There are many "sounds of camp," and one of the most special occurs Friday afternoon right before closing. Campers climb the hill singing loudly and proudly songs that they have come to love over their week at Heartland. As a former camper and current staff member, here are some my favorite camp songs and what they have taught me about our awesome God.
King Jesus is All
It just felt right to start with this song because it is definitely my favorite fast-paced camp song that we have around Heartland. What I feel like I’ve learned in the number of times I have sang this song is just to PRAISE. This song always leads me to loud, joyful praise of our Lord! It’s taught me to celebrate that Jesus is King! And to shout it with a smile, a clap and a dance.
My God is SO Big
The title says it all! This is a song that younger campers love a lot. It brings such joy to see them sing about a God that is big, strong and mighty. It often shows me how God wants to protect us all: you, me and all of our amazing campers. Also, nothing is better than watching everyone pair up to do "giant version."
Light the Fire
This song has consistently made the Holy Spirit alive in me. In my eyes, few things are more beautiful than a group of campers connecting to layer their voices with “So light the fire/Light the fire, in my soul/in my weary soul.” Often, people say they love camp because it is a place that they can see God more clearly. I have sang this song at vespers with tears in my eyes, because I was able to feel God so closely.
How cool is it that campers always want to sing this song together? It's slow and it's beautiful, it brings peace to any group it is sung by. Doesn't seem like something that may be desired by a large group of fun-loving young campers, but that's how it has taught me so much about our Lord. It has shown me that God desires us and wants us to experience that desire as well. Watching campers get so excited that before we even start singing they are whispering, "Can we sing 'Sanctuary' tonight?" is such an example of how when we have experienced God's nearness. We can't help but want more of that!
Now this may not seem to be a song that would really teach a lesson in faith. It is mostly about silly characters getting themselves into ridiculous predicaments. However, I remember this song pushing me out of my comfort zone. I was a scared, new camp counselor and incredibly self-conscious that I was going to “mess up.” I just remember my campers wanting to sing Tarzan so badly, but I wasn’t sure if I remembered all the words or if I sang it as “cool” as the other counselors did. Finally, walking down hungry hill I just went for it and loudly led the chants of “TAAAAR-ZAN!” Maybe I stumbled and maybe I had to ask for help from a camper or two, but isn’t that just great? God calls us out of our comfort zone, to enjoy this life with those around us and sometimes to ask for help without feeling judged. Who knew such a silly song could mean so much?
I Love You, Lord
This song will forever hold a special place in my heart, because it definitely has taken on a sort of anthem-like quality for Heartland summer staff. At the end of each week, after our closing discussions and meeting, we always sing this song after our group prayer. Wow. Some weeks I really needed this song to make me feel at home with our Lord. No matter what kind of week it was: a difficult one; an “easy” one; one that was all a blur; we were always able to regroup and join together for the “oh my soul rejoice.” Singing this song has always been a musical representation of what a Christian community can be, so many different voices blending together perfectly to tell God "I love you."
Written by: Shelby Voigt