A story of thanks for God’s outpouring of gifts.
I married my wife, Sadie, on Saturday November 4, 2017, at Camp Rockmont where we met. It was wonderful having many Rockmont staff, and even some campers, in attendance. Much the way that we met and fell in love was reflected in our marriage ceremony, surrounded by a community of people who know God’s abundant love and are living their lives to return that freely to others. Sadie and I are grateful to have a community that came to witness our marriage as a small vision of the powerful love this community receives and then gives away. We are excited to try and live out this vision of generosity by blessing others through our marriage.
Before the ceremony, I remember standing in the back near the willow trees by Brookside Gym with Dan Davis who had been counseling us and would marry us, and feeling as if our friends and family had just appeared. Of course, it didn’t happen that way. They had for some time been planning to join us. They filled their cars with fuel to drive from Knoxville, Virginia, Oklahoma, and just down the road in Black Mountain. They stowed away their luggage on the plane and came from Oregon, California, and the United Kingdom. But none of it registered to me in the moment. It just felt like suddenly I was surrounded by love. I think that’s how God’s abundant love often manifests. Suddenly you realize how near it’s always been. It comes all at once, and then washes over you again and again.
With this gift of plenty, much is expected. Luke’s Gospel tells us, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” With our hands strong or weak in need, we hold out our cups, waiting on God to pour into us the joy of love and being known. When it comes, with all that we have been given, we are called to give back abundantly.
Sadie and I have understood the gift of our marriage as a sign of God’s deep love and provision. It will be, throughout our lives, pressed down and shaken together, and we would do well to pour out that blessing for all of God’s children.
There is much to be celebrated if we pay attention long enough. Sadie and I are grateful for Rockmont. We are grateful for friends who come each summer to give their lives away and see boys grow into men. We are grateful for the many friendships, adventures, and transformations around the camp fire that happen every summer. We are grateful that we met in such a place and received a vision for giving back abundantly.
One of my favorite Rockmont songs best reveals the gratitude I felt in marrying Sadie. Though our gifts are not earned, they are received openly and given away often:
“The Greatest Gift
We can receive
Is ours to hold
But not to keep
Sell all the rest
To buy this pearl
To just be part of what God’s doing in the world
To just be part of what God’s doing in the world.”
Andrew Ginn, Intern