I’ve just returned from Ebert Ranch Camp, Harper TX. I spent the week working horses with Wrangler Kaitlyn and her assistant Blythe, and my assistants (smile) Pr. Mark and youth director Thane. I hung out with our youth, did devotions with the staff, played guitar at worship and learned to line dance, even though my line was squiggly. I always come away from camp inspired and more hopeful for God’s “kingdom come” on earth. I spent three summers as a camp counselor in the mid 70’s sharing the love of Jesus in quiet and not so quiet ways and I realize in 2012 not much has changed. The young people I met this week are a lot like the young person I was and (when they remind me) still am. Idealistic? Yes, of course, that is the nature of youthfulness. But it is idealism with legs. While laughing and flipping fiesta pancakes (red, green and plain pancake color) Blythe can talk about what it means to be a Christian today. “It means on a Wednesday morning you go to a shelter to serve breakfast to the homeless. It’s about what you do.” But they are not naïve. They understand the difficulty of what God has called them to because they live it. And so they are dedicated to the craft (even if they wouldn’t call it that). All week long they smile and sing and share and even if their life inside or outside of camp is anything but joyful they get campers to smile and sing and share and do silly things so that Jesus is more present. And the campers coming with hope and fear, (whose life might not be so joyful either) are transformed to be like the counselors they see and experience, who love Jesus in silly and very, very serious ways. I remember my summers of serving and guess it’s not that different today. The staff is able to do what they do because they know when the campers go home and the staff is alone together they can weep or chill or vent or sleep but by Sunday afternoon regroup because the campers who are coming haven’t been there all summer and count on their one week at Ebert to be the best ever. The staff does it because they love Jesus and love does not count the cost even if the cost is a cross. So you who read this pray for these young women and men and rejoice in the gift they are and give glory to God that the faith that inspires them to such sacrifice will guarantee that the future day of peace and joy and love has been made known in the here and now by their selfless and valiant service to youth and an (older) pastor who was touched and transformed by the kingdom come.