It’s normal, in early July, for Camp Tejas to be beastly hot. It’s normal to be able (if you watch closely) to see and detect the rhythms of everyday camp life amongst the staff and the campers- the groups of teenagers heading to worship or to lunch or the pool, the SMT running ropes and lifting ladders at the Tejas Wall, and the lifeguards keeping a watchful eye over the swimmers at the lakes.
As a member of the media staff, I see these rhythms and “normals” through a camera most of the time, but what I look for and what I want to capture are the things that aren’t normal: the one camper smiling with ineffable excitement during rec games, the guys doing double backflips off the trapeze at the lake, the expression of utter joy on a camper’s face as she emerges from the pool waters after being baptized, knowing that her life will never be the same. It’s true that these emotions, these expressions, and these epiphanies are what we pray in expectation for all summer long, so when joy happens, when conquering fear happens, and when Jesus happens in a camper’s life, we rejoice that something far from normal has happened in them.
Almost every evening, I attend worship with our campers, camera in hand. It’s beautiful and encouraging to be able to watch fists unclench and hands raise as the week progresses and the Holy Spirit moves. By the end of the week, the kid who first stood with arms crossed and lips sealed is kneeling with his face to the ground and palms wide open crying out to the God whose completely perfect and abnormal love is making itself real and known in their life.
I pray all summer that our campers would walk into worship every night and have an encounter with God that is anything but normal for them. I pray that through our Summer Ministry Team, campers would experience love and servant-heartedness in a way that is not normal outside of Christ. Because of previous SMT showing Jesus’ love to campers in years past, we have current SMT on staff now who want to do the same for our campers this summer.
Jesus was not normal when he walked on the earth. He stirred things up with the Pharisees and confronted the crowds that surrounded Him with teachings that astonished them. We serve a Savior who is so above what we can understand in his greatness and awesomeness and power and love that we wouldn’t dare classify Him as normal. So although it could be said that seeing God move amid our staff and our guests is “normal” every summer, I am so thankful that in all of us, the hand of God is striving to break down what is normal and transform us completely.