Focus on Faith

Phil Collins

School’s out and while we celebrate our students’ achievements, I believe that every parent requires an award for their home-schooling activities — juggling Zooms, Google forms, holding their students’ worlds together, while managing work and feeding their tribe. I give every parent and caregiver a standing ovation.

Summer is here, and it is a time to take a breath and find some rest and relaxation.

The pandemic has created many changes — one being our summer holidays by a beach in a tropical location are on hold.

Even our out-of-province trips have been postponed as we heed the advice of our provincial leaders and stay local.

We obediently purchased a family tent, Portable grill and gravity chairs, left the hills of Rutland and headed out on our first Canadian camping trip. We travelled across the bridge turned right, and headed to Bear Creek.

I watched my 13-year-old and his closest friends connect with nature, go on adventure hikes, watch waterfalls, wade in creeks, poke fires and eat sticky smores.

It reminded me of when I was 13. It was 1977 and my small class travelled to Scotland. We stayed on the West Coast in a cabin — canoeing, fishing, rock climbing and walking across heathery moors through low swirling clouds.

One challenge was to be dropped off on a small island and sleep for the night and survive.

Our adventure leader told us that our first mission was to pick up every piece of garbage we could find. He added that he would arrive in the morning and inspect our garbage picking skills. Following that, our mission was to gather seagull eggs, cook them and then, finally, we would set up camp.

Obeying our leaders orders, we began our adventure, the only people on this tiny, rugged island. We began our walk around the and began to fill our garbage bags — bottles, plastic toys, dolls heads, empty tins and grocery bags. We completed our tasks, set up camp and endured a damp, cold night.

Our leader returned the next day and we proudly showed our filled bags. We enquired as to why we had to clean the island first. He told us that the island has been there a lot longer than us and will be there long after we’ve gone.

He reminded us that the island belongs to God, on loan to us, and by picking up our garbage we can now give this wee island back to God.

Long before I ever had any faith, that man taught me a valuable lesson from scripture, that we are stewards of this earth, given as a gift.

As we stay closer to home this summer, let’s be mindful to take good care of it, our wee planet in a vast ocean of space.

Phil Collins is Pastor at Willow Park Church Kelowna.