• brookmcbride

Can You Keep a Secret? Silly Camp Songs Changed My Life!

Starting in June, Bear Creek is going to take the summer exploring the wonders of church camp! Every Sunday this summer (June, July, August) we will not only feature a couple of camp songs that you may know, but we will also explore some of the Christian themes that have been a part of the Christian Camping world. Themes like Revive, and Call, and Friends.

Planning for this summer season has been fun for me. It’s brought back so many camping experiences in my past. Not only camping experiences when I was a kid, but also camping experiences when I was an adult, counseling at camp.

For me, most of the “life changing” experiences happened around the campfire. Part of that was because I love to sing. As a child I grew up in a culture where “boys” weren’t supposed to sing. We were too cool and too macho for that “sissy” singing stuff. But around the campfire, for some reason, I found all that “macho” stuff just fell away and before I knew it, I was absolutely lost in a silly camp song like “Pharoah, Pharoah” or “Romans 16 19 Says”. And while the counselors got us going, before we knew it, we were singing actual Christian heart songs like “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all you soul and all your mind…,” and “Sanctuary,” and soon magic started happening as we willingly bowed our heads and opened our heart to the holy mystery of “campfire!”

It was there at the campfire that I discovered for the first time that there, deep in my heart, was a precious diamond I would later learn to call the risen Christ…Imago Dei. As Richard Rohr puts in his book Immortal Diamonds:

“We each set out trying to create our own hand-cut and hand-made diamond; but experienced pilgrims tell us that the diamond was first made by Another, and it is indeed drawing us forward into a brilliance that is now uniquely ours.”

Well, Richard, I can tell you this, I had discovered that way back in fourth grade, at Lake Cochran Camp…sitting around a campfire singing “Kum bah ya”! I knew it wasn’t something I made! I knew at the bottom of my shy and humble heart that that song uncovered it, but that it was always there—what we United Methodists call “grace”—unconditional love!

The problem was that the world kept stealing that diamond from me. Kicking dirt on it. Covering it up. And the sad thing is that I let them. And so, every year I found myself coming back to that campfire, where I was reminded again and again and again…that that diamond (what I choose to call “God”) was still there.

And that’s why I want to bring “Campfire!” back to Bear Creek this summer:

Because, frankly, my soul needs some silly songs!

Because frankly my soul needs to laugh and cry!

Because, frankly, my soul needs to sway back and forth and clap my hands with all of you!

Because, frankly, this pandemic has kicked a whole lot of dirt onto my soul…and I need to be revived, restored, and cleaned off!

Because, frankly, my soul needs to hear the still quiet voice of God again. I need that voice of God to coax my shy and battered soul back out of its shell again, so Grace can give it a hug!

And so, I invite you, starting June 5th (Pentecost Sunday) to join us for a summer of “Campfire”! Dress up in camp cloths! Get out your silly Camp Songs! Maybe, just maybe, we can get families and friends to perform “crazy camp skits”!?! (Have you ever seen a hair fight?) Let’s give ourselves permission to be just a little bit silly! Because sometimes we need to do something just a little bit crazy and silly to coax that shy soul of ours out into the open. Because sometimes we need to sing “Kum bah ya” and “Pass it on” to remind our soul just how much it is loved.

Your pastor, still believing that “it only takes a spark to get a fire going,” Brook

PS: If you have some camp songs in your heart, please send them to Pastor Brook’s email: pastor@bcumc.org or text him at 605-610-7793. He’s compiling a list as we speak!

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