Monday, August 24, 2015

Church Camp

    This past week Rev. Irwin and his family have been at Camp Imodene, either as campers or workers.  Listening to them talk reminded me of my own experience with church camps.
    The first one I attended didn't thrill me.  I felt like an outsider since it seemed everyone else in my cabin had been there before.  I didn't like the regimented timetable and I wasn't keen on washing dishes in a plastic basin with lukewarm water.

    The following year I attended a different camp and loved it.  We were on the sandy shores of Lake Huron, in cabins with running water and we were all new, since this was the first season for the camp.  Early rising was still a problem for me, but I learned to treasure that first few minutes of the day when we each sought out a quiet place to pray and read the Bible.  I had my special place in a grove of trees close to the beach.  Dappled sunlight illumined my Bible, birds sang above me and the shush of waves provided background music.  I felt so close to God in those early morning moments.  It was at camp that I began a personal relationship with Jesus.
     The end of the day brought another special time when we gathered around the campfire on the beach.  Each cabin would be responsible for putting on a skit or some other entertainment.  We'd begin campfire time in high spirits with lots of shouting and laughing, but as the light faded from the sky and the flames burned down we turned to our thoughts to God.  Silly songs gave way to sacred music.  Our talk was thoughtful, hushed. We drew closer to each other, holding hands as we sang a farewell to the day and received a benediction.  Then we returned to our cabins in silence, our hearts filled with gratitude to the Lord and love for each other.

    I loved that camp.  So much that I went back the following year and the year after that I attended a shortened camp for teens.  For a few years after that I went back as a cabin leader.  The place and the time were powerful for me, the memories strong and positive.  I pray that all who attended church camp this summer had a wonderful time and came home filled with the Holy Spirit and the joy of belonging to Christ.

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