There were a lot of things that stand out to me about our camp experience. The smell of fresh mountain air every morning is something I miss terribly. I also miss the way everything cools down after a thunderstorm as it was monsoon season there. I'm completely nostalgic as it's 90 degrees in San Diego and Scott and I don't have air conditioning. (there is no rain in sight, just blinding heat). I miss living in staff housing where I was constantly surrounded by people working for the same goal. I miss having people cook and clean for me (thank you work crew, you are the best, thank you to my #campcrush, Scott for cleaning our toliets. #iloveyou)
But I keep reflecting on how I just felt saturated by God's presence while being there. It felt thick and rich and alive. Every day the staff spoke good news into high-school kids lives. They spoke hope. They acted in love. I know I'm not a camper or a high-schooler but they reminded me that God is still alive and well. With every dish they cleaned, they let kids know their worth and value. With every mint on their pillow they reminded kids that they were thinking of them. With every zip line and horse-back ride they let kids know it's okay to be kids, to play and have fun and that this place is safe.
One night the whole work crew set to work to throw a banquet for all the campers. The staff hauled large tables and chairs down to the the lake. The chefs prepared easily transported food. The campers dressed up for the occasion and came to dinner expectant. I won't do it justice when I write about it but I'm hoping this picture will do a little bit to give you a visual of what I saw. All the kids gathered around the lake, around this very long table to eat and be together. I found it to be so sacred.
It reminds me of Jesus when He talks about inviting everyone to the banquet.
"Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor, and crippled and blind and lame...Go out into the highways and along the hedges and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled" Luke 14:21,23
Everyone is invited. Everyone is in. The table is long enough.
And we are told to pay special attention to those that are socially more vulnerable, you know the ones with physical disabilities, the orphans, the widows...the ones who don't have access to resources. We need to take notice of those who don't have easily attained privilege...the ones who don't feel safe in their skin or in their gender or in their home. Those who culture has deemed "crazy" or "worthlesss" We are to invite them to this very large table that I am convinced is long enough and wide enough to hold us and all our differences and all of our vulnerabilities. Love doesn't run out. It can hold us. We don't have to tell someone there aren't enough chairs for them or there isn't enough food for them. There's always enough.
But we have to be the one to pull out the chair for them. We need to set the table for them. We need to invite them. They won't come if they don't feel wanted.
If you're white and have grown up in a middle class lifestyle you hold lots and lots of privilege. So let's use it for good. Let's extend ourselves for those who have less. And let me let you in on a little secret: We've all been vulnerable from time to time. Remember when you have felt vulnerable and scared and alone? Remember when you felt like the under-dog? Access those feelings and then go set the table for your neighbor, cause you've been there and even if you can't understand fully, you know what it's like to feel fragile and scared. Add an extra chair. I promise there's room.