|All photos courtesy skabat169. Check out his photostream!|
Ben was talking about the sky, so I thought I would talk about a sunrise I saw this week. But first, some cultural context.
When I was in high school I attended a camp called Night Camp for one week every summer. The premise of Night Camp is simple: you stay up all night and sleep during the day while camping out in the woods. The consequences of that premise are many and profound, but those are for another post. Suffice it to say that Night Camp was the defining experience of my high school years, and I worked at Camp Innabah where the camp is held for three of my college summers and volunteered there again last year. This week however I merely went to visit, on bonfire night.
It's not just bonfire night. This night also involved looking at Saturn through a telescope and 2 a.m. Ultimate Frisbee with glow necklaces. But after all that and a Bible study, we had a bonfire.
Then, worship. A few Bible verses, a few songs, and a few words generally constitute worship at Night Camp, but the glow of the burning pallet mandated more mirth. We sang what was planned, then we sang what could be called the classics of the camp canon. Another pallet on the fire. Now singing and dancing, now the Funky Chicken, now dosey does for the refrain of "Lord of the Dance," now swaying shoulder-to-shoulder for "Pass It On."
|picnic table graciously donated by Epworth UMC, Cockeysville, MD|
|photo credit: Kevin Bolton|
This difference in perception was not just a sentimental imposition of the imagination. The colors really did look different to our eyes. When the time came to extinguish the fire (there was still a boat picnic and a polar bear swim to be had, after all) and the buckets of water became sizzling clouds and the orb we had created yielded to another which had not yet shown its face, the spell broke. The sky no longer looked mysteriously indigo, but kinda paleish. With the adjustment of our eyes illumination did not seem to emanate from within our circle, but was shed equally from all directions. Though no one else was around, I suddenly felt observed.
Later on my stepbrother jokingly harassed my mother for allowing me to go to such a place as a kid, insinuating pagan dances around the fire. I don't think he knew how close his description was to reality. There was no influence of substance stronger than s'more, no shameful act committed by firelight, no rash oath sworn, and no stupid tempting of the flame. The God who was blessed and who blessed it was none but the Lord of heaven and earth.
But that was revelry.