"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
It should not come as a shock to anyone when I say that we pray often at camp. Not only do we pray often, but we also pray in many different ways: shout prayers, bubble prayers, responsive prayers, whisper prayers, rain prayers, and more. However, I can't remember anyone, myself included, praying the way Paul does in Ephesians. Every time I read any of Paul's writing I am blown away by his prayers, and this reading from Ephesians is especially impressive to me. But more importantly it brings me back to camp every time I read it, especially this time of year when all the camper names and faces start to blur together in my mind. I can't help but think of camp as the family from verse 15; an extremely diverse, dedicated, laughing and loving family that is tied together by Christ.
In July we celebrated 60 years of ministry at Camp Hiawatha, and it was incredible to be there surrounded by people that have so many stories and memories of their time at camp. We planted some pine saplings around Grandfather Pine to commemorate the occasion, and in the firm hope that camp's ministry will continue for many years to come! When Paul talks about having power together with all the saints, it's hard not to think about all the people that have come before at camp, and how we are connected to those people; not only because of the beautiful site, but also because of our passion for sharing God's love with youth. I am beyond grateful for all the directors who have navigated Camp Hiawatha, Camp Vermilion, and VLM as a whole through the good and the bad times and gotten VLM to the point we're at today. I'm also grateful to every single person who has helped camp in any way, small or big, whether that was working for 11 summers or 1 day, being a camper, sorting mailings, removing trees from program spaces, leading a journey, helping with the merger 28 years ago, inviting a friend or family to camp, or donating your time or money. Thank you to everyone who loves camp enough to tell a camp story to a friend or family member; you all are camp saints, part of the camp family that I get to see every week in campers, retreat guests, volunteers, and staff. Thank you, so very, very much.
To take a page out of Paul's book: I pray that you, being rooted and established at camp, may have power together with all the camp saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that is so prevalent at camp and surpasses all knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Amen!
Camp Hiawatha Program Director