Rev. Patrick Kennedy touching hearts with enlightened words.
Please, friends of The Christian Community in Spring Valley, check this out:
Rev. Patrick Kennedy touching hearts with enlightened words.
Please, friends of The Christian Community in Spring Valley, check this out:
So he was saying to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him: “Offspring of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath that is coming? Then bring forth fruits worthy of a change of heart and spirit, and do not begin to say to yourselves: ‘We have Abraham for our father.’ For I tell you, God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. And already the axe is laid at the root of the trees; so that every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
And the crowds asked him, saying: “Then what shall we do?” And in answer he told them: “Let whoever has two coats give to the one who has none, and whoever has food shall do the same.” But there were also tax collectors coming to be baptized, and they said to him: “Teacher, what shall we do?” He said to them: “Collect no more than what you are required to.” And also soldiers asked him, saying: “And as for us, what shall we do?” And he said to them: “Do not extort money by threats of violence or false accusation, but be content with your wages.”
And as the people were in expectation and all were questioning in their hearts about John whether perhaps he was the Messiah, John spoke in response to them: “I indeed baptize you with water; but one is coming who is mightier than I, so that I am unworthy even to loosen the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with holy spirit and with fire; his winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
— Luke 3
Three messengers had to descend and enter into humanity in preparation for the coming of the Christ. We find the appearance of their gifts in the centuries before Christ. One of these is wonder, which appears most outspokenly in the work of the first philosophers. A second is compassion, commonly associated with the teaching of Buddha. The third is conscience.
We can find these three gifts appearing in various places around the world in that time, but one significant place is in the Old Testament. If you want to look at the world with wonder, try reading many of the Psalms, for example the Eighth; or you can read the Song of Solomon. A wonderful way to develop compassion is to work with the book of Job. And of course the prophets were the conscience of the Hebrew nation.
All of these three gifts were concentrated in the being of John the Baptist. His words awakened the conscience in those whom came to him to be baptized; hence their question: What shall we do? His answer to their question awakened compassion: care for those less fortunate, and do not oppress them. And out of that arose the question in wonder: could this be the Messiah? To this question comes the answer one who is even more wonderful is coming.
Many of the events of recent days can suggest that the gifts of these three messengers—wonder, compassion, and conscience—are being strongly called on in this season. We are in a time when traditional thoughts, opinions, and values must be rigorously tested; when we must be prepared to change our heart, our mind, our spirit.
Such demands upon us can help us to know: The Kingdom of God is near, nearer than ever before.
Thinking of Charleston, South Carolina
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is reborn from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus said to him: How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter into his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?
5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born out of water and the spirit wind, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
— John 3
What does it mean to be born again?
For most Christians, the idea is connected with the baptism of conversion, or with an experience of revelation, revival. The concept of actually being born again is dismissed as an impossible hypothesis, the one put forward to Jesus as a question by Nicodemus under the stars of night. Not many Christians will consider reincarnation when faced with the requirement: You must be born again. But let us consider what the concept of reincarnation could mean in connection with the tragedy of the past week in South Carolina.
What can it mean for the victims? Perhaps, for those who have unexpectedly entered the spiritual world while contemplating the spiritual world, it can mean a great task in a future earth life: to bring to expression on earth what they were contemplating at the moment of death.
What can it mean for their families and friends? Perhaps they will be born with a greater sense of how close we all are to the spiritual world.
What can it mean for the young man who brought about the tragedy? He must also be born again, and must face the tasks in future lives that will bring redemption for himself and reconciliation with those whose life courses he has so terribly changed.
And for the rest of us? An event which a hundred years ago might have passed virtually unnoticed is placed before us so that we cannot ignore it. Our contemplation of the event may lead us ever more clearly in future earth lives to the realization that humanity is one, that we must unequivocally answer Yes to the question which will more and more resound within us: Am I my brother’s keeper?
Many Christians are quite at home with the idea that some of us are doomed to eternal damnation. Is this a Christian thought? Perhaps a true Christian will contemplate the words of Christ, and know: we must all be born again.
Fourth Sunday in Trinity Tide June 21, 2015 Mark 4: 1 – 25
When two people engage in conversation and a third person enters in, the dynamics change. Sometimes radically. Where the conversation has gone back and forth between two poles, a third person can bring a positive form of tension, challenging what has been established, pointing towards what can emerge. The established positions, on the other hand, can offer a firm foundation for what otherwise might fly off into ungrounded adventure. The new dynamics can lead to insights that change all participants in their depths.
The Father and the Son have engaged in spiritual discourse through many ages. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was turned towards God . . .” For eons this discourse took place above the heads and beyond the consciousness of most earth dwellers. Until a small group of women and men had proven themselves ready to become the bearers of a third Being. This Being, the Holy Spirit began to awaken consciousness and understanding of the eternal Word at Pentecost. Her coming to Earth has changed life on Earth to its very core.
Last Wednesday twelve people engaged in spiritual discourse on the parable of the sower as told by the Gospel of Mark, which we have just heard. A thirteenth person entered into the discourse and totally altered the course of untold lives for all time. Whatever our personal feelings about racism, gun control and related issues might be, every one of us who has taken notice of this and similar occurrences now bear responsibility to enter the discourse. As the mysteries of the Kingdom of God continue to awaken within us as individuals and within our community, we bear responsibility to bring consciousness and understanding to all events we witness. Every active prayer and thought brings light into the darkness which threatens to spread around such events as in Charleston. As we continually attempt to grasp the Spirit through our humanity, our own lives can shine with Spirit on all the ways of human souls. The light of the Spirit, carried by human beings, will shine in the darkness and the darkness will begin to comprehend it.
Yea, so be it.
Wednesday – June 24th – 9:00 am
St. John’s tide begins on June 24th and continues for four Sundays. … There are no fixed reading for this time. The only guideline is that the readings should be about John the Baptist. The time of John is only correctly understood when we not only think of it as commemorating a historical figure – the first co-worker of God – but as containing his real presence, inwardly, within ourselves. The power of sacrifice and of facilitation which lived in him then, shines each year anew, and it is possible to call upon him as he corks directly with us during the celebration of the Act of Consecration of Man at this time of the year. (From The Gospel Readings in the Cycle of the Year by Rev. Schroeder)
This year, Rev. Thornton chose this passage of the Gospel the 24th and first Sunday:
MARK I: 1-12
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in Isiah the prophet:
“Behold, I send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare Your way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make his path straight.”
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My Beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness for forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.
1 Corinthians XIII
Even if I speak in tongues that can reach the hearts of human beings and of angels, but I do not have love, my speaking remains as sounding brass or clanging cymbal. And even if I have the gift of prophecy and know and understand all mysteries and all hidden knowledge, and even if I have heart’s power of vision so strongly that I can remove mountains, but I do not have love, I am nothing. And even if I give away all of my possessions, and even if I give up my body to be burned, but I do not have love, it does not help me at all.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous; love is not conceited; it is not arrogant; it is not rude; it does not seek its own interest, it is not easily provoked; it does not reckon up evil; it does not rejoice at injustice but rejoices in the truth; it accepts all things, trusts in all things, hopes in all things, endures all things.
Love never comes to an end; but where there are prophecies, they shall lose their value; where there are tongues, they shall cease; where there is wisdom, it shall pass away. For our knowing is partial, likewise our prophesying; but when that which is complete comes, that which is partial is set aside. When I was immature, I spoke as one who is immature, I formed opinions in an immature way; my reasoning was immature; now that I have become a man, I have set aside what belongs to immaturity. For now we see an enigma as in a dull mirror, but then we shall see face to face; now I know in part, then I shall know as I am also known.
Indeed now these are the three things that will endure beyond this age: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love.
A wonderful way to pass time is to observe active children, whether at play in a neighborhood, in a school playground, or even pushing one of those recently invented child-sized shopping carts at a supermarket. There is a joy in children which comes from imitating those closest to them, a joy which rests in their assumption that the world is good.
At the same time, we may quickly notice that other aspects of what they see are also accepted as right and proper. Very early a child will play at war; it is just about impossible to shield a child from the imagination of the gun. And the wonderful play of children can all too easily turn cruel. So it is that while we admire and love our children, we are aware of the need for discipline, for setting an example, for education, for changing ourselves so that we may lead them into their true selves.
Part of the issue has to do with what we might call a circle of love. In the months after birth, the child’s love is universal; then the circle may well narrow down to members of the immediate family before slowly expanding once again during school and into adulthood. This is a transformation of love—no longer the instinctive love that the child brings to earth from the spiritual world, but a love that is learned through practice. But this takes hard work; how many of us can claim to have developed a universal love, a love which does not exclude anyone or anything?
The poet Christian Morgenstern described his experience of the human being in its truest form—that its deepest form is love, a love through which we will embrace the world as the archetypal human being has done. And this is the task of humanity on earth: to learn to love not instinctively as a newborn child, but out of a full consciousness that knows as we are known.
Several pamphlets are available as free PDF downloads from our Christian Community’s press, Floris Books. Some of the nine titles include Gospel Readings in the Cycle of the Year by Schroeder, Rituals around Death, by Baum, and Sacramental Consultation: the Path into Communion by Ravetz.
Check out the link bellow.
The earth is not our home. Our true home is in the heavens, a picture for the spiritual world. The earth is our school. We come to earth to learn to love, to learn selflessness. Paradoxically, the more powerful a human becomes, the greater is his or her power to do good through selflessness.
The earth is also the stage on which the drama of humanity’s evolution unfolds. In this drama we strive to grow strong, wealthy in wisdom, competent for life and confident in our ability to know at any given moment what is at stake and what we must do next, what steps we must take. This is not easy. But our growth as spiritual beings depends on our learning to recognize when selfless sacrifice is the only way forward. This is even harder and our weaknesses so often stand in the way of this insight, or we simply lack the strength to do the good. Sometimes we can experience this failing as a kind of death.
The earth is also the path we must tread to become strong, confident and loving, knowing when to sacrifice. On our path we play many roles as we journey across meadows, mountain ranges, forests, swamps, deserts, lakes seas and oceans. Our adventures include life and death, sickness and healing. There is no other way for us to progress, like pilgrims, toward the goal of full humanity, of knowing how to love.
This journey often seems impossible. But all the while there is a spiritual being, a guardian spirit watching over every individual human being, from before birth through life and even after death. Our humanity requires of these beings that they respect our freedom. Therefore, they do not intrude; they wait for us to ask for help. But even with these guardian angels watching over us and helping as they are allowed for tens of thousands of years, still we so often lack the strength to do good.
This is what Christianity is really all about: the deepest help a human being can absorb: the spiritual essence of what a human self is made of, from a higher world, inserted into history, introduced into the very being of every human. This self, the self of God, is pure divine fire of the highest imaginable order – even higher. The human self is a small flame; but the flame, as small as it is, is also divine, is of the same nature as God’s fire. That is why Christ can enter a human soul ant soul becomes intensely itself, stronger and purer itself. Our true, higher self, as uniquely individual as it is for every human being, was created by this spiritual being called the Son-God, the second person of the Trinity, the Christ. He is the power to become, to grow, to evolve. Finding him, we find ourselves. With him in our hearts we can learn every lesson, play any role assigned to us, tread the path and overcome any death. For we will have become powerful in the purity of our selfhood. “Not I, Christ in me”, will have become complete and the I that speaks and acts will be our higher self, Christ filled.