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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, November 05, 2005

Looking for GUIDANCE

Another pass-along, from Ms. Hodgepodge, Debbie Loeb : Do You Dance?

When I meditated on the word Guidance, I kept seeing "dance" at the end of the word.

I remember reading that doing God's will is a lot like dancing.

When two people try to lead, nothing feels right.

The movement doesn't flow with the music,

and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.

When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead,

both bodies begin to flow with the music.

One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back

or by pressing Lightly in one direction or another.

It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully.

The dance takes surrender, willingness,

and attentiveness from one person

and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word Guidance.

When I saw "G: I thought of God, followed by "u" and "i".

"God, "u" and "i" dance."

God, you, and I dance.

As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust

that I would get guidance about my life.

Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you is that God's blessings

and mercies be upon you on this day and everyday.

May you abide in God as God abides in you.

Dance together with God, trusting God to lead

and to guide you through each season of your life.

This prayer is powerful and there is nothing attached.

If God has done anything for you in your life,

please share this message with someone else,

for prayer is one of the best gifts we can receive.

There is no cost but a lots of rewards;

so let's continue to pray for one another.

And I Hope You Dance

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

....for ALL the saints who from their labors rest.....

All Souls Day started up in the tenth century; the day one remembered close relatives, friends and loved ones who were dearly departed. The practice fell out of favor in the Reformation because abuses connected with Masses for the Dead (and the going rate for each).

After a time the Anglican church saw the true intention of the observance. The Episcopal church includes it in our calendar as an "optional observance".

November 2 is a day for the lesser-known saints, the saints we have all known by name and/or family and local reputation. They were not canonized in the technical sense, did not move from beatification to sainthood. Yet each of us can testify that miracles happened because of them: lives were changed, wounds hidden or tangible were healed, enemies were reconciled, faith in God and humankind was restored, worlds of knowledge or beauty were revealed.

Very human, with human quirks and flaws, their Godly gifts transcended their own limitations. I recall some teachers in my life as being saints, even - dare I say it - some priests! And family.... well, it is my firm belief that my great grandmother was a saint.

My own practice on All Souls Day is also to hold tenderly in prayer individuals who - without family or wealth or prestige or social standing - managed to live a Godly life following a simple Christian example. Today I remember those who lived solitary lives: single or widowed at a young age. I remember lone survivors of war and other human and natural calamities. I honor sisters and brothers I have never met - and yet love. Thank you God for their lives and witness and faithfulness. Amen and Amen.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Child-friendly Easter Vigil readings

When I sent out the message weeks ago about what I might have available for use by congregations I got some humorous (and not UNexpected) reactions wanting help with the Easter Vigil. I have always, always loved the service with one reservation. The readings were long and dry, very dry (at least as dry as the dry bones!). Not that I'm an example of patience, far from it... but kids are just not wired to sit there and do nothing while some adult is at the lecturn droning on and on about something that is supposed to get us excited.

Below find my reworking of some suggested readings which I concocted for this past Easter vigil @ my parish, St. Bartholomew's in White Plains, NY.

Draw the kids "up front" to gather around. When possible, use several readers to keep interest. The delivery should decidedly be a bit 'theatrical' (read animated). In the instance of "Red Sea", paraphrase it to get participation from the kids after the first go-round with Pharoah....Moses said: and Pharoah said: . By the 2nd or 3rd go-round, the kids are screaming the responses enthusiastically....

I also would encourage kids being up close and personal during the kindling of the new fire and maybe accompanying the deacon on either side into the church....

Here are the readings:


Please send your feedback 'cause a little ole deacon like me needs that to keep on track and know what is headed out is what is needed. The usual procedure - if you use it, just give an attribution.

Keep an eye peeled, Christmas pagent is on the way... well, maybe 2 different ones..

Later! In Christ's service (and yours), DJ

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