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clear picture How you might set up for the healing

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I. Call

II. Invocation

III. Welcome

IV. Offering

V. Sharing

VI. Remembering

VII. Informing

VIII. Parting


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church origins

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As with many things, simple is better than fancy. As with all things, any actual instance is best appropriated to the particular blend of chance and purpose and imagination that brings the group together.

  • I envision a loose circle or broad arc of a circle, with comfortable chairs or sofas or floor cushions.

  • At the focal point, a raised platform -- a low table, perhaps, with a raised center, perhaps -- on which might be arrayed the relics through which gods and humankind will inform this group this day.

  • Around that, a space as wide as the outstretched arms of a congregant, or wider.

  • Behind the last row of congregants, another space so wide, or wider, and beyond that a wall, for display.

The relic table, at the beginning, may hold nothing but relics found of earth -- stones and sticks, perhaps, a basin of water, cut grasses, flowers, shells or bones -- let the relic table grow from earth.

The display wall, on the other hand, is wholly artifact and functional; let it have all the hooks that humans need to hang their stuff, to display it. If people leave stuff on the wall, let it accumulate from meeting to meeting, but prune it frequently. The prunings may be sent to start new meetings.

Keep it open. We want to be able to move among one another, back and forth to relic table or display wall or restroom, and we want to be able to open up spaces for players. If your room fills up, don't crowd more in. Do the ceremony again tomorrow or next week, or find another space and reconfigure as two groups. Flow.

Music should accompany all action and expose the meaning in the words. Let each congregation find those who can evoke the ceremony's rhythms and keep it flowing, oblivious of detail and the changing voices: attuned to every detail and each changing voice.

As the congregants arrive, each may walk a while, around the room or around the relic table, clockwise, before settling down. Let the music signal an end to this milling about and the approach of ceremony.

Those of the congregants who wish to speak singly, as one or another, might stand or raise an open hand as the time for beginning nears, so that they are known to one another. The rest of the congregants may sit, facing the relic table.

The instigator will begin the ceremony; the next single speaker will be to the instigator's left, as both face the relic table. The next, to the left again, and so on, so that the single voice moves clockwise round the room.

Let the pass-off, from one to the next, be clear and courteous. As the speaker's voice moves toward one who has elected to speak, that one might rise, wait, speak in turn, then sit again as the voice moves round. The music will guide all this movement.

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I. A call to the inspired Here Topclear pictureclear pictureDown
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Throughout the call and the subsequent invocation, some may hear and wish to respond. Let those stand, if they wish. And any one who wishes, at this time or any other, may bring forth a relic of the one true god in that person's life or tradition: cross, star, crescent, icon, sacred object. Let these be piled on the relic table. In placing them, start as close to the center and high as possible; work down and out from there. Don't mind jumble.

Let the pace be kept appropriate to the circumstances. If many answer the call, then slow it down; leave some space between the iterations, so that all who wish to may approach the relic table without crowding. If there are few in the meeting, or few to answer this call, then pick up the pace accordingly.

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II. Invocation Here Topclear pictureUpclear pictureDown
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As we call Yahweh forth, the pace must build. Large meetings, or those which are pushing the limits of crowding, may want to limit commotion through this section.

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III. Welcome Here Topclear pictureUpclear pictureDown
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As the god is invited to lay down his arms, so congregants may wish to bring forth the weapons by which Yahweh dominates their lives or they the lives of others -- computers and organizers, keys, watches, licences of all sorts, money, credit cards, pagers and cell phones -- all instruments of torture and control. Let such weapons be placed at the base of the relic table, not upon it.

As the god is invited to drop his shield, so congregants may wish to drop the shields behind which they huddle to assert their worth -- fine clothes and fine jewelry, flags, uniforms and badges and insignia, diplomas and country club memberships: all symbols of privilege or caste -- and hang these on the display wall. For those who wish to drop such armor completely, a meeting may provide a changing room and simple cotton robes, or shirts and trousers, for such congregants to wear for the duration of the ceremony, and beyond that if they wish

Again, this sort of thing creates commotion. Let the music ease that condition; give way to one another.

Take time; complete the business before moving on.

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IV. Offering Here Topclear pictureUpclear pictureDown
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Clearly, the sort of activity anticipated throughout the Offering section of the ceremony is not the sort that can be trusted to happen spontaneously with any grace or dignity in any large gathering.

The instigator of each meeting must know in advance and in general what will be happening through the offering, and will have cleared space for the players during the commotion involved with welcoming Yahweh. Let the meeting be settled and attentive to the music when the offering begins.

As each offering is complete, let one come forth to leave a relic of it on the relic table.

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V. The sharing of the blessings Here Topclear pictureUpclear pictureDown
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Again, this section needs careful planning, especially if a meeting is large or nearing a crowded state. In such circumstances, introduce all courses once, at the beginning, then focus on the logistics of distribution and clean-up through the rest of the section.

A less crowded meeting has more choices in the matter.

Let the dining be convivial and discursive. Let the level of commotion rise, as people stretch their legs, visit with friends, visit the relic table or display wall. Let the meal go on as long as it needs to, and a little longer for people to relax; there is no hurry, from a ceremonial viewpoint, to move on to the end.

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VI. Remembering Here Topclear pictureUpclear pictureDown
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Before remembering begins, let the commotion end; let those who wish to remember stand, and let each one receive respectful hearing and time to complete the remembrance. If someone wishes now to add to the relic table, a relic of one remembered, let that be done solemnly and deliberately, with the full meeting attentive and tuned to the action.

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VII. Informing Yahweh Here Topclear pictureUpclear pictureDown
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This can bear no commotion: this is the heart of the healing.

If Yahweh gets it, he is free, and we are on the way to being free of the pain and horrors that spring from his delusional loneliness.

Give it time. Let the music bring it home.

At the end, give it silence, as much as it needs to sink in. Relax in the silence. It is not up to you now.

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VIII. Parting Here Topclear pictureUp
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Let sound rise slowly from silence.

When it is time to part, let the ceremony end swiftly, compassionately, decisively. The choice is to be made clear, but it is not our right or the purpose of this ceremony to demand an avowal, from Yahweh or from one another. Choices made today are clear tomorrow, and that is soon enough.


Though the ceremony ends, the meeting lasts while there are those who will not leave. There will be much milling about, as people speak with one another, retrieve their stuff from the display wall or the relic table, and begin the work of clearing up the space. Let the music hang in there with the stragglers for a while; as you mill, mill clockwise.

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