Lessons from a Basketball Court
written by Rev Gary Heard

Yesterday saw a small group of 10-year-old boys make their basketballing debut. Not one of them had ever played an organised game before. It took not much more than a minute for the boys to realise that they were up against more than they had bargained for. Shell shock is one word that could adequately describe how they felt as their more experienced, bigger, faster and more skilled opponents smelt blood. To their credit, the boys stayed in, fighting and adapting as the game went on. With a little support, guidance and encouragement, they finished the game with a smile on their face and a greater appreciation of the challenges ahead. Though they did not manage to put a score on the board, they did manage to slow the other team down and force some mistakes. There was no shame in their performance.

In many ways this was an ‘eighth day’ experience for these boys: a move into new territory where they were required to learn as they went, and adapt to changed circumstances. That they managed to do so with a sense of achievement and excitement demonstrates the type of spirit we all need as we are required to adapt to the new demands of being a church community.

Everyone is ignorant in areas they have not learned. Everyone is inept in skills they have never acquired. Bill Gates was once a computer illiterate. There was a time when this year’s Brownlow medallists couldn’t catch or kick a ball. Tim Costello knew a time when he couldn’t string two words together. We all have to commence somewhere. We all enter new areas of discovery and endeavour from time to time, moving from outside the square of our experience into something new – an ‘eighth day’.

May this community be one in which we are supported and encouraged (in every way) in such endeavours, where the only failure is failure to try. Who knows what the Spirit can unleash in those who are prepared to move into something new and unknown? May our prayers be directed in this way.

October 26, 2003
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