"As my husband and I prepared to attend Michigan Presbyterian Pilgrimage #5 (MPP#5) I told our daughter in Louisville, KY that we had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into and that we had no clue what we were going to be doing. All we knew was that we would be going to Camp Henry at Newaygo, MI for a long-weekend retreat. Following are some thoughts I would like to share with you about MPP #5.
After a dinner where we were first introduced to Pilgrimage, our next stop was Camp Henry and we were met in the lodge by a circle of happy, smiling people all waiting to greet us by name with a hug or a handshake. The thought went through my mind that these people were way too happy!
As the evening progressed, we each gave our name and why we came to MPP#5. We were soon told that we were not at MPP#5 because someone twisted our arm, or that we ran out of excuses why we couldn't come, or even that we chose to come. We were at MPP#5 because GOD chose US to come! Imagine....GOD chose ME!
Later, during communion by intinction in the chapel, the pastor poured the wine too quickly and it splashed right on out the other side of the chalice and onto the floor. As the bread and wine were passed I happened to look down at the mess on the concrete floor. Suddenly I realized that our Lord's blood really was shed for ME....it's shed right there on the floor in front of me!
Fast forward now to Sunday evening! It's been an exciting and busy three days with lots of talks and conversations and lots of new friends, but the best was yet to come! MMP#5 ended on an unbelievably high note and we all returned to our homes and the comfort of our own beds to reflect on the weekend! We had been told that when we left Camp Henry the world would be the same but that we would be different. It was only two days later when I found that statement to be true.
On Tuesday morning I stepped into the bathtub for my morning shower. I washed my hair and grabbed my scrunchie and the shower gel and put my normal three dollops of gel onto the scrunchie. I looked at it as I held it in my hand and the thought crossed my mind that our faith is just like those three dollops of shower gel....if we don't show our faith it just sort of sets there and does nothing. But when we squeeze that scrunchie the soap bubbles up and the more we squeeze the more bubbles we have. If we massage our faith it too suddenly bubbles up and just as we put that scrunchie to work on our body and the bubbles grow even bigger and stronger so too does our faith grow bigger and stronger when we put it to work in our lives! Now as I stood there in the shower-soaking wet it came to me that all these thoughts about shower gel on a scrunchie and my faith almost could be made into a story! "Whoa, God, what are you doing to me...I'm not a writer or a storyteller. I don't have a way with words... I don't like to get speak in front of people! What are you planning for me now?" But I hurriedly dried off and wrapped my towel around me and went out to the computer and put my idea down....you know that things may only orbit once and be gone forever if we don't write them down!
"God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus." (Max Lucado) I'll be at MPP#6 in November as a part of the team...I hope to see you there! God loves you and so do I!"
Carol Ann Pattengale