For me camping is great vacation – and yet so much more. It is a a spiritual experience because it encourages Biblical virtues: packing lightly, living simply, rejoicing in the beauty and wonder of the moment, and offering a closer union with creation. As I write this we are packing the van with the things we need to live in the woods. As much as I love the tent, camper pie maker, cooler, and all that rope, my favorite camping accoutrement is the sleeping bag.
Once the roots are averted and rocks are removed, there may be nothing more comfortable and cozy than crawling into a sleeping bag at the end of a long day, and emerging from one at the start of the next. I understand why we wrap infants tightly in cloths up to their chins: being swaddled or zipped into one’s own personal cocoon leaves one feeling warm, secure, cared for…loved.
Forgive the stretch, but seems to me this is a great metaphor for God’s love. I believe God’s greatest desire is to wrap us in God’s love so that we might experience the pervasive, all encompassing, presence of Christ. I wonder whether St. Patrick was in a sleeping bag when he wrote his Breastplate Prayer:
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I arise…
As we prepare to depart for our annual pilgrimage into the woods, my hope and prayer for us and our time is the same for you and yours: that in the cacoon of God’s love we would receive the warmth, security, care and comfort of our Creator. May you be wrapped and swaddled in God’s love, and experience the pervasive presence of our Christ.