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Finding God at camp
Camp hymn sing! What could be better? I was there with my friend, who was playing the music for the hymn sing. So I sat way up front on a long bench by the piano.
Suddenly, a camper I’d never met before came over and plopped down next to me. I had just a couple of minutes to say hi and ask him about camp before the singing began. I thought he would share how happy he was to be there, with so many fun activities and new friends and a cool cabin to sleep in. But instead, he told me he was sad. He was really missing his grandma, whom he lived with at home. And then he said the hymn sing would make him feel even more sad, because his grandma always sang hymns to him before bed.
As he talked, I thought about something I’d learned in the Christian Science Sunday School that has always helped me so much: God is Love. All Love. So all the father-love in the world comes from God, and all the mother-love comes from God, and even all the grandma-love comes from God. I told my new friend that God’s love was right here at camp and also back at home with his grandma, because Love is everywhere, with everyone, all the time.
I also said that if he was missing his grandma, then he must really be thinking about her and loving her. I assured him that she was loving him, too.
Then I asked him which hymn he loved to hear his grandma sing the most. His favorite one was “Mother’s Evening Prayer” by Mary Baker Eddy. I asked him if he knew the words. He did. I suggested that he could quietly sing that hymn to himself every night before he went to sleep. Those words came straight from God, divine Love. They would bring comfort, peace, and healing. He said he thought he could do that.
The hymn sing started, and guess what? We got to sing “Mother’s Evening Prayer” all together. Here’s how it starts:
O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.
(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 207 )
By the time we finished, it felt like everyone there was all wrapped up in a big, powerful Love hug: safe, happy, and so loved! And before we left, my new friend gave me a hug, smiled, and said, “You’re just like my second Nana!” (He didn’t know that I’d been praying to be someone’s grandma.)
A few days later, I went back to camp and saw my friend again. I hardly recognized him! He was so happy and confident. And he even told me that he really hoped he could come back to camp next year.
My new friend had found God’s love at camp. Now he could go home and practice finding God’s love everywhere: at home, at school, and in all his activities. And when he came back to camp, he would of course find God’s love there all over again.
You can find God’s love, too. Every day. Everywhere. God, Love, is always there. And if you’re going to camp, guess who’s there waiting for you!
From the readers
Cheryl Richardson, Margaret Wylie, Michael Garvey