This theme song from the great American sit-com Cheers is more than an opening for a TV show. It is an expression for a nation overworked and undernourished by the food of community life. We all long for a place to rest where the familiar faces and time-honored routine settles around us like a warm, inviting bear hug. We long for such an experience and expect to find it in places like the church, but all too often our local church suffers from the same coldness and isolation as the world.
But this weekend, our family went to a place where people not only knew our name but responded to our presence in the common love of Christ’s great community. The Winter Family Camp in Contoocook, NH is in its 4th year running, and we have gone to all but one of those four gatherings. Thank God for Christian camping and for all that that it teaches about withdrawal from the world (ipods and other electronic devices strongly discouraged) and engagement with other people (churches gathered from all over New England, from many different ethnic backgrounds).
It would honestly be enough if someone just cooked all our meals for the weekend and gave us a place to sleep for the weekend. But on top of this glorious benefit is piled great programs for kids, inspiring talks for the adults, and a strong sense that camp itself is a larger family composed of smaller families that compromise it. And that’s why we are always glad we came!