Camp has been known and celebrated for so many things over the past 102 years: the rich community of staff and campers; our famous sticky buns; the beautiful miles of property; a challenging adventure program; the presence of the Gospel in work, word, and play... The list can go for a while. For me, one of the things I have always loved has been the dark night sky, perfect for stargazing. Over many years as a camper and staff member, the distant beauty of the stars has remained present in my most precious memories of camp.
The brilliance of the stars has always reminded me of one of my favorite stories: in the 12th chapter of Genesis, the Lord speaks to a man named Abram saying, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God calls Abram away from family, home, and comfort – all on a promise that He will lead Abram into an abundant blessing for him and all the peoples of the earth.
Two chapters later, God speaks to Abram again, this time under a blanket of stars even more brilliant than those here at Ligonier. This time, the promise is that Abram’s descendants – his children – will number more than the stars in the sky. What a huge promise to a man who has yet to have even one child! But the beautiful thing about this story is that, despite what seems fully and completely impossible, Abram believes the Lord.
And the Lord, as we see time and time again, keeps his promise to Abram: a son does indeed come, and then many years later the most important Son, the promised child Jesus, who comes to bless the entire world. Jesus – a descendent of Abram, the man who was childless for 100 years and yet believed the promise of the Lord, given under the blazing stars.
In the story of Abram, God makes a promise and Abram believes in faith, and through his faithfulness the promise and the blessing come. God doesn’t offer us empty promises that we are left to fulfill on our timing and on our own terms, but rather invites us to participate in his story in an extraordinarily beautiful way. Like our grandfather Abram, God calls each of his children into his blessing of redemption and salvation and in turn, we are invited to share his blessing with others.
Working in ministry this summer I have seen that God invites us all to participate in the same calling as Abram – that we are to be a blessing to others. We do this, not by our own deeds, our own strength, or our own will, but by remaining faithful to the Lord and by trusting in his promise. How impossible it would be for us to bless others by ourselves!
I have learned over and over during my time at Ligonier that blessing and goodness do not come from me, or on my terms, but they come from the one who orders the stars and is more faithful than their brilliance. It is not I who am able to bless through my own strength, but God who works and blesses through me. How beautiful to know that I am invited to participate in the blessing of the world, but that the blessing is not dependent on myself! The only requirement is to trust the Lord in faith and follow his calling, wherever it may be.
The splendor of the stars at Ligonier are a reminder that, like Abram, God has called me into his love and thus into his story. And we each, as his children, are called to participate in this story – not by our own strength or merit – but through faith and in following the promise of God’s good and rich blessing.
This weeks blog post was written my Catherine Coyle, our Women's Director.