Sunday, December 4, 2016

2nd Advent 2016, Beautiful to Hear

2nd Advent
Philippians 4:1, 4:4-9

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown of glory, stand firm in the power of the Lord.

Rejoice in the nearness of the Lord at all times! And I say it again: Rejoice!
Let a gentle kindliness be evident toward all human beings you encounter. The Lord is near! Let not worry have power over you; let your concerns in all things be known to God by sending your supplication and prayer upward in thankful thoughts. And the peace of God, which transcends anything that the intellect can grasp, will keep your hearts and thoughts safe in the Being of Christ….

And lastly dear brothers I say to you:
all that is true,
all that is worthy of reverence,
all that is good and holy,
all that is lovely to look at and beautiful to hear,
all that has virtue and deserves praise:

let these be the content of your conversations and thoughts. All that you have had handed on to you, what you have heard from me and seen in me—put all this into practice; then the God of Peace will be with you!
Holman Hunt

2nd Advent
December 3, 2016
Philippians 4:1, 4:4-9

Most of us have had the experience: whenever we pay particular attention to a theme or quality or thing, we begin to see it everywhere. Our heightened attention allows it to reveal itself in multiple ways and in unexpected places.

In this reading, Paul urges us to focus our attention on what is true, on what is beautiful, on what is good. We are to think about them, converse on them. We can focus our attention on truth in science, both natural and spiritual. We can find beauty in art and in nature. We can generate goodness in religious practice, in compassion, and through our own conscience. Immersion in truth, beauty and goodness will nourish and strengthen our souls.

By focusing our attention on truth, on beauty and goodness, we weave a mantle of protection around our souls. Worry is transformed into prayer steeped in gratitude. Peace descends as we realize that no matter what happens, we are safe in the Being of Christ. For He is Truth itself, beauty itself, goodness itself. 

In the words of Hafiz:
This is the time
For you to compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.

Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is sacred.*

*"Now is the Time" in The Gift - versions of Hafiz, by Daniel Ladinsky

Sunday, November 27, 2016

1st Advent 2016, Grace of Beginning

1st Advent
Luke 21:25-36

And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars; and upon the earth, the nations will be constricted with anxiety and doubt with the advent of these spiritual revelations, as before a roaring sea and waves. And men will lose their inner strength of soul out of fear and foreboding of what is coming over the living earth: for the dynamic powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, in the sphere of life, with dynamic power and great radiant glory.

And when these things begin to happen, stand upright and lift up [raise] your soul to the spirit, for your deliverance draws near.

And he gave them a comparison, saying, ‘Observe [behold] the fig-tree and all the trees when they burst into leaf. Seeing this, you know yourselves that summer is near. So also when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

Amen, the truth I say to you: this present age of Man’s being shall not pass away until all has happened.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Guard yourselves lest the perceptive power of your hearts be smothered by an excess of food and drink and by over-concern with the cares and worries of life, and the light of these spirit events break upon you suddenly like a snare…for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. So be awake in the spirit at all times, praying, so that you may have the strength to live through all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.

1st Advent
November 27, 2016
Luke 21:25-36

Today is the new beginning, the sunrise of the new liturgical year. We are told to look for 'the Son of Man, coming in a cloud, in the sphere of life, in dynamic power and great radiant glory.' When the sun rises, it enlightens the overarching darkness. And at the same time, objects that do not absorb the light cast dark shadows.

In our own lives, we also stand at a new beginning. The Son of Man is rising. We are to stand upright before His countenance. We are to absorb His light, become 'enlightened'. It helps if we can banish that in us which casts inner shadows – too much food and drink, over-concern and worry, fear and foreboding. These things reject the light; they reject the life and the power of the Coming One.

Instead, we are encouraged to pray wakefully. We can pray that we begin to see through the illusions that ignorance creates. We can ask that the Kingdom of the Coming One's Father extend itself through our own deeds and moral conduct. We can pray that our mercy toward others becomes restorative justice. We can pray that we are ready to begin again. In the words of John O'Donohue:

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning…*

*John O'Donohue, For a New Beginning

Sunday, November 20, 2016

4th November Trinity 2016, Openings into Peace

4th November Trinity
Revelation 21: 9 -27

And there came to me one of the seven angels who have the seven bowls filled with the last seven plagues of the world; and he spoke with me and said, “Come, I will show you the eternal Feminine, the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

And he carried me in spirit-form up to a great high mountain, and let me see how the Holy City, Jerusalem, the City of Peace, descended out of the spiritual worlds, coming forth from the being of God, wrapped in the most intimate splendor of the revelation of God.

Her shining [gleaming] is like that of a precious gemstone, like the stone jasper, clear as crystal.

Her walls are of mighty size and height; she has twelve gates and at the gates stand twelve angels. On the gates are written the names of the twelve sons of Israel; three gates from the East, three gates from the North, three gates from the South, and three gates from the West.

And the wall of the City rests on twelve sacred foundations, and the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb work in them.

And he who spoke with me carried a golden measuring rod, in order to measure the City and her gates and her walls.

And the City is spread out in a square; her length is the same as her width. And he measured the City with the measuring rod. It measured twelve thousand miles; the length and breadth and height were alike. And he measured her walls at one hundred forty-four cubits [ells], the measure of a man, which now the angel was using.

The covering of her walls was of jasper, and the City herself of purified gold, clear as glass. And the sacred foundation of the wall were adorned with every precious stone:
the first, a jasper,

the second, a sapphire,
the third, a chalcedony,
the fourth, emerald,
the fifth sardonyx,
the sixth, carnelian,
the seventh, chrysolite,
the eighth, beryl,
the ninth, topaz,
the tenth, chrysoprase
the eleventh, hyacinth,
the twelfth, an amethyst.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, and each of the gates made of a single pearl. And the city was of purified gold, like a transparent crystal.

I did not see a temple in the City, for the Lord God, Ruler of All, is her sanctuary, and the Lamb.

And the City needs neither sun nor moon, for she shines from within; for the shining revelation of God is streaming brightness in her, and her light is the Lamb.

And all nations shall walk in her light, and the rulers of the earth will carry their spiritual treasures into her. And her gates will never be closed by day, for there, night will be no more.

And all the shining treasures of the revelations of the world, and all the spiritual worth of the nations and all achievements of the soul will be brought into her.

And nothing can enter which is not spiritualized [consecrated], nothing which perverts the image of Man, nothing which remains under the power of the Lie, but rather only those who are written into the Book of Life of the Lamb.

4th November Trinity

November 20, 2016
Revelation 21: 9 -27

This is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, and so it is fitting that we look toward our goal, toward what will definitely appear at the end of earth evolution. What John sees is a beautiful city. A city is constructed by human effort and creativity. The New Jerusalem, the City of Peace, is not a material city. It is a vast and ordered time/space, transparent and shining with life. It is created out of the spiritual values and shining revelations of all the nations of the world. 

The spiritual gemstones for the foundations of the city will  have been mined from the spiritual and moral work of hard-won virtue.

The gateways, the openings into this vast human/spiritual creation are made of pearl. When a grain of sand enters an oyster, it is not expelled. Rather, it is endured. The creature produces layer after layer of lustrous substance to transform this pain into a shining thing of beauty.

The portals into the beautiful spirit city, the gates of pearl, are always open. They are the achievement of human suffering rightly endured. We are reassured that all our pain, all of our losses and suffering are meant to become openings into a place of peace. They lead us to a place of light, a place of triumphant joy, where the bejeweled soul of humanity weds her Bridegroom. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

3rd November Trinity 2016, The Great Suffering

3rd November Trinity
Durer, Adoration of the Lamb ,Metropolitan Museum
Revelation 7: 9-17

Next I looked and saw a great crowd beyond anyone’s power to count, from every nation and all races and peoples and tongues standing before the throne and before the Lamb draped in garments of white and with palm branches in their hands, and they shout with a great voice saying, “Healing and help [salvation] to our God who sits on the throne and through the Lamb.”

And all the angels were standing in a ring around the throne and the elders and the four living beings, and they fell down in front of the throne upon their faces and adored God saying,
Yea, so be it. Amen. 
All the blessing power of the Word, that creating permeates the world, all the revealing might of the spirit, that enlightens the senses appearance, all the light of wisdom that leads us to true knowledge, the secret of transformation which gives worth to all being, that brings the world forward, and all the strength and power of the spirit –they belong to our God from aeon to aeon. Yea, so be it, Amen. [To our God be blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength for an age of ages. Amen.”]

And one of the elders spoke up, asking me: “These people draped in garments of white, who are they and where did they come from?”
And I said to him, “Good sir, you yourself know.”
And he said to me: "These are the ones just come from the great Suffering. They washed their garments clean and made them shining white in the blood of the Lamb.
That is why they can stand here before the throne of God
And serve him day and night in his temple.
The One who sits on the throne shall settle down upon them [dwell upon them].
They shall not hunger ever again, nor thirst again;
The sun shall not bear down too hard upon them, nor anything burn them,
Because the Lamb, in the midst of the throne, will be their shepherd
And guide them to the springs of the water of life,
And God will wipe away each teardrop from  their eyes."

3rd November Trinity
November 13, 2016
Revelation 7: 9-17

The word 'suffer' has two meanings. One meaning is to mourn, to fell sorrow or regret over loss. The second meaning is to 'undergo', to endure patiently, to allow.

Grunewald Crucifixion
In the reading today, we hear about those who have undergone the Great Suffering. They are those who on earth have patiently endured life's losses. One existential loss we all suffer under is our lack of an immediate awareness of God and his angels. We long for a lost paradise. This is a trial certainly, but a suffering to be endured for a purpose. This very lack of awareness is the basis for our freedom of choice. We can choose to rail against our fate. Or we can decide to patiently endure this condition of separateness. And eventually, our suffering will bear fruit. For pain and suffering properly endured are purifying. Through suffering endured, our life garments are washed clean of egotism.

Master of the Holy Trinity, Mosoc
Pain and suffering create organs of perception. Our inner eye opens to the great suffering of others. They open to the great suffering of the divine on behalf of humanity. We become aware that the divine world needs our help, our active participation. Our acknowledgment, our praise and honoring of the great divine work of World Karma strengthens God's purpose in the world. 

Those whose eye is opened can, like Job, begin to see. They can begin to say, The Lord gives, and the Lord takes back. May the name of the Lord be praised.*

*Job 1: 21
Visit our Website!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2nd November Trinity 2016, Cannot Forget You

2nd Trinity November
Rev. 3, 1-6, (Sardis)

And to the angel who penetrates the congregation of Sardis write:

Angels of Seven Churches, Tiffany
Thus speaks he who has power over the seven creating spirits of God and over the seven stars: I know the consequences of your deeds, for one says of you that you live, and yet are dead. Awaken and strengthen what remains in you, that is otherwise about to die, for I have not found that your works possess reality before my God.

Remember how you were once receptive for all the workings of the spirit, and for all words which came from the spirit. Care for them in your soul in inner loyalty. Change your heart and mind.

If however, you do not awaken, I will come over you suddenly like a thief, and you will not know at which hour I will come over you.

But you have some names in Sardis whose souls have not been darkened by illusion and addiction to the senses. They will walk with me in white garments, for they are worthy of them.

He who overcomes, he shall be clothed with white garments, and I will not wipe out his name from the Book of Life. I will speak out his name and acknowledge him before my Father and his Angels. He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.

Angel of Sardis, Tiffany 
2nd November Trinity 
Nov 6, 2016
Rev. 3, 1-6, (Sardis)

Whenever a group of people come together regularly and voluntarily, there is an angel who takes an interest in their working. What the members of the group do together enables the angel connected with them to work in a wakeful, creative and inspiring way.

The strong words of the Son of Man in this reading are directed at the angel of the congregation. He says that the angel is about to die, that is, to fall unconscious. The angel's works do not possess full spiritual reality.

This causes us to ask how the creative power of the angel and the members of the congregation work together. For in their essence, they are bound together.

Individual in the congregation, the names of souls, are themselves to be conscious, awake and receptive to the creative workings of the spiritual world and the promptings of their angel. They are to remember and remain loyal to the inspirations they have received in the past. They are not to allow their relation to the sense world to darken their perceptions of the spirit.

It is then that the individuals who join in congregation can nourish and refresh the community's angel. We might hear the angel's voice in a poem by Rolf Jacobsen

I am one you have loved long ago.
I walk alongside you by day and look intently at you
and put my mouth on your heart
but you don’t know it.

I am your third arm and your second
shadow, the white one,
whom you don’t have the heart for
and who cannot ever forget you.*

*Rolf Jacobsen, "Guardian Angel" transl. by Roger Greenwald

Sunday, October 30, 2016

1st November Trinity 2016, Fire of Creative Love

1st November Trinity
Bowyer Bible
Revelation 1, 1-20

This is the unveiling of the being of Jesus Christ, which proceeds out of the divine world for those who would serve him. To them shall be revealed what must of necessity happen in the future and which powerfully presses into world events. God formed this revelation in imagery and sent it through his angel to his servant John. And so John speaks as a witness to everything he saw, that is, to the Divine Word, and to the life of Jesus Christ, which serves as a testimony. Blessed is he who knows how to read the prophetic words, and blessed are those who know how to hear them, and all who take what is written in this book into their souls; for time presses.
John, to the seven congregations in Asia:
Grace and peace to you
From Him who is, and who was, and who is coming
And from the seven creating spirits before his throne
And from Jesus Christ.
By his witnessing, he is the archetype of trust.
He is the first born from the realm of death,
He is the leading spirit of the Kings on earth.
He has turned to us in love, and by the power of his blood
He has released us from the spell of sin which lay upon us.
He has established us as true kings and made us into priests
before the divine Ground of the World, his Father.
To him belongs all light of the spirit and all power of soul from aeon to aeon. Amen.

See: he comes in the realm of the clouds.
All eyes shall see him, also the eyes of those who pierced him.
And men down the ages will lament about him. Yes. Amen.
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
Thus speaks the Lord our God
who is, and who was, and who is coming
the divine ruler of the world.

I, John, your brother and your companion in all trials and also in the inner kingdom and in the power of endurance which we possess through our one-ness with Jesus: I was on the island of Patmos. There it was granted to me to receive a share of the divine Word and to bear witness to the sufferings of Jesus.
On the Lord’s Day, I was lifted up to the world of spirit, and I heard behind me a mighty voice like the sound of a trumpet. It said: write what you see in a book and send it to the seven congregations: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia and to Laodicia.
And I turned to see him whose voice was speaking to me. And as I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands, a figure like that of the Son of Man:
clothed with a long billowing garment,
artist unknown
encircled round his breast with a golden band;
his head and his hair shining white like snow white wool,
his eyes like a flame of fire,
his feet like burnished bronze glowing in a furnace,
his voice like the rushing of many streams of water.
In his hand, he held seven stars;
from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword
and his face shone, as the sun shines in its full radiance.

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet and was as if dead. But he laid his right hand upon me and said:
“Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and look! I am living and I bear the life of the world through all aeons. Mine is the key to the realm of death and of the shades. Write down what you see: what is now, and what is to come.
The secret of the seven stars, which you see in my right hand, and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the picture in the spirit for the angels of the seven congregations, and the seven lampstands are the seven congregations themselves.”

1st November Trinity
October 30, 2016
Revelation 1, 1-20

We move into the dark time, toward the company of those who have died. The border between their world and ours becomes thin. And so we can more easily sense their presence. For our deceased loved ones still love us, are still united with us. Especially when we remember them, when we think of them in gratitude, they can be with us. They can continue to enrich our lives and perhaps even gently guide us.

Chief among those who have died and yet still live is Christ, the first-born in the realm of the dead. He is our ever-beloved, still alive in death, ever with us. We think of his ever-living presence so that He can be with us, enriching our souls, gently guiding us.

He is the ever-born Life, radiant with the light of the sun, blazing with the fire of creative love. He is our leader in the realm across the threshold of death. He is our guide in our congress with those who have crossed that threshold before us. The world beyond is no longer dark, for He who is the Light of Worlds now lives and works there.

Visit our website!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

4th Michaelmas 2016, Loyal

2nd 3rd or 4th Michaelmas Sunday
Revelation 19, 11-16

And I saw the heavens opening up. And behold, a white horse! And the rider who sat upon it is called faithful and true, who judges justly and battles for justice. His eyes are like flames of fire, and his head wears many crowns, inscribed with a name which no one knows but he himself. The cloak that covers him has been dipped in blood, and he is known by the name “Word of God”.

And the warriors of the sky ride behind him upon white steeds, clad in clean, white linen. And he has a sharp-edged sword coming out of his mouth with which to subdue the nations, and he will shepherd them with a staff of iron. He treads on the winepress holding the wine of the wrath of the will of God, the ruler of all.

And written on his cloak and on his thigh is the name: King of all kings, Lord of all lords.

2nd 3rd or 4th Michaelmas Sunday
October 23, 2016
Revelation 19, 11-16

Here in the North, we are descending into the cold and dark time of the year. Yet as we cross the threshold into darkness, an image lights up. It is an image of light and fire, painted in colors of red, white and gold. The white horse, and white linens, the red of blood and wine, the gold of flame and crowns.

Like the woman clothed with the sun, this too is an image of humanity. It is the image of an ever enlarging humanity led by the rider in white, wearing the many crowns of nations and of lives.
He is a leader who reigns from within the body. He rides the white horse of a purified intelligence. He will cover us with the white linen of his truth and justice. His staff of iron will strengthen our blood and our inner resolves, pressing out all of our selfishness and greed.

He is faithful, loyal to his own mission of helping humanity. He leads us in our battle against the adversaries of our true human nature. The very colors express our true humanity: the white of clear pure thinking, the gold of a loving heart, the red of a will devoted to God and to humanity. He leads. He asks us to follow.