|From my high school yearbook. The girls' basketball team. I'm hanging from the scaffolding at the lower right.|
It's the time of year for college basketball fans. I grew up watching basketball and even playing basketball - sort of. I was a member of a state championship basketball team. Actually, I earned two state championship medals, along with a third-place finish. You'd never know it looking at me. I'm certainly not a lanky 5'10" in my stocking feet, and I'm not particularly graceful or coordinated.
My alma mater, Skyline High School, earned state girls' basketball champion trophies in 1973, 1974 and 1977. I was on the 1973 and '74 teams, as well as the 1975 team that took 3rd at state. My sister, Darci, was on the 1977 championship team.
|My sister, Darci, and I: In 2011, the Kansas State High School Activities Association celebrated 100 years of providing service to schools throughout the state.|
But my Dad had a different philosophy. He always insisted that the people sitting on the bench were an important part of the team. And I don't think he was just trying to make me feel better. He was a basketball star in high school. He insisted that we bench-sitters were a valuable asset.
"Who do those girls practice against every day?" he would ask when I compared myself to the starting line-up and knew I came up woefully short. "If they didn't have good people to push them during practice, do you think they could play as well during a game?"
I love watching college basketball, especially my alma mater, Kansas State University. In recent years, the announcers at Bramlage have added another component as they announce the game.
"Rodney McGruder for 3, from Angel Rodriegez," the voice booms out after a score. Instead of just recognizing the person who put the ball in the bucket, the announcer gives some recognition for the person who didn't take the shot, but rather, passed the ball and earned an assist.
Fans also play a pivotal role in the success of their teams. There's a reason that sports commentators talk about "home court advantage." (Let's hope that the Wildcats playing in Kansas City this coming weekend will give them that home court edge.) When thousands of people are loud and cheering (and, in the case of K-State games, doing the Wabash Cannonball), it can't help but add to the excitement and urge the players to give their very best. It's true during March Madness or during any part of the season.
|The Wabash Cannonball at a K-State basketball game|
As we experience Lent and make the journey toward Easter on March 31, Jesus is calling us to be self-less, not selfish. He gives us example after example in the Bible. Before Jesus went to the Cross, He had one final meal with his disciples. He celebrated the Passover Feast with the ones He loved in the Upper Room.
But no one volunteered to clean the dusty feet of the disciples. Until Jesus…
|Stained glass window at Youthville Chapel, Newton, Kansas|
Jesus “got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet.” (John 13:4-5) Even in this final meal, Jesus was teaching his disciples.How are we washing others' feet today? Is it through that sympathy card you sent to the grieving spouse from your Sunday School class? Is it when you show up at a high school game when you don't have anyone playing any more and cheer on the home team? Is it taking a cake to a funeral dinner? Is it leading or attending a Bible study? Is it volunteering at the rest home? Do you pick up some extra food and put it in the box for the food bank?
Jesus said: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)
The possibilities to serve as Christ's hands and feet in this world today are plentiful. I've always loved this quote by Teresa of Avila:
Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are His body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.I just came across this song called "The Basin and the Towel," by Michael Card. Just some of the words are:
Teresa of Avila
In any ordinary place,
on any ordinary day,
the parable can live again
when one will kneel and one will yield. ...
In humility, to take the vow,
that day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.
(Click here for all the lyrics.)
As we continue the journey of Lent and move toward Easter, it's my prayer that each of us - in any ordinary place and on any ordinary day - make the daily choice to "take up the basin and the towel."
***This is my blog post for March at Lovely Branches Ministries. Check out what my friend, Suzanne, had to say about March Madness (I love that "One Shining Moment" video montage, too!) and read about how my friend, Keva, is choosing obedience through fasting this year.
I'm also linked today to Michelle DeRusha's Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday and at Jennifer Dukes Lee's Tell His Story. Be sure and check out what other bloggers of faith have to say at their blogs today.