Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mound Ridge Week 2

I've stopped keeping track of the number of days I've been at camp. I guess it's been a week seeing as it's Monday and I got here on a Monday. I am becoming more aware of God's presence. That is easier when a) you are surrounded by His astoundingly beautiful creation, b) you are given time to think and c) the things to distract you from Him are limited.

I got a box from Mom and Dad. It had my camera card reader, my harmonica, my penny whistle, shampoo, and a box of granola bars, along with the music I'll need to learn to be ready to sing with the WindJammers Jazz Band when I get back in June. After dinner I took the music to the rec hall. There's an old out of tune piano there. It was fun banging out those old 20's tunes on it.

To the tune of "I Got A Dollar"

I got a sammich, I got a sammich. I got a sammich, yes I do.

Well actually it's a chicken wrap from Sonic. It was supposed to be a taco. Last night Don said he would bring me some Jack-in-the-Box tacos. Awesome. That's one of my very favoritest of foods. But this morning, all I see in the fridge is a bag from Sonic with something small wrapped in foil. Don explains that when he got to Jack-in-the-Box and ordered 2 dozen tacos (Christy and Don really love them too) the scuzzy-looking server said "They're in the freezer and we can't defrost them."
"Well," said Don, "Can't you just throw them in the fryer like you always do?"
"I donno, let me ask Al. Hey Al!"
Al comes in, looking just as scuzzy and unpersonable as the server, and says "What do you want?" It's become a scene, with customers in the line behind Don witnessing the whole thing.
"Never mind, I'll just figure it out, somewhere else."
He turned to the server.
"You should have just told me you were out of tacos."

Don offers this word of advice out of his 20 years in restaurant management. "If the service is unfriendly and the manager does not appear well-groomed or well-organized, don't eat there."

At this point, the journal entries are replaced by to-do lists and hastily scratched notes. It's just as I suspected. I have been a lot busier this week and consequently have had less time to write about it. But I'll summarize.

Most of the week I spent doing music stuff. Christy has put me in charge of music for the camp, which is a really exciting opportunity. Finally I can put my talents and experience with music in full service to God. So much of the week I was flipping through song books and playing various instruments, learning new tunes and trying to remember old ones. I'll be leading singing and accompanying on the guitar and sometimes the piano. It's a real challenge getting together all these songs, organizing them and working them into the daily schedules, mixing camp favorites with new material, and trying to make it all relevant to the daily Bible lessons, but I'm learning so much from it. I'm especially excited about arranging with a great assortment of instruments. Christy is truly a woman after my own heart. She has been collecting for the camp an awesome assortment of rhythm instruments, with tambourines, a djembe, and all the fun things that people like to bang, shake or click. She also has a dulcimer that I am making sure will make it into the worship times.
One of the greatest challenges but also a really exciting thing has been reconciling my passion for music with my commitment to stay centered on God. I don't come from a musically elaborate church tradition. Acoustic guitars and maybe a piano are about all you see on a Sunday morning. I have a lot of fun with music but often it has been at odds with, or at best a distraction from, my relationship with God. My prayer for this time is that more than just having a lot of fun with music at camp, I, the counselors and the children would be able to truly praise Him with the guitar and the djembe, the dulcimer and the tambourine. Reading Psalm 150 helped me claim the truth that this is possible:

Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

(Psalm 150, NIV)

On Wednesday, I went with Christy to the Presbytery of Missouri Stated Meeting. That's where representatives from all the churches in the state come together to fellowship, take care of church business, and listen to speakers talk about matters relevant to the church. We were there representing Mound Ridge, which is a Presbyterian camp and retreat center. We had a table and were passing out goodies and information.

I learned a lot. I don't really know much about the Presbyterian church, or traditional denominations for that matter. My favorite part was talking with a pastor named Christian Boyd. Christy knew that we would have a lot to talk about so she went to great pains to ensure we met. We spent lunch talking about all sorts of things pertaining to the Church, Christian community and radical brotherly love, rediscovering the deeply rooted practices of our faith, how denominations may be beginning to break down of their own accord (Awesome!) and him being a Benedictine oblate (that's kind of like a monk outside a monastery). He has a blog and his church website is really cool. I spent a long time yesterday link hopping from there, and found this awesome online Christian classics library, and this radical Christian emagazine thing.

Last night, Don's brother, sister and brother-in-law came to spend Memorial Day weekend. We ate dinner together and had a great sing-along. Don's brother-in-law Larry brought his guitar, and I had my penny whistle and harmonica. It was a blast and we stayed up til past midnight (Which is pretty late, for me, here).

I'm about to go kayaking on the Meramac with Don and Bob and Larry, so I need to get going. Until next time!

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