This morning my eldest son invited me to his Cub Camp at Worsley, to lead the worship and assist in striking the patrol tents. It was great to see the youngsters enjoying their ‘Pirates’ camp, and see a new stream of leadership coming on board. I am looking forward to getting to know the young people of the parish when I return. A fellow church member said to me, you must be so proud, and yes I am. For a young man to give selflessly his time to develop youngsters and help form them into good citizens is an amazing thing to do, and I must admit as he addressed the Cubs to give them their instructions I saw a lot of Dad in Son.
Here is my Cub Camp address given under the shelter of a huge oak tree with raindrops filtering through. Not knowing my audience, I chose inclusive child-friendly songs and spoke about treasure in heaven.
It is obviously a lot of fun when we enter into the spirit of a camp theme. The Cub Camp themes I have been involved with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Mr Big, The Romans, Robin Hood, and now the Pirates.
Piracy has inspired people to make movies and write books. Pirates of the Caribbean.
And there is a story written by Robert Louis Stevenson called ‘Treasure Island’. Has anyone read it?
Treasure Island inspired the idea of a tatty old map with an ‘X’ to mark the spot where the treasure was buried. I think Cubs has gone a bit more technical these days as you will be getting a nice, shiny, posh, laminated map to help you find the treasure today.
We are here having good, clean, harmless fun, but it is worth remembering that pirates were criminals. An act of robbery to steal belongings from someone else, and this was often at sea. In fact piracy is any form of stealing. If you have been to the cinema recently you may have seen the trailer before the film starts asking you to report anyone who is seen capturing the film on their mobile phone. That too, is piracy.
But right now, we are here in this special place here to think about other treasures. We are here to think about God and the gifts or treasure that God has given in this world. And of course in our big beautiful world God is understood in lots of ways. My understanding of God, as a person about to become a priest in the Christian Church is through knowing and following a unique person called Jesus.
Jesus, as a man, lived about 2000 years ago. He taught lots of stories, some short and some long, which we call parables, to help us understand what God expects. He often spoke about sharing and caring for others, in fact he even said you could not love God, if you were not able to love other people. He taught stories about the foolishness of being selfish and wanting to hold onto lots of treasure. And he even spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven being like treasure. Here is a one-sentence story that Jesus taught:
The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 6:21)
What did Jesus mean I wonder? I think he meant that to know God, who gives and breathes Spirit into all life, was the greatest treasure of all and that if we only think about ourselves in life then we cut ourselves off from God. If we are able to be loving and kind to others is one way, one way, of coming closer to God. Why? Because God is love, and those who live in love, live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16). And for Christians that love is revealed in Jesus.
It is important as you grow up, to take school seriously and to take Scouting seriously. If you work hard and give of your best you will always in the end succeed. But it is important to remember that we live in a worldwide community which is why we sang ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands’; and that we are not called to be like pirates who were ‘takers’ but we are actually called to like ‘givers’.
In giving and sharing we bring pleasure to others and this is in our Cub Scout Law isn’t it?
Who knows the Cub Scout Law?
Cub Scouts always do their best, think of others before themselves, and do a good turn every day. Notice the law says ‘always’; not some of the time, or when I feel like it, but always do their best.
And that Law is an enduring law. If everyone in the world, not just Cubs, Scouts, Brownies or Guides, could do their best, and think of others before themselves, and do a good turn every day just think how much better this beautiful world might be.
God has given us all freewill, responsibility for this planet which is our home and we are all called to make the world a better place.
Who have you helped this weekend, or who could you help today? And in helping someone, not only will you fulfill your promise but you will come closer to God.