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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.
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Saturday, September 03, 2005

....all creatures great and small.....

Amelia Shivers wrote to Rev. Barbara Crafton on Wednesday this week:

" With a few extra prayers for the least and lowest of God's creatures caught in Katrina's chaos: Pets, livestock, zoo animals, sick animals already in vet offices, and other helpless animals who in an effort to save humans, may be the last to be sought after, rescued or fed. O God, go with them!!"

Here is another one, from Rev. Joseph A. Bayles, Episcopal Dio. of Kansas

Almighty God, Father of all creation, you have given human beings dominion over the earth and it’s creatures. We are responsible for all creatures, especially those who become our pets. Help us to value and care for them since they can not survive on their own. They are devoted and loyal to us. Let us look into their eyes and see our Creator. When we find those of your creation who are abused, neglected, sick and injured, give us the ability to care for them in humane ways.
We give thanks for caring veterinarians and animal hospitals which minister to the needs of Your creatures.
We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, the lover and Lord of all God created.

God be kind to those other creatures for whom we are responsible. Many, many are smaller than we are and may have been overcome during the storm and the ravages that have followed - without food or water they wait or have gone on to our eternal home before us. Welcome them with the dignity they deserve and help us cherish their memory as we move forward in this life, one step at a time, one hour at a time - with your guidance, in hope, striving for peace, holding fast in faith to Your love for us.

Let me add a pass-along one more prayer from another source:the famous Dr. Albert Schweitzer:

Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals, especially for animals who are suffering; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put to death. We entreat for them, all Thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to the animals and so to share the blessings of the merciful.

In the days to come, keep gently in your heart the teams of search and rescue workers with their canine partners who will be traveling to the gulf region on a mission of dedication and mercy.

Remember ERD - volunteer to collect food, clothing, school and student supplies (schools were hit too) - give generously. In your devotions, offer prayers for the living creatures - human and 'beast' - who have been lost. May they - each and every one - arrive at and rest in peace.

Let us be faithful stewards, faithful laborers in the service of the Lord in the tasks that face us. Let our giving be cheerful, our compassion deep and abiding. Let us each have a hand in the solutions to address this catastrophe in whatever capacity is available to us.

Lord, hear our prayers and let our cry come to you.

Friday, September 02, 2005

"It's IN there!"

Ah, the Church! It is an amazing mystery.

There may be a time when you go in search of a parish 'home'. You go for peace and strength and worship and edification and enlightenment. There will be a honeymoon period. Afterward you just might become upset to find there is disagreement, feuds, factions, dissention in the church as much as any other institution. Why? Well, when you think about it, we open our doors to all in need, all who ache, all who long for direction. With that in mind, it is pretty amazing that - by the grace of God - the institutional church has lasted as long as it has!

About 10 years ago, there was a new prefab spaghetti sauce on the grocery shelves..... Prego.

Their add campaign went on and on about how everything you needed for a really good tomato sauce (or, as some Italian folks in my neck of the woods would say, "gravy")..... the kind that had that homemade taste..... could be found in this bottle of Prego . There was a specific recipe with all wonderful, natural ingredients. The tag line, of course, went's IN there.

That would pretty much go for Sunday's Gospel passage. Want to know how to settle differences in Church? Want to know how to clear up disagreements? Want to avoid "he said, she said"?? Read Matthew 18:15-20 because..... (you guessed it) it's IN there!

Got a problem with someone? Try to straighten it out - just between the two of you. Clear the air, patch it up. If that doesn't work (or if things get worse) try to have a conversation to straighten things out with a couple of witnesses - that way, it will keep the two of you on track and the interaction is less likely to be distorted by either party. If there's still a problem, go before the leadership, then the collective parish.

The idea - even in the Church's infancy in Matthew's telling - is to not to let disagreement or accrimony take hold between people. Not a bad idea, really. Be charitable, be sensitive, be honest, be open and up front. When you think about it, this is a good recipe indeed.

Yep, it's IN there! Amen and Amen.

Romans 12:9-21

In light of Katrina this week, let's take a good look at the above-captioned Epistle for Sunday and take it to heart. The snippets below come from this text.

Let love be one another with brotherly affection.....outdo one another in showing honor.......never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord....rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulations, be constant in prayer......contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.......weep with those who in harmony with one another, do not be haughty.....never be conceited....take thought for what is noble in the sight of not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

One of the best ways we can help is through Episcopal Relief and Development - do what you can and encourage the fellow saints in your parish as well! Do what you can to diminish the suffering of the saints in the south!

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