Sundays

 

Sunday (adapted)
–Adam Bittleston

Before world-beginning
Christ shone in His glory,
Light of true Light,
One with the Father,
In all eternity.
Thou camest on earth,
Taking our form,
Bearing our fate,
Making life out of death,
Leading souls from the dark.
May we stand in Thy sight.

Sunday:
–Helene Ganstel

You who reign over the stars,
Grant us dignity from heaven,
to receive in devotion,
What the earth gi ves us
to strengthen us!

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Sharing Questions, Sharing Discoveries: ASK 2020, Atlanta

“I am learning to live close to the lives of my friends without ever seeing them. No miles of any measurement can separate your soul from mine.” ― John Muir  

From time to time we may be confronted with questions such as: “What is your church like? Why do you attend? ” or “What is The Christian Community anyway?” We may struggle for an answer because it is almost as if we were asked why we are here on earth! We are striving toward an understanding and recognition of the living Christ; the life-affirming, renewing, empowering source of unlimited love that yearns to illuminate every human being. We have a shared destiny with those who seek to know Christ in freedom and who accept the Sacraments as an aid to their seeking. We have to remind ourselves from time to time, why we gather together and why it is important for the evolution of the earth and for all of humanity. To that end we are inviting you to a larger gathering of the greater North American Christian Community, to celebrate, learn, explore, and share our questions and discoveries together.

What moves us to travel several hundred, even thousands, of miles? To ask questions? To seek answers? To knock on each other’s doors? Yes, all of the above and more will be happening during the festival time of John the Baptizer this coming June in College Park, Georgia, close to Atlanta. An evening celebration and bonfire will be the kickoff to five days of meeting one another and asking, seeking and knocking together.

Following in the big footsteps of the North-South conferences and the North American conference in Staten Island a while back, the priest circle of The Christian Community felt it was time to call its members and friends in North America together. And what better location than the Atlanta area? Enthusiastic folks from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee have come together to form a planning group. In November 2018 we met for a retreat in Decatur, Georgia at ‘The ARC’ and have since been meeting regularly with a team from the priest circle to envision this gathering.

We began with the theme: what questions are people living with? What keeps me awake at night, or, even better, what gets me going and keeps me going all day long? Contemplation of a lecture by Rudolf Steiner given on September 29, 1922 in Dornach helped set the mood and focus of the work to come:

“Think of the earth and within it the different processes of nature and plant life. All this will pass away. But on this earth, in future time, sacred rites will be enacted out of a true understanding of the spiritual world. Through these rites and sacred enactments, spiritual Beings are called down. As I have said, a time will come when the material substance in minerals, plants, animals, clouds, the forces working in wind and weather and also, of course, all the accoutrements used in rites and ceremonies, will pass away, will be dissipated in the universe. But the spiritual Beings who have been called down into the sphere of the rites and sacred enactments — these will remain when the earth approaches its end.”

Isn’t that what we do every time we unfold spiritual activity, even as individuals in our quiet space at home? How much stronger can the effect be when we gather together and participate in “rites and sacred enactments”? How to bring this impulse down to Earth?

At a crucial moment in the conversation one of us opened the New Testament and read from the Gospel of Matthew “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” And so, the conference topic was born:

Ask, Seek, Knock – ASKATLANTA2020 – Walking with Christ.

In the meantime, the venue has been found, speakers and workshop leaders have been engaged and many more exciting events are being prepared. All you need to know can be found on the website: https://ask2020atlanta.org/

–Rev. Craig Wiggins
Lenker, North America

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ASK 2020 – Looking Toward One another, in Community

Please Consider this summer’s ASK 2020 – a conference on our relationship with the living Christ in Atlanta!

As many of us are spending time thinking about the coming of Easter, we may also be planning our gardens for spring planting, summer tending, and autumn harvest. I am contemplating our ASK 2020 conference in Atlanta, as “cultivating the garden of meaning”, which is the title of an article by Rev. Carol Kelly, in Perspectives, a newsletter from the U.K. It struck me as pertinent, because one of her paragraphs says, “We need to gather together as adults for retreats and conferences, to be able to turn off the phone, to become quiet, to listen, to gather insights from one another and to pray. We do not take this seriously enough. Retreats are opportunities for deep community building, for deepening our understanding of the passion and resurrection of Christ, for learning one another’s biographies and strengthening our connection to one another. We have one direction in church, facing the altar. But we have another direction to cultivate in community life, looking toward one another and building Christ-community.”

Please consider joining us June 24-28, this summer, for just such a cultivation of fertile ground. Our website is ask2020atlanta.org.

–Katherine Jenkins
ASK Conference, Coordinating Circle

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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.

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