4 August 2019 | Ardingly, UK [Victor Hulbert]
Celebrating Sabbath at the Trans-European Division Pathfinder Camporee
It is hard to feel hungry at the TED Pathfinder Camporee since the volunteers at the food distribution centre work tirelessly to supply the needs of 4,000 campers with wholesome vegetarian fare. Yet Friday evening, Melissa Myklebust, the animated youth pastor from Norway, walked through the auditorium clutching her stomach and complaining of hunger pangs.
All became clear as she gradually moved the youth away from thoughts of the ‘plenty’ in Egypt to trust in God and the timely provision of manna to His people. Appropriately at that moment ‘manna’ started flying over the back of the stage, covering the floor with a white layer. Hundreds of pre-prepared packs of ‘manna’ were on the front of the stage as a gift to campers who, this week, have been learning the lessons of Israel from their Exodus experience.
They learnt another, moving lesson of Israel Friday evening as worship moved towards sunset. Israeli Pathfinders are invited guests at the camporee and as the sun dropped low in the sky outside, the Israeli club came onto the platform. Two special, oil filled torches were lit, a blessing in Hebrew was read and traditional Hebrew songs were sung to welcome in the Sabbath.
Sabbath means rest, and after a good night in warm, dry weather, Pathfinders woke up to a bright, sunny day. Dressed in their smart uniforms the entire site then joined in a drum parade, circling the whole camp and then headed into the hall for a moving worship experience. This climaxed in the baptism of 12 Pathfinders – including one who made their decision at a previous camporee but who found Pathfinders so important that he waited to be baptised at this one. Another girl shared that she had been following Jesus but now wanted to make a full, public commitment, dedicating her entire life to him. Each of the 12 had a story to tell. Each story was moving.
Linking baptism and the Red Sea experience together, the entire camp then left the auditorium through a giant barn door whose entrance was surrounded by a sea of blue and white balloons. These represented the parting of the Red Sea and, for some, was equally as moving as the baptism.
“I am still going like ‘waaaww, at this,” enthused Isah Nkomo-Nyathi. “What an illustration of crossing the Red Sea! Amazing, so amazing.”
The Swedish camp hosted a variety of Sabbath afternoon activities with options for puzzles, art and secret runners. The evening climaxed with the most vibrant singing of the whole week – including a double rendition of the theme song as its composer, 14-year-old Elijah Evans was publicly acknowledged by the praise team. [Read and watch more here.]
What followed was a spectacularly clear explanation of the sanctuary as Pastor Melissa showed how each of the symbols pointed to Christ and touched an aspect of their own Christian experience, whether forgiveness, baptism, witnessing, faithfulness or prayer.
In a practical exercise, tabernacle stations were set up along the walls where Pathfinders placed heart stickers on the part of the sanctuary that was touching their lives at this time. “The message was spot on – right on target,” stated on of the leaders from the Welsh Club.
Many Pathfinders had taken the opportunity to visit a walk-in model of the tabernacle during activity periods, including Sabbath afternoon. As the sun set Sabbath evening, it was yet another opportunity to reflect on trust, on God’s goodness, and on his desire to be our forever friend.
A selection of photos from Sabbath worship can be seen on the TED Facebook page.
tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
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