Have you ever been to camp?
Camp. The word is almost magical. It evokes such a host of places and experiences. For me, Scout Camp in Gilmanton Iron Works, NH is the first to mind. Learning to sail, shoot, carve, lash and keep an independent schedule. And "Gramp's Camp," my family's shared camp, is a simple, steady home no matter where I go to and return from.
Any camp that has been special has an inherent spiritual element. Sometimes this is even explicit or religious. And camp-type spiritual experiences often stay with us much more profoundly than others. A friend of mine wrote her entire Master's thesis on this. What is it about camp?
Somehow we find it possible, in the crafting, singing, free time, play and around the campfire to be more of our selves at camp. And lots of folks have told me how "Recognizing Jesus" has happened for them particularly profoundly at camp as well. In more than a couple cases the course of their life was recognizably changed.
This week Linden, the kids, and I are going down to Connecticut for an Episcopal Family Camp. This is the "Family Camp East" version of a camp that Linden participated in and helped lead for a few years in California. She was asked to help with the kick off. I'm going as part of my continuing education for the year. It was at Family Camp West that I picked up the "Enacted Gospel" practice we've used in past Garden Services, and I look forward to soaking up some more life-giving practices this year.
What is it about camp? Can we bring that home? Can we be that present to our selves and Christ on a weekly or daily basis? The answer must be "yes". And my intuition says it might mean bringing the childlike crafting, vulnerable singing, luxurious free time, play and campfires home too. Our Vestry was tossing something like this around at their last meeting, wondering, among other things, about the Prayers of the People in Sunday worship, and how we might make them more personal and perhaps vulnerable. I hope there's more to come on this topic.
I'll be holding all this gently in my heart as I sing and play, and I look forward to more reflections upon my return. But for now, I'm going to camp!
In the spirit of Christ, lover of talking around cookfires,