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THe Redemptive power of faith

“The power issuing from the Mystery of Golgotha does not achieve redemption in an automatic fashion. Men are not redeemed through it, whether they will it or not. In every instance man must set this redemption in motion through his free assent; in other words for redemption to become effective, man’s “faith” is required. The gradual re-entering of the divine into the earthly world is a process in stages. The “coming” began with Christ becoming Man. It continues with mankind becoming Christian.”

Rev. Rudolf Frieling, A Founding Priest of The Christian Community

Apocalyptic christianity

The Revelation of St John, the Apocalypse, knows the secret of the increasing power of evil. When humanity consistently rejects Christ, then the Beast, the possibility of the sub-human, emerges from the abyss. Yet it is within the mission of this increasingly powerful apocalyptic evil to ‘provoke’ the good — to call it forth and thereby help it to come to realization.

Just as evil increases in intensity, so should Christianity continue to ‘grow up.’ Christianity must become increasingly mature and conscious, ever more clear and capable of transformation. Only a Christianity with an apocalyptic orientation will carry us through apocalyptic destinies. Such a Christianity will be capable of placing us in proper relationship to the apocalyptic event of the Second Coming. What does this ‘return’ of Christ mean? Since the Resurrection, is he not with us  ‘always, even unto the end of the world’ (Matt 28:20)? True, but until now his presence has remained more or less hidden from humanity’s view. With the development of Christian awareness, human beings will gradually unfold eyes of soul, eyes of spirit which will enable them to contemplate the supersensorily present Christ… Christ’s coming is his entry into the waking consciousness of human beings. Christ thus, becomes more and more manifest. ‘Apocalypse’ means an ‘uncovering.’ The hidden presence is revealed.

Rudolf Frieling from “The Essence of Christianity,” 1948.

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 thenblind, 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.

Contemplation by Bastiaan Baan, August 22, 2021

Christ speaks

Trinity, March 5, 2021

We hear in our gospel reading this week (Mt. 17) the voice of The Father.  He tells us that it is His will for us to listen to His Son.  He tells us to rejoice in the word of Christ Jesus… but what is Christ saying?  How can we attune our inner ear to His voice?

It is striking to see in this gospel reading, the Transfiguration, that in His transfigured state of being, Christ says nothing.  The gospel describes that He simply shines like the sun.

And yet, this shining is also a speaking.  Christ speaks in His shining.  He turns His countenance toward us, speaking peace into our hearts with His presence, speaking warmth into us, blessing us with His mercy.  His shining ‘word’ is I AM with you. I AM for you.  I AM your true being.

And we can see this word of Christ, in its shining and blessing, also revealed in a meditation that Rudolf Steiner gave:

“Christ speaks before you like a sun shining before you, raying into your heart….

Let your soul be carried by my strong power

I am with you

I am in you

I am for you

I am your true I”

We can also recognize this voice in a prayer that has united many Christian’s confessions throughout the world.  ‘The Blessing’, as it is called, originated as an impulse in the United States as a response to Covid, but has caught fire and gone ‘viral’ around the world.  In the words below, notice also how it reflects the image of Christ as a sun-like being and also Steiner’s meditation above. Here are some of the words:

“The Lord bless you 

And keep you

Make His face shine upon you

And be gracious to you

The lord turn His face toward you

And give you peace

amen, amen, amen


May His presence go before you

And behind you

And beside you

All around you

And within you

He is with you

He is with you

In the morning, in the evening 

in your coming, in your going

In your weeping and in your rejoicing

He is for you 

He is for you

He is for you


This is the response to Covid that has been uniting many Christian souls around the world.

May we also be inspired to follow the divine will of The Father and hear the voice of His Son!!

Contemplation by Rev. Jonah Evans

Bringing Love to What Is

Trinity, February 26, 2021

A very wise man, Viktor Frankl, once wrote…

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances….”

In the darkness of a concentration camp, Frankl awoke to this truth, that our essential humanity lives in how we choose to meet what we are given – that every human soul in this way is truly free. 

And yet, at the same time, we are not free. We are not free to choose much of what comes to us in our lives. We are not free to select the sufferings and blessings that choose us and shape us with their weight and light.  What we would choose to happen in our lives is often very different from what is needed. Nevertheless, the deeply liberating reality is that no virus or vaccine, no secret brotherhood running the government, no corporation, no enemy, no adversary, no illness, no spiritual being can ever take from us, the capacity of our spirit to choose how we meet what is. 

Dear friends, let us remember that our battle is not with what is; our battle is whether or not we can bring dignity to what is. Our battle is whether or not we can connect with the presence of Christ in what is, whether or not we can bring love to what is – no matter how desperate or how dark what is may be.

Contemplation by Rev. Jonah Evans

The Sacrificial Way

Trinity, Feb. 19, 2021

One of the most striking and disturbing phenomena of our time is the division that is growing on all fronts of society. It does not stop at the national borders. We see this division happening in groups and individuals who fight for their self-interest and, in the process, shut others out — everyone for himself.

As long as we do this, we remain stopped before the eye of the needle, which sooner or later, we irrevocably have to pass through… for there is but one way that leads across the threshold — the narrow way through the eye of the needle. There, we gradually lay down all that we have in order, eventually, to enter the world of the spirit merely with what we are. Gradually — meaning that this high art of living has to be practiced step by step by the highest art of dying. It is the only way to overcome the sickness of the ego, egotism, and yet remain yourself. In different words, whoever wants to overcome his ego must learn to sacrifice.

That is the way Christ shows to the rich man: “Sell all your goods.” That means: Leave all attachment to the world of earthly goods behind. For you can take nothing of it with you to the other side of the threshold. Whether it be earthly possessions or a rich talent, everything we want to hold on to at all cost — sooner or later, we will irrevocably lose it.

This is also the way that Christ shows his followers: to renounce everyone and everything that binds them, in order to have less and less, and be more and more.

Finally, it is the way Christ Himself went, as no other human being. Beyond renouncing, He decided to embrace suffering — to be an outlaw, to be ridiculed, tortured, flogged and killed. It is His sacrificial way, which leads to life out of death.

Contemplation by Rev. Bastiaan Baan

Easter Words

Inspiring Easter words from a recent interview with our dear friend Paul Hodgkins 

“In Foundation Studies, I have often said what was once experienced as the spiritual is now experiencing itself in the human being. So it is not humans becoming spiritual, it is the spiritual become human. Where am I going with this…oh, yes…so the organizing principle behind what we experienced – all of those spiritual experiences, all of those spiritual beings that once showed themselves to us once upon a time – the organizing principle behind all of those is the Christ. The spiritual has to experience itself in the human being, for the human being to properly become human. One can say, in a way, “I” cannot become moral. Not by oneself. Only, as Paul says, not “I” but Christ in me. But there is no way to invite Christ in except by striving. It is a two way street.  

St. Paul says I know what I should do but I don’t do it. I know what is good but I am not good. Then he says not I but Christ in me. That doesn’t mean you raise your consciousness to a Christ-like level. Some people want the Christ Being to be a human man with a higher consciousness. It is not that. In Christ a divine consciousness came into a human. In a way, this is something we can be given if we are moral enough to take it on. Then it can show itself individually. This is all very complicated for me—for my tiny mind! 

If you take Goethe’s plant—the archetypal plant—it is only one but it shows itself to you in many ways. It shows itself in any plant form you could think of. And so it is with the Christ Being as the logos of humanity. It can show itself in the human being, in any number of individuals. This has only just started. It is the beginning of an eventual outcome where we will all show this Christ logos, each in an individual way. 

I am totally okay with dying. As I hinted at earlier, I am not so okay with being dead. I will have to meet myself and my immorality clearly in the face, along with my lack of awakeness. In the spiritual world after death, you eventually meet spiritual beings who think in you. You see your life from their point of you. The more awake you can be in that process the better. I don’t think I am going to be very awake there. I have experienced quite a bit of self-loathing recently—not in a morbid way; I am not morbid about it all. I am willing to take on my karma. I am willing to try to make up for what I have done wrong and I am willing to bear that to the best of my ability, even if it is painful. But I know from experience that I am not always going to do that. I can look back on my life and I can see where I have opted out of the right thing to do. Every case of immorality is an attempt to avoid consciousness of the spiritual. There has been a lot of petty immorality in my life – petty, little selfish thoughts and actions. Lying and stuff like that. Most of us do these things. When I sit and think of them, I see they add up and add up. There has been an entire lifetime of them. 

I have taken a little bit of anthroposophy and made myself good at it but I know I will be coming back. And I think we will come back together. You know, when I was sick in Vietnam, I think Steiner came to me! He just approached me and I had the impression that he has unconditional love for all of us—for the least of us in his care, or perhaps it is better to say, on his path—and that is because standing behind him was this huge figure of unconditional love. I think he is building a following—I don’t want to say army—he is building a following to come back to earth to fight a battle in a way. There is going to be a strong materialistic impulse that is going to have to be met. I think all of us are going to have to come back to be a part of that and it won’t be easy. I am sure we will all come back.” 

Breath of Life

The two most powerful acts of breathing occur at birth and death. Ours is a life journey from breathing in to breathing out. I have never been with a newborn taking their first breath. I have been with people taking their last breath, the final exhalation and the unearthly silence that follows when airborne the soul is released from the body. To witness the cessation of life is a breathtaking, awe–inspiring moment. Spirit is embedded in the word “inspire.”

At present, the world is confronted with a virus that attacks the respiratory system not only of individuals but of humanity as a whole. It is airborne and reeks havoc in the act of breathing in and breathing out. It attacks the lungs, the organs that relate in a most intimate and contradictory fashion with our fellow human beings. It is the most social organ with a most antisocial after effect. When in the same space with another person, we cannot help but inhale each other’s breath. But we also happen to poison the environment with our breathing out. The greatest threat is the breath of the other person right now.

The Greek word “pneuma,” as in pneumonia, has several meanings, air, wind, breath, spirit.
What is the present state of health of the breath, of the lungs of humanity, of the lungs of the earth? How much is the breath of humanity borne up by the spirit? How much is it weighed down, polluted by material concerns only? How can we enlist the help of the spirit to give us the inspirations needed to heal the lung organ, to heal the breath of the social body of humanity? Where can we find the source to help us create living social forms beyond the maintenance of our physical, material and transient existence? How can we come to breathe in concert with all who seek to affirm and manifest in thought, in word and in deed the reality of the spirit in each and every human being?

When He breathed his last on the cross, darkness fell upon the whole earth, enveloping it with a thundering silence. But when He appeared on the third day to the disciples as the Risen One, He breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit is the healing spirit, the world physician, the comforter, the counselor. The Holy Spirit is the breath of life the world needs. What a world we could create together when in our breathing in this holy, healing spirit we found one another breathing out together inspired not to take life, but to give life, spirit borne, world transforming life.

Contemplation by Rev. Gisela Wielki

The Redemption of Distance

Now that we can no longer go to the gym there are other muscles to train. One of these is the ‘distancing muscle.’ In acting this is the art of stretching the distance between two actors on stage without letting the space between them go slack – or dead. In music, it is the art of stretching time – without completely losing the pulse. Today we are all being asked to practice social distancing. This does not mean that we should no longer face the world or each other. On the contrary. On a walk we can choose a tree in the distance, a flower on the ground, or a person – and enter into this space between ourselves and the other with conscious attention. Most likely we will first experience this space as an empty space, maybe even a dead space. However, if we decide to turn our attention to it, increasing and decreasing the consciousness we brings to it, we can learn to flex this attention like a muscle. We may even eventually begin to feel this in-between space become alive and take on a certain bounce or even a very subtle vibrating sensation to it. We can then try to see how far we can stand apart from someone and still feel this in-between space stay alive. In human relationships this space is often either suffocated – by being too close, or starved – by being too far apart. In both cases this in-between space is unable to breathe properly when not filled with that intentional consciousness, that attentive interest called love in its purest state. The French philosopher, mystic and political activist, Simone Weil wrote: ‘God created through love and for love. He did not create anything except love for itself and the means for love. He created love in all its forms. He created beings capable of love from all possible distances. Because no other could do it, he himself then went to the greatest possible distance, the infinite distance. This infinite distance between God and God, this supreme tearing apart, this agony beyond all others, this marvel of love, is the crucifixion.’ And he did so for all of humanity to be held by His love within that distance, that in-between space, that divinely human, humanly divine space between.

Rev. Gisela Wielke

Holy Week Contemplation

on the 3rd Passiontide Week, 2020

In light of the gospel reading, John 8:1-11
Dear Congregation,

Right now, in so many parts of the world, on every continent, doctors and nurses are trying to bring care and support to human beings who are suffering the effects of a world-wide disease.  One can feel the prayers of support, gratitude and encouragement that are rising out of all of our souls for their efforts to meet this moment, often putting their own health at risk. Let our prayers this morning – and each day during this time – join in this great rising swell of prayers, that we give our heart’s best forces to God and God gives them to them.

But the work of healing that all these individuals have dedicated themselves to is yet more challenging than this first response.  Other doctors are at work in the background, gathering all the information they can about the exact nature of this disease.  Where and under what circumstances does it come into the human being? How does it behave once it is there, what are its symptoms? What parts of our humanity are attacked and affected by the disease?  Doctors know: no right response, no healing medicine can be developed unless they have done a thorough and careful diagnosis. A superficial response to the illness that only treats the symptoms will not be helpful, and could perhaps be even harmful. They must look deeply and illumine the darkness of this disease with the light of understanding if they wish to bring true healing.

Passiontide and the Healer of Mankind

It ought not to be lost on us that this great world-moment is taking place during the season of preparation for Easter, during Passiontide (or Lent). In the course of the year, Christ’s forces stream into our lives in different ways through each unique festival season.  This is due, in part, to the fact that he is never working alone.  In the great festivals, Christ works in and through the mighty beings we know in Christian tradition as ‘Archangels’.  In the time of harvest, Christ works through Michael; at Christmas time, his power shines through the working of the Archangel of birth, Gabriel. Now, during Passiontide, when we turn our attention to the new ‘Mercury symbol’ of healing, that is, Christ Jesus on the cross, his forces are aligned with the Archangel of Healing: Raphael.  

In this light we can more deeply understand what our Passiontide liturgy is bringing to the human soul.  You could say: we are invited into the doctor’s office of the greatest healer in our cosmos.  We are invited to look deeply at our human condition through the eyes of the one who is himself, The Light of the World.  Through his truth-permeated gaze, we are invited to look at our experience of being human, to illumine what we ourselves may have trouble seeing, because it lies so deep.  We need his eyes to see ourselves clearly, for, if we were to look at human behavior only superficially and would respond, the results could be disastrous.

The Gospel Reading: The Scene of the Woman Caught in Adultery

Those with the stones in their hands, circled around the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8, are looking only superficially at the situation. They see how she has acted out of selfish desires, broken her word, her marriage and her family and thereby brought suffering into the whole community.  They see her immoral action and are ready to stone her, eradicating this immorality from the community and setting an example to others to scare them into obedience.  

But there is another one there in the scene.  He looks with different eyes.  He looks with the calm, deep gaze of a physician into the deeper causes, the source for the symptoms of these outer behaviors.  What he sees is revealed in our liturgical prayer, read at the beginning and the end of our service during this season.

The Diagnosis of the Healer of Humanity

He sees deeply into us and recognizes:

Where your heart should be, there is emptiness.

You have suffered a devastating loss: you have lost the spirit, the spirit that wakens you.

This gives rise to your deep feeling of incompleteness.

And the effects of this loss are coursing through every part of your human experience:

Longing courses in your very blood;

Lack and want surge in your breathing;

Grief and mourning, full of a kind of expectant awaiting, is part of your everyday consciousness.

In the gaze of the great physician, our human experience is illumined: we stand before him revealed as a grieving soul.  Loss permeates us, body and soul.  We are full of lack and longing, suffering the experience of the empty place of our heart where the spirit should be.  This is our, humanity-wide illness.  We all – every human being on the planet – have contracted it.  It is the sickness of sin.  

Sin, Isolation and the Symptoms of our Sickness

Sin means nothing other than separation.  We have been separated – isolated – from our true being, separated from the living experience of our own true nature and the true nature of one another – and of the world. This knowledge is the secret key to understanding all that is happening around us and in us. Knowing this is the only way to understand all of the superficial symptoms of our human behavior.

Is it any wonder that we human beings reach out and try to fill this emptiness, try to complete ourselves, in ways that are ultimately harmful to us and to the community?  We become ‘unfaithful’ to the spirit because we are in desperate need.  How can we ever condemn another human being for their behavior once we have seen with Christ’s eyes into our humanity? Then, when we see in his light, we see the ‘tempting power’ of this weakness in us and not ‘the sting [thorn] of evil’ in the earthly human heart.

Indeed, this is the magic gift of sight that Jesus gives to those with the stones in their hands.  He does not tell them to put the stones down. He asks them to look into themselves and see what they find there, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.”  They themselves turn and leave, because they recognize: we are not free of this illness, the same one that afflicts this child of God before us.  They now know, through Jesus’ help, that they too have contracted it and acted out of it.  And Jesus then asks the woman, “Where are they?  Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, Lord,” she answers. “Neither do I condemn you.”  When we gaze through the eyes of the Healer, we cannot condemn.  Instead, we are filled with compassionate understanding.  

The Light of Life

Such compassionate understanding is more than just light; it does more than make things clear.  It begins the healing process itself.  When we stand before Christ’s truth-filled gaze we certainly feel deeply vulnerable, but never exposed. It has the profound effect of gifting us with new forces for life.  Knowing that we ourselves are grieving in every part of who we are for what we have lost orients us like nothing else to the reality of our situation.  Now, the true medicine for our sickness can be sought; now we know what we are missing, what we so deeply need.

The Healing Medicine

It is this clear vision of our human situation, of course, that led the being we call ‘Christ’ to decide to come to earth in the first place.  He could see the depths of our affliction and what we had lost.  To give us a body and blood and breath in full union with the divine spirit – to offer us the spirit-fullness of Easter – was what the World-Physician recognized was needed.  Through Golgotha, what we had lost is restored: “Godhead is given again to Man” it says in the Act of Consecration.  And so we come to this service to heal, to receive that which completes us, unites us with one another, with the divine; we take communion. It is the only medicine that can truly heal the illness of our isolation, our separation from what we have lost.

Communion at home?

And now, for most of us, we see around the world that access to this communion, this healing medicine – indeed access to the very festival of healing itself (Easter) – is being denied human beings.  Communities are being forbidden to gather and celebrate the most significant event in the whole story of the earth and humanity and renew the reception of its healing forces and power.

But Easter is more powerful than any such orders.  Dear congregation, we are now heading into the holiest week of the year and each of us, each individual household, can do something to open up a window to these healing Easter forces, to the gift of the healing medicine.  Whether you may be here at the community building at one point during this time or whether you will be at your home, the church is not a building.  It is the invisible love-bond, a kind of spiritual blood that makes us into Christ’s community body.  It is the place where his healing forces can be felt by any individual.  It is made up of the ‘building stones’ of every person who “is aware of the health-bringing power of the Christ” (from the ‘Creed’ of the Christian Community).  So it is that we, your priests, hope and pray that you may take up this or that intentional practice of connecting with the living presence of the Healer and feel yourselves in communion with him, with us, with each other and with all of humanity.

Rev. Patrick Kennedy