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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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Friday, December 15, 2006

The Ripple Effect (pass it on)

Sometimes paths cross- my path and Br. Justus was during the final training year with the first crop of deacons in the Diocese of New York. Justus was stationed @ St. Elizabeth's Friary in Brooklyn at the time while he became one of our program's mentors... not to me, but to the process that was set in place to revive the diaconate here. That would put our meeting date at around 1991.

I saw him in 1992 - in fact, he asked me if I could drive him from St. Luke's in Katonah back to Brooklyn. It hadn't settled into my brain at the time that the interviews I had just completed after the training session that day led directly to my being "held back" from being ordained a deacon - with the rest of the first class from NY - in about a month and a half. I didn't know.... he did. I drove him home all the time muttering about the 'hoops' everyone was forced to jump through, the horse and pony shows, the 'let us have your feedback on this process' when they really didn't want brutal truth. He sat patiently as I rattled on and on. He nodded knowingly about disappointment and frustration. He listened with his whole being. When I asked for feedback he haltingly [as was his pattern of speech at the time. I thought it was a nervous tic.....a stammer, a fault. On the contrary, he had learned something I had not yet learned. He faithfully practised speaking through the filter of love - the Love of God... he had learned to choose his words wisely and that those words would be infused with Wisdom] told me to pray and hand it over to God.

After a year of hard work on many, many levels I had another interview. My outward and inward anger had been tempered by prayer, soul inventory and some focused therapy. A commitee recommended that things moved forward and the Canon of the Ordinary informed me at the end of May 1993 that Peg Norman and I were set for ordination by Bishop Walter Dennis on June 15. Within weeks a small package arrived in the mail from Brooklyn, NY - it was a short mini-stole of many muted colors in a tight striped pattern that had obviously been used. The note with it said:

"Dear Joanna, This is the stole I wore during my night ministry and jail chaplaincy in San Francisco. I pass it on to you, knowing that you will wear it well -- and might even say you've earned these stripes. The quotation I think of is ' ... by His stripes we are healed' - I know you will pass the healing on. Justus, SSF"

What he did - what each of us does - has a ripple effect. The good vibe he sent out set a ripple in motion in me. I know in my heart and in the tributes that have come in from across the country and other lands afar that Justus had a mission to send the love of God out whenever he could to whomever he could touch - physically, spiritually, pastorally, intellectually. He - like Francis - was outwardly unassuming, but there was no denying the power of love that inspired him... and the ripple effect it set in motion in so, so, so many others.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you............. that's a directive from Jesus. And we do what we can to send out a good vibe. To passers-by, to workers, to parishioners, to our enemies, to our friends, to our family members, to e v e r y o n e .

The saints amoung us give us lessons and inspriation every day. Justus did and I rejoice with the saints gone on that they have indeed been joined by another good and faithful servant. Justus started ripples - ripples of hope, ripples of faith. You can, too. Start up that ripple. You never know who will be wrapped up in the love of its wake.


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