All posts by Jonah

What’s Most Important

I will never forget what Hammo Hammond (a long time member) said to me just before he died. He told me that the biggest gift in his life was the last few days with his family. He told me that the love he could feel from his family, from his friends, from god, the love streaming towards him that he allowed himself to receive into his heart, this was the greatest gift of his life.

And Hamo’s spirit can remind each and every one of us about what is most important in life. For it is a well known fact that at the end of our lives, when it is all said and done, most of us will not feel; I wish I had worked harder and longer at my job, or I wish I had made more money, or I wish I lived in a better area of town with a fancier house. Most of us will not think of all the superficial things of life but think about what is most important, relationships. We will cherish our relationships. Like hammo, we will cherish the relationships with family, with friends, with Christ and the moral substances of love, trust and hope that weaves us together. 

And so on this Whitsun Sunday, let us be inspired like the disciples were by the Holy Spirit, to cultivate what is most valuable in life. Let us be inspired like Hammo to give and receive love in community. For the essence and signature of Whitsun is to build the moral substance of universal love between human hearts, love gifted by The Spirit. This love, this purest moral substance, comes to expression when we see the highest in one another and allow the highest to be seen in us. This love comes to expression when we leave behind all narrowness and self-seeking and say yes to genuine forgiveness, feeling deep inner tolerance and compassion. Love comes to expression with real, heart-felt understanding of all that is human on earth. Therefore, let us resist the temptation to to dismiss each other, to box each other in with our judgments, and life ourselves actively to the gift in each one. The gift of healing in one, the gift of teaching in another, the gift of organizing and leading in another…for there is truth, beauty and goodness at the root of every human heart.

In this way we build moral substance between us. In this way we unite the divine masculine and the divine feminine. In this way we build the body of Christ.

Divine Mother

We hear in our gospel today words that can give us great hope, great solace; we hear the words “In this world you will have trouble and much hardship. But take courage! I have overcome the world.” Christ has overcome the world!

And yet, has the world been overcome? Is greed solved? Is poverty eradicated? Does goodness reign? 

But Christ means a different kind of overcoming, His overcoming does not solve and fix all of our problems.

For on this day, (last Sunday) when we celebrate our dear mothers, we can proclaim Christ has overcome the world not like a father who wants to solve everything, Christ has overcome like a divine mother. He has overcome like a mother who’s embrace comforts us no matter what troubles and hardships we must face. Christ has overcome like a mother who’s love and presence is always there for us no matter how dark things get, no matter what mistakes we have made. Christ has overcome the world by embracing the whole earth with his being, holding darkness with light, comforting our struggle with peace, bearing evil with compassion.

Dear friends, may the eyes of our heart open in us, that we may feel The Spirit’s presence like a divine mother, walking with us in all the sorrows and joys that we meet. Christ has overcome the world- because now, no darkness, no evil, no hardships can separate the warm embrace of The Spirit from our hearts.


The Sign of Christ’s Presence

Many of us have just seen the play, ‘This War is Not Inevitable’. And some of the most moving scenes were at the beginning and end when the World War 1 soldier tells us that they had seen the Living Christ on the battle field- they had seen the Christ walking through the trenches of both armies- and walking in the wasteland in between.

The Christ, who has His Being in Love, was recognized by the heart’s eye of those soldiers because His peace lit up in the midst of unimaginable terror, unbearable pain. He was recognized because deep peace appeared in the open wound that was the war. Because this is how we can recognize The Risen One, this is His sign, carrying wounds with peace. For Christ is never without humanities pain, Christ is never without joy-filled peace.

And we see this in our gospel today, The Risen Christ brings the peace to the disciples and at the same time is carrying wounds. 

Dear friends, just like the soldiers and the disciples we too can know Him. To know and love the Christ in us means to feel the peace that can walk with our broken hearts. To know and love Christ in others means to see in them the kind of peace that can hold and bear deep suffering. To know and love Christ means to carry wounds and deep peace at the same time.

May our wounds and the wounds of the world be penetrated with His peace.

Our Deepest Longing

We all know what it is like to buy something with enthusiasm, only to feel a few days later that we want something more. We all know what it is like to feel satisfied with a delicious meal, only to feel the next day hunger for more. We all know what it is like to feel filled-up with love by a spouse or a friend, soon after only to feel lonely and empty.

This is because within every one of us there is a place that is empty and needs to be filled. And as human beings searching for something to satisfy, we use food, we use things, we use people, chemical substances, anything that will help touch what is hollow, console what is alone. This emptiness in us is not a belief or a philosophy, it is simply an experienced fact. And we proclaim it at the altar now during Passiontide as a reality that humanity must awaken to if we are to know ourselves, “Oh human being, empty is the place of your heart”.

And yet, dear friends, this emptiness in us is destined to be filled! The wonderful secret in the depths of our hearts is that our deepest longing is not for stuff or food or money or even other peoples love, our deepest longing that wells within our blood is our longing for the Spirit, our deepest desire that surges within our breath is communion with God.

This is Passiontide- Recognizing we are empty, longing for Christ to come close, knowing that being filled with The Spirit we will soon be able to say, ‘the grave is empty, the heart is full’.

Building Moral Substance is the Purpose of Life

The most esoteric lecture, the deepest mantra or meditation, the truest word, all can be condensed into the feeling/knowing ‘Christ is seeing us.’

Just like the sun that shines upon us, weather its cold or hot, weather we are sick in bed or struggling with our tasks, Christ is beholding us, He knows us, He is close to us.

But why? What is He looking for? What is important and valuable to Him?

In our gospel this week (Rev 21), the New Jerusalem, the goal of human evolution fills our imagination. It is a city that is the goal, not a garden of eden. Its foundations, walls, doors, the cities very substance is all made of precious stone. Amethyst, sardonyx, jasper… But these stones are imaginations, symbols. In esoteric wisdom these ‘stones’ are actually moral substances- moral substance that human beings build up, construct in our hearts…

The amethyst of devotion, the hyacinth of equilibrium, the chrysoprase of perseverance; topaz of unselfishness, beryl of compassion; chrysolite of courtesy and tact, carnelian of contentment, sardonyx of patience; chalcedony of courage, sapphire of discretion, the emerald of truth and the jasper [heliotrope form] of love….  “

These moral forces, from the power of faith to the substance of loving sacrifice….we see in our gospel are the very building blocks of a new world- The New Jerusalem! And freely building up these stones of Spirit is the point of life, the meaning of life, for these are what remain at the end.

Dear friends, Each and every one of us are called to become builders, builders of a new city. And at all times Christ, the master builder, is seeing us, helping us and rejoicing in every small stone that we can lay. This means that all the shiny things we acquire in life, all the worldly success’ or failures, all our trails are only valuable to God if in the rocks of life, the precious stone of spirit is forged in our hearts.

Healing is Peace

In this final Epiphany week, we celebrate the descent of the Sun Spirit, the Son of God into our midst. From the starry heights he came down to us. And when Christ’s Sun like power comes close to our souls, like fruit ripening from warm rays, we are healed, we are ripened, we are made whole.

In our gospel this week (John 5), we hear of the paralytic by the pool in Bethesda. After many years by the pool, The Son of God comes close to this sick man and asks him if he would like to be made whole. The man complains. All too human! But then Christ speaks the word, ‘pick up your sickbed and walk!’ And he was healed.

And yet, why didn’t Christ say just get up and walk. Why did he need to carry his sick bed?

Healing is something that happens on the inside. We may also be healed on the outside but often not fully. The man who picks up his sick bed and walks shows us that healing is an inner power to be able to get up, walk and carry. Healing is breaking out of our paralysis and carrying our weaknesses, our ailments, our trials with peace. Because it is His peace that makes us whole. Therefore, it is not so much what we are given, but how we meet and carry what we are given that reveals our closeness with The Spirit.

Dear Friends, in our time where so much emphasis is placed on bodily health and material wealth as signs of blessing and connection to god, let us not fall to this temptation. Rather, let us trustingly open our hearts to His warm Sun power even when the sky is full of clouds. Then, in His rays, we can find the strength to pick up our sick beds and walk, knowing that wholeness is feeling Christ’s life in our hearts no matter our handicapped appearance, no matter what burdens our destiny demands.



The other day, while my eldest daughter was lying on the couch home sick, after three days she said to me, “Daddy, I hate being sick. I wish there was a magic pill that you could take and then no more sickness, everything better.” I said, “Yes, darling, I completely understand.”

Just like my daughter, so often we must encounter in our lives experiences that we are powerless to change. Perhaps we have a chronic illness that no matter what medicines we take, what therapies, nothing helps. Our perhaps there is a particular weakness in our character that we want to change, temptations that we try and try to resist, but to no avail. Or perhaps we are trying to make fundamental change for the good in the world, but find ourselves powerless to the system- that the world is fundamentally flawed. Powerlessness is essential to our humanity, a universal experience.

And yet, in our gospel today (Rev. 21), we see this mighty picture that a new heaven and a new earth will come, the old world will fall away. And in this new jerusalem, this new world, God will be and dwell in our midst and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. And there will be no more death, no more pain, no illness, no sorrow, no heavy burdens- for the old world will have passed away.

And this new world that is coming, it actually exists now, in our hearts. It lives in our hearts like a seed. And this seed is called hope, hope that healing will come, resurrection will come. That we feel hope means we are bearing the seed of the new world.

Dear friends, in this old world, it is rightful that we must experience powerlessness and the humility it brings; for we will always have to face in our lives things that we simply have to bear, that our will cannot change. And at the same time let us cherish the deep HOPE, hope that when the time is right, when the heart is ripe, the lord will wipe the pain away. Grace will happen.

Oh Christ, may your hope take root in our souls, for it is the seed of the new world in our hearts.

Wedding Feast

In these days fall gradually starts to arrive. Plants are wilting, leaves are dying. Soon the days will be colder and darker.

And yet, outside my front door the Mexican sunflowers are still blooming. Their flowerheads are an intense orange, and until a few days ago the Monarch butterflies were still flocking around them, drinking the nectar.

Seeing them flock so happily around the flowers – with fall coming, their wings beautiful and bright garments – reminds me of the parable of the marriage feast (Matthew 22) that is read at Michaelmas.

The resurrected caterpillar, the butterfly, clad in its festive garment takes flight, feasting on the last fall flowers until going on its flight south – toward sun and warmth, but also toward its future.

Just as the butterfly we may choose to put on the festive garment of our most noble feelings and intentions and go to the marriage feast, the place where heaven and earth, light and darkness, spirit and matter come together in a kind of bountiful harvest of everything that has grown good and ripe and full in earth’s evolution.

And although at this time of year the outside world grows colder and darker, we may then feel on the inside the light shining brightly – as if on sunflowers and butterfly wings. Then the Michaelmas light shines in us – from him who is the countenance of Christ.

Rev. Inken Contreras

Human Soul, I Say to You Arise!

In our gospel today, it is striking the way that Christ raises the widow’s son from the dead. Before he speaks the healing words, he places his hand on the coffin. The gospel emphasizes that Christ comes over to the coffin itself and touches it. The widow’s son is given new life by Christ, but first Christ must touch the box of death that surrounds him.

Within every soul, there too is a widow’s son. We are all in need of new life, healing resurrection. But before the new life comes, Christ touches the coffin! Before we can receive resurrection, we must first touch the coffin in us, we must first recognize the box we are in.

For so often we box ourselves in. So often, we are unaware of the coffin surrounding our souls. We box ourselves in with blame, blaming others and the world, giving away our power. We box ourselves in with fear, deciding we are unworthy of His healing resurrection. We box ourselves in when we expect immediate resurrection, without first touching the coffin surrounding our souls.

Dear friends, as we strive down the path of resurrection and new life, let us remember that the Christ in us must first touch the very place where we have boxed ourselves in. We must first recognize that in us that must die, that which is imprisoning our hearts. For then we too can become the widow’s son and feel the power, ‘human soul, I say to you arise!’

Hope for Despairing Times

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth no solution will be found to ease the tension between the nations. Blind impulses of elemental power will serge up, storming waves and roaring of the sea. Human beings will loose grip of themselves in fear and anxiety. The very powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then to seeing souls the Son of Man will come close and appear in a new way with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because new life is drawing near.”
Gospel of Luke 21

These powerful words from the gospel are Christ’s words. And we are experiencing this.

For the sun and moon gave us there sign in the total eclipse. The elemental powers are surging- the west, burning with fire. The south under water, being whipped by wind and waves. No solution can found for adolescent nations in perpetual war, at the brink of nuclear disaster. Human souls are loosing themselves in fear, hate, anger and despair. This is real.

And yet, dear friends, the wind is meant to blow. Fire is meant to burn. Nations are designed to war. And radically, the gospel also tells us that these difficult events are meant to happen- necessary in divine evolution. Christ tells us that these are not punishments from God, not sicknesses of the earth, but signs!, signals that something profound is taking place right now- that the Christ has come close to your heart like never before.

Dear brothers and sisters! In these despairing times, let us not say ‘yes’ to the temptation of despair and fear for that would be to miss our call- to misunderstand these signs. For each and every human soul is being called by these difficult times to awaken our spiritual eyes to true security; not in nature, not in governments, not in worldly power, not even in our own souls. We are being called to awaken to the the living Christ, our true security, who is hear and now and in our heart of hearts. 

But this is not a call to neglect the earth, for He is in our neighbour. He weaves through our earth. He comes alive in how we love our work in the world. 

May Christ be our ground. Everything else will lead to despair.