Vacation Bible Camp
The sleeping bags, still rolled up from last year, are brought down from the attic. Toiletries are placed in plastic bags. A small Bible is packed along with what would invariably turn out to be not near enough change of clothes. And of course a pocket knife, because back then a pocket knife was never a weapon but a tool for transforming hollow twigs into whistles and old wooden benches into archives of names and dates and initials within hearts.
Some of my greatest memories from when I was young have to do with vacationing at Bible camp in Valdosta Georgia. I remember Spanish moss hanging from trees and cicadas chirping throughout the day replaced by tree frogs chirping throughout the night. One week out of the summer was spent in blissful Christian fellowship and youthful innocence. Away from the normal distractions of life and into a world filled with God and His Son and great Bible characters like the apostle Paul and King David. I recall hiking through the woods singing songs and marveling at God’s creation. I remember buying pop rocks from the canteen and making treasures at the craft building. And of course at night we made s’mores by the campfire and ate them with sticky fingers and chocolate smeared faces.
Years later, as my sons got old enough, my wife and I made sure that Bible camp was a part of their childhood memories. I worked as a Bible teacher and a cabin counselor for the boys. My wife was a cabin counselor for the girls. And she worked at the craft cabin, helping the boys and girls make treasures of their own. We tried to instill in them a love for the Father and His creation. And at night around the campfire we helped a new generation of campers learn the joys of toasted marshmallow and melted chocolate on a crisp graham cracker.
Even today, decades removed from that time, as summer rolls around I think of Bible camp. And sometimes I wonder if Heaven will be a little like that. A continual summer with Christian friends and family. No more worldly distractions but endless days spend with God and His Son and all of those great men and women from the scriptures. Together we will sing songs of praise and marvel at the splendor of Heaven. And I can only hope there will be chocolate.