Exposure to camp meeting this year was minimal for my husband and me, due to circumstances beyond our control. Two evening meetings were all we could muster strength for, but it was enough to bolster our spiritual batteries for the coming year.
I think the reason for this may be partly that every year we’ve been married, prior to Dean’s traumatic accident, we attended camp meeting somewhere. Even when life was unbearably difficult, we made it a priority to be at every service, every day, every summer. Even when we had to travel a couple of hundred miles and stay in a real tent. We did not consider it a sacrifice, but a privilege.
The memories of these previous experiences heighten the sense of pleasure we encounter when we walk through the doors of that big meeting place each year and offer our corporate praise to God.
I can understand fully why God commanded the Jewish people to come together and celebrate the Passover and other yearly festivals. God’s presence is the reason people are drawn to these events. You can’t escape the Holy Spirit there without great effort, because it’s just in the very air you breathe, if your heart is ready to receive it.
The speakers may be good, the workshops helpful, and the music divine. But the fellowship with other believers is what makes or breaks a camp meeting in my opinion. We need that personal bonding to make the blessings last.
Dean and I were not to be left out in that department either. As we were leaving the final meeting on Saturday night, we ran into some special friends from Iowa we hadn’t seen for years. We were so caught up in visiting with them, I thought when I got home of the time when Jesus’ parents lost sight of their young Son, due to the friendly crowds leaving Jerusalem.
Whatever we do, let’s not just take home the pleasant memories, the thrilling sermons and music, or even the fellowship we enjoyed. Let’s be sure we take home Jesus.
~from the next issue of “A Walk in the Park” newsletter for Piedmont Park SDA Church