,

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.

,

What is truth?

And heaved and heaved, still unrestingly heaved the black sea, as if its vast tides were a conscience.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

The altar is a mysterious place. It renders its mysteries only slowly and in stillness. This is why the altar wants to be visited more than once. The religious experience is nourished by its repetition. Religiousness therefore roots in the essence of all things: the sun rises more than one morning; we get to know the seasons through their returning; day and night live by their alternation. The altar gathers the pathways and orbits out of which all repetition can unfold. We come to the altar, leave, and come back. This breathing of coming and going, of appearing and disappearing, gives life not only to the human but also to the divine being. In the interplay of giving and receiving, of concealing and revealing, the divine can mirror itself in the human. For what does it mean to be human? The human being shows and hides itself at the same time. We stand in the world. We live and work in it, experiencing joy and sorrow. That part of us is visible. Another part of us, though, cannot be found in this world. It remains invisible. It withdraws itself. It is there and it asserts itself, but remains removed never the less. This is our spiritual being. We carry this secret part of ourselves to the altar in the Act of Consecration of Man. In doing so, the altar becomes an image of our own being: it is both visible and veiled. It waits and is patient. It grants the fullness of its secrets only to those who return. Faith, Goethe said, is love for the invisible. It is an openness for the secret, a willingness to be addressed. This willingness to receive a revealing word, a blessing gesture, or the silence in between them, is a condition for experiencing the elusive thing that we call truth. For truth is not the mere establishing of a fact. It is not the rendering of a correct assessment or the verification of certain circumstances. Truth is much more than that. “The truth is not a fixed system of concepts that can manifest itself in only one way, but is a living ocean in which the spirit of man lives, and that can bring forth waves of the most different kind at its surface.”[1] (Rudolf Steiner)

The notion that truth is not correctness but a deep, moving force with a surface and hidden depths, opens up new possibilities of thought. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) was able to delve into these possibilities with pertinent skill. Versed in Greek, he let the original words speak for themselves. Truth is called aletheia in Greek. This sparked the imagination of Heidegger. Because for the good listener this means, that according to the Greek truth meant bringing something or someone out into the open. The word aletheia is a compound of the word Lethe and its negation, a. In Greek mythology the Lethe is the river that brings forgetfulness. In that respect it is the counterpart of the river Styx, that brings remembrance. Just before a human being is born, he or she wades through the river Lethe. Human beings forget the life they led before they were born. The part of ourselves that we forget about when we enter this world, is the part we leave behind. It is the part of us that remains hidden, sheltered in the spirit. When we die, we remember who we are. Dying is disclosing. We are reunited with our essence, our eternal being, and we awaken. This awakening is brought by wading through the river Styx. When truth is called aletheia, the word itself thus indicates that truth shreds all veils of ignorance. Aletheia means the vindication of what was left behind. It means the opening up of what was closed at birth. The truthful person or truthful event is therefore he or that which stands in the unconcealment (Unverborgenheit) of things. For Heidegger it became a matter of great importance not just to grasp this intellectually. He wanted to live this to the fullest of all extents. This he did in thought. It became clear to him that truth is less like a field of stones and more like water. He crossed and followed the Lethe and the ocean of Being opened up to him…

[1] GA 6 Goethes Weltansschauung, Kapittel 1, Persönlichkeit und Weltanschauung.

This post is from an article published in the spring 2018 issue of Perspectives, and can be found in its entirety with the editor’s permission here. To subscribe to Perspectives, and receive issues via email, please visit their site.

,

Light from the darkness

Black is the color of Passion.

It is the part of the visible spectrum where all light is completely absorbed. It is the visible end of the cosmic path of light – its grave, its tomb.

It is also the color of carbon – the element essential to our life, here on Earth.
It is carbon, which provides physical foundations for all life; one only has to think of carbohydrates – so essential to our nutrition, or of carbon chains – the great framework, the skeleton of all biological life.

It is, however, equally true that all spiritual, supersensible life – that all spiritual beings incarnated here on Earth, visible in stones, plants, animals and in us, in human beings – are in essence entrapped, entombed in the darkness of carbon, in the grave of the Earth. That we all are enslaved in chains of carbon, which nevertheless make our lives here on Earth possible.

There is however one type of carbon, which breaks free from such despondent picture of things. Diamond is also carbon! But how different, compared to common coal does it appear to our eye! Diamond, this sublime gemstone, which already went through its earthly initiation; it went through the process of growth against incredible pressure, yes – against immeasurable pain and suffering – in order to reveal that which lies lamenting in every single atom of common coal, which lies buried in the tomb of the Earth – a pure, crystalline, immaculate spiritual light.

Christ consciousness is a diamond of our human experience. He is the hope and the path shining out of the darkness of the tomb, growing out of the depths of our confrontation with our own lower nature, out of our painful knowledge of what it means and what it takes to become truly human, here on this Earth enslaved by darkness of matter.

To learn more about how Passiontide is celebrated in the Christian Community, visit our festivals page.

Painting: magic square 19 by Deborah Ravetz

,

Living Black

The color of Passion time is black. We see the black frontal on the altar, the black robes and collars of the servers, the black stole and belt of the priest, and the black chasuble the priest wears in celebrating the Sacrament. We see this black because of the light filling the sanctuary.

But where do we see a black from which light is streaming out, out of the darkness, out of the black? A light that is unseen, truly invisible, supersensible, for it does not transform the darkness; the black remains black, but it is filled with light, light streaming out of the blackness.

There is one place on Earth where this happens.

That is when two human beings truly meet one another and look into each other’s eyes. We see; it is a supersensible perception, a genuine clairvoyant experience, we see the light shining out of the center of the eyes of the other as they are seeing the light shining out of our eyes. It is in the meeting that it happens. It is tangible. It is self-evident. But it is too powerful to endure for very long–either to so see in the holy of holies of another or to be so seen in the sacred center of ourselves.

With ourselves and others that is so in this earth existence.

But we can have another experience, another truly supersensible experience. We can come to experience, to sense, to feel, to know, to truly trust–there is One who does see into my center all the time, even when I am not aware of that center myself. There is One who knows me in my darkness, who knows me in my light, who knows me in my sickness, who knows me in my health, who knows me in my weakness, who knows me in my strength–One in whose presence I am always standing even when I fall, even when I am lying on the ground.

It is to this One that we turn in Passion, that we open up our darkness to, that we seek to see, to meet, in His darkness, in His Passion, in His Light shining, streaming out of that darkness into our hearts.

This post was written for the Washington D.C. community in 2016. Rev. Richard Dancey crossed the threshold on February 14, 2017.

For more information on how Passiontide is celebrated in the Christian Community, go to our Festival page. You can also find a children’s story for this time of year 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.

,

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