Parsons advises graduating seniors: Dream small, too

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
(Above) The Clay Central-Everly High School Choir sang a rendition of "The Prayer" at Wednesday night's baccalaureate service. (Below) Rev. Tonna Parsons spoke to the graduating seniors about the importance of smaller dreams that enliven everyday life. (Photos by Colin Van Westen)

Rev. Tonna Parsons of Grace Congregational of Greenville and First Lutheran of Sioux Rapids advised students to dream small, too, because "real joy is found right here in the details of your everyday life."

"In fact, dreaming large, big dreams come naturally for us. I mean, you've grown up in a culture in which you've been exposed to at least an average of 4,000 advertisements a day a day!" Parsons said.

Parsons added, "You all are the products of helicopter parents and tiger moms. You've been told your whole life that you're gifted, you're exceptional, you're above average.Your whole life you've been told that you can do whatever you put your mind to. You don't need me to tell you to dream big, but maybe you do need someone to tell you to dream small dreams, too."

The scriptures selected for the service were Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 15:1-6 and John 14:15-18. The Genesis scriptures told the story of Abraham who was selected by God out of obscurity to pursue a life out in the unknown world.

"Unlike the gods he grew up with, this God who calls Abraham is invisible. Invisibility- that's scripture's way of speaking of God's omnipresence. Because God is not precisely there, God can always be here, which is to say everywhere," Parsons said. "What we tend to take away from Abraham's story is this big, one day, dream of a future ... as bright as the stars in the sky. But you can bet that what Abraham took away is the discovery that the God who hung the stars in the sky is everywhere. That's why Abraham can set out into the unknown unafraid because there is nowhere Abraham can go in his life where God isn't already."

The event included musical performances by the CC-E High School Choir and hymns by all in attendance as well as prayers and talks by parents, local ministers and students.

"If your teachers and parents have done their jobs, your education hasn't been all about making the grade/getting into the right college. It's been about getting you to wonder, to puzzle, to take delight in the everyday world and people around you," Parsons said.

Parsons concluded her remarks with, "But dream small dreams, too. And do so everyday. Because the goodness of God in your life is just as surely here and now as it will be there, one day."

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