Saturday, October 3, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 9/27-10/3

The sun has been playing peek-a-boo with us all week on the Oregon Coast. Nearly every day has been highlighted by stretches of cloud cover and stretches of sunlight. It makes for revolving background changes, each of them beautiful in their own right. You never know what type of air will float in over Smith Lake, sandwiched between the mountains and the ocean. We walk next to it each day hoping we can welcome any type of air that comes our way.

Our Needlework Camp spent most of the week with us, after a weekend start last Friday. It was a small group of all women, here to work on projects that ranged from cross-stitch to knitting to quilting to mixed media art. Whenever I would go to the Kimberly Center meeting space, I'd find them with scraps of fabric spread out, working and chatting. Many of these women have known each other for decades. Some are new members to this little family. We talked about how a retreat like this can be so refreshing--to leave the normal world behind to pour care and focus on one task. To have the freedom to walk outdoors anytime, to chat and put the task on the back burner.

Early in the week, the Needlework Camp and camp staff went to the beach to see the Super Blood Moon. I got to the beach just before the sunset and caught a beautiful display of color and light as the sky changed from bright orange and yellow to purple and blue. As the night came on, I changed positions and faced East where the moon would soon rise over the mountains, just as the eclipse was reaching its peak. It was windy and chilly, but it was completely clear, so we knew we'd see this astronomical event very well.

I stretched my eyes scanning the mountain, wondering exactly what point the moon would rise over. How red would it be? Kara, Steve's daughter, said she kept being fooled by the red tower lights behind Rockaway, thinking momentarily it was the moon. Then the dull red ball peeked up above the mountain. I heard the Needlework camp cheer and laugh like middle schoolers. We marveled at this familiar site colored in such an unfamiliar way. It's interesting how much joy we can find in simply seeing something we know, differently than we're used to.

On Thursday afternoon, I first started seeing reports of the shooting at Umpqua Community College. I scanned my brain, wondering if I knew anyone, and though I couldn't think of anyone, I'm sure there are plenty of people I know who were touched by it. I think we've all felt the familiar feelings that we are becoming more used to from these incidents. This one was much closer to our back yards, though, so I think we've imagined it more from a personal perspective or someone we love. There are all the common feelings of sadness and anger. There are all the arguments over solutions. There are the urges to act, the urges to mourn, the urges to reflect and do the right thing.

Our Needlework group left Wednesday morning after their final worship. I saw how far they had come on their projects, the slow building of something that will adorn a wall or warm someone on a cold night. Our second week of outdoor school campers left this afternoon, just after lunch. They will make their way back home and return to their school buildings next week. For a short time, silence fell over the camp, before our weekend groups made their trek out to the coast. We will carry on with our plans. These thoughts will stay with us, though. I'll remember the joy of the rising moon. I'll be confused by the killing of innocents, and not know how to hold them in the same room. I'll hope that in our prayers we ask for guidance. I hope we will find ways to pray with our hands, our feet, our mouths, our ears.

This weekend we welcome Christ UMC, Salem UMC, Trinity UMC, a Fall Photography Retreat, and Reed College Leadership. Hold them in your prayers this week along with the many others.

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