HOLY LOCKER ROOM SPEECHES – WAIT!
January 14, 2018
Sometimes great locker room speeches compel us to think rather than stir us to act. And they even take place in odd venues outside of locker rooms.
Remember the Titans is a film released in 2000 that chronicles the tense racial divisions besetting the TC Williams High School football team after the school was integrated in 1971. The black and white players were literally at each other’s throats as they began practice late that summer.
Coach Herman Boone, played by Denzel Washington, arranged for the team to hold a preseason training camp an hour away at Gettysburg College. Being in such close quarters 24/7 only served to exacerbate the racial strife on the team.
However, there comes a very pivotal moment in the film when Coach Boone leads the team on an early morning run. They wind up on the Gettysburg battlefield in the pre-dawn fog.
As they pause, gasping for air, Coach Boone calls their attention to the sobering fact that 50,000 men died on that battlefield, fighting the same fight that they are still fighting among themselves today. He reminds them of the hatred that pitted brother against brother, destroying families and souls. And he reminds them that, though none of them will lose their lives over such strife, if they don’t learn to somehow respect each other, they will indeed fail as a team and also fail to be a unifying force for their school.
It is indeed a powerful speech that leads to self-reflection and change in attitude. Not only will TC Williams Titans come together as a team, but many of these same teenagers will grow up to become compassionate and successful leaders in many walks of life.
Sometimes great locker room speeches compel us to think rather than stir us to act. Such is the tremendous holy locker room speech we hear this morning from the heart of the prophet Isaiah. He’s preaching to the exiled people of Israel, having been captured and deported to Babylon. For over 4 decades they languish there in that foreign land, longing to return home, longing to rediscover the roots of their faith.
And these are the assuring words Isaiah speaks to them:
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.