The lesson of the canoe

It was on a Sunday afternoon, the last week of the summer holidays. I must have been fourteen years old. My father looked up from his book and asked: ‘Shall we go to Denmark, have a nice camping trip?’ My brother and I looked at each other in amazement – ​​Denmark had appeared out of the sky, the holiday was actually already over and the tent was neatly cleaned and stored in the shed. But the next morning we drove away, just before four. The birds were chirping, the temperature was mild, the tent was in the trunk. We drove to Flensburg, Northern Germany. We ate a fried egg there. The goal of our trip was the Danish Pony Camping. My father had fond childhood memories of that place, but he had forgotten the name of the village. When we crossed the border he asked the customs officers: ‘Do you know where the pony campsite is?’ The Danish officers raised their eyebrows. My father got out and imitated a pony (not without merit, by the way) but no lights went on. So we haphazardly stepped on the gas again. Based purely on memory, my dad then drove straight to his destination: a spacious camping spot on a breathtaking lake. Denmark at its best, it may be said. We camped for six days, my father, my brother and I. It was a special holiday. We got up early every day and started reading a story from the Bible. Or, reading – it was more like treasure hunting. Line by line we dug through the story. We tossed out the words and I noticed that I really enjoyed reading the Bible. When we were done we ate a stack of sandwiches and got into our rented canoe. Part two of the day ritual started with the canoe. Until the evening we canoe through the immense water area, a different channel every day, a different lake every time. In the canoe, my father would ask, “If you were to preach a sermon to tell people about what you have learned, what message would you bring from the story we just read?” And then we started preaching short sermons. Three times a message that was full of love for God’s Word. The audience was not large: besides my father and brother, a few tufted ducks, here and there a coot, occasionally a jumping fish. But what a wonderful experience it was! And I learned an important lesson that holiday: behind every story in the Bible there is a message that can change lives. The Lesson of the Canoe.

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