St. John’s Tide

“From You come light and strength,

To You stream love and thanks.”

These two sentences from a children’s prayer[1] encompass everything that is divine service and human service—or rather, should be.

God serves His creation ceaselessly with light and strength.  Not only the inexhaustible light of the sun and the life forces of nature, but also the light of our consciousness and our life forces—we owe it all to Him.  God’s religion—that is His creation.

The only appropriate answer to this gift is love and thankfulness.

Light and strength from God—love and thankfulness from the human being.  That is the golden chain that connects us with each other.

As long as humanity has been conscious of its origin and future, people have served God with this answer at all the altars on earth.  Perhaps this time, our era, is the only one in the history of humanity in which it is no longer self-evident to serve God in this way.  We no longer realize to whom or what we owe the light of our consciousness and our life forces.

Our sciences teach us that the laws of physics and chemistry carry and order life on earth.  Our daily existence is the product of these sciences, which teach us to act quickly, efficiently, purposefully, and especially to make a profit on everything.  But if love for God and thankfulness to God die out on earth, the golden chain is broken.  What will then happen on earth?

Are we perhaps already seeing the consequences of our lovelessness and our thanklessness in the mirror of nature, which is falling into chaos?  Or is nature, God’s creation, His answer to the chain that is broken?

Be that as it may, if there is anything that is lacking in our chaotic era, it has to be our answer of love and thankfulness.  And if this answer does not come from all of us, as it did as of old, then at least from some places on earth where individuals gather at the altar to profess with heart and soul:

“To the Father God shall stream our soul’s devoted and heart-warm thanks.”[2]

-Rev. Bastiaan Baan, June 2023

[1] Verse for the children in the first grade of the Waldorf School.

[2] From the Epistle of St. John’s Tide.



If there is anything that binds us to the earth, it has to be the thirst for existence.  It shows itself in countless forms, not only in hunger and thirst for food and drink.  Whenever we walk through the streets of a city we will quickly recognize how the thirst for existence dominates our lives.

Although Christ’s realm is not of this world, during His life on earth He knew hunger and thirst, longing and temptation, hardship and pain.  He is the only one of all the inhabitants of heaven who knows earthly existence and all the temptations it brings, out of His own experience.  “Give me to drink.” (Jn 4:7)  It sounds not only in the heat of the day, but to the bitter end: “I thirst.” (Jn 19:28)  The angels know nothing about this.  Even the Father doesn’t.  None of them ever became a human being of flesh and blood.

The Risen Christ no longer knows hunger and thirst for earthly substances—but it is His thirst for our existence that makes Him long to be with us, all days, to the fulfillment of the world.  His meal is not only the most precious gift on earth, it is also the most precious gift we can give Him.  “I thirst.  I only have what people give me.  I take nothing.”  Thus someone heard Him speak in His longing to share the meal with us.[*]

What a surprising expression: He wants to share with us the meal He bestows on us.  In this game of giving, taking, and sharing the enigmatic word becomes real, which He spoke as a promise for the future: “The water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (Jn 4:14)

Only if I give myself to Him as He has given Himself to me, the meal is fulfilled and his thirst for our existence is quenched.

-Rev. Bastiann Baan, June 11, 2023

[*] Gabrielle Bossis.