Camp Meeting!, spring endings bring mix of emotions

It’s that time of year again — end of school, graduations, open houses, family changes, increased outdoor chores and Camp Meeting!

Cheers for the grads, though we miss them so much. Yay for the kids who completed another successful year of school, but please don’t grow up too quickly.

This summer one of our own children decided to remain more than 1,100 long miles away near college in order to find summer work.

We have planted a mixed array of colorful wild flowers and garden vegetables.

And, on top of all that, since school ended, our church association has enjoyed another refreshing annual (our 30th) Camp Meeting!

All of these events have appropriately stirred up a frenzy of mixed feelings of pride (the good kind), laughter, tears of joy and of sorrow, gladness for God’s blessings and heaviness for the broken lives here in Greenfield, Indiana.

During my career as a bi-vocational pastor, I have had the privilege of serving in several colleges and public high schools with wonderful young people from a myriad of backgrounds, experiences and difficulties. These creative students always find a special place near and dear to my heart — it’s always easy to “fall in love” with them. Consequently, the week following the end of the school year finds me with mixed feelings — glad for summer break, yet gloomy, missing “my kids.”

In the course of that first week after school I usually tend to start catching up on the undone chores and projects. This year those included yard cleanup and planting flower seed. Of course this fosters mixed feelings of a sense of accomplishment and impatience for the seeds to germinate, grow and bloom. I’m waiting … waiting … WAITING!!!!

Have you ever been to an enormous family reunion where you were thrilled and excited to see loved ones who in many instances had not been seen in a year? People of like mind and faith, folk who love God and are simply the best crowd with whom to hang out! Imagine the joy of spending a week together in excellent worship and preaching services, sharing delicious meals, delightful conversations, laughs, seasons of prayer, children’s meetings, recreation and youth meetings. Do you know what we call this revitalizing week? It’s called Camp Meeting! It’s a long-revered and well worn old-fashioned Methodist tradition — one of the best!

The mixed feelings attached to Camp Meeting arise when the last song has been sung, the final “amen” has been raised and the closing prayer has been offered. It’s over; everyone packs up and has to say, “Goodbye.”

The good news is that our denominational Camp Meeting for the International Conservative Holiness Association is conducted annually at our headquarters right here five miles north of Greenfield on Fortville Pike (State Road 13).

The bad news is that Camp Meeting already took place June 9 to 14. The good news though is that there are youth camps and a children’s camp upcoming this summer.

The cycles of life bring beginnings and endings, joys and sorrows, and anticipation and satisfaction — the mixed feelings of life. In the words of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

“A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

“A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

“A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

“A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

“A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

“A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”