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Annual Delegates Meeting 2021

The Annual Delegates Meeting 2021 will be November 11-13, in Hillsdale, NY.  This year’s theme is:

Christ’s Light in Our Daylight

Spirit-led boards, Spirit-led communication;
bringing sacramental qualities to the
more secular aspects of The Christian Community

For more information, contact ccnaoffice@gmail.com

REGISTER HERE

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Letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 6

Letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 6

The first Christians had a remarkable saying with which they distinguished themselves from their contemporaries: “We Christians stand above destiny.”

Was it courage, presumptuousness, or hubris that led to this saying?  One thing is certain: even when they had to die a horrible death, they faced their lot with unwavering trust.  Bishop Cyprian of Carthage wrote in a letter to his congregation where that trust came from:

“We do not leave the martyrs unarmed, but we provide them with the shield of the body and blood of Christ.  For those who are not armed for the battle are incapable of martyrdom, and the soul becomes powerless when it is not fired by the holy meal, the eucharist.” *

The first Christians knew from their own experience: a day will come when evil will reign.  Every day they prepared themselves for this day with the sacrament of bread and wine, knowing that a time would come when they would have nothing to lose anymore and would make their last stand.

Paul, with his foresight, described in his letter to the Ephesians the time when evil would reign.  In his own language, he called it literally “the evil day.” (Eph.6:13)

Although it is a long time ago that Christians were thrown to the lions, in our time the powers of the adversary, perhaps more than ever before, are having free play.  The evil day—we are in the middle of it.

Whoever thinks they can handle the battle on their own power are the real presumptuous ones and will get the worst of it against the demons that are lord and master in our time.  But whatever happens, whatever befalls us in the trials, those who make the Lord of Destiny their Lord and Master stand with Him above destiny.

 

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, October 10, 2021

* 57th letter of Bishop Cyprian of Carthage (app. 210-258 AD).

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Priest Child Education Fund

Our priest families are supported through the freely given donations of their congregational members that cover the basics of housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care, etc.  One key expense that is not typically included in the priest support is the cost of educating their children.  North American congregations have helped to raise money for the Priest Child Education Fund which is distributed to priest’s families to help with educational costs. No matter how large, or how small the gesture, it helps!   Click here to read more about this fund and to donate.

 

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Online Study Groups

The Toronto congregation is offering the following online study groups

Note: All times are East Coast

 

The Nathan Soul and The Gospel of Luke – on Zoom

An online study group with Inken Contrares starting Tuesday, September 15, 10.30 am – 12 pm

This study group intends to gain a deeper understanding of the mysterious soul that is incarnated in Christ Jesus and its impact on world evolution. We will explore Rudolf Steiner’s numerous and far-reaching characterizations of this soul and its deep connection to human soul life.

Contact Rev. Inken Contreras to sign up, email: inken.koelmel@gmail.com


Living with Christ – on Zoom

An online study group with Rev. Jonah Evans

Starting again Wednesday, September 8th! Wednesday mornings after the service from 10:10 am-11:40 am in the Community Room (not July or August). Join us as we deepen our relationship with the Living Christ in our time.  All are welcome!

Zoom is available to participants, near and far.

To register and to receive the link please contact Melanie Nason
email: melanienason@rogers.com

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The Blind Man of Jericho (Lk.18:35-43)

Sometimes blind people can recognize more than those who have eyes with which to see.  Once, in a group of people who were observing flowers, I was impressed with the way a blind person examined a flower.  Very cautiously he traced with his fingertips the stem and the leaves; even more gingerly he touched the flower, attentively breathed in the scent of the flower—and afterwards he could tell us more about this one flower than all the other people.  Now, which of them is blind, the blind person or the seeing ones?

The same thing happens with the blind beggar by the wayside and the people who pass him by.  The people may walk in crowds ahead of Jesus and behind Him, but they only recognize the carpenter’s son from Nazareth in Him.  “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” they shout at him.

But the blind man sees something else: not Jesus of Nazareth, but the Messiah. “Jesus, son of David, have compassion on me!” he loudly calls out.  The son of David, that is after all the identifying mark of the Messiah.  Long before the people finally recognize Him as the Messiah, for a moment, on Palm Sunday (“Hosanna to the Son of David!”) the blind beggar had seen it already.

And we?  How often do we blindly pass by the most precious thing in the world?  Learn from the blind, from the beggars, the homeless, and the outcasts who have nothing to lose, to distinguish the essential from the non-essential.  And otherwise: realize that you are blind yourself, and become a beggar for the spirit.  Maybe then you will learn to see the world with different eyes.

 

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, August 22, 2021

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Sending the Disciples

“Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.” (Lk.9:3)

That sounds like an impossible task in a world where we are used to traveling with full suitcases.  What was still possible two thousand years ago seems in our time like a reckless undertaking.  How can we fulfill this task—perhaps not in a literal sense, but in the figurative sense of the word?  Can we go out into the world without inner ballast?

Every person carries a load with him from the past, not only from the course of his own life, but also from the lives of his ancestors.  We have been marked by all of these, whether we want to or not; it has made us into prejudiced persons.  Usually, it is with this burden that we meet other people.  The burden becomes ballast when it is the only basis on which we evaluate others. Whatever does not fit into our limited images is then soon condemned.

“Tabula rasa” *, clean slate, was the name of the wax tablet used in antiquity, on which one wrote with a slate-pencil, and which was afterwards rubbed clean again, so that it could be used anew.  It was a picture for the original state of the soul before it was filled with observations, thoughts, and feelings—a clean slate.  We will never be able to go back to that original condition.  But what we can do is to become conscious of the baggage we have brought with us for this life—in order, if only for moments, to become all eyes and all ears for every human being we meet, as if it were the first time we met this person.  And otherwise, as if it were the last time we were meeting him—in order then to continue on the closely written path to our unknown destination.  When we meet another person in this way, we fulfill the task Christ gave to His disciples: “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.”

 

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, August 16, 2021

* Literally: rubbed out writing tablet.

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“Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Mt.7:1)

Do not judge. That seems like an impossible task in a world of clashing opinions—perhaps the most difficult task in the world.  Hardly have we met a person, and our judgment is made, sometimes with the irrevocability of the Last Judgment, so that from that moment we can no longer meet this person with an open mind.  Do not judge—how do you do that?

As soon as we have even a little bit of self-knowledge the judgment falls back on ourselves.  For it is because of my one-sidednesses, my prejudices, that I cannot see others as they really are.  If I would be all eyes, others would be able to appear to me in their own true individuality, instead of in my muddled look.  In order to learn to see others, I must not only observe them all the time, but also myself.  After all, my judgment says more about myself than about those others.

To make a step on the stubborn way toward open-mindedness the most effective means is perhaps to meet each human being as a riddle.  For that is what we are to each other as long as we only appear to each other in our outer form.  Within this riddle hides in the Holy of Holies the unknown I, which is still in a state of becoming.  Each human being has a secret—so deeply hidden that we are even unable to discover our own secret, let alone that of another person.  Whoever is aware of this riddle will guard against judging anyone.

Do not judge—not even yourself!

For judgment is not ours, but that of the Lord of the living and the dead.

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, August 1, 2021

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Can you also be an angel for your neighbor?

Each human being has an angel, thank God.  We badly need him in our chaotic daily lives, for otherwise, we would get into big trouble.  Even when we are about to lose our inner compass, the angel still watches over us and does his utmost to keep us on the right track.  A Dutch saying goes: Children and drunkards have a special angel.

Still, an angel is not sufficient to prepare our way on earth.  What would happen to us if there were no human beings who cross our path?  One person can become as an angel for another when he serves him selflessly.

Christ—even Christ—also needs such a companion on earth, who prepares His way.  “See, I send my angel before you.” (Mt.11:10) This task, the task of John the Baptist, is given to each human being, not only to the greatest of all human beings on earth.  Each of us, wherever we go or stay, is called to stand ready for his neighbor like an angel.  Since Christ lived on earth, since someone asked him: “Who is my neighbor?” we know who that is: for every person we meet on the path of our life, we can become a neighbor.

Keep your eyes and ears open, for in every encounter sounds a question.

You do not only have an angel.

Can you also be an angel for your neighbor?

 

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, July 17, 2021

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St. John’s Tide

When as parents you have taken care of your children for years, when you have spared no cost or effort to give them the best that was possible, perhaps the moment comes sooner or later when they give something back.  As small children they naturally accepted little and large gifts without any idea of what it took to get those for them.  As growing children and rebellious youths, perhaps they never uttered a word of thanks, sometimes even the opposite.  And when that time is also past, when they are experiencing personally what it takes to care for others day in, day out, the moment comes perhaps that the children give something back to their parents, out of their own free will.  Usually, the story starts from the beginning again as soon as our sons and daughters get children of their own.  Then only do they realize what their parents have done for them.

God is as a Father for human beings on earth.  No heartless, despotic tyrant, but a Father who ceaselessly bestows love on us, whatever happens.  Our humanity mostly reacts to this gift like little children: carelessly, ignorantly—or like rebellious youths: mockingly, shrugging their shoulders.

In the Act of Consecration of Man we learn what this gift means to us.  For the Divine Father this is the moment when His beloved daughters and sons respond to His gift out of their own free will.  Every Act of Consecration is a eu-charist—literally: thanksgiving.  In St. John’s Tide this eucharist culminates in the eulogy:

“To the Father God … shall stream our souls’ devoted and heart-warmed thanks.”

 

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, July 11, 2021