Wow…a week has elapsed since I last posted. Not for lack of anything to say, I assure you. Rather, I have had one of those stretches we all find ourselves in from time to time, when every time I turn around it seems there is something else I need to do and those things which I intended to do kept getting pushed off. And, in the grand scheme of things, blogging is not that important, so the blog often ended up at the bottom of the pile. Today I finally found the bottom!
The title of this entry also happens to be the title of a movie which has received an incredible amount of attention in Christian circles over the past year, but this blog actually has nothing to do with that film. Instead, it has to do with a senior class, and four seniors in particular, whom I found to be courageous last Wednesday evening.
Courageous is one of those words that falls into the category of words that the dictionary defines by using its root word. Quite irritating, if you ask me. After all, if one does not know what “courageous” means, looking it up and finding that it means, “possessing or characterized by courage” is not likely to help much. So, turning to “courage,” the dictionary provides this definition: “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” If you look it up on dictionary.com you will also see referenced the idiom, “have the courage of one’s convictions,” which it defines as, “to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.”
Last Wednesday a group of students from the senior class at Sunshine Bible Academy led the student chapel in its entirety. They planned it, from the songs that would be sung, to the students who would be involved in leading the singing, to which students would pray, which would speak, and which would lead the small group discussions afterwards. Now, seniors at SBA have to present a “senior chapel” as one of their graduation requirements, so this does not seem unusual at first. However, this particular chapel was in addition to the required chapel. Most of the students involved have already presented their senior chapel. There was no requirement that they do this, and no asked them to do so. Rather, feeling led by the Spirit after their senior trip, Mega Teen retreat, Spiritual Life Emphasis Week, and the realization that graduation is rapidly approaching, these seniors realized that there was something they wanted to say to their fellow students.
So, after the time of singing, two boys and two girls–Cameron, Katie, Beth and Christian–spoke to the middle and high school students from their heart, sharing the lessons that they have learned in their years at SBA and in their walk with the Lord. The lessons shared were not trite or cliche, either. Yes, Cameron talked about the need to spend more time reading the Bible and praying, but he was speaking out if his own experience, and sharing how he had come to this realization in his own life, and the difference that it had made for him personally. Katie bravely encouraged students to be selective about the extracurricular activities in which they are involved and even (gasp!) to curtail their involvement in order to focus on what they really want to do, to do it well, and to avoid becoming overwhelmed by trying to do everything. Beth spoke about not dating in high school. That’s right, NOT dating. We live in a culture that encourages students to date early and often, and at ever-younger ages, and yet Beth explained why dating in high school may not be such a good idea after all. And Christian addressed the importance of attitude, and how attitude really does make as huge difference…and is ultimately a matter of choice.
The things that Cameron, Katie, Beth and Christian spoke about are not necessarily popular, even in a Christian school. Yet they chose to be courageous, to take a stand and to speak out, encouraging their fellow students. They chose to follow the advice that Paul gave to Timothy when he wrote, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” (NASB).