Monday, August 01, 2005

Eschatological Camping

This past weekend was the annual church camp-out. My own kids look forward to this all year--and I usually enjoy it myself. (This is somewhat surprising given that my family of origin was highly camping-impaired.)

This year we went to a state park on a large lake. In Oregon, if you are under 13 you don't need a fishing license, so the younger kids took advantage of this in a big way. They fished and fished and fished. They caught dozens of four inch perch which were duly admired and released. They narrowly missed hooking each other with wild casts. They discussed various worm cutting techniques. One kid fell off the dock and into the lake--high drama, no injuries. Their sunscreen wore off and their ears turned pink. They quarreled over whose turn it was to use the "good" pole. They learned to sit and wait for a tug on the line instead of reeling the hook in every twenty seconds.

Finally it got dark and thoughts turned to s'mores. My son sat by our campfire, his marshmallow roasting fork extended over the hot coals.

"You know," he remarked. "This is a lot like fishing."

Long thoughtful pause.

"But this is easier, because you're waiting for something you've already caught."

Now--here's my question for all of you: Is Christian hope more like fishing or marshmallow roasting?

9 comments:

Gord said...

I suspect that it is a little of both at times. Sometimes I am sure I have to go and find/catch hope. Sometimes I have to wait for the hope to be finished cooking. Really I think that the best metaphor is pregnancy, where we wait for a birth but not knowing what exactly will be born -- at least when roasting marshmallows we have a good sense of what will happen.

Then again, much like the marshmallow, hope cannot be forced. If you try to rush the marshmallow you will turn it into charcoal, try to rush hope and what do you get? I am not sure.

St. Casserole said...

Great question. I'm with gord that the answer is that hope is a bit like each.
Could you email me at revlapin@aol.com? Thanks!

the reverend mommy said...

Good question!

I like what Gord said as well -- I really like the pregnancy metaphor.

You have given me something to contemplate tonight....

Songbird said...

What a lovely and thought-provoking question, as is its amplification by Gord.

Kathryn said...

I hate to complicate things, but whenever I try to toast marshmallows, what happens is that the whole things sludges into a sticky mess that ends up mingled with the cinders...so I'd prefer something a little more controlable as my metaphor. Fruit ripening, maybe??

PPB said...

I think you have a future pastor on your hands.

Friday Mom said...

Great question! Much to ponder....

reverendmother said...

Mmm... roasted marshmallows... [drool]

Sorry, just having a pregnancy moment.

reverendmother said...

OK, I've recovered.

As a Presbyterian kinda gal and big fat fan of Karl Barth, and with the awareness that analogies are always imperfect, I would nonetheless lean towards the marshmallow analogy as both delicious and Reformed. :-) Our hope is in the grace of Jesus Christ and what has already been done for us. Barth used the analogy of light and dark. God doesn't flick on the light switch so we can suddenly see; God allows us to open our eyes so we can see the light that *already* is. In other words, the fish are already in the boat; the marshmallow's on the stick.

One thing is clear; you do have quite the PK there.