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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, April 02, 2005


"Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that......No, there is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate."

So wrote Charles Dickens in December 1843 as a bit of a knock off thing, A Christmas Carol.

Leave it to Deacon J to draw a parallel between the secular and the sacred/the sacred and the secular, Easter and Christmas. OK, now that I have your attention, I beg your indulgence by looking deeper and seeing some commonalities here.

The disciples, huddled in a room, unwilling to experience fully the ache of loss and loneliness of being without the Rabbi they had followed, studied with, ate with, argued with, traveled with, invited into their own family homes... sat numb, their hearts hardened, or numb. HE WAS DEAD. "There was no doubt whatever about that". Anecdotes from antiquity attest to there being such a man and this man being killed. He was killed as a heretic, as a possible political figure in opposition to Rome... and his followers could have been hunted down next. They dared not come into real contact with other people, and it pained them immeasurably to think about the man they loved, they trusted, as gone, dead... and now missing. How could they go on? What would they do? Who could they trust?

See a man, E.Scrooge, inhabiting a body that went through the motions of life, a life devoid of life. He had pulled the very essence of himself away from interacting with or being able to be touched by others because he had been loved and abandoned and feared if he dared love again he would be abandoned again. Better then not to love at all,not to risk losing something...or risk being loved. By cutting himself off from others, that is a fear he would not have to confront. He had had Marley as a business partner, the closest thing to a friend he had known. His sister was gone, his friend was gone. His exquisite pain often seemed a numbness.


The apostles and some women stayed in the room, behind locked doors, for fear of others....

Scrooge sat in his room, behind locked doors, for fear of his overactive imagination....



They were doubtful and terrified,

Scrooge was incredulous and terrified,

Here's where they parted ways....... but not all that far, really

Jesus breathed on the gathered and gave them hope, gave them Spirit, gave them their lives back...

Marley gave Scrooge (through some rather unorthodox therapy) the hindsight and the foresight to see how life could be if he lived into it; he revealed to Scrooge the means to get his life back.

We could, I suppose, split hairs about the Resurrection... was it REALLY physical, what KIND of transformation was it, could Jesus REALLY be touched, could HE REALLY eat and drink and cook fish on the shoreline or walk on the Road to Emmaeus, what would WE have done, had we been there?

Oh, we can speculate and read any number of theological theories....

In the final analysis, we KNEW Jesus lived... a Passionate Life, died a Passionate death and by means only of a gift called faith we believe HE came back to encourage us to live fully, not to ourselves alone, in communion with others in Gods love...

That we may live into this reality of grace and faith, of life beyond life, of Love that can transform us and all things... we may truly say, with Tiny Tim... [then gesture w/hand toward ear or a conducting stance - let the congregation complete it... GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE!!!!]

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The inevitable introduction

What the heck is THIS says you.

I'm not entirely certain I can answer that question.

I've known Barbara Crafton for... oh, 13 years in different settings. Last year we worked together as part of a spiritual direction team for Cursillo and found ways to envigorate the format. Later, she approached me with a view that this was another seed to help the Farm grow in creative and constructive ways and offer some ideas and approaches that might be used in parishes, large and small.

It's Barbara's vision and my hope that this spot will be a resource for you to enhance, stimulate and encourage the vitality of the worship in your congregation with the application of storytelling, creative drama and music. My background is in music and acting, having done theater, musical direction, voice lessons and instruction, written comedy, liturgical drama and parish entertainment pieces.

But..... what IS this??

It is a bit of this and a bit of that. It has, more or less, to do with church.... how we do it, when we do it, with whom we do it, for whom we do it. Use the ideas you find here, which I have have written over the years and some that have popped up lately. Or, let them be the spark to help you create something that would work in your worship circumstances.

I'll post sermons, think pieces, meditations, special liturgies/prayers for particular saints' days (like St. Francis or St. Patrick), a new look @ Stations of the Cross, dramatic interpretations to be used as alternatives to the Gospel readings or for the various Palm Sunday narratives, an Easter Vigil that is child and family friendly.

Sometimes I'll post a song I have written, or a Mass setting. You can also use this place to ask for a solution to an age-old question, such as: Should we sing all the verses of the hymn before the Gospel, or sing 1-3 before and 4-6 after? Questions about the nuts and bolts of liturgy, about inter-generational celebrations.... a summer al fresco Eucharist... you name it.

So, it will be More or Less Church....... and, as things develop, it's my hope that you'll be moved to make contributions here, too... to share how you "do Church" at your parish, share some original music, offer a new version of that old chestnut, the Christmas pagaent.

Thanks to Barbara, let the exchange begin.... and may God's name be glorified in our efforts.

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