Opening Day is always an inspiring experience for me. It’s no small thing that parents entrust their sons to another person’s care, that new campers embrace a whole new community in only a matter of hours, or that veteran campers return to make a fresh start in a place they love. Even staff – many of them college students – dedicating their summer to caring for someone other than themselves, to developing your sons into stronger young men. I was inspired by the courage on display, the faith we put in one another, and the universal “yes” to this work of growing boys.
I was struck this evening by how much our Scripture reading (Matthew 14:22-33) affirms the good work that every member of this community – parents, campers, and staff – is engaged in for these next two weeks. Our story took us to the Sea of Galilee. Jesus’ disciples had set out in a boat without him, and so to catch up with them, he went out to them walking on the water. Peter was fascinated – as any of us would be – and he wanted to get out of the boat to join Jesus on the water. Jesus’ reply was simply stated, “Come!” It’s an invitation we’ll be offering your sons each day this camp session.
As I greeted new families and first-time campers today, I could see the excitement in their eyes as they caught their first glimpse of the Blob, the Gully Washer, and the Turtle. I could hear the joy as they played Gladiator (a capture-the-flag style game) by the lake and ran around camp during a Scavenger Hunt. I could sense the anticipation in the air for all the skills that we’ll be visiting tomorrow – Archery, Air Riflery, Blacksmithing, Ceramics, Mountain Biking, and so many more! The dining hall was alive this evening with laughter and conversation. And it’s all because your sons did the exciting – and sometimes uncertain – work of stepping out of the boat (literally, out of the car) and answering the call to “Come!” and to experience something new.
Peter displayed great faith when he stepped out of the boat. But his faith faltered when he saw the wind and the waves around him. He began to sink, but the story does not end there. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.” Your sons have all answered the call to “Come!” and to step out of the boat, out of what is comfortable and familiar and into a brand new adventure. As they try new skills and new activities in the days ahead, they may struggle at first. They may get anxious. They may see the “wind and the waves” around them, but they will quickly find a helping hand to guide and to support them. This is a place where it’s safe to venture into something new and challenging. They’re surrounded by a caring and dedicated staff, ready to reach out their hand to support where needed and eager to walk alongside your sons.
The beauty of the gospel is that we’re daily invited to “Come,” and – even more – that invitation is always accompanied by the promise of God’s presence with us, both by his Spirit and by the people we’ve been given to walk alongside us. By God’s grace we’ll live into that truth these next two weeks.
We’re grateful for each of you and for the opportunity you’ve provided us to partner in your son’s growth and development. Stay tuned in the next two weeks as we share our stories of growth!
Tonight’s Scripture: Matthew 14:22-33
Story: Jesus & Peter Walk Together on the Water
+ Where do you see yourself in the story?
+ What’s the good news?