Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Taking a Walk in the Woods with Jesus

When I was in high school and a freshman in college, I worked at Camp BaYouCa, a wonderful Christian camp on 80 acres in upstate New York. It was there that I became a Christian. And it was there that the way I think about serving God was indellibly shaped by Russ Warner, the camp director. Boss' way of ministering remains a powerful image in my mind that my congregation knows I refer to often. In addition to his powerful example, there are many of Boss' phrases that have stayed with me. One of them is "You need to take a walk in the woods with Jesus."

I did that often at BaYouCa, down the various trails, each colored-coded so that a hiker wouldn't get lost. Taking a walk in the woods with Jesus was Boss' way of challenging you to calm down, to think, to pray, to ponder life anew in light of God's creation. It always worked wonders in reshaping my perspective.

It is a phrase I have repeated many times. Sometimes I say it to Vanessa because she knows the code. Other times I have used it to joke about how I am struggling and I know it. When I was a senior in college, I wrote "You need to take a walk in the woods with Jesus" on a sermon evaluation in preaching class. The student whose sermon I was evaluating had just preached an entire sermon on an obscure OT passage that I - to this day - believed he had chosen simply so he could repeat the word "Shittim" many times. I don't know if he ended up taking my advice, but he needed to!

Yesterday, I took a walk in the woods with Jesus. My dog was there too (I like her more in the country). I looked at barren trees waving in the wind. I cracked and crunched the frozen creek that runs through the forest (that's what my kids call it). And I thought and prayed and pondered and rested. And it worked wonders in reshaping my perspective.


A said...

How about: "Smoke a cigar on the porch with Jesus"??

I find it has the same affect as a walk in the woods.

klasieprof said...

A friend once hada bunch of cigars from all over the world......and shared with me (ok and several others) a couple 1958 pre Castro Cuban Cigars...and I found it to be quite a religious experience. They were in PERFECT condition...I don't know where they had been kept, but My body would love to live in THAT humidor.

Anonymous said...

How cool is this...I was just browsing to see what my kids were up to on the computer and lo and behold I ran into you...My husband and I both were campers and counselors @ Bayouca where there is always "time and room to grow" I also went to BBC.
Our kids have been campers there for the last 10 yrs. We are just passing down the tradition.
We have been church planters for 6 yrs, in NY. Several other places prior to that.
God Bless,