Sunday, October 18, 2020

3rd Michaelmas 2020, Curious Confidence

2nd 3rd or 4th Michaelmas

Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, 6:10-19 

What it comes to in the end is this: grasp the power that streams to you in the experience of Christ in the soul and the powerful regency of his pure spiritual strength. 

Put on the power of God as one puts on full armor, so that you may stand against the well-aimed attacks of the adversary. For our struggle is not to fight against powers of flesh and blood, but 

against spirit beings mighty in the stream of time,

against spirit beings powerful in the molding of earth substance,

against cosmic powers whose darkness rules the present time,

against spirits who carry evil into the realms of the spiritual world. 

Therefore take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand your ground on the day when evil unfolds its greatest strength, and victoriously withstand it. 

Stand firm, then, girded with the truth, like a warrior firmly girded. Connect yourself with all in the world as is justified in the spiritual world, and this connection with the spirit will protect you like a strong breastplate.

And may Peace stream through you, down to your feet, so that on your path you spread peace, as the message that comes from the realm of the angels. 

In all your deeds have trust in God. This trust will be like a mighty shield; with it, you can quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 

Take into your thinking the certainty of Christ’s healing deed. It will protect your head like a helmet. 

And the spirit, which has become living in you, you shall grasp as one grasps a sharp sword. The sword of the spirit is the working of the Word of God. 

May this armor clothe you in all your prayers and supplications so that in the right moment, you raise yourself in prayer to the spirit. To this end, direct your spirit-strength in all your efforts of soul and in your intercessions for all who would know Christ’s healing power. 

Feel yourself united in prayer with all other bearers of the spirit. Take me into your prayers, so that when I open my mouth, the strength of the word will be given to me.  Then I can courageously and openly bring the knowledge of that holy mystery that lives in the message of the Gospel, for which I am a priestly messenger enchained. Out of the Gospel itself, there streams to me the free strength to speak with the courage I need. 

3rd Michaelmas Sunday

October 18, 2020

How timely is the Gospel reading in this year! Our spiritual enemies, spiritual beings aiming their arrows of fear and despair at our souls full, are on the attack. Paul encourages us to fight a spiritual battle. It is not a battle of aggression, for it is not our task (nor is it even possible) to destroy our eternal enemy. Rather we are to arm ourselves for our own souls’ self-defense so that we can resist the fear and remain inwardly upright. 

Don Dos Santos
We shield ourselves from these attacks of fear by remaining in trust and truth. This trust is in humankind's ultimate goal, the goal of learning to love. This truth we acquire by remaining in the current moment, the Now, which is ruled by Christ. For the truth is that fear often causes us to project a false picture into the future, which, in a vicious cycle, then inspires more fear. The truth is that the future is constantly changing, moment by moment, day by day, based on what human beings do in those moments and days. We are all involved in the process of creating the future. Any fixed picture of the future, hammered hard by constant discussion and steeped in worry generated by fear, is premature. 

“Do not worry about tomorrow,” says Christ, “for tomorrow can worry about itself. Each day has enough challenge of its own.” Matthew 6:34  We act, we trust, we pray, one day, one moment at a time. 

We must not underestimate the power of the light-filled energy that is generated by our prayers and sacraments, even when only an apparent few participate on earth. Behind each one of us stand all those who have died, who still take an active interest in their loved ones on earth. Mingling with them are those about to be born into the world, with their ideals and hopes. And above us, all stands the angelic world. Deeds of prayer and sacrament generate a healing light, a bright energy. Given into the hands of the angels, this energy can work as a positive force in world karma, helping shape the future.  Michael and his host of angels beckon us toward the courage and trust that arises in our awareness of this truth. 

A second-century mystic, Evagrios of Pontos, wrote: 

If you would pray in truth, you will

David Newbatt

suspect a deeper sense of curious confidence.

And a host of angels will walk beside you

Showing you the purpose of created things.


When the angel of the Lord arrives,

he scatters by his word alone

every force that acts against us,

and brings to our spirits that light

that shines without deception.*


*Evagrios of Pontos, (345-399) “Effusions on Prayer,” in Love’s Immensity, Mystics on the Endless Light, Scott Cairns, p. 56

Sunday, October 11, 2020

2nd Michaelmas 2020, Done in Beauty

2nd 3rd or 4th Michaelmas

Revelation 12:1-17 

Giusto de' Menabuoi

And a momentous image was unveiled in the world of spirit: a woman, clothed with the radiant power of the sun, the moon under her feet, her head adorned with the crown of the twelve stars of heaven. And she is with child and cries out in the labor and pain of giving birth. 

And at the same time, a second image was revealed in the heavens: a great fiery-red dragon with seven heads and ten horns. On its heads, it has seven crowns, and its tail is sweeping a third of all the stars in heaven and dashing them onto the earth. And the dragon is standing before the woman about to give birth so that when she bears the child, he can devour it. And she bore a child, a son “who would shepherd all nations with a rod of iron.” And the woman’s child was caught up to God and his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place that God keeps ready there so that they can take care of her for days numbering one thousand two hundred sixty.

And a war flared up in the spirit world. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. And the dragon fought amid his own angels, but he was not strong enough, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. Down came the dragon, the giant, the serpent, the evil one called both Satan and the devil, deceiver of all the world. Onto the earth, he came hurtling down, and all his angels with him. 

And I heard a great voice in heaven, saying: 

Now can begin the working which proceeds from our God—

The power to heal the world,

The power to transform all being,

The power to draw everything into godly being.

Arisen is the spiritual leadership of his Christ.

Overthrown is the accuser of our brothers,

He who accused them night and day before the countenance of God.

They have overcome him through the blood and the sacrificial power of the Lamb

And by the divine Word to which they bore witness.

They did not love their own lives too dearly, nor did they fear death.

Therefore, rejoice you heavens

And all who lodge therein!

But woe to the earth and the sea:

For the Adversary has come down to you,

And he seethes with measureless fury,

For he knows that his time is short. 

And when the dragon recognized that he had been cast onto the earth, he began to persecute the woman who had borne the son. Then the woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she could fly into the desert to her appointed place, where she is to be nourished for a cycle of time, for cycles of time, and for half a cycle of time, far from the face of the serpent. 

And the serpent opened his mouth and spewed out a river of water after the woman so she would be swept off her feet by the river. But then the earth came to the woman’s assistance; it opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon spewed from his mouth. And the dragon burned with fury against the woman. He stormed away to make war on the rest of the woman’s seed, people who keep to the divine world aims and who are united with the destiny and witnessing of Jesus. As I saw this, I was standing on the sandy shore of the sea.

2nd Michaelmas

Oct 11, 2020

Revelation 12:1-17

When we are under the stress of time pressure, some of us may fall apart; some of us may manage to focus intently and work quickly, and then afterward collapse. But for a few, in an emergency time expands and somehow slows down. They somehow know exactly what to do and do it encased in a bubble of calm.


The reading says: ‘The dragon seethes with measureless fury, for he knows that his time is short’. He is under time pressure. But his pressure is to do the most damage and destruction he can in his limited allotment of time. He also knows that by turning the stress and pressure on us, by infecting us with his fury, he can sooner or later create collapse.The woman, the Soul of Humanity, is giving birth to the Divine Child. She is given a divine gift—the wings of the eagle. They enable her to get above the problem, above the dragon, and look down on it. And then time expands and slows down. She knows exactly what to do. She flies to a solitary place, an inner place, where she is encased in calm and nourished by the divine.

The dragon in his fury is heavy and earthbound. And even when he spews forth a flood of lies, of information, of requirements and misinformation, the earth itself is willing to assist in the rescue of humanity’s soul. The earth itself absorbs the flood of the dragon’s fury. The earth and nature do their best to help provide a physical space of calm nourishment.

What is it that keeps our individual souls from being persecuted and flooded? It is our own solitary place, the inner space into which we go with our eagle wings of compassionate thought, our place of spiritual nourishment, of prayer and meditation. But we must practice flying. The Native American poet Joy Harjo says:

To pray you open your whole self


To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon

…And know there is more

That you can't see, can't hear

….Like eagle that Sunday morning

Over Salt River.  Circles in blue sky

In wind, swept our hearts clean

With sacred wings.

We …know that we must take the utmost care

And kindness in all things.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of

All this, and breathe, knowing

We are truly blessed because we

Were born, and die soon, within a

True circle of motion,

Like eagle rounding out the morning

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.*


*Joy Harjo, “Eagle Poem”, in How We Become Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001

Sunday, October 4, 2020

1st Michaelmas 2020, Wedding Gift

1st Michaelmas

Matthew 22:1-14

And Jesus continued to speak in parables to them: 

unknown illuminator, Marriage of the Lamb
The kingdom of the heavens [arising in human hearts] is like a man, a king, who prepared a marriage feast for his son. And he sent out his servants to call the guests who had been invited to the marriage, but they would not come. 

Then he again sent out other servants, and said, “Say to those who have been invited, ‘Think, I have prepared my best for the banquet, the sacrificial oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered; everything is ready. Come quickly to the wedding.” 

But they were not interested and went off, one going to his field to be his own master, another falling into the hectic pace of his own business. The rest, however, took hold of the servants, mistreated them, and killed them. 

Then the king grew angry; he sent out his army, brought the murderers to their destruction, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, “Although the marriage feast is prepared, the invited guests have proved themselves unworthy. Go out therefore to the crossroads of destiny and invite to the wedding whoever you can find.” 

And the servants went into the streets and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. 

Then the king came in to see the guests, and among them, he noticed a man who was not dressed in the wedding garment [that was offered to him]. And he said to him, “My friend, you are sharing the meal; how did you enter here not having a wedding garment?” 

But the man was speechless. 

Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot and cast him out into the darkness, where human beings wail and gnash their teeth. For the call goes out to many, yet only a few make themselves bearers of the higher life.”

1st Michaelmas

Oct 4, 2020

Matthew 22:1-14

 A wedding is a cause for great joy, for the couple have found each other on earth.  They are joining forces for a creative and fruitful union, for something that neither could do alone.

This gospel reading of the wedding of the king’s son is about the relationship

between our souls, individually and collectively, and Christ. Christ is the Bridegroom. Our souls are meant to be the Bride. The divine Father invites us to wed Christ his Son.

This means that first of all, we must show up. We need to extricate ourselves from the demands of ordinary everyday life and enter the hall of prayer, the hall of the celebration meal.  In order to do so worthily, we are to clothe ourselves in the appropriate soul attire. This attire we receive as grace from the King. We are to receive and clothe ourselves in three garments: We are to attire ourselves in an open reverence and grateful awe of thought. We are to wear an open empathy of heart for all the world. We are to array ourselves in the promptings of the angels who inspire our thoughtful actions.

Thus clothed we are ready to celebrate the Great Wedding. We step into the hall of light, in the company of other such souls. There, our souls are joined with Christ, the King’s Son. We have found Him on earth. We are joining forces with Him for a creative and fruitful union, for something that neither could do alone. St. Francis said in a poem called “A Wedding Gift:”

I hear you singing, dear, inviting me to your [arm] limb.

I am coming, for all that we do is a

preparation for love.

I hear you singing, my Lord, inviting me to your throne.

We are coming, dear, for all the toil you have

blessed us with is a preparation to know and hold the



I hear you singing, my soul, but how can it be that

God’s voice has now become my own?

“That’s just a wedding gift for our

Divine Union,”

my Beloved


*St. Francis of Assisi “A Wedding Gift,”  in Love Poems to God, Daniel Ladinsky, p. 44.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

10th Trinity 20, Death Makes Whole

10th Trinity August September

Luke 7:11-17

And it came to pass that on the next day Jesus went into a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. And as he drew near to the gate of the city, they became aware that a dead man was being carried out—the only born son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd of people from the city accompanied her.

Pierre Bouillon

And seeing her, the Lord felt her suffering, and said to her, “Weep no more.” 

And approaching, he touched the coffin, and pallbearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” 

The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him to his mother. Astonishment and awe seized all who were standing there, and they began to praise God and to glorify what was here revealed, saying, 

“A prophet powerful in spirit has been raised among us, and God has come down to us, his people.” 

Word about him spread out into all of Judea and all of the neighboring regions. 

10th Trinity August, September

September 27, 2020

Luke 7, 11-17

Death is a great mystery to us. It is also a great masquerade. The being of death is a pretender.

In today’s reading, a young man has died. One senses the communal loss and anguish. He is now ‘outside’, out beyond the city gates, beyond the crowd and his bereft and widowed mother. But he is not beyond Christ. Christ approaches him in death and bids him live, to rise above what would bind him and hold him down.

We too go through our dying times, even in life; times when we suffer the paralysis of grief; times like now when our former life dies away from us. And for us too, Christ approaches, especially just at such times. He bids us rise from our sleep, our grief, from our deaths.

For He is the Master of the cycle of life, death and life again. Living things die; they fall, but like seeds. And from them a new life germinates. We die our smaller and greater deaths, but new life is already germinating within us, through Christ. For in the funeral service of the Christian Community Christ says, I am the New Birth in Death. I am the Life in dying. As the poet Novalis says,

What dropped us all into abysmal woe,

Pulls us forward with sweet yearning now.

In everlasting life death found its goal,

For thou art Death who at last makes us whole.*

*Novalis, in "Hymns to the Night."

Sunday, September 20, 2020

9th Trinity III, 2020, Money As Servant

9th August Trinity

Matthew 6:19-34 

Do not save up your treasures on the earth, where moths and rust eat away at them and thieves tunnel in and steal. Save up your treasures in heaven, where no moth and no rust consumes, and thieves do not tunnel in and steal. Because where you have gathered a treasure, there your heart will bear you. 

“The lamp of the body is the eye. So if your eye is wholesome, your whole body is lighted, whereas if your eye is bad, your whole body is in darkness. So if the light inside you is dark, what great darkness! 

“No one can serve two masters: either they will hate one and love the other, or they will put up with one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and greed’s demon of riches [Mammon, the spirit of hindrances or avarice]. 

Therefore I tell you, do not trouble your heart about what you will eat and drink

Jan de Kok
or with what you will clothe your body. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds in the sky: they do not plant, do not harvest, and do not fill barns, and your heavenly Father still feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Can any of you, by being vastly concerned, add one moment to the span of your life? 

And why do you worry about clothing? Study how the lilies of the field grow: they do not work, and they do not spin cloth. But I am telling you that not even Solomon in all his glory was ever arrayed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the wild grass of the field, here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will He not do much more for you, O small in faith? 

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What will we drink? What will we wear?’ It is the nations who ask for all these things, and indeed, your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Ask first for God’s kingdom and its harmonious order, and these other things will be delivered to you as well. 

So do not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow can worry about itself. Today’s trouble is enough for today. 

9th August Trinity

September 20, 2020

Matthew 6:19-34

The question of our relationship to money is well worth looking at more closely, especially here in the western world. In this Gospel reading, Christ makes it quite clear what our relationship to money needs to be. 

Shirley Markham

Notice that Christ is not saying that money itself is evil. The traditional word Mammon in verse 24 comes from the Chaldean, and means avarice. Christ is pointing out the tendency we human beings have of allowing money to take over as our first love. He is saying that if money and material concerns take first place in our lives, two things will happen: 

First of all, our relationship with the divine world will be crowded out. For, as He says, there is really only space in our souls for attention to one thing at a time. True devoted attention means shutting out everything else. "You cannot serve two masters; you will love the one and despise (that is, neglect) the other." (Matthew 6:24) And whatever we spend the most time giving our devoted attention to will, of necessity, become the most important thing in our lives. "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be too," He says. (Matthew 6:21) How many of us can honestly say that we spend most of our devoted attention to God? 

Secondly, whatever we are most devoted to, whether money or God, will become our master. God is the master teacher who respects our freedom, who encourages our development and integrity, who helps us build confidence and trust in the universe. 

Money as master aims itself toward our lower desire nature, whipping up our desire life. It encourages our dissatisfaction and greed, creating the need for more, bigger, and better stuff. Money as master enslaves us. It is the enslavement, not the money itself, about which Christ warns us. "You cannot serve God and be enslaved to the Almighty Dollar" (Matthew 6:24). But, difficult though it is, we can serve God and, at the same time, find a right relationship to money. 

We do so by making money itself into our servant. We make money our servant when we recognize that all wealth, all richness, all possessions come from God. It all belongs to Him, not to us. He gives it to us to administer, to take care of, to pass along to others. Money is not ours to own and hoard. 

The right relationship is God first, and then our needs (not our egotistical desires) will be filled. And if God should choose to send us more than just the bare necessities, then we are in a position to ask Him what He wants done with it. Money as a servant is the means by which much good can be done in the world, for others. 

"So," to quote Matthew (the tax collector, who knew something about money,) "do not make your soul small with worry [be anxious], saying. 'What will we drink? What shall we wear?'… your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Ask first for God's kingdom and its harmonious order. Then all these other things will be yours as well." (Matthew 6:31-32)


Sunday, September 13, 2020

8th Trinity III 2020, This Amazing Day

8th Trinity

Luke 17:11-19

And it happened as he was on the way to Jerusalem that he passed through the middle of Samaria and Galilee. 

James Christensen

And as he was entering a certain village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance, and they raised their voice, saying, “Master, Jesus, have mercy on us!” 

And seeing them, he said, “Go, and show yourselves to the priests.” And it came about that as they went on their way, they were cleansed. 

Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and fell on his face at his feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan. 

And Jesus responded and said, “Were not all ten cleansed? And the nine—where are they? Was no one seen returning to praise the revelation of God’s working in this event except this foreigner?” 

And he said to him, “Rise and go your way. The power of your trust has made you strong.” 

8th Trinity

September 13, 2020

Luke 17:11-19 

The ancient Hebrews were required to tithe, that is, to give one-tenth of their

Alexander Master
income back to God by offering it to the temple. In today’s New Testament reading, one in ten of the formerly ill outcasts returns to give thanks to the Son of God for what has happened to him. We could read this story’s characters as being the different parts of a single human being. 

If we are honest, we all recognize that we are ill, outcast from heaven. We ask for mercy, to be healed and rejoined to the community of the heavens. In the story, all ten who ask are granted their request. Yet only one returns with a heart-offering, a tithe of gratitude. However, Christ, the Lord of Karma and our Destiny-Guide, notes that this is only a tenth. 

Do we remember to be grateful for everything that happens to us? For our destiny would be immeasurably aided if we were to give whole-hearted, one hundred percent thanks to God for everything that happens to us. In this way, we align ourselves with our own destiny. We receive it with an open heart. And we can work with it in a creative way.

We give thanks for everything, both ‘good’ and ‘bad’. For we know that Christ and our guardian angel mean only the best for us; they are always there to guide us, especially when we return to them with thanks. Knowing this and expressing our gratitude makes us strong. And this power of trust in the beneficence of God, becomes our own power to make good all that happens. 

So we say in the words of e.e. cummings:

i thank You God for most this amazing

Kate Austin, Praise Him


(i who have died am alive again today,

how should tasting touching hearing seeing

breathing …

doubt unimaginable You? 

(now the ears of my ears awake and

now the eyes of my eyes are opened).*


*e.e. cummings, (Complete Poems 1904-1962)


Sunday, September 6, 2020

7th Trinity III 2020, Avoid and Focus

7th August Trinity

Luke 10:1-20 

After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him, before his face, to every town and place where he himself was about to go. He told them, “An ample harvest, and few workers! Ask the harvest master, therefore, to send out workers to help with the harvesting. Go: I hereby send you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a wallet or knapsack or sandals, and do not pause to greet anyone on the way.


“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a person of peace is there, your peace will alight on them; if not, it will turn round and come back to you. Stay in that place, eating and drinking with them, because the worker is worth his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you, and heal the sick and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is close upon you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we are shaking off before your eyes. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is approaching. I am telling you, Sodom will be better off than that town on that day. 

“The worse for you, Chorazin! The worse for you, Bethsaida! Because if the deeds of the spirit that occurred in you had occurred in Tyre and Sidon, they would long since be sitting in sackcloth and ashes as a sign of their change of heart and mind. But Tyre and Sidon will be better off on the day of decision than you. And you, Capernaum, won’t you be exalted to the skies? You will go down to the depths. 

Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me, but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me." 

The seventy-two returned with joy and said: “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Here, I have now given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and all the power of the enemy, and none of it shall ever hurt you. But do not be glad that the spirits submit to you; be glad that your true being is taken up into the world of the heavens (that your names are recorded in the heavens).

7th Trinity

September 6, 2020

Luke 10:1-20

In the reading, Christ sends out a multiplicity of people into the world. He tells them that their situation is like a lamb being sent out among wolves. He also tells them three things that will protect them from being ‘devoured.’

First, they are not to hoard (no wallet or knapsack). Then they are not to lose focus and get distracted by pausing to greet others on the way. And further, they are to develop a peaceful equanimity. They are to radiate peace. They are not to worry about results—if they are not welcomed, they should move on.

We all have our task in life, and our karmic appointments to keep. Nowadays, it is tempting to accumulate ‘stuff’ as a hedge against the wolf of anxiety.  And it goes without saying that we are inundated by sales calls, emails, media posts that may be distracting us from our true task.

At the same time, amazingly, we are to send out our peace, and if it is not accepted or absorbed by others, it is meant to return to us; that is, we absorb it back into ourselves. We are meant not to lose our inner balance if people reject us, or to be disappointed if things don’t turn out the way we had hoped.

If we can succeed in the difficult inner tasks of avoiding accumulating, of avoiding distractions, if we can focus in peace and inner balance, then indeed the wolfish demons of fear and false expectations must submit to us, to Christ working in us. For this is the way Christ now works on the earth—in us, and through us.