Sunday, March 26, 2017

2nd Passiontide 2017, Wakened Ear

2nd Passiontide
Ivan Aivasovsky, Wikimedia
March 26, 2017
John 6: 16 - 26

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off over the sea for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the sea; and they were terrified. But he said to them, "I AM, have no fear." Now when they wanted to take him into the boat, immediately the boat was at the land, at the place where they wanted to go.

The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"

Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, the truth I say to you: You are seeking me not because you saw signs of spiritual power, but because you ate of the bread and were satisfied.

2nd Passiontide
March 26, 2017
John 6: 16 - 26

We are in rough waters. The wind of events are howling; the seas of emotions are running high. We are making efforts toward our goals, but are being pushed back. Fear is rising.

This is the moment when our hearts can call on our awareness of the spirit. We know that there is an over-arching divine consciousness. Our awareness of the spirit becomes a Presence; it can itself be terrifying at first. But in compassion, the Presence says: Fear not. I AM. And immediately we are at our goal. We find the ground under our feet. We experience calm trust and the radiance of love. For we 'have eaten of the bread and were satisfied.' (John 6:26)

The heart’s song did not sound in vain,
for many now can hear again
the word of angels: Do not fear!
New light and sound in us appear
for strengthened heart and wakened ear.*

*Lent Song, German folk song, translation from Camphill

Visit our website!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

1st Passiontide 2017,

1st Passiontide
March 19, 2017
Luke 11: 29-35

Queen of Sheba, Metropolitan Museum
And as the crowds increased, Jesus began to speak. “The men of this generation are strangers to their true being. They look for signs and outer proofs of the spirit, but none other will be given to them but the sign of Jonah. For just as once Jonah shared the experience of the spirit with the inhabitants of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man share the experience of the spirit with this present generation. The Queen of the South will rise in the time of great crisis and decision against the men of this present generation and judge them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. But know this: here is more than Solomon.

The inhabitants of Nineveh will rise up in the days of crisis and decision against the men of this present generation and will pronounce judgment over them. For they changed their ways after the proclamation of Jonah. But know this; here is more than Jonah.

No one lights a light and then puts it in a hidden place or under a vessel, but rather sets it on a lamp stand, so that all may see the light shining.

The light of your body is your eye. When your eye looks at the world clearly and impartially, the processes of your whole body will be inwardly filled with light. If, however, the eye’s desire sees the world separated from the spirit, darkness will pour itself into you.

Protect yourself that the light does not become darkness in you.
If your body is now filled with light, so that it no longer takes part in darkness, everything will be completely illuminated, so that, with lightning brightness, the light irradiates you completely from within.

First Passiontide
March 19, 2017
Luke 11: 29-35

In growing darkness, our perceptions change. As light fades, shadowy figures may emerge. In darkness fears arise and we can become disoriented. We may bump into things and ourselves grow dark with anger.

Our perception of the state of the world has changed. Shadowy figures abound. We may be afraid for the future and not know how to orient ourselves.

Bernhard Eyb
The gospel reading gives us a hint: we are to look at the world clearly and impartially. We are not to let our perceptions be clouded, neither by a desire for sweetness and light, nor for power. Rather we are to see the world as going through one of its cycles, like the rhythm of day and night. We are to look for the light of the good spirits of human progress. We are to see clearly the light of spiritual guidance, the working of Christ and his angels, shining amid the darkness of the times.

And we are to protect our relationship to this light, take it into ourselves. Then this light will shine forth from us out into the world, as trust in the greater powers of the good, as hope, and as love. In the words of Wendell Berry:

. . . remember:
when a man of war becomes a man of peace,
he gives a light, divine

though it is also human.
When a man of peace is killed
by a man of war, he gives a light.

You do not have to walk in darkness.
If you will have the courage for love,
you may walk in light.  It will be

the light of those who have suffered
for peace.  It will be
your light.*

Wendell Berry, "To my granddaughters who visited the Holocaust Museum on the day of the burial of Yitzhak Rabin", in A Timbered Choir

Sunday, March 12, 2017

6th February Trinity 2017, Rise Up

6th February Trinity
The Transfiguration, (after Fra Angelico)
(5th Sunday before Easter)
Matthew 17: 1-13

After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James and led them together up a high mountain apart from the others.
There his appearance was transformed before them. His face shone bright as the sun, and his garments became white, shining bright as the light. And behold, there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, conversing in the spirit with Jesus.

And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be in this place. If you wish, I will build here three shelters, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them and suddenly they heard a voice from the cloud that said, “This is my son, whom I love. In him, I am revealed. Hear him.”

When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces to the ground in awe and terror.

And Jesus approached them, and touching them said, “Rise, and do not fear.”
And raising their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus.

The Baptism, Collot d' Herbois
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them: “Tell no one what you have seen until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”

And the disciples asked him, “What is meant when the scribes say, ‘First Elijah must come again’?” He answered, “Elijah comes indeed, and prepares everything [restores all things]. But I say to you, Elijah has already come, and the people did not recognize him but rather have done to him whatever they pleased. In the same way, the Son of Man will suffer much at their hands.”
Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.

6th February Trinity (5th Sunday before Easter)
March 12, 2017
Matthew 17: 1-13

The view from the top of a hill raises our consciousness. It opens things up; we
Gruenewald, Face of Christ
can see more, see further, see the greater context.

In today's reading, we hear that the disciples are on a high mountain. There they are able to see greater things. In our lives, too, we can have such peak experiences. Through prayer and contemplation, we can do the often arduous inner climb to a higher view. We can begin to see more, see further. We may be able to view things in a greater context.

Like the disciples, we may even be able to see Him, shining in love like the sun. We may even be able to hear the voice of His Father, our Father, the voice of World Karma, telling us to listen to His Son.

What we can see of World Karma can fill us with terror. Yet Christ encourages all of us to climb the mountain, to pray and to contemplate with Him. 'Rise up', He says. 'Do not fear.' 

Visit our Website!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

5th February/March Trinity 2017, Adversaries of Humanity

February Trinity 
(Sunday after Ash Wednesday)
Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the loneliness of the desert to experience the tempting power of the adversary.

After fasting forty days and nights, for the first time, He felt hunger for earthly nourishment. Then the tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, let these stones become bread through the power of your word.”

Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘The human being shall not live by bread alone; he lives by the creative power of every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the parapet of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Again, a third time, the devil took him to a very elevated place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give to you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me as your Lord. “

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship [pray to] God your Lord who guides you and serve him only.’”

Then the adversary left him, and he beheld again the angels as they came to bring him nourishment.

February/March Trinity 
(Sunday after Ash Wednesday)
March 5, 2017
Matthew 4:1-11

Temptation in the Desert, Michael O'Brien
One of the dictums of war is 'divide and conquer'. This method is used to maintain or gain power. In today's reading, the adversaries of humanity seem to recognize that someone has arrived on the field of battle who will be a threat to their power over humanity on earth. The tempter always tries to separate the human and earthly from the divine. The tempter's plan of divide and conquer has always been to get the human being to depend on, either totally him or herself, or on the nature of the earthly world.

Christ's visitations by the adversaries of humanity are archetypal for all human beings. We are all tempted to nourish our bodies and souls solely through earthly substances. We are all tempted to defy the laws of spirit and the laws of matter. We are all tempted to pay exclusive attention and devotion to earthly splendors.

Christ has shown us how to maintain our connection to the divine while on earth. We can recognize that it is God's own life force that keeps us alive, not just the earthly substance. We can humbly acknowledge that we are not above God's heavenly and earthly laws. We can recognize that the splendor of all earthly kingdoms belongs to God, who keeps all alive.

We ourselves conquer the adversary through gratitude and praise. In the words of the poet:

I praise my God, as every morning the sun awakens,
And I am grateful for all the wonders my eyes can see.
. . . I praise my God every morning as I awaken,
And give him thanks for every breath I’ve taken,
. . .
I praise my God when I look up and watch in wonder,
As every time I see the sky, with naked eyes,
I pray that I should be made worthy of his grace:
That when I look up to the ether clouds, I see his face…*

*Psalms of Praises by r. de cassia Canticle 2- I Praise my God, Zurielpress 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

4th February Trinity 2017, Death Cannot Kill

(Sunday before Ash Wednesday, 7th Sunday before Easter)
Luke 18: 18-34

One of the highest spiritual leaders of the people asked him, “Good Master, what must I do to obtain eternal life?”

Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but One—God alone. You know the commandments, you shall not destroy marriage, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not speak untruth, and you shall honor your father and your mother!
The Rich Young Man

He said, “All these I have observed strictly from my youth.”

When Jesus heard this, he said, [Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said… Mk 10:21] “One thing, however,
you lack: Sell all of your possessions and give the money to the poor; thus will you achieve a treasure in the spiritual world—then come and follow me!

He was sad about these words, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw him thus, he said, “What hindrances must those overcome who are rich in outer or inner possessions, if they want to enter into the kingdom of God. Sooner would a camel walk through the eye of a needle than a rich man be able to find the entrance to the kingdom of God!”

Those who heard this said, “Who then can be saved?”

He said, “For man alone it is impossible; it will be possible however through the power of God working in man.”

Then Peter said to him, “Behold, we have given up everything to follow you.”

He replied, “Amen, the truth I say to you. No one who leaves home or wife, or brother or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in earthly life, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Then he took the twelve to himself and said, “Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything which the prophets have written about the Son of Man will fulfill itself: He will be given over to the peoples of the world; they will mock and taunt him, they will spit upon him and scourge him and kill him, but on the third day he will rise up from the dead.”

Yet his disciples understood nothing of all this. The meaning of his words remained hidden from them, and they did not recognize what he was trying to tell them.

4th February Trinity
February 26, 2017
(Sunday before Ash Wednesday, 7th Sunday before Easter)
Luke 18: 18-34

The rich young man had been pursuing a spiritual path. He wanted to develop the capacity to live in the eternal. Through strict adherence to the commandments, he had fashioned himself into a worthy vessel. And that vessel was full of the spiritual riches of his people and the hard-won treasures of the inner life, which had won him the esteem of his people.

Christ now discerns that the young man had gone as far as it was possible to go along the old way. And now it is time for him to step onto a new path. But before he can do so, he must be willing to sacrifice all that he had hitherto achieved.  

It is a new path that Christ himself will build with him, a path of inner and outer sacrifice. 'Sell all of your possessions; give the money to the poor and then come and follow me.' This Christ-path starts as a path of renunciation, a path toward and into death. The rich young man is to give up everything he had achieved and embark toward something totally new. He is to walk consciously, with Christ, toward death. And Christ is the one who is indeed the Way itself. John 14:6

Naturally, it was a shock for him to realize this. It must have been like receiving a terminal diagnosis. Naturally, he would be sad over the impending losses. And perhaps one of the greatest griefs would be the loss of his identity. Yet walk he does.

Although Luke's gospel doesn't say anything further about the rich young man, Mark's gospel gives us a hint: 'Jesus, looking at him, loved him.' (Mark 10:21). And John's Gospel refers to Lazarus as one whom Jesus loved. So we may perhaps assume how the young man's further story actually unfolds: as Lazarus, he is indeed led by Christ into death (John 11). And he is called
forth out of death by Christ. Christ initiates him into the mysteries of death so that the young man can stand by and accompany Christ with understanding when He Himself dies and comes forth from the dead.  

As William Penn said,
They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies. Nor can spirits ever be divided, that love and live in the same divine principle . . . *
William Penn, from More Fruits of Solitude 
Visit our Website!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

3rd February Trinity 2017, Be Ready

3rd February Trinity
Luke 12: 35-48

Waiting Servants, Eugene Burnand
“Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning. Be like men who are expecting their master back from the marriage feast, so that they can open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are the servants whom the master finds awake when he comes! Yes, I tell you, he will put on an apron himself and show them to the table and serve them. And if he does not come until the second or third watch of the night, and yet finds them awake: Blessed are the servants! You know: If the master of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would not let his house be looted. So be ready: the Son of Man comes at an hour that you had not thought.”

Then Peter said, “Lord, are you telling us this parable, or is it for all human beings?”

And the Lord answered, “Imagine a faithful and competent steward whom his
Jan Luyken
master appoints to be in charge of the whole staff, to give to each one what he is entitled to. Blessed is that servant if the master comes and finds him carrying out his duties.  I tell you, he will entrust him with all his goods. But if the servant says in his heart, ‘My master will not be coming all that soon,” and begins to mistreat the other servants and the maids, himself all the while eating and drinking and becoming intoxicated, then the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour that he does not know. The master will virtually tear him to pieces; he will treat him as those deserve who have not proved faithful.

A servant who knows his master’s will but does not act according to it and so does not carry out his will deserves the severest punishment. If he does not know the master’s will and then does something that deserves punishment, he will escape more lightly. From one who has many gifts, much will also be expected; and from one who has been entrusted with much, much more will also be demanded.

3rd February Trinity
February 19, 2017
Luke 12: 35-48

We all know what happens when something unexpected occurs – being surprised, we may fail to respond appropriately. Emergency crews prepare for events
with drills, over and over. They train their consciousness to remain awake and recognize what is happening. With exercises, they train their will until it responds appropriately, habitually, almost instinctively.

Christ asks us to become, not necessarily emergency workers, but at least people willing to serve Him, and ready to respond appropriately. First of all, this means we need to be awake and alert for His arrival. And the great secret is that He could arrive at any moment, in the guise of anyone. A Celtic rune of hospitality says;

I saw a stranger yesterday . . .
He blessed myself and my house . . .
And the lark said in her song
”Often, Often, Often,
Goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise.”

We are to open the door of the heart to the Christ in them.

Further, we are to protect His treasure in our own hearts, so that the adversaries do not break in and steal it. What is the master's treasure? It is our love – our love for Him, our love for each other, our love for the earth. As Christ points out, being full of ourselves, intoxicated with power, mistreating others, destroys our integrity of heart and its treasure of love and service. What we sow we will reap. If we serve, we will receive service; if we mistreat others, we are in effect tearing our own true being to pieces.

So, in the words of Christ: "Be ready; the Son of Man comes at an hour that you had not thought." Luke 12:40

Sunday, February 12, 2017

2nd February Trinity 2017, My Grief or My Gladness

2nd February Trinity
Luke 8:4-18

And as a great crowd had gathered, and ever more people streamed to him out of the cities, he spoke in a parable:

Van Gogh
A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some seed fell on the path. It was trodden upon, and the birds of the sky (air) ate it up. Other seed fell upon the rocks, and as it sprouted, it (the sprouting green) withered, because it had no moisture. Still other seed fell under the thorns; the thorns grew with it and choked what came up. And some fell upon good soil, grew, and brought forth fruit a hundredfold. When he had said these things, he called out: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
His disciples asked him what this parable might mean. And he said: To you, it has been given the gift of being able to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God; but to the others, it is given in pictures and parables, for they see and do not yet see, and hear, although they do not yet understand with their thinking. The meaning of the parable is this:

The seed is the Word of God. That which fell upon the path are those who hear it; afterward the tempter comes and tears the Word out of their hearts so that they cannot find healing through the trusting power of faith working in them.

Those on the rock are those who, when they hear the Word, take it up with joy; but they remain without root. For a while, the power of their faith works in them, but in times of trial, they fall away.
Harvest of Earth, Mattias Gerung, Ottheimer Folio detail
What fell under the thorns are those who hear the Word from the spirit, and as they go on their way, the sorrows and the riches and the joys of life choke it, and they bring no fruit to maturity.
And the seed which fell in the good soil are those who hear the Word, and take it up into their hearts, feel its beauty, become noble and worthy and patiently keep it alive, tending it there until it brings forth fruit.

No one lights a light and hides it under a vessel or under a bench; instead, he places it on a lamp stand so that all who come in see the light. For nothing is hidden which shall not be revealed, and nothing is secret which shall not be known and proclaimed.

So attend to how you listen. For he who has enlivened in himself the power to bear the spirit, to him more will be given. He however who does not have this power, from him will be taken that which he thinks he has.

2nd February Trinity
February 12, 2017
Luke 8:14-18

Christ uses today's parable of living things, seeds, to describe Himself. He is the seed of the living, Creative Word of God. He is sown into our hearts. But whether He grows there depends on the inner conditions into which He falls.

One could say something similar about what happens to our own words. How they are received, whether they live and grow in another's heart, depends largely on the conditions into which they fall. Say what we will, unless the conditions are right, nothing will grow.

There is a further element to consider: God's Word is His living, Creative Word of Love. This is what He has sown and wants to grow in our hearts.  But we humans have the option to strew all kinds of words. We can broadcast words of kindness, mercy, comfort. Or we can fling words of hate, cruelty, meanness. We can scatter words that create or words that destroy.

Depending on where these words land, they will sprout. Kind words will grow kindness; mean words will grow hatred. And we will inevitably harvest what we have sown.

Rudolf Steiner said, "We easily allow ourselves through a wrong judgment to be
Hortus Deliciarum, Das Gleichnis vom Sämann Wiki Commons

carried away into hurling an insult, for example, without thinking of the consequences of our action. We hit a person and we are unaware that we have raised our hand against ourselves because this blow will come back to hit us at the given time."*

So even an enlightened self-interest would caution us to be careful of what we speak. For we will inevitably reap what we sow. In the words of e.e. cummings:

my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own . . .  children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness **

*Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 125 – Wege und Ziele des geistigen Menschen – Kopenhagen, 4 June 1910 (page 56-57). This English translation has been copied from the book: GA 125 – Paths and Goals of the Spiritual Human Being – Life questions in the light of spiritual science – Chapter 4 – Copenhagen, 4 June 1910  **e.e.cummings ~, Complete Poems 1904-1962

Visit our Website