Now-and-not-yet (Michindoh Post 13)

[This post is thirteenth of a series in which I reflect on spending a month at camp for Wyldlife (middle schoolers) and YoungLives (teen moms). You can follow by subscribing to this blog below. All posts are categorized as ‘Michindoh 2013’.]

YoungLives camp is but two days away. 80+ childcare workers descend on Michindoh tomorrow. 98 teen moms, 98 teen moms’ babies, and 50+ YoungLives leaders arrive the following day.

There is So Very Much to do.

For today, we are living primarily in Wyldlife world, but our eyes can see YoungLives world on the very near horizon. Today is the now and the not-yet of camp in which both the Wyldlife now and the YoungLives not-yet each on their own beautifully embody the complete now-and-not-yet of God’s kingdom.

So on this day, middle schoolers ran crazy in a soccer-field sized mud pit, followed up by a firehose shower…

Mud pit sequel (Photo: CKirgiss)
Mud pit sequel (Photo: CKirgiss)

…while in the planning room, extra supplies continued arriving by mail…

Supplies (Photo: CKirgiss)
Supplies (Photo: CKirgiss)

…and in the wash room, the first round of Pack-N-Play sheets were washed and dried.

Clean sheets (Photo: CKirgiss)
Clean sheets (Photo: CKirgiss)

Mud pits. Fire hoses. Baby wipes. Baby sheets.

This now-and-not-yet is surely one-of-a-kind. And very sweet indeed.

Where it’s at (Michindoh Post 1)

[This post is the first in a series in which I reflect on spending a month at camp for Wyldlife (middle schoolers) and YoungLives (teen moms). You can follow the series by subscribing to this blog. All posts will be categorized as ‘Michindoh 2013’.]

Yesterday (June 8) 350+ middle school students and their leaders pulled into a beautiful and sacred space known as Michindoh, located in the mitten state, specifically the lower mid-palm region. It would be cooler to say “in the thumb” or “on the ring finger.” But we are where we are, which is the lower mid-palm region. I would argue that in real life, the lower mid-palm region is where it’s at.

So what if it can’t point, can’t oppose, can’t wear a ring, can’t snap, can’t tap, or any of those other things that fingers and thumbs do.

Without the lower mid-palm region providing a place from which fingers and thumbs can do their business by connecting them to the arm to the shoulder to the body to the brain that tells them what to do, fingers and thumbs would be entirely pointless, really.

Michindoh – like every other camp run by God-loving Jesus-following folk – is nothing more than a place from which those who are the hands and feet (or fingers and thumbs) of Jesus can do their business, which is loving God and following Jesus among (in this case) middle schoolers and teen moms in the hopes that they see something about the Christian life that is so utterly attractive, appealing, and sweet they can’t help but notice.

If it were by our own power that God-loving and Jesus-following folk hoped to reflect an utterly attractive, appealing, and sweet life with Christ, all would be lost (which, in fact, is exactly what all God-loving and Jesus-following folk once were). For there is nothing about the inherent essence of anyone that could ever possibly accomplish such a thing. On our own, we are appalling, repellant, and (I suspect) as far from being a sweet aroma as the east is from the west.

But with the Spirit’s presence drenching our souls in His love, grace, forgiveness, and re-creation, suddenly (miraculously, undeservedly, assuredly) the beautifully attractive, appealing, and sweet Jesus can shine through – even if just a tiny bit – into a world that is far too dark and much too broken.

That’s why we are here, joyfully settled into this lower mid-palm region of the kingdom, working together to be the fingers and thumbs of a hand that will (by God’s grace) point people to the face and feet of Jesus. Should they choose to look, in His face they will see his endless love for them reflected in His eyes. Should they embrace that love, at His feet they will fall in sweet surrender to the God-man who gave up everything in order to give new life.

I cannot image being any other place doing any other thing for any other reason – being in the lower mid-palm region of the hand of Jesus is really that big of a deal.

Week 1, night 1, 8:29 p.m. (Photo: CKirgiss)
Week 1, night 1, 8:29 p.m. (Photo: CKirgiss)
Week 1, night 1, 8:37 p.m. Let's do this. (Photo: CKirgiss)
Week 1, night 1, 8:37 p.m. Let’s do this. (Photo: CKirgiss)