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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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Thursday, April 03, 2008


I have a new boarder in my home, a baby boomer named Russell. Russell is a sweet and chatty man with a body type that evokes a hug response.

Emmy Lou has tried different ways to show affection, concern and acceptance of him as part of "the pack", all to no avail as Russell is a confirmed cat person. All of us are still in that breaking in period, learning habits and schedules and preferences.

I'd forgotten to thank Russell on Sunday afternoon, arriving back home from working retreat weekend, that the sounds coming from his room made me smile. I heard the familiar bounce of a French chanteuse, that Piafian combination of background musicians, that transported me mentally to a sidewalk Parisian cafe in May (April is often still a bit brisk for me).

Yesterday afternoon reeked of Spring..cloudless blue sky with the sun so bright and omnipresent. As Russell's car was at my mechanic I drove him to his various appointments. Mid-way through the day I had the option to get outside and accomplish at least a few overdue chores. The singular drawback was a significant wind. I was about to give in to comfort rather than industriousness when I saw it: a lone daffodil on the far side of the driveway entrance to the house.

The burst of yellow popped my inner grey balloon and I went to gear. I put a few groceries away, put on Emmy's collar and we went outside. It took little to get her into doggie overdrive - that exuberant explosion of joy and speed where a dog zooms around in circles trying to evade you...or simply run as fast as she can for the sheer pleasure of it. While she explored some possible rabbit habitats on the property I dismantled the trees of their extended lodgers: an extended strand of blue lights. Next we ventured into the back yard and while Em was checking the perimeter of the yard for any interlopers I did doggie duty. In my search for all things to be eliminated I pulled dead leaves off of fledgling hyacinths and encountered an entire row of white and yellow daffodils, standing in riveted attention, trumpets poised despite the bracing wind. With more of the leaves gone I expect to see the crocus cracking the soil any minute now.

God has a way of planting sunshine here and there just when we need it. All we need to do is rake off a few leaves, turn toward the Son and breathe deeeeply. Ahhhhhhh!

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Trouble with Thomas

The man is unstoppable. So bloody predictable. Goes out into the street to get us things to eat and supplies. He had the forethought to bring another robe. None of us did, least of all me. We've been in this room for weeks now, paying a bit extra for what Matthew calls 'privacy'. More like keeping the owner happy about extended 'guests'.

When the Lord came to us - through the bolted doors, mind you 'cause I dropped the latch myself - we were overjoyed. It was all too brief and Thomas the trusted was out pounding the streets. Jesus vanished before Thomas arrived back.

We were beside ourselves and he was miffed; predictable as always, he had to see it for himself.

Eight days later we were still in the same rooms in Jerusalem. Although the women would go out to do some laundry, we were one hot, sweaty lot, trying to figure what to do next, what the Lord would expect from us next. Thomas stayed apart, mumbling and making a rope, for lack of other busy work.

The Lord came again - to us, but to directly to Thomas for whom seeing meant believing. Jesus, all the same but different, invited Thomas to test Him. "Here are the wounds you wanted to see, Thomas...go on and touch them, they pain me no more".

Thomas fell to his knees, his face full of relief and humility, his body trembling uncontrollably. Laying hands on the Lord's feet Thomas whispered, "My beloved Lord, my God".

Jesus pulled him up and raising Thomas' chin with his forefinger looked in square in the eyes. "I'm happy that you recognize me, Thomas. And I will be as happy when those who have never seen or known me before will recognize me when I come to them."

No, that was the Lord alright. He'd come to the point of His message quickly in the last month or so, not beating about with stories for us to interpret. He made it plain.

I sit to scribble this. Although I had betrayed our Lord, He forgave me with a glance that first night He appeared. No one of my brothers had blamed me for my failings during these upside down days. I know all can be forgiven in Him. Betrayal, disbelief, fear. I can hardly wait until He comes again. In the meantime, then Thomas goes out next time, I mean to go with him. That's what brothers do.

I sign my name to this for you to know this comes from me, the one who has been forgiven of much. Peter

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