Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Neighbors on the AT and at Camp

“Love is patient and kind, it is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is no irritable and it keeps no record of being wronged. Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Nine Campers and four Camp Counselors took to the Appalachian Trail this morning traversing the two-and-a-half miles from Camp Penn up to Chimney Rock. While we sauntered through the trail Hope led the way with confidence and proficiency while Steven, Nyla and Autumn took time to commune with the forest by eating some of the new growth (fresh needles) of Eastern hemlock trees and gathering a handful of sassafras and wintergreen leaves to make tea for later. There was a sense of adventure during the hike and of real accomplishment upon reaching the vista at the top.

Today’s word of the day is agape, which of course is the Greek word for a love that is self-giving and sacrificial. While on the trail we discussed what Jesus is recorded as saying is most important; that we should love God with all of our faculties and that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. We spoke about how Jesus showed agape love by humbling himself in service to others (and in that way giving others a space of belonging) and by including those who were excluded by others (Jesus included women, children, the poor, the blind, people with leprosy and other diseases, and people from other cultural and religious groups like the Samaritans).

We talked about how after Jesus talks about love as most important a man, understanding that he should love his neighbor as himself, asks Jesus this question; “and who is my neighbor?”

Acknowledging that Jesus challenged his inquirer to include Samaritans as neighbors (and therefore those who he should love as himself), we pondered who God might be challenging us to include as a neighbor to us.

Who is my neighbor?

The staff at Camp Penn are my neighbors; Sam, Sarah, Brenda, Dot, Neena, Melissa, Della, Rick and the others.

Who is my neighbor?

The other Counselors are my neighbors; Brian, Kelly, Rebecca, Mike and Frog.

Who is my neighbor?

The campers; Kenneth, Garret, Vira, Nyla, Autumn, Steven, Stella, Zoe, Molly, Hope, and Emma.

Who is my neighbor?

The creek, the mountain, the trees, the mushrooms, insects, birds and other wildlife along the trail.

In keeping with the tradition that Jesus set in motion I want to work to expand the bounds that I place upon who I count as a neighbor again, and again, and again my whole life long.

Who is your neighbor?











canopies of tulip trees, maples and oaks

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