This weekend five young men in our community, including my son Noah, received the highest honor in Scouting by attaining the rank of Eagle. I was asked to deliver the opening prayer. The words are below.
We give thanks to you for these scouts and for the years of hard work that have brought them to this day. We thank you for sustaining them through dozens of merit badges, from the obscure like Fingerprinting to the important like Emergency Preparedness. We offer our thanks for helping them persevere when encountering 1st Class cooking, and for helping their leaders endure interesting food. For their enthusiasm playing Ultimate and Cribbage. For their campouts, the ones in sun and rain, wind and calm, bitter cold and scorching heat, because through each they experienced the reality of life. There are good times and difficult ones. Yet often the times of greatest challenge became for them the most memorable as they saw the strength you have provided deep within them to face each struggle and to learn to rely on others for support to make it through.
Let them remember the words spoken by Uncle Ben to Peter Parker, or maybe it was Aunt May who said it to Peter, or perhaps it was Miles Morales’ dad who said it to him depending on which Spider-Verse it was in—Lord, I do not know, you know—but let them remember that with great power comes great responsibility. With significant achievement comes the call to serve. That all that they have accomplished in Scouts was not for the sole purpose of adding an impressive line to their Common App, but to become people who know how to make a positive impact on others. To become the people you have always called them to be.
For this Eagle Court of Honor is not the end, but a beginning. They have come to this point so that they might join with others who have walked this path before and go from here choosing to bring light and joy and peace to our world. May they do so with panache and grace. May they do so gallantly, so that everyone they encounter along the way might be enriched by their lives. For all of this we offer our eternal thanks and our deepest hopes. May it be so, we pray. Amen.