The theme at Camp Deer Run in the summer of 2015 was Live Like Jesus. In a way, living like Jesus is the underlying idea of every theme that Camp has ever had. Did Jesus unplug from the chaos of this world? You bet. The time Jesus set aside each day to consecrate himself and receive counsel from his father was never compromised. Did he bring the good news? Did he shine the light? Non-stop. When he wasn’t unplugging to seek God, Jesus’ time was spent sharing the truth with everyone who would listen and leading his followers to do the same. Any other theme I could name here, Jesus embodied in his life.
Being a very simple theme, it was not difficult to communicate the ideas of living like Jesus to campers. But the beauty of such a theme, one so broad and unrestricted, was that it gave staff members a special opportunity to use their lives and past experiences as a tool for teaching more than ever before. What it looked like to Live Like Jesus was unique to each counselor and to each kid. Each individual naturally highlighted in their own mind those characteristics of the King that personally captured the theme of “Live Like Jesus”. It was the privilege of the counselors to emphasize the aspects of Living Like Jesus that meant most to them.
As a young man who was, and is still, obsessed with rebellions, revolutions, and wars (in the name of a good cause mind you), I involuntarily centered more on the aspects of the life of Christ that supported that trend. To me, living like Jesus means to live boldly and fearlessly, proclaiming the truth and freeing people from oppression. This, in a nutshell, was Jesus’ work on earth.
Jesus proclaimed the truth because he was the truth, the way, and the life. He knew that no one could be saved unless they believed in the truth, so he spread it with every breath he took, and excluded no one. He did not fear the repercussions of his actions because their magnitude paled in comparison to the power his Holy Father. The inhabitants of earth could kill his body, but they couldn’t touch his spirit. He was not afraid because he knew there was nothing to fear.
By his acts, Jesus freed the lost and the weak from their disarray and oppression. Jesus loved the people that everyone else considered unclean, unworthy, and sinful, with reckless abandon. Knowing full well the scrutiny that would rise against him, he engaged with them to liberate them from their slavery to sin. The adulteress, the leper, the Samaritan woman, and the demon-possessed man are a few that come to mind.
Jesus fully surrendered himself to God the father, knowing that his life was not his own. As a result, the brief life he lived was given to the best cause, his cause – Salvation. Talk about a revolution. This one has far outlasted them all.
“Live Like Jesus” struck my heart and mind in the form of Jesus the rescuer, the liberator, the life-saver. It excited me to work toward exemplifying those qualities in my own life. It others on staff as Jesus the lover, the patient one, the forgiver, the eternal friend. As the CDR staff in 2015, we expressed to our beloved campers that living like Jesus was all of those things mentioned and so many more. That is the case when you serve a God with an immaculate son who is all things to all people.
Identify how you are struck when you first think of “Live Like Jesus”. Then give yourself over in deed and prayer to manifesting that in your own life. Embrace the difficulty that comes with trying to imitate a perfect being both man and God. Keep at it with a strong and relentless spirit, for we know an unimaginable reward has been prepared for all those who fight the good fight.