Camp Church

For Valentine’s weekend my three ladies and I joined an established group of friends who camp together. We took over five sites at Degray Lake State Park in Arkansas. There were twelve adults and ten children. We had a fabulous time and learned some important life lessons.

  1. Camping with other kids is constant entertainment for your kids.
  2. Twenty-five degree weather is COLD, but not impossible for tent sleeping…especially when someone lets you borrow a space heater and extension cord.
  3. Sharing camp responsibilities means I can find time to sit in a chair in front of the fire and enjoy some stillness and bourbon.
  4. When we gather in Christian community around a fire, break bread together, and discuss the scriptures, we are a part of a story that is thousands and thousands of years.

This group could be classified in their acts of intentionality. They intentionally gather together. They intentionally make time and space for discussion and difference of opinion. They intentionally join their voices and hearts in worship in the form of Camp Church. They intentionally invited my family to into their fold, and we are humbled by that honor.

On Sunday morning at 10:30am we gathered around a freshly lit fire. Children with bags of pretzels, grown-ups toting cups of coffee or the odd adult beverage. We gathered with no expectation, just a desire to be in each other’s presence and in the presence of the Holy Spirit. We spoke of how us gathering in this way would be similar with how Jesus and his disciples would act, and how that part of Degray Lake is holy ground.

The scripture shared was 1 Peter 4: 8-11.

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. Show hospitality to each other without complaint. 10 Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. 11 If you’re called upon to talk, speak as though God put the words in your mouth; if you’re called upon to serve others, serve as though you had the strength of God behind you. In these ways, God may be glorified in all you do through Jesus the Anointed, to whom belongs glory and power, now and forever. Amen.

The Voice Translation

What stands out about this scripture is what stands out about this group. They (we) are an example of radical hospitality with heavy showings of the love of Christ. Hugs to greet you and hugs to send you on your way. We sat around the fire and shared our highs and lows for the day. It was in the reflection that we found few of us could come up with a low. How often in our normal day to day do we have difficulty not pinning down what could have been better.

And isn’t this what we strive to make Christian Community all about. A space open to anyone, where our focus is love and equality. I believe, like the scripture says, when we aim to give God the glory in everything, then our own self falls away and it does not matter how you express love or who you call your spouse, but what matters is God is glorified because you are connected to another child of Christ.

My family and I had a great time this weekend. Though we came home to mountains of laundry and an overflowing washer, our time spent in creation was one for the books. We are ready for the next trip and the next opportunity to share the hospitality, love, and give the glory to God.

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