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This last Wednesday, September 27th, was Pray Around the Flag Pole day. It was a typical Wednesday – I got to school an hour early to prepare for the day’s lessons when I slowly discerned the soft hum of guitars and choral voices faintly through my window. I peeked through my blinds and descried a handful of students and a couple of teachers circled around the flagpole, singing contemporary worship songs.

After I finished preparing my lessons, I walked outside to see this familiar yet strange sight. By this time, many more students had amassed around the pole, roughly 20 – 30 students, and a great number of students were walking by with tilted heads confused at the unusual sight. Some scoffed, and I heard even whispers of ridicule, while others simply walked by without taking much notice.

I stood aloof, observing the gathering from across the parking lot street, wondering if I should join or stay secure in my spot. I wondered, “Are any of my students there? How would they feel if they saw me standing among them? Would they feel threatened or sheepish?” Many students are still donning their WWJD bracelets in this decade, and I surmised that the ones that sported the band in my classes were there. Secretly, I wanted them to know that I, too, believed in the same thing.

After some hesitation, I creeped across the short parking lot lane and stood cautiously on the edge of the circle, trying to inconspicuously blend in. I searched for familiar faces, but found none. None of my students were in this circle.

And as I observed and semi-participated in this gathering, I felt the hundreds of stares zeroing in on our location as floods of students streamed their way past us and into the school. I felt self-conscious. I felt uneasy. I felt vulnerable.

But then as I watched the youthful students sing their songs and pray aloud with outstretched hands petitioning the Lord to bless our campus, I gained strength and courage. They reminded me of myself when I was young with my own boldness when i was a young Christian in high school. When I watched them, I saw myself – I remember dreading Pray around the Flag Pole day because I was the Christian Club leader who had to organize and play guitar that day. I remember that I had to galvanize people, people whom I did not know well nor did I feel socially “on par” with. I remember that same self-consciousness that I was experiencing at this new moment, and yet abandoned it when I realized we were all singing to the same Lord.

Call it “power in numbers” or the “Holy Spirit”, but for a few brief moments Fear left me. And just like in high school, when the chorus of voices overtook my own and deafened me to my own voice, I sung to God recklessly, disregarding the consequences that awaited me for being a brainless, “Jesus loser”. I took a stand, once again, around that flag pole.

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