A Few Thoughts on Clouds for Ascension

The clouds are more than they seem. We see them all the time. They are never fixed to one spot or shape and they are more than just a misty mass of white fluff. They are a dynamic mix of water in liquid, solid and gas (which is also amazing that water can do that!) .

Clouds are also made up of very small particles of dirt, the earth! The fluffy cloud in the sky is really quite heavy by weight but it defies gravity, is ruled by levity. Warmth and coolness meet and change in the cloud. Rising and falling and moving all the particles around. Creating static electricity…. lighting and thunder!

When we really take a moment to look at the clouds, this drama and wonder can fill our soul. Our souls and the clouds have quite a bit in common. We could even imagine our souls to be a cloud.

Our souls are also quite dynamic. Our souls are the meeting place of heaven of earth. The dramas of our lives play out in our souls. There can be a battle of gravity and levity in our souls.  Suffering, conflict, war, can rage in our souls. We can battle ourselves as well as the world outside us. We can lash out in anger and pour out our tears. We know though, as the morning verse in the Waldorf school says, “The Sun with loving light makes bright for me each day...
On the darkest of days the sun is behind the darkened clouds. The sun rays its light though the clouds. We can hold this as a true picture that the Christ’s light rays through the dynamic landscape of our soul. The light illuminates, clears and warms the coldness and darkness of our souls. Uniting us with Christ Jesus. The one who is also of the heaven and the earth.

Rev. Ann Burfeind
The Christian Community Vancouver

Contemplation on John 16

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have much hardship; but take courage, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Contemplation on John 16
By Mimi Coleman

So many people have been in their homes now for weeks, a month or more.  We have tried to keep our distance, to keep ourselves safe, to keep others safe. In order to do this we’ve had to step out of our usual rhythm of life, away from all the things we would normally do.  It has given us the opportunity to establish new patterns and activities, to set aside other habits, and to think about how we might like to go forward next, while also knowing that we may need to withdraw to our homes yet again.

How was it for us as we went to our homes?  Were we prepared for our loneliness?   Did we scatter and withdraw well-equipped for what we would face?  I don’t mean only did we have enough food or supplies, but also did we have the inner resources we would need?

In this week’s gospel reading we hear that the disciples will be scattered, “each one to his home,” or, depending on the translation, “every man to his own,” or again, “each one into his own loneliness.”   This now sounds very familiar to us, not only as something that was said to a few people thousands of years ago.  This is very timely, though the reasons then were different than they are now.

Christ Jesus explains earlier in the chapter, that it is also to the disciples’ advantage that he goes away to his father where he had his origin, “…for if I do not go away the comforter will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you.”  We thus hear him encouraging this kind of aloneness for his disciples.  Do we dare encourage ourselves to be alone?  Are we being alone out of fear, or because we were told to do so? Or are we finding the opportunity within the imposed, or self-imposed, isolation.  How are we using this time?  Are we able to tune in to the divine all around us and within us?

Christ Jesus would prepare us for such a time as this that we are living.  After all, he withdrew many times throughout his ministry, either on to a mountain, or by himself alone, away from the crowd.
The disciples have to go to a place of their own, to withdraw and feel the meaning of the events of Holy Week and of Easter; only then will the Holy Spirit be able to come and enlighten them.  My hope is that as many of us as possible will also experience that comforter in our loneliness, when we are on our own.  May we have the spirit courage we need to get us through this time.

, ,

A Prayer for One’s Country

Mother Earth – NASA

Prayer for One’s Country (adapted)

–Adam Bittleston

O Christ, Thou knowest
The souls and spirits
Whose deeds have woven
This land’s destiny.

May we who today
Are bearers of this destiny
Find the strength and the light
Of thy servant Michael.

And our hearts be warmed
By Thy blessing, O Christ,
That our deeds may serve
Thy work of world healing.

This appears as a “Prayer for Britain” in the 1966 edition of Meditative Prayers for Today by Adam Bittleston. It does not appear in the current edition, available at http://shop.steinerbooks.org/Title/9781782504672 . This much-loved collection can be used as a kind of breviary. From the description:

Growing into the daily use of these meditative prayers makes us conscious of how we stand in great world rhythms. We learn to follow the alternation of waking and sleeping, the ordering of the seven days of the week, and the course of the seasons, as gifts of heavenly powers gradually become known to us.

This is a small, elegant guide to aid meditation.

C O N T E N T S:

Introduction

PRAYERS:
Evening and morning
The week
The year
Earth
Against fear
For one who has died
Intercessory prayers
For children
The guardian angel
Blessing on a house
For a journey
For the peoples of the world
Grace before meals
Thanksgiving

A note about the Lord’s Prayer

This appears as a “Prayer for Britain” in the 1966 edition of Meditative Prayers for Today by Adam Bittleston. It does not appear in the current edition, available at http://shop.steinerbooks.org/Title/9781782504672 . This much-loved collection can be used as a kind of breviary. From the description:

Growing into the daily use of these meditative prayers makes us conscious of how we stand in great world rhythms. We learn to follow the alternation of waking and sleeping, the ordering of the seven days of the week, and the course of the seasons, as gifts of heavenly powers gradually become known to us.

This is a small, elegant guide to aid meditation.

C O N T E N T S:

Introduction

PRAYERS:
Evening and morning
The week
The year
Earth
Against fear
For one who has died
Intercessory prayers
For children
The guardian angel
Blessing on a house
For a journey
For the peoples of the world
Grace before meals
Thanksgiving

A note about the Lord’s Prayer

–Rev. Cindy Hindes

,

Legacy Giving Coordinator: Job Posting

The Christian Community of North America is seeking a Legacy Giving Coordinator to support the development of Legacy Giving programs on the congregational level. For more information about the position and for information on how to apply click here. 

 

 

Uncertain Times

In times of uncertainty, of sudden disruptions and upheaval we look for indications, for signs that can help us to process all that is upending our lives. And it is natural to search frantically for any sign that promises safety, security and a return to normalcy. And when the kind of life raft needed to get us there is still unknown, fear takes over.

 

But what if the fear driven, frantically thrashing about should actually be the most exhausting part in trying to stand up to the gigantic wave of massive disruption of life as we have come to know it and expect it?

 

Maybe the very remedy, the most effective way to deal with the wave of disruption and of uncertainty is to dive down under in a kind of active, attentively perceiving surrender, and a soft but steady will to breathe while doing so? Not with frantic, pressing questions that exhaust us but with a gentle, heart motivated curiosity as to what it might all mean. With a desire to plumb and to fathom what might be found in the dark, in the deep of the unknown and to find a place of stillness in its center.

 

The wise have always known: to see the light we have to first go dark.

 

No answer is found without entering the unknown future, however frightening a prospect that may be. Or as the provocative philosopher Nietzsche put it: ‘Without the grave there is no resurrection’. Joseph Beuys, the revolutionary and far sighted artist of the 20th century, said: ‘Every creation begins with a cross’.

 

It is the sign. It is the way that will take us into a new reality, into a life as we have never known before.

From Rev. Gisela Wielki’s Facebook page, March 15, 2020

Pandemic

Pandemic

 

What if you thought of it

as the Jews consider the Sabbath—

the most sacred of times?

 

Cease from travel.

Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now,

on trying to make the world

different than it is.

 

Sing. Pray. Touch only those

to whom you commit your life.

Center down. And when your body has become still,

reach out with your heart.

 

Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

(You could hardly deny it now.)

 

Know that our lives

are in one another’s hands.

(Surely, that has come clear.)

 

Do not reach out your hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out all the tendrils

of compassion that move, invisibly,

where we cannot touch. Promise this world your love–

 

for better or for worse,

in sickness and in health,

so long as we all shall live.

 

–Lynn Ungar, 11 March 2020

,

I am the door….

John 10: “I am the door.”

 

“While our speed may keep us safe, it also keeps us malnourished. It prevents us from tasting those things which would truly make us safe: Prayer, touch, kindness, fragrance–all those things live in rest and not in speed. Only when we take refuge in rest can we feel the company of the angels who would minister to us, regardless of what we were given. In the stillness there are forces and voices and hands and nourishment that arise, that take our breath away, but we can never know this, know this, until we rest.”

~ “Fear of Rest” in Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest, by Wayne Muller

Each one of us can only say the words, “I am” for ourselves. The deed of Christ has brought about a turning point, so that we can have access to and be guided by our higher selves, our “I am.” Our higher selves accompany us through our lifetimes, and keep a perspective we do not yet have. How can we align ourselves with that?

Christ Jesus gave seven different pictures for us to understand and come closer to the “I am.” One is the door. A doorway allows us to pass through from one reality to another and back again. A threshold can be a mighty experience, if what is on the other side will be life-changing. The door that allows us to go from here to the spiritual world and back can be found through meditation, which aligns us with our higher self. That is what meditation is.

Meditation requires that we bring ourselves to rest. We may even spend the first ten minutes or so, just living with the word “rest.” When we rest we acknowledge that there is something deserving our attention which is not of this material world and which may bring no result.

In our current world situation there are many extremes: There are those who have been granted a “time out” in which rest, self reflection, slowing down have been made possible. And there are those who have an increased work load, with children at home and can seem to find no rest at all. All prayers, blessings and strength to them!

Nevertheless, there is Divine Wisdom working through all of this. This world pandemic has woken us up from our complacency. It has laid open our weaknesses, both as individuals and as a society. It is shaking the foundations of what we knew. For those who can respond in love, compassion, in faith in God and concern for other human beings, it has been a certain grace. We are learning to practice equanimity and balance in the face of fear and great injustice.

We are being shown “The Way,” another path of the “I am.” We have to learn to bring spiritual insights into our everyday earthly existence. The virus behaves exactly like evil itself: it is invisible, destructive, everywhere, contagious, relentless and feeds off the living although it is dead.

But when evil is met with love, it “back-fires” and becomes a transforming agent! This is what is happening with so many people through this terrible epidemic. We can transform it toward the good if we stay the course, help people as much as possible, strengthen our prayer life, take up the resurrection into our souls and raise ourselves to the highest place we can. Let us walk in grace and with Christ’s healing power.

–Rev. Carol Kelly

Congregation of the Greater Washington DC-Baltimore: https://www.ccgwb.org/

The Reflecting Pool Blogsite: https://religiousrenewalindc.wordpress.com/

, ,

How Painful?

Incarnazione–Ninette Sombart

“In the same way, I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord.
–Isaiah 66:9

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

–C. S. Lewis

 

,

Creator Said…

The universe only pretends to be made of matter. Secretly it is made of love.

Creator said, “I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it. It is the realization that they create their own reality.”

The eagle said, “Give it to me. I will take it to the moon.” Creator said, “No. One day they will go there and find it.”

The salmon said, “I will bury it on the bottom of the ocean.” Creator said, No, they will go there, too.”

The buffalo said, “I will bury it on the Great Plains.” Creator said, “They will cut into the skin of the earth and find it even there.”

Grandmother who lives in the breast of Mother Earth and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said, “Put it inside of them.” And Creator said, “It is done.”

 

– Creation story from the Hopi Nation, Arizona

Easter Prayer

Grunewald

Easter   II
Adam Bittleston

By His strong thought forgetfulness of God,
By His strong love the hatred of good,
By His pure life the bitterness of death,
Are overcome in depths of earth.
Time is no longer empty, through His deed;
In our heart’s beat His living grace awakes;
Into our house the Easter air is breathed
With joy that heals our blood.
Thou makest new our being that from God
Has made the long descent into the dark;
And as immortal brother Thou hast joined
The sojourners of earth.

Adam Bittleston’s Meditative Prayers for Today is available at Steinerbooks.org
http://shop.steinerbooks.org/Title/9781782504672