Kamp Kaleo Experience

Kamp Kaleo,

You have renewed my spirit. Through sweat, exhaustion, and the sweltering Nebraskan summer heat, there was laughter, fun, kindness, generosity, and a whole lotta love. My heart moved into this week heavy knowing I must be present with these young folks while simultaneously processing the grief and mourning I hold for the lost lives in Orlando. Yet I could not have hoped for a better place to mourn than Kamp Kaleo.

Photo courtesy of Holly Gage-Hennecke

Photo courtesy of Holly Gage-Hennecke

As a peace intern, it is hard to talk about justice in the abstract. What is true justice? How do we accomplish it? Who holds the elusive knowledge of absolute justice? How does anyone teach justice in the abstract? Yet these campers have shown that when our hearts open, the deep mysteries become less mysterious. Mourning the tragic loss of life didn’t limit itself only to the victims but expanded to include the one responsible with prayers of healing for all.

Day one at Kamp Kaleo showed me a spirit in Nebraska that makes my heart smile. As a peace intern traveling from a land far far away, every camp becomes a place where we are welcomed as strangers in a new land. As part of my workshop this week, I taught on the passage of Sodom and Gomorrah and spoke about how hospitality really seems to be the key to understanding such a complicated text. Hospitality to strangers resounds like a guiding bell through the fog of the Torah, yet it is so easy to have lost a sense of just what hospitality means.

Hospitality – opening the arms wide open. Making strangers family. Welcoming those wholly different as your own. The only condition of welcome being the lack of preconditions. Yes!

As I look to tomorrow and my next camp where I will be a complete stranger, I depend once again on hospitality. It is with both faith and hope that I imagine those open arms to be there, and with eagerness that I look forward to knowing a new community. As I look forward, I take with me an awesome experience from Kamp Kaleo.

Much love, Kamp Kaleo!
Matthew

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