Rooted in Hope, Caring for the World
We have to engage, we have to stand up, we have to fight, rooted in God’s promise that all hope is not lost.
The Leaders and Campers at Parque have spent the past year planted in Revelation; reading about “Juan” the Prophet, pondering his visions about what is to come. Their theme for the summer is all about hope as their motor in the face of despair. They’ve spent hours exploring what it means to live lives that acknowledge the reality of the way things are in the world, while keeping their eyes firmly fixed on the hope that this is not the way things will always be.
There’s this beautiful transfer of knowledge that happens with this theme, a wonderful chain of learning where pastors and wise adults help guide young adults, and young adults help guide adolescents, and adolescents help guide children. The result is truly amazing.
This past week a group of 15 and 16 year old campers took over Parque for 6 days. For many of them, this was their last week of camp as campers and they were determined to squeeze everything they could out of it. From epic night games to early morning sunrises to singing together on the stairs outside the cabins, it was a magical week. They also got the chance to explore despair and hope in their lives and in the world by studying Revelation, led by passionate and kind leaders as their guides.
It was a privilege to witness this happening. On Saturday, they talked about despair and brokenness in the world. They read a passage in Revelation 6 and began thinking about the power of war and economy and death and government at work in the world today. They split into small groups to talk about it in depth and it was inspiring to listen to them articulate how they see these forces at work in the world and how they feel empowered to do something about it.
They talked about the destruction of the environment and corrupt governments and violence and inequality. They approached these conversations with empathy for the oppressed, courage to name the reality of the way things are, and hope that they won’t always be this way. With guidance from their leaders, these 15 and 16 year olds were learning how to care for the hurting world in which they live, not with an attitude of despair but with an attitude of hope. To have a cohort of young people headed out into the world with faith formation like this is a hopeful thing.
This posture of caring for the world, of standing with the marginalized, of protecting the abused, of fighting for the oppressed is one that Parque demonstrates beautifully. In everything they do, they demonstrate that their belief that a better world, a New Jerusalem is possible. Amidst the despair and fear and hurt in the world today, it’s inspiring to come here and be reminded all is not lost, that there are good people fighting the good fight, that hope can make space in the world for good, that love is stronger than pain, stronger than hate, stronger than fear. It’s inspiring to see a group of young people working to bring the New Jerusalem to this hurting world—here and now.
And it’s comforting to know that we’re not alone in this fight, in this mission, in this hopeful vision for a better world. Because at Camp Fowler, we’re fighting for these things too. We long for a world where people and animals and plants and rivers are valued for what they are, not for what they can give. We long for a world where language and culture and religion and gender and race don’t divide us. We long for a world where love and compassion are stronger than power and economy. And, like the people at Parque, we know that we can’t just long for these things and expect them to happen. We have to engage, we have to stand up, we have to fight, rooted in God’s promise that all hope is not lost.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by despair, take comfort in the knowledge that there are still people fighting, in New York, in Uruguay, and in so many other places. Join us at Camp Fowler in our commitment to care for a world that is hurting, because there is much to be done. Join us because we promise that your week at camp won’t just be about you; it will be about all of us. Join us because this world needs more people like you fighting for good. Join us because there is hope. Join us--at Camp Fowler and at Parque—as we move forward in that hope, caring for the world.