It’s funny. When I was a teenager in Ancaster, Ontario, I always thought it would be neat to have some sort of Christian gathering at the ghetto high school I attended. There were no groups such as FCA , which we tend to take for granted in southern highschools anyway. Besides my sister Maryanne and I, the only other believers appeared to be two rigidly conservative sisters who wore long skirts each day and tended to avoid the general student body.
It was obvious many were searching for something though 80% of the students seemed to find their only solace in drugs and Marilyn Manson, at the peak of his popularity in the mid nineties. There were really no limits to where the students could do drugs, deal drugs, find drugs at Ancaster High. The property was laden with the evidence. It lived up to its name “the pharmacy.” If the school had a creed, it would have come from “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis:
Where were you when we were getting high?
Slowly walking down the hall,
Faster than a cannon ball,
Where were you while we were getting high?”
Like Europe, much of Canada is basically devoid of religious conviction and a dark cloud of indifference or virtual atheism ensues. On the negative side, this means there is a definite lack of tolerance for outward religious convictions, especially Christianity. Canadians take political correctness to the limit in order that no one should feel infringed upon. On the good side though, there is not the spiritual lethargy or hypocracy that often marks churches and Christian communities in areas such as the south since those in Canada who are believers are often more genuine and it is not merely the “thing to be.”
With these things in mind then, I was ashamed at my attitude during a praise and worship type service I attended with my friend Lauren while visiting Ancaster in March. Though the service itself was held in Grimsby, an hours drive at least for most attenders, young people came from around the surrounding area and seemed truly sincere, passionate and excited to be there, their hands lifted high to the ceiling in worship to God. We sang songs such as “Holy is the Lord” by Chris Tomlin:
We bow down and worship Him now
How great, how awesome is He…”
The “sermon” too, though very simple, was biblical and the audience seemed hungry to listen.
What then was my attitude during the service? “Well,” I thought, “the talk could be a little deeper…the choruses could be a little shorter”etc, etc. Thus my feelings of shame afterwards.
There is every reason to rejoice that services such as these are becoming popular in my native land and it is my hope that more of them will sprout up, perhaps even in the high schools. How awesome that a growing number of young people are finding their hope in Jesus Christ though many would have parents and family who do not share their new found faith. Perhaps this next generation will bring a little spiritual light into Canada.
P.S. Update: I had the chance talk to my friend Lauren last night , whom I mention in this post, and she happened to mention she had the chance to speak on behalf of a group called “Lamp Light” at Ancaster High School! It is a Christian organization which seeks to help teens who are having a difficult time in life. Anyways, pretty neat tie in considering how I originally finished this post!