Reflections on a Summer

They would start arriving as early as 7:45, eyes still filled with sleep and hair all akimbo. Sometimes they could only nod to my hearty, “Good morning!” Other times a hug would be proffered. Sometimes a fist-bump. Sometimes a grunt. But come they did.

This was my first summer of camp, a whirling, chaotic time in which we would serve upwards of forty kids as many as three meals a day. Our excellent summer staff helped guide the children through the day. On Mondays and Tuesdays, there were classes on Bible, creativity, and recreation. On Wednesdays, there were classes on gardening, nutrition, and songwriting. That’s where I would come in. I believe that music is perhaps the greatest gift we can give one another; it is the universal language.

Over the course of eight weeks, the kids and I talked about rhythm. I taught them that the most ancient instrument is the drum because it mimics the lub-dub of our heartbeat. As you can see from the picture, I showed them how to read percussion music. And each week, I challenged them, along with their buddies—volunteers who came for a week from Missouri, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio—to write a rap about God, Jesus, creation, church, or community. We learned and shared, and it made my day when a kid would hustle up to me and say, “Pastor Aaron, check out THIS beat!”

I sometimes can feel overwhelmed by the ugliness in the world. I think about kids in cages and the draconian policies that hit first communities like Camp Washington. I think about how much it means to the human person to hear that they are loved, valued, appreciated, capable, and important. I thank God for the opportunity to serve this community, these children, and pray that God’s Spirit move through us so that we may always remember that we are one another’s keepers.

Rev. Aaron Maurice Saari