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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, April 20, 2012

Friday Focus: I Told You So

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you--that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:35-48

Any fair assessment of this week’s gospel would rate the disciples as pretty slow on the uptake. In various accounts, this is the fifth time Jesus appears and explains that, as prophesied, predicted and promised, he has died and is risen. He is not a ghost, but their friend and teacher, returned in triumph over death. No wonder they are dumb founded. Their instincts, reason and experience tell them: what’s dead is dead, end of story. Yet here is Jesus … to see, to hear, to touch. How can that be?

We have been raised in the gospel of God’s new covenant. We have more than a few Easter’s under our belts. We have read the scriptures and heard the stories over and over. Yet the idea of life after death remains a profound mystery that both challenges our reason and defines our faith.

Brilliant theologians have dedicated scholarly careers to expanding on the proofs of the historical Jesus and evidence of his Resurrection. Yet to date they have never established the absolute fact of the Resurrection unsupported by faith. But that is the whole point. We are called to believe, not to litigate the evidence. Oxford theologian John S. Whale reinforces the point that: “The Gospels do not explain the Resurrection; the Resurrection explains the Gospels. Belief in the Resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith, it is the Christian faith.”

Not surprisingly, no one could better sum up the centrality of the Resurrection than Jesus. Before, not after, he went to the cross, Jesus told us: I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. (John 11:25-26) In scores of sick rooms, Jesus has repeated this message to me over and over. I have been privileged to see the proof with my own eyes. I have seen the body succumb to the ravages of time and disease, while the soul goes home to God … sometimes in glory, other times in peace, many times in fear … but always in the hope of the Resurrection.

It is very rare that anyone can predict with certainty the exact moment of their physical death. It is common to all Christians that we can fix the precise moment of our eternal life as “the hour I first believed.” So if you are looking for proof of the Resurrection, look around you. We are the living witness to Christ’s love in the world. Amid the continuous chaos of the times, our lives proclaim: He is risen. And, by God’s grace when we stand before him, he will remind us: I told you so.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Earth Day 2012

Earth: the planet on which we live.  Environment: the air, water, minerals, organisms and all other external factors surround and affecting a given organism at any time.  Sustain: to support, hold or bear up from below.
Steward: a person who manages another's property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent for another or others.

The definition of being a steward - from Webster's College Dictionary - struck me today as I was about to post    a piece on Earth Day.  A steward is a person who manages another's property.  We don't OWN this planet - it is a work of the Creator and for the use of all who came before and will come after us.

How can we best be stewards of the Earth's environment?  What can we do to sustain life, ecosystems and the diverse riches of creation?

Sunday, April 22 is Earth Day.  Here some resources to check out:

Episcopal Public Policy Network: Celebrate Earth Day
Interfaith Power and Light - A religious response to global warming

Earth Day.Org- Earth Stewardship Resources  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fighting Malaria in sub-Saharan Africa with ER-D

In case you've not done so already, there is an opportunity to register for a webimar tonight, taking place at 6pm to commemorate World Malaria Day.

There's still time to sign up!  Go to this link to register for the 1 hour program with 3 wonderful speakers:

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