Soft beams of light shoot skyward while arcing back and forth across the star studded canopy. As the beams rhythmically pulse through the air, they occasionally dip toward the main stage looming noticeably in the foreground. The stage is lit with soft blues and purples, accentuating the Babylonian wall décor and stately pillars. All around me is space, tons of space. A wide open field. Semi trailers line the edges. Lights are scattered throughout. Huge speaker and jumbotron screen towers break the flat expanse. An enormous steel island with stage lights and cameras and sound equipment stands near the front. And there, right in the heart of this mammoth cluster of electronics and technology, sits a large group of people, quietly singing as they bring in the Sabbath.
It’s the Friday evening before the 2014 Forever Faithful International Pathfinder Camporee. Over two-hundred people; camp staff, Pathfinders, youth leaders, volunteers, professionals; have gathered together to dedicate the stage, the camporee, and everything/everyone involved with Oshkosh to the Lord’s service. Earnest prayers are sent heavenward, asking that God pour out His blessings on the forthcoming camporee.
It’s becoming a reality. When I first received the email saying that I had been cast to play a role in the Daniel story during the Oshkosh Pathfinder camporee, I had no idea what to expect. I have never been a Pathfinder and had only heard second hand about the wonders of Oshkosh. However, I knew that the Lord had called me to be a part of the acting team, and I was willing and excited to see what He had in store.
About three weeks ago, I found myself on the beautiful campus of Andrew’s University beginning rehearsals for the Daniel story. I met with all the actors and we excitedly began to rehearse our lines and figure out our blocking, all under the skillful direction of Sean Dale, our play director. To condense the past three weeks into just a few sentences is literally impossible. All I can say is that the Lord blessed immensely. We spent long days practicing our scenes, going over and over the various acts until we could perform them in our sleep. Almost… We practiced together, ate together, played together, slept together; becoming a unified team of actors supporting each other through the long and trying hours of rehearsal.
And now we’re here at Oshkosh. For the first time we as actors are seeing the amount of work that has been put into this production. The mammoth stage is being set up by a crew of skilled workers. The costume people are putting the final touches on our garments. The props crew has been unloading incredible, jaw-dropping prop displays off semi trucks. The AV guys have finished the lighting schemes, setting the lights to just the right angles. The gigantic speaker towers have been set up. And we, the actors, have been swallowed into the entire process. The realization has hit home, this entire production is much bigger than any one of us. And the more we realize just how big it is, the more humbled we are to have a part, no matter how small or large.
No, I don’t play Daniel, but I know who does. I’ve spent the past few weeks working with him, and he’s a pretty awesome guy! When kids find out that I’m part of the Daniel story cast, they always ask if I play Daniel. “No,” I say, “But I know the guy who does! I spent a lot of time with him today.”
As Christians, we’re part of something much larger than ourselves. The body of Christ spreads across continents and oceans, embracing people from all walks of life, all skill levels, all cultures, and all races. We are a part of God’s great last day movement. He’s setting the stage for His grand finale to the great controversy and has called us to tell everyone about His free offer of salvation. No matter what part He has called us to play in His plan, whether big or small, we are vitally important. And whenever we share the story of Jesus with our friends and those we come in contact with, we can finish by saying, “And I know Him personally! I spent a lot of time with Him today.”
Because after all, it’s not what you know that matters so much as Who you know.