As I was making my way around camp this evening, I was struck by how many lightning bugs I saw lighting the way. It was one of the slower parts of the day as tribal activities across camp gave way to showers, snacks, and the evening devotion in the cabin areas. I was especially drawn to a scene over by the Bear Camp lodges where a few of our youngest campers were chasing lightning bugs and trying to catch them in their hands. There was a very simple and joyful spirit in the air. In a very real sense, it was sacred.
It’s not very common to use the word “sacred” outside of a church setting. It’s a fair question to ask how chasing lightning bugs could be considered a sacred experience. I believe it’s a question that God delights to answer! And I believe he has already done so and points us continually in this direction. Paul makes this connection himself in 2 Corinthians 4:6 when he writes:
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
In other words, God the Creator is also God the Redeemer. God speaks both through his creative word in the natural world all around us as well as through his redemptive word in our own hearts. And when we have ears to hear the former, that is, the voice of the God who spoke lightning bugs into being, we will then have ears to hear the latter – the voice of God speaking new life into our own hearts.
Camp is the perfect setting to live into this truth! God’s voice can be heard through the beauty of Lake Eden as well as through the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains (and Psalm 98:8 tell us that they, too, speak!). But we also have opportunities everyday to hear God speak through his Word. In fact, we book-end our day with the biblical story – first at Morning Watch and then later in the evening at cabin devotion. And we’re all being held in the same story each night. All of our cabin devotion stories for Classic Camp 3 come from the Gospel of John, if you would like to follow along at home or follow-up with your son when he returns home.
|Sunday, July 15||Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael||John 1:43-51|
|Monday, July 16||Jesus Heals a Royal Official's Son||John 4:46-54|
|Tuesday, July 17||Jesus Invites Nicodemus to be Born Again||John 3:1-17|
|Wednesday, July 18||Jesus Offers Living Water||John 4:7-14|
|Thursday, July 19||Jesus Washes His Disciples Feet||John 13:1-17|
|Friday, July 20||Jesus Shows Mercy||John 8:1-11|
|Saturday, July 21||Jesus Heals a Man Who Could Not Walk||John 5:1-15|
|Sunday, July 22||Jesus Brings Lazarus Back to Life||John 11:1-44|
|Monday, July 23||Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind||John 9:1-7|
|Tuesday, July 24||Jesus is the Good Shepherd||John 10:11-18|
|Wednesday, July 25||Jesus is Alive Again!||John 20:1-18|
|Thursday, July 26||Jesus Asks Peter to Feed His Sheep||John 21:8-17|
It’s a rich experience to gather around the Scriptures together every night here. Our guiding questions are always (1) Where do you connect with the story? and (2) Where do you see good news? When we faithfully read the story and ask these questions, we find that God speaks – that he “makes his light shine in our hearts” as Paul put it.
Those campers this evening saw a light shining, and they ran after it! In doing so, they were hearing the voice of God in creation. And as it turns out, chasing lightning bugs can unknowingly be the perfect preparation to hearing the voice of God through the redemptive story shared in cabin devotion. The two experiences belong together. Both experiences speak. Both are sacred.