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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, July 06, 2012

Friday Focus: Life Lessons

He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, "Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands!  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, "Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house."  And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.  And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.  He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.  If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them." So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. - Mark 6:1-13

There are two parts and at least two lessons in this brief gospel. In the first part, we learn not to take things for granted. There is a phenomenon of visual perception that we tend to fill in the blanks in what we observe based on prior experience. In patterns we recognize the familiar and reject the unfamiliar. We process much of our information by reflex rather than by discernment. And that is exactly what the hometown folks did when they saw and heard Jesus.
They were astounded by the message, but rejected the messenger. They initially marveled at his words and deeds, but could not get over their source. Who was this guy to tell them what do? Their pride told them that this was the kid from down the block who had some nerve to come back to town and preach to them. Never mind the wisdom he spoke, their pride saw only a wise guy from the neighborhood. They were not open to the word of God. They had lived in expectation of the Messiah and yet they did not see him when he finally came among them.
What do we take away from this passage? Be open to the Lord at all times. You’ll find him in the most unexpected people and places. Make him such a part of our lives that we can regularly recognize him moving around and in us. Develop Christ-centered reflexes. Try to see things through the eyes of Jesus. Be prepared to recognize need and offer help. Overlook slights and be ready to forgive. Seek every opportunity to proclaim him and witness his love. We are Christ’s hometown crowd now. Let’s welcome him home every chance we get.
The second lesson is one very close to my heart. Jesus tells me to stop getting ready to get ready. Get on with the business of building the kingdom. Stop planning to plan. Start living the gospel. There never was a keener student of human nature than Jesus. His Father created that nature. Jesus shares it with us. He is both God and man. From first-hand experience, he knows our proclivity for distraction. What should I wear? What should I take? He tells us to keep it simple. Travel light. Take a friend. Take the Word. Don’t get discouraged by rejection. There is so much work to do. Get on with it. Keep at it.
This is perfect advice for a day trip or for the journey of a lifetime. No special equipment is needed to live a Christian life. In fact it only gets in the way. His grace is sufficient for all things. Don’t get bogged down with stuff. The stuff we own, owns us… if we let it. The things we spend our time on become who and what we are. So spend your life in Christ. That’s the only reason we’re here. And his love is the one and only thing we can take with us on the journey that awaits us all.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Be a Part of Worship Services at General Convention ...

... from the comfort of your office, den, living room or kitchen table. 

Daily live worship services streaming from the JW Marriott in Downtown Indianapolis. July 5-11, 9:30-10:45 AM and July 12, 11:30-12:45 PM | July 8, 9:30-11:30 AM. All times Eastern.  Use this link:

Monday, July 02, 2012

ECF on Communications, Resources for Churches During Vacation Away from Home

Episcopal Church Foundation has a great article about initiating and/or reformulating a parish communications program.

More and more, with people on the road (instead of in the air), relocating or vacationing, having a church website and/or church blogs can be a wonderful means for getting out the Good News about the church and specifically your parish.  Check out:

My pet peeve is that although the church ONCE established a website, several parishioners ago, little information posted there is current.  Always remember to keep your electronic communications (or the message on your church answering machine CURRENT, i.e.: Advent gets its own message, Christmas eve/Day services its own, Epiphany its own.  Now the sign out on the property should show, your voicemail message and website info should advertize Summer-time Hours (if you make that switch) - and in late August, when the hours will revert.

Looking for an Episcopal congregation to visit when you're away from home?  Use this link to find a parish near your getaway:

And, last but not least, why not put your entire summer pledge in your Sunday envelope (or mail in your summertime pledge) during the collection at your parish before you head out for vacation?  Expenses add up whether you are present or not -- so help keep your parish treasurer in good heart health ...  write one check and breathe a sigh of relief!

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