The deep black sky was open above us, threatening to rain thousands of clear, luminescent stars down on our awestruck faces. Meanwhile, half my body was cold, half was warm, I couldn’t straighten my legs out without kicking four people in the shins, and I was lying precariously on the edge of a mattress type thing attempting to keep off of the cold wooden panels. Welcome to star-gazing in Big Bear, PCC style.
The All-School Retreat is on of the (many) things I look forward to at Providence. All 54 students (along with some staff and faculty) load into three monstrous white vans and a couple of cars, and caravan up a mountain for 24 hours of worship, learning, and general craziness (notice I didn’t include sleep in this list).
When we stepped out of our vans, excited to be leaving our schoolwork behind, we were greeted with a flaming pink and orange sunset. It was as though God had painted the sky to remind us that we weren’t there just for ourselves, but for Him. I pray we remember that as we remember the warm gloves, the flashlights waving across the paths, the team posters and face paint, and, of course, the ridiculous banana and water bottle relay races.
I love that our school is able to do things like this – to spend an afternoon clambering over rocks and getting to know each other, but I also love that God doesn’t stop there. I love that we were able to be reminded that as much as we’d like to think it, we are not our own – we’ve been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20). This means that each of us is set apart in this world for something different, and, because of this, our school is set apart in this world for something different. This retreat reminded me how important it is to turn myself and my school totally and completely over to the hand of God. For me, this crazy annual retreat was a time not only of rejuvenation, but also of rededication.