Geranium Farm Home     Who's Who on the Farm     The Almost Daily eMo     Subscriptions     Coming Events     Links
Hodgepodge     More or Less Church     Ways of the World     Father Matthew     A Few Good Writers     Bookstore
Light a Prayer Candle     Message Board     Donations     Gifts For Life     Pennies From Heaven     Live Chat

More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
Send emails to: or add a comment on an existing post.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

"When morning gilds the skies......."

I was up at 5:35 am. Let me refine that. I GOT up at 5:35am. No earthquakes were felt on the east cost, yet it happened (mind you, I went to bed at 9:30 the previous night, which is also earth shaking).....

And my breath was taken away by the beauty of the sky, the colors, the sounds. Emmy Lou dutifully chased each squirrel to an actual inch of its life and tried to hop up the trees, to no avail.

Todays thought might be considered "less" church, because I'm gonna put a plug into three books it's good for each of us to have (all the better if you already have them)... and even better for all of us to USE.

One is a Bible... one you are willing to use... (which may or may not be a version utilizing antiquated language);
Next: Book of Common Prayer.... version optional;
Finally: A Hymnal or Hymn Book (what's the difference? the "hymnbook" doesn't have the service music in it: settings for specific prayers, sections of Morning & Evening Prayer, canticles, sung sections of the Eucharist, dismissals, etc).

Why? Because the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer are there for your public AND private worhsip and enrichment. They are considerably more than just reference books.

It is easy to imagine someone mounting a late 30's style publicity build up for the Bible:
[Try to imagine a way-too-earnest announcer giving you the compelling reasons]
Romance!! War!! Deceipt!! Natural Disasters!! Miracles!! Redemption!! See the remarkable story unfold before your very eyes!! The odd thing is, the hype is really true.

The Book of Common Prayer. Depending on the version, there may (or may not) have abridged or complete Bible passages for every Sunday of the year, the entire book of Psalms, prayers to fit many occasions and situations. Many people (clergy, monastics and laity alike) incorporate a service or two into their daily prayer regime, as a part of their Rule of Life.

The Hymnal. To me, this is an amazing volume - tunes you may or may not know - and some remarkable poetry. Try the words - with or without the music... as a meditation.

Once you have the basics the Episcopal Church offers, you might want to check out the books used for worship by different segments of the Anglican Communion. I often delve into the Australian or New Zealand BCP. How about the book of woship for the ELCA (Lutheran) or other denominations?

If your personal prayer life feels a bit dry, use one or more of the above to quench your thirst. Then invite the Spirit in to assist you in writing prayers of your own (for private or public use). If there is a Deacon serving in your parish, approach her/him with a view to drafting a new parish form of "Prayers of the People", using the guidelines in the BCP.

So much is possible... with God's help. (OK kids, be the first to name the hymn above and get your name mentioned in the next installation of MOLC!)

See below a beautiful message received today here @ "More or Less" from fellow farmer, Molly Clark:

by Molly Campbell Clark
April 27, 2004

I was in one of my “valley times,” a common occurrence in my peak and valley journey of spirituality. As a hospital chaplain, I daily speak to others of hope in life beyond this one, and most of the time I truly believe what I say. But when in the valley it is sometimes hard for me to really believe. I keep my doubts to myself and put on a brave face, and continue to speak words of comfort to those to whom I minister, reminding myself that faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.[1]
There was one place, however, where I didn’t have to keep on my brave face. Early on Tuesday mornings I attend a Bible study group, and one morning we were talking about being assured of life after death. I shared with my friends how I wanted to believe, yet I was so often plagued by doubts. Susan shared an experience when she felt that she was touched by God’s presence in such a way that she feels that she will never doubt again. How I wished that would happen to me! I’d experienced times of closeness with God in the past, but it was so long ago. I wondered if I’d feel that closeness ever again.
As we were leaving the group that morning one of the group members returned a hymnal that she had borrowed. When I got to work, I began leafing through it and found a hymn that was just right to sing to one of my patients. It was a beautiful new psalm, which opened me up to the beauty and mystery of God. Then I turned the page and noticed another hymn that yet another member of my early morning sisterhood had pointed out to me. And there it was, both the personal touch from God that I longed for and the assurance of God’s presence throughout this life and beyond.
The hymn is entitled, “I Was There To Hear Your Borning Cry,” both the words and the haunting hymn tune were written by John C. Ylvisaker in 1985.These are the words that God spoke to me that wonderful morning:
I was there to hear your borning cry
I’ll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized to see our life unfold.
I was there when you were but a child with a faith to suit you well;
in a blaze of light you wandered off to find where demons dwell.

When you heard the wonder of the Word,
I was there to cheer you on.
You were raised to praise the living Lord to whom you now belong.
If you find someone to share your time and join your hearts as one,
I’ll be there to make your verses rhyme from dusk till rising sun.

In the middle ages of your life, not too old, no longer young,
I’ll be there to guide you through the night, complete what I’ve begun.
When the evening gently closes in and you shut your weary eyes,
I’ll be there as I have always been with just one more surprise.

I was there to hear your borning cry
I’ll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized to see your life unfold.[2]

I saw in this hymn every stage of my life thus far. God spoke to me of a holy presence past, present, future, hill and valley, in this life and beyond. I may have doubts again, but now I have a song in my heart to ease me up from the valley of the shadow of death and I can fear no evil.3]

[1] Hebrews 11:1
[2] SING THE FAITH, Pew Edition, Louisville, KY: Geneva Press, 2003. “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry,” by John C. Ylvisaker. Hymn # 2051.
[3] Psalm 23::4 King James Version


Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © 2003-Present Geranium Farm - All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any materials on this web site for any purpose
other than personal use without written consent is prohibited.