Last night something happened to me that surprised me. David turned on the television to find the last few minutes of Sister Act 2 on the air. This is one of my favorite movies, and I didn’t really realize why until last night.
If you’re not familiar with the movie, Whoopi Goldberg stars as a lounge singer who has been summoned by a group of nuns (old friends of hers from the first movie) to come and help them salvage the remnants of an inner-city Catholic high school. The school and the neighborhood are gasping for final breaths as the sisters and their male counterparts try desperately to inspire hope and inspiration in the young hearts and minds entrusted to them. Sister Mary Clarence (Goldberg) breathes new life into the near-dead music program and in the process plants, waters and nurtures the dreams of a better life into the hearts of her gifted students as she teaches them to sing together as a stage choir.
As the youngsters prepare for a state-wide choir competition, they reclaim an old music room, scrubbing walls and windows, and making it their own by repairing an old piano and painting the walls. In the process, the sisters discover an old box of trophies and awards that the school choir had earned in decades past. It seemed the destiny of the school was to produce an award-winning choir. But years of deterioration in the community and a mindset of settling for less than what they were capable of had reduced the school’s former achievements to a dusty box filled with forgotten glory.
This brings us to last night. As the choir was waiting to take the stage at the contest, a larger, more experienced and much more formidable choir performed the same song our group of dreamers had prepared. The other choir’s arrangement was traditional and stuffy – impressive, yes, but definitely old-school. Like the spies who reported to Moses of giants in the land, Goldberg’s choir saw the other group and wanted to quit out of fear and intimidation. A quick pep talk from their favorite teacher, and the group decided to go on.
There is much more to the individual stories of the characters and their personal insecurities, aspirations and secret fears than I can get into now, but as the group took the stage and the auditorium was filled with color, light and unbelievable harmonies, tears filled my eyes. I have seen this movie I don’t know how many times, and while it is one of my favorites, I have never had this reaction before. I watched as a group of young people, inspired to greatness by a teacher who managed to see just a glimpse of their potential, shed their choir robes and danced and sang their way to a first-place finish with all the exuberance and passion and energy they had inside them.
Even now, as I write this, my eyes are filled again, as my heart yearns to see more and more people (in real life) stepping out of the stuffy traditions and dream-killing mindsets that have held them back, and dancing their way into their God-breathed destiny.
So to you, dear reader, if you have dusty dreams that have become little more than an empty shell of a would-be memory, if you know that you have not yet stepped into a destiny that has been long-since packed up and forgotten, if you are ready to shed the ill-fitting robes of conformity that hide your beautiful individuality, this prayer is for you.
please come and breathe new life into our dreams.
Blow away the dust accumulated by years of waiting
and listening to dream-killing lies that our lives will
never account for more than they already have.
Restore hope, resurrect dreams and rebuild destinies
and teach us to dance and sing our way into the
fullness of what You have created us to be and to do.
Ignite a passion within us that we have never known before -
a passion for more of You, for seeing Your Kingdom come,
and for being a vital part of Your will being done on
earth as it is in heaven.