Last weekend 46 ABCers went up the mountain to Big Bear Lake for Church Camp. Our goal was to connect with God and connect with one another. Our theme was “Transformation.” And our challenge was to cooperate with the transformation that God is already working in us, by consciously listening for his prompting and following his lead.
In preparing for this weekend, I was drawn to a poem written by Melody Wachsmuth, posted April 10, 2013 on her blog:
the edging of consciousness
flashes of passion
in haunting music
in mountains’ splendid embrace
in poetic words
alluding to the depths.
words draw the curtain
leaving the gasp of rapture
warm on your lips.
Passion so bashful
in the blankness of constant noise
the next excitement
crying for your attention.
Only the days of fidgety silence
sanding down your senses,
a form emerging
a graceful figure
in the polished marble.
Even tainted by the world’s sadness
now listen to that fiery song,
the Ultimate muse
wooing his creation
back under his wings.
Like all good poetry, this one is full of mystery and deepening layers of meanings. You may just choose to re-read it and interpret it on your own, and read no further in this article. But my instant connection to this writing was in recognizing that the “blankness of constant noise” does indeed “numb our passion” for God, and that endless “excitements cry out for our attention” daily. In the weeks leading up to camp I found myself longing for time with God amid the clutter of life, my parched soul panting for the living water that Jesus offers. I looked forward to getting away to a simpler, more open space.
So I was more than motivated when, on Saturday morning, all campers were sent off to spend personal time seeking after God. Being on the planning committee, I had known this was coming. I had held on to this time in my mind — it sat there all week, like a present waiting to be unwrapped. Finally, time to listen to and be with God.
Given my anticipation, I was surprised by my “fidgety silence.” I lost my glasses somewhere between the bathroom and the chair on the balcony, and three attempts to retrace my steps didn’t solve that mystery (I found them much later blending with the carpet under the sink). The blue jays holding twigs in their beaks, building their nests, distracted me next. Nature, in all her glory competed with her Creator for my attention. But sure enough, I found that by sanding down my senses, a figure did emerge from the marble.
Creator does indeed touch creation! And though we can never say exactly how this happens, or prove it empirically to the satisfaction of anyone else, the jolt of recognition was not mine alone, but was repeatedly mentioned among other campers as part of their experience that Saturday morning as well. God showed up. We invited him to camp, and sure enough, he came and he stayed. We saw his presence in many different, fascinating, personal ways.
But we don’t have to go away to meet with God. Our continuing challenge is to create some space for him and listen; and we may just hear strains of his “fiery song” wooing us back to him. Can’t you hear him now? Take some time. Make some space. Listen to God’s fiery song. He’s singing it over you.
“The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zeph. 3:17
— Pastor Connie Larson DeVaughn