All posts by Jonah

The Meaning of Life

Listening to a story about Hurricane Harvey on CBC the other day, it became clear that behind the disaster and suffering that folks down south are enduring, human souls are helping each other more than ever. The tremendous flood and desperation has inspired individuals to drive their boats out into the streets, day and night. Hundreds of boats all there not to save themselves but to give life to others- picking up strangers, old ladies, families, even dogs. And the striking thing is that these boat people report that even in the midst of all the difficulty and darkness, they have never felt more meaning. Harvey, as terrible as he is, has awoken the source of meaning in human hearts. For the secret goal of human development is to move from being a taker to being a giver.

And yet, there is an even deeper secret of human development. This secret was found by our dear Hamo Hammond who crossed the threshold last month in Ottawa. And just before he crossed, I asked Hamo what the greatest blessing in his life had been. With tears in his eyes, he said, “I could say may wife, I could say art, but the most blessed I have felt has been in the past few days, being able to really receive love- allow myself to feel so loved by my children, by my wife, by God. This is the most important thing in human life”, he said.

Yes, Hamo. How hard it is for us to allow ourselves to be loved.

May Hamo and Hurricane Harvey be shining beacons for us of what becoming human really means, to give and receive love.

Finding The True Ground

This world that we call home is complex. With the increasing traffic, with unending technological advances that we must learn, with automated robotic responses at every turn, this world is becoming more and more tedious and frustrating. Even with the joys and beauties that the world does offer, it is becoming harder and harder to feel grounded and at home in this world.

And yet, this reality can be a reminder of an essential truth; this world is not our home. This is why in our Gospel this week (Jn 17), Christ says to the Father ‘They are not of this earthly world, as I, also, am not of their world’ For, like Christ, we are spiritual beings on a sacred mission in and through this material world. And the home that we find here, the homes that we have in this world with four walls and a door, these are but faint reflections of another home – a true home – a spiritual home for every human soul. And The Act of Consecration, our sacred practice, is meant to bring our hearts into relationship with this true home. The point of participating in The Act of Consecration is to courageously feel through the altar, through the words, through even the presence of Christ, through all of these to feel our true home; The Father Ground of the World.

Dear friends, true Christianity has to do with one thing and one thing only – that our true spiritual home must now be found in and through this world that is not our home. The Fathers kingdom can now be known to us in and through Christ. As we celebrate Fathers Day in this un-grounded world of ours, let us find our true ground in The Father. For He is our true home.


The Golden Threads of Ascension

Only one thing has changed at the altar as we move from Easter to Ascension. The green on the chasuble has become gold. The green of our natural lives becomes permeated with gold.

At Ascension, every human soul is called to turn the green of our normal lives into something golden and Christ permeated. For since the Christ has dispersed His golden power into the depths of our hearts and biographies, now our human task is to find this golden thread and weave it in and through all that we do. This is why we hear, “Let your hearts not be troubled. Have faith in the golden power that is leading you to me and leading you to the father.” (Jn 14)

For in our normal lives we find the gift of joys and the burden of sorrows. The joys and sorrows of life weave through our biographies in various combinations and constellations, always present. Everything we experience contains these two. But the more we can learn to see these two as gifts from God- our joys as a divine blessings and the sorrows as important gifts for our becoming, then the green begins to turn to gold. Feeling more and more truly grateful for both our joys and sorrows turns the green of our normal lives into Christ permeated Gold. Cultivating gratitude is the power that leads us to the Father. And The Father is the reality in which we live.


The Almighty Power

All around us seeds are sprouting, burgeoning. Just imagine how many obstacles a little sprout must navigate to break through the earth, to rise to the sun. First, just to break through the layers of the seed itself, then little stones, little creatures, the darkness all around….it is a small miracle that a sprout can find its way to the warmth and light of the sun. Within the seed there is a force more powerful than the darkness, more powerful than the obstacles, more powerful than the problems all around. It is the force that leads it to the sun.

Within every human spirit, within each one of us we too have this force. But unlike a seed, within our hearts lives the power that is leading us to the Spiritual Son. No matter how many stones we meet, spiritual adversaries, oppressive people, problems or obstacles that we must meet, nothing is more powerful than the force that is leading us to Christ. This is why in our gospel this week (Jn 14) Christ says, “Let your hearts not be troubled. Have faith in the power that leads you to me and leads you to the father’…We are called to keep remembering this power, to keep touching into our hearts core where this power lives- to trust that we are being lead. Because no matter how much darkness, how much evil, how many difficulties there are, the power that is leading us to the living Christ is almighty.

Therefore, dear friends, let our hearts not be troubled. Have faith in the power that is leading us to Him.

“But take courage! I have overcome the world.”

We hear in our gospel this week words that can give us great hope, great solace; we hear the words “In this world you will have trouble. But take courage! I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16)

And yet, has the world been overcome? Is greed solved? Is poverty eradicated? Does goodness reign? We normally think that ‘overcoming’ means something is defeated or done away with. Or if we ‘overcome’ an illness we assume that the illness is gone- that we are liberated from it, that we have left it all behind. 

But Christ has not overcome the world by solving everything. This is because he says, ‘in this world you will have trouble’. Christ has not overcome the world by leaving it behind. This is because He says ‘I go to the Father ground of the World’, which is here, in all things. 

His overcoming is real because at any moment our hearts can open to His peace no matter what trouble we are going through. His overcoming is real because His love and strength is there for us no matter how dark things get, no matter what we have done. He has overcome the world by placing Himself in its very centre, like a seed in the dark soil, light within this darkness, peace within struggle, now and forever more He is the ‘comforter who walks in the Spirit before us’.

Dear friends, may the eyes of our spirit open in us, that we come to experience this for ourselves, that we may feel His spirit presence walking with us in all the sorrows and joys that we meet. For He has overcome the world because now, no darkness, no evil, nothing can separate Him from our hearts.

Peace and Wounds

In our gospel for last week (Jn 20), The Risen Christ appears to the disciples saying “The peace be with you” and shows them his wounds- peace and wounds at the same time. It is astounding, that The Risen One, who is the example for us of the perfected human being, has wounds! One would perhaps think that true human perfection is free from pain. But The Risen Jesus Christ shows us that the pinnacle of our development is to bring peace into pain, peace with wounds.

Just like Christ, every human being that comes into this world is meant to be wounded. And the wounds that we are called to carry fester and scar so long as we are unable to say ‘yes’ to them. Our wounds fester and scar so long as we fight against them. We fight against our pain by pretending to the world and to ourselves that we are not actually broken. Or we fight against our pain by pretending to the world and to ourselves that our tragedy’s are what holds us back. Our wounds become infected so long as we dwell on them, unwilling to finally fall to our knees, to walk with the wound as a sacred journey. For carrying our illnesses, our pain, our tragedies, carrying our wounds with dignity and trust, this is peace.

And yet, coming closer and closer to Christ is not only about our own wound (its not all about me!). For Christ’s wounds are not His own. Christ Jesus did not receive wounds for His own development like we do. Christ’s wounds are humanities wounds. He suffers what we suffer. He freely takes on pain that is not His own. And in this, Christ shows us our mission- to carry with peace the pain of others.

Dear friends, Human Beings are destined to shine in the likeness of the Risen One, carrying one another’s pain as if it were our own, blessing each other with the prayer, “The peace be with you.”


Holy Fire

Today we celebrate the beginning of Christ’s Passion- moving through Holy Week. We celebrate Christ Jesus entering Jerusalem, entering the crucible, the crucible of Holy Fire that will burn away everything not essential. For even Christ’s closest disciples had to fall away, even His own body, His own life had to burn away on the cross.

And human souls who would follow Him, we too are called to burn, to burn in a sacred fire. This is why we hear in our epistle this week, ‘Oh Man, Burning is the place of your heart…’ This purifying fire allows us to follow Him. And we are called to burn away our blame towards others, our self-centerdness, to burn away our worldly fears, our self-doubts. We are called to burn away everything that keeps us separated from Christ.

And yet, when everything is burned away, what will remain in us? What is the only thing that cannot be burned. Only flame cannot be burned away by flame. And this is why we pray in our offering, ‘in our souls be born the fire of love…’ for our hearts are meant to become a flame. We were born to be on fire. To flame with enthusiasm when all around us there is indifference. To flame with love for God when all around us there is only empty strip malls. To flame with love for human beings when hate and fear abound; To carry the flame out into the world, into politics and activism, into each and everything we encounter, work, home and grocery store. For the fire of God’s love is the only reality. Everything else is shadow.

May the flame of love burn away what is not needed in our souls. May the flame of love be the only thing left in our hearts.

Roses in The Rain

Most of us have never heard of Greg Boyle. But Greg Boyle is a Catholic priest living in Los Angeles California. He leads an organization called homeboy industries which helps gangsters change their lives. When Greg was just beginning as a priest, he was sent to a little town in South America. His bishop then asked him to hold a service, a mass, high up on a mountain platue near his town so that the poor farmers in that area could receive communion. So he got his things and took the bus. And after two hours of a three hour trip, he realized he had forgotten his ritual book. He was filled with fear and shame as he realized he would have to try give the service by memory and in Spanish. To make matters worse, when he arrived there were over 200 people waiting for him to celebrate the mass. He hacked his way through it, making mistake after mistake. After it had ended, feeling like the most unworthy priest to have ever lived, he changed his clothes and put away the chalice. When he looked up, everyone had left, not a soul in sight! Already feeling like a failure, he realized that there was no one to take him to the bus stop and he would have to walk. It had just started to rain.

Then, seemingly from out of nowhere, a tiny man appeared in front of him. He was old. There were wrinkles on every part of his face. He looked like one of the farmers from that area with a hat and sandles. His feet were caked with mud. In the midst of Greg’s despair, this strange man came write up to him, smiliing and with a gleam in his eye, he said, ‘muchas gracias, padre’. This little old man then put his hands into his pockets and pulled out two hand-fulls of fresh rose petals. 

In the mud and the rain, He anointed Greg with rose petals.*

Dear friends, we can be strengthened by stories like this. For even though this kind of meeting may not have happened to us, it can remind us that perhaps there is nothing more important today then to trust that outward appearances are not the whole story. That there is a hidden world in what appears as the world. That even when we see all around us the mud and the rain of increasing turmoil, untruthfullness and despair; even when we feel like the accused adultress in our gospel this week (Jn 8) or that our efforts don’t seem to be making a difference, Christ sees differently. Christ sees our heart’s core.

May we learn to see what He sees. May we learn to feel His presence in the mud of our world, like rose petals anointing us in the rain.

*Rudolf Steiner often mentions that in our time, Christ can appear to us like a normal person, in a moment of real despair or need. He will help us and then disappear. We will think it was a normal person but in reality it will have been Him.

The Life in Dying

During this time before Easter, we celebrate death. In other words, we celebrate the process of letting go, of emptying ourselves. We celebrate moving alone through the narrow gate of transformation. And its not that we are morbid or obsessed with the negative, on the contrary, we celebrate death precisely because in Christ death becomes life.

If we have had the blessing of being with someone passing through the gate of death, it is often only when loved ones leave the room that the dying are able to make the transition from this world into the spirit. Death requires that we let go of something earthly, to die requires that we make the transition alone.

And yet, we are not so much celebrating dying at the end of life. Passiontide is the practice of dying during life.

We are called to die while we live by letting go of our blame and hate toward ourselves and others, so that the life of love can fill our hearts. We are called to die while we live by letting go of our inability to be alone, so that solitude and His constant presence awaken in us. We are called to die while we live by letting go of fear, so that we can stand at peace with the world.

Dear friends, in Christ every circumstance and situation in our lives is an opportunity to die into His life. For the open secret is, Christ is the reality in which we live.

This contemplation by Rev. Evans was inspired by Passiontide

Sipping The Living Water

Our altar is a water well, a well of spirit water. For why would any of us come to the altar if not to sip the spirit, to drink in something life-giving that nourishes our souls? But of course if anyone has ever peered into a well, first there is darkness. First we feel an abyss. The water well reminds us that in order to reach the life giving water, we must first enter the deep black. Passiontide, this time before Easter, celebrates that there is living water in what is dark.

In every human heart there are also places that are deep and dark. This is because we are also meant to feel empty from time to time. We are designed not know all the answers, to find ourselves lying lamenting on the ground. We are designed to feel alone. But the good news is that since Christ came, all these sources of pain are now water wells.

And yet, anyone who descends into a well does so with trust, trust that water can be found. And this is the most important thing for our journey into the blackness; that we trust even when we can’t see, even when we must fall to our knees, He is close to us! That in the depths of our emptiness, in the center of our woundedness, His living water to be found.

Courage to descend. A willingness to feel our longing for the Spirit. Trust, that the living water is in the darkness.

These are our tools for the well.

May we find Him there.
This contemplation by Rev. Evans was inspired by Passiontide