If you have ever celebrated the Fourth of July at Ligonier Camp, you may remember the parade of lawn-mowers and firetrucks, the old-fashioned carnival, or an extravagant display of fireworks. Perhaps your favorite activity was catching candy during the parade, dancing to American anthems, or decorating your counselor in every shade of red, white, and blue. Regardless, one tradition is guaranteed--staff members decked in their most patriotic outfits complete with hats, badges, flags, suspenders, fanny-packs and pinwheels. If there’s one thing LCCC staffers do well--besides loving Jesus and hanging out with kids--it is dressing up for the occasion.
Within the past week our staff have worn many different hats, both literally and figuratively. Each week, we celebrate Monochromatic Monday, Twin Tuesday, Western Wednesday, and Tropical Thursday--requiring staff to purposefully plan and perfect their outfits. Additionally, specific programmatic events, like the Fourth of July and Goldrush, necessitate full commitment to absurd attire. It is pretty hilarious to see what individuals come up with for these events. Though, one of the greatest joys at camp is seeing kids’ faces light up while watching their counselors dancing, running, and frolicking around in their costumes.
As a staff we want to practice and teach self-forgetfulness--where our actions and words are glorifying God through fun, playful goofiness. We want to encourage kids to be silly and joyful. We want to live as God intended His children to live--as people who find joy, life, and goodness in play. We want kids to be kids! So, while we love dressing up in crazy costumes, we do so purposefully. We’re teaching our staff and campers about experiencing the delight and celebration which comes in living as God created us to--as people of joy and celebration.
This self-forgetfulness is reflected in Scripture, as well. In 2 Samuel 6, David, the new king of Israel and Judah, defeats the Philistines and brings the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. For the Israelites, the physical presence of the ark ensures God’s presence among them. Therefore, the ark’s return to Jerusalem warrants a lot of rejoicing!
David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
2 Sam 6:14-15
David’s celebration is so exuberant that others actually rebuke him for his actions--expecting the king to be noble and stately. However, David’s response is perfect. “I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes” (v. 21-22). David understands the significance of celebrating God’s presence among his people. He desires God to be glorified through praise, shouts of joy, dancing, and music. He models self-forgetfulness for the Israelites by living into the joy God has given him.
David’s story is an incredible reminder for us. We are called to be self-forgetful people who constantly and unashamedly celebrated God’s presence among us. God’s Spirit is clearly present in the work, play, and relationships at Ligonier Camp. We get to experience and celebrate Him each day through costumes, songs, ziplines and laser tag. However, His presence isn’t limited to this hill. Therefore, we can celebrate and find joy in Him in our homes, churches, schools, and workplaces. Wherever we find ourselves, God’s presence is among us, which is cause for rejoicing. Will you rejoice in saying, “I will become even more undignified than this”?