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The ground is cold and rocky. My comfort-max sleeping bag is bringing no relief. But the pain I will endure tomorrow morning, does not matter. The nearly seventy middle schoolers and twenty other volunteer leaders, spread across the hill at Camp Manidokan in Knoxville, Maryland are silent. Perhaps sleeping, perhaps in awe. How could they not be in awe?
The heavy sound of breathing fills my ears, but I can’t close my eyes. The remote camp provides darkness, a clarity of the heavens that can only be achieved away from the lights of the city. As I lay flat on my back, I am in awe at the heavens unfolding before me.
It looks fake. Like something you would see in a movie. There is no way that this is real. The beauty of infinity. The majesty of the heavens. The greatness of our God.
And there it is. The reality, the truth that speaks to my soul. This is not all by accident.
Why do I believe in God?
How can I not? There is too much detail, too much creativity, too much love, too much majesty for all of this to be an accident.
I see it in the majesty of the night sky. How great is our God?
I see it in the beauty and innocence of my two daughters. How great is our God?
I see it in the kindness of a kid in my youth group, raking leaves and mowing the lawn of one of the church saints. How great is our God?
I see it in the generosity of a stranger, sharing a meal with a man she just met who finds a place to sleep on the streets. How great is our God?
I see it in the hope of heaven, as a grieving widow offers peace to those who walk the same grief path. How great is our God?
There, laying on campfire hill, staring at the majesty of God’s creation, there is no denying it. How great is our God!
And then the giggles come.
They always come at the most inopportune moments. And tonight is no different. All the teenagers are asleep. The volunteers are asleep. Tomorrow is going to be a full day at summer camp as we witness the love and grace of God. But here in this moment, I can’t help it.
How great is our God? And I giggle. As if the heavens and I have some sort of secret. And then the giggle moves to my belly and I am laughing out loud.
Teenagers are stirring. Adults are sitting up staring the darkness. My husband – who is used to this kind of shenanigans – hits me with a pillow. The camp staff starts yelling.
But I can’t help it.
The laughter has become contagious and now they are singing with me… How great is our God?
Rev. Katie Bishop – Katie Bishop is wife to Chris, mom to Eden and Bethany, and pastor to the amazing community of faith that is New Hope United Methodist in Brunswick, Maryland.