It is with deep gratitude that we announce this to be the last of Reverend Baan’s weekly contemplations. His offerings have been a deep nourishment for our souls through a challenging year.    


On the first Easter morning, after three days, truth came to light.  No longer was Christ hidden in the heart of the earth, but He appeared as the Risen One in the light of day.  The first ones to see Him with their own eyes recognized their Lord and their God at first sight—the only one who could say of Himself: “I AM the truth.”  The doubters too, even doubting Thomas, had to believe.  Thus it went for forty days.  Truth had come to light.

What happened after that?  How can we, doubting Thomases and vacillating Pilates, discover truth?  Actually, the age-old question of Pilate has become a question of all of us: “What is truth?”  And Thomas’ unbelief is reflected in our saying: “Seeing is believing.”  These days we live in a world in which everything is pulled into doubt, in which nothing is as it seems, and in which our faith in human beings, in life, and in truth, is severely put to the test.  When that is about to happen, you have to fall back on incontestable truth.

Someone who had spent years in a concentration camp in Indonesia told me once how she had survived that hell.  Day after day, year after year, she had watched the sunrise.  That was the only certainty that gave a firm ground to her shaky existence.  For whatever is going on, whatever happens to us, each morning the sun appears and pursues its unwavering course through heaven.

The service at the altar is for human beings and angels what the sunrise is for the earth.  Christ Himself walks over the earth, from altar to altar, and fulfills the sacrament with the light of His Resurrection.  In the fulfillment of the altar service, in every true sacrament that is fulfilled on earth, we slowly gain the unshakable trust:

Whatever may happen in the world around us, the Christ-Sun rises each morning and fills the earth with His presence.


-Rev. Bastiaan Baan, Easter 2021


Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Behind every human being stands an unseen, unknown world. What we see and hear is but the person. In ancient Rome persona was the word for the mask through which an actor spoke on the stage. The word literally means: sound-through.

We are surrounded by masks, which usually speak in riddles—just as we do. Frequently, someone or something other than ourselves speaks through such a mask. Who is it that speaks through us when we want to enrich ourselves at the expense of others, or when we want to exercise power over other people? And who speaks through us when we dedicate ourselves to serve other people or a high ideal?

Whether we want to or not, with every word, every deed, every thought, we create or destroy, visibly or invisibly. Don’t look at the outside but listen for the “moral music” behind the words; try to catch the hidden language of the intention—and you will learn to recognize who is speaking through the per-sona.

Without realizing what they were shouting, on Palm Sunday people said the truth with the words “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mt.21:9)

He came in the name of the Lord.

And we?

As long as we only come in our own name, in our own interest, we disturb something in the world around us. Today this is happening on a large scale with the earth. We are confronted with the destructive consequences of our egotism and greed.

Wherever we go or stand, we can bless and be blessed. You don’t need to shout it from the rooftops, like the crowd did on Palm Sunday. You can simply come, think, walk in the name of the Lord, without even mentioning His name.

And He will give His blessing—a blessing none of us can give out of ourselves.

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, Palm Sunday March 28, 2021


I Do Not Condemn You Either (John 8:1-12)

I Do Not Condemn You Either (John 8:1-12)

Wherever we go or stand, everything and everyone demands a judgment of us—good or bad, for or against, yes or no. We even ask it of children: What do you think? From childhood on we have to have an opinion on everything.

Our judgments make it hard for us to observe with an open mind, let alone to find the truth. The harder we become in our judgments, the more we lose sight of reality. Hard judgments eventually become prejudices. And prejudices become unbending points of view. Whoever once takes such a standpoint, in the end he can’t make another step; he keeps himself imprisoned in a world of his own laws. In a world where differences are becoming ever greater, we tend to fall back on the Old-Testament judgment of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Only when we combat our superficial sympathies and antipathies do we begin to see the other—not the way we think he ought to be, but as he really is. Then only does the other feel seen and recognized: he has the right to be.

The story of the woman who committed adultery in John 8 speaks volumes about our deeply rooted inclination to judge and condemn. True, a thin layer of civilization keeps us from actually stoning such a person, but with our judgment on the guilt of others we stone them no less effectively.
And Christ? He was the only one who did things differently. He went to places on the earth where not only the shadow of guilt prevailed, but also the darkness of condemnation. It just is the way it is—sinners are stoned, literally or figuratively. He alone could say: “Whoever among you is free of sin, let him throw the first stone at her.”

He alone, the only one who is without sin, has the Old-Testament right to stone her—and He does not do it. Instead, He takes what is unbearable in our sin in His hand and writes it with his finger into the earth. That is another expression of the classic words: “See, the Lamb of God who takes the sin of the world upon himself.”

And when we want to find His light, the light of the world, there is no other way than to follow Him through the darkness of guilt. Without this darkness we are not able to recognize His light. And without His light we are not able to overcome our darkness.

-Rev. Bastiaan Baan, March 21, 2021




When you listen carefully to the words of the Act of Consecration of Man you will eventually notice that a few times something is lacking.  Although in itself the text is perfect, it sounds as if some sentences are not complete.  The verb is lacking:

Christ in us

Christ in the lifting of our hands

Christ’s light in our daylight

These sentences move in a realm between possibility, wish, and full reality.  Is Christ fully in us?  Or is that a wish? A prayer? A promise?

The only thing we know for sure is that He is usually not in us, when we are busy with our everyday things.

Christ in the lifting of our hands—that does not happen all by itself just by lifting up our hands.

Christ’s light in our daylight—it has not yet appeared, but we, He and I together, have to make this possibility a reality.

At this time of year, we enter a world of darkness that shows us from all sides: Christ is not in us—on the contrary.  For now, we find ourselves in a state of isolation and deprivation, far from the light of Christ.  Passiontide is a time of disillusion, of painful diagnosis of our human shortcomings, in which we have to accept how poor we are, since we lost the spirit.

Ask the Savior for healing.

Pray for Christ’s light in our daylight.

Lift up your hands as a beggar for the Spirit—and He will stretch out His hands to you.

Ask, pray, seek—and it shall be given to you.

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, March 14, 2021


“The Light of the Body is Your Eye” (Lk.11:34)

“The Light of the Body is Your Eye” (Lk.11:34)

A large part of our lives—maybe the largest part—consists of watching events without being able to do anything. That is true for the news the world dishes up for us every day; it is also true for countless events that happen to us. Natural disasters, illness, human tragedies, war and terror—they all put their stamp on the world, and we, powerless, can only watch. This powerlessness is our collective lot; and it is also a sign of this time. We have developed a spectator consciousness that has the tendency to keep looking, even when the situation asks us to act. “I stood there and watched.” No more, but also no less. Rarely do we realize that through our glance we can add something to the reality around us. How do we look at it?
One person’s confused gaze makes the darkness around him or her even more turbid than it already is, whereas another can light up the darkness with a lucid glance.

Of course this does not relieve us of the duty to act when we possibly can. But if watching is the only thing we can do, our glance has to be clear.

“The light of the body is your eye.”

Our eyes can do much more than watch: they can perceive. And if our inner light is sufficiently lucid, they can do even more than perceive clearly. They can add something to the reality:

A look of recognition
An enlightening insight
A stream of love.

-Rev. Bastiaan Baan, March 7, 2021


The Transfiguration on the Mountain (Mt.17:1-13)

The Transfiguration on the Mountain (Mt.17:1-13)

Each era has its own images of Christ.  Each of these images has its own one-sidedness, but maybe together they form the whole truth.  In the first few centuries of Christianity there were only symbols of abundant life and trust: the fish, the anchor, the shepherd.  Only in the third century the countenance of Christ was depicted for the first time—the countenance of the Risen One.  When humanity was wrestling with questions about death, He appeared in countless representations as the Crucified One—the Man of Sorrows.  And when there was nothing left but materialism, His image was reduced to Jesus, the simple carpenter from Nazareth.

Not long ago, a new image appeared, something that had not been seen in the history of Christianity before.  In a short time, this picture became famous and went over the whole world.  It is the sculpture of a poor man, a drifter, who is lying on a bench in the open air, covered with a coat.  Only his bare, wounded feet betray who he is.  “Homeless Jesus” is the title of this artwork.  This image tells us what we did to Him: in our society there was no place for Him anymore.  He has been banished from our daily life.  What can we do in our time to give Him a place where He is at home?


Only once in His life on earth Christ showed Himself in His true form, in the overwhelming appearance of His Transfiguration on the mountain.  When this image disappeared, the Father gave us a task for all time with the words: “This is my Son whom I love.  In Him I have been revealed.  Hear His word!”

Christ is no longer visible on earth.  He leads a hidden, occult existence.  But we can hear Him through the words He spoke, words that want to be weighed in our heart until our heart is moved by them.  Or by the still voice in us, the Christ voice of conscience.  Then we begin to walk with Him, and He with us.  If we listen to His voice, He will find a place on earth where He can live.


-Rev. Bastiaan Baan, February 28, 2021


The Temptation in the Desert (Mt.4)

The Temptation in the Desert (Mt.4)

In countless ways power is wielded over people in our time.  True, the battle for power is as old as humanity, but the battle is getting worse.  We know the weapons through which this happens: Force is power. Money is power. Knowledge is power.  Not only physical weapons are used to subjugate people, but also the more subtle weapons of technology, money and knowledge are employed on a large scale.  The newest, strongest, and most insidious means of power is called information.  Whoever has data has the future, is the message.

How often do we condemn the powerful of our time, until we come under the spell of power ourselves, and cannot resist the temptation to subjugate or belittle others.  In this way, as weak human beings, we all are part of the vicious cycle of power and powerlessness.

Three times Jesus is tempted to the utmost to exercise power:

Power over matter—by turning stones into bread,

Power over the laws of nature—by commanding the angels,

Power over earthly riches—by possessing everything.

He can do it, but all three times He chooses the royal way of powerlessness.  In the same way He will also confront His death—as the God of powerlessness.  Then, when He has been nailed to the cross, one more time the tempter will stand before Him in the guise of the crowd of people that tempt Him with the words: “He trusts in God; let God deliver Him now … for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

Because He, the almighty Creator, chose for powerlessness, He became truly our Lord.

And we?  Are we willing to follow Him on the royal way of powerlessness?


–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, February 21, 2021


Luke 18: 18-34

Luke 18: 18-34

One of the most striking and most disturbing phenomena of our time is the division that is growing on all fronts of society.  It does not stop at the national borders, when peoples keep off anything that goes beyond self-interest.  We see this division also in groups and individuals who fight for their self-interest and, in the process, shut others out—everyone for himself.

As long as we do this we remain stopped before the eye of the needle, which we sooner or later irrevocably have to pass through, for there is but one way that leads across the threshold—the narrow way through the eye of the needle.  There we gradually lay down all that we have, in order eventually to enter the world of the spirit merely with what we are.  Gradually—meaning that this high art of living has to be practiced step by step by the highest art of dying.  It is the only way to overcome the sickness of the ego, egotism, and yet remain yourself.  In different words, whoever wants to overcome his ego must learn to sacrifice.

That is the way Christ shows to the rich man: “Sell all your goods.”  That means: Leave all attachment to the world of earthly goods behind.  For you can take nothing of it with you to the other side of the threshold.  Whether it be earthly possessions or a rich talent, everything we want to hold on to at all cost—sooner or later we will irrevocably lose it.

This is also the way Christ shows to his followers: to renounce everyone and everything that binds them, in order to have less and less, and be more and more.

Finally, it is the way Christ Himself went as no other human being.  Beyond renouncing, He decided to embrace suffering—to be an outlaw, to be ridiculed, tortured, flogged and killed.  It is His sacrificial way, which leads to life out of death.


–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, February 14, 2021

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STAND UP! (Jn.5:8)

STAND UP! (Jn.5:8)

Illness is everyone’s affair.  This not only means that we will all fall ill some time or other, but that each human being carries a lifelong ailment with him or her.  In the language of the Act of Consecration of Man this is called the sickness of sin.

A critical question applies to every form of healing, including the sickness of sin: “Have you the will to become whole?”  Not only does this question sound in many different ways in the healings Christ performed during His life on earth; today also, this is the most important question that can make healing possible, yes or no.  Of course, a physician can provide a remedy that takes the symptoms away.  But that does not affect the cause, and sooner or later the illness will raise its head again in another form.  Strangely enough, there are people who don’t even have the will to be healed anymore.  The only thing they want is a miracle drug that does the work for them.

Such a one was the paralyzed man in Bethesda.  He had almost given up the hope to be healed—even though he was still waiting for someone who would take him to the water at the last moment.  He did not even answer the critical question: “Have you the will to become whole?”  Instead there was his despondent message: No one helps me.  Nothing helps me.  I give up.  But as long as there was a trace of life, Christ called in the depths of his despair: “Stand up!”

And we?  When sooner or later we go through an illness, when we have direct experience of the sickness of sin and are close to despair—listen to the still, strong voice that calls: “Stand up!”


–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, February 7, 2021

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“According to Your Faith, So Let It Be” (Mt.8:13)

“According to Your Faith, So Let It Be” (Mt.8:13)

It is in our social environment not at all a matter of course to trust people.  How often is our trust in others betrayed?  But as foolhardy as it is to blindly trust people, so destructive can it be to face the whole world with distrust.  And yet, these days this happens everywhere, people against people, party against party, all against all.  Even in our own circles individuals are divided by distrust.  And that does not go away by itself, even though in the Act of Consecration of Man we are reminded of Him “who makes hearts to be at peace, strengthens wills, unites mankind.”  Why then do we not succeed in becoming one?

We can only connect with people who have different ideas when we really search for the essence.  The essence—that is Christ in us.  Easily said—hard to achieve.  For how often is that essence hidden behind outer appearance?  In our world, where everything is focused on tangible results, we are all in danger not only of losing our essence, but even of burying it.  But if that ever happens—even what was buried can still be raised from death.  Look at the world through the eyes of Christ.  Most of all, look at your opponent through His eyes—and you will help him to come back to himself again.  Have you prayed for your enemy?  Have you forgiven him, because he has become a debtor just like you?  Do you put your trust in the essence that will sooner or later come to light?

In the tragedy of life it can come to the point that a person loses himself and doesn’t even know that he can’t find himself.  Even then, I can still find him: in my faith, in my hope, in my love.  This most profound trust is what Christ asks of his followers.

When He was still living on the earth, people often listened to Him with the usual distrust and disbelief.  That is how people are, even then.   But when an individual recognized Him and believed, He could achieve miracles in the life of that individual.  To such a person He could say: “According to your faith, so let it be.”

Now that He is come again and goes with us all our days, He asks of us: “Recognize Me—even though I am hidden in the least of your brothers and sisters.”  And if we do recognize Him there, He can say to us also: “According to you faith, so let it be.”


-Rev. Bastiaan Baan, January 31, 2021