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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

Amen”

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

Contemplation for Palm Sunday 

 

In light of the gospel reading, Matthew 21

Most each and every one of us over the past week including myself, has woken up at least once at 2 or 3pm, with fear in our hearts, fear of sickness, fear ultimately of death. In this time, we seem to be forced to encounter our own mortality, the potential death of our loved ones, death moving through our community. Every little sore throat, sniffle, headache, we feel perhaps ‘is this it?’. Death has come close to each of our hearts.

And we try to push it away with verses and prayers, but the fear just seems to return. And not feeling afraid just means we are in denial, for this pandemic is meant to confront us with  fear and death creeping into our hearts. It is like a caterpillar, creeping, eating away at our peace-of-mind, eating away at the fruit of our earthly calm.

And yet, the caterpillar is destined to be transmuted and take flight! 

Our fears, the reality of death, like the caterpillar, are meant to be transformed and transmuted. We actually cannot get rid of these friends because they are not meant to leave. The task is to redeem them. We are called to welcome them into the cocoon of our hearts- to wrap them in divine thoughts and wait for their rebirth. For the presence of death is actually meant to be our friend, not our enemy. Death is actually meant to become a true companion, never leaving our side. This thought, this way of seeing and holding the presence of death as true companion, with practice, strengthens our sense of life. It gives every moment a new potency, deeper value. Death as companion then breaks free into our souls- the butterfly takes flight. 

Jesus Christ, in our gospel today (Palm Sunday), entered Jerusalem with death as a companion. He knew His time had come, He welcomed death as a friend, His divine destiny. 

And His only fear was that His body would not last until His divine mission was completed. And this fear that Jesus carried was Holy because it was connected to His sacred mission in the world- the fear of being able to do the will of The Father.

In this way, let us be reminded by Jesus entering Jerusalem of the value of holy fear, for it is a gift that cleanses our hearts of our small-minded selfishness. Normal fear focuses our attention on the loss of our earthly lives, our personal possessions and our selfish desires that we could lose. But if we can lift our gaze to what God is asking of us in this time, to what Christ is calling us to fulfill, however small, then our fear will gradually become the butterfly of devotion to the divine will, the power to sacrifice for the Good. 

Dear Friends, the practice of redeeming death and fear means learning to live close to the threshold. We practice seeing what the angels see. Death and holy fear as companions gives our soul wings to move in the divine air all around us. 

Contemplation by Rev. Jonah Evans

I once went to an arboretum and saw an exhibit of valuable and exotic woods.  Some of the most beautiful of them had swirling twisting grain, or little black marks sprinkled through them.  I learned that these special grains form in a tree where it has been injured.  A burl or gall may form.  One might think that this injury would hinder the tree, that it should be removed, cut off.  But in fact the tree incorporates the wound into itself and grows differently in this area.  These woods are the ones most prized by artists and craftsmen for their uniqueness and beauty.

As human beings, we too have experienced injuries.  Whether they are within or without, whether personal or global, we have been wounded.  We may think that we would be better off without these wounds, we could be so much more helpful and productive without them.  We may want to disown them, to cut them off.  We may wish for them to be removed because they are so painful.
But when we consider who we turn to with our pain and our struggles, we find that they are the people who can say, “I understand.  I have been there too.”  These are the people who have been wounded and have integrated their wounds into themselves, who have grown through them.

And there is One who has experienced the worst of what a human being can suffer, who understands, who has been there too.  In the Risen One we can see that his wounds have become an essential part of his nature.  In artwork we see them depicted with light streaming from them.  They have healing power.  Seeing this, we can begin to accept that we too are wounded and begin to incorporate our wounds into our very being.  We grow through them and they become the most valuable and prized parts of us.  They have healing power.

Contemplation by Jeana Lee, Seminary Student


Dear Friends,

We live in challenging times, apocalyptic times.

Apocalypse means ‘lifting the vail’. It is not so much the destruction that gives apocalypse its meaning but the experience that everything is being exposed, challenged to the core. Apocalypse is that what is on the inside is revealed- both the good and the bad.

Egotism is being revealed. For instance there are individuals buying much needed items and then selling them at high prices, profiting off suffering. Entering grocery stores these days, one can feel the panic in the air as individuals are stocking up for themselves.

And love is arising. The other day I went to our neighborhood park and there were many people talking and asking if we needed anything, if they could help. My neighbor, a Muslim man named Ali, asked if I needed any financial support or anything at all.

What is hidden in our hearts is being called out. But let us strive to cultivate freedom of conscience with each other and refrain from judgement and condemnation. For morality itself must not fall into the abyss. Let us remember that our moral decisions are only valuable for the hierarchies if they are chosen freely. Love can never be dictated, legislated or persuaded. Love can only be revealed, inspired from heart to heart. And only deeds of love are of any use for Christ and The Father. Therefore, let us refrain from dismissing others because they are going against our deepest held beliefs or because they are not being reasonable. We are called to write into our hearts that human beings can only be led by their free conscience if morality is to be real. 

Let us also cultivate everything that can help subdue fear. For fear is unhelpful for our souls and unhelpful for our immune systems. We know that fear is largely snuffed-out in an environment of love and peace. Courage, gratitude, the will to help others despite the actual risk, these are medicine.

We may even choose to reduce our exposure to the fearful images in video games, movies and tv shows that burden our souls. Or we may choose to reduce our intake of animal meat. Many animals have been raised and slaughtered in such a way as to cause tremendous suffering and fear in them and when we ingest them, we also ingest these feelings into our souls. Perhaps it is also important to go into sleep with prayer and divine images as these work against the forces of fear in the environment. For those of us who are choosing to stay home in isolation, let us use this opportunity to go deeply inward, cultivate meditation, study and pray. It can also be a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our relationships with our loved ones and family. All of this can give our hearts strength!

Above all, let us not loose heart. Let us remember that the most important medicine is cultivating the feeling of Christ Jesus’ presence with us. He is offering us peace at every moment. Whether we are able to attend communion service, or whether it is best to stay at home, we can pray whenever possible ‘my heart be filled with your pure life, oh Christ’…..and try to feel His life filling our hearts.

And if we get sick for whatever reason, let us courageously meet it as a way to connect to the suffering of humanity and to Christ. For even though the dwelling is sick, the soul can always be made whole in and through Christ.


Contemplation by Rev. Jonah Evans

 

Relevant Excepts from GA 154, Rudolf Steiner

“….the important point we want to make today is that germs can become dangerous only if they are allowed to flourish. Germs should not be allowed to flourish. Even materialists will agree with this statement, but they will no longer agree with us if we proceed further and, from the standpoint of proper spiritual science, speak about the most favorable conditions for germs. Germs flourish most intensively when we take nothing but materialistic thoughts into sleep with us. There is no better way to encourage them to flourish than to enter sleep with only materialistic ideas, and then to work from the spiritual world with the ego and the astral body on those organs that are not part of the blood and the nervous system. The only other method that is just as good is to live in the center of an epidemic or endemic illness and to think of nothing but the sickness all around, filled only with a fear of getting sick. That would be equally effective. If fear of the illness is the only thing created in such a place and one goes to sleep at night with that thought, it produces afterimages, Imaginations impregnated with fear. That is a good method of cultivating and nurturing germs. If this fear can be reduced even a little by, for example, active love and, while tending the sick, forgetting for a time that one might also be infected, the conditions are less favorable for the germs…”

Steiner continues…”A short time ago, a very dear friend of ours died, and many of us attended his cremation. He would have celebrated his forty-third birthday tomorrow, on May 6. In the final years of his life, he suffered much. I would like to tell here, parenthetically as it were, a wonderful story from his last years as his wife told it to me. During his great suffering, our friend fought not against admitting to himself that he had to suffer, but against saying that he was ill. He was not ill, he said. He suffered, yes, but he was not ill, and he was adamant that such a statement should not be taken as quibbling but as something meaningful. This definition, “I suffer, but I am not ill,” arose from his awareness that what he carried within him as spiritual science, what supported and carried him inwardly, defeated all attacks of illness. He was aware that he suffered, but the health of his soul is so great that, when he compared it to his physical condition, he could not call himself ill. This definition is very important and well-suited to permeate our soul as a feeling.
Anyway, we saw how the person concerned spent his last years on earth in a sick body, in a suffering body. Yet he did not see himself as sick but only as suffering. If we compare that with the spiritual life that has now begun for our friend, we will have a worthy image of what connects our earth existence with life after death. It is a fact of the spiritual world that a series of Imaginations was prepared in his body, a body that showed the symptoms of illness. A series of Imaginations, powerful Imaginations, lived, so to speak, in the sick limbs. He was completely filled with the content of the spiritual worlds. They lived in him in such a way that they worked on all those organs we are usually not as aware of as we are of our brain and nervous system, that is, organs we experience on a more subconscious level. These powerful Imaginations lived in these organs, and all the more so, the more outwardly ill these organs became. They prepared themselves and now face the soul of the deceased as a mighty tableau of the spiritual world. Now he is living in the images that were trapped in his sick organs, especially in his final years. They prepared themselves in such intensity that they now surround him as his spiritual world.
It is impossible to see more beautiful worlds, or to see the spiritual cosmos more perfectly and more beautifully, than those that blossom and unfold in spiritual art, which cannot be observed better anywhere else than through such a situation. Here, on the physical plane, an artist can create in beauty a piece of the world, so that the image on canvas or in marble lets us see more of the world than we do on our own. All of this, however, pales into insignificance in comparison to the spiritual world seen as it is and also as it arises and blossoms forth from the soul of the deceased who has been prepared by his karma in the way I have described. How he was prepared will be clear from his poetic works, which are now being printed and will appear soon. His poetry reveals that this kind of spiritual life and passage into the spiritual world after death are intimately connected with what we have for many years called the Christ-Impulse. The Christ-Impulse, in the sense spiritual science speaks of it, is beautifully alive in our friend’s poetry….”