“Andrew, Andrew, guess what?” This excited voice rose from behind me with the sound of a righteously desperate need to pour out good news of something that had just happened. Just as I was walking away from the waterfront, there was a story that couldn’t wait to be shared. “What’s up, John?” I responded, matching his excitement. John’s eyes beamed. He motioned his hands like he was conducting an aquatic symphony and said, “I just did the Triple Thrill!”
One of our core messages at Rockmont is that Camp is fun. Each day’s schedule is packed full of skills, tribal activities, the waterfront that rises up from historic Lake Eden and waits for campers to conquer it, and many other activities. We are grateful to have such a fun place to play and are a community that deeply values a young man’s desire to play. However, there’s a deeper story happening in this cultivation of fun. Each day young men forage the property looking for that hidden flag to capture, the freshly laid egg at Homesteading, or – for some of us in Bear Camp – even the dining hall, because therein lies a new world that is just as exciting and fun. Camp is fun!
At Rockmont, often a camper will be challenged by choice. If something looks daunting or immeasurable, campers will often get a verbal nudge from a camper or counselor that says, “Challenge by choice.” This is a young man’s invitation into something deeper. The high dive is no longer a far-and-away dream that one just can’t get around to; no, now there is an invitation by a brother, someone who lives with that young man, has seen him, and said, “I believe in you.” The other day, I was held in the question of, “Guess what?” because a daring young Bear Camper named John had decided to take on the Triple Thrill. The choice to do so was challenging, and John accepted.
The Triple Thrill is a feat that entails taking on the Blob, Gullywasher, and Zipline, all in one day. There are many factors that go into such an adventurous maneuver and they must all come together seamlessly; the weather, short lines, and overcoming fears, just to name a few. No big deal, right?
John wasn’t unfamiliar with the complexity of the Triple Thrill. In previous years, John had done the Gullywasher many times and loved it, the Blob a few times and had a fearful skepticism of it, but never the Zipline. However, today was different. John was no longer interested in leaving the Triple Thrill undone and to do this, he knew he must say Yes. This wasn’t easy. This saying Yes meant being blobbed by someone bigger than himself and then launched into the air, suspended to the will of gravity itself. It meant walking up the mountain to the Zipline, waiting in line, finally getting to the harness, getting in the harness, and being strapped in. In our choices, especially the harder ones, there are often dozens of chances to exit. John could’ve turned around when he got to the Gullywasher and decided not to keep walking toward the platform of the Zipline. Even as he was being strapped in, listening to instructions to keep one hand on the rope at all times, John could have, at any moment, stopped the process and retreated from that harness. But he didn’t. This day, the exits were passed up in favor of going deeper.
The Triple Thrill is incredibly fun, but in it – and in so many other adventures at Rockmont – lies a greater story: When faced with our challenges we must pay attention, go towards them with courage, and then tell about it. God has made us for such challenge. The gospel often comes to us through the people around us who share life with us, just as Jesus came to be with us and to give his life away. Had it not been for John sharing his good news of courage and challenge, we just might miss it.
I am grateful for John’s courage. John had done a good thing, for himself and for his community, and he told about it. Our ability to say Yes to the challenges when given the choices is necessary for our growth. I am grateful for the chance to be challenged and made deeper by people like John, and for God’s love in providing such challenges to help us grow here at Camp.
Tonight’s Scripture: Luke 15: 25-32
Story: Jesus at the Home of Mary & Martha
+ Where do you see yourself in the story?
+ What’s the good news?