know you and know a habit of prayer with you; some of us…not so much. Some of us are leaders in our faith communities, using our gifts and Davidson-honed skills and values in service there; some of us… not so much, using our gifts and skills and values in other forms of service. Some of us are religious, some of us are secular, and some of us don’t believe, or at least don’t know, that there is any you there to pray to when we have an invocation like this.
Of course, you know all this, O God.
You know, too, that however diverse our prayer inclinations, however wide our inquiry and interest is in such things, at least tonight, this night, we are united in a sense of gratitude which we share. For those who mean it as a prayer to you, let it be prayer. For those whose gratitude has some other axis or path, let it one and the same be gratitude we lift up. So I am just gonna talk, and maybe tease out a little bit of this gratitude we share.
First for the biggie – that we are a part of the Davidson family, and that Davidson is a part of our families. We are grateful that we came to be Wildcats, that we were accepted here, that we worked and studied and succeeded here. That we graduated and are now alumni of this most marvelous, most excellent college.
We are grateful for who we have come to be, and how Davidson forged and molded, hammered out, and also delicately etched, our college selves to go on into our lives past graduation. Grateful that we encountered those funny little Greek words in Humanities – arête and hubris, virtue and arrogance, and how our lives have proved the truth that a main task of living is to manage their interplay, and to leverage them both – in our careers and achievements, and in all our relationships, from the most casual to the most intimate.
We are grateful that Davidson helped us to navigate adulthood and the vast, uncharted regions of our own very selves, of our relationships with our life partners, and with those totally new folks to our lives and to the world, our children. We thrill that, for some of us, our children are Davidson types, too. Loyal sons and daughters, indeed.
We are grateful, and proud, of our classmates and their accomplishments in so many fields of endeavor, here and around the world. We are proud of how many of them have changed their first names, at least formally, and are called ‘Doctor.’ Some pretty smart cookies in the Class of 1978, and we are all, this night, grateful to be from the same cookie jar.
We know that we are but one great class that has taken its place among all the others, and we thrill at what Davidsonians do on the stages of achievement, of worthy fame, and also in less-publicized ways, making their positive contributions to the world. Yeah, we are a part of that, and they are a part of us. All because of Davidson.
We are grateful, and proud, of all our college has become – raising the bar, expanding and growing. We can be proud, not ashamed, when the Admissions Office tells us that Davidson’s standards are now so high, that many of us couldn’t get in here if we had to apply now. But we are grateful, because, in our time, we did get in, and the Davidson of today is a part of us, and we are a part of it.
We are grateful, too, that in recent years it has been so much fun to be an alum, when Bob McKillop and Steph Curry and the teams took us onto the national stage in a big way. We thrilled with every three-pointer he put down at Davidson, and even now as a Golden State Warrior. When he plays, we are a part of him and he is a part of us. We thrill, too, that his brother Seth is also a gifted basketball player, every bit the measure of his brother, though he had to settle for a second-tier school instead of Davidson (wink, wink) one that just can’t hold to as a high a standard, or turn out as polished a product (wink, wink). We wish Seth well and trust that this handicap will not hold him back in life (wink, wink).
We are grateful and proud to be here this weekend, walking familiar paths that bisect green lawns, carrying us to destinations and memories of long ago, blessed by the shade of trees that watched over our matriculation and, as we observe, are watching over us still; marveling at the facilities that have been added in these thirty-five years, proud of the achievements of students and faculty, of curriculum triumphs and wide-open opportunities for the students who follow.
And we are so grateful for the faculty. The faculty now and that faculty of our time, some of whom are with us tonight. All of whom are with us, our special ones, inside of us. We are grateful for their influences on us, that they shared their passions and fascinations with us, that they loved us, in their professorial way, and that we loved them, and love them still.
Finally, we are grateful, (yes, I know, O God, your patience can be tried by long invocations, and ours when dinner is cooling) we give thanks for all that Davidson is – inside of us, in memory, in our training for useful service, and for our families. Tonight we share this gratitude, and give you praise that it has all come to pass. Just so.
Now, for this meal, for the hands that have prepared and who serve it, and our time together tonight, receive our thanks as well. Amen.
Matt Horne ’78