There is a sacred secret in human evolution. It is hidden. Yet, at the same time it is open to all human beings. This open secret is that within each human soul there is an inner bride. This bride of our hearts is being called to holy wedlock with a very special groom. The bride in every human heart is called to a holy union with Christ.
And yet, our Michaelmas gospel (Mt.22) tells us that if this hidden wedding for our heart is to take place, we must become worthy. ‘For all are called, but only individuals make themselves worthy.’
To be worthy of a wedding, the bride of our heart must first really believe: believe that the wedding is real! We must practice trusting that He is actually here; longing to unite with the bride in us; ready to touch us and make us whole…
To be found worthy for a wedding we are also called to receive. We are called to receive and put on the gift of the wedding garment. This means that we cannot remain the way we are. The bride must put on something new. To be worthy, we must have the courage to be changed, to be made new.
And finally, to become worthy for the wedding, the bride in every human soul must learn to speak. For above all, we cannot be found to be speechless in the presence of God. We must learn to speak with truth, directly to the beloved, our words resounding from our heart’s core saying: “Take me, as You have given Yourself to me.”
During this time before Easter, we celebrate death. In other words, we celebrate the process of letting go, of emptying ourselves. We celebrate moving alone through the narrow gate of transformation. And it’s not that we are morbid or obsessed with the negative. On the contrary, we celebrate death precisely because in Christ, death becomes life.
If we have had the blessing of being with someone passing through the gate of death, it is often only when loved ones leave the room that the dying are able to make the transition from this world into the spirit. Death requires that we let go of something earthly; to die requires that we make the transition alone.
And yet, we are not so much celebrating dying at the end of life. Passiontide is the practice of dying during life.
We are called to die while we live by letting go of our blame and hate toward ourselves and others, so that the life of love can fill our hearts. We are called to die while we live by letting go of our inability to be alone, so that solitude and His constant presence awaken in us. We are called to die while we live by letting go of fear, so that we can stand at peace with the world.
Dear friends, in Christ every circumstance and situation in our lives is an opportunity to die into His life. For the open secret is, Christ is the reality in which we live.
Not only do we celebrate the Three Kings on Epiphany, we also celebrate the Epiphany in the river Jordan- The baptism of Jesus. Because just like the Star of Grace that blessed the kings with its light, the Holy Spirit blessed Jesus with Christ’s light in the river Jordan.
And yet, as important as the baptism of Jesus is, being blessed by the light would be nothing on its own. Without Jesus giving himself to the death on the cross for the life of the world, the light He received at the baptism would have no meaning. Without the three kings being able to give their gifts to the Holy Child, receiving the light of the Star would have been for naught. The point is, the gifts we receive only become meaningful in as much as we are able to give back.
For all Epiphanies lead to one thing: the joy of giving something, of offering something, however humble, that has meaning for someone. Let us remember, that our old age is fulfilled in the end, not by what we have achieved or received, our lives are fulfilled only by the spiritual joy of giving for the life of the world.
Dear friends, in these times of political turmoil, unsolvable fears and anxieties about the future, epidemics of terror and violent oppression across the globe, let us remember again that the real world is not what we see on the news. Let us remember that the true world is being brought to life in this painful darkness by the Christ-filled giving of the human heart.
This contemplation by Rev. Evans was inspired by The Baptism.
Even though I am from California, I’m beginning to love snow. Not only for its beauty, but most of all, for the peaceful silence that it brings, permeating everything.
Deep within each human soul there is also a silence, an inner peace-filled silence that wants to awaken in our hearts. But just like the silence that comes only after the snow falls down from the sky, inner peace comes only after we accept whatever falls down into our lives. Like the earth receiving snow, inner peace is given us only after we embrace what falls into our lives. For even when something comes to us that is cold and painful, it is through saying ‘yes’ to the challenge that peace is possible.
And yet there is so much in us that would hinder this embrace, this ‘yes’ of what is. We are hindered by the temptation to think that what has come down to me is unacceptable, that my life just shouldn’t be this way, that if something hurts it means something is wrong. We are called to always remember that in the eyes of Christ, everything that comes into our lives is an opportunity to get closer to HIM.
Therefore, dear friends, Let us become like the earth in winter and embrace what falls to us from the sky, or like Mary, who humbly receives her will from above, even though it is difficult. Then, just like after snowfall, we will be ready for the Christmas gift, the peace-filled silence of Christ bestowed on our hearts.
By Bernhard Eyb
Thou mothering earth
Hast received the live seed
Into the dark
Good shelter of soil.
The mantle of night
Thrown wide over us,
And the sun as it goes
Its swift and short journey,
Speak to our hearts
In warning and promise.
Thou Earth hast borne up
The footsteps of Mary
Southwards to Bethlehem;
And the Earth bears us
Today in our travail,
That we may bring forth
Christ in our spirit.
So may we await Him
Sent by the Father
Healer and bringer
Into our being
Of the true gold.
Adam Bittleston, in Meditative Prayers for Today, available at http://www.steinerbooks.org/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=264
A meditative prayer by Adam Bittleston
We need in the light of our day
The eternal Light of the Word of God.
When we see with our thoughts this Light
On the path which leads from the cave
Where thinking and seeing our shadows,
Into the fields of life
Into the freedom of the heart—
We shall meet Michael
Who reveals how Christ
That it may serve God. … Read More
Upon fields and orchards
Growing towards harvest
there look with blessing
The spirits of heaven;
And their gaze searches
Men’s hearts for ripening.
In the close weaving
Of manifold fates
… Read More
Advent is a blessed and magical time of year and children experience this deeply. Building a family ritual around Advent helps to slow down our busy lives, bring a special moment into the day, and prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas.
Each night of Advent, families can gather around an Advent wreath to sing a song, light the candles on the wreath, and recite a verse in a simple, meaningful celebration. Reading an Advent story (such as those in The Christmas Story Book published by Floris books) is another element one can add to the evening tradition. Each week of Advent an additional candle is lighted on the wreath until at the 4th Sunday, all four candles stand glowing.
Verse for Lighting the Advent Wreath
The first light of Advent
Is the light of stones.
The light that shines in seashells,
Crystals and in bones.
… Read More