Saturday, July 19, 2008

Clean Again: Lessons Learned at Church Camp

Well, I'm home! I've just spent five nights away from my comfortable bed, air-conditioning, and most of my stuff. I slept on a bed that can only be described as achingly uncomfortable, in a cabin best described as "rustic" and with a bathhouse that went almost completely on strike by Wednesday, never to return to its reasonable service.

Did I mention that this was church youth camp? So you can add 20+ teenage girls to that list. Most of whom I love, some of whom I barely tolerate. And you can imagine the squabbles, hurt feelings, difficulties, crabbiness, and vulnerability that come with the territory.

But that's not the point. The point is that around 40 teenagers have now been exposed to the Gospel, basics of living like Christ, and concepts for making right choices in their lives. Incidentally, I've been learning the same things. And it got me thinking.

When Prince Charming and I got home today the first thing on our to-do list was: take as long a nap as Sweet Pea will allow. Fortunately for us, Sweet Pea was also completely worn out from taking care of her Gram and Grandad this week. (Well, it was something like that...) So we all slept for about 2 hours. (Incidentally, while I write this, my husband and daughter are both asleep again. Obviously, I am not.)

Next on our agenda? Take real showers in a semi-clean environment with water wherein the temperature can be regulated and the shower head is actually taller than I am.

Because I am of a philosophical bent, this greatly desired shower started me thinking. Among all the shampoo, scented shower gel and the lotions and potions that make up my cleansing ritual, I started wondering about how clean I am on the inside.

Don't get me wrong, I'm saved and have been for a long time now. That's the ultimate cleansing. But still, there can be build up and gunk in my soul that has to be cleaned out.

This week I heard the Word of God preached and taught. I had opportunity to share the gospel with several girls. I had opportunity to open my Bible and explain passages of scripture that I treasure. I prayed with girls who asked me for answers to situations I can't make better and for problems I don't have answers to. I tried to offer common sense (along with Biblical sense) for issues that came up.

Sometimes when church functions are over we like to distill them down into numbers: this many attended, this many verses were memorized, this many classes were taught, this many meals were shared together, this many decisions were made.

I suppose that's just what humans do: quantify things. The last item on that list is not quite the same, though. Because, whether we realize it or not, each and everyone one of us, councilor or camper or visitor, made a decision this week. We either decided to take what we've heard and pursue it, or forget what was presented and simply walk away unchanged. So you could say that around 50 decisions were made this week. Time will tell what those decisions were.

As I stood, feeling shiny and clean and good smelling for the first time in days, I determined that I want to be in that first group: take what I've learned and pursue it.

Later on I'll tell you about funny stuff that happened and irritating things that happened (Like the fact that I have 6 more spider bites than I wanted. Hint: I didn't want any.) And, after a few days here at home, we'll be back at it for our camp for juniors. That camp is more work for Prince Charming and me (although the facilities are nicer) and I know I'll be feeling both elated and exhausted by the beginning of August.

But, just for now, this is the longing I don't want to ignore:

Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for encouraging me in my own spiritual walk!

Pastor Dad

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