Tussie Mussies and Tambourines
Praise God with tambourine and dance, with strings and pipes. – Psalm 150:4 (NRSV)
I have been invited by Farmer Mimi to write verses for Tussie Mussies, which will be sold at a local farm stand.
Tussie Mussies are small bouquets, usually ribboned, resembling what bridesmaids in a wedding party carry, only smaller. They are gifts. Because Farmer Mimi and I now live close to the Cross Sound Ferry, which travels back and forth between New London, Connecticut, and Orient, New York, selling these Tussie Mussies at the last farm stand before the boat is a brilliant idea. People can pick up a little bouquet and take it home to whoever took care of the dog or needs a little gift and a little lift.
At the First Congregational Church in Amherst, poet Emily Dickinson put Tussie Mussies in the communion cup holders, along with handwritten notes and verse. The poet enjoyed an early “post-secularism”; she did not attend church. She confessed to being an atheist at Mt. Holyoke College and was excused from her studies.
Tussie Mussies are both modern and old-fashioned. So is post-secularism, if Emily Dickinson is any evidence.
Post-secularism is the new “thing.” It follows the spiritual-but-not-religious movement, which followed religion. It is something like doing tarot cards or reading your fortune or discussing your horoscope or drumming, while saying you hate organized religion.
Anyway, Tussie Mussies are “in.” I intend to write verses as a full representative of disorganized religion. I think of them as my tambourine.
May the words of my mouth join the meditations of our hearts. May my words dance the Tussie Mussie and have the beat of praise. May they gift and lift. May they float our boats. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Pastor at the Orient Congregational Church on the far end of Long Island, New York. Her most recent book is I Heart Francis: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.