Good Saturday afternoon, everyone. My apologies on the lateness of Friday’s blog, I was waiting on some pictures and then I got distracted by something shiny….. (tuck shop paperwork).
As I’m writing this to you, at 2 pm on Saturday, everything is wrapped up. Everything is clean. I hear crickets. I’m not kidding…. all I can hear right now is the hum of the photocopier (I’m in the office), crickets, and the slight creak of the swimming dock. It’s incredible.
During Chapel yesterday morning, John delivered his last message to us in his series on living like Jesus. He showed us a skit guys skit on grace where Jesus and Peter were talking, and Jesus kept quietly but insistently reminding Peter of the grace he’d been offered, and he just broke when it finally hit him. The slide that John showed after the skit had written on it “Grace — Jesus Nailed It.” Sherri and I giggled at the pun, but in reality, the truth behind that speaks volumes. He really did. Jesus nailed grace on the cross. There isn’t a better example anywhere of grace than what Jesus did for us by dying to make all of our sins, no matter what they are, forgivable. John told us a story of a man who was driving drunk one night, causing an accident that killed an 18 year old girl. The 18 year old girl’s parents sued the man for 1.5 million dollars, but the court case settled for a payment of 936.00, to be paid in installments of 1.00 per week each week for 18 years, one for each week that the couples’ daughter had been alive. It makes one think though…. is 936 payments enough before grace is offered for something we’ve done wrong? So often, we demand payments because we’ve been hurt, and we feel like it’ll make things better. But does it?
Grace can be scandalous, costly, risky… and very healing and soothing and comforting. I’ve heard it said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison, hoping that the other person dies. Bitterness and unforgiveness hold us back — it’s like driving a stake into the ground behind us, tethering ourselves to it, and then wondering why we can’t go any farther than the rope we used to tie ourselves to the stake that symbolizes what we won’t forgive. It’s like getting a chip in your windshield, which starts as this tiny little speck that you shrug off and say “I’ll fix it later,” until you hit a bump, and it spreads. Hit another bump, and it spreads some more. A few more bumps, and before you know it, you have a spider web crack across your windshield so significant that you can’t see clearly anymore. Mercy, on the other hand, is spontaneous love which comes from the depth of the love of God. Jesus offers unconditional grace and mercy… so shouldn’t we do the same?
In the Bible, Jesus is asked how many times someone should be forgiven, because in Rabinic law, it was customary to forgive someone three times of a transgression, and if they continued to mess up, you were free to wash your hands of them beyond that. Jesus’ answer was to forgive 70 x 7 times… or 490 times. The question was raised then, “how do I keep track of that much forgiveness?” Easy answer — you don’t. If you’re keeping track, you’ve missed the point of grace and mercy entirely, and you’re not really offering it. 2 Corinthians 6 instructs us not to receive God’s grace in vain — we need to pass it on. Because we’ve been offered grace, we need to offer it to others. Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” We also need to admit that we’re guilty, but on the flip side of that, we need to accept that we’re valuable, loved, and forgiven.
To wrap up this last Chapel summary of Family Camp, here are four encouragements from Hebrews 12:1-2a
1. You’re not alone. There is a cloud of witnesses all you, including those who have gone before you.
2. Stay focused — lay aside every weight and sin that clings so closely.
3. Hang in there — Journey with Jesus is a crazy marathon, not a 5k race that you can just do quickly and be done. It’s ongoing.
4. We can grieve, but with hope. There’s a place for sadness, but our future is secure.
And there’s this song that John played for us at the end — Go Light Your World by Kathy Troccoli.
Yesterday was quite possibly the nicest day in August. It hasn’t been this warm since mid-July. This coming week looks to be even better, with humidex values back up into the 30s!! While we didn’t wish chilliness and rain on Family Campers, we are incredibly thankful to have a beautiful looking forecast for kids camp programs to start back up because it’s considerably more difficult to adjust programming for kids than for families who kind of do their own thing, so Praise God for that!! Yesterday was so lovely that the lodge was completely empty in the afternoon. I was in my room checking something out on my computer when Irene and Chris came to my door to say “get your camera, there is NO ONE in the lodge downstairs.” That’s the first time that’s happened in all of August.
Over the dinner hour, we sent many of our youth who very excitedly traveled to Crown Island for a cookout. They roasted hot dogs, ate chips, and got to swim off the rocks at the island. Thank you to Sherri for taking pictures of this event as she’d gone across the lake with them to help supervise. Can I just say, once again, how thankful I am to anyone who either took a camera or handed me memory cards upon return from various things that I couldn’t or didn’t get to? It’s been marvelous.
After our dinner in the dining hall (pulled pork… mmmm my favourite), we had the Jungle Cafe. Dale gave us a Christian comedy magic show where, using some illusions he’d taught himself, he gave a Salvation story. My apologies, I didn’t take notes, so I won’t remember the parts of the story that go with which pictures, but you’ll see in some of the pictures that the kids were pretty enthralled. (Sorry about the red eye, Ella!)
Here is a picture of Snapper, whom I named, whom I kept finding outside of my bedroom doorway in the hall upstairs. I don’t know what the deal is, but I suspect Brenna is involved…
And finally (and the reason that I had to wait to write the blog today, so that I had the pictures from this), Jared and Nat were actually able to take a group across the road for wilderness camping last night. It was very fitting, as this was Jared’s final day of being Wilderness staff (for this summer, at any rate.) Dan and Christine said it was probably the highlight of their vacation this year, and that they loved it. Andrew and Hannah had a great time, though Andrew admitted that having to build your own shelter is pretty tiring. Apparently though, the sticks and leaves managed to keep a lot of the dampness off of them from throughout the night, which I didn’t expect…. but it doesn’t help with the mosquitoes. Maybe they needed Terry to sing the Mosquito song from the Talent Show on Thursday evening. Thanks to Andrew for taking my camera across the road (and bringing it back in one piece!). Jared had them find their own sticks and leaves, build their own shelter, and he even found them some cherries, and blackberries to eat! He surprised even himself by making everyone some Spruce Tea as well, or so I heard.