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It was my second summer as Kids Pastor to take our fourth and fifth graders to summer camp at Camp Eagle. In this particular group was a child who had lost their younger sibling in a tragic accident three years prior. Along with many other struggles that this situation brought, forgiveness and to be able to worship God were near impossible.
In a night service, along the rivers edge during Session 10, candles were lit by the students and placed in the water representing things in their lives to let go of. This particular child participated, and during the worship set the lights went out. The band continued their acoustic worship, every star in the clear night sky could be seen, and the whole canyon was filled with the voices of campers and leaders singing to the Lord. There was even a collective deep breath followed by laughter as a shooting star blazed overhead as if on cue!
As beautiful as those moments were, nothing compared to what followed. On the hike back to the dorms, I felt an arm come around the middle of my back to give a slight squeeze. The child who I had seen walk such a terribly difficult road looked up at me and said, “Tonight was the best night of worship I’ve ever experienced. After letting go of my candle into the water, and worshiping God with everything I had, I felt like [sibling] was watching!”
Thank goodness it was dark – I don’t think everyone around me could see the tears running down my face as I managed to say, “I’m sure that’s the case.”