Sunday, June 21, 2009

Youth Camp Love Scandal

You know how it is with youth camp romances: boy meets girl, they fall in love, get married, have kids, live happily ever after etc.

This youth camp just past was no exception.

Fortunately, there were no irate parents to appease, the boy and girl in question having returned to their Maker several thousand years before. The Book of Ruth was a great book to preach through. The campers seemed especially attentive to the narrative that, prima facie, concerned a topic that pre-occupied their angsty tween hearts. (However, the Mariah Carey references in the talk on Ruth 3 - "Dreamlover, come redeem me", were lost on the Strawberry Generation, but should have given the Generation X-ers fair warning of the cheesiness of the karaoke song requests to follow.) Lurve aside, it was great to revel in the great care and protection shown by Boaz to Ruth, his overwhelmingly tender, merciful and generous love that exceeded the strict requirements of the OT law; a picture of God's own dealings with his people in saving them from their sin-induced emptiness and disaster.

A direct descendant of Boaz and Ruth was a chap named Jesus. So to see God's scandalous love fulfilled, the camper and scamper bible studies focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus
- the need for his sacrificial death, the responses from those hanging around him as he hung on the cross and the necessity of his resurrection. *Insert man vs bear story here complete with sound effects of mauling and gunshots.*

The leaders' and scampers' Focus talks were on the Gospel of Mark. Summaries later.

Keith Richards As Gecko
Keith Richards as Gecko
The NACLI campsite was shared with scampering squirrels, iguanas and geckos, rotting mangoes and unidentified birds that fluttered like pheasants. On the first night, there were also live chickens at dinner. We didn't eat them.

Pasta Redemption Scheme
To reinforce the idea of redemption and because people tend to be snacky in revision camps, there was a redemption system for sweeties, Tim Tams and Marmee using dried pasta shells as payment (because they were made of (durum) wheat, said the Principal). This was in addition to the copious amounts of tea, coffee, milo, brownie, orange pound cake and delish lemon pound cake freely available for the nom-ing.

Southern Ridges Wide Game
Tried to summarise some of the main ideas from the talks in the Wide Game, a time for campers to take in the fresh-ish air, lush greenery and sunshine along the Southern Ridges walk and chat about any questions they might have. Hampered by prior complaints, the clues were roll-eyes easy-peasy cheesy, which would have taken the fun out of entire enterprise...if the aim had been the game per se. But "to a Jew, I become like a Jew, to win the Jews" (1 Corinthians 9:20) and loftier goals were, err, afoot.

The intensity of camp compressed time so it seemed that changes to mindsets, worldviews, Bible-reading skills and even gospel-living-out that would usually have been wrought over a lengthy period were observed to occur within a few days amongst the campers and leaders, PG.

I wonder if the encouragement of camps oughtn't be the increase of attendees but in light of the immense love of God himself, the increase of love for God and his people - the visible work of God in confirming his people as his own.

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