Posts Tagged ‘Easter’


It is unique, and something that things I have taught I was reminded of from a post on the Christian Left this morning that my wife shared. We tend to have the patriachal view of the Easter Events…that is the men that hid, not the women that stayed. How true. From the Gospel of John where we paused the Good Friday services reflection of the Stations of the Cross at this moment:

26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27, New International Version).

Many hear these words, and think it is speaking of John, the writer of tradition, who is being spoken too. Yet we took this moment to do a collective reflection with our family, as Raymond Brown, a Catholic Theologian I read back in my seminary days would point out. The Disciple that is loved (or beloved disciple) is a mystery in the writing, for a reason. It is so the hearer/reader can hear/feel/see themselves in the story. Upon the cross, Jesus is asking us to care for his beloved mummy. To care for others in our world, alone, or cast aside but yet truly belong. The point of view in being connection. Living belonging.

Which is one such example as there is two stories at play from Golgotha to the Empty Tomb. The women, his Mum and the women that had supported the ministry, that were empowered, and brought to the full view of community, society and Empire as people. They remained as he breathed his last, as he was lowered into and sealed in the tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea (Celtic Lore would share is was this Joseph that would bring boy Jesus in his travels to the British Isles). They remained, they prayed, they prepared, they went, knowing the risk on this morning, as the sun rose.

To find the tomb empty.

To take back the story and the glory.

Those who were seen as nothing, not hated, or forgotten, simply, society did not care about them for they were not people. Yet, in the story of friendship with God, they were as deeply loved as Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus, Peter, Paul… Mary and the women at the tomb (Mary & Martha, Mary Magdalene, Salome are some names of the beloved women in the disciples) were just not cared for in society. It was one of the communal sins exposed that lead to Jesus’ death. A world that forgot everyone belongs, everyone is beloved, everyone is equal… a world that forgot how to care for neighbour, and was lost in its own selfishness, greed, and grasping for power. It is still a self-perpetuating communal sin that today, shows victory over is possible, that c-tine has laid bear in our world. Our collective inability to shape our actions for the health of all, and to realize that all life matters (and that all loss of life, is loss and cannot be rationalized out of on the human heart). We are currently the world, illustrated in the Star Trek Deep Space Nine two parter- Past Tense, that is so succinctly summed up by Dr. Julian Bashir:

In Past Tense Part 1 & 2, these were sanctuary camps in the 2020’s (think our own homeless camps)…and forgotten who our neighbour is, and why we have a crisis of homelessness and poverty in our world.

The women stayed shattered the glass ceiling of the oppressor. The women proclaiming “He is risen”, or for Mother Mary, “My son is alive”. Showed that these systems had no power. Nothing could overcome the simple love of life. As we sing Alleluia! and He is Risen, we truly need to understand what that means, for we were opened up to a very intimate relationship with Brother Jesus. He showed what intimacy, and compassion in action look liked. It is one of the great learnings from Diana Butler Bass’ (2021) Freeing Jesus I love, is how she walks through each way you encounter Jesus in a faith journey, yet the full scope of friend being the foundation. How it is not a puff piece, or pablum, but rather something we have lost in life. Biblically friend, is the terms the Hebrew Bible Patriarchs and Moses used in their relationship to God. For Jesus, Abba, the intimacy is even more than Father, but harkens back to Friend. That type of intimacy that is illustrated with the shredding of the veil in the Temple, the barrier separating what is usually termed the sacred and profane, or more palpable Creator and blessed Creation.

How do we truly understand this scope of friendship? Intimate relationships? Healthy relationships? The concept that family, as was shown in Golgotha is not about blood (genetics), but about love. Currently we have a skewed view of friendship, for social media has shifted it to a voyeuristic pursuit, not an active participation in life. But when we take the Holy Risk to make friends, we create true sacred space in our lives for belonging. When we approach those we do not know as possible friends, it becomes harder to forget how to care. It activates our empathy for the other, because we know how we care for those in our circles, and how we would feel if that was those family members.

We become the women that stayed. Watched. Acted. Proclaimed.

The disciple that is loved, and asked to risk taking someone in. The beloved disciples that wept, that prayed, that risked. The loving Mother, sisters, wives that show us what sacred love and holy friendship is. That if we can truly engage with and live into our world will be transformed as the call of Easter on our hearts.

Are we willing to stay?

Are we willing to risk being a friend?

Easter Reflection Sources:

Facebook post from the Christian Left

What We Left Behind: A Look Back at Star Trek Deep Space Nine (streaming on Tubi TV), watch trailer here.

Bow Valley Christian Church Easter Service view here.

Diana Butler Bass (2021) Freeing Jesus


No photo description available.

From DC Comics Facebook Page Captain Carrot

Ah the joy of Easter, my children even in their tweens and teens waking up to see what the Easter Bunny has left. Many decry us for “commercializing” Easter, but really it is the joy of the new, the love of discovery and mystery, and as my Mum always said, as long as you believe they will come (whether it was Santa or the Easter Bunny), and much like the early church, our family functioned and had its soul because of our Matriarchs.

We are entering into the unknown, we are living the unknown, as I have been sharing during this Holy Week. Our current times of social distancing, the anxieties, and fears some or all of us may be feeling at different moments is exactly how the friends of Brother Jesus were feeling up until the morning. The morning the women would go to show their love for their friend, son, (possibly) husband, and teacher. The one who showed them the way of radical love in shattering the principalities, the oppressors, those that put land and money ahead of people. They believed, they lived, the finally belonged affirmed in being a full person.

Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on Sunday morning,[a] just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3 On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.

-Gospel of Mark 16:1-4 (New Living Translation)

No photo description available.Then they were crushed by defeat. Are you hearing or seeing parallels in your own journey of life? Belonging? Love wins? Shattering glass ceilings? Affirming human rights? Decolonizing your country, and your own soul? Renewing, rebuilding, reconnecting, resurrecting a new and healthy self and community?

For all this was rolled into the women heading to the tomb. They were honouring the loss, grieving. Thinking that they had been defeated, was it all for nought? The same question can echo through our whole being during times of dissonance, times of disconnect, times when we feel defeated, those 1 step forward 2 steps back time…yet…

When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, 6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,[b] who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. 7 Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”
8 The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened

-Gospel of Mark 16:5-8 (New Living Translation)

See the source imageThe Universe, the Infinite Holy Mystery that all is in, and is in all, shook the status quo even furtherr than Brother Jesus. For they said… NO! To his death. NO! to the oppressors winning! NO! to the normalcy that society allows and builds rationales around for why all are not equal, all are not taken care of, all are not valued.

Easter Sunday, the Empty Tomb is the beloved Creator shaking the world and whole universe, all of creation with their:

NO!

And fear is a response in the grief cycle. It shook the women to realize that they had prepared themselves to mourn, to honour, and what were they handed?

LOVE WINS!

We are walking towards the empty tomb during this pandemic, we are expecting and desiring a return to the old status quo when we emerge. Just leave this time in the tomb. Same as the Empire and their apologists desired when they killed Jesus of Nazareth. And the resounding answer that this story would end, was simply, No.

Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen 

-Gospel of Mark 16:8 (New Living Translation, shorter ending)

They moved through the fear stage, and continue co-creating a new way of life. One that included everyone, brought everyone along, where resources were shared equitably, and when a need was heard of, it was filled. Where purpose and belonging were not tied to monetary means or whether or not one was a “citizen” of the Empire. More so, it was tied to one’s own inherent worth, gifts and talents being shared.

You belong because you are.

Let that settle in, as this morning Pope Francis used Easter Sunday to launch a new resurrection in the world, a clarion call that echoes these sentiments– #popeforubi. UBI is Universal Basic Income, yes my Trekkie brethren, we are one step closer to the Utopia of Star Trek.

To recap, for the simplicity of message as we find in the writings of John-Mark (in the Gospel of Mark), whose family owned the Upper Room, discipled by Peter and Paul, who recorded the stories of Peter for his gospel as tradition told us, written for an Empire audience of the Romans, yet simply what are we seeking today? My reflection Facebook after Resurrection Sunday service online:

Almost 2,000 years ago (just shy 12 yrs give or take) the empty tomb gave the friends a choice to radically continue the journey of love to transform their world. To throw of the chains of Empire, persecution, colonization, dehumanization cloaked and hidden in the name of God…the message was clear, whether they believed with word, seeing, or touching, Brother Jesus was alive, and the command of the whole heart was clear, love as he loved (and loves) us.
Will you be a part of the resurrection, co-creating the world today, and forward from this time in the tomb to the new resurrection day? Will you live out love? Allow for authentic belonging because we all have value for simply being?
Will you step out of fear into hope? And love as if each moment of each day is Easter Sunday?

 

 

 


By Benny Leung

The resurrection is the cornerstone of the Christian faith and I trust many of us are familiar with the Easter narratives.  The resurrection, as many of us know it, is a happy ending to the grander gospel story – the crucified Lord is risen, He appears to his followers, commissions the disciples to a world-wide mission and ascends to heaven.  Indeed, this is exactly Luke’s narrative on the resurrection story.  The reality, however, is that the resurrection stories are quite diverse across the four gospels.  For example, Matthew reports the resurrection, reappearance as well as the great commission but makes no mention of the ascension of Jesus.  John’s narrative is shorter still as he only narrates the resurrection and reappearance.  In today’s message, I will focus on Mark’s account of the resurrection story.  As usual, I will begin with an analysis of the passage and then proceed on to the hermeneutics.

It is consensus among modern biblical scholarship that the Gospel of Mark ends at 16:8.  After all, the most reliable early manuscripts all conclude with 16:8 and do not contain verses 9 through 20.  Unlike John, Matthew and Luke, the ending of Mark is perplexing and suspenseful.  For example, the women were told to deliver the news of resurrection to the disciples but fled the tomb instead, because they were afraid.  There is no joy, no reappearance, no great commission, no ascension.  Perhaps this is why the later scribes, out of good intention, added verses 9-20 to ‘complete’ the story as the early church tradition knows it.  Today I will not argue whether these additional verses should be part of New Testament scripture.  Rather, I want to focus on the perplexing and suspenseful ending that is dictated in 16:1-8.

The three women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, have witnessed the crucifixion.  In particular, according to 15:47, the two Marys also witnessed the burial of Jesus.  According to verse 1, the women prepared spices to anoint Jesus’ body likely because the burial took place in a hurry and there was not enough time to prepare the body properly.  From the perspective of the readers of Mark, another woman had anointed Jesus in Bethany not too long ago (14:3-9).  The actions of the three women in chapter 16 resonate with the narrative in chapter 14; together, the two accounts frame a story of victory.  Particularly the former account foreshadows the death of Jesus, while the latter account is a denunciation of the power of death over Jesus.  That is, the anointing of the body did not take place because Jesus has risen.

The three women expected to see the body of Jesus as they had the intention of anointing the body.  The question “who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” is a legitimate question.  After all, Mark wrote that the stone “was very large” and it would have been beyond the ability of the women to move the stone.  What follows is a surprise to the women.  Not only was the stone rolled away, but they saw a young man dressed in a white robe.  Present day readers, given the knowledge of the other Gospels, would be inclined to conclude the young man as a heavenly being.  However, the fact that the women were “alarmed” would also allude to a similar notion.  The Greek word for “alarmed” is also means “terrified/fearful/astonished”, which is a typical human reaction in supernatural encounters.  The idea that the young man is a heavenly being has significant implications – a message has been delivered from heaven and now humans must proclaim this message.

What follows is the resurrection announcement (16:6 NIV):

 

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here.  See the place where they laid him.

 

Jesus the Nazarene and the crucified one are inseparable.  Jesus the Nazarene is the dear Rabbi who the women had travelled from Galilee to Jerusalem.  Jesus the crucified one is the one whom the women witnessed suffering on the cross.  It is this Jesus who is not found in the tomb because He has risen.

 

The Greek word for “risen” in this verse is a third person passive verb.  In fact, a better translation of verse 6 is found in the NRSV where it is translated as “He has been raised”.  The implication of the third person passive verb would suggest that the resurrection itself is not caused by Jesus himself but God.  The fact that God raised Jesus resonates with the cry of “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me” (15:34) – God had never forsaken Jesus!  Rather, the resurrection is a judgement on those who mocked Jesus before the cross.  More importantly, God made Jesus a victor over the enemy – the power of sin.

 

After delivering the resurrection message, the young man instructs the women to “tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”  The empty tomb and the testimony of the women do not serve as sufficient evidence for the resurrection, particularly in a culture where women are deemed lower in class and less credible.  Instead, the key to proving the resurrection is the encounter between the disciples and the resurrected Lord.

 

Furthermore, this set of instructions also alludes to the rehabilitation of the disciples.  The singling out of Peter is likely designed to resonate with the Peter’s denial of the Lord instead of a suggestion that Peter would be a leader in the church.  This mention of Peter, in reference of his denial, ties closely with 14:26-31 where Jesus predicts the scattering of his flock, his resurrection, and the mention that he will go before them to Galilee.  Mark does not describe the disciples seeing Jesus, instead he recounts a promise that this will happen.

 

Finally, Mark concludes his gospel narrative with verse 8 – “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb.  They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid”.  This ending is perplexing because it is not an ending that we would expect.  The women had intended to anoint a dead body but was greeted by a message of resurrection instead.  Shouldn’t they be filled with joy because Jesus has been risen?  Rather they fled in fear and kept silent of the good news.  At the same time, the ending is suspenseful because, unlike the other Gospel writers, Mark does not venture into Jesus’ reappearance, the great commission, or the ascension, leaving the narrative without closure.

 

While some would challenge Mark as a poor narrator, I would argue that Mark purposely concluded the gospel narrative with an open end.  Bible scholars dated Mark to be written sometime between A.D. 55 and 70.  By this time, the early church has established somewhat of a foothold and the community of faith would have heard the testimonies of the disciples concerning the resurrection.  In other words, the resurrection would have been deemed as fact and not folklore that required objective evidence.  If that is the case, the message of Mark has no incentive to prove that the resurrection is true.  Instead, Mark wishes to challenge the community with this: you have now heard the gospel, what are you going to do with it?

 

I have stated many times that Mark portraits the disciples not as examples but failures and counter-examples.  Yet, the Lord, through the young man in the white robe, assures the invitation to them.  “Go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” serves as a vivid reminder that the Lord is faithful to such a point where He keeps the covenant even to those who have failed in the most epic way.  Peter said, to the Lord “Even if all fall away, I will not.”  Yet, according to Luke 22:60-62:

 

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about!”  Just as he was speaking the rooster crowed.  The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.  Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”  And he went outside and wept bitterly.

 

It is not tough to imagine what Peter had felt after seeing the soul piercing eyes of Jesus.  The man who vowed loyalty to the Lord ended up betraying the Lord.  Peter is now broken but the Lord, through the invitation to Galilee, seeks to reconcile with Peter.

 

As distant as the resurrection story is to the present-day Christian, the application of the story’s principles is timeless.  “Go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” is as applicable to us as it did to the disciples.  A common blind spot amongst Christian men and women is the notion that we think we are invincible to temptation.  I, for example, have fallen victim to this blind spot.

 

I graduated from university in 2005 and so I am an old dog now.  Shortly after graduating I was involved with a woman whom I had a physical relationship with.  As a person who had been attending church since a teenager, I have promised the Lord to not do such things, but I have failed to keep my promise.  The relationship lasted a few years and we eventually parted ways.  The bible is right that man and woman become one as they join in an intimate way.  I knew I had hurt her, I knew I had hurt myself and I knew I had failed the Lord.

 

Like Peter, I was in so much shame that I felt unworthy to attend church.  However, the holy spirit convicted me to confess to a few brothers and sisters whom I had trusted.  One of the brothers made extra effort to walk along side with me in through the journey.  He made me promise to read one chapter of the Gospel a day.   Beginning with the Gospel of Mathew, it did not take long for me to get to Mark 16:17.  “Go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”  The Lord had gone ahead not only to meet Peter but to meet me also.

 

If the physical Galilee is the place where the disciples were called to witness a renewal in discipleship, then Mark 16:7 is the Galilee where I heard Jesus’ call again – a call for repentance, a call for renewal, a call for obedience, a call to follow him once more.  The Lord has come to reconcile with me.  It was like seeing Jesus in a different way; I was able to see him more clearly than before.  But make no mistake, life was not rosy after this.  In fact, some had used this information as a weapon against me, but such is the consequence of my misdeeds and I have no one else to blame but my foolishness.  Yet, the Lord has used my testimony as an encouragement to others who are in a similar predicament, and at the very least, I am no longer living in the bondage of my misdeeds.  Perhaps Mark is right after all, life is not necessarily easy when God decides to turn it upside down.

 

Let me wrap up today’s message with a quote Tim Geddert’s commentary: “Mark ends his Gospel, not by telling the reader what happens in Galilee, but by telling them what must happen in Galilee.  It is not about literal journeys back and forth between Galilee and Jerusalem, but a life of following Jesus.”  The resurrection story is not only about how God defeats the power of sin but also about how holy God has come to reconcile with man.  The invitation to Galilee is open to me as it is to you.  Most of us here have heard and accepted the Gospel but now what?  Now we must go to Galilee, where we will meet Jesus and respond to His call once more!


There are many Empty Tomb or resurrection narratives found within the Canonical Gospels, never mind the ones in the pseudepigraph (apocrypha-gnostic—the ones Constantine’s Scholars did not want). There is scenes we are familiar with of Doubting St. Thomas putting his fingers in Brother Jesus’ wounds; talking with disciples on the road; eating fish with them.

BUT-

The oldest text ending we have was what is believed by tradition to originally been recited to John Mark (his folks owned the Upper Room, yeah that one, he was there at the arrest and ran away naked, and he journeyed a bit with Paul) by Peter (the one that Jesus called Satan in one moment, and in another was being called the foundation stone of the Christianities, and Brother Jesus entrusting him with the keys if you will).

This was the original “ending-beginning” (original Sonrise):

 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were saying to each other, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. (And it was a very large stone!) Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.[a] He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

-Mark 16:1-8 (Common English Bible)

Fear? Seems an apt human response to finding your friend’s body missing. Even with the message, these women had heard the rumblings of the authorities, or of other factions on what to do with the body to break the back of the movement.

Yet the message went to three strong women. It was the true community message time. In ancient world customs took 2 women to equal one man in testimony. Yet here you had a Trinity. Much like a mirror reflection of the Trinity of God (Creator), Jesus (master teacher/way shower) and the promised Holy Spirit (community empowerer). The women were Mary, Mother of James (who was Jesus’ brother)—the co-creator of the life of Jesus; Salome (Herod’s niece who was manipulated in killing John, reborn within the movement, a new child mentored by the women); and Mary Magdalene (once written off as a sex worker in a derogatory manner, now history showing that she was the major sustainer of the community, through her monies keeping things going, and very possibly the wife of Brother Jesus).

An earthly feminist trinity receiving the truth. That even the plans of evil, power, Empire and Religious Controllers were undone. They had heard the message (the Gospel proclaimed of the new Kingdom to come) and they had seen the signs…yet in the midst of the reality. Truly having their society’s meta-narrative shattered, the caste system of religion, economics and colonialism blown away…the fear of change gripped them and they rolled through it as they ran.

Who would do any different in the midst of such drastic change?

With each change in life no matter how minuscule, our emotional intelligence goes through the journey of grief. That is what this group was going through, later accounts tried to alleviate that understanding. This earliest account allows you to enter into it.

Not only enter into it, but after the fear rolls through and you are left with the acknowledgement of what just happened.

Flowing into that moment of new reality. That moment when one realizes nothing can stop radical love. Nobody can stop true belonging. No matter how much “power they have”. For all the powers of the known world attempted to and looked as if they had succeeded in silencing the peasant labourer from Nazareth…and the Holy Mystery and a big Nu-Uh for them as the sun rose on a Sunday.

They may have run in fear…

But what came next is how each of them, and cascading into each member continued to write their own Gospel story.

Empires and religious controllers to come may have tried to set and seal the Christian Testament, but they too missed the moment of fear of the women. For it was in that moment of fear, that they knew the story was no longer about the life lived of Brother Jesus. It was now about the lives living the way of radical love of Brother Jesus and the transformed world to come.

It was now their Gospel. Their political proclamation of radical love and belonging.

It was their answer to the question, who is my Neighbour?

This Easter Sunday, as the sun rose, and you were confronted with the man in white telling you the tomb was empty…where is your fear taking you?

            What is your Gospel? Your political proclamation of radical love and belonging?

            What is your answer to the question, who is my neighbour?


A Judas Goat is a spy-mystery reference for someone who infiltrates the movement to bring it down, or a member of a movement turned. Judas obviously from the story of Judas Iscariot in the Christian Testament. Goat can be of two veins. One being scape goat, that in which communities would place their sins upon for sacrifice to make right, or goat the old English colloquialism of one that acts out for praise and attention. But it is a term that transcends many tales for one used in their own mind to do what is right, or to correct for the one’s in power and control.

14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

-Matthew 26:14-16(New International Version)

Judas is a name that moved from heroic connotations within the context of the stories of the Maccabees and the messiah being waited on…to one of betrayer with the Gospel proclamation of what has become known as Holy Week. Literature wise it was a character that allowed to show the false messiah ship of the warrior king, that in the end would prove the destruction of the religious controllers’ due to the use of force and power. Over the centuries there has been debate about Judas Iscariot. Why did he do it? Was it a power grab? Was it for the money? Was it for jealousy? Or did Judas truly believe, as recent theologians will postulate that by doing this he was advancing the Kingdom?

Take time in contemplative journaling-whether it is in colour, art, writing or all three on the story through the eyes of Judas.  What comes through for you as the truth of the journey?

For the deal is struck. The Upper Room is prepared… and what we term Maundy Thursday is about ready to begin:

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

-John 13:1-15

The Supper with friends is seen as the institution of communion, some will say because it is only in the newest Canonical Gospel, John, that the idea of foot washing is introduced. Yet this Gospel is a proclamation of community mystic life. It zeroes in on the Sacrament of Service (remember that whole Love your neighbour as yourself and your God thing?). As Brother Jesus lowers himself to the simplest of acts after a long day for his followers.

It is why foot washing is often still used, many churches have abandoned the practice…yet they miss something in the story by doing this. There is nothing more humbling to truly understand the walk the talk actions.

Yet in this moment, Jesus knew something was off.

Continue your journal as Judas…what is rolling in your heart in this moment of humility??

How has this radical love moment challenged your previous life actions?

What calling has been laid out for you in this moment?

Will you answer the call?


Mendicant. It is Latin, and as such appears to hold airs of awe-ness. Yet when the word is translated it means open hand or to be more abrupt how it was used back in the 13th century for Francis of Assisi and his circle of friends—pan handler, beggar. That which we attempt to continually criminalize today. Those that seek a share of blessings of others, and then continue to spread out from there.

For Franciscans Mendicant is a call to remember where the blessings and possessions flow from. The Source of the Holy Mystery that will continue to provide, given that the flow is continued within the blessings to continually move out and not store up.

The teaching of the Exodus Story as the people wandered, Quail and Manna was sent each day to be gathered, on the 6th day, there was more so an extra portion could be gathered. When there was attempt to horde, it rotted.

In Acts 5:1-10 the physician Luke recounts this tale of the early church:

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

A desire to remind the community the source of blessings, the choice to openly share, the need not to lie or horde. The choice to live out of the love of the Holy Mystery within. If you would like a bonus spiritual practice, take this story and write it from the perspective of Ananias or Sapphira, what is revealed about your own journey?

These thoughts bring us into meditating upon the Aquarian gospel 111:

Jesus teaches. A man requests him to compel his brother to deal justly. Jesus reveals the divine law, the power of truth and the universality of possessions. Relates the parable of the rich man and his abundant harvest.

1. And Jesus taught the multitudes; and while he spoke a man stood forth and said,
2. Rabboni, hear my plea: My father died and left a large estate; my brother seized it all, and now refuses me my share.
3. I pray that you will bid him do the right, and give what is mine.
4. And Jesus said, I am not come to be a judge in such affairs; I am no henchman of the court.
5. God sent me not to force a man to do the right.
6. In every man there is a sense of right; but many men regard it not.
7. The fumes that rise from selfishness have formed a crust about their sense of right that veils their inner light, so that they cannot comprehend nor recognise the rights of other men.
8. This veil you cannot tear away by force of arms, and there is naught that can dissolve this crust but knowledge and love of God.
9. While men are in the mire, the skies seem far away; when men are on the mountain top, the skies are near, and they can almost touch the stars.
10. Then Jesus turned and to the twelve he said, Behold the many in the mire of carnal life!
11. The leaven of truth will change the miry clay to solid rock, and men can walk and find the path that leads up to the mountain top.
12. You cannot haste; but you can scatter forth this leaven with a generous hand.
13. When men have learned the truth that bears upon its face the law of right, then they will haste to every man his dues.
14. Then to the people Jesus said, Take heed, and covet not. The wealth of men does not consist in what they seem to have–in lands, in silver and in gold.
15. These things are only borrowed wealth. No man can corner up the gifts of God.
16. The things of nature are the things of God, and what is God’s belongs to every man alike.
17. The wealth of soul lies in the purity of life, and in the wisdom that descends from heaven.
18. Behold, a rich man’s ground brought forth abundantly; his barns were far too small to hold his grain, and to himself he said,
19. What shall I do? I must not give my grain away; I must not let it go to waste; and then he said,
20. This will I do; I will tear down these little barns and built up larger ones; there I will store away my grain and I will say,
21. My soul take now your ease; you have enough for many years; eat, drink and fill yourself and be content.
22. But God looked down and saw the man; he saw his selfish heart and said,
23. You foolish man, this night your soul will quit its house of flesh; then who will have your garnered wealth?
24. You men of Galilee, lay not up treasures in the vaults of earth; accumulated wealth will blight your soul.
25. God does not give men wealth to hoard away in secret vaults. Men are but stewards of God’s wealth, and they must use it for the common good.
26. To every steward who is true to self, to other men, to every thing that is, the Lord will say, Well done.

Get comfortable, and prepare to enter the story. Slow your breathing down. Feel the chair you are in melt away. Feel the room fall away. Move back into the time of the ancestors. In the gathered market place, you have travelled from a small centre to hear the travelling labourer turned teacher. The words you have heard of this man speaking have shaken up the wealthy in your town, and scare the religious leaders.

 

  1. As you hear Brother Jesus for the first time, let the words truly sink in. When were you lost in the mire? When were you like the farmer trying to horde away all the crops and letting them rot instead of trusting provision. What emotions does it bring up? What memory really sticks out? Sit with the memory and what happened within it? What is revealed of your heart in these moments in your journey?
  2. As you hear Brother Jesus for the second time, let the words truly sink in. When has the clay slipped away to allow you to ascend the mountain top? What memories come up in the moment when you know you were in sync with the Holy Mystery, a true mendicant? Stay with the feelings. What opens within your soul?
  3. As the words tumble from Brother Jesus’ lips a third time Let the heart of the Holy Mystery become one with yours. Where are you being called to wealth and wisdom within your vocational life? Sit with this call and let it resonate within you. Are you ready to take the first step?

Slowly bring your breathing back to normal. Feel the dust vanish. The noises of the market place vanish. You travel forward in time, feel the room reshape around you. Your chair again. When you are ready open your eyes.

The call is as simple as when Jesus offered Peter the keys to the kingdom. He stands in your heart, all is connected. The Cosmic Christ offering you the keys to the kingdom. Are you ready:

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e]loosed in heaven.”

-Matthew 16:17-19

To answer are you ready for your call, re-read the passage above from Matthew, only replace Simon, Son of Jonah, with your first name and who your parents are, replace Peter with your name. Now re-read it 3 times, pausing each time to let the words and sentiment truly set in.

Our Brother Jesus has laid out a path of unity and oneness for the family of humanity, it is simply bound together in L-O-V-E. The Cosmic Christ holds the key to unlock Universal love for you.

Are you open to stepping out of materialism, and into the Holy Mystery?


It is Passover; it is Pagan Fertility festivals; it is Eastertide…yup it is the time of year when the cold winter ends, the harsh gray is illuminated with new light, the darkness recedes, the snow melts, and new life springs forth.

Anyone who has spent any time in the life recovery movement, or the re-housing movements knows that new life is springing forth daily. It is like a caterpillar emerging from the cocoon as a butterfly. But it is not a simple process to have a new life.

Any change brings grieving over the loss of the old, and the rediscovery of who one is within the new reality, whether minor and short or major and a pilgrimage of the new. Much like the caterpillar digesting itself within the cocoon to truly become goop and reformed into the beautiful butterfly.

This is the season of transformation and change. The season of leaving behind the old that has held you back.
The season of release and renewal.

This is the time of year when our whole beings are focused on new beginnings, new life…it is a time when we can easily choose to release the old and start a fresh.

As the frost of winter melts away.

The grayness of night is illuminated by the light of dawn.

A time, as the ancient Johannine community wrote in their Gospel of the Cosmic Christ, the light shone into the darkness and left it confused (dispersed).

Are we going to recognize the light shining within us to allow the darkness to be shed like an old snake skin for our new radiant souls?

 


On March 13, 2013 the broader non-Catholic world came into the Charism of St. Francis of Assisi when Pope Francis the First began his pontificate and began slowly chipping away at the Papal Imperial Plan to bring out the gospel way as laid out by Rabbi Jesus. For this Jesuit pope, it was a gospel path laid out by mendicants in the 13th century Italy. That’s right, beggars, the homeless (y’know the ones that he has opened the palace up to for sanctuary).

But who were these mendicants? They were the quirky ones, the ones without place in society, the ones called out by Francis Bernadone the son of a wealthy family of Assisi, who went off to be a Knight in the Crusades in the Holy Land, only his party skills and legend did not translate well onto the battlefield and he spent many a day wounded and jailed. In fact it was on the travel back he found himself in a little falling down chapel in San Damiano.  Where in his delirium, a voice of the Cosmic Christ spoke to him:

san damiano

“Francis rebuild my church”

After three rebuilt chapels, and some mighty fine refurbishments if Francis did say so himself, the vision of the Christ within came to him once more to elucidate the calling more: “Not the buildings, the community.”

Think on that. As the world treats Pope Francis like a rock star and are astounded by his ways, he is emulating the Living Christ within, the one that called to Francis and led Francis to strip himself of worldly wealth, and walk out of a world of prestige and falsity. He would move out with those “outside the norms of society, he would go with the lepers, and create an egalitarian role for women; and to top it off, would even take a pilgrimage to the Vatican to get the Pope’s blessing of his age. But that was not the most scandalous action, as Francis realized as a world we are a village, he would go to the Holy Land and spend time in silence, prayer, feasting and dialogue with Saladin leader of the Muslims he once called enemy attempting to broker a peace between the children of the Holy.

Think it through today.

Why does Francis matter?

Simple:

He lived simplicity.

He understood the inclusivity of community by providing the proper supports for all.

He understood and lived a shared Eco-system.

He showed love and respect for all of creation (very Shamanic, just think of his Feast Day October 4 where animals are blessed around the world).

He did not see labels, but saw brothers and sisters… even deeper he saw the Cosmic Christ within each and every one of us.

He lived for justice.

At the centre of it all, was simply love. Nothing more. Nothing less. The Holy message of the way shower, Brother Jesus of Nazareth.


Holy Spirit College

Holy Spirit College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Donut of Life

 

What does this donut chart mean? It is something that came to me during SON-rise (my new term for Easter to avoid any ties to bunnies and chocolate, although that is fun too), for we are in the midst as a Body of Christ, struggling with not dying in Canada.  A church a week shutters its doors.  But is it the Body that is dying or the institution?

But it is dying for some say we are irrelevant. And that is the saddest commentary ever for a movement that was founded to be something transformational and life giving…purpose giving in life.  This is what we need to get back to, not a bunch of academic head games, but the heart of the Gospel.  The heart of Christos… that is what the birth, life (teachings/miracles), death and victory of the peasant labourer Jesus of Nazareth truly mean to us.  These ideas represent no one else’s reflection but my own, shaped from a journey of recovery in the institutional church.

Life that is true theology lived…God within everything, everything within God. For a wisdom seeker for salvation (personal and communal transformation).

Each of us has an understanding of what we believe of the story of God with us and us with God, the impact of Brother Jesus in our personal and communal life, and the family we have been called into by the Holy Spirit. Mine is:

https://tyragan.wordpress.com/creed/

What is your Creed? 

Take into account how and what we classify as the scriptures.  Is it simply what the Christianity we are immersed in calls the Holy Bible? Does it include our liturgical service? Hymnology? Prayer books? Theological texts? Fictions? Non-Fictions? Mythologies? Legends? The litany of what shapes our character in text, auditory, visual and action goes on and on… For me my understanding of the Holy Texts of the Holy Mystery are vast, but I come to it not as inerrant word on a page, but for the deeper metaphorical meanings that transcend time to speak directly to me and my community today on our journey.

What is Scripture to you?

For it is in the resurrection of SON-rise that our lives are given peace, hope and meaning.  We truly experience the love eternal of our beloved Creator.

Within the stories, we find a redaction or insertion if you will that does not fit in the time of the piece written. But in Matthew 28: 16-20 we have the Great Commission. Something we have truly pooched as an institution. For we have made it about converts, and saying pretty prayers. When what it is about, the essence, is that we are to mentor (disciple). Live life with one another and help one another grow.

Statistically the secular world understands this. Alberta Mentor Foundation for Youth and Big Brothers & Big Sisters know and have proven that one hour a week will radically change for the better someone’s life. Interdependence is the new vogue in humanism… yet in the Christianities we still exist in the heresies of independence, not only a heresy but a farce.

What is disciple making to you?

It is kind of funny because the last piece I want to reflect on within this life with God is sacraments. Which is our outward showing of our inward mystery. Yet each of the previous sections could fall under this.

Some may know the traditional SEVEN found in Christianities in some form or another: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/special/default.aspx?id=29

Now there is nothing wrong with these sacraments, but I think they are trying to tell a story themselves that each believer needs to understand.

Holy Orders, Baptism, Confirmation, and anointing of the sick are all Life Passages for once we are a believer we are an ordained priest in the Order of Christ Jesus. Baptism is an initiation, confirmation is apart of disciple making, and anointing of the sick Or last rites (also the funeral service or life celebration or wake) are all pieces of a life lived in community for transformation. So let us acknowledge that while living in community together we will honour and celebrate each milestone and step on the journey together? Let us honour one another’s callings, some are called to teach, preach, prophecy, but others are called to serve, to cook to be trades people or emergency responders or … fill in the blank… once you have chosen life with God whatever your passion is, is your calling… and it needs to be celebrated. So I would say honestly a sacrament of Affirmation/Celebration is what is needed.

The next step is looking at marriage… sadly this is a contentious debate that even for church goers in Canada is not about love and souls being entwined by God and honoured by family, it has become about a piece of paper issued by the Government. For me, I would say this is the wrong sacrament for the Christianities to honour.  We need a Blessing of Family a time to recognize the life cycle of relationships within our communities. Friendships, romantic relationships and familial blood ties.  Those bonds that bind us together as family within the Holy Spirit need a time to be honoured before God and our beloved.

Finally we look to the Eucharist/Lord’s Supper/Communion and Reconciliation. Why are these two tied together? For me it comes down to the heart of a sacrament of Community or Hospitality if you will. It is about being a welcoming and loving community, with no hierarchy, a willingness to admit wrongs, and celebrate joys together.  The marriage vows are actually quite appropriate for a community of believers. We are to enter into communion together drinking of the Cup of Promise and eating of the Bread of Life for Jesus called us friends.

This leads to the additional sacrament that of Service.  This is a reminder that Jesus lived his life by actually living his life out of God’s love. It is about serving our world to produce the transformation we want.  It would be about enshrining in the values of the Christianities the idea of Giving/tithing our time, talent and/or treasures depending on our level of blessing. This is not to some rotting institution but to the family we have been brought into by the Holy Spirit and our neighbours. It would be reminding folks that volunteerism is a pillar of Christ, so is donating money and goods (for it is in the Acts of the Apostles we are told the communities held everything in common and no one was in need). So is honouring are callings.

What are your Sacraments?

Put simply, reflecting on the close of this SON-rise, what is LIFE to you?


Sunday, April 8, 2012
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When will all of us be outraged enough to take whatever steps we can to make sure that violence is brought to a halt in our land?
April L. Bogle: Draping Grief
This Easter weekend, I’m grateful to be able to see the divine love that is outside my windows and within me, rising, transforming, being reborn.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: A Conversation With Trayvon Martin’s Mother
“If Trayvon can die and no one pays a price, it can be someone else’s child next time. This isn’t only about our family, it’s about all families. It’s about all children. Trayvon is everyone’s child.”