Stephenson Tales


Kresge AuditoriumDr. Maddy always gave the first "message" at the Interlochen service on the first Sunday morning after the first week of camp. He invited me to give the "message" each year on the next Sunday. My first sermon was "The evidence of God" which I thought was pretty safe considering a group of about 2000 people of all religions. The second year, my title was "What Shall I Do?" Very provocative and deep, as you can see, for a group of campers, counselors and teachers. About a third of the way through my talk the storm clouds began to gather and it got as dark as though it were about nine at night. The junior girls began to get restive and I intensified my energy and delivery. Suddenly there was a flash of lightning and a crash of shuddering thunder. The junior girls began to scream. At this time Kresge auditorium had no roof over the audience, and the rain began to cascade down in buckets. I called the campers to come up on to the covered stage. They surged forward and filled the entire stage. Many of the adults and counselors sat there. Many visitors from the State Park, holding their programs over their heads rushed up the aisles to the relative Kresge Auditoriumcover of the trees above (foolish!). Dr. Maynard Klein, who was the choir director, had the organist launch into a deafening version of SOUND THE CALL TO DEAR OLD INTERLOCHEN, and invited the terrified kids to join in....which they did. MORE THUNDER; MORE LIGHTNING! I tried valiantly to finish my message--as I was just at the point of ANSWERING the central question "What shall I DO??" Alas. The counselors beckoned to their various charges and herded them off the stage through the downpour and back to their divisions. I never did get to finish. Many people came up to me on Monday and Tuesday and asked me what the answer was to the question--so I made a ditto copy of the sermon from my notes and distributed to to anyone who was interested. I still have it in my file--and the answer is a good one, if I do say so. But that is a sermon experience I will NEVER forget--although it took place in 1956--and this is more than 36 years later.

© Jim Bob Stephenson 1992

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