Our campground was just a few miles from Fort Niagara State Park so we decided to take a picnic there and check it out. We were expecting to pay for entry but when we arrived there was nobody at the booth so we just went on in. There were only a few other cars in the parking lot. We headed straight to the beach of Lake Ontario which had smooth stones just like the one back at our campground. But as we looked closer we started finding beach glass…green bits, clear bits and brown bits. Every so often you would find a nice dark blue or ruby red piece. All 5 of us got so mesmerized by looking for the stuff that anytime one of us would say, “ok, let’s take a break and go eat” everyone would agree and then the next thing you know, we’re all heads down again picking up bits of glass. I cannot tell you why it was so satisfying to search, find and collect that glass but it was. It actually happens to us at most beaches but it’s usually shells that capture our focus. There is a sameness at the same time that there is uniqueness…maybe that is what makes it so intriguing. All the glass is composed primarily of silica and roughly the same size…but they are different colors and they are different shapes. If each one could tell it’s story. The story about the bottle it once was, the tragedy that caused it to break and the journey it has taken to arrive at this beach where it was rescued by someone who saw the beauty in its brokenness. Maybe we are a bit like the beach glass and perhaps this is why we were so content to spend hours collecting the stuff.
We finally did have lunch and then Steph and Dacen went to visit the fort while Caden, Brielle and I played on the playground then spent more time searching for beach glass. We were going to go play a couple of games we brought and when we walked through the parking lot (which was now beginning to fill up) a woman who hardly spoke any english and her son had a dead battery and needed a jump. So we hopped in the truck, positioned ourselves near them and got them started. They also wanted to know where the nearest grocery store was and we had just been the day before, so I was able to give them directions. Our good deed for the day!
The three of us found a table with a great view of the lake and played a round of war and then Martian Dice before Dacen and Steph showed up. Then we went home for dinner. When we arrived back at the campground the place was electric with families and kids. It was Saturday, it’s camping season and the weather was awesome. The campground had a soccer field and there was a group of boys playing. After dinner Caden and Dacen went over and joined. They had a blast and Steph and I enjoyed watching them play the sport that they love so much. Brielle found a group of kids at the playground playing “Groundies” and was having an absolute ball. We stayed until it was dark then went home to hit the sack.
The next morning was a bit dreary but it did not detract from the excitement that Brielle lost a tooth! We got ourselves all gussied up and headed to Niagara Frontier Bible Church to get us some religion! We were very warmly welcomed and being first time guests they had banana bread for us….score! We slipped in a bit late but still got to enjoy the worship music which was unfamiliar to us but upbeat and good. It was a very laid back atmosphere, like a family, like Grace Place back in Colorado….the old one on Mountain Avenue. It was at that moment I sort of realized that as Grace Place has grown up and moved to a new location that we have transitioned from a family of believers to a community of believers. As any church grows I suppose it has to make this transition. Small groups, Bible studies, and ministry opportunities still give it that family feel but there are many such families now that make up the community and diversity increases. There is certainly nothing wrong with community. The question is, what sort of community or neighborhood will it become? Will it be the one with big fancy houses and manicured lawns that look perfect on the outside but are sheltering the occupants from their pains and shames…where people come and go through their garage in the protection of their 4 wheeled transport pod…where the only thing you have in common with your neighbor is the location and the paint color of your house that is enforced by the HOA? Or will it be the one full of eclectic houses where doors and blinds are kept open for all to see the mess that may be inside…where multiple families gather spontaneously in someone’s front yard to chat or throw the frisbee…where people walk more than they drive and as they do they interact with their neighbors? Maybe that analogy doesn’t work, but it is helping me with the adjustment. I am hopeful that we can find a spot at Grace Place when we return…that it is still the right place for us to serve for maximum kingdom impact. Change can be hard but change can be good.
Anyway, the sermon was on communion. It was really well done as he admittedly leveraged heavily from one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons. The best part for me was was when he unpacked the symbolism of the broken bread…
Bread has to pass through many tortures before it becomes food to us. The wheat was sown in the ground. It was buried, it sprang up, it was exposed to cold winds and to hot sunshine before it ripened—and then it was cut down by a sharp sickle. After being cut down, it was threshed, then it was ground into flour, then the dough was kneaded into bread which was baked in an oven and cut with a knife—all of which processes may be used as images of suffering. So the broken bread which we eat at the Communion sets forth the suffering of Jesus.
I had never thought of the breaking of bread that way before. Of course we finished the service by taking communion…with oyster crackers! I was expecting the old school loaf getting broken after that sermon.
After church we ran a couple errands (I finally got a replacement water pressure regulator) and fueled up the truck for the long drive day tomorrow. Back at home we chilled most of the afternoon then had dinner and then went out to enjoy the sunset once again. Caden used his camera to capture a time lapse of it….next time we have free WiFi I’ll upload it for your viewing pleasure. We really enjoyed our time here and so glad that the kids got a chance to play with a bunch of kids their own age. If you are visiting Niagara we recommend Four Mile Creek.
Looking for beach glass
Have to get wet
Kids at Lake Ontario
Ready for church
Heading to the lake
Sitting on a log