This year our church committed to keeping the seven Levitical feasts of the Lord (Lev 23). Four times as He describes the feasts, God tells His people: "It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations". We don't believe the feasts need to be kept exactly as prescribed; we aren't killing any lambs. And we certainly don't believe the feasts to be salvific. But we did commit to keeping them in spirit if not letter because God constantly reminds His people to remember what He's done for them: "One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts." Ps 145:4

Pentecost, the Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot falls 50 days after Passover, originally a chance to offer God the first of the grain harvest and traditionally when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. We celebrated in June with a church retreat to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.

I did a lot of planning for the two nights in Kentucky, and it was a lot of fun. About half of us had little cabins. The others had hotel-like rooms. We had teaching sessions on Friday night, Saturday morning and evening, and Sunday morning. Don taught on the book of Ruth; often Jews will stay up all night reading Ruth during Shavuot.

We did not stay up all night. We had big plans for Saturday. After the Saturday morning time together, about half of us rented canoes and floated together down the Green River. It took a while for all of us to mobilize and get to the canoe rental place. I had reservations but we all had to sign waivers, get life jackets and paddles, and get ferried to the drop off point. We ended up having a group picnic lunch at the pavilion waiting for the staff to be ready for us. It was the right call. Far easier to make sandwiches and feed a bunch of little ones on dry land.

Once we did get in the water, we were all comfortably full. The weather was amazing and we had a great time. Hamish rode part of the way in "the party boat" which tickled her to death. Kyle and I passed off the Manimal at one point. So we got to enjoy a few minutes of calm floating, only responsible for our own lives.

We all rested after the float before our big BBQ dinner. We had our teaching sessions in the Mammoth Cave lodge, but for dinner I reserved a picnic pavilion. We all stuffed ourselves with BBQ, played games, and the made s’mores over the fire. The kids particularly loved "sneaking up on" some really bold deer that always got away just in time.


After worship and Communion on Sunday morning, everyone headed toward home. But before we left, we booked a cave tour that morning with Jennifer. Mammoth Cave is the world's longest known cave system, with more than 400 miles explored. We didn't walk nearly that far. We took the Historic Tour which gave us a nice overview of the types of cave structures, and really cool stories about the earliest guides, and what it meant to go caving in a long dress with only a lantern for light.

And I wore the Manimal.