Homeschool Helpers

Issue 164, October 4, 2010 From Homeschool Helpers In association with Pass It On Ministries
By Dan L. White Subscribe to this free e-newsletter. We had the best camp site in the whole park. We were camped for the Feast of Tabernacles. Christ said not to take the chief seats at the feast, and we didn’t, but we did take the chief camp site. There were 133 camping spots, and even though it was labeled number 29, we got numero uno. Of course, we purposely tried to find the best camp site. State park camping areas are designed for convenience in building, and not for the maximum enjoyment of the campers. What we usually find is that a state park is located in a beautiful area, then the campers are huddled together in something like a softball field, strategically removed from seeing any of the inspiring view, and left only with staring at each other. But this time, in this park, after driving around and viewing them all, we got the best camp site. The park was Starved Rock State Park near Utica, Illinois. Our camp site was on a small gorge, one ridge away from the Illinois River. The gorge did not fall straight down like a cliff, but angled down, very steep but still walk-able to anyone who wanted to wander its depths. The valley was a couple hundred feet deep, totally forested, and turkeys roosted down in the holler and owls hollered from the tops of trees in the moody dark of the night. In the morning, the rising eastern sun hit the ridge between us and the river and the glistening golden sunlight tinged the top of the rise, then slowly slid down the hill until it couldn’t penetrate the thick cover of the trees. Immediately around our camp site were seven marvelous, monstrous maple trees, several feet through at the base. Three of them had double forks, making it like ten big maples in all. In the middle of the maples rose one lone

oak, bigger at the butt than the maples, and even taller at the tip top, as it tried to make up in grandeur what it lacked in numbers. You know how oaks are. Farther down, the ground was speckled with smaller, young maples, patiently waiting their turn to be huge and magnificent around our little camp site. Sorry, fellows; you’ll just have to wait. Our hushed blue and gray tent was tucked under all of this, quietly snuggled in only twelve feet from the edge of the gorge. When we arrived, all of the trees were all green. But that week, while we were camped under them, the maples began to meander along the rainbow. The tops of the trees and the tips of the limbs began to turn, as the leaves morphed to reddish-yellow and yellowish-red. They were all the more radiant in that warm morning sun because most of the leaves still wore their summer green and the early turners got all the glory. An immature walnut tree sat just to the south of the camp, and you realize, I am sure, that walnuts are somewhat pouty and always shed their leaves first. So that walnut tree did not share in the glory, but stood there mostly leafless and somewhat drab, if I may speak frankly. Beside the walnut was a locust tree, pugnaciously prickly with its thorns, and it hadn’t shed or turned its leaves at all, thank you. So if we must have autumn, which always leads directly to winter, then it is good to have maples. And those maples all around us were magnificent and beneficent, and they began to perform their leaf light show during the one week of the year that we were camped under them. The Feast of Tabernacles services were enjoyable. We heard a message on how Satan traps us. He is not all-powerful as God is, yet he deceives the whole world. How does he do it? We heard a message on the false religion of humanism, two messages in fact, and we could not agree more about the truth of that. We heard a message on the new heavens and the new earth, when God the Father comes to claim His own and we hope to be on His claim check. After the services, many people lingered long to fraternize and fellowship and some to just plain talk with each other. Several went out to lunch together, to partake of repartee and repast. But me – am I rude or reclusive? I wondered that every day as we wandered out of the meeting hall, not immediately but soon after services. We drove back to the park and we ate a quick lunch, nothing elaborate, just edible. Then we pulled our folding lawn chairs over to the edge of the gorge, got out our Bibles and notebooks, plopped ourselves down and feasted. If during our everyday lives we only have one hour to spend this way, then at the Feast week we can double that.

That's what it’s for. We had two types of religious services at the Feast, one within the building and one without. In the latter service, the gorge was our altar, the maples were our choir, and with His word, God Himself was the preacher. As I said, we had the best camp site in the whole park. To God be the praise.

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