What do you imagine when you talk about heaven? Do you think of playing your favorite sport without tiring? Playing a golden harp while sitting on a cloud? Spending time with loved ones who have passed? The Bible gives us specific distinctions between heaven and this earth, but the lack of specifics leaves us pondering. During the 2017 RPCI Senior Camp at the Royal School in Armagh, Northern Ireland, Pastor Nathan Hawthorne expanded upon the subject of heaven for young adults aged 16 years and up. Hawthorne, the head pastor at Ballyclare RPC, left campers with one overall thought on heaven: that it is engulfed in the complete and perfect glory of God that is simply unimaginable.
Pastor Hawthorne gave a series of six talks ranging from the people in heaven to omissions from heaven. God’s word was powerfully delivered mostly from the Book of Revelation, which reveals to us the glory and wonder of heaven through the presence, worship, and praise of Christ Jesus. Daily discussion groups helped to review talks as well as bring further questions and opinions to the table. Whether it was your first year at Senior Camp, you were a leading officer in your 15th year, or coordinating it so gracefully as John and Kerry Cubitt did, the subject of heaven offered both a hopeful encouragement and a convicting message of motivation and evangelism.
As many hope for recreation in heaven, there was surely no shortage of it this year. Throughout the week, campers enjoyed hours of various sports including rugby, ultimate frisbee, football, and volleyball. Monday Madness offered slippery, messy, and soaking games involving cream, water guns, Twister with paint, and porridge—yes, all covering campers from head to toe. “Senior Camp at the Movies” allowed for competition in ten rounds of various physical and mental contests, a concert night gave skilled campers the chance to show off their talents through music and comedy, and a day outside provided great weather for inflatable games and bubble balls. Ziplining, banana boating, and orienteering ensued on a trip to the east coast. The week concluded with a Friday night party.
Amid the various activities that left many campers dragging themselves to breakfast as the week progressed, they found new encouragement every morning in fellowship, meals, and singing Psalms. If there is no recreation in heaven, perhaps the time spent together in Christ represents a small glimpse into its spectacular wonder. Pastor Hawthorne taught boldly to put to rest misconceptions we have about heaven and to preach the true way to witness it—by having faith in Jesus. As Rev Hawthorne puts it, if praising God is something in which you take delight, continue to bear the burdens of this world as one ounce of heaven will surpass any and all suffering you endure. RPCI Senior Camp 2017 reached many hearts and minds this year with such an important topic. Pray that the message of heaven sticks and that these young camp goers will delight more and more in glorifying the Almighty God!