Do you remember what you were doing waaaaay back on August 17, 2007? If you were like 17 million other folks, you were tuned in to a highly anticipated sequel called High School Musical 2. In fact, HSM2 became the most watched basic cable release of all time. And lest ye think Wow, that is so last month, the soundtrack for HSM2 is still ruling the school with the #1 sales spot for the third week in a row to the tune of 1.2 million copies.
Go Wildcats! Woo Hoo!
Of course the success of HSM2 was largely due to the popularity of the original. So in case you missed it, or haven't heard all about it from your friends, or didn't care in the first place, here is the formula for the phenom of High School Musical 1:
Take your basic Romeo and Juliet theme, then add a healthy amount of teenage angst&attitude, hormone driven motives&plots, and impressive talent&looks as a backdrop. Next, borrow a few elements from West Side Story, and bake in a Disney oven. Top it off with an addictive-in-a-pop-music-sort-of-way soundtrack, then serve up to the American telefilm fan base.
Presto! You have a film most triumphant! Then you recombine the elements and leftovers, but this time, throw in summer break and a country club background, and you get High School Musical 2.
Oh, and you can also get the merch ... and lots of it. Lunchboxes, charm bracelets, hoodies, you name it, you can probably find it. Personally, I'm still holding out for the Zac Efron signature teeth whitening products ... but that's just me.
You know, as I've watched the HSM world takeover unfold, it brought to mind the question of why. Why is this particular Disney production the current heavyweight champion of the teenage entertainment world? No, I know ... beauty, talent, and entertainment combined tends to do fairly well in our culture, but I think there's something more. At the heart of this story is really the heart of good relationships and community. Loyalty and sacrifice are values that are upheld, and there is a sense of faithfulness and friendship that apparently a few million teens can either relate to or desperately wish for.
Did you know you can create your own High School Musical world of your own? Not a fantasy one, but a real one in a setting that was created by Someone even more powerful than Disney. It's called the Church, and before you think I've unplugged from a thing called reality, hear me out on this one.
When you trusted Christ as your only hope of salvation, God's word tells us that something amazing happened:
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. (Romans 12:4-5)
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
What these verses tell us is that when we trusted Christ, we joined what the Bible calls the Body of Christ - otherwise known as the Church. The Church is called the Body of Christ because we are supposed to work together and carry on the mission He started. That's why the Church is not a building or a label or a Sunday morning thing. It's a living organism made up of believers across the planet who are joined by faith in Jesus.
So what's the HSM tie-in? Well, in that world you have a group of people who are loyal to each other and are motivated to use their gifts and battle against an enemy. Same with the church. Why? Let's look at what the first church on the planet did:
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)
Church back then wasn't about going into a building and pretending like you don't know what everyone else knows but don't want anyone else to know either.
Church was (and still is) about learning the truth from God's Word, enjoying the company of faithful friends over a meal and the Lord's Supper, and realizing that life is about depending on God and each other.
Church was also about something else
I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. (Matthew 16:18)
Jesus is saying that being a part of His body on earth is about fighting against Satan and his destructive plan. We get together and reach out to the unfortunate, share the good news with the unsaved, and stand up against the unfair.
And guess what? We win!
So if you liked High School Musical and wanted to be a part of it, give your local church/youth group a try. I guarantee if they do things right, your real life experience will move that made-for-TV plot into the realm of the Mickey Mouse club.
Go Christians! Woo Hoo!
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.