Dear Church and Spirit-led Friends,
I’ve been watching the Netflix docuseries, “Cheer,” which tells the story of a little community college in Texas called Navarro with a 14-time national champion cheer program. After the first season, you end up really loving a group of five students and their coach whose discipline shaped them into better human beings. Young people who have come from the worst situations are “saved” by their involvement in Cheer and Navarro, led by a Christian woman for whom coaching is her calling. Watching these “transformations” made me wonder about the efficacy of a church that doesn’t have a championship goal in view.
And, then, the second season arrives, and a different story unfolds. It is worth watching so I won’t give away the storylines except to say that the transformations aren’t always what they seemed. The series honestly tells of the good and bad of pursuing a championship with such laser focus. Some of the most tender moments are those where young people who are disconnected find loving connections. I use one of those moments as an illustration in my sermon. Connection isn’t easy but, once it is made, it is transformational. It is where all “evangelism” must begin. But there is more. We are finite. Where we end, there is another that can continue to direct life with love and concern. But it requires imagination, reaching for that which is felt and seen when we stop relying on our five physical senses.
In a way, it is a harder goal than a trophy to turn someone towards God. But to do so is to give someone a connection that can sustain them throughout their lives. The Eternal One can be found in the valley and on the mountain for those who are willing. It is this love that sustains the coach at Navarro, that she calls on in the moment of the series where she is walking through the mud. I’ve not finished the series. Coach hasn’t finished her life. Perhaps there is a deeper transformation happening that Is not yet noted—because it cannot be easily filmed. She refers to it when she says that, during a very difficult emotional time, she is in the poem Footprints. There is only one set because, she doesn’t know how to carry on, but she does know there is someone carrying her through it.
In God’s Love, Heather