By Pr. Rhoda Klein Miller
What is Camp Meeting? Its origins are part of North American frontier Christianity in the early 19th century, when week-long gatherings were hosted for preaching the Gospel, congregational worship and community fellowship. Families from rural homesteads and villages would travel to join this ‘spiritual feast’ and reunite with friends from the surrounding region. These annual summertime events led to the development of church owned retreats and campgrounds. The BC Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has held camp meetings for decades, and the main event at its campground near Hope BC draws thousands of guests.
You could also find an example of earlier “camp meetings” in the Bible as an annual event observed by the Jews. Sukkot, translated in English as the “Feast of Tents” or “Festival of Shelters” is described in Leviticus 23:42. It was part of their calendar as a reminder how God led and provided for the Israelites while they lived in tents in the Sinai wilderness. God placed a prophetic message within this appointed holiday.
Zachariah 14:16 offers a clue as we see this Feast celebrated in God’s future kingdom when all nations gather to worship Him. John 1:14 says Jesus became flesh to dwell and live among us and Revelation 21:3-4 tells us how He will return to reunite us and reside with us forever. Sukkot, goes by another name, “The Season of Our Joy.” May you experience that joy when our hearts unite to praise the One who is present regardless of where we wander. We have security and hope that can not be found in any structure or system built by human hands! Jesus, the Word incarnate is at the center of this joyful reunion past present and future.