Florence Congregational Church
Thursday, February 20, 2020
A Place to Connect

Pastor’s Corner - March 2016

     I write following the second gathering of the Lenten study group working with Jasmine Myers, actor, founder and owner of Still Small Theatre Company of Massachusetts. Jasmine brings creativity, energy, devotion, knowledge, faithfulness, and thought provoking ideas to the group. “Encountering God Through Theatre” is definitely a descriptive title for our work. Jasmine designed the six-week Lenten course to move us participants to reflect and evaluate our faith journey while encountering God in the process.

     There are currently nine members of the church participating in this Lenten journey. Jasmine gathers us promptly at 5:30 pm each Wednesday evening with prayer. We have the opportunity to share a few thoughts of our day’s adventures followed by a deep breath and additional seconds to exhale of all the emotions attached. Each person is offered a minute or so to let the busyness of the day go so as to be prepared to encounter God’s presence in tangible and meaningful ways.

         We have enjoyed warm-up games that are interactive, creative and fun. Drawing us into dialogue, Jasmine has asked many questions to stir our spiritual thoughts and emotions. Beginning with, “How is theatre spiritual,” she noted that “people are inherently spiritual, therefore a discipline that examines people – their lives, their feelings, why they do what they do – is also inherently spiritual.” We have spent time reflecting, talking and listening to Jasmine and one another, learning and growing more relaxed in each other’s presence.

     The need for relationships threads through our conversation, especially the need for genuine relationships with other people and with God through the church. Jasmine identifies the need for relationship in the church as “shared time, shared purpose, shared fun, shared honesty and pain, and physical touch.” These are not always mutual values with members.

     Jasmine asked us to read a passage from Ezekiel, chapter 37 “The Valley of Dry Bones.” We read it together, and then, surprising all of us, Jasmine stepped into the center of room and shared the story as an actor would – with emotion, passion, and creativity. She shared all of Ezekiel’s words from memory using expression, projection, inflection and volume to draw us into the valley of dry bones. All of us were drawn deeply into her movement, vocal expression and passion. We felt as if were there with Ezekiel and God as they debated the fate of the dry bones. There was an enormous difference in impact from the mere reading of the words, versus the dramatized presentation of the passage. We all know we are in for a treat.

     Jasmine continues to encourage us to think deeper about God’s involvement in our daily lives. Where do we see God engaging? Do we listen? Do we feel God’s presence? Do we attempt to tune into what God is doing? With us? With creation? With those around us? How do we see the world? Deal with conflict? Internally? Interpersonally? With society? With God?

     I hope you feel curious about this work. Make plans to participate in this encounter as it culminates in a short play on Good Friday. We will share our growth and encounters with God as we look at the “Day in Between” – Jesus’ crucifixion on Thursday and his resurrection on sometime Saturday night. Please plan to come and join us at 7pm.

Blessings, π

Florence Congregational Church • 130 Pine Street, Florence, Massachusetts 01062 • 413.584.1325