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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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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

...He must increase, I must decrease.

These words of John the Baptist, found in John 3, seem other-worldly. After all, in this world, in this life, we go to great lengths to be noticed and to be credited with every little accomplishment.

Besides a radical form of humility, these words have an unmistakeable air of graciousness. The graciousness of someone who has had a degree of success and at the same time sees someone sharper, smarter, more talented, more magnetic coming up the ranks - and knows that it's time to step aside - graciously.

"Doing Church" can have its pitfalls. We can find our niche and become very good at a certain function: altar guild, bazaar coordinator, Christian Ed chair. We can become so accustomed to (almost dependent upon) the accolates, recognition, perks that are bestowed upon us for doing what we do so well that we may find ways - unconsciously - of undermining the efforts of others to make a contribution in our area of expertise. We lose our ability to 'share', to delegate, to see past our own nose.

John knew his role in the scheme of things. He was the opening act for the headliner, the comic that warms up the audience for the Tonight Show. Important, yes. Very important. The most important? No. He was the New Testament prophet, not the Messiah.

It can be tempting in ordained ministry to have a false sense of importance, to get lost in being a provider, in being seen, appreciated, beloved. We particularly need to bear John's message of repentence as well as his motto of living, never letting our needs or egos get in the way of the message of the exquisite Love of God.

All the baptised, every one of us: in spreading the Gospel may our faithfulness render us more and more transparent so that, as servants of the living God, we remind ourselves of our goal: He must increase, I must decrease. Thank you, blessed John


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