I have been waiting all day to write. An event took place today that simply set my mind and heart to burst from the overflow of goodness I experienced.
Staff orientation at New Life Camp is special. There’s a lot of lectures, but there’s also a lot of fun – both are necessary to mold us into what we need to be for the summer. But the true beauty of orientation takes place at times unpredictable, when we’re caught up in an ancient river flowing from God’s wild heart.
We gathered on this last day in Johnson Gym for a special message from our director, Greg Burton. We as the full time staff were given a sobering charge: we were to wash the summer staff’s feet just as Jesus washed His disciples’ feet the night before His crucifixion. As staff members sat before me, I took a basin and a bar of soap and set to the cleaning. I was messy in my approach: water was all over the floor as well as their feet. But I was lost in the wonderment – the soap and water was doing far more than cleansing the feet. Love was pouring into our hearts and purifying our thoughts. And as I prayed with each one, more than their feet were patted dry. The things of this world were soaked up and absorbed by the Holy Spirit’s mighty moving. With such a vivid reminder before us, our thoughts were on Christ and His loving service to those He came to save. What thoughts of love were running through Jesus’ mind and heart as He scrubbed John’s soles, as He cut through the grime between Thomas’ toes, and even as He patted dry the feet of Judas, His betrayer? Such wild grace and service is far too great to comprehend.
For several minutes afterward, we all sat silently before the Word and in prayer at least seeking some comprehension. In that silence, the golden light of the Holy Spirit filled the place. It was fitting that our socks and shoes were removed, for the ground and atmosphere were indeed holy. Tears were shed – such tears that the finest jewels this world has to offer paled in comparison to the beautiful glimmer of such holy, broken rivulets. And as I sat there considering the beauty of these precious moments in the presence of God, a song by Andrew Peterson came to my mind. It wasn’t written in the context of this event, but the words rang true enough:
Here at the magic hour, time and eternity
Mingle a moment in chorus
Here at the magic hour, bright is the mystery
Plain is the beauty before us
Could this beauty be for us?
What is this voice that sings
Holy and hovering
Over this hill and the still
Of the evening?
Son of God, speak
Into the peace of these wild things
Into the wild of this grace
Into the grace of this blessing
Speak in the peace of this place.
If magic were ever real, the deep magic that Aslan speaks of in Narnia, that magic was crackling about us through our Savior’s wooing. The wild of His grace stretched before us like a vast horizon set aglow by the morning’s first rays of light. The pure fire of God’s love for us through the Lord Jesus Christ was ablaze in that room today. We couldn’t help but warm our hands and hearts in the flame and get lost in the fervor. As we closed our time together in songs of praise, we drew near again as beggars to the foot of God’s door and found a feast made from the riches of His grace before us. We ate and drank our fill of this brilliant goodness and truth. We so desperately wanted to be a blessing to Him, for our love to rise sweetly to His ears. He just simply couldn’t be outdone. The love He poured back on us was far greater, far purer, and far more unpredictable. This was His magic hour, and we were in awe of the display.
Camp begins this Sunday. I believe that this holy hour we experienced as a staff together may very well be the first of many where God’s love, holy and hovering, will flood the hearts of all who desire Him.