Camps went really well! With the help of some amazing volunteers--especially my wife Jodie--I poured my heart and soul into the camps. All our hard work paid off. From senior high camp where we trained youth as peer ministers we had five outstanding new junior counselors emerge for Junior camp. At Junior camp we had an outstanding time with campers learning to fully rely on God and to share God with each other. The Bishop said to me the other day that when he visited and celebrated at the closing Eucharist he had never seen a group of 4th-8th graders so focused in worship in his life. I am proud of what we did with the camps. Both camps grew by at least 30% and also the Christ centered, participant focus was higher. But...despite all this, I think I might have gotten more out of camp then the campers did.
There are two moments I would like to share: a sun set and a prayer. I was walking back from the activity building to the caffeteria one evening and saw this stupendous sunset. Camp Comeca, a Methodist Facility we rent space from, is located on possibly the only hill in central Nebraska. To get there you are driving along through corn fields and then boom...there's this range of hills with Comeca on top. From atop this hill you can see a great distance because there is nothing to block you line of sight. The corn is high here, but not that high. Possibly, if the skies are clear enough, you might even be able to see Vegas from atop Comeca. Consequently, I had a great view of this sunset!!!! A great view...and it hit me. Right in that moment I had an epiphany. The God that created that sunset, the God that makes stars and planets, atmospheres and colors, hills and corn and human eyes, the God that keeps all these things inbalence so there can be life, the God that is powerful enough to do all cares about little old me. That is grace. Once upon a time a wise man described Grace to me as something good we get that we don't deserve. I certainly do not nor could I do anything to deserve the care or attention of the supreme creating God, but yet I have it. You have it. All have it. Grace, indeed.
The other experience was at our evening prayers one night. We were praying the Song of Simeon, which was first uttered by the prophet Simeon in the Temple at Jesus' presentation eight days after his birth. Simeon recognized God in the infant Jesus. A moment so powerful he was inspired to proclaim,
Lord, you now have set your servant freeWe prayed this prayer at camp and I as looked out at the campers, these small children that carry the light of Christ in them, I was set free as God has promised. I saw God in them, a vision of Hope. Each and everyone one of them has the light of Christ in them, and--in the words of Louis Armstrong--oh, what a wonderful world. What a wonderful world we could have if we inspire these Christ bearing children to share thier light with the world.
to go in peace as you have promised;
for these eyes of mine have seen the Savior,
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A light to enlighten the gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.