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Between Heaven and Earth

Sunset from spaceAt sunset, the sun is midway between heaven and earth. Its light hits us in the middle and is warm and full of color. The sun is not too high as to burn our eyes with its light, and not too low as to be swallowed up by the earth. At sunset, the sun is the balance point between heaven and earth.

Within each one of our hearts there is also a sun, an inner sun.
But from time to time, it gets too high, too far away from the earth and its light, our ideals—can burn us, burn others around us with its harshness and judgment…

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Preparing to Embody Christmas: A Journey through the Threefold Act of Consecration of Man and the Holy Nights

Duccio_di_Buoninsegna_BirthWe come to the Act of Consecration of Man because it holds within it a richness and depth we can work with and be nourished by our whole lives. It is a gift which in itself is full and complete. But then, imagine a gift so precious and great that it cannot be fully given in one Act of Consecration of Man… in the festival of Christmas, something wants to be given to the human being from the spiritual world, a gift that can give us strength for the coming year: the renewed birth of the Child in our hearts.

Beginning Christmas night, we are given the living reenactment of the descent of Christ out of the heavens into our earthly human sphere—for Christ descends anew into our hearts, asking to be born there and thereby born anew on earth. We know it is a poor shed into which we receive Him, but we kindle a light there with our attention and our hope, and He comes!

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Words for the Newtown Tragedy

For so long humanity has used the sun to guide its way on long journeys. And as striving Christians we too are on a long journey. And on this journey, we are called to put our faith in the sun of what is truly human, to guide our way.

But as everyone knows, the sun sets. Its light goes dark. The tragic events at the elementary school in Connecticut are a picture of the sunlight of our humanity growing dark.

And what can one say in the face of such darkness; such a tragedy? Political debates and discussions about independence and freedom seem out of place and opportunistic. Psychological analysis feels lacking. Even philosophizing about God and the problem of evil seems to take us away from bearing the pain, simply feeling the sadness of the tragedy. Sometimes things happen where silent prayer is the only response.

And even still…. it is true that we are in a battle. Our battle, however, is not with human beings but with spiritual beings and forces that do not believe in the human being. Forces and spiritual beings that work in us, that work in the world that want the sun of our humanity to grow dark.

And so we must fight. But not with aggression and outer weapons, our weapons must be weapons of the active human spirit. We fight with our capacity to endure: courageously enduring together the darkness when it comes. We fight with the weapon of trust; deep trust and understanding that the sun of our humanity is still there even at night, even when the lights go out. And if we have the eyes to see, there were also powerful deeds of sacrifice and love at Sandy Hook. The sun was still there even in the dark.

In this way, we join the ranks of those spiritual beings that do believe in what is human; those spiritual beings that would seek with HIS strength and HIS love to lead us more and more to what we can become.

Rev. Jonah Evans


Light on the Path to the Center

Thoughts on the words from the Act of Consecration of Man, “Christ‘s light in our daylight”

As far as we know there has always been the perception of light. Since ancient times, light has always been connected with the Divine. The perception of light, of the Divine, is like a golden thread weaving through the unfolding story, the history of humanity’s development. And like the plant and its roots, this golden thread has spread out, becoming finer and finer. It is no longer so much a question of humanity’s relationship to the light but of each and every individual. Perhaps what was once seen and worshiped for instance in ancient Egypt as the sun god Horus is not simply something humanity has outgrown, put aside like child’s play. Perhaps it can be seen, understood as a point on the path of light from the periphery to the center, from the outer to the inner.

I received a card recently which had been signed “your brother Jürgen”. Inside the card was a separate clipping of a little story of wisdom: Read more


Winter Conferences

Columbia and Her Country

Working with the Spirit of the United States of America: A Conference for Young Adults

January 2-5, 2013, Spring Valley, New York  

In today’s political climate, some are inflamed with political fervor, and others have completely turned away. Is it possible to move beyond political debate to have a conversation that encompasses both the roots and the destiny of the United States?

This January we will engage these questions by exploring the spirit that is at the heart of the founding principles of our nation — liberty, justice, and peace. Before “Lady Liberty” there was “Columbia,” the inspiring Spirit that bound the Founders together and gave their individual struggles and ordeals a common purpose. Is she working still?

Come and join us in taking on this mission! Young adults (18-35), priests Richard Dancey, Nora Minassian, and Jonah Evans, and invited guest Rick Spaulding (American historian and prolific scholar), will gather to work with these themes through presentations, discussion groups and artistic activities.

The Conference will be held in the Spring Valley Congregation at 15 Margetts Rd., Spring Valley, NY.

Click here to register online.  Fee: $100.

Information: Contact Rev. Jonah Evans at 845-573-9080.

Impossible?!  The unlimited potential and power of the human spirit

Winter Youth Conference and Martin Luther King Jr. Service Weekend 

January 18 – 21, 2013, Washington, D.C.

Teenagers from Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, New York and Chicago are coming to the D.C. area for our annual Winter Youth Conference over the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend. In addition to getting to know each other and taking up our theme in conversation and presentations there will be games, music and singing, service work, improvisational city actions and participation in this year’s presidential inauguration.

Priests Patrick Kennedy, Carol Kelly, Liza Marcato and Ann Burfeind will lead the weekend’s activities.

For more information contact Rev. Patrick Kennedy at cckennedy2006@gmail.com.

Click here to register online. Registration deadline is January 11th.


On Preparing for the Light in Advent

The tender quiet of Advent and childlike bliss of Christmas are gifts of grace which are granted our age ever more rarely. Life has become too noisy and hectic, fate too harsh and dramatic. Yet, the secret of Advent’s quiet can be compared with the sensibility of a woman about to become a mother. The hope embodied in this sensation does not relate to a neutral event that will ultimately occur. Indeed, the woman who carries a child does not merely look forward to an event that will take place in due time. Early on, she is constantly enveloped and surrounded by the soul of the being for whom she is allowed to offer a body.

In our age, the same change comes to pass which the pregnant mother has to undergo when the calm months of anticipation are replaced by the labor of childbirth. She suffers all the pains and fearful tribulations because she knows they serve her own hope. Today, destinies overcome us that are nothing less than the birth pangs passing through humanity. We must give birth to something new that serves the purpose of our salvation. A new Christmas event is imminent in our age for which we have to prepare. Read more

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Celebrating Advent with Children

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.

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