Going to camp as a boy was an incredible experience for me – and in many ways my own choice to attend camp echo’s Tim’s remarks from his post yesterday. Camp was a place where I fit in – not because I was like everyone else (though we did all share Christian Science), but I fit in because camp was a place where our uniqueness was embraced and cherished, and not cause for marginalization as I had found in middle and high school. I found myself being able to be honest with what my true nature was for the first time in my life. And so I went back to camp, year after year, because it was the only place I felt truly embraced for who I was. But as it turns out – that is not all I got out of the experience.
At Crystal Lake, we talk about being ‘on’ or ‘off’ mountain in relation to whether we’re at or away from camp at any given moment. And from a spiritual perspective I really like the metaphor of going ‘to the mountain’. When you look back at the life of Christ Jesus, you see that mountains played a significant role in his spiritual teaching.
His most profound sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, was taught when he took the disciples (and others) up into the mountains near Capernaum. From this sermon we have the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, and Jesus’ 2 Great Commandments. Later in his career, he went into the mountains when he experienced the Transfiguration – the time when God spoke, literally, to Jesus and Peter, James and John (3 of his disciples) and vocally declared the Christ as his son. And when Jesus walked on the water to save the disciples from the sinking ship? Just before he had gone to a mountain to pray, and it stands to reason that the deep and profound prayer he had on that mountain is what enabled him to do such a remarkable act, that of walking on the water.
So at this Thanksgiving as I reflect back on my years at camp, what stood out to me was healing – time and time again the healing power of God as demonstrated through Christian Science has irrefutably proved the truth of the allness of God and spiritual being.
This year, I am grateful for what camp has provided to me through witnessing the undeniable ability of God to heal even the most intractable of human conditions.
Some of the more profound healings I have been witness to while at camp include:
- A compound break in a friend’s leg when I was 15, such that my friend was running again later the same day;
- A camper raised from the dead, having broken his neck. He was up and active within days;
- Being healed myself of severe internal bleeding from a fall;
- The claim of a spreading communicable disease was stopped in its tracks; and
- A camper overcoming a paralyzing fear of heights while rock climbing.
There are, to be sure, many more healings I’ve witnessed. But today, on this Thanksgiving Day, these are the ones that stick out in my thought as I write this.
So I am grateful – not only because I was able to attend camp and find a place of tremendous acceptance – but also because by attending camp, I saw first hand the proof that God, through the demonstration of Christian Science, heals. And God heals profoundly, deeply, powerfully, and undeniably. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful to be going ‘up to the mountain’ in prayer and gratitude, to continue to witness God’s love for all mankind.
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