We can picture him submerging his disciples deep under the Jordan’s currents and holding them under until just the right moment when the soul would truly believe that it was facing death. This must have been a mighty figure indeed, even just from a physical perspective, to have been able to fight against a man in the throes of drowning and to have the strength to hold him under until that final moment when the soul would flee the body; and John remaining vigilant at the threshold between life and death, watching over his disciple’s progress.
Another mass murder in a place of worship. Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand, at prayer time, an individual shot and killed 49 people in two separate mosques, wounding 20 others, in the name of preserving white european Christian culture. How can we make a relationship to such an event? Where do we stand as people on a Christian path? How can I confront evil in a fruitful way? The following thoughts are part of my personal effort to work with these questions.
Our community life is thriving! Every Sunday we can see that our community continues to grow—during the week, too! Our new program reflects some of the diverse aspects of our community. We hope you enjoy—we are looking forward to hosting some wonderful events this spring…as these makes its approach and rises earlier each morning—with accompanying birdsong—we can actually believe spring is coming! Here is a little information about some of the events.
The Mirror of Passiontide, the Example of Easter
From the great mosaic of the liturgy of The Act of Consecration of Man, that tile which is the Passiontide epistle places before us a mirror in which we are shown grave truths about our human nature. Are the opening words of the epistle not merciless? Speaking directly to each human being, saying that the place of her heart is empty? It goes on, showing no signs of leniency informing us of our loss of the spirit that would awaken us. After this, and perhaps after our own moment of self-knowledge concerning the words of the epistle, it continues in a different tone oriented toward the future. It introduces us to our longing for the spirit’s awakening, to our wanting, derived from the loss of spirit. Finally, it enkindles in us a mournful awaiting of the spirit which we have been made painfully aware, is bereft from our hearts.
January 25, 2019
With this letter I am happy to share with you that Rev. Craig Wiggins has been asked to carry the position of Lenker for the Christian Community in North America and that he has accepted.
Craig was born and raised in Missouri but spent much of his adult life in Europe. He was ordained in 1992, and worked for 18 years in various congregations in the Netherlands. He was then sent to the United States where he worked briefly in the Philadelphia area community before taking on the congregation in San Francisco.
This request came just as Craig was about to move to Chicago and become the community priest there. Gratefully, he has agreed to continue with this plan for the near future with the hope that an additional priest can be found to join him there soon.
Craig will assume regional responsibilities transitionally until this summer, at which point he will step into that role solely. The tasks of the regional Lenker in the Christian Community are to guide and support the work that happens at each altar, as well as to create a unifying consciousness within one region, bringing together the very different communities that we are.
Please join me in welcoming Craig into the task of holding a movement that wants to work with the presence of the Risen One in our earthly lives.
With warm greetings,
THE WEEKLY WORD
Sermon on Paul's Letter to the Ephesians chapter 6
As the Christian year comes moves towards its culmination, we celebrate the festival of Michaelmas, in which we turn to the one who has so united himself with Jesus Christ that he shines out his countenance. He stands by us in all our trials and challenges of becoming truly, fully human.
Every day we encounter evil. It rises up in a multitude of forms, grasping every moment of human encounter, enters our thoughts, our hearts, our desires, and tries to lead us off the path, out of the full daylight of consciousness. As we wrestle to try to take hold of our unique selfhood, it adjusts to our personal pitfalls, and clothes itself in partial refections of what we think we want. Evil is clever, and dedicated!
The Christian Community Movement for Religious Renewal Worldwide will be 96 this September 16. In four short years our centennial will arrive. How might we want to recognize and celebrate our 100th birthday? Join us on Sunday the 16th for this month’s special Members’ Meeting: a Community Potluck and Gathering to converse with one another about our 100th milestone and how we want to celebrate it at the local and North American regional levels, and with the wider world!
This Fall, Rev. Bastiaan Baan will offer a conference October 20-21: How Do We Know, Confront and Work with Evil? We expect a fair number of visitors from outside our congregation. If you would like to offer housing, you can let Liza know. You can register on our website to attend! Such events illustrate our wider mission as a center of spiritual life.
The modern individual is able to meet another person and see through to his or her essential presence as an individual human spirit. To do this the various other ‘lesser bodies’ are momentarily disregarded, such as the person’s race, sex, nationality, language, religion, class, political affiliation and profession. To be able to behold the other, one has to momentarily renounce the otherwise continuous experience of self-feeling. This experience of feeling oneself as a self has grown both in its magnitude and intensity. It thus becomes increasingly resistant to the necessary renunciation for the purpose of receiving the revelation of another’s individuality.
The intensity of the experience of feeling oneself as a self has the side effect of promoting a disregard towards all the ‘lesser bodies.’ We’ve all probably heard someone claim how they are not an American, (or some other nationality) but rather ‘a citizen of the world.’ In this sentiment is expressed a reluctance to identify with one’s nationality. It is a tendency of the individual human spirit to be reluctant or to outright reject identifying with any one of the lesser bodies.
Theme for Holy Week and Preparation for Easter
This year our theme is ‘Walking with the Risen One.’ We’ll explore his achievement of overcoming the polarities of the created world in sermons & daily conversations after the service.
Starting Holy Saturday, March 31st, from 6:00—6:30pm, we’ll begin a new monthly Close of Day ritual devoted to the community of those who have crossed the threshold of death. From the pulpit, within the context of the sermon, the names of those who died in the month that follows will be named, that we may better accompany those across the threshold, and live in stronger connection with them.