Wednesday Words

 Welcome to another Edition of “Wednesday Words”.
   Today we bring you a Post by the Rev. Gwenda Wells, Rector of a suburban Montreal area Parish which has a long history of Day Camps involvement. We hope you enjoy her reflections on the Program from the Clergy’s perspective.
     Thanks, Gwenda, for taking the time to write a Post!


Everything is Easter, in these weeks following the Great Day – or should be, at any rate. There are these wonderful Sundays of Easter Gospels, but do we take time to let the grace of Easter infuse our lives? We love the signs of spring, the long and leisurely hours of returning light. We open up a little. But our fast-paced lives give us little time to remember what we proclaim: Christ is risen, risen indeed. Alleluia! Perhaps we could use an Easter discipline to match our observance of Lent. What would that look like?
I know someone who decided long, long ago that if he made it through one very scary night, he would be happy every day of his life. He built a discipline of joy.  Perhaps that is a goal our Christian communities should pursue. If Christ is risen, have we not a great and solemn responsibility to build communities of joy? Oases in a world sadly lacking in joy, havens of positive interactions, of fun that includes everybody, from the babe in arms to the hundred year old – joyful givers, joyful singers, joyful visitors, joyful volunteers. This may not come easily all the time, as we drag our sorry bones out to another early Sunday morning, another committee meeting. But joy is our goal, not for ourselves only, but for all. It is a challenging practice, this joy thing. Takes a  lot of repentance when we mess up, a lot of dusting ourselves off and starting again.
As the priest of a parish with a long history of Crosstalk day camps, I would like to suggest that day camp is an invaluable tool for building that discipline of Easter joy. It takes a real commitment from everybody, from billeting households to snack makers, to parish youth who aren’t quite sure about 9:00 a.m. team meetings. Behind the scenes, there is that commitment to joy of the travelling team members and their mentors, who gather, pray, sing, eat and plan in those months leading up to the camp season. All of this, for those moments of extraordinary joy when a handful of young adults lead a motley collection of children into an active engagement with the gospel stories. Liturgical dance practices in the cool, dim beauty of the church, hot and crazy water days, small groups of children learning how to keep a spiritual journal, random hugs and quiet time for children who are too wound up to feel their own pulse, parish helpers lounging together in the sun, watching the children frolicking: this is joy. Who learns most, the children or the young and not so young adults, who remember together what it is to be fully in the present moment, dwelling in God’s love? 

Why do I recommend Crosstalk day camp to every parish? Because I have felt that discipline of joy radiate through my community of St Barnabas as it prepares for and experiences day camp, and I know that it is good. To quote, not a Lamb, but a shepherd: Surely goodness and kindness* shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
* alternate translation of the Hebrew   
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