, ,

a prayer

The following prayer was offered by Rev. Nora Minassian at the 24th Annual MLK Community Prayer Breakfast on April 7th, 2018 at the Phoenixville Middle School in Phoenixville, PA.

Let us pray:
Dear Lord, we come to you with gratitude for all your creation filled with wisdom and beauty. You send your light to us. You give us air to breath, bread to eat, water to drink and ground on which we walk. They unite us all.

We come to you with humility. For we know not what we do with your works, with your creation, with the gifts of life that you give us. We claim them to be ours and deny them to our fellow men. We draw borders and deport our fellow men. We pollute the air, take down forests and build mountains of trash. We impose sanctions so we can consume. We kill so we can drive. We look at the speck in our brother’s eye and become blind to the log in our own eye. Forgive us and open our eyes.

Help us stop turning against your creation. For our fight is not against flesh and blood like the Apostle Paul says (Eph. 6) but against the attacks of the adversarial forces tempting us with fear, lies and greed. Help us seek justice not by revenge but by forgiveness, by imbuing ourselves with truth, with you, Lord. Help us protect each other with the knowledge that you are in each one of us; you are in our diversity – whatever height, gender, sex, race, faith, religion, age, language, color. You are in all of us. If one of us suffers, we all suffer; if one of us is honored, we all rejoice. (1. Cor. 12)

We thank you for our diversity. Our differences are not there for us to just tolerate but to embrace and celebrate. Open our hearts to find you in each other. You call us your friends and give your life for us. Help us be each other’s friends and lay down our lives for each other. Help us love those who hurt us, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. says, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” Your love unites us all.

Teach us that beautiful timeless prayer that you taught your disciples, that makes us your and each others’ brothers and sisters. We pray with you Lord:

Our Father, who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done as above in the heavens, so also on the earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

Amen

This prayer was published in the Spring 2018 North American Newsletter, which can be found in its entirety here.

,

from the wounds

The Creator God, the Logos, the Cosmic Son, emptied himself of his mighty power and descended into a human being. God became fully human in Jesus, through suffering what we suffer, being hungry, tempted, misunderstood and wounded even unto death. We call this being Jesus Christ. And in this Easter time, we celebrate His resurrection and His transformation of what makes us human. For if we look closely at the Risen One, what is most human, His wounds, remain – His wounds remain but are different- changed. Healing power now radiates to us from His wounds.

Because of this, within each one of us there is now also this healing power. And this healing power is calling each one of us to accept and take hold of our wounds, calling us to transform in His image so that our wounds, too, can radiate healing power to others.

But so often we would silence this power in us. Instead of entering and working through the pain like Christ, we would deny, escape, blame.

And yet, individuals everywhere take up this call, take up this power. The doctor – inspired to heal by the pain of having a sick brother, the woman who is barren and then adopts orphaned children, the psychotherapist – inspired to help others because of his broken childhood, the activist working to overcome oppression out of the pain of his people. All are examples of healing power radiating from the wound.

This is how God works in the world, in our lives. Because to be united with Christ means to find deep meaning in our marks of pain – to be united with Christ means to have access to liberating joy even in the midst of suffering.

Dear friends, The Community of Christians is made up of wounded healers, those who radiate healing power from wounds. May this power continue to permeate our hearts, our earth, our humanity.

***

Join Jonah Evans for a webinar, The Heart of Easter: Becoming New, Encountering Christ, hosted by the Anthroposophical Society in America on Tuesday, April 3. Listen live or register to download the webinar later. Click here for more details.

To read about how we celebrate Easter at the altar, visit our festivals page. You can also find an Easter-tide children’s story here.

,

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.

,

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.”

,

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 Birth of Joy

baptism-at-the-jordanNot only do we celebrate the Three Kings on Epiphany, we also celebrate the Epiphany in the river Jordan- The baptism of Jesus. Because just like the Star of Grace that blessed the kings with its light, the Holy Spirit blessed Jesus with Christ’s light in the river Jordan.

And yet, as important as the baptism of Jesus is, being blessed by the light would be nothing on its own. Without Jesus giving himself to the death on the cross for the life of the world, the light He received at the baptism would have no meaning. Without the three kings being able to give their gifts to the Holy Child, receiving the light of the Star would have been for naught. The point is, the gifts we receive only become meaningful in as much as we are able to give back.

For all Epiphanies lead to one thing: the joy of giving something, of offering something, however humble, that has meaning for someone. Let us remember, that our old age is fulfilled in the end, not by what we have achieved or received, our lives are fulfilled only by the spiritual joy of giving for the life of the world.

Dear friends, in these times of political turmoil, unsolvable fears and anxieties about the future, epidemics of terror and violent oppression across the globe, let us remember again that the real world is not what we see on the news. Let us remember that the true world is being brought to life in this painful darkness by the Christ-filled giving of the human heart. 
This contemplation by Rev. Evans was inspired by The Baptism.

,

Preparing for Christmas

Even though I am from California, I’m beginning to love snow. Not only for its beauty, but most of all, for the peaceful silence that it brings, permeating everything.

Deep within each human soul there is also a silence, an inner peace-filled silence that wants to awaken in our hearts. But just like the silence that comes only after the snow falls down from the sky, inner peace comes only after we accept whatever falls down into our lives. Like the earth receiving snow, inner peace is given us only after we embrace what falls into our lives. For even when something comes to us that is cold and painful, it is through saying ‘yes’ to the challenge that peace is possible.

And yet there is so much in us that would hinder this embrace, this ‘yes’ of what is. We are hindered by the temptation to think that what has come down to me is unacceptable, that my life just shouldn’t be this way, that if something hurts it means something is wrong. We are called to always remember that in the eyes of Christ, everything that comes into our lives is an opportunity to get closer to HIM.

Therefore, dear friends, Let us become like the earth in winter and embrace what falls to us from the sky, or like Mary, who humbly receives her will from above, even though it is difficult. Then, just like after snowfall, we will be ready for the Christmas gift, the peace-filled silence of Christ bestowed on our hearts.

,

A Prayer for Advent

By Bernhard Eyb

Thou mothering earth
Hast received the live seed
Into the dark
Good shelter of soil.
The mantle of night
Thrown wide over us,
And the sun as it goes
Its swift and short journey,
Speak to our hearts
In warning and promise.
Thou Earth hast borne up
The footsteps of Mary
Journeying patiently
Southwards to Bethlehem;
And the Earth bears us
Today in our travail,
That we may bring forth
Christ in our spirit.
So may we await Him
Sent by the Father
Healer and bringer
Into our being
Of the true gold.

Adam Bittleston, in Meditative Prayers for Today, available at http://www.steinerbooks.org/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=264

,

Michaelmas Prayer

A meditative prayer by Adam Bittleston

We need in the light of our day
The eternal Light of the Word of God.
When we see with our thoughts this Light
On the path which leads from the cave
Where thinking and seeing our shadows,
Into the fields of life

Into the freedom of the heart—
We shall meet Michael
Who reveals how Christ
Awakens thinking
That it may serve God. Read more

,

August

Upon fields and orchards

Growing towards harvest

there look with blessing

The spirits of heaven;

And their gaze searches 

Men’s hearts for ripening.

In the close weaving

Of manifold fates 

Read more