As I write this article I am co-directing a high school camp. Camp is a life changing experience in the lives of both youth and adults. One of my most treasured experiences at camp is sitting around the campfire at the end of the day.
We sit in the glow of the fire, sing our favorite camp songs, and commune with God and one another. One of our counselors, D.J. Freesmeier, took this photo last year that captured the holiness of this time and place. I am the one in blue right under the cross.
I remember the many times I sat in the circle watching the blazing campfire burn down to a soft glow. Then suddenly a breeze would blow and a spark would fly, and flames would once more flare up to burn brightly again. As the song goes, “It Only Takes a Spark”.
I remember one year watching a camper standing outside the circle after the closing. He was looking at the fire in silence. I considered leaving but suddenly something inside me told me to wait. The camper turned and walked toward me. He sat beside me and as the fire continued to glow we talked. Today that young man is an ordained minister. It only took a spark to get that fire going.
Years ago Christy and I watched the movie “10 Items or Less”. Morgan Freeman played an actor considering making a small independent film. He stopped at a small market, and was fascinated with one of the checkers, Scarlet (Paz Vega). She was a young woman from Spain. She hated her job and longed for an opportunity to break free. Morgan encouraged her to have confidence in herself and she encouraged him to commit. This film shared the message that human contact, however brief, can change people forever, and I agree.
Our lives and our world are constantly changed one person at a time, either for good or bad. I think it’s a God thing. The spark of two lives connecting can ignite dreams and shape destinies. Think about the people that influence and shape our lives. Like sparks ignite a fire, God uses human contacts to work miracles of change in our world. None of us would be who we are without the loving and caring people we have encountered.
Who knows what our smile, our words of encouragement, or our listening ear will do for the next person we meet. My prayer is that we each will make our contacts count and touch lives for Christ. We can be the spark!
I challenge us to watch for those contacts and intentionally witness the love and power of Christ to each person we meet. Never take any human contact for granted. We are the body of Christ and God’s instruments of grace for the world today. Our witness can and will make a difference!
St. Francis of Assisi said it well, “Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words.” Be the spark! I will see you in church, and remember, God loves us more than we can ever imagine, and I love you too.