As I prepare for my first Church Camp experience as Chaplain, I though I'd share a sermon I wrote where I reminisce on some of my experiences as a camper. I hope you like it:
One of my fondest teenage memories is attending Camp Hayah, in the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Mexico, where I grew up. We used to have youth from all over the Diocese, as well as visitors from various Episcopal Dioceses in the United States join us every Summer. It was a diverse group, which represented different genders, races, ethnicities, and socio-economic groups. Some spoke Spanish, some spoke English, and only a few of us spoke both languages. It didn’t matter. Although most of us didn’t realize it, we were following Jesus’s new commandment. We loved one another, just as He loved us!
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Camp Hayah was a working camp. The only buildings were a makeshift kitchen in a one-room cabin and two outhouses. Other than Bible Studies, prayer time, and swimming in the river, we did construction work in the heat of the Summer mornings in Northern Mexico. Talk about a team building activity! However, our favorite part of the day was the time we spent around the camp fire making a joyful noise unto The Lord. It was a blessing to share each other's songs of praise in our respective home languages. It didn't matter if we understood the meaning of the words, we loved one another, just as He loved us!
We will work with each other, we will work side by side.
We will work with each other, we will work side by side.
And we'll guard each man's dignity, and save each man's pride.
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love!
Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love!
This late 1960's Catholic folk song epitomized our camp fire experiences. As we sang it during the climax of our day, we were praising Him, regardless of our cultural, socio-economic, or other differences. We loved one another, just as He loved us!
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This folk song also reflects what Jesus meant when he said, “everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:31-35) It was simple at camp, as we were all innocent teenagers. It’s much more difficult these days, as we live in a world which is much more divisive. It’s easy to love those with whom we share similar viewpoints or look like us, such as our family members, friends, and others. However, what about the asylum seekers, conservatives, liberals, pro-lifers, pro-choicers, black lives matter groups, feminists, LGBTQ communities, 2nd amendment supporters, gun control groups, and others. Do we love one another, just as he loved us?
This was the point in Bishop David Reed’s address (Episcopal DWTX) during Council, when he said, “Unity among Christians is part of the prayer Jesus prays at the Last Supper: “Holy Father, keep them in thy name…that they may be one, even as we are one.”(John17:11) I believe he must pray it still… To be the Body of Christ, to know and celebrate that we are one in him, is… not an option. If you’re tempted to think that… I encourage you to walk in love… outside your own church and see what division and suspicion and the dismissing and debasing of others are doing to our world, what that is doing to us.” In other words, we need to love one another, just as he loved us.
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Jesus knew that the spirit of rivalry would disrupt the disciples’ fellowship, just as it does to us these days. He wanted the disciples to share the unconditional and limitless love he had for them, so they could be the convincing demonstration that they had partaken of His own spirit and purpose. This is what our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry wants to accomplish through the 7 practices of “The Way of Love,” which are to turn to Jesus; learn Scripture; pray daily; worship in community; bless others; Go across boundaries; and Rest in His grace, peace and restoration. These practices can lead us to love one another, just as He loved us.
Therefore, we need to make a conscious effort to build the body of Christ. We used to have preconceived notions such as that slavery was a God given institution and that women were second class citizens. Now, we need to battle preconceived notions such as that personal viewpoints and beliefs, ethnic and racial differences, and socio-economic status give people the right to demean others. We must follow the 7 practices of “The Way of Love” to combat the divisiveness amongst us. This is the only way we will recreate the love and joy I experienced at Camp Hayah, which in turn can grow our churches. Let us love one another, just as He loved us!
We all should open our hearts!!! That would be heaven on earth!
Happy weekend and blessings!
Happy WoywW Tracey #8
Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving your kind comment.
Happy Day to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)
I luv that you posted the 7 practices of way of Love.
Happy you dropped by my blog
I wish you a very nice weekend,
Big hugs, Caty
I was especially pleased you brought your heart to the forefront of the entry you shared with us for Art Journal Journey. Thank you so very much for that.
Yor greeting card was beautiful, too. I loved how you displayed it. But most of all, I was SO impressed by your words that we can NEVER have preconceived ideas about what or who is right and who is not. All people are special, regardless of who or what they are. I know we in the states are being pulled apart by none other than a president who wants to divide instead of unite us. I hope more people hear your calling and I'm impressed with your words of wisdom.
Thank you for your visit and your kind words, and especially for your prayers, which I think may be being answered because since I spoke to the pharmacist I haven't had another severe headache - only a couple of mild ones! I am expecting a call from the doctor this week to discuss a prescription for my severe headaches, but I may have entered another headache-free period! I am so glad you liked my watercolour doodles. They were a whole lot of fun to do. Our kitties are mostly indoor kitties but they are allowed in the garden under supervision and only when my hubby is around. Lily gets VERY cross when she's not allowed out!!
Happy belated WOYWW and God bless,
Thank you for joining us at MOO MANIA & MORE
sandra de @20