Category Archives: The Weekly Word

Opening the Seals of our Lives

In this week’s reading from the Apocalypse a picture is put before our souls: A book with letters outside and inside, sealed with 7 seals. If the seals are not opened, if they are not broken open, the book cannot be read. Only the outer writing will be apparent.

Every human being is like a book. We all have stories of his or her own. We all have within us thousands and thousands of pages, filled with those stories, inscribed with everything we have learned and experienced, all our deeds and the words we have spoken, everything we have held dear, loved and held close to our hearts. These stories have not just been written during one lifetime but through many of them – all the way back to the beginning of time.

But we are also all the stories that have yet to be written, everything that we will do in the future,
everything we will achieve and everything we will become – all this lies already in us, dormant in its seedling stage.

As human beings we are thus beings of possibilities and vast potential. Most of it is yet untapped and unrealized. We can read the title of this books of ours and maybe we can read the summary on the back cover – but this is not all we are. The story is there but the book is closed. It is sealed.

Who can open the book, who can break the seals?

The poet Christian Morgenstern once said: “We stand not at the end but at the beginning of Christianity.” All that we have really seen of Christianity is its first dawn. Its time is still to come. And he who stands before us since the Mystery of Golgotha, who is also the lamb in its purity and innocence has only just begun his mission among us.

He is the one who permeates our hearts with his love and grace, who gives us the strength to follow our ideals and be more than we are.

He is the one who, one day when we have permeated ourselves with the light of his power will break the seals and open the book. Then only will we start to become what the spiritual world has meant us to be – kings and priests before God. True human beings.

This contemplation is by Rev. Contreras and inspired by Revelation 5

Ebola and Compassion

What is the best way to fight Ebola?

This was the question put to a leading expert on the disease recently. His answer was perhaps surprising for it wasn’t to keep away from each other, or to take some special precautions or drugs. His answer as to how best to fight Ebola was to become aware of it as early as possible by asking each other “How are you feeling, what ails you”. His answer was to take interest in how our brothers and sisters are feeling.

Through this expert, we are called to awaken to our innermost being! Actually, Ebola is calling humanity to awaken to that part of us that can overcome fear with love! For within each human heart the Christ becomes active when we overcome ourselves in some way and compassionately take interest in the ails of others. We are being given an opportunity by the Gods to create more compassion and courage through this disease.

And yet there is so much that would hinder our compassion and love for another; Over concern with our own comforts and desires; Addictions to things that would numb us to pain; Judgments that would dismiss and condemn our brothers and sisters to deserving retribution.

In the midst of this fear and paranoia that the adversaries working through the media have created around Ebola, may the Christ power in us be strengthened in our hearts. For the Christ in you becomes real, becomes true by overcoming fear with love for other human beings.

This contemplation is by Rev. Evans and was inspired by an article written by Rev. Gisela Wielki

The Purpose of Life is like Mining for Gold

Becoming a true human being, or in other words learning to love one another, is like mining for gold!

This is because within each and every karmic relationship there lies the potential of discovering gold, of discovering real love.

We can see this most clearly in the archetype of relationship, marriage. For each marriage starts off with the excitement of falling in love, of seeing the glistening vein of gold in the rock. But this excitement, this falling in love, is not yet real love, only potentially so. For just as we must separate the gold from the impurities of the ore, so must each marriage learn to burn away egotistical desires, if true love is to be found.

And yet, so often in our culture of Hollywood romance, do we mistake selfishness and eroticism for love. We mistake the realm of ‘Burning Desire’ to possess or be possessed for love. We imagine that our partner should be everything for us, satisfy all of our desires if he or she is truly ‘the one’. These illusions are the impurities of the ore surrounding the gold and they must be burned away. For the real purpose of life is not something where all my dreams and desires come true, but real life is a furnace where impurities can be burned away.

This is why in our gospel for this week, the Christ implores us to recognize our impurities, how blind and naked we are, and obtain gold from Him refined in the fire. For the gold of our true humanity is not simply a given, our true humanity must be born, again and again as love out of cleansing flame.

This contemplation is by Rev. Evans and inspired by Revelation 3, the letter to Laodicia

The Free Power in our Spirits

The purpose of the Christian path is to awaken  in our earthly ego the free power to determine what we unite ourselves with- either that which enriches the Kingdom of God on earth or that which hinders it. Goethe speaks of this free power.

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people only as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”   Goethe

The Christ Path is Filling our Ego with the Holy Spirit

The purpose of the Christian path is that the entire human being, including our ego, become a unique vessel for the Holy Spirit. These words, by Rudolf Steiner, are inspired by this truth.

“Formerly, when a human being was placed amidst the sorrows and sufferings of earth, he only had to call forth within him the state in which he could be transported into the Divine-Spiritual worlds. He was not obliged to endure suffering, for when it came to him, he could at once seek the state in which he was filled with the spirit, God-filled, and in that state — severed from his ego — he could find balm for the sorrows and sufferings of earth. Christ Jesus had to proclaim that this time too was now over. Those would now be blessed, or God-filled, who, while they could no longer look outside for help for their sufferings, might through the strengthening of their own ego seek within themselves the power to find the Holy Spirit in their inner being. ‘Blessed (God-filled) are they who do not banish sorrow by ecstatically raising themselves to the Divinity, but who endure it, developing the power of the ego whereby they can find within themselves the Holy Spirit who reveals himself through the ego. Even Buddha in his time did not recommend that sorrow should be endured, but that it should be thrown off, with all the thirst of earth. Even six hundred years before Christ Jesus, Buddha described sorrow and suffering on earth as the worst consequences of the longing for existence. Six hundred years later, in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ in the second Beatitude proclaimed that sorrow must not be done away with in that way, but must be endured, that it was a trial through which the ego might develop the strength it can find within itself: the inner support of the Holy Spirit.”

We are All Invited by God

In the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 6) we are told: “And why do you worry about clothing? Learn from the lilies of the field – see how they grow without any effort and without weaving their garment […] If God clothes even the grass of the field like this, which grows today and is burnt tomorrow, will he not much more clothe you?”

In this week’s Gospel (Mt 22) we hear about another kind of garment. We hear about the man who appears at the wedding feast not wearing the proper wedding garment and, as a result, is cast out.

Our first reaction to this parable might be: Is he not unjustly treated? Maybe he didn’t have the means to purchase a garment but still wanted to go to the wedding? As it is so often with the pictures we are given in the bible, also this one I not about the conditions we meet in the material world. It is not a parable about clothes or about money. On the contrary – there seems to have been a custom in the ancient world that if you were invited to a celebration the proper garment to wear would have been given to you as a present, too.

The truth is: We have all been invited to the wedding, the union between this world and the spiritual realm. And we have all been given our wedding garments. They consist of the spiritual world’s vast grace that has been bestowed on us in ‘the deed of life and death on Golgotha’.

There are plenty of moments in our life where we are sure that we have lost both the invitation and the wedding garment. In those moment when the true knowledge of who we are and what has been given to us forsakes us, it is good to just have faith. Faith in, that the grace we have been given is there, even if we don’t see it. Faith in, that just like the lilies of the field can have the certainty that God will provide for them – so can we. If we want to go to the wedding, if we go toward the spirit with respect in our hearts, committed to the truth, mindful of the sacrifice that was made for our sakes in ‘the deed of life and death on Golgotha’ – and with love – then we have the wedding garment that we need. We will then not stand speechless before his countenance, we will be admitted into the light.

This contemplation is from Rev. Contreras inspired by Matthew 

The Inner Chalice

While the altar is the foundation of our spiritual life together, the golden chalice that sits on the altar is the focus of our activity. We uncover the chalice, raise it to the heavens, we fill the chalice with substance. And the chalice becomes the place where His grace pours in.

Within every human heart there is also a chalice, an inner chalice. This inner chalice is our spirit, our attention, the very core of our sense of self. And just as we lift the chalice at the altar as an offering to God; our sacred service teaches us that if we are to become true human beings we must also learn to turn and lift our spirits to Him, to the divine that lives and weaves in every moment. For our spirits are like empty cups, they are filled with whatever we pour into them.

But so often, in our daily lives, the cups of our spirits are turned downwards, filling them with things that would distract us from the divine. We fill our spirits with worries, judgments, media, and malls. We are drawn to shiny things that promise a better life, and yet leave us drained and hollow, filled with a substance that leads only to further craving.

This is why the Act of Consecration and our inner life of prayer is so important to the human soul. For our service is a training ground where we learn to turn the chalice of our spirits to that which fills us with a substance that truly nourishes, truly sustains. For the hope is that one day communion penetrates our whole lives, that every human spirit becomes priest. This is because the deepest desire of the human spirit, the chalice of the heart, is to be constantly filled with God in whatever we do, wherever we are.

May He fill us!

This contemplation by Rev. Evans is inspired by our Eucharist practice.

The Inner Altar

Our sacred service, our practice of communing with the divine, all centers around the altar. Not only is the altar the very place where we offer ourselves to God, it is traditionally a tomb, a symbol of death. The altar is a heavy stone, un-moveable, and at the same time, the very place we use to turn to Christ.

Within each one of us, within every human soul there is also an altar, an inner altar. We come to the inner altar in us the moment we find something in our souls heavy and un-moveable, something in us we cannot seem to change. And just like the altar in our chapel, the inner altar comes alive in us when we feel the need for Christ’s healing power, when we cry out for His presence.

For so often do we experience in life, things that cannot be changed. Circumstances, relationships, fears and above all worries that seem to come again and again no matter what we do. Worries for our children, our security, our livelihood.

And yet the Christ power in us does not seek to escape or run from these heavy stones in our souls; the Christ way would use these feelings as altars, the very place from which we call out to Him.

Dear friends, may the Act of Consecration, our sacred service, teach us all to become priests at our inner altars- that whenever we find ourselves worrying or afraid; beset with feelings that follow us like shadows, that we use these feelings as reminders to turn to Him, that we use these feelings as inner altars, asking Him to come close. The shadows in us then do not necessarily leave but are redeemed, transformed from merely un-moveable stones into the very place where He draws near.

This contemplation by Rev. Evans is inspired by Matthew 6: 25-34

Unconditional Love

Regardless of who you are or what you have done, the sun shines on us all, continually and unreservedly pouring its life-giving rays out on every living thing.

Each and every human spirit is also connected to a sun, the inner spiritual sun. Like the sun in the sky, the spiritual sun is also constantly giving warmth and light to our spirits. No matter how much or little success you have had in this world, or how much you have earned, this life-filled spiritual light is continually bestowed on us all.

And yet, almost every adult spends most of our time earning things. We must earn a living in this world. We strive to earn respect from our peers, trust from our partners. Even when it comes to the spiritual life, we often approach it as something we must achieve by ourselves, win for ourselves, earn. The law of this world calls us to earn our keep!

But there is another law connected to the Altar. This is why communion is so nourishing for our souls because it reminds us that there is another world, here in this world of earning, that is not based on our personal merits and efforts, a reality where we are all equally loved by God. The Act of Consecration is meant to open us up to a this life sustaining love that, like the outer sun’s rays, we can never earn. The spiritual touch of peace that we receive at communion is this shining love, Christ’s love, that everyone who opens up to, receives.

Can we open ourselves to Christ’s unconditional love for us? Can we bear it?

This contemplation by Rev. Evans is inspired by the experience of unconditional love and acceptance of the Etheric Christ.

The Most Important Thing…

In this week’s Gospel we hear about Jesus coming as a guest to the house of Mary and Martha. Mary is sitting quietly, contemplatively at his feet, listening to his word. Martha is busying herself, serving, not wanting to neglect the guest.

Mary – so we hear – has chosen the best part.

Depending on how our own dispositions are we might be glad to see Christ applaud Mary’s quiet
introspection – something that is so often undervalued in today’s world where it is considered a virtue to be extroverted and active at all times. Or we might ask ourselves: But what about Martha’s work?

Martha is serving the people around her. Is that not valuable? Is it not her work that sees to that her guest is fed – that he can spend the night in clean sheets?

While we all know how important the spiritual is, we also know that we have to attend to the physical needs and not undervalue them.

As with so many things in life also this, of course, depends on the right balance. We all know those moments when we wear ourselves out in a flurry of activity or those when we are procrastinating, not wanting to get on our feet. We can be both too active and too passive at times. And we have each, both Mary and Martha in our own soul.

Needless to say how important Martha’s work is. But what we can ask ourselves when we attend to our own work in the material world is this:
Do we really do this work out of necessity? Do we do it with love? Maybe we have completely other motives? Are we maybe, by staying busy, trying to drown out a quiet inner voice that wants to lead us to ourselves and to the spark of something higher that is waiting deep inside of us?

On the other side, when we sit quietly, thinking, contemplating – what, really, are we contemplating?

Are we listening to Christ’s word in our own souls or are our thoughts more worldly?

Maybe the most important thing about this week’s Gospel is not that it tempts us to judge either activity or, seeming, inactivity – maybe it is the simple fact that what Mary is doing, is listening to Christ – listening to his word. She is listening to the one being whose mighty impulse in earth’s evolution opens up the heavens for us and leads us into a bright future.

Mary has indeed chosen well – there can be nothing more important than that.

If we can fill some of our own quiet moments with the presence of Christ then he grows in us – and he will from there permeate with his presence and love all the time we spend on being active in the outside world – doing Martha’s work.

This contemplation by Rev. Inken Contreras is inspired by the Gospel of Luke chapter 10.