Monday, August 29, 2011

Team Peculiar


They were peculiar, all right. Very peculiar. And I loved them that way.

My cross country team had been working hard and this was a chance to get them to loosen up beyond what is done on the floor during warm-ups. Freaky Friday is what we called it. Each kid embraced the challenge of showing up at practice dressed like a looney goon. I had a sight-impaired banana, silly girls with skirts and beads, Bahama Boys looking very, ah...Bahama-ish, teens who clashed, ridiculous hats, dog ears and dreadlocks. Four of the high school girls even made a grand entrance complete with rose petals to lead the lovely bride and groom.

I was actually quite pleased they embraced being different, risking stares and comments from the university crowd through which they passed. They, in essence said, "I don't care what you think." Even when they broke into teams to play our favorite license plate game, they didn't seem to mind. Off they went, running like a bunch of crazies all over Liberty University campus, asking people for signatures and recording as many different plates as possible. Sure, they startled some and possibly scared others. And yet they went, conquered the campus, and returned to brag about it. They were a peculiar lot indeed.

Peculiar? It's not a word we often use. In fact, it's sort of old. The writers of the Old King James version used it in translating Deuteronomy 26. In that context, God's people were called to be "peculiar," a treasured possession who walks in obedience and keeps God's commands.

In that same translation, the word is again used in I Peter 2:9. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;..." The entire chapter tells us that we are God's building stones chosen expressly to be holy, do his work,  speak for him night and day, and that we are now fully accepted, though once rejected. That makes us peculiar; distinctive, special, and perhaps just a little bit odd compared to those around us.

"So, kiddos...I want us to be a very peculiar team this year," I told them. "Though we stand out today for being silly, let's make sure we stand out individually and as a team for being holy. Not the contrived, false-sense-of-piety kind of holy. But the kind of holy that shows up in the way we talk, carry ourselves, look people in the eye, and interact with others. The kind of holy that reflects God's character. The kind of holy that says we are the sons and daughters of the Most High.. ."

I wonder, just how long should it take for other teams and those around us to know that we are obedient, holy, and peculiar Believers? If they don't see it, maybe we ought to work on being more peculiar.

2 comments:

Rick Gray said...

With your leadership and example, I know your team will show by example that they are not only peculiar, but they are obedient and holy believers. They will stand out in miraculous ways. On a side note though, I now know why you love your team so much. They will do anything you ask. I think the pictures speak for themselves. On another side note, I believe it was Andy Griffith who described an out of town guest as being "very peculiar". Funny where your posts lead my thinking. I guess I am just peculiar!

Rebekah Trittipoe said...

Andy Griffith? Yep, that line sounds like par for the course. Ah...memories.

They are a great group of kids. I am so pleased to be able to work with them!