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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, May 30, 2007

I have been "Benned"

I sit at Barbara's computer this morning.... and what should my wandering eyes should appear but.....BEN. THE Ben. Sitting at this desk in front of this keyboard must mean it is time to socialize.... this despite the fact that Emmy Lou is in the bedroom down the hall probably snoozing and waiting for me to get at least a few hours of sleep.

He came deliberately through the office door, slightly ajar making his by now famous quacking meows.

Excuse me, but I'm here.
Of that I am aware, kind tuxedo-ed sir... but I wanted to get something posted this morning.
What part of this do you not understand... alright, I will oblige you by rubbing against the desk repeatedly, then the chair, then your legs... haven't I groveled enough yet? I need a lap..... now.
OK... but I really want to get something down, something inspiring, something about the beautiful flowers in the front and along the driveway - yes.... especially one bright orange/red poppy
Oh, puh-leeese! Lap! I need lap and extravagant scratching under the chin!!!

Ben appears to be unaware of the notion of NO. He hops up and tries to settle in for the petting session to which he has become accustomed... but my chunky short piano legs, folded during the sitting position, do not afford Ben the lap to which he has also become accustomed. He starts slide down and I try to move closer to the desk so that he avoids a mishap. He slips stealthily under my right arm onto the top of the desk, nudging my right elbow with his cold nose.

It isn't working, but not for his lack of trying. He paces back and forth between the keyboard and the monitor, making me bob and weave to make certain the spelling is within a reasonable range.

Look. I can't feed you - I don't know what or how much to feed you. You didn't do this last night.... I'm sorry.

As I type he is still squawking, stretched up to my left elbow which is being nuzzled from both sides. Hopping up on the desk he sits to my right and then walks across the top keys, as if writing a comic strip version of a very long, expressive curse of one form or another.

You win, Ben. I will pet you for a while and then go to bed.... and then get the sniff test from Emmy for the next 45minutes.

If I were to add a postscript here, it would be that I have been humbled.... by a cat no less. My lofty goals were of my own devising and God - through Ben - told me to get off my high horse and do what matters.... Love the cat, love the dog, love your neighbor, love yourself. Not bad material to think about after all, eh?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Weekend

We have taken to commemorating those who have been lost in armed conflicts - the current militarily correct term for war - for three days these last many years. On Saturday, Sunday and Monday. For many of us it is a long weekend, a work holiday. In its raw reality, it is much, much more than that.

Saturday morning I locked my back door to head out for errands and looked toward the street. There were cars parked on each side. While this happens every Jewish High Holy Day (I live 2 blocks from the Orangetown Jewish Center), the event precipitating the parking jam was Memorial Day. Backing carefully out of the driveway and shifting into 1st gear I paused as I tried to navigate through the clogged, short block to the corner: under normal circumstances, this would be no problem. Slowly I signal to turn left and am met by one of a handful of Orangetown's finest, dressed in full uniform with a neon orange mesh vest, directing traffic away from the island which normally is quiet. Today there were veterans of many an 'armed conflict', members of the American Legion and their wives, standing shoulder to shoulder, surrounding the triangular hill from which a huge flagpole sprang, flanked by an authentic canon from WWI - "the war to end all wars".

The crowd was three or four deep. Some older veterans were in wheelchairs propelled by one of their children, grandchildren or a friend and accompanied by other members of their family, some with young children in tow. I pulled my car to the side - when I found a space to park - to share just a moment with those whose lives were inexorably changed by war. I have a vague recollection of my Uncle Bob coming back from Korea and my Aunt Ruthie moved to tears that he made it back home.

On Saturday, the veterans present weren't "memorializing" coming home; they were remembering their comrades in arms, young 17-20 year olds, who did not come home. Lost in the air, on the sea, in the jungle, on the battlefield, in prisoner of war camps, in 'friendly fire'. Gone.

Some stood or sat stone faced, others were obviously moved as tears crept from the corners of their eyes down their craggy features. They made no apology - no effort to wipe the tears away.

The image immediately made a connection in my mind: "Jesus wept". His good friend Lazarus had died and Jesus felt the loss intensely and personally.

I do not support war, yet can certainly pray for those who find themselves thrown into one. We all can pray for their faith and courage, their safety, their families.... and, God willing, that they return home alive, changed but alive.

Consider, if you do not already do so, remembering our men and women serving in the armed forces during your prayer time. While they may be out of our plain sight, may they not be out of our collective mind.

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