We've just about recovered from camp. I don't know why I pluralised myself that, but I'll take it.
So, camp was tough. The first few days especially.
And yet, on the Tuesday of camp - incidently, the day my talks became good again, but that's another blog for another day - I talked about church. Quite a lot of the kids we had on camp were unchurched. They had little or no concept of church. Those kids and leaders that do have some idea have probably been let down or hurt by the church. The ideal, the thing that Jesus set out to do in instituting Peter has been somewhat distorted by us religious folk, and those that want to find Jesus sometimes find a church door in their way. Now, I'm not claiming I know the right way to do church - we're all endeavouring to find our own way closer to a God who loves us. But that night, I asked those people, gathered in that hall, if we could be church.
Because when I asked these 8-11 year olds the question 'What is church?' I fully expected answers of 'a building,' perhaps even 'a place where you worship God,' stretching even to 'the people in a church'. Those were not the answers I got. Fellowship. Community. Together. These kids, some with no experience of church whatsoever, have got church down far better than we who suppose to know the answer.
So I asked them if we could be church that week. To be that fellowship, that community, that 'together'. And we managed it. It's not to say it was easy. A lot of the incidents mentioned above happened after this talk. But to give these people, both kids and leaders, somewhere to be, to belong, to become, was a joy to behold.
And I think it's how we got through the week. Because church is what holds us together, in this inexplicable, rather infuriating, wonderful way.
This blog started out about camp, and ended up about church. Easily confused? I think so.