Growing Faith

Play as Sabbath

By Stacie Hoppman February 7, 2024

If there’s one thing that we are not particularly good at in our culture, it is rest. We value work and busyness, productivity and results. We praise employees who put in long hours, celebrate students who spend their school years studying, and value hard work and perseverance. While hard work is important, God also told us that rest is equally valuable. In fact, sabbath rest is a command from God. It took God six days to create the world, and on the seventh day, God rested. Even God spent time enjoying and delighting in the world, not simply working.

Over the years, many people began to view the concept of sabbath with a more legalistic view. Instead of a day to rest and delight and enjoy God and God’s creation, it was a day of restrictions and boundaries. You may not work. You may not have fun. You may not do anything. Sabbath became associated with boredom and rote obedience.

However, if many of us are honest, our souls crave sabbath the way God intended. We long for good rest and the chance to enjoy life and our world without expectations or agendas. Camp is its own expression of sabbath, a place where people come to escape the pressure and routine of life and simply be. Just like God took a day to sit back, look at creation, and delight in its goodness, so we want to spend time enjoying our world, our friends, and the God who created it all.

At camp, we see that God can be playful, creative, and whimsical. Pastor Peter Scazzero writes, “There is a playful extravagance built into God’s creation—an over abundance of seeds is produced that will never germinate, leaves on trees turn brilliant colors in autumn whether or not anyone sees them, incredible species of fish swim hidden from human sight in the deeps of the ocean, and every flower remains beautiful even when no one is looking. All of it is there to be enjoyed.” Just looking at the animals, at the trunk of an elephant or mass of a hippo or long neck of a giraffe, you can see that God has a sense of humor and likes to be playful.

Camp is the chance to delight in the goodness and creativity of God as we play end enjoy the world given to us by our Creator. You see it when retreat groups walk a trail and marvel at the wildlife in the woods, in the kids laughing and muddy in the creek, in the awe of a camper as they wonder at the Milky Way. You see it in the songs and laughter around the campfire, the screams of fear and delight when kids soar down the zip line, and the hush that falls over a group when they encounter a deer hiding in the woods nearby.

Here at Camp Bear Creek, we’re bringing back this idea of play and delight as sabbath. Scazzero writes, “Play is important because it is an indicator that we really do believe that life is more than work. […] When we are playing, we accomplish no pragmatic purpose. We are more relaxed, less uptight, more trusting in God’s sovereignty, and more alert to integrate playfulness into the other six days.”

You’re invited. Come play with us. Come delight in our world. Come enjoy God’s great gifts for us. Let’s sabbath together.