“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Psalms 8:3).
Like this Psalmist, I often think about the creation of the moon and the stars when I go out backpacking. I like to watch the mountain goats and the deer as they feed, with ears perked up listening for danger. We experience a closer connection to heaven when we go out in nature and observe life.
Mac McIntire, recently wrote on how the BSA connects youth to heaven. He elaborated on this idea of camping as a spiritual experience that connects us to a higher power. By observing nature, we can come to better understand spiritual things. Mac explains, “Being out under the heavens—the stars, the sky, sunsets and sunrises—can be an awesome, emotional experience that causes a boy to feel God’s presence.”
He further explains how Scouting experiences in nature can be life changing for some boys, in a spiritual way. He says, “Private, reflective, spiritual moments in the woods, out in the desert, or on a mountain top have turned many of God’s children from a world of sin to a life of service”. Experiences like these out on camping trips can be just what a Scout needs during his difficult teenage years.
Camping makes me feel relaxed and reflective on life. Perhaps, it’s the fact that camping usually includes leaving distractions at home like cell phones, internet, and TV. I think that is a huge part of it, but I also think it is being closer to the earth. You’re closer to the animals, the plants, the rivers, and the trees, all of which are God’s creation. Often, I marvel at the beauty of the landscapes, and think about how it could have been created so beautifully. Surely, an artist must have created such a beautiful earth as ours.
As Scouts or Scout leaders, we can do our Duty to God by taking time to reflect when camping. By looking around us and observing nature, we can see God’s hand in the earth’s creation. So next time you go on that backpacking trip and look up at the stars at night, take time to reflect on where we fit in the universe.
Find Mac McIntire’s full article on connecting youth to the heavens here. He is President of Innovative Management Group, a Las Vegas-based training and consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, leadership and organizational development, performance management, quality improvement, customer service, and teamwork. He is a long-time Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program.