Everyone in the tiny world of Maine Christian school sports knows that Windham Christian Academy's basketball rival is Living Waters School. So what happens when, at the height of basketball season, the LOL team from Windham is scheduled to do a chapel service at Living Waters? Now, when I say those two teams are rivals, that's not a casual statement. When our various teams (boys and girls, middle and high school teams) have played against them, the next day, I was always treated to detailed descriptions of Living Waters' poor sportsmanship, unruly fan base and overall meanness.
Of course, I've worked with young people long enough to take these conversations with a grain of salt. I know some teachers at LWS, and they seem like sincere believers doing their humble best to follow Jesus. But I also know enough about youth to know their perceptions of others don't change easily. Leading into the show, therefore, I spent time each day reminding them that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, all parts of the samr body of believers, etc, etc, cliche upon cliche. Then the day of the show came.
When we arrived at their school, my co-teacher informed me that in her van, one of our girls said, "This is the school where those f...ing idiots go." Oh my. I pulled this young lady aside and asked her if she could do the show with the right heart, Embarressed, she assured me she'd be "good". I told her I wasn't interested in her "being" good, she needed to have the right heart attitude. Blinking away tears, she assured me she could. At that moment I knew which student I would be choosing to close the show in prayer.
And what a show it was. Killian juggled three battle axes as smoothly as if they were silks. Liam narrated with all the confidence of a seasoned pro. And Avery, after performing as both wise and foolish builders, was brought back on stage so that both schools could sing "Happy Birthday" to him on his 13th birthdy. Then it came time for Izrael's 8th grade solo. We've had 8th graders sing, dance, speak, tumble and even speak for their solo, but this was the first 8th grade solo of it's kind. Izzy is a competetive cuber (as in Rubik's cubes) and he solved three different one ( a 2X2, a 3X3 and a pyramid) at superspeed. He even tied in a devotional thought about how, when our life seemed messed up, Jesus can set it right again. Whether it was his mastery of the cubes or his beguiling smile, there was a group of middle school girls from our rival school who cheered and screamed to a point reminiscent of when the Beatles performed on "Ed Sullivan Show".
When we were finally done, I did in fact bring the young lady from paragraph three up on stage to close in prayer. She prayed beautifully (I trust her heart was as sincere as her words). Then the two groups had a brief chance to interact together. Two of Izzy's fan girls asked him to autograph their foreheads and cheeks. What 13 year old boy wouldn't oblige this rrequest
best testament of what God did there that morning, though, was how many WCA kids asked how soon we could go back to interact with their students again.