It's summertime, and the sun has slipped behind the mountains, bathing the lake in orange as it set. The sky is turning a deep blue now, and campers are making their way up the path to the campfire, their feet crunching the dry gravel beneath them. Their voices are hushed after a twilight discussion, the shouts of the day's activities now subdued and calmed.
Two trees mark the entrance to the campfire area. Rows of rough benches - nothing more than heavy planks on wooden supports - are arranged in a semi circle around this sacred place. Moss-covered boulders, ferns, and scraggly trees rise up the side of the mountain behind them, while the patio lights of the cabins further up the hill pierce through the dark branches. There is a fence closing off the open side of the semi-circle - tall wooden boards painted green, all different lengths, their pointed tops drawing your eyes skyward. Perhaps they were intended to look like the evergreens that surround them. Perhaps they are a reminder to just look up.
Those who like the heat of the fire sit up front, while others scurry to the back row or make sure to sit beside their new-found friend or favourite counsellor. Near or far, everybody is mesmerized by the flames at some point, staring into the blazing, dancing, brightness; lost in the worship, lost in the story, lost in their own thoughts.
As the campfire flickers it sends sparks soaring upwards. My eyes follow them until they disappear, but by then it is not the sparks that have my attention. I crane my neck upwards and stare at the towering trees that surround this little circle of heaven. There is an open patch of now-dark sky directly above the flames. A handful of stars are visible in the opening, and I am in awe.
This is a cathedral. This is where God dwells, where he draws near, where his presence is felt. This is where lives are changed.
This is where my life was changed, over and over again. This is my "God place."