Archive for March, 2007

A poem for Lazarus Saturday: Elizabeth Jennings

March 31, 2007

It was the amazing white, it was the way he simply
Refused to answer our questions, it was the cold pale glance
Of death upon him, the smell of death that truly
Declared his rising to us.  It was no chance
Happening, as a man may fill a silence
Between two heart-beats, seem to be dead and then
Astonish us with the closeness of his presence;
This man was dead, I say it again and again.
All of our sweating bodies moved towards him
And our minds moved too, hungry for finished faith.
He would not enter our world at once with words
That we might be tempted to twist or argue with:
Cold like a white root pressed in the bowels of the earth
He looked, but also vulnerable – like birth.

(Elizabeth Jennings, Selected Poems, p. 70)

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A little more from Spruit

March 31, 2007

In spare moments this week, I have been re-reading Herman Spruit’s The Sacramentarion – part of my ongong quest to recover useful bits and pieces from our indie ancestors.   If you have never read The Sacramentarion (first printed in 1978, and probably still available from The Church of Antioch), it is an uneven and quirky collection of essays.  Some parts of it, such as his discussion of “Jesus the Millionaire,” are (ahem) hard slogging.  But there are some inspiring and thought-provoking sections, as well.   Here’s a snip from the chapter on apostolic succession:

He has given us the secret of the true succession.  In the principle of our Being we are HIS.  In the fashion of our Being we are like Him.  In the attributes of our Being we have the potencies by means of which we are able to express HIM.  To do this the central Mystery of our Being must be in motion.  Our fashion must take on HIS glory through that motion. The power must flow magnetically through all our fashion and all our attributes.  Thus being enriched from inner potencies through His motion within us, we become apostolic.  It is Divine in its giving.  Love is apostolic in its mission.  It is ambassadorial in its activity and in its motion.  Love is plenipotentiary.  It has the power of mediation, even unto healing.

I will show you how you may come into the direct line of a true, fully relevant, and genuine line of “apostolic succession.”   This line does not rest on false or spurious claims. It rests secure in the integrity of eternity.  This succession is not a way without a priesthood. It is the priesthood of the eternal Being, in whom all share, in which we live and move. It is not a line without a high priesthood. It is the Archpriest and Supreme Pontiff of all Being who communicates the power. He calls you.  He leads you upward.  He endows you. He sends you forth as His apostles and ambassadors.

The realities of God are of the Soul. To know how HE does bless, the Soul must enter into His Sanctuary, where alone it can behold HIM unto realization and know the real meaning of His glorious Cross in wondrous fashion; that Cross, the imprint of which is upon every child of the Father-Mother. It is inlaid on the altar of our heart and woven into the fabric of our Being.   (pp.238-239)

As we are headed into Holy Week, here is a comment on sacrifice.  I don’t know if I agree with Spruit, but, IMHO, this is worth pondering:

…the opposing currents or motions of life can be healed only through sacrifice.  But those motions or currents are not caused by any change of attitude in the Divine, but through conditions.  And these conditions often can be changed only by sacrifice.  (p.249)

A word from Herman Spruit

March 27, 2007

Look, Parson, if you… convinced people that you have decided to come clean, it might fill your church.  And what’s more important, it might start a revival of religious and ethical dynamics in your town. Deep down within yourself, if you start looking for it, you know this religion thing is not fully on the level.  You may have to look for it, your people don’t, they know.  They have been shopping at the religion counters long enough to know that much of the type of religion merchandized nowadays is below the requirements of the codes of honesty and truth.  The only people who stay around are the ones who haven’t found something more trustworthy yet.  The rest have flown the coop.  (from The Sacramentarion, p.3)

A little further down the page, Herman writes that one of his objectives was: To make Christianity honest, all the way, clear down to the core.   Whatever one may make of Herman’s work, that is a worthy striving.

Annunciation

March 25, 2007

An Orthodox hymn for the feast….

Today is revealed the mystery that is from all eternity.
The Son of God becomes the Son of Man;
Sharing in what is lower,
He makes me share in what is higher.
Once Adam was deceived:
He sought to become God, but failed.
Now God becomes man,
So as to make Adam God.
Let creation rejoice and nature exult:
For the Archangel stands in fear before the Virgin,
And with his salutation ‘Hail!’ he brings
The joyful greeting whereby our sorrow is healed.
O God, made man in merciful compassion:
Glory to thee!

Thinking soberly of ourselves

March 24, 2007

Tomorrow is one of those odd Sundays when feasts collide.  Depending on your community, you might be observing the Fifth Sunday of Lent and/or the Annunciation.  For folks using the LCC Calendar, the 5th Sunday of Lent is Passion Sunday, which in some other churches (such as the Roman denomination) is combined with Palm Sunday next week.   And today is both the Feast of St Gabriel the Archangel and the birthday of James Wedgwood, founder of the Liberal Catholic Church.  All that to say that this weekend is the liturgical version of a multi-car smash-up in a Nashville intersection. 

One thread running through all these observances is humility.   The gospel for the 5th Sunday in Lent (from Luke 18) begins with the parable of the publican and the Pharisee, in which we have the contrast of a hidden, contrite spirit with the pride of a Publically Religious Person.  Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  The gospel continues with Jesus telling the disciples to let the little children come to him, making the same point in another way: Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter in.

In the Annunciation, we see Mary humbly consenting to the mysterious message of the Archangel Gabriel:  Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.  One interpretation of Gabriel’s name is “God’s strength,” and we can be humble and little, precisely because of the power of the Highest which overshadows us.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, so we have no need to increase our own government.  We don’t have to make our little selves into more than we are, painting over shame and frailty, but rather we can trust in the Mercy and Power which orders all things.  James Wedgwood responded to the Spirit’s fresh, springtime wind of renewal in founding the Liberal Catholic Church. He ended his life in physical and mental decline caused by the socially embarassing illness of syphillis.  The LCC commmunity at Tekels Park did not hide him away, but gently and lovingly cared for him in his weakness.   

I have been reading some of Jeremy Puma’s writings over at Fantastic Planet (www.snant.com/fp) and was struck by a quote from the Secret Book of James, which points to the importance of humility as we head toward Good Friday. Jesus speaks:  Do not be proud because of the light that illumines, but be to yourselves as I myself am to you.  For your sakes, I have placed myself under the curse, that you may be saved.   Are we willing to walk in this path?

A word from Leo the Great

March 23, 2007

The body that lay lifeless in the tomb is ours.
The body that rose again on the third day is ours.
The body that ascended above all the heights of heaven to the right hand of the Father’s glory is ours.
(from Sermo 15, De passione Domini)

Wisdom from a strange source

March 22, 2007
I’m not generally a fan of Aleister Crowley, that brilliant, yet troubled trickster.  Although he enjoyed calling himself “the Wickedest Man in the World,” I tend to agree with Gareth Knight that Uncle Al was more tragic than evil.  Despite it all, he had occasional moments of insight, such as the following which I found by accident on Wikipedia.  You can read “priest” for “magician”.   I would tweak his perspective to say that we are not seeking to replace matter with Spirit and humanity with divinity, but rather seek to join them inseparably together.  If Crowley (!!) could understand this dynamic and its importance, why can’t we? 

A Eucharist of some sort should most assuredly be consummated daily by every magician, and he should regard it as the main sustenance of his magical life. It is of more importance than any other magical ceremony, because it is a complete circle. The whole of the force expended is completely re-absorbed; yet the virtue is that vast gain represented by the abyss between Man and God.

The magician becomes filled with God, fed upon God, intoxicated with God. Little by little his body will become purified by the internal lustration of God; day by day his mortal frame, shedding its earthly elements, will become in very truth the Temple of the Holy Ghost. Day by day matter is replaced by Spirit, the human by the divine; ultimately the change will be complete; God manifest in flesh will be his name.   (from Magick, Book IV, Chapter 20)

Father Taliaferro on anger

March 22, 2007

The late Father A.A. Taliaferro was an Episcopal priest who left TEC to found an independent, esoterically oriented congregation – St Alcuin’s Community Church in Dallas.  The church no longer survives, although the associated Montessori school does – www.saintalcuin.org .   Through books and tapes, he influenced a large number of people, including, most famously, Willie Nelson.  A kind soul is beginning to put some videos of Father Taliaferro (pronounced “Toliver”) on the internet.  Here is a talk about anger, and how we can use the energy it brings up for creative purposes:

http://www.brightcove.com/title.jsp?title=537093072&channel=533417207&lineup=537093071

A word from Rev Kristina

March 20, 2007

Rev Kristina Kaine (www.esotericconnection.net) sends out weekly reflections by email.  Recently, she has been working her way through the beatitudes.   Here is a small snip from this week’s post:

Above all, when others want to persecute us, to drive us away from them (which is what the word ‘persecute’ means), we must love. If we can do this, the quality of our love fills the universe with the true light. It is our ability to love in this way that makes us co-creators with Christ. Then the kingdom of heaven is ours, wherever we are.

As we accompany Jesus on his journey to the cross, as our consciousness changes with each step, we are able to bear the suffering – gladly even – which transmutes it. Unfortunately, our human nature can place suffering outside us, albeit unconsciously, inflicting hurt on those around us. In this way we crucify others.

Bear with me if I’m a bit slow on blogging.  Work is extremely busy, and taking a lot of my available time and energy.  At minimum, I’ll get reflections posted for Sundays and feasts, and other things as time allows. 

Firing up the ipod: DonkeyBoy

March 16, 2007

Great video, too:  http://youtube.com/watch?v=N2xE4QpRjJ8