Under the night sky, one of those moments
By Greg Tener
Each of us has at least one experience that is forever a part of our memories of faith. One of those moments for me occurred under the night sky, on the canyon rim, during Wilderness Camp.
In this program of our Conference camping ministry, seventh- and eighth-graders practice forming Christian community through consensus-building. Campers live "in the woods" of the Canyon Camp property, cook their own meals, explore the canyon, and make every decision of the week by coming to mutual agreement.
One particular year, the group in which I took part was struggling to learn to work together. Discussion began about an evening hike to the top of the canyon rim, so we could stargaze and sleep there.
All but one were ready to go. For youths unfamiliar with being outdoors, the thought of climbing a trail up a canyon wall, carrying lanterns, sleeping bags, and food, can become overwhelming. It became an important moment to talk about helping each other along the way, making sure everyone made the hike safely, and working to include others in the experience.
We began the hike at dusk. There were lots of comments: "Watch out for the rock" or "Don’t trip on that tree trunk." The campers helped one another over difficult places on the pathway. They began to become a community.
At the end of the climb came laughter, shouting, and congratulations to the reluctant camper for being successful. As evening sky turned to night, and endless stars began to appear, the opportunity to see the heavens declare the glory of God caused the group to settle down.
We all experienced a moment of being encountered by God and saying, "Yes."
As memories of that night resurface for me, I also begin to remember the many persons who have shaped and molded my story of faith. I think of those at Moore-First Church, who all gave willingly of their time and energy. Laypersons at every appointment taught me more about ministry and the Church. I recall my Dad’s leadership in our home church and how he demonstrated the importance of being a person of faith in a community of faith. My own family continues to teach me about grace and acceptance.
I am thankful for God’s calling in my life and for those who are part of it. Each one is a star in the evening sky.
Now I look forward to service in the Ardmore District. Together, we continue the journey of experiencing God and offering the response of "yes."