Editor's Note: I'm fully aware of my blog shortcomings of late. I suppose I could apologize, but it's the summer and frankly there's just not a whole lot that's capturing much of my interest (really, the Women's World Cup? I'm supposed to get excited about that?). I was gone all last week to camp anyway, and it's that week that's inspired me to pen what you're about to read (it wouldn't have really worked as a column). Feel free to skip to something else.
There's no such thing as a closing speech for Music & Arts Week, and if there was I'm certainly not the person who would deliver it. This was the fifth time I've been a part of the camp, and it's something that words won't truly capture. It seems like they would ... but somehow they keep falling short.
The theme this time around was a gem: "The Story of Love." Each day's theme touched on an element of story — setting, characters, conflict (things got a tad confusing for a simple mind like mine) — but the overriding theme was love. And that's what made it so great, because, as Christians — whether they be children, teenagers or adults — there's simply nothing we can do that's more important ... than love.
For me, the week was important because it gave me the opportunity to share Christ's love, to the best of my ability. It's very easy to feel unloved in this world; in fact, lots of pretty awful things happen, pretty much daily, that make you wonder whether love even still exists.
And the truth of the matter is, the longer you live, the more of those things you'll see. You'll lose friends, either because of some sort of conflict, or just because they move away. You'll try very hard to reach a goal you really deserve, and fail. And people you love will get sick and die, and that will hurt very much.
I wish I could tell those kids these things won't happen to them. But they will; for some, they probably already have, to some degree.
Which is why love is so important. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that no matter what spiritual gifts a person could receive, none of them mattered without love (1 Corinthians 13). Love, he said, was even greater than faith, or hope (13:13). Jesus Himself told his disciples that, above all else, they would make themselves known as Christians by the way they loved (John 13:34). More than miracles or prophecy, the great love of Christ would mark them to everyone.
And sure, loving people is not easy; I wish I could tell the kids it gets easier as you get older, but that would be the opposite of the truth. In fact, there are multiple people in my own life who have caused me anguish, and only because I've had to search long and hard for a reason to love them.
Which is why Christ's love is so great: He has no reason to love us, and yet, he does just the same. The story of Jesus is not about humanity receiving what it deserved. It's about how the love of God shined in the darkness ... and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:5). If none of the kids who showed up at Music & Arts Week learned anything else, I hope they were reminded about that love, and how awesome it is.
At least, that's what it did for me.