Posts Tagged ‘Mary’


…Jesus son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next, and of those granted nearness to God.

-Sura 3:46

                The Crusades were a horrific time within the Empire phase of Christianity. It was about anti-Semitism (travelling to and from the Holy Land was a great excuse for the warriors to cull the Jewish in the lands) and to let blood run high in the Holy Land battling the “infidel”.

During one such crusade time a disgraced Crusader received a call to something different. Francis was a party animal, one of those wealthy ne’er do wells many towns and communities know of. He thought to increase his lot by bravery in the Crusades…suffice to say he was not a good Knight, and wound up injured in a burnt out church where Jesus spoke to him through the San Damiano cross calling him to rebuild his church. After stealing supplies from his father, and rebuilding 3 fine parishes he was once again revisited and redirected to actual community based around hope and loved. Even beaten and imprisoned by his own parents, just emboldened this man to cast of (literally) the clothes of wealth and walk naked into the world.

The Franciscan movement is what began. Part of the life lived that receives little mention outside of the international circles (as most just know Francis for his love of animals, not activism) so he has been reduced to the garden statue or fountain. Yet it was in the midst of crusade times this rabble rouser and friends upset the apple cart, and not just in the challenge for equity and justice for the poor. Nope, he also crossed treasonous lines by going back onto the Crusader path to meet with Sultan.

Why?

To pray together.

To talk.

To share bread.

To be community.

Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was ever inclined to God and obedient to Him, and he was not of those who associate gods with God.

-Sura 3:68

Francis and his community understood an eternal truth. God is the source of all that is, all that exists within and through and lived out of the Holy Mystery. The source-Love- was not to be confused with the manifestations. That is…the wells are not the river.

We want the labels to divide. Those in power hope that we allow the labels to divide. Yet, there is another way. A way where we acknowledge the One River, and sample one another’s well water in a safe place of community, sharing prayers, sharing discourse, sharing bread. Being like Francis and the Sultan. That piece of light in the darkness.

And he will teach them the Book, and The Wisdom, and The Torah and the Gospel.

-Sura 3: 49

This is why my family hosts an inter-faith Questing through the Qur’an; and a Brunch & Bible (where we travel the roads of the Gospel of Luke & Acts of the Apostles) on alternating weeks. To share the foundation stories. To see where we connect. To hear where we differ.

To know  we are still united in our diversity.

                Much like Francis’ call to bring the gifts of peace, hope, faith, joy and love to Sultan. But also to receive these same gifts from Sultan.

For, what are we in humanity,

if not neighbours….

francis

The Gospel story, the faith story has not ended. It is not sealed. Each of us in our journeys, our lives continue to write in the book of life about how we live within, through and out of the love that is the Holy Mystery. So what is the new chapter you are starting in this moment?

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It is amazing how an equitable and just community built upon the creation of equality found in Genesis 1 would become an empire of patriarchal oppression. Yet it is the story that happened. Constantine declares he had a vision to conquer under the cross. It was the cross that eliminated the pantheon and transformed the religion of the oppressed into the Empire’s rallying cry around 324 CE. It was also a rallying cry that stripped away many of the traditions, stories and mystics of the time for one that fit Constantine’s Empire narrative. Much was lost. Then came the great schism in 1054 CE between Eastern and Western, and more was shed to fit the surviving narratives on either side of the divide. And the narrative continues through the Crusades, the Reformation, Enlightenment, Restoration, Monastic renewals, Charismatic, New Thought/Metaphysic, Mormon and so on and so forth. Each stripping away narratives that spoke of the inherent equality of the movement.
Each that warned of a world to come if we allowed the power of the money, the power of politic to usurp the dignity of the neighbour, the person we are and the person next to us. Some of these narratives survived but so buried under the mistake of “unworthiness” needing to be saved in the “blood sacrifice” that the narrative of inclusion, love and belonging was lost. Even so much as to strip away the power of the Mary story, by usurping it by the Joseph story, and the God story. Making Mary a secondary or even tertiary voice in control of her own body.
This was not the intent of the sacred story.

Yet there are examples of warning, of other stories literally stripped from “Canon” depending on which movement branch of the tree of the Christianities you belong to. Here is one example within the Deutero-canonical tradition-the story of Susanna:

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1 There dwelt a man in Babylon, called Joacim:
2 And he took a wife, whose name was Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, a very fair woman, and one that feared the Lord.
3 Her parents also were righteous, and taught their daughter according to the law of Moses.
4 Now Joacim was a great rich man, and had a fair garden joining unto his house: and to him resorted the Jews; because he was more honourable than all others.
5 The same year were appointed two of the ancients of the people to be judges, such as the Lord spake of, that wickedness came from Babylon from ancient judges, who seemed to govern the people.
6 These kept much at Joacim’s house: and all that had any suits in law came unto them.
7 Now when the people departed away at noon, Susanna went into her husband’s garden to walk.
8 And the two elders saw her going in every day, and walking; so that their lust was inflamed toward her.
9 And they perverted their own mind, and turned away their eyes, that they might not look unto heaven, nor remember just judgments.
10 And albeit they both were wounded with her love, yet durst not one shew another his grief.
11 For they were ashamed to declare their lust, that they desired to have to do with her.
12 Yet they watched diligently from day to day to see her.
13 And the one said to the other, Let us now go home: for it is dinner time.
14 So when they were gone out, they parted the one from the other, and turning back again they came to the same place; and after that they had asked one another the cause, they acknowledged their lust: then appointed they a time both together, when they might find her alone.
15 And it fell out, as they watched a fit time, she went in as before with two maids only, and she was desirous to wash herself in the garden: for it was hot.
16 And there was no body there save the two elders, that had hid themselves, and watched her.
17 Then she said to her maids, Bring me oil and washing balls, and shut the garden doors, that I may wash me.
18 And they did as she bade them, and shut the garden doors, and went out themselves at privy doors to fetch the things that she had commanded them: but they saw not the elders, because they were hid.
19 Now when the maids were gone forth, the two elders rose up, and ran unto her, saying,
20 Behold, the garden doors are shut, that no man can see us, and we are in love with thee; therefore consent unto us, and lie with us.
21 If thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee, that a young man was with thee: and therefore thou didst send away thy maids from thee.
22 Then Susanna sighed, and said, I am straitened on every side: for if I do this thing, it is death unto me: and if I do it not I cannot escape your hands.
23 It is better for me to fall into your hands, and not do it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord.
24 With that Susanna cried with a loud voice: and the two elders cried out against her.
25 Then ran the one, and opened the garden door.
26 So when the servants of the house heard the cry in the garden, they rushed in at the privy door, to see what was done unto her.
27 But when the elders had declared their matter, the servants were greatly ashamed: for there was never such a report made of Susanna.
28 And it came to pass the next day, when the people were assembled to her husband Joacim, the two elders came also full of mischievous imagination against Susanna to put her to death;
29 And said before the people, Send for Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, Joacim’s wife. And so they sent.
30 So she came with her father and mother, her children, and all her kindred.
31 Now Susanna was a very delicate woman, and beauteous to behold.
32 And these wicked men commanded to uncover her face, (for she was covered) that they might be filled with her beauty.
33 Therefore her friends and all that saw her wept.
34 Then the two elders stood up in the midst of the people, and laid their hands upon her head.
35 And she weeping looked up toward heaven: for her heart trusted in the Lord.
36 And the elders said, As we walked in the garden alone, this woman came in with two maids, and shut the garden doors, and sent the maids away.
37 Then a young man, who there was hid, came unto her, and lay with her.
38 Then we that stood in a corner of the garden, seeing this wickedness, ran unto them.
39 And when we saw them together, the man we could not hold: for he was stronger than we, and opened the door, and leaped out.
40 But having taken this woman, we asked who the young man was, but she would not tell us: these things do we testify.
41 Then the assembly believed them as those that were the elders and judges of the people: so they condemned her to death.
42 Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and said, O everlasting God, that knowest the secrets, and knowest all things before they be:
43 Thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me, and, behold, I must die; whereas I never did such things as these men have maliciously invented against me.
44 And the Lord heard her voice.
45 Therefore when she was led to be put to death, the Lord raised up the holy spirit of a young youth whose name was Daniel:
46 Who cried with a loud voice, I am clear from the blood of this woman.
47 Then all the people turned them toward him, and said, What mean these words that thou hast spoken?
48 So he standing in the midst of them said, Are ye such fools, ye sons of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the truth ye have condemned a daughter of Israel?
49 Return again to the place of judgment: for they have borne false witness against her.
50 Wherefore all the people turned again in haste, and the elders said unto him, Come, sit down among us, and shew it us, seeing God hath given thee the honour of an elder.
51 Then said Daniel unto them, Put these two aside one far from another, and I will examine them.
52 So when they were put asunder one from another, he called one of them, and said unto him, O thou that art waxen old in wickedness, now thy sins which thou hast committed aforetime are come to light.
53 For thou hast pronounced false judgment and hast condemned the innocent and hast let the guilty go free; albeit the Lord saith, The innocent and righteous shalt thou not slay.
54 Now then, if thou hast seen her, tell me, Under what tree sawest thou them companying together? Who answered, Under a mastick tree.
55 And Daniel said, Very well; thou hast lied against thine own head; for even now the angel of God hath received the sentence of God to cut thee in two.
56 So he put him aside, and commanded to bring the other, and said unto him, O thou seed of Chanaan, and not of Juda, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thine heart.
57 Thus have ye dealt with the daughters of Israel, and they for fear companied with you: but the daughter of Juda would not abide your wickedness.
58 Now therefore tell me, Under what tree didst thou take them companying together? Who answered, Under an holm tree.
59 Then said Daniel unto him, Well; thou hast also lied against thine own head: for the angel of God waiteth with the sword to cut thee in two, that he may destroy you.
60 With that all the assembly cried out with a loud voice, and praised God, who saveth them that trust in him.
61 And they arose against the two elders, for Daniel had convicted them of false witness by their own mouth:
62 And according to the law of Moses they did unto them in such sort as they maliciously intended to do to their neighbour: and they put them to death. Thus the innocent blood was saved the same day.
63 Therefore Chelcias and his wife praised God for their daughter Susanna, with Joacim her husband, and all the kindred, because there was no dishonesty found in her.
64 From that day forth was Daniel had in great reputation in the sight of the people.

Notice a parallel in the Jian Ghomeshi or Harvey Weinstein story of today?

I challenge you to spend time with this parable. Break it down like one would in English class. Take it through the plot diagram of preamble, inciting incident, rising action, climax, denouement (falling action) and resolution. Then break down who is the protagonist (hero), antagonist (villain and other challenges the hero faces); supporting cast. Then challenge your world view, what would happen if you flipped the antagonist and protagonist? For we must understand that which we are against. Do this in community and alone. Then each take one of the outlines and re-write the text in 21st century of the community you exist in today (community league, religious gathering, etc.)…

What light has the story of Susanna shed on love for self and love for neighbour in the heart of the Holy?


38 years old is the book. Amazing isn’t it in this throw away society that something has endured and lasted through childhood, multiple uses in ministry from churches to streets to outreaches…to quiet nights on Christmas Eve with my own children. A pop up book back when Hallmark published such things, given to me by my Nan and Granddad to commemorate my first Christmas a scants 4ish months since birth, and 2ish months since the Christening into the Anglican tradition, within the Roman Catholic School gym (shamrock backboard and all).

Yet it is the story that endures and matters. Many argue the historicity of it. Did it actually happen? Was their a Virgin birth? Did it happen on Christmas Day? What about the Pagan Solstice?

Yet in simply sitting with my family this Christmas eve, no spiritual home to say, and reading the story of the family travelling at the darkest time of year seeking shelter. Dark times? The Solstice tells us this is the darkest time of year. The extra burden wrought by taxes that do not take not even affordability, but survival into account (no comment to Carbon Tax I promise)…that was the oppression of the Roman Empire where Joseph and Mary, and their people were viewed as a number, as commodities (ringing any familiarity yet?) to be used and abused.

Mary steps out of the commodification of her gender within her oppression by Rome and Religious Israel, to claim her yes in power to the Holy Mystery to bear his child. Where did this child come from? Some say a Virgin birth, some say another oppression by a Roman soldier using his property, much like David used Bathsheba, what we today call Rape, or a genocidal practice…yet Mary was the one asked whether or not she would keep it, would choose life in herself and for her baby and was blessed.

Yet that was not the end of the story, for Joseph also had to choose life. He had to choose to keep his betrothed (purchased) property and the child that was not his. He had 3 options, become the town joke by choosing and create their own outcast ways, cast Mary outside the city gates like other sex trafficked women to her death with child, or have her stoned to death.

Mary’s yes resounded to a mystical moment for Joseph to choose his own yes.

Yet this is not the end of the mysticism of the story as societal constructs of oppression are thrown off. For we are in the midst of the 12 days of Christmas. Yes it is more than a song, and I am sure the Google can reveal the Christian imagery revealed in the lyrics, but it is the 12 days that high liturgical churches embrace as a way of bringing the two nativities together.

For Luke gives us the call out to the other cast outs and oppressed imaged by the shepherds to come to the birth. Yet in Matthew, the universal Love that is the Holy Mystery, is told of the Magi who use means of magic, astrology and astronomy to track this effect in the sky of a bright light in the darkness to come and show love.  For the gifts brought would definitely be of benefit 30 years on when Jesus would leave being a general labourer and set forth to live transformational love in the world.

Yet it is the journey of the Magi, and their decision to not let Herod know what they knew about the source, Love incarnate in the manger, this is the source for the festival time Christendom finds themselves in now. The 12 Days of Christmas between the birth and the arrival of the Magi…or between the Protestant-Catholic Christmas and the Orthodox Christmas..

The universal story of these 12 days resonates outward everywhere, for it is not about creeds or bibles or buildings…it is something more incarnate.

These 12 days it is about the spiritual journey to the centre. It is about the journey home. For it is the Magi journeying into love, and then out of love and letting that light live to transform the world.

As I read the pop up book this year to my children, these are the thoughts that came out of my heart. The journey of love has not changed for anyone in our household. The journey into and out of love and letting it shine, is a moment by moment occurrence for each of us.The symbolism of the rite and song are not lost either as we continue the journey to home.

So in these 12 days, and beyond, what is your choice of love and home mean to you?


There are many versions of the Nativity of the Master Teacher known as Jesus Christ, more historically accurate, Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Bar Josephson. There is the canonical gospel stories that appear to overlay many of the mystery religions of the ancient world’s tales of divine birth. That being in the Gospel of Luke where we find Mary’s calling or Joseph’s calling.

Yet what if other historical accounts were accurate. Think of how Jesus’ was referred to in the Gospels, the son of Mary…could it be that in an oppressed land, where the oppressed were seen as lower than cattle, where women were seen as lower than that, could there be a possibility that he was the product of rape and then so that Mary would not be killed by the mob or put aside to live out a life of destitution or prostitution, Joseph took her in to raise a child not his own.

Through this act of divine love, the child was blessed because of this and grew in unity with LOVE from the get go which opened up the ability of this enlightenment, an achievable step for all of humanity if we live into and out of the same divine spark within us all.

Could this be why the next story to hear is not so jarring? Is it because it was not shocking to Jesus for he knew that within the flow of allness that Joseph was still with him and his Mum? Surely he is not the callous asshole this passage can portray? But in different times, different hearings and different life passages we may experience different things.

As we enter in to chapter 30 when Jesus hears of Joseph’s passing, have your tools present to express what comes through for you, whether that is journaling, crafting, colouring, wood work or painting there will be an expression at the end of this Lectio Divina.

Settle into comfort, prepare your soul to hear this story for the first time. Slow your breathing, connect with the source. Feel the room you are in, the chair, bench or cushion melt away. You are in First Century India travelling, learning and discovering. Enter into the story through the Sacred Heart of Brother Jesus.

Upon this first reading, what phrase leaps out at you? Let that phrase rest with you into your meditation time for a few moments.

Reading One:

Chapter 30

Jesus receives news of the death of his father. He writes a letter to his mother. The letter. He sends it on its way by a merchant.

1. One day as Jesus stood beside the Ganges busy with his work, a caravan, returning from the West, drew near.
2. And one, approaching Jesus, said, We come to you from your native land and bring unwelcome news.
3. Your father is no more on earth; your mother grieves; and none can comfort her. She wonders whether you are still alive or not; she longs to see you once again.
4. And Jesus bowed his head in silent thought; and then he wrote. Of what he wrote this is the sum:
5. My mother, noblest of the womankind; A man just from my native land has brought me word that father is no more in flesh, and that you grieve, and are disconsolate.
6. My mother, all is well; is well for father and is well for you.
7. His work in this earth-round is done, and it is nobly done.
8. In all the walks of life men cannot charge him with deceit, dishonesty, nor wrong intent.
9. Here in this round he finished many heavy tasks, and he has gone from hence prepared to solve the problems of the round of soul.
10. Our Father-God is with him there, as he was with him here; and there his angel guards his footsteps lest he goes astray.
11. Why should you weep? Tears cannot conquer grief. There is no power in grief to mend a broken heart.
12. The plane of grief is idleness; the busy soul can never grieve; it has no time for grief.
13. When grief come trooping through the heart, just lose yourself; plunge deep into the ministry of love, and grief is not.
14. Yours is a ministry of love, and all the world is calling out for love.
15. Then let the past go with the past; rise from the cares of carnal things and give your life for those who live.
16. And if you lose your life in serving life you will sure to find in it the morning sun, the evening dews, in song of bird, in flowers, and in the stars of night.
17. In just a little while your problems of this earth-round will be solved; and when your sums are all worked out it will be pleasure unalloyed for you to enter wider fields of usefulness, to solve the greater problems of the soul.
18. Strive, then, to be content, and I will come to you some day and bring you richer gifts than gold or precious stones.
19. I’m sure that John will care for you, supplying all your needs; and I am with you all the way, Jehoshua.
20. And by the hand of one, a merchant, going to Jerusalem, he sent this letter on its way.

Meditate on the phrase for about 5-10 minutes.

Stay in time and place resting in the Sacred Heart, as you prepare to hear the story again, what memories are invoked when you were literally at a crossroads on a journey as Brother Jesus was? What was your decision? What emotions came through as a result of that decision? Let that decision rest in your soul for time after the reading.

Second Reading:

Chapter 30

Jesus receives news of the death of his father. He writes a letter to his mother. The letter. He sends it on its way by a merchant.

1. One day as Jesus stood beside the Ganges busy with his work, a caravan, returning from the West, drew near.
2. And one, approaching Jesus, said, We come to you from your native land and bring unwelcome news.
3. Your father is no more on earth; your mother grieves; and none can comfort her. She wonders whether you are still alive or not; she longs to see you once again.
4. And Jesus bowed his head in silent thought; and then he wrote. Of what he wrote this is the sum:
5. My mother, noblest of the womankind; A man just from my native land has brought me word that father is no more in flesh, and that you grieve, and are disconsolate.
6. My mother, all is well; is well for father and is well for you.
7. His work in this earth-round is done, and it is nobly done.
8. In all the walks of life men cannot charge him with deceit, dishonesty, nor wrong intent.
9. Here in this round he finished many heavy tasks, and he has gone from hence prepared to solve the problems of the round of soul.
10. Our Father-God is with him there, as he was with him here; and there his angel guards his footsteps lest he goes astray.
11. Why should you weep? Tears cannot conquer grief. There is no power in grief to mend a broken heart.
12. The plane of grief is idleness; the busy soul can never grieve; it has no time for grief.
13. When grief come trooping through the heart, just lose yourself; plunge deep into the ministry of love, and grief is not.
14. Yours is a ministry of love, and all the world is calling out for love.
15. Then let the past go with the past; rise from the cares of carnal things and give your life for those who live.
16. And if you lose your life in serving life you will sure to find in it the morning sun, the evening dews, in song of bird, in flowers, and in the stars of night.
17. In just a little while your problems of this earth-round will be solved; and when your sums are all worked out it will be pleasure unalloyed for you to enter wider fields of usefulness, to solve the greater problems of the soul.
18. Strive, then, to be content, and I will come to you some day and bring you richer gifts than gold or precious stones.
19. I’m sure that John will care for you, supplying all your needs; and I am with you all the way, Jehoshua.
20. And by the hand of one, a merchant, going to Jerusalem, he sent this letter on its way.

Meditate on the decision for 5-10 minutes.

Stay within the Sacred Heart of Brother Jesus as you prepare for the third reading. Within these words, hear the parable of new life and old life. Who is calling you back to your old life? Who do you need to redirect to other supports so that you can continue on your new path? What new path is awaiting you if you will simply release the old?

Spend time contemplating this new path within this third reading.

Third Reading:

Chapter 30

Jesus receives news of the death of his father. He writes a letter to his mother. The letter. He sends it on its way by a merchant.

1. One day as Jesus stood beside the Ganges busy with his work, a caravan, returning from the West, drew near.
2. And one, approaching Jesus, said, We come to you from your native land and bring unwelcome news.
3. Your father is no more on earth; your mother grieves; and none can comfort her. She wonders whether you are still alive or not; she longs to see you once again.
4. And Jesus bowed his head in silent thought; and then he wrote. Of what he wrote this is the sum:
5. My mother, noblest of the womankind; A man just from my native land has brought me word that father is no more in flesh, and that you grieve, and are disconsolate.
6. My mother, all is well; is well for father and is well for you.
7. His work in this earth-round is done, and it is nobly done.
8. In all the walks of life men cannot charge him with deceit, dishonesty, nor wrong intent.
9. Here in this round he finished many heavy tasks, and he has gone from hence prepared to solve the problems of the round of soul.
10. Our Father-God is with him there, as he was with him here; and there his angel guards his footsteps lest he goes astray.
11. Why should you weep? Tears cannot conquer grief. There is no power in grief to mend a broken heart..
12. The plane of grief is idleness; the busy soul can never grieve; it has no time for grief.
13. When grief come trooping through the heart, just lose yourself; plunge deep into the ministry of love, and grief is not.
14. Yours is a ministry of love, and all the world is calling out for love.
15. Then let the past go with the past; rise from the cares of carnal things and give your life for those who live.
16. And if you lose your life in serving life you will sure to find in it the morning sun, the evening dews, in song of bird, in flowers, and in the stars of night.
17. In just a little while your problems of this earth-round will be solved; and when your sums are all worked out it will be pleasure unalloyed for you to enter wider fields of usefulness, to solve the greater problems of the soul.
18. Strive, then, to be content, and I will come to you some day and bring you richer gifts than gold or precious stones.
19. I’m sure that John will care for you, supplying all your needs; and I am with you all the way, Jehoshua.
20. And by the hand of one, a merchant, going to Jerusalem, he sent this letter on its way
.

Mediate on this new path for 5-10 minutes.

Re-focus on your breath, feel the ancient world fade away, do not lose the Sacred Heart you experience the story through, for this Sacred Heart was not Brother Jesus’ but is your Sacred Heart that allows the Divine Spark to live within you, and you within it.

Feel your chair/cushion/bench/or pillow again. Feel and experience the smells, sounds and textures of the room you are in. Move your fingers and toes, bring your breathing up to a normal pace through deep cleansing breaths.

Whatever tool you chose for post meditation soul work, take up and create what your new path looks like as you have left the old in the ancient world and are ready to embark upon the new.


This is the first of a series of reflections coming from a book study that we are involved in with the Universal Church of the Master Alberta. It is an exploration of the 1908 metaphysical text The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ

 

  1. That naught can make them one but Love; that God so loved the world that he has clothed his son in flesh that man may comprehend.
    21.The only Saviour of the world is love, and Jesus, son of Mary, comes to manifest that love to men.

                                                -Aquarian Gospel 7:20-21

There is a golden cord that resonates throughout this Gospel, that ties through the sacred texts of eternity, and for long time readers of this site will recognize the word as a basis for my faith: L-O-V-E.

Please ignore the term “men” or “man” it is not about only one gender being saved or mattering, it is the terminology of 1908, and we cannot let that hold us up for these terms were used universally for all humanity (and this is a universal teaching).

It is true in each cycle of life on this planet there is a prophet/apostle/teacher that emerges to lead the way back to the one true source of life, that being love. Think of the ancient mystics, the shamans, the medicine people, clerics, heroes of lore, and current spiritual masters… which ones can you name and why?

Mother Teresa. Clare & Francis of Assisi. Dalai Lama. Martin Luther King Jr. Louis Riel. Desmond Tutu. To name but a few.

This was laying out that within this cycle of teachers came Jesus and his Mum. I say Mary, as mentioned in earlier e-books and talks, Mary since her ascension, has had many appearances that shatter ideological and divisive ways of the name Jesus, to point people back to the true source of Love. This cumulative work that shows a take on the life of Jesus—a story, allegory, metaphor, that ties everything together in love points us to what the Gospels were saying in the New Testament and Gnostics, not to mention other texts. Strip away the cultural laws, to the core message and that is the core message that works, not necessarily the literal black and white words on the page.

So with this golden cord, what are you choosing today?

What is love lived in you going to look like?


Thanks to the bookstore at the Centre, and a wonderful wifey, I have come into possession of a new collection of writings of Joseph Campbell on Bliss. It is a good and deep read, as he moves through mythologies exploring deeper meaning, religious meanings, psychological. It is interesting as he speaks of the Hindu culture moving from literalism to symbolism, but what struck most is his reflections on Christendom.

Specifically there is the usual historics of how many of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) stories reflect oral traditions from the Goddess tradition that showed a twinning of Male-Female, yet these tales brought forward a strong singular Patriarchy that silenced the Mother Wisdom.

But I digress, the intriguing theory that stuck in my mind was in regards to Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth, that Christendom would later term the Christ. It was two simple words: Virgin Soul. Not Virgin Girl. Not young woman. Not Virgin Mother. But Virgin Soul.  This term struck me as profound in my morning meditation, as it creates this space within the Mary story for others who want to explore the feminine and the spiritual without surrendering to dogmatics around immaculate conception or Ascension. One doesn’t even have to enter into the debate on how Jesus was conceived whether via Angel, Holy Spirit, Roman Centurion or Joseph…

For Virgin Soul speaks to who Mary was at her core. This non-entity in her world, but a holy person. One untouched by cynicism, corruption, abuse of the holy, in fact I would say it speaks to a soul that resonates with unity with the Spirit within, without having lost that connection through trauma.

Reflect on it, Mary’s Virgin Soul opened her up to the wonderful blessing that  a child raised to see what is just, compassionate and loving could do in this world. A path was laid out by a woman for her illegitimate son that transformed the world. The heart of this life for the young Jesus bar Mary was simply:

What Would Love Do?


Speaking notes from today’s Stampede Service at Centennial Presbyterian Church, Spirit moments of note are these two quotes:

“God does not care what we say our rules are, He wants to talk to his kids all made equal and in His image”

“Mary, can very well be seen as an Indigenous person, and Romans as colonizers.”

Dancing the Circle:

The Strength of Love in her YES!

July 13, 2014 @ Centennial Presbyterian Church (10:30 a.m.)

In the Christianities of the world, the most venerated person, after Jesus of Nazareth, is his mum, Mary. It is amazing when you think about her, why would so many turn to her?  Why this peasant girl is turned Mother of God so important? Could it be that through her time of being voiceless, through her faith she discovered her voice to declare a resounding “Yes” to God in her love, and because of this, it was not a patriarchal ladder she climbed for God to birth a kingdom bringer, but an all encompassing circle of family she danced.

For those who may have a Roman Catholic background, or even those of other’s faith, since the traditional belief of her assumption into heaven she has appeared worldwide in apparitions carrying the Gospel message of peace, love, hope, faith, and joy.

Mary has a powerful story.  There is much out there about Mary one can Google, an e-book I wrote about her on sabbatical or look up, read, even meditations, prayers and services. But it is within the ancient stories we discover who this person is when set in the proper context.

She lived in a small town, in a nation that was under occupation by an Empire. Where the people were seen as nothing more than livestock, as a girl, until she could bear children she was seen as a burden on her family, for occupiers she was seen as nothing more than a sex toy if they chose. Once of child bearing age or even before her father would enter a business relationship with another man who wished to purchase the daughter on the hope that a) she could bear children, b) that child be a son. Other than that her role was to take care of the home, even when widowed and the elder son cared for her, it was still up to her to keep the home.

This was an agreement by and for men, that the child was expected to abide by. Once signed she was betrothed to this man, and any visitations or signs of impropriety with a male would end in her either a) being cast out of the city walls, or b) taken before the patriarchal religious authorities and stoned to death.

A world where the faith was passed down though at the apron hem of the mothers, aunts and grandmothers to all genders, until the boys became men at age 12, and at age 30 were expected to wed, move into the main house, and build on attachments to care for their parents and if need be, wives parents. Yet the germination of faith started from the women.

This is a child who never was asked what she thought, was only told what to do. We shall in a moment experience the time she found her voice.

But if you ever enter into the gospel stories of Mary, watch her, she is an amazing woman. Struggling with her own challenges and fears, she goes and helps her aged and pregnant cousin to deliver a prophet into the world even while her betrothed contemplates having her stoned to death or simply cast out to the sex trade workers outside the city walls for the transgression of carrying a child not his; she pushes her son to act out of love and hospitality at a wedding feast; she follows him as a world executes her child, not a prophet or a messiah to her, but her child…as they beat him, and lynch him. She watches it all, and she buries him. She holds his movement together by finding the right people to become leaders. This peasant girl from a town probably no bigger than Bassano, Alberta from a family lower than labour class as it is a labourer that purchases her to be a child bride. Yet it is the simplicity of her strength that shakes the world from its oppression, and that she continues to shine her light into the darkness of destruction, death, feminine, plague, hatred and war and shines brighter still to watch those answer the call of love into the Holy Mystery, and living that love out to transform their world. She constantly lives the circle metaphor that is family, a connection of all interwoven through the heart of Christ, what each of us is called to be.

We are going to take a moment to enter into that love ourselves this morning. It is a spiritual exercise from Ignatius of Loyola for studying sacred texts, whatever you find sacred texts or music to be.  You hear or read it three times. Each time we rest with a question and seek an answer.  This story is called “The Annunciation” it is the story of the Holy asking Mary to bear a child. Her yes, grew an ever expanding circle of love in this world that she birthed us with Jesus…this is the first step for us in discovering how we can also aid in birthing Jesus to our world. So…

Get comfortable in your seat. Close your eyes. Slow your breath, discovering your rhythm and becoming one with the environment around you. Let your mind cleanse itself, do not worry if a thought pops up, acknowledged it, and then place it aside until after. Feel the pew and this building melt away, feel the dust of the old world, the bustle of livestock, chattering of children working and playing, women talking, perhaps the clang of soldiers moving throughout the village. You are entering into the announcement; you are a thirteen year old peasant girl, who has just been bought by a 50ish year old man to bear his child.

As you prepare to hear the story for the first time, sit and listen, what words or phrases from your own life do you remember? How does this shape your understanding of Mary’s story?

Read Luke 1:26-39

As you prepare to hear the story a second time, what images are formed or memories surface in your mind as you hear these words? Let you sit with these images/memories and see how the Holy uses them.

For the third and final hearing, can you feel Mary’s anxiety or trepidation to say yes, when was there a time in your life that seizing your yes in love meant a harder road? Sit with that memory and know that, like Mary, you are transforming this world.

Slowly bring your breath back to normal, feel the pew beneath you, the dust melt off you, the sounds of the village vanish, the sounds of the city and this room greet you. Bring your breathing rhythmically up to its normal pace, open your eyes.

Welcome back Mary, how shall we dance God’s circle in this world, and let love reign?