Monday, September 03, 2007

on symbolism and camp

Below is a comment that took on a life of its own. I am answering a question asked in the comment section of "And It's Good Enough for Me" at Wheels on the Bus. To understand what I'm talking about, please read the post first. You can follow the link from the sidebar. You won't be sorry.

The Christian faith, in essence, is a story of a rescue. We were separated from God by our sinful nature, but through the sacrifice of Jesus, we have been reunited with God the Father and saved from eternal separation from Him. And Christian community (i.e., the Church) described by the New Testament is a group of people who are so overwhelmed with gratitude that they escaped through Jesus that they can't help but love and serve their neighbor. They can't help but be peaceloving, because they know they are free, and they know what their lives would be like if they weren't. Christian community in its purest form is a reprieve, a place where love is the law, and a solace for those who have been battered by a dark world. At least that's what the Apostles heard God say to them as they were writing to one another.

But modern day Christianity has become about a lot of things besides forgiveness and service and love. When I think about the modern Church (myself included), I think about Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter. We are mostly silly, mostly wrong, mostly laughable in our attempts to live out our salvation in the example of Jesus. But sometimes, when we aren't looking, Christian community works the way the Apostles described it. Sometimes we are so overcome by gratitude (not guilt, but genuine gratitude) that we carve out a little sacred space, a little time and place where love is the law and God's rescue is remembered. And you stumbled onto it, at a camp somewhere in the Northeast twenty-five years ago. For nine weeks one summer you had a reprieve, a place where two girls could hide, catch their breath, eat a good meal and sleep in a bed for a few weeks. And in that moment a real-life rescue took place.

The symbolism, Emily? Is that Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. Including two battered Jewish girls from Massachusetts. Canoes and skinny dipping notwithstanding, I can't help but think that God would be proud.


M'elle said...


Emily said...

That was beautiful. Thank you.

Nick M. said...

Hey. Laura is asleep but I saw your comment on her blog. Her email is lauragmielke (at) gmail (dot) com

I didn't have your email to send it to you that way so here it is.

The Bean said...

CONGRATS ON THE HOUSE!!! It looks beaufitful!

Angela said...

Oh. This brought tears to my eyes.

Ally said...

Hi there, I'm stopping in via Emily's blog and your comment, etc. I just wanted to say a hearty YES to this post. Well said.