I'm home from my three week camp marathon. Starting with the first one, here is how I spent my summer so far:
When they asked me to spend a week as the bible study leader at Camp Gilmont I said "Sure!" mostly because that's what I say to anything Gilmont asks me. But when they told me I was going to talk to the kids about the Holy Spirit I knew my moment had come; the moment I was born for-- the moment I had waited all my life for... The moment I had dreamed of. If you calculate that I have said the Apostles Creed 50 times a year for the last 50 years or so, using averages and giving me two weeks vacation here and there, I've declared that I believe in the Holy Ghost about 2,500 times in my life. Then, when you calculate all the little children standing around me listening to me boldly announce for the whole world to hear that I believe in a ghost...well, I figure I had some explaining to do for these little tikes.
I needed to explain that the term comes from German word "Geist" which means both "spirit" and "ghost." So you can see the problem. I've just never been a fan of telling kids we believe in ghosts, holy or otherwise-- at least not without an explanation.
It turned out I needn't have worried. Either the kids had not been listening or they don't care about ghosts. The Holy Ghost part didn't scare anybody. When I showed up dressed as a Holy Ghost not only did they not buy into it, one little girl tried to pull my sheet off.
I have never done the bibles study leader gig at Gilmont before. I didn't really know my role or how to prepare for it. I was technically billed as "Spiritual Advisor" which made me sound a lot smarter than I was prepared to be. But it kept me busy doing devotions with the counselors, three bible study sessions with the kids and evening vespers. And I need to confess that I was woefully unprepared. However, being a firm believer in the power of the Holy Spirit I figured I could wing it and Casper Supreme, as I like to refer to the Holy Ghost, would show up and help with the heavy lifting. There is a difference between being lazy and being faith-filled. I prefer to think of myself as the later.
And I don't mean this as a joke at all. I'm very sincere. I am also in awe and grateful. I was "week four" of summer camp. I had three predecessors who I could consult with. Jennifer Rigoulot was especially helpful. I was able to use a lot of the resources she left behind. And for a couple of sessions I could let the kids guide a "conversation" with their questions. So I was prepared for the most part. But there were also moments when I sat in front of the kids and opened my mouth and prayed for the Spirit to speak and it did. Somehow words came to me and I said stuff. A couple of times a story or an example I hadn't thought of in years returned to my mind and it would just hop out of my mouth. It was a partnership: I trusted and the Holy Spirit did not fail.
But the best came last. Because I had to leave early Friday afternoon and couldn't make it for the evening's vesper service James suggested we video my message for the kids. And I knew what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. What I didn't know was what a great sidekick the Holy Spirit makes. See for yourself. And please believe me when I tell you I did not orchestrate the movement of the wind.