The sun began its decent over the amber field, its rays shimmering on the long blades of grass. How at peace I felt with the soft guitar music accompanied by
our singing, and the readings from the bible. “. . . He it is who make the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses . . .(Psalm 135: 7)” These words felt so true and meaningful as they resounded through us while we surveyed the rolling landscape, dotted sparsely with trees. Yes, only He could make something as beautiful as this.
We had started our retreat by driving through rural N.C. to arrive at Keith Clement’s Farm. Mr. Clement welcomed us with warm hospitality and helped start our amazing youth retreat. After setting up tents and taking a nature hike, we all walked over to a hillock overlooking a vast field. We stood up there together singing, praying, reading, and having fun. We read many passages such as Psalm 134-135 & John 16:1-15, which were very inspiring, until the sun was finally engulfed by the horizon. We walked back to the camp and finished up with cooking hotdogs and playing Grog (a very fun, yet terrifying game).
The next morning was interesting as we all attempted to fry eggs on a skillet over a camp fire. This resulted with the same amount of food dropped in the campfire as there was in our stomachs, but it was fun. After breakfast we returned to the field and recited the morning prayer from the BCP and read the liturgy for that Saturday. After singing, praying, and reading some more, we had Story Time. A bible story was told to us orally, the story of when Jesus went to the town where he would one day feed the 5,000 and sent many demons out of this one man and into the pigs, because that one man was more important than the pigs. But this was different than how the villagers saw it. The villagers couldn’t understand why or how their pigs had drowned themselves or why Jesus would even save that man, so Jesus was sent away. Later, though, Jesus would return to feed the 5,000. The way the story was told made us see this story – that we had heard so often – from a different point of view. To wrap up our stay, we decided to take a nature hike and talk about what we’d learned.
As the dust was kicked up by the spinning wheels, I took a last glimpse at that field. I’ll always remember that sunset that we all watched together; my friends, God, and I.
Samantha Armistead is an 8th grader and a member of ASC. She often serves as an acolyte is is very involved in youth group.