The last 6 days were filled with adventures of all sorts: kayaking, hiking, cave exploring, dirt biking, swimming, jumping off bridges (into deep water of course), games, competitions, creativity, and meaningful discussions about God's love and creative nature.
On Thursday, we found ourselves waist deep in the cold murky water of the heart of Abbey Caves. Without a strong torch ("flashlight"), one would be utterly hopeless at surviving, as there is no source of outside light to guide your path or prevent you from knocking yourself out on the rocky protrusions ever present in the cave. The inside of the cave is black.The only sign of hope that one might encounter is the occasional lumination of the glow worms that appear like a canopy of stars on the ceiling of the cave.
At one point of our journey through the inky blackness, the camp director instructed everyone to turn off their torches and engage in 60 seconds of silence and darkness. True, it is nearly impossible to get teenagers to be quiet for even a second, but for the rare moments that we did experience silence it was quite remarkable. As usual, my pastoral brain began to turn and I considered how completely dark and without light a life is without Christ. Without the love of Christ and the illumination of his Holy Spirit, it is quite impossible to navigate the hazards of life and avoid the deadly traps of sin that seek to swallow each unsuspecting climber and cast them into a bottomless pit. Without the Light of Jesus Christ . . . one will ultimately remain lost.
Something very supernatural happens when we place our trust in Jesus Christ for salvation from sin and self. Lostness can no longer describe us, because we have been found by the One who never wanted us to be lost in the first place! And what's more, God places within us his Holy Spirit to guide and equip us for the rest of the journey. As long as we stay connected to him through faith (and the disciplines that embody our faith like prayer, Bible Study, and community with others who have been "found") our ability to really "see" grows increasingly stronger. Life doesn't feel as scary anymore when we have the Light. In fact, we find that we can now begin to help others make their way through the caverns of existence here on earth and bring them out into the bright light and steady ground on the other side.
More pics to follow. . ..