There’s nothing like a good Christian camp song. Standing outside with muddy feet and lots of smiles the children raise their voices in song and praise of God; camp songs are the best. One of my recent favorites is “God is Big” by Frank Hernandez (Birdwing Music). The chorus is simple and goes like this:
“God is big,
God is big,
God is very very very very very very Big.”
The two verses are as follows:
“God is bigger than a lion, stretched out from head to tail;
He's bigger than an elephant who's on his tippy toes;
He's bigger than the biggest whales who swim in the biggest seas;
In fact compared to God, they're ever tinier than fleas.
God is bigger than a mountain that seems to touch the sky;
He's bigger than the brightest stars that twinkle every night;
Now think about a hundred billion planets if you will;
The God who made the universe is even bigger still.”
At our camp, participants can see “mountains that touch the sky” and at night can look up to see a “hundred billion planets.” I have found camp to be a great place for one to explore the size and depth of God in creation in collaboration with others; the importance of camp as a group experience cannot be overstated.
A question I ponder is how one can bring the camp experience home. The Saint John’s Chapel program for preschool through second grade is learning “God is Big” and maybe some other camp songs. We’re hoping we can move the camp experience to school.
I have a particular reason why I’d like to move it from camp to school. I think our media outlets portray a small image of God. We see radical groups that claim God to be so small that things outside their narrow theological view are met with violence. At the far end of the spectrum, secular humanism is diminishing, or even dismissing, the sense of any Creator at all. I’d say that God is bigger than both radical Islam and secular humanism. I’d even say that God is bigger than the debate of whether female acolytes can be allowed to serve at the altar, whether lay people can preside at holy communion, and that God is bigger than the anger currently being thrown at the Presbyterian Church.
In seminary, we looked at an interesting question: Can the creation be bigger than the creator? Is Grapes of Wrath bigger than John Steinbeck? Is “Water Lilies” bigger than Claude Monet? Is Symphony No. 5 bigger than Beethoven? Although I believe the internet is bigger than Al Gore, my answer to the question is no. The creation is not bigger than the creator. For as great as Grapes of Wrath is, Steinbeck is bigger, more complex, than his novel. Likewise, Monet is bigger than his collection of paintings because the paintings did not paint themselves. Likewise, when it comes to God, we concluded that God is bigger than God’s creation. Bigger than an elephant on its tippy toes or the furthest away particle in the universe, God is big.
Very very very very very very big.