Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)
TITLE: Purple Walls
By Karen Chatham
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Fifth grade Sunday school at our small conservative church was nothing less than vanilla- bean boring. The same old stories we had learned since we were babies lost their pizzazz in our young adventurous minds. My mom, who at that time was the fifth grade volunteer teacher, could see that our interest was all but dead, so she decided to liven things up a bit.
No one ever guessed that she could be so radical. What she did was unheard of and bizarre in our church culture. It was so bizarre that every blue-haired lady in our church family gathered around to witness such an act of ballistic behavior.
Up and down the walls of our classroom, she rolled on the brightest color of purple paint known to the human eye. From that point on, it was the only room in the building that had any real action.
Purple walls made church feel a little more like home to us kids. We all understood what a great risk my mom took to make us feel like someone actually cared that we were there.
Because we knew she cared enough about us to paint the walls purple, we had a good reason to pay attention to her when she spoke of missionaries in Brazil. We also had a good reason to invite our friends, who were always glad to come.
The things those purple walls heard and saw were things most walls don’t get to hear and see in a lifetime. Those purple walls got to hear stories about the exciting journeys of the apostle, Paul, and of the astounding miracles of Jesus. Callings to the mission field expressed from the hearts of our small group of pre-teens were recorded in the sheetrock as we planned strategies to get the gospel to the smallest cracks of the world.
Not many walls have known the privilege of witnessing the germination of God’s holy Word in innocent, fertile hearts, but these vivid walls must have known, for as we bowed our heads in reverence before our mighty God, the purple walls seemed to have bowed too.
We prayed for our president. We prayed for our missionaries. We even prayed for our stinking brothers and spoiled sisters between those four purple walls. When we were done, our singing voices rocked the empty halls of that traditional church.
I am certain the preacher had a secret wish that he could paint his office purple too. He knew something was going on in that room that was supernatural, beyond his understanding. The evidence was clear. More kids came out of that room with a genuine faith in God than all of the adult classes put together.
Surely the sixth-graders were wishing they could have a purple room, and the fourth-graders begged and pleaded. Even the junior high kids came to inspect this incredible artwork, undoubtedly to propose their own plan of action.
Many years have past since my mother’s bizarre behavior turned our little church upside-down. Thinking back, I can’t help but wonder if any of those blue-haired ladies ever resolved to roll brilliant purple paint on their vanilla-bean-boring walls
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