And this is His commandment, that we believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us. 1 John 3:23
Seventeen-year-old Courtney Thorp goes to Shell Rock Senior High School in Iowa. There’s another thing you should know about Thorp. You should also be aware that when she was nine months old she was diagnosed as having cerebral palsy. It is an illness which can negatively affect speech, balance and many other aspects of an individual’s life.
Mainstreamed in her education, Thorp, along with her parents, were always dedicated to minimizing those negatives.
Even though she knew her daughter was an upbeat kind of kid, when Thorp’s mother heard her only child had been nominated for homecoming queen, she was worried. Yes, the kids at Thorp’s school always seemed to be nice, but … maybe this was some kind of prank: a cruel hoax which some bad-attitude students were playing on her daughter.
Thorp’s parents received some degree of peace when the school’s associate principal called and assured them the nomination was legitimate, and there was no ill will or cruelty in it.
I have to tell you the night the homecoming king and queen were crowned, Thorp’s mom ended up in tears. In her words, “I lost it.”
Had the assistant principal been wrong? Nope. Not at all. Mom “lost it” because her daughter’s coronation as queen was marked by applause, cheers and high-fives by the rest of the court. The homecoming king said, “It was such a great feeling when she won. She comes to school every day with a big smile on her face. She is happy 110 percent of the time. She loves life and she makes the best out of everything. She’s a big inspiration to everybody.”
So, that’s the human-interest story from Iowa.
Now there are two reasons that narrative has been shared. The first reason is because it’s easy for these days for my blog (and me) to center on the sad, the sick, the terrible, and the tragic. For you and for me that can be discouraging and depressing. I felt it was time (after the Mad as Hell rant) for something upbeat. The second reason the story is shared is because here is a high school filled with kids who get it.
I think they get it partly because of parents, partly because of their stable community, and partly because most of them are members at one of the churches in Shell Rock. These kids may not know it, but part of their specialness has to do with their belief system. It is a system which says we are redeemed sinners, no one is perfect, we all fall short of the mark, but we have Jesus who loves us and by his mercy lifts us to the Father’s throne, and restores us to the Father’s house.
Knowing this Jesus the teens of Shell Rock, Iowa, have put into practice an attitude of love and acceptance… By God’s grace may their attitude become contagious all around the world.
Hopefully, our time together tonight has made you feel a bit more thankful for Jesus and a whole lot more thankful for some of the Christian kids who are coming after us.
Dear Lord, today we give thanks for kids who conquer problems and those who support those who need it. Most of all we give thanks for Jesus who taught us how to love and support someone else. In His Name. Amen.
Grace and Peace
PS. We think our cat is watching the Animal Channel while we are away every day. We even found cat nip on the TV remote the other day. She has learned to sit at her bowl and rattle it until we come fill it. She is almost 14 years old… so old cats can learn new tricks.