July 22, 2008

Hearing God

The church camp I am directing next week will have about 60 4th, 5th, and 6th grade kids attending. I've been wondering this week about Morning Watch, a time when campers are invited to spend a few minutes in quiet reflection before breakfast. Specifically, I've been wondering whether Morning Watch should be a part of the week, whether or not kids of this age would get anything out of it.

I remember my own experiences of morning watch when I was this age, attending church camp. I loved to watch the early morning rays of sunlight spreading across the land, turning from orange to yellow as they caused the shadows to recede. Such experiences meant so much to me, that when my own family went camping, I often got up early on my own just to watch the sunrise.

I think I'll tell the campers just to spend a few minutes looking at the camp: the mountains, the trees, the stream. I think I'll tell them to spend a few minutes listening: to birds, the water, and wind in the trees. I think I'll tell them to spend a few minutes smelling: the dew, the sage, and breakfast cooking in the kitchen.

I won't tell them to listen for God. At least, not until the end of the week. I've found that if I try to hard to hear God, I get frustrated because God never sounds the way I expect. Later, though, when I reflect on my experiences in nature, I realize that God was talking to me. It's like a two-part process: the first part is spending time in nature. The second part occurs later, when I think back on that experience. It usually isn't until the second part that I'm able to recognize God's voice in that experience.

Here's a picture of Swede Lake at sunset, where I went backpacking a few weeks ago, and heard God...

1 comment:

Adam Gonnerman said...

Again, I envy your ability to get out-of-doors. I grew up on a farm and used to hike all the time. Now even taking a group to camp isn't an option, unless I want to use a week of vacation time to do it (usually not a good idea).

Have a great time.