What is the campfire?
The campfire is something that happens on the last night of summer camp, right after the last evening chapel session and right before the big pillow fight. The whole camp makes a short exodus down to the meadow where a small fire burns in the fire pit surrounded by rough wooden benches. Songs are sung, sometimes smore’s are eaten, and the guy counselors are hard pressed to keep the boys from trying to impress the girls by leaping over the flames.
But at some point the whole group begins to settle and Scruffy brings out a box of sticks. He crouches beside the flames, smacks the box down beside him on the ground and tells the campers the same thing that my father told us twenty some years ago when I was a camper huddled up in three big sweatshirts gazing up at the glory of the universe above me and the new best friends that sat around me on those simple benches out in the meadow at night.
He points out the campfire, how it shines out against the darkness with its strong yellow glow, but as the night wears on the flames sometimes shrink to coals and the wind threatens the snuff the fragile flames. He begins by saying that every child of God burns with the light of Christ in a dark world, but that sometimes the flames will gutter and in times of heartache and grief it seems as though we cannot burn another hour. Then he will share his testimony, either how he came to Christ as an angry hurting college student, or something from the week. A moment when God shone out through the constant sleepless toil of camp and made Himself present and powerful in a life.
And then he will throw a stick on the fire. The fire will crackle and curl and brighten for a moment as a new strength burns within it. Scruffy will then invite one and all to come, and to brighten the path of those who walk beside them with their stories. Tales of heartache and love and power and pain and redemption, the story of God as He walks among us and unleashes his glory upon our dark and fraile world.
Counselors and campers and nurses and cooks and the speaker and the paintball guys and everyone can then stand and speak and toss a small stick amidst the flames. And the fire grows, and deep inside there is something that glows along with the dancing of the flames. For God is more than we ever imagined and at the campfire we pause and think upon His wonders.
That is what I want this blog to become. The Campfire. That place where stories are told and lives are brightened and people pause and remember. Not everyone gets to come to camp and sit on the cold wood benches out under the stars. But today, we can bring the campfire to you.