Be Mindful of the Breaks….

Be Mindful of the Breaks…

In the Apocalypse, which describes a world in downfall, there are sometimes sudden moments of calm.  A power that is stronger than all destruction brings the storm of annihilation to a standstill.  As a spectator, you have just a moment to catch your breath before the irrevocable demise of the outer world rushes on.  The course of events is literally stopped by a command from on high: “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have set our seal on the foreheads of those who serve our God.” (Rev.7:3)

In an apocalyptic world such as ours, time is compressed—events on the world stage take place at incredible speeds.  And not only on the grand stage—our own lives too are usually breathtaking.

And yet, when you develop a sense organ for the quality of the time, you discover that in the midst of all the rushing and stress life also creates brief breathing spaces.  The trick is to observe these moments consciously, to briefly step out of the maelstrom of time, and to catch your breath before life rushes on again.  At such moments you are, as the painter Picasso once expressed it, “secure in insecurity.”

What or who is it that bestows such moments on us?  Someone who was able to look behind the screen of time, behind the veil of the perishing earth, once expressed it with the words:

“Be mindful of the breaks, the brief moments destiny often unexpectedly bestows on you.  In the same way, the Coming One will also one day come.”  (Friedrich Doldinger)


–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, November 22, 2020



Wealth and Poverty (Rev. 3: 14-22)

Poverty and Wealth (Rev.3:14-22)

A well-known theologian of the 20th century once said: “God feeds us with hunger and quenches us with thirst.”  That is an eloquent and partly true saying, but this truth is usually overshadowed by another reality: we suppress our spiritual hunger with all that chains us to the earth.  And we disguise our thirst for the spirit through all that benumbs the mind.  That mixture of materialism and intoxication, of yearning for the earth and flight from the earth, is usually called prosperity.  And the more prosperous we are in this outer sense, the poorer in spirit we are likely to become.  From the point of view of the angels we are, as stated in the Book of Revelation, “…how pitiful, pathetic, and poverty-stricken … how blind and how naked.”  We have become poor as church-mice.  What do we have that we can give to the spiritual world?

And yet, this is being asked of us in the contradictory words: “Therefore I counsel you to obtain gold from me which is refined by fire, so that you may become rich again…”  How can anyone obtain gold who is poor?

Indeed, the only thing we can give to Christ is our poverty.  The only things with which we can feed Him and quench Him are our hunger and thirst.  But whoever becomes a beggar for the spirit, who ardently longs for His presence, on those can He bestow His wealth.

For He is Himself as a beggar: a human being who knocks on our door, who asks and implores us to open—to share His meal with us.


–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, November 8, 2020.


You have the name of being alive…(Rev. 3:1)

You Have the Name of Being Alive… (Rev. 3:1)

When we are tired after a busy workday and look back on what we have done, we are likely to feel the heavy burden of all the obligations we had to fulfill.  That is because our pace of life does not allow us to stand still.  We run from one obligation to the next.  And when we are not running, we get left behind by the facts.  Our hectic world cannot be compared with the time when daily life consisted of work and prayer: ora et labora.  When prayer started to disappear from daily life, the motto became: work and relax—in which relaxing usually means: do nothing, do not think, look for recreation.  In our time there is a new, grim perspective: work and burn out.  In a world that roars past at a breathtaking speed we run the risk of being driven on until we fall down.  How can we stand up in such a world?

Sooner or later we will be facing a moment when we realize: this is the last day of my life.  Would we then still think the same way about all the so-called obligations of our existence?

From the perspective of eternity, everything looks different.  Much of what on earth looks necessary becomes insignificant, or even less.  For the spiritual world we humans are like walking dead: “You have the name of being alive, and you are dead.”  For our narrow-minded, utilitarian thinking, to pray or to sit before an altar is a waste of time: we are doing nothing, producing nothing, earning nothing.

But for the spiritual world things are different.  In prayer, at the altar, our mortal existence is called to life.  There Christ invests our perishable being with the white robe of His pure life—that we bury not our eternal being for the sake of our temporal.


–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, November 1, 2020.


The White Horseman

The White Horseman (Rev. 19)

After an exhausting, eventful life, the wish to finally find rest is perhaps as old as humanity.  The most common expression of it can be found in our cemeteries.  Time and again we see the words chiseled into headstones: “Rest in Peace,” or even “Here Rests…”  As if all is past—no more troubles, sorrow, tears.  Is it really that simple?  Or is this wishful thinking?

One day Rudolf Steiner was walking in a cemetery with a friend.  As he was reading the constantly repeated words on the headstones, his commentary was: “First of all he is not here; second of all he is not resting.”  In other words, the deceased evidently are having a very different life than we imagine or wish.

The Book of Revelation of John helps us to get to know the sobering reality of the spiritual world.  Instead of finding comfortable rest or an eternal paradise we are confronted with a world of crisis and battle—just like the world we have daily around us and which we would rather not see.

The word of the white horseman is as a sword that strikes humanity and causes separation.  With the staff of iron He reigns as shepherd and warrior at the same time.  Christ is more than the gentle shepherd of a flock of sheep, the way He is so often represented in tradition.  He is the shepherd who leads humanity to the moment when we are irrevocably confronted with ourselves and the consequences of our deeds.  He is the shepherd who wants to wake us up: do not fall asleep with the promises of false prophets who delude us with hopes of an earthly paradise or eternal peace.

Wake up to Him who will gather the harvest of the Earth.  We—humanity—we are the harvest.  The harvest is His alone.


–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, October 25, 2020.


Looking for a Refuge

Looking for a Refuge  (Rev. 12)

A desert is usually a place of loneliness and hardship, a wilderness.  Rarely is there water, rarely a sign of life.  In early Christianity, the so-called desert fathers lived as monks in the desert for many years, sometimes for the rest of their life.  They had to fight a lonely battle with themselves.  The enemy—no robbers and looters, for there was nothing to rob or loot—was the army of demons they were confronted with.

Although in our time we don’t normally live in such lonely places, our cities often have the nature of deserts: a dead world, built up of stone.  In these modern deserts everyone is thrown back onto himself—in our time more than ever.  “Everyone for himself…” is the part of the old saying that we hear around us in every possible version.  Strangely enough the second part of the saying is usually lacking: “…and God for us all.”

There is no other way—we all have to find our own individual path through the desert.  But loneliness is not only inevitable; it is also necessary in order to form a strong, autonomous I.  Our desert is the world in which we live.  The dragon in our desert is the inhumanity with which we are confronted day in day out.  Is there a place of refuge, or do we only have to stand up until we fall?  Can we, like the woman in the desert, develop wings to flee to a safe place?

Our wings are made by the strength of our prayer.  Recently, a well known physician expressed this idea in everyday language with the words: “The most powerful medicine against depression is prayer: it lifts up the soul.”  Indeed, every true prayer, every real meditation, gives wings to the soul, so that we can find a spot where we can take shelter—a spot that was prepared for us by God.

This does not mean that it frees us from the opposing power, on the contrary.  But every true prayer brings us to a place where the Spirit assists us, helping us to remain upright in our lifelong struggle—lonely, but not alone.


–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, October 18, 2020


The Armor of God

The Armor of God (Eph.6:10-20)

In a world full of conflicts and crises, peace has become a concept that usually no longer corresponds with hard reality.  In war zones, peace has often become a distant promise, an illusion.  In its stead, an expression has developed that is closer to the sobering truth: “armed peace,” a term we use for the condition in which peace is maintained, if need be, with force.

If we want to hold our own in a world full of violence we will have to arm ourselves.  In the past century, the fine dreams of pacifism pretty much went up in smoke.  They are no longer of our time.  Instead, the battle for survival has become a daily reality.  In social and political life we speak of competition and power.  In our personal life we need assertiveness and preparedness.  What else can we do to avoid being tread underfoot?

Armed peace—perhaps we need to take a second look at this expression.  In our search for rest and security we usually cling to outer certainties to protect ourselves from violence.  Those certainties have fallen away.

Peace in a violent world is only possible when we arm ourselves spiritually—with the shield of Faith, the helm of Healing, the sword of the Spirit.  Only those who fight with these weapons truly know what armed peace really is.

For whoever remains incorruptibly true to the Spirit, is also protected by the Spirit.

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, October 11, 2020


The Wedding Garment

The Wedding Garment (Matt.22:1-14)

In our time, many people are living in the illusion that they can step into heaven just as they have lived on earth—straight up to God to tell him that things are not right on earth, and that He has to do something to put them in order.

Long ago, there was a time when people said when fate had struck: “The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away.  Praised be the Name of the Lord!”  Thereafter it became quiet, and people began to have doubts about the omnipotence of God.  And now?  It is only a relatively short time ago that people dared to ask: “Where is God in all those places where life has turned into hell?  Why doesn’t He show His omnipotence?”  In all questions of this sort sounds a still or loud reproach.  We do not want to change ourselves; God has to do it for us.

When we want to ask God a question, we cannot simply stay the way we are.  In the words of Christ: “…whoever does not take up the Kingdom of God in himself like a child, he will not find access to it” (Mk.10:15). When we want to enter His realm, we have to leave behind all that binds us to the dying earth existence: our possessions, our affairs, our everyday habits, our judgments and prejudices.  We have to become like new-born children.  We can stand before God only when we take our shoes off our feet, when we put away our outer confidence, when we want to receive the white garment of His pure life from His hands.  Then we are ready to enter the wedding hall and stand eye to eye before Him.

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan 10/4/2020


Stand Up!

STAND UP (Lk.7:11-17)

Wherever we go or stay, we are everywhere surrounded by the dying earth existence.  Nearly a hundred years ago, when The Christian Community was founded, this expression, which sounds in our Creed, was virtually unknown.  Admittedly, death was very much present in the war that preceded the founding of The Christian Community, but a dying earth existence…?  At the time, probably no one could grasp the scope of this expression.

In our time, we all know in fact from our own experience what these words signify, even though there continue to be people who deny a crisis.  Wait but a few decades, and no one will be able to deny anymore that we are surrounded by the dying earth existence.

Not only is the earth around us dying, but also the earth we take into ourselves.  Everything we take in—food, drink, air, sense impressions, thoughts—has to die completely to be able to serve us.  We human beings are the cause of countless forms of death on earth.

An old legend tells that, after Adam was expelled from Paradise, at each footstep the grass withered under his feet.  In a certain sense, this legend has become reality.

Despite our leading role in this death process, through Christ—so says our Creed—we attain the re-enlivening of the dying earth existence.  Does that happen exclusively through Christ?  Or are there ways in which we can help Him renew life?  Christ bears and orders the life of the world.  How can we help Him bear and order?

Look into the world through the eyes of Christ—and the world appears in a new light.

Hear Him speak before you say a word—and your words will have wings.

Take Him into your thinking—and your thoughts will become more lucid.

Ask Him to go with you—and your feet will be guided.

And even though we are bound hand and foot to the dying earth existence, He will speak to us, even when we die: Stand up!


–Rev. Bastiaan Baan September 27, 2020


The Light Source of the Body (Matthew 6)

Our eyes have the capacity of adjusting themselves to darkness.  When we come out of sunlight into a dark tunnel or cave, we are at first disoriented. Or when we walk at night from a lighted street into a dark wood, we may perhaps be frightened by the darkness.  But if we do not lose patience we notice that our eyes gradually become used to the darkness, and that we begin to recognize the world around us.  This is actually the best way to overcome fear of darkness—walk step by step into a dark space; wait until you become familiar with the darkness, and you begin to see.

This is not only true in the physical world, but also a spiritual reality.  Every day we are confronted with a world of dark, horrific events.  As a rule, we don’t want to see them at all.  We turn away and try to force ourselves to look at the light side of life.  In our current western world there is even an aversion to every sort of darkness.  We turn away from the sick, the dying, the hungry, the refugees, the criminals.  We don’t want to see the dark side of life.  Or are we perhaps afraid of it?

When Christ spoke of the eye as the light source of the body, He was not telling a parable, but a daily truth.  It is not the bad world that makes us bad.  It is not the darkness outside us that darkens us inwardly.  But it is the way we look into the world that brings us darkness or light.

The question is not: What do I see?

But: How do I see?

Am I looking into the world with fear, with abhorrence, or even with hatred?

Or can I look into that same world with compassion and love, in spite of all the darkness?

This subtle way of looking not only illumines and relieves ourselves, but will eventually also illumine and relieve the darkness of the world around us.

A mother who had lost her two children wrote after a long period of rebelliousness, mourning and depression:

When I


and full of love

look at the darkness

then I see



–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, September 20, 2020


The Ten Lepers Cleansed

The Ten Lepers Cleansed (Lk.17:11-19)

The better part of our lives as adults consists of duties.  We have little choice: we have hardly finished our work, or when the next duty is already awaiting us.  Many people do little more than move from one duty to another all their lives.  And when a person scrupulously fulfills all those duties and tasks he is praised for his diligence.

No matter how diligent such a person is, he misses something that is indispensable.  We only become truly human when we add to all we MUST do something we WANT to do, without anyone telling us to do it.

When the ten leprous men had been cleansed of their illness by Jesus, they were told to go and show themselves to the priests.  That was the commandment in the law.

But one of them goes beyond the duty and does something of his own accord: he comes back to give thanks.  No one has told him to do so.  And it is certainly not just a formality he observes, for he falls prostrate at the feet of Jesus and thanks Him from the bottom of his heart.  You can’t bow down deeper than that.  You can’t be more convincing in your thankfulness.

All who fulfill their duty are cleansed.  But are they also healed?  Only this one human being, who gives thanks with heart and soul, hears the redeeming words from Jesus: “Your faith has made you well.” (RSV—Greek sesōken, saved)

And we, when we receive His medicine that makes whole, the Sacrament, are we then able to give thanks to Him with heart and soul?


-Rev. Bastiaan Baan, September 13, 2020