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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, December 03, 2005

Am I useful? Am I worthy?

We Christians struggle on certain points. One of them is worth.

Over the ages, the flavor of our theology, our forms of worship, have underscored that struggle. An easily identifiable example is the prayer 'of humble access' utilized in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and maintained in Rite I of the 1979 BCP. " We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table" . That being said, in the eyes of God we obviously were and are worth it - as evidenced by the Incarnation and Christ's passion, death and resurrection.

It is important, in the scheme of things, to have a sense of humility - to understand where we fit in history and in heaven. I think the sacrament of reconciliation is important because it keeps us grounded. We humbly ask God to forgive us and risk exposing our entire being, most specifically our faults, to another human being. That is humbling. And it is a true sense of humility, not the false humility we may put on when thinking we are not fit - because of our mistakes, our character flaws, our human weaknesses - to be in both the service and presence of God. Here is a little list sent by Debbie of Hodgepodge that may help put your worth into perspective:
The next time you feel like GOD can't use you, just remember:

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced (more than once!)
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer...AND
Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now. The God who made you and knows your inmost being can use you to your full potential....

Besides, you aren't the message, you are just the messenger.

To paraphrase a wonderful prayer, "God, grant me the Serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the Courage to change the one I can, and the Wisdom to know it's me."

You are precious in God's sight. Use, then, the eyes God has given you to see the preciousness in others. Once you allow yourself to be embraced by the love of God, you may hear the call of God to serve. When that time comes, realizing your worth by God's grace you will be able to say: Here I am. Send me.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Quality Control Survey

This "survey" was sent to me and I thought some of you might enjoy it (if you haven't seen it already) and pass it on to friends.

What made you believe in God anyway? Inquiring minds want to know!

God Questionnaire

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Putting on the Armor of Light

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and for ever. Amen.

The collect for the first week in Advent is very grand, taking my mind (at least) back to the 50's and 60's when there was many a Hollywood costume epic: Ben Hur, The Robe, The Silver Chalice, Cleopatra. Ones where the Roman soldiers inevitably walked around 24/7 in rubberized armor not quite head to toe (for some reason, we always saw their knees). Evenings with the History Channel on cable TV has clued me in on the reality that the armor worn "for real" was significantly more bulky, more heavy, more imposing than anything that Richard Burton was ever cinched, buttoned, zipped, snapped or squeezed into.

That armor could withstand blunt blows from sword and cudgel. It could save your life.

We live in a world where, unchecked, cruelty of many kinds can and do breed. Hatred, prejudice, slavery, exploitation or the less obvious - and more insidious - forms of cruelty in ruthless sarcasm, pettiness, half truths, quiet neglect.

This cruelty bludgeons us - with crashing blows or with relentless smaller bumps; it damages our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our spirits.


There are actors who rely on their costume, makeup, props to get into character. In everyday life uniforms are utilized for visual recognition, as a sign of profession, for solidarity. When a police officer is about to dress for duty they prepare themselves to be identified with other police, with maintaining the public peace and safety, coming to the aid of those in need. When a monastic is about to dress in the habit of their order, they ponder taking up again the responsibilities they have to do good in this world and maintain their vows.

We could dismiss this idea of 'the armor of light' as imagery that does not correspond to life in this day and age.... or not. In pondering taking up our Christian responsibility each and every day we could just pull on our clothes, or we could think about being a representative of Christ in our day: if we give that responsibility its due, we need God's grace to set aside our cruelty, our egocentric tendencies, schemes and ploys ('the works of darkness') and don the armor of light. We need God's strength and protection in a hostile environment. Armed then with the love of God, the grace of compassion, the wisdom of truth we can represent Christ here and now. Clothed in the armor of light, let us serve him on a daily basis, walk without fear, and be easily recognized as one who follows the Lord in all things. Amen and Amen.

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