Welcome to Camp Nazareth

Welcome to Camp Nazareth
Welcome to Camp Nazareth! This online journal is the official journal of Camp Nazareth Conference and Retreat Center. Over the years, many memories have been made here. Through this journal we hope to share with you the many wonderful moments from the many years at camp!

Friday, September 25, 2015

If love never fails, then love thy neighbor!

One of my favorite things our Lord says in the scriptures is, “A new Commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you. By this all will know you are my disciples, if you have love for each other.” It’s so simple and yet so powerful. There are no stipulations or regulations on who to love and how to love them. Christ instructs us to love, unconditionally, every person we know and do not know. This is in huge contrast to the way our world and society view things. In our world there are always exceptions, there are always stipulations and there are always regulations. It almost doesn’t seem fair. There’s this attitude in our world of entitlement, materialism, and only showing respect to get respect. In our world, respect isn’t something to be earned, it’s something to be demanded. Does this reflect the love of Jesus Christ?
Reflecting on what it means to “love one another,” I considered the world we live in. We live in a world separated by skin color, by gender, by religion, by politics, and so on. I thought to myself, “Wow. Humans hate humans for being different. So much so, that they will go to war.” It’s a harsh reality, far from the “Love one another” message of Christ.

I then considered the world of Camp Nazareth. I considered how diverse the camp is in regard to campers. Everyone comes from a different place, a different situation, and has a different story. While everyone is an Orthodox Christian, being Orthodox doesn’t magically make everyone friends. But somehow, in a beautiful way, the message of “Love one another” shines through at Camp. It’s quite remarkable. The kids come to camp and love each other, friends and strangers alike. The kids come and get their spiritual and emotional batteries charged, in order to go back into the world and function as servants of God. They leave Camp with a radiance of peace and love, the kind of peace and love the world needs.

We’re at a point in time where we must nurture the natural desire to love each other without exception. Love includes the support of our fellow man, the encouragement, the willingness to help a stranger, the ability to prevent something that is harmful to someone, the openness to sit and listen to someone who needs to talk. The love that smiles at a stranger on the street, and gives the beggar something to eat; we must foster the love that forgives those who have hurt us, and ask forgiveness to those we have hurt. While The Beatles were no theologians, I think they got it right when they would sing “All you need is love,” because the scripture reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:8, “Love never fails.”

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