Category Archives: The Weekly Word

The Weekly Word

Reflections on The Sunday Service for Children 
By Brenda Hammond

I left my beloved Richmond Hill community to come to Ottawa and give day-care to my grandson, who was about to turn one year old. He is now thirteen, and his younger brother eleven.  They do not attend a Waldorf school, and so don’t experience the soul-nourishment the curriculum would provide. And, of course, they’re very much into video games and all that modern technology offers. 

But once every two months or so, I am blessed by hosting the Act of Consecration in my home. Although my grandsons are the only attendees, Jonah generously agreed to hold the Children’s Service for them.

They arrive early, bringing plenty of youthful energy along with them. When it’s time, and all is ready, they head down the stairs followed by one or two of their parents, to the basement where we have our makeshift chapel.  Reinhard in his long white robes, greets them at the door at the base of the stairwell, takes each one’s hand, looks him in the eye and speaks kind but solemn words to alert them to what they are about to experience.

Two, three or four adults are already sitting, to lend support and participate by listening. 

On the altar, the candles are already lit, glowing golden against a deep purple backdrop. Above hang two pictures: the face of Christ with his hand raised to bless, and a reproduction of the Isenheim crucifixion with Mary and John on either side. 

Silently, expectantly and yes, reverently, the boys step forward to stand side by side before the altar. There, the priest is waiting, clad in his white robes, with a shining silk cloak of the appropriate colours —usually lavender and deep gold— over his shoulders. 

The mood is set.  The service begins. Uplifting significant words, the Lord’s prayer, the Gospel reading. The boys sing… or at least, follow along as best they can while Jonah sings, “The sun is in my heart….”

The service ends with Claudia playing heavenly notes on her lyre, so the mood lingers for a little while.

Now it’s over. The boys scamper up the stairs and soon head out into their world again. But I know that what they have experienced —hearing sacred words, seeing beautiful and holy images, speaking that all-important response to the priest — will work into their souls in a lasting, helpful and meaningful way.

p.s. Also highly recommended for adults!

It is perhaps surprising that the first encounter that the Son of God had on earth, the first meeting that the living creator had on earth was not a disciple, was not even a human being. The first encounter that the Son of God had on earth was with a spiritual being, a fallen angel, the adversary. 

Our gospel this week (Mt 4) then describes that the Son of God denies the will of this adversary and affirms the will of God. In essence, the first action that the Son of God has to do on earth is to say no three times to the voice of the adversary and yes three times to the will of God.

-He says no to the voice of materialism- the voice that says bread and my earthly needs are the most important.

-He says no to the voice of pride- to the voice that says I’m special and God will make manifest all of my personal desires.

-He says no to the voice power- to the voice that is content only when everything is as we would like to be. 

Dear friends, if we are to fulfill our sacred destiny and become Sons of God, we too must learn to imitate Him in the lonely dessert of our lives.

Therefore let us learn to say Yes to the will of God….

-Yes to making The Spirit our lifes’ blood- making the spirit the central focus of our lives.

-Let us learn to love to the feeling of humility before God more than the feeling of being special. 

-Let us learn to say Yes to surrender. Surrendering our personal will to the wisdom working and weaving in our lives.


Contemplation by Rev. Jonah Evans

What are we “worth?”

Sometimes people measure their worth by the size of their income or investments, although we know there are many ways we cannot measure our worth to others in terms of dollars or euros… But it is deeply ingrained in our economic life that income is compensation for labour or merit. Effort, ability, dependability—should somehow be reflected in how we are rewarded. 

Thus is it deeply unsettling and even shocking to hear in this parable from Matthew about how different the kingdom of heaven is from an earthly household! The picture is clear about the householder going out to hire workers at different times—epochs of the day—in the freshness of dawn, in mid-morning, in the heat of noon, in mid-afternoon and as the day cools just before sunset. 

The early workers agree on the value of a day’s work, but the later workers trust they will be paid, or the latest perhaps go to work for the sake of being able to work. And everyone in the end receives one denarius. The one who grumbles that he was not paid more is addressed by the householder (Christ), as “friend.” 

This word translated in the Greek text is “hetairos,” not “philos,” which is also a common term of endearment. Matthew uses this term “hetairos” only three times in the whole gospel, pointing to a subtle significance. The first use of this word is here in Matthew 20:13. The next place is addressing the man who comes to the royal wedding without a wedding garment, Matthew 22:12. And the final use of this word comes at Gethsemane, addressing the betrayer. 

“Hetairos” can also be translated as comrade, acknowledging the importance of being a “co-worker.” And so the workers in the vineyard are not merely workers: they are co-workers with and for God! From this perspective, they are paid with a reward that cannot be more or less. A denarius is a silver coin used by the Romans that is impressed with the name and portrait of Caesar, who gives the value to the coin. The name “denarius” has the number “10” woven into it. It represents Caesar’s saying, “I give worth.” 

The wages for the workers in the vineyard become the power to develop their “I.” The carriers of an “I” given by God will in the future ascend to the 10th rank in the hierarchies, just below the angels.

What are we “worth?” We are worth the love of the Father and co-working with God.


Contemplation by Rev. Susan Locey

What are we “worth?”

Sometimes people measure their worth by the size of their income or investments, although we know there are many ways we cannot measure our worth to others in terms of dollars or euros… But it is deeply ingrained in our economic life that income is compensation for labour or merit. Effort, ability, dependability—should somehow be reflected in how we are rewarded. 

Thus is it deeply unsettling and even shocking to hear in this parable from Matthew about how different the kingdom of heaven is from an earthly household! The picture is clear about the householder going out to hire workers at different times—epochs of the day—in the freshness of dawn, in mid-morning, in the heat of noon, in mid-afternoon and as the day cools just before sunset. 

The early workers agree on the value of a day’s work, but the later workers trust they will be paid, or the latest perhaps go to work for the sake of being able to work. And everyone in the end receives one denarius. The one who grumbles that he was not paid more is addressed by the householder (Christ), as “friend.” 

This word translated in the Greek text is “hetairos,” not “philos,” which is also a common term of endearment. Matthew uses this term “hetairos” only three times in the whole gospel, pointing to a subtle significance. The first use of this word is here in Matthew 20:13. The next place is addressing the man who comes to the royal wedding without a wedding garment, Matthew 22:12. And the final use of this word comes at Gethsemane, addressing the betrayer. 

“Hetairos” can also be translated as comrade, acknowledging the importance of being a “co-worker.” And so the workers in the vineyard are not merely workers: they are co-workers with and for God! From this perspective, they are paid with a reward that cannot be more or less. A denarius is a silver coin used by the Romans that is impressed with the name and portrait of Caesar, who gives the value to the coin. The name “denarius” has the number “10” woven into it. It represents Caesar’s saying, “I give worth.” 

The wages for the workers in the vineyard become the power to develop their “I.” The carriers of an “I” given by God will in the future ascend to the 10th rank in the hierarchies, just below the angels.

What are we “worth?” We are worth the love of the Father and co-working with God.


Contemplation by Rev. Susan Locey


On Becoming a Member of The Christian Community-by Richard Chomko


I’ve been coming to services at the Christian Community in Toronto since before the turn of the century.  I was even married in The Christian Community, brought our children to Sunday school and had them confirmed there.  However, officially, I was not a member.  My wife Elisabeth, would say she had to go to the AGMs because she was a member but, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was a formality; an administrative matter.

Since the Seminary landed here this past October, I’ve been going to services a lot and, have been generally feeling more a part of things.  Before Christmas, in the Wednesday morning Living with Christ study group, Jonah announced that he was going to do a course that would be for members.  It was enough of a nudge that I asked him a few days later about becoming a member. 

Later, I realized, I would not have been able to attend that course anyway because I would be away, and as it turned out, the course never did take place.  However, I still wanted to proceed with becoming a member. It seemed the right next step. 

I met with Jonah and one other person who was preparing to become a member, on a couple of occasions in January. In these meetings, Jonah explained what was involved in becoming a member.  He went through in detail, unpacking the Creed of the Christian Community which, is read after the Gospel during the Act of Consecration.  It encapsulates many of the central ideas on which The Christian Community is based.

After I affirmed that I understood what he had explained and still wanted to become a member, Jonah performed with me, the ceremony of becoming a member.  Like the Sacrament of Consultation, it involves standing at the altar with the Priest and then ceremonial words being spoken.

Afterwards, walking home, I felt a definite feeling which, I identified as joy.  It was a kind of exuberance.  I felt like running and, I ran a bit on and off, on my walk home.  I’m not someone who’s overly in touch with their feelings, and joy is not something I had been feeling a lot of, so it stood out for me.

For at least a day or two after, I could feel an ongoing flow of some kind of energy or life, which seemed to be most noticeable in the front of my head.  This feeling brought to my mind, the picture of the Christ as the vine and I, myself, as one of the branches.  What I was feeling in my head, corresponded to a flow of “sap” from the vine into the branch. 

At supper that night, my wife Elisabeth asked about my experience of becoming a member and how it felt.  I told her my overwhelming feeling was one of joy and, that on my way home, I began to run with joy!  She smiled, stood up and came around the dinner table to give me a hug and this is what she said, “Now you really are my brother in Christ.”  It was a nice moment. 

When I was first courting Elisabeth thirty-eight years ago, she had asked me if I was a Christian and, she said she wanted me to be her brother in Christ.  Looking back at that time, this is not what I would have had in mind. I may have told her I wasn’t sure if I was really a Christian but, that perhaps I could become more of a Christian in time. 

The Weekly Word

At Epiphany, not only do we celebrate the kings, we also celebrate the great baptism of Jesus. We celebrate the reception of Gods light and warmth coming down. We celebrate the Cosmic Sun-star of Grace gradually descending more and more into Jesus, more and more into the world, more and more into our hearts. 

And when our hearts receive Epiphany, when we have an epiphany, we feel we have received new light, new ways of seeing, new life.

Dear Friends, The reality of Epiphany calls us to become people of the gift, a community of the gift.

And yet, in our epiphany epistle/liturgy in the Act of Consecration, we hear ‘may the hearts light of our prayer, meet yearningly, the world light of the star of grace….’ 

This liturgy, these divine words, show us that the gift of grace that god is offering us all the time, must be met by the light of our yearning heart. To become more and more people of the gift, more and more a community of grace, we are called to practice yearning- yearning for what god is offering. For what Christ Jesus is offering is always peace, joy, love, patience, humility, the fruit of the Spirit. When was the last time we felt a yearning in our hearts for more humility? When was the last time we felt a yearning in our hearts for more love or joy? The Christian heart practices this yearning, this longing to receive, this hoping for light.


Contemplation by Rev. Jonah Evans

The winter solstice brings us the longest night, the shortest day of the year—around
here about 8 hours of daylight. In Nunavut 2000 kilometers to the north, the last sunrise
of the decade was in mid-November, the next sunrise will be the end of January. The
darkness is very present in our lives…outside and inside, on all levels.

In the depths of darkness, a little light—the hope of light—becomes significant. We have
carried over from ancient times looking in the night to the stars for orientation, in space
and also in our lives and relationships. Many ancient peoples celebrated the “Sol
Invictus,” the victorious birth of the sun—the Son God—at the winter equinox.

Altars in Christian churches are orientated to the rising sun, and since the rising place of
the sun swings greatly from solstice to solstice, the orientation in the Middle Ages was
also a dedication to a significant festival, seeking the source of light from the birth (at
the winter solstice) or the death and resurrection of Christ (at the spring equinox). Some
altars are oriented to the summer solstice, seeking inspiration, “prepare the way of the
Lord,” from the birth of John the Baptist. Our altar here shares the same angle of
orientation, 46 degrees north of east, as the great Gothic cathedral at Chartres!
Light gives us familiarity, we know where we are, we can find our way, we can
recognize in the light. And the signs in the sun, moon and stars became all the more
significant. But in the depths of darkness, other senses become stronger as we seek
orientation.

We become very sensitive, for example, to sound. The light was
experienced expressing itself in sound—the Bushmen could hear the songs of the stars,
the sun arose proclaiming, and “the stars spoke once to Man…” At the end of Advent,
the signs of the sun, moon and stars are mute… and in the deepening silence, we begin to hear the beating of our heart. And we realise that we ourselves can speak! We can
speak “the language of the light.” As we orient with the altar toward the rising sun, we
hear the Word from the altar, we turn with the God of peace toward “life,” and put on the
armour of faith and love and hope.

Contemplation by Rev. Susan Locey

Let us imagine for a moment that we are Peter in our gospel last week, John 21. Christ Jesus is standing before and He asks, ‘Do you love me?’

What would we say? For Christ is not demanding our love, he is not saying ‘you must love me.’ He asks us in freedom, do you love me?

And even though Peter answers yes, lord, Christ then tells him what that love means. Christ says to Peter, and he says to all of us, If you love me, tend to my lambs, Shepherd my sheep. The astounding call to humanity is that if we want to love Christ Jesus, we must become shepherds- shepherds who tend and feed their lambs. We are all called to become Shepherds of Souls.

And it is no accident that in the Sacrament of The Ordination of Priests we are called Shepherds of Souls. This is because within every human heart slumbers an inner priest, an inner shepherd waiting to be born.

Our inner shepherd is born when we care for the lambs that God has given us, those human souls that we find in our lives. When we feed each other loving thoughts, thoughts that touch the highest in the other, thoughts that build up faith, hope and trust, we nourish our sheep.

We are born as shepherds when we realize with deep gratitude that without one another, without our sheep, we would have nothing, no warmth, no ‘milk’, that our whole life is due to our sheep, just like a shepherd.

We are born as shepherds when we seek to help our lambs find rich pasture and protect them from the wolf. For the wolf comes to devour our joy, to cut us down, to poison our hearts with fear, hate and cynicism.

Dear friends, the secret of the gospel this week is that we love Christ through loving our lambs; those human souls who have been given to us to care for; our wives and husbands, our friends, our children, all whom we are asked to love including our enemies.

May we love God with all our hearts and minds, may all become shepherds.
Contemplation by Rev. Jonah Evans

On Christmas at dawn we enter a hushed and holy time. In our imaginations we could
feel ourselves with the shepherds on the fields, watching their sheep under the starry
heavens. All the intensity of daily life, which has occupied and distracted us until now,
could be represented as a great sphere connected with a small sphere above. The
concerns of life dominate our attention, as the lower sphere, but we may also have
moments of awareness of the divine above, guiding our decisions and encounters. We
may be inspired by insights that influence the course of our life, but we can also hope
this is in relationship with the spiritual worlds. And we can hope that something of our
accomplishments or needs or prayers stream upward, so the world of the spirit can
perceive and work with what we offer. A stream of spirit-substance flows down,
encircling or supporting what is below, and then it streams back up to the realm above,
keeping the connection between heaven and earth.

A simple depiction of this complex relationship appears on the priestly vestments worn
in celebrating: on the front of the chasuble is a form that expresses this, looking like a
figure “8.” Most of the time the figure “8” could look heavily weighted below, showing our
consciousness filled with what is around us. And the upper part of the form could be
very small, as we overlook the significant influence of the spiritual world.
But on this holy day, at the breaking of the dawn, the figure “8” seems to turn upside-
down or inside-out. The heavenly hosts are so vast, proclaiming “Glory of God in the
highest, and peace on earth to all of good will!” Suddenly the realm above is mighty,
and the concerns below become small. We impress into our feeling the ancient word:
“as above, so below.”

But the figure inscribed on the chasuble does not depict two interwoven spheres, there
is a dynamic crossing point in the streaming down and streaming up. This crossing-
point is a threshold between the world above and the world below. And the mystery of
this threshold is revealed in the Christmas epistle with the words: “Know this: the Christ
has appeared in the realm of earth: Behold in him the bringer of the healing of earthly
Man…!” The threshold between the spiritual world and the earthly world is revealed in
“knowing this.” The Christmas message, surprisingly enough, is “to know!” At the
threshold of our knowing, we receive blessing from the newborn Logos-Word, blessing
to warm our speech-bearing blood, to strengthen our spirit-devoted willing. In this
knowing, we are in communion with Christ Jesus.

Rev. Evans asked Lidia Marie G. to share with us about what The Act of Consecration means to her. This is what she wrote:

“I woke up empty (this is not a first as it is mostly a lifelong story in this life of mine).  So, I opt for the first aid kit -verses, prayers, reading Spiritual Science, “From Jesus to Christ”, repeating “Trust in God” (which is a recent experience -knowledge for me) “Knowing” that God loves me”.  But nothing seems to help.  Hollowness -emptiness persists.  Well then, there is only one more option (to my knowledge), The Act of Consecration of Man. Except that it’s 8:15 am. I’m in my nightshirt… I cannot walk to The Christian Community for the 8:45 service… wait, Richard offered to give me a ride in the a.m. this week, which I declined because of the evening course.  It would be too much, but even the evening course I’d had to opt out of – ah well.  It’s 8:30 am, “just call him and see”….  Richard says “Ok, sure meet me at the car at 8:30 am.”  Right, so I did.

I could not believe my luck, because over the last few years, The Act of Consecration is becoming… my salvation!

We are early, Robert Bower (a seminary student) is setting up snack and greets me with, “Lidia Marie… nice to see you” (little Joy). I sit in the chapel and remember Jonah’s suggestion of saying, “My heart be filled with your pure life, Oh Christ” so, I repeat the words…

Candle lighting is a moment of new light. Remembering… who helps me to remember?  The Activity, selfless activity of the elementals, salamanders, sylphs (Beings of fire and air) but also the endines (rain, water beings) and gnomes (earth ones) who work through the bees, with summer flowers, sunshine (Christ Light).  All these spirit beings gifting us so we can have these candles. Seven beeswax candles lit on the altar, let’s not forget the Greek orthodox church nuns (mother Irene) who actually make them for us… wow, that’s quite a lot of images, while Tish (another seminary student) with ceremony lights up the altar….

So, as Richard Chomko so beautifully wrote before, I start saying the words with the priest, Jonah Evans – “Let us wordily fulfill….

“The Father God be in us… (7 times)

“Conscious of the Father in our humanity”…

Then I think, “let’s face it… it is hard work to stay connected”…

But by communion, standing between Sylvia and Johana, I know that “Joy”, great Joy inhabits me.  I smile from ear to ear -have great difficulty to contain this Joy which wants to spill out in Hallelujah’s!  And I realise, once again, that this place, in the Church of The Christian Community, with others is the only place in my earthly journey where I experience a Huge Joy, True Joy.

“The PEACE be with you” says Jonah, and my shining eyes spill Light. I am so full of CHRIST LOVE and Light.  How so fortunate and grateful I am, to be with others, on the Path on Earth in Nov. 2019.  Thank you All.

Contribution by Lidia-Marie G., a member of our community