This past Tuesday, our chaplain of the week, Fr. Larry Byrne, his wife Susan, and I created a simple labyrinth in the back of St. Luke’s Chapel. Using candles, yarn, and duct tape, we designed a space for campers that evening to pray and reflect while walking and listening to music softly playing in the background. Several campers shared afterwards that it was a really special time for them, and counselors seemed to appreciate it equally!
Labyrinths are a great way to express this profound reality: we are all on a journey of faith. None of our journeys are identical; they are as unique as we are in the lives we lead and the experiences we have. For some, it may seem pretty easy to point to times where God was clearly at work, while others may struggle to think of those times. The goal in walking a labyrinth is to reach the center, which represents God’s presence, yet God is always with us, no matter how “off center” we may feel. So it comes down to, I think, a matter of awareness. How aware are we of the God who is always there with us and for us? The more aware we are, the closer we draw ourselves (or the Spirit draws us, perhaps more accurately) to that sacred center.
This summer at camp has given me, and many others too, an incredible opportunity to become more aware and centered in God’s presence. Camp strips away so many of the distractions that keep us from having a holy awareness- the busyness of work and school, the tyranny of technology, and so on. In place of those distractions, camp offers an abundance of time to have fun, enjoy the company of others, soak up the beauty of God’s Creation, worship and pray, and simply “be.”
Camp also provides a chance to really dig deep into our journeys and to hear about those of others. During morning Christian Formation this week, counselors gave the message, each one based on their own journey of faith. All of them were honest about life’s struggles and many, for example, spoke about the difficulty of losing a loved one. After the message, campers were invited to talk in their cabin groups about the counselor’s story and discuss how it connects to their own faith journeys. Campers shared about the “highs” and “lows” they have faced so far, and how they’ve experienced God leading them and showing them the Way. My hope amid all this is that campers (and staff) will leave camp with a fuller awareness of God’s presence in their lives, and a stronger faith that, no matter how challenging life may be, the Spirit goes with them to guide them ever closer to the center of all things, which is the heart of God. I end with these words from the song “Center” by Charlie Hall, which I offer as a prayer:
Oh Christ, be the center of our lives
Be the place we fix our eyes
Be the center of our lives
And You’re the center of the universe
Everything was made in You, Jesus
Breath of every living thing
Everyone was made for You
You hold everything together
You hold everything together
Just one last note: I have had a fantastic summer at Camp DeWolfe! I’ve been so blessed to be part of the awesome things God has done here! I only wish camp could last a little longer! Thanks be to God!!!
– Dan Bell
Christian Formation Director