Operation Cricket

In church last month I shared a poem by Mary Oliver titled Song of the Builders. In the poem the speaker tells us that they are out walking on a hill in the summertime when they stop to sit down “to think about God.” While contemplating God, the speaker notices a cricket, a busy cricket, doing exactly what crickets do, in this case moving grain and, in its own cricket way, “building the universe.”

Grasshopper on Wheat by CIMMYT 2011 Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 sm

This poem first made me think about camp, because it is at summer camp that we are often drawn out into the hillsides and invited to contemplate the world as it presents itself—perfect and busy and quiet and divine—all at once. The poem next made me think of how important yet how simple the work of building the universe really is.

During the Children’s Message that week we talked about how God had created crickets to do exactly what crickets do. We talked about how God has equipped them with exactly what they need for their work—with ‘legs for hopping’ as young Dylan so rightly pointed out. We realized that although crickets might seem small, they are in fact perfectly sized in and for creation. And, as God’s beautiful world unfolds itself through generation after generation in chronological time, we realize that the cricket has its own cricket-y and vital part to play.

As God has made crickets, God has made us, too. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells us to go out into the world as apostles, teachers, and witnesses of the good news. When we go out from the church in order to spread the love of God, we are told to ‘take nothing with us,’ a reminder that with or without shoes or sandals or bags or coats, God has equipped us in our humanness with everything we need to fully contribute our part to the building of the kingdom of God.

As we look ahead and continue our transition to become a thriving church for the next generation—and the next—I ask you to become a people with ears for listening and eyes to see. I invite you into a new spiritual practice, a practice of noticing and listening to your neighbor. I invite you to trust that God will equip you for this listening work as surely as God has equipped the cricket. Our legs for hopping become ears for listening, eyes for noticing, and a heart to understand and remember what we learn.

‘Operation Cricket’ is an operation of outreach we can do together. It’s simple. Get into the practice of noticing your neighbors, whether it is a person standing next to you in line, or persons or homes in your neighborhood. Do not judge, simply notice. In addition to noticing things, practice the art of listening. Engage the person next to you in line in a conversation, or visit a neighbor, or business owner, and begin with a ‘hello.’

Listening is a practice of making room. Prepare yourself to learn something new. Ask someone about their life. Ask them how long they’ve lived in Camas or Washougal, if they like it here, what places they have visited, and/or what their dreams are. Say ‘uh huh’ a lot, and ‘mmm,’ and ‘tell me more.’ Say ‘I’ve wondered about that.’ It’s okay if they say a lot or don’t say much. Just listen, hang in there, it’s all good. Listen and listen more. And take notice, because as you practice listening, you will notice that the Spirit bubbles up.

Blessings to you!
Pastor Richenda

Image credit: Grasshopper on Wheat by CIMMYT 2011 Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Enotes Calendar for May

Happy Mother’s Day!

We celebrate all the moms and nurturers of our lives. Be blessed, and thank you for your love.

UMW’s Women’s Spring Luncheon will be Saturday May 16, at 11:30am!  United Methodist Women work locally and internationally do get things done and improve people’s lives. Invite a friend and bring a salad to share. Contact Diana or Marilyn.

Blooming Chrysanthemum by Undeclared Amber 2011 Flickr CC BY-NC smSpring Orchestra Concert, May 16 3pm—The Camas-Washougal Community Orchestra will be playing a Spring Concert at the church on Saturday, May 16th, at 3:00pm.  The Orchestra is comprised of local musicians with a love of orchestral music! Come and support this outreach and the wonderful music!Download a flyer: CWCO-SpringConcert2015 (image credit: Blooming Chrysanthemum by Undeclared Amber 2011 Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0)

Baby Goats are coming to worship May 24th! Come and celebrate the joy of little ones, and the importance of supporting international efforts to bring birth to our better world!

Help Support CHAD—sponsored by Lydia Circle this month. ‘CHAD’ stands for Community Health and Agricultural Development. Check out their Facebook page for photos of the most recent goings on.The effort seeks to provide support to women in Cambodia through small loans and life improvement projects that make a big difference. Our sponsored missionary, Katherine Parker, now serving in Nepal, was part of this effort.  To support this effort though UM Mission, click here.

messychurchwebHappy Birthday to the Church! Did you know that 5 weeks after Easter Christians celebrate the Birthday of the Church? We call it Pentecost, and we will celebrate this birthday  Tuesday, May 26th, at 5:30-7:30pm.  Join us  as we fan the flames of Pentecost with flame-broiled burgers, Pentecost-themed stories and activities. Come sing Happy Birthday and light your Spiritual fire!

Important Dates for Leadership Coming Up:

rosspreaching-croppedSunday, May 17th at 11:45am we will have a 3+ hour presentation led by Rev. Stephan Ross. Rev. Ross is currently the Director of the Vital Church Project for Oregon-Idaho within the Greater Episcopal Area including Oregon, Idaho, Washington & Alaska. As a pastor he led the revitalization of two Oregon churches, and has developed a church administrative structure that supports growing churches. He will be presenting this structure to Camas leadership on May 17th, and anyone interested is also invited to attend.

Sunday, May 24th at 12 noon a combined meeting of the leaders of the Living Water Fellowship and the leaders of Camas UMC will be taking place. The goal of this meeting is to speak all together, to pray together, to hear each other, to share our joys, our appreciation, our questions, and our thoughts for the future. The pastors of both congregations will be present, and our District Superintendent Rev. David Nieda will serve as our facilitator.  All leaders are encouraged to attend this meeting, and others who would like to attend are also welcome.

Pray for Nepal: Please continue to pray for missionary  Katherine Parker as well as all those in Nepal impacted by the earthquake. To assist with relief efforts, donations are accepted through UMCOR.org         Advance #982450

 Other Congregational News:

Wednesday Evening Potlucks—This Wednesday group is on a Spring and Summer haitus and will not be meeting regularly again until fall. Meanwhile, look for special events upcoming including a possible talent show and summer BBQ!

Stay tuned for Drive Out Malaria Golf Tournament, August 1st at the Orchard Hills Golf Course in Washougal, WA. Our church will be sponsoring a hole and we are looking forward to helping a great cause: Imagine No Malaria. More information to come!

More great local music:

Special Music Concert at First Church featuring soprano Linda Appert. Don’t miss this free concert, May 9, 3pm, at First United Methodist Church in Vancouver, 401 E. 33rd Street.

A Special Music Concert featuring pianist Thomas Rheingans is also May 9th, this one in the evening at 7pm, at the Mill Plain United Methodist Church, 15804 SE Mill Plain Boulevard
Vancouver, WA 98684