It is always good when I can get away from home for even a few days and spend some time in the great outdoors. Today I am writing from a campground just a few miles from my house. It is quiet and relaxing, once the journey here was over, and that’s a story for another day. This morning I watched a group of people setting up camp about 50 yards away. It was a strange thing to watch. They set up a little tent, put a table cloth on a picnic table which they repositioned about 15 times. Then out came the cooler which judging from the way they carried it was empty. Then two chairs arrived and were positioned, and repositioned, and repositioned again. Wood was stacked in the firepit and I was beginning to this these people were a little strange.
I was right, there was something strange happening here. When I went in to refill my coffee I saw them setting up monitors and cameras. I was not sure what they were doing, but then the action started. What looked like a mother and child were sitting on the picnic table while “dad” sat in one of the carefully placed camping chairs. On cue, the little girl would walk slowly to her dad carrying two campfire sticks with a single marshmallow on each. This scene repeated itself over and over and over, about 15-20 times. and then just as quick as they had come they packed it all up and took off.
A little piece of fall camping perfection. Fake but perfect and that is the image of camping that they are going to use for a film, or a commercial, or who knows what. As they packed to drive away, all six SUV’s I thought what a shame, they missed the real beauty and pleasure of the day. They should have sat in the chair and had some conversation, a cup of coffee, and enjoyed the company and the time together. They should have lit the fire and spent some time, they should have rested in the chairs and watched the falling leaves.
This got me thinking about Sunday Morning Worship. We set the stage, get the flowers out, hang the banners, rehearse the music, and then in a way it is lights camera action. The congregation comes into the building a few handshakes, and good mornings, a smile a joke, and then we begin. When the postlude is being played the congregation rises and walks out the same doors they entered the building through just came in through just 68 minutes before. and I think what a shame, they missed the real beauty and pleasure of the day. They should have sat in the chair and had some conversation, a cup of coffee, and enjoyed the company and the time together.
So why not stick around, and take in the day with the people of God, crab a cup of coffee, have a donut, and enjoy the stories of life with one another. Oh and if there is no coffee and donuts, then put on the coffee and bring the donuts next week!