Sunday, October 15, 2006

Weekend in the Woods

This last weekend was church retreat weekend. For me, it was a much needed chance to relax and enjoy the company of the people who make up the congregation here in Marion at the same time. The weather was beautiful--warm sun, light breezes that musically shook the fall leaves, the smells of fall (dirt, grass, and leaves just beginning their descent into decay...), and today the beginning drops of cool rain. There were plenty of chances to hike, play games, sing, or to just sit and enjoy God's awesome creation. What a perfect weekend!
This morning we spent cleaning up the camp to get ready to leave. We also had a Sunday service at the Outdoor Sanctuary. Jeremiah spoke about Psalm 104 and told a story about how close to nature we are in a place like camp or even Marion...but how difficult it is in the larger places to find God's creation. Jeremiah made the point that while we can find beauty in those things and places that are man-made, places that are God-made surpass the beauty that humans can create. Over this weekend I have had many flashbacks to my own youth camping experiences. Watching Tim, Griff, Will and also little Sadie, and the joy they had here this weekend reminded me of the importance these God-made places have had in my life and many others. Jeremiah asked us for memories about Westminster Woods and how it has changed our lives. Although I really couldn't contribute any memories or stories about W.W., I had several stories I could have told about Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp. There was one specifically that came to mind. It happened during one of the Senior High camps I attended. All week we had studied the communication between ourselves and the Lord. We had talked about the different forms of prayer, and how art, music, etc... can also be forms of prayer. The final service was held in the chapel on Friday night. It was a very cool and absolutely calm evening with no wind at all. We had built a roaring fire in the fireplace and after an extra long singing/gathering time, we focused and spent the evening in prayer. At one point we were all holding hands, and people would share a prayer when they felt led...all at once, a huge wind came up, and down the chimney. It felt like the wind circled the room. It sent sparks flying all over the chapel and the fire almost went out. Right before this happened, a person had asked that the Lord be with us that night as we finished our time together, and guide us as we went home the next day. We all looked at each other and knew that God was showing us that he was there with us then, and he would be with us as we went home and away from the group. When I meet with my camp friends and start telling stories, this is one of the stories that we can all remember, and it frequently comes up in our conversations.
This weekend at Westminster Woods definitely reminded me that camp is an important part of my life and one that has shaped who I am. I didn't realize how much I have really missed the yearly pilgrimages made to Rocky, and how much that place has influenced me. Watching the kids and their exuberance this weekend made me think about how much church camps change people, and how many people have been touched by them. These kids are just starting out on their paths, but already camp has touched them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your sharing. We sure do enjoy all the pictures. Seems like we haven't seen you for a while. We love you. Maretta