Geranium Farm Home     Who's Who on the Farm     The Almost Daily eMo     Subscriptions     Coming Events     Links
Hodgepodge     More or Less Church     Ways of the World     Father Matthew     A Few Good Writers     Bookstore
Light a Prayer Candle     Message Board     Donations     Gifts For Life     Pennies From Heaven     Live Chat

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.
Send emails to: or add a comment on an existing post.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Proper 28 (RCL) Your Honor, what my client is TRYING to say is...

Preachers and Teachers are welcome to use any part of this essay with a simple attribution. No further permission is necessary.

Isaiah 65:17-25; Isaiah 12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13; Luke 21:5-19

So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict Luke 21:14-15

The readings today speak of people starting over again. The old earth will pass away, a new one will emerge.

God's new people will be inventive, industrious and employed. They will live full lives. God will be so intimate in their lives that He will be in their midst, even before being summoned. The people will acknowledge that God alone saves their lives. Surrendering their wills and hopes to God will blot out fear. There will be no question that the God of Israel has done great, marvelous and wonderful things. He is worthy to be praised and worshipped.

The people in Thessaloniki had become a bit lazy. They weren't all contributing, all pitching in. The right thing to do - in the new Creation that God had set out and the example Jesus embodied was to work and earn your keep. Jesus taught and preached and earned his keep that way. Paul made sure it be known that he was not adverse to labor - in fact, he labored in order to be a good example, as Jesus had been, of 'doing the right thing', earning your keep.

Shifting to Luke, Jesus is withing the Temple itself when he began making the comments we have now read. Remember, in the new world that God creates, this Temple may just become a thing of the past. Just rubble. All the precious metals, the fine linens, the velvet curtains and marble of the altar -- just rubble, rubbish.

The disciples were more than merely curious when they asked the question about the timing of the fall of the Temple. After all the Temple was the heart where Jews worshiped, Jerusalem was the Holy City and the center of their world. If everything was going to be turned on its ear, the disciples wanted to be prepared, ready, disaster plans in place. Jesus tries putting the timing of things into perspective. Prophets will come and go, local power struggles will come and go. Eventually there will be (as there has been in the past) wars between nations and natural catastrophes. Between the local unrest and the greater unrest and ruin,you will be tested. You will be judged because you have known me and lived and taught in my name and all that I stand for.

I count on you to make a decision and take a stand. Don't prepare for this test. Don't assume what they will ask or have a prepared strategy on how to respond. By becoming my disciples, you have already put your lives in my hands. When the time comes to reply to their accusations, let me speak on your behalf. Trust me. I will give you the words and the wisdom with which to use them. They won't have a comeback. I am your Advocate, I will speak for you.

Mind you, truth is powerful. At times, the power of truth is so intimidating to others that they will go out of their way to silence you - temporarily or permanently - rather than let anyone else hear the truth. There may be laws in this day and age in our country that (in theory)protect 'whistle blowers' against physical harm or the loss of a job. There are NO protections against insidious character assassination, unfounded accusations and insinuations. If we go back to Biblical times, speaking truth WOULD cost you life, physical injury, emotional abandonment, societal rejection, becoming disowned by family and friends alike.

The one thing Jesus promises is that if we speak and live his truth our inmost self would be saved, whole and justified. The truth would indeed set us free. No earthly judge or jury could condemn us for living truth and loving with our whole heart, mind and strength. Based on the testimony given by the Holy Spirit, our souls will not be condemned. Case closed. Amen and Amen

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's time to PLAY!!!

Emmy Lou is simply in her glory. This morning I let her out for her morning constitutional and some cold air got in her fur.

Mom? MMOOOMMMMMM? MMOOMMMMMMMMMY!!!!! Look at the leaves! Are you watching? Mommy, are you watching me??? Did you see -- I almost got that squirrel! And I barked, too. I did it good, right?. She has assumed the stereotypical LET'S PLAY doggie position. Front paws to elbow flat on the ground, butt in the air with the tail flagging. If she doesn't entice me the first time around, rest assured, she will make several attempts. If we were inside, Emmy will go to her toy bag, pull out a toy and casually toss it in the air. This exercise will be repeated, each time staring at me as I pretend to look elsewhere. When that fails, she will move closer, toss the toy so that it will land in my lap, back up into play posture and wait attentively. When things have gone down this way, she has won and we will have a brief game of fetch or pull.

I have read spiritual, psychological and scientific talk about the reptilian brain - that survival, fight or flight, instinctive part. Dogs never went through the lizard phase: they went directly to doggie mode: Question and action. Their basic motivation is to DO something - anything - even if that only means to take a nap. When they look at you directly eyes they ask very plainly, "Do you want me to DO something? What should I DO? Where should I GO? Can I get you anything? Can we PLAY now? Can we WALK now? Should we take a nap? Should I get the paper? the frisbee? a ball? the leash? Is it time to EAT? Are you going to cook and give me some hamburger? Are we going in the car??? Even in their sleep mode they are barking, running, huffing and puffing, digging, scratching.

Cats, in my limited experience, are far more subtle in their body language. You might see a cat have a momentary lapse in their laissez faire attitude to let their kitty guard down when it pleases a feline to enter stalk mode.

As often as not, the object to be stalked, caught, bopped around and toyed with is inanimate: a crumpled piece of paper, a plastic milk bottle tab, an about to be discarded toilet paper roll. The pounce and play will be immediately preceded by seeming to ignore their prey. Within a flash they are hunkered low, rear in motion as if to compress their hind quarters into a loaded spring.... and then booooiiiiinnnngggggggg! They are on top of their conquest and ready to bat it around a while.

People keep dogs; cats keep people. Despite their drastically different approaches, they are extremely successful in getting what they want or ignoring what they would rather not participate in or own up to.

In Genesis, the Bible account documents God as bestowing on man dominance over all living things. Of all the things that we have dominated or domesticated, the dog is the most altruistic.

Thank you, God of Creation, for all of the resources and wealth you have put under our oversight. May we be better stewards of your creation than we have been in the past. Thank you also for the special relationship we have developed with our domesticated animal companions. They give simply and generously. They remind us to work hard and make time for play and rest. We would be more hard hearted without their influence in our lives. Our animals are yet another way you make our lives more enriched. To Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer I give thanks and praise. Amen.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day

For as long as I could remember -- and until age seven -- my father, mother, sister and I lived on the second floor of 1 Elmer Street, a modest (and somewhat listing) three floor wooden apartment building. On one side was a semi paved driveway where all the cars would be parked and the coal truck would make deliveries using a metal trough funneled through a small basement window that deposited the coal directly into the bin in the basement.

In 1956, about this time of year, I remember sitting quietly with my Uncle Bob on the outdoor second floor landing steps of our building. He was leaning against the white wooden slats of the railing leading to the apartment below where my Grandmother lived. I leaned quietly against him.

Robert J. Depue was my father's younger brother who had fought in Korea. Uncle Bob was my godfather; we two had a special relationship. He had an easy smile and a hearty infectious laugh. Family rumor has it that my first successful steps were taken in his direction, wobbling across our small living room rug for the reward of a sip from his bottle of beer. I recall that he often wore a plaid flannel shirt, two buttons opened, with a white tee shirt visible. Uncle Bob would encourage me to crawl up into his lap or on his knee and he would hold me as I sat, my head against the soft flannel on his chest, safe and secure. In later years we would rough house or get in a tickle fight or sit together or play catch when he came to visit. Things changed when he had his own family to raise, but our families visited each other often and I always had a soft spot for him in my heart.

On this particular day I asked him a question and then watched him intensely as he answered.

'Uncle Bob' I started, 'there's veterans day and mumoreel day for soldiers. What's the difference -- how come there are two days?'

His rugged, craggy, pock-marked face topped with the crew cut he wore perpetually until the day he died stared ahead, somewhat pale; he became uncharacteristically quiet.

"Well, KerKer. One day is for all the soldiers who went to war and came back alive like me. That's Veterans Day. Memorial Day is for all the soldiers who got killed. They never saw their families again. A lot of them got buried far away from home."

He dug into his flannel shirt pocket, pulled out a pack of Camels, lit up and took a long drag,
exhaling through his nose and mouth at the same time.

"I am so glad you are my special girl and will never know what it's like to be so far away from home, outside in the cold pouring rain day and night. Soaked to the skin with heavy wet clothes on at the bottom of a ditch with water up to your ankles. The guns, the smell..". His voice drifted off as he kept staring ahead, in another world. He took another long drag, slowly exhaling through his nose, his jaw tight, its muscles taut and twitching. There was a very long pause and I saw him try to shake himself out of the place his memories had taken him. He picked me up, put me on his knee, gave me a big hug and a kiss on my forehead.

"Enough about that now, kiddo. Go get the pink ball and let's play catch". Getting down I saw a blue tatooed cross in the crook of his hand between the thumb and pointer finger I hadn't ever noticed before.

I never asked him about the days ever again. I never wanted to see that pained yet vacant look ever again.

Today we celebrate Veterans Day today in the United States. This same day in Canada and the United Kingdom is called Remembrance Day. A time to say thank you. A time to remember the current soldiers who will be veterans soon enough. May they be treated with honor and respect. No matter what our political views of this war or any prior military "conflict", let us in our own way express gratitude for the service rendered by those in our Armed Forces.

Prayer for the Armed Services (Book of Common Prayer, page 823)

Almighty God, we comment to your gracious care and keeping all
the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them
day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and
temptations; give them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may
be; through Jesus Christ, our merciful and righteous Judge. Amen .

More Or Less Church from the Geranium Farm Copyright © 2007 K.L.Joanna
Depue (DJ) - all rights reserved

Copyright © 2003-Present Geranium Farm - All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any materials on this web site for any purpose
other than personal use without written consent is prohibited.