FRIDAY NIGHT FAITH
Last night the high school football crowd was out despite the heat and humidity that were making us question both the calendar and our choice of attending. I do love the excitement of Friday night home games and when in just a few short weeks we'll be bundled up in layers with green and white spirit scarves wrapped around our necks, we will probably long for some of the heat we faced last night.
But the weather didn't keep the home crowd from doing their respective things. The proud parents and faithful community supporters of the Rams were in place cheering on their favorite players and team. The marching band made its season debut and fortunately for them, they pared down to school T's and track pants while awaiting the arrival of new uniforms. While we no longer have a child in the band, we are both fans of and friends with this year's director and it was great to hear their renditions of Steely Dan from the field and those familiar fight songs from the stands. This director has a great educational philosophy of both high expectations of excellence and positively enjoying, relating to and caring about his students with honesty and integrity which resulted in great music and some very happy, confident kids. Let's just suffice it to say that the combination hasn't always been complete in the past and both students and parents are excited and relieved to find all those pieces of the puzzle in place this year. That phrase "the teacher makes the difference" couldn't be more true! Thanks Mr. B! You're the best!
Have you ever sat at a football game and watched the bands of students rove? Yes, they came to a football game and yes, many will probably leave knowing the final score or at least whether we won or lost. (And yes, I'm sad to report that we did lose in overtime when what we thought was the winning touchdown was revoked by the referees). But for many they know much more about who is now going out with who (or is that whom?), what two girls were in fashion crisis when they discovered they were wearing identical tops, and what guys have finally shot up and filled out enough to catch the attention of that group of girls who all apparently shop at the same store in the mall and wouldn't even look twice at said short, scrawny boys last year. And don't leave out which guy had his arm casually draped over which girl's shoulders, which senior girls are apparently already jockeying for Homecoming Queen position, which teachers have already been branded as the ones who try to crack jokes that really aren't funny or have already given entirely too much homework ("don't they know we have lives??"), and which girl's flirty little flip of the hair might lead to an eventual relationship status change on Facebook! : ) Teens are great and at some of their most socially interesting at a Friday night football game.
For me, it was a good opportunity not only to catch up with other former or still faithfully enduring band parents, but also my drama kids who have now moved on to high school. How fun for me to have them scream my name and run to give me a hug! How wonderful to know they survived their first week as freshmen and that no one tried to send their trusting, gullible selves to the non-existent 4th floor. How rewarding to see both their excitement about new high school adventures and opportunities as well as their joy in the memories of our 'family' of thespians where it is safe to come knowing you will always be loved for just who you are. I also got to hang out with a couple of this year's returning, 8th grade drama kids and was pleasantly surprised to discover that some of last year's quietest students are in reality scoops of funny, talkative girls sprinkled with 'top of the heap' confidence. I was reminded once again of how important the task is of believing in kids and taking time to listen to them and am so thankful for the opportunities God continues to give me to make a difference in the lives of some really wonderful kids.
Following the traditional after the game team huddle, a group of players gathered in a student led circle and knelt on the field to pray. We've had guys who do this every year and this year's group seems to have an especially large number. Their recognition of Who gives them the ability to play always makes me catch my breath and smile. It's a public school with plenty of kids who are all about the glory and the accolades and I love that these guys have committed to expressing their faith humbly in a public forum. I love that we're in a district that hasn't felt the need to squash this. I love that we have kids in classrooms and sports and drama and music and the countless other activities that capture teens' passions and heartbeats who are looking to Jesus to give them strength to face the tough world they must navigate day by day and to trust in and share His love with their friends and classmates and teammates.
And wouldn't you know that this morning I would read the following verses from Ephesians:
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know his love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."