Last week as my sons tightly embraced during the closing service of high school church camp, I was filled with emotions. The hugging brothers, as well as their watching parents, were well aware that this was a culminating life moment: the closing service and sending-forth ceremony for the graduates.
This was their last year of high school church camp.
Both of our boys have spent their summers, and many other seasons, from their earliest days of life at camp. They have been the director’s kids, campers, and counselors. Their time at camp has shaped them and molded them like no other place or experience. It is unquestionably their spiritual home, and on this particular day it was also unequivocally clear that camp has been a place of deep spiritual transformation for them.
From their first breaths, I wanted nothing more for our boys than for them to experience the life-changing transformation that took place at camp for both Staci and me. I wished for them to fully embrace that they are God’s beloved, created in the image of God, uniquely gifted, and called to use those gifts in the world. This closing service — and much of what they shared leading up to it — unquestionably affirmed this for me.
It is this that I hope and pray for all of God’s children: that all know without question that they are God’s beloved.
For that is where transformation begins.
Such experiences, of course, don’t just happen at camp. The real hope is that it is taking place in all our faith communities: those places that nurture and support us to discern our God-given gifts, equip us to use our gifts, and then send us forth to use our gifts to meet the world’s needs. Transformation takes place. The kingdom of God comes near.
May we all continue to provide a space for all God’s children to know they are beloved… and to be transformed.