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Wisdom into Being

If you had to speak to a large group of people about the existence and meaning of Christ, how would you prepare for it? Where would you go? What would your sources be? You could read all you want from the Gospels, or Thomas Aquinas or any number of theologians but you could still be swimming in the darkness.

You would have to go deep into your own soul to find some nugget of truth that you could really stand behind and to which you could bear witness. You would have to find truths you have sought for and won. That would be a beginning.

Here is where I began:

The whole world, visible and invisible, organic and inorganic, is made up of wisdom. Wisdom, which is hidden; wisdom formed through sacrifice. There is nothing, nothing at all, of nature or of human making that is not imbued with wisdom.

When we have interest in something, or someone, for longer than a minute, a transformation begins to happen: As we direct our interest toward the hidden wisdom within the person or thing, then that wisdom begins to reveal itself. We gain for ourselves the wisdom, which lay hidden in the thing outside of us. That becomes a part of us; it is within us.

Through the release of wisdom, we come to love. We love that which we comprehend. Even if what we comprehend is some evil working in the world, it is still of great value. We find relief in comprehending as a light shining in the darkness.

It is the dawn of a new year. May we have the courage to dig deep and to discover the wisdom that has conjured the world into being, so that we may come to love one another and the world. This is the manifestation and the gift of Christ in us.

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A Pale Blue Dot

“Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

These are words spoken by astrophysicist Carl Sagan in early 1990 – when for the first time in our history human beings were able to look at a picture of Earth taken from the boundaries of the Solar system. From that perspective – from the perspective of Voyager space probe, which at the time when the picture was taken was just passing Pluto, some 3.7 billion miles away from here – the Earth seems like a tiny blue-whitish dot.

Sagan’s words are testimony of a true spiritual-religious experience of a modern human being – a genuine materialist, who nevertheless was able to perceive something magnificent, something precious, something divine in this grey speck of cosmic dust.

And it is perhaps only out of such grandiose cosmic perspective, away from Earth – away from Ourselves that we can begin to grasp the true dimension, the true meaning of Christmas.

Christ – the Creative Word of God – the Logos, the archetype of the entire creation, through whom everything that is came into being, has chosen the Earthly Body in which he would dwell – here among us; saints and sinners, heroes and cowards, kings and peasants, creators and destroyers – on this mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

So that we can become who we truly are.

So that we can be free from ourselves.

 

 

Editor’s Note: For reflections on the Christmas season as it is celebrated in the Christian Community, please go here. If you are looking for a children’s story for this time of year, you can find one here.

 

The Way to Bethlehem

How many ways lead to Bethlehem?

There is the one taken by Joseph and pregnant Mary, from Nazareth – the path known from the Gospel of Luke.

There is the one that led the Three Wise Men from the East, who followed the star of the New Born King – the path known from the Gospel of Matthew.

There is, however, another one; the path inscribed in the relics of the genesis of cosmos and Man; the path, which led the Creative Spirit of God – the Logos – through the eons of the becoming of the world.

 It leads through the Mineral Kingdom – through stones, crystals, shells and bones – The Skeleton of the created world.

 It leads through the Kingdom of Living Plants – through roots, leafs, flowers, fruits and seeds – The Breath of creation.

 It leads through the Animal Kingdom – our instincts and desires – spread out around us, incarnated in animal forms and species – The Anima, the soul of the created world.

It leads through the Kingdom of Man – this damaged Crown of Creation, so painfully aware of its downfall, stretched between the darkness of earthly necessities and the blinding light of heavenly ideals.

The cosmic Path – The path of becoming – finds its fulfillment in the birth of Christ, in Bethlehem. There a child was born, who was destined to become a temple in which the Creative Word of God could incarnate and become one of us. In which God became Human.

Advent is the time of the year when we all are on the way to Bethlehem. We are traveling through the landscapes of four Sundays, gradually building the consciousness that may allow us to experience the Mystery of Christmas and to grasp the fact that He who entered the stream of time on the First Christmas is forever connected with the cycles of life of Earth.

That every year His gentle light – this same light which shone in the eyes of the child born in Bethlehem – is born in the darkness of Earth, deep within the Being of Man.

May we follow this journey wakefully – together, as the community of Christians – The People of the Way, and prepare a space for the birth of His gentle light in our midst, despite the constant pressure of the growing darkness.

Love, the Rose, is on the Way

At Advent the earth is bare; yet the furrows of earth can rejoice, so says the carol, “People look East,” because a seed, a rose seed, has already been planted in them. The furrows of earth are encouraged to offer their strength to nourish the seed, to ground it, so that it may take root, and eventually grow and blossom into a rose.

Our hearts can be like the fields in winter – seeming barren, furrowed open with suffering. Yet the suffering heart already contains in it the seed of growth. We simply need to tend it in patient endurance. The rose of love, of compassion, grows out of our heart’s winter.

That is because Christ, Love’s Rose, has already placed himself as a seed into the earth, and into the ground of our hearts. We need only offer him our enduring strength, and in time he will blossom in our hearts.

Roses of course come with thorns. Before Christ fully blossoms into manhood, the thorns of Herod’s fear and envy will cause the death of innocent children and the rending of parents’ hearts. The furrowed fields of suffering are watered with tears.

The bare furrows of Advent, the stirring seed of Christmas, the thorns of Epiphany, each is a step along the way toward the full blossoming of the Rose of Love at Easter, once in history, eternally within the earth and ever again in our hearts.

 

To read more about how Advent is celebrated in the Christian Community, click here. For a story that you can share with your children around this time, click here.

The Light of Stones

There is just something about stones… little children fill their pockets with them; adults collect them; kings used the rarest of them to adorn their crowns. Stones come in every color of the rainbow and display the most varied patterns. Transparent or opaque, light catching or dull, we are fascinated by them all. Or maybe their appeal is simply how good they feel in our hand or the way they hold the warmth of the sun.

On the first Sunday of Advent, we think of the stones and their close neighbors — seashells, crystals and bones. In Christian Community churches and on the home festival table, children lovingly bring their favorite stone to the mossy Advent garden. It is a way to honor this first kingdom of nature and recognize our connection to it. How else would we have firm footing on this earth, if not for the stones? How would we move and stand upright if not for the stones of the human body — our skeletal structure?

Stones give us a window into the eternal, the unshakable foundations of life. When one gazes upon the majesty of a great stone mountain, one cannot help but think of the Father God, Ground of the World. We know that no matter what happens, we can trust that he will give us the strength and steadiness that we need to step forward in life. The psalms sing of the Lord as our rock, as our firm place to stand:

The Lord is my rock,
my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock,
in whom I take refuge. (Psalm 18)

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God. (Psalm 40)

So how is it that stones are related to light? Maybe it has something to do with the way they were formed. Igneous rocks are formed through a fire process — molten lava mixing and flowing, spreading and cooling. Sedimentary rocks are formed from layers of mineral and organic material — organic material that once contained the fire of life. And the third type of rock, Metamorphic, is formed through transformative processes, such as intense heat or pressure; and we all know how light-filled a transformation can be!

Or maybe the light of stones has to do with the part they played in the birth and death of Jesus Christ. In the Luke gospel, Mary and Joseph find shelter in a cave, a stone grotto, which was used to house the domestic animals. It was here that the Jesus child was born and here that the shepherds found him wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger. Then after his death on the rocky hill of Golgotha, the body of Jesus Christ was placed in a new tomb that was hewn out of the rock, and a great stone was rolled across the entrance. On Good Friday the stony mouth of the Earth received the precious body and blood of our Savior, on Holy Saturday the Christ journeyed to the center of the Earth, and on Easter Sunday the stone was rolled from the tomb and the Risen One came forth from the Earth. The sun rose from the interior of the earth… and even the stones were filled with light.

The 2018 Christian Community Calendar is here!


The Devon, Pennsylvania congregation proudly presents the Christian Community Calendar for 2018. They sell the calendars in their own congregation as a fundraiser for $35.00. They offer the calendars for just a bit more than cost price, not including postage. If you are interested please, click on this post to download the order form.

Deadline for ordering is October 31!

2018 Calendar Order Form

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Our inner bride

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.”

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The Life in Dying

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.

The Drama of Passiontide

Last week, those of us who were up early could experience an amazingly seamless transition: the light of the moon, which day by day became smaller and smaller, fading away in the growing light of the sun.

In this way, just before the beginning of Passiontide, four weeks before Easter, we were reminded of the cosmic Easter drama: how, after the equinox, once the sun has become stronger, the light of the waning moon will be transcended by the glory of Easter Sun-Day.

But what there happened, those early mornings, actually spells out for us that the drama of Passiontide has yet to begin – a struggle, which doesn’t play out in such a flamboyant way as the transition from Carnival, from Mardi Gras to Ash Wednesday, with which the old church shocked its people into their Easter preparations of fasting and penitence.

What we face, from the beginning of Passiontide onwards, is dramatic none-the-less, in a rather personal way; and it’s a struggle, too.

O Man, speak the Passiontide prayers, as well as those of Holy Week –

O, you Human Being here on earth: Come to terms with your own situation, your inner situation, your tragic loss of spirit – as well as with your situation here on earth, with the grave waiting at the end of your life.

Come to terms with all that, and (we have to add) come to terms with the spirits of deceiving false light, of sensual unworthy craving – with their impact on yourself and your earthly situation.

Learn to turn to the Spirit, which in this your life on earth, unites you with the encompassing cosmic realities. Then you will know the real drama of Passiontide, will inwardly experience what needs to be done – before the Sun of Easter can rise, for you as well.

Written by Rev. Arie Boogert in 2007.

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The Three Gifts

…We are given mistakes,
we are given nightmares-
and our task is to turn them into poetry.
And were I truly a poet
I would feel that every moment of my life is poetic,
every moment of my life is a kind of clay I have to mould.

 

“The actual poet’s task is true for the poetic spirit in everyone-the work of giving form, expression to everything that happens, thus discovering and revealing meaning, the ‘pattern of the glory,’ discovering that all experiences, light or dark, are stars and take their place in the constellation of wholeness.”

~from the journals of Helen M. Luke.

It is the last week of Epiphany, the festival of Candlemas, when we burn the last candles as a sign of the end of this holy time of inner light. We have been touched by the star of Grace. The three gifts which the Kings brought to the Child are also to given to us, to the “Christ in us.” Each one helps us to make “poetry” out of our experiences.

The first one is gold, the most condensed form of sunlight, pressed into a precious metal. Gold is pure, warm, soft, transparent as a crystal in the New Jerusalem. It once served as a foundation for our currency, and now “waits” perhaps, for our consciousness to catch up with the idea that money is there to cultivate brotherhood, not for greed and accumulation.

Gold has other properties in the human being. It is used in the remedy “boswellia” along with frankincense and myrrh to promote health and wholeness. Rudolf Steiner also says that gold has the same physical relationship to other substances that “thinking the thought of God” has to other thought.

So perhaps with the help of the gift of gold, we can learn to listen to the thought of God.Then there is frankincense, the rising smoke of prayer and offering. Reverence and devotion open out hearts in humility. Devotion is almost a lost quality in our times and yet, it is the first step on the path of spiritual knowledge of any kind.

And the third, and perhaps most obscure gift of the Kings, was myrrh which has to do with healing, preservation and immortality. That which is immortal in us, which will move on into future earth existence, needs strengthening, through recognition. We are destined for eternal life. Our higher selves need to be honored, protected, given space, given utterance! For the higher self is indeed the “poet,” giving meaning to our experiences.

We are not merely victims down in the valley, to which good and many bad things happen, but we are on the mountaintop, watching from above, saying “Aha, there is the pattern, there is the difficulty: how can I be of service? How can I make it whole? Make it poetry?