Posts Tagged ‘Peter’


What did you learn from that?

-Dr. Finn, The Orville Season 1, Ep. 2 “Command Performance”

See the source imageThe episode Command Performance, finds the second officer brooding an egg (a single gender species reproductive practice-do not ask I do not want to digress right now); and the Captain and first officer trapped away from ship, leaving Lt. Kitan Alara, the Security Chief in command for the first time. Her first actions lead to a disastrous explosion that harms the ship and crew.

The quote is a rebuff by the ship’s doctor when she attempts to get out of command based on the error. It opened up thoughts on this blustery Good Friday in Calgary as we continue the cycle of non-spring weather with another snow flurry (and parts of Southern Alberta awaiting or receiving upwards to 20 cms). It is a weekend in North America where a hashtag to end the shut down is beginning to pick up moment (dumb asses, as Red from That `70’s show would say); where some mega churches have been pushing for congregating together to celebrate for “the blood of Jesus” will protect you if you have the faith (dumb ass), the Yellow Vesters movement in Alberta is planning a gathering this weekend to promote the “fake news” of the pandemic not being real (may they all receive the $1,200 fine a piece and hopefully 6 months a piece in remand if they amp up the aggression issue), see my thoughts echoing Red on the first point of the hash tag. Now, some may say the fines aren’t a reality, but they are and I am proud of the Calgary Police Service for the news of two handed out this week (read here), for one being symptomatic and breaking the health order of quarantine, the other to the nefarious Street Church in Calgary that uses the offering of free food for those in need as a way to peddle a toxic gospel message, verbally and emotionally abuse individuals and waste our courts and politicians time in faux outrage of non-existent oppression. Yes, I have had my run ins with them and their hatred formula, and on this Good Friday as we reflect on the different stories of Jesus, Pilate, Caiaphas, Peter and Judas, I would say the “preacher” of this movement falls into the category of the religious oppressors out to kill hope, peace, joy, faith and love.

I akin it in Canada to a unified Team Canada across 9 provinces, 3 territories and our Federal Government in working together to accomplish the impossible of flattening the curve, and ending the pandemic–then you come to my home province where our Premier’s insecurity is on display with him taking over the Chief Medical Officer addresses, where nearly 1/4 of lay offs during the pandemic were executed by a Saturday press release/tweet of public school staff and education assistants (for those most vulnerable of our exceptional children); a health minister that is breaking privacy rules to personally bully doctors and health professionals, cancelling agreements that is driving doctors out of our rural areas, an authoritarian power grab by-passing the elected Legislative Assembly by the Premier…and the list goes on as ideology outstrips common sense and compassion for fellow neighbours and citizens.

Yet it is driven and some faithful are having the scales fall away from their eyes like Paul in Damascus, but others are doubling down in the creation of a assertive eugenics movement that can see the least of these not make it through the pandemic not because of natural virus progression but rather advert government interference to strip the supports necessary for life to continue. This attack on the elements of kindness, hope, peace, joy, faith and love at the heart of the Holy Week journey.

For it is the drive to kill these key elements of human spirit that is the crux of the Good Friday story. It may be missed, and lost within the drive to maintain the normal, the hierarchy, the patriarchy, the institutionalization, the colonialism, the system that exists, the empire, the capitalism… Yet what is missed within the story is that the oppressive powers truly were afraid of what happens when the people understand kindness, their inherent worth in simply being (Imageo Dei) and belonging, here these words anew with that lens:

John 18:1-19:42 (The Message):

18 Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.
2-4 Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples went there often. So Judas led the way to the garden, and the Roman soldiers and police sent by the high priests and Pharisees followed. They arrived there with lanterns and torches and swords. Jesus, knowing by now everything that was coming down on him, went out and met them. He said, “Who are you after?”
They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
5-6 He said, “That’s me.” The soldiers recoiled, totally taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.
7 Jesus asked again, “Who are you after?”
They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
8-9 “I told you,” said Jesus, “that’s me. I’m the one. So if it’s me you’re after, let these others go.” (This validated the words in his prayer, “I didn’t lose one of those you gave.”)
10 Just then Simon Peter, who was carrying a sword, pulled it from its sheath and struck the Chief Priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Malchus was the servant’s name.
11 Jesus ordered Peter, “Put back your sword. Do you think for a minute I’m not going to drink this cup the Father gave me?”
12-14 Then the Roman soldiers under their commander, joined by the Jewish police, seized Jesus and tied him up. They took him first to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the Chief Priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people.
15-16 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was known to the Chief Priest, and so he went in with Jesus to the Chief Priest’s courtyard. Peter had to stay outside. Then the other disciple went out, spoke to the doorkeeper, and got Peter in.
17 The young woman who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples?”
He said, “No, I’m not.”
18 The servants and police had made a fire because of the cold and were huddled there warming themselves. Peter stood with them, trying to get warm.
The Interrogation
19-21 Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I’ve spoken openly in public. I’ve taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I’ve said nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a conspirator? Question those who have been listening to me. They know well what I have said. My teachings have all been aboveboard.”
22 When he said this, one of the policemen standing there slapped Jesus across the face, saying, “How dare you speak to the Chief Priest like that!”
23 Jesus replied, “If I’ve said something wrong, prove it. But if I’ve spoken the plain truth, why this slapping around?”
24 Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to the Chief Priest Caiaphas.
25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was back at the fire, still trying to get warm. The others there said to him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?”
He denied it, “Not me.”
26 One of the Chief Priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
27 Again, Peter denied it. Just then a rooster crowed.
The King of the Jews
28-29 They led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s palace. It was early morning. They themselves didn’t enter the palace because they didn’t want to be disqualified from eating the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and spoke. “What charge do you bring against this man?”
30 They said, “If he hadn’t been doing something evil, do you think we’d be here bothering you?”
31-32 Pilate said, “You take him. Judge him by your law.”
The Jews said, “We’re not allowed to kill anyone.” (This would confirm Jesus’ word indicating the way he would die.)
33 Pilate went back into the palace and called for Jesus. He said, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”
34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you this about me?”
35 Pilate said, “Do I look like a Jew? Your people and your high priests turned you over to me. What did you do?”
36 “My kingdom,” said Jesus, “doesn’t consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But I’m not that kind of king, not the world’s kind of king.”
37 Then Pilate said, “So, are you a king or not?”
Jesus answered, “You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice.”
38-39 Pilate said, “What is truth?”
Then he went back out to the Jews and told them, “I find nothing wrong in this man. It’s your custom that I pardon one prisoner at Passover. Do you want me to pardon the ‘King of the Jews’?”
40 They shouted back, “Not this one, but Barabbas!” Barabbas was a Jewish freedom fighter.

The new hope being born through these times, if we let the old oppressive regimes die, and the awaiting resurrection– new birth– is being seen in the assertion of public education, universal health care (including mental health, dentistry, optometry and pharma care a truly holistic approach) and a guaranteed universal/basic income are the policy pieces. At the community level we are realizing the true value in simply being, understanding that every role in our society matters and should be able to have a living-thriving wage.

Wow, true belonging.

Currently though as you can see, the globe is in the struggle of Good Friday. The fake trial, the assertion of the old that destroyed and continues to destroy so many, and the new standing there, scourged, beaten, crucified as the old cheers wins or so it seems. But how much longer can it limp along, using catch phrases, and tweet politics/religion to stop the blessing of the gifts?

In our Good Friday where are we choosing to stand?

With the old– or

with the gift of being, belonging, hope, peace, faith, joy, and the most precious, LOVE?

You are the jury of the soul for yourself and community,

how do you cast your vote?


I do chuckle at those that desperately want to harken back to what was. Whether it is politically, socially or religiously. Usually they cloak themselves in the veneer of a religious or political tradition (or both) and in the case of those that try to recapture Christendom or the flailing Christianities, I do ponder if they have read the actual stories they claim to grow their beliefs from. It is a challenge regardless, and may appear as a rude take, but let’s unpack it a bit more.

We are going into the Acts of the Apostles. This is the second book of “orderly history” the Physician Luke was attempting to write down of the history of the early Jesus movement is what tradition tells us. Shortly after it is recorded of Jesus’ Ascension, and Mary (his Mum) playing a key role in choosing a replacement for Judas Iscariot, we move into the day of Pentecost. Before we deep dive however, let’s unpack a few key points so one knows what the heck I am rambling about.

The Christian Holy Bible is two books (possibly 3, but let’s keep it simple). The larger portion is the “Old Testament”, what I refer to as the Hebrew Bible, the scriptures of Judaism. The shorter part, is the New Testament, or the Christian Testament as I refer to it. It is a collection of stories and writings of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, but also letters and history of the early movement of his followers which was an anti-thesis to the Roman Empire movement of power, segregation, oppression and control. The early movement shared everything, and men & women were equals, hence the importance of Mary of Nazareth blessing the replacement, and for those who have read the Gospel accounts, it was the women who were witness to the first sighting of Jesus post-death.

Which brings us into the Book of Acts, or known as Acts of the Apostles. It is a collection of stories of the early church, the highs and lows and struggles. Pentecost is the church day of celebration taken for when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles (Formerly Disciples) so they could speak in tongues. Pause– this is basically a reversal of the ancient myth in the Hebrew Bible Book of Genesis, the Tower of Babel, that was used to explain where languages came from, this piece we are to see in what is to come is more of a universal translator where all could hear and understand (Acts 2:1-23).

The story comes from Acts 2:14-36 (English Standard Version), please note scripture is in italics, reflections are in bold:

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.[a] 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

Third hour of the day is about 9 a.m., I know the argument of drunkenness is plausible but it misses the point, that there was those in the crowd reacting to hearing their own language from those that they did now know. It was an attempt to discredit, Peter, a fisherman, who did alright for himself, he owned his own boat, but had spent the last 3 years travelling with the Rabbi that had so scared the status quo their only way to deal with him was to execute him.

What also was laid out was due to the translation clear communication in an understood language. Common ground was being created. Then Peter, takes the steps to honour the past, no matter how messed up and chaotic it was. He starts with a Prophet.

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
    before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Peter had learned from the best. Calling out the opiate religious rulers. Those tolerated by the Empire because they kept the masses pacified to be used as nothing more than cattle within the Empire. Here Peter, reminds them of what a Prophet during an ancient occupation and exile had exalted. See prophets were not future seers as we like to use them in this day and age to build coffers in churches. The prophetic voice is one that speaks into the current reality, and calls out the rulers who are causing harm. It is directed at the religious leaders, the declining, neigh, dying Christendom that has existed since Constantine converted to conquer in 325 CE, and is words to be heard today to remind us what our purpose is– Care, Love of Neighbour as we love ourselves (this is how we show love to the Holy Mystery above all else. As Pope Francis reminded us, first you pray-then you act).

The message is about the power that exists within each of us. The pouring out, is the moment of enlightenment, when we resonate with the divinity breathed into us at Creation. Pause, and reflect. How do your actions show love of self and neighbour? It is a resonance with the connection of life- business, politics, family and church.

 

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[b]delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

Peter then built upon the teachings of the past, and pointed to the now. The Empire could not kill the love gospel. What does that mean for us now? To often we hold to the past and yearn for it to return that we are unwilling to learn and grow from the lessons there. We are unwilling due to fear, anxiety, and quest to maintain the power and control we have to step into the unknown of the new light.

But what happens if we step into the new light?

25 For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
    for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
    my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
    or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
    you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

David is a highly beloved historic figure. After exile, the nation had re-set his story from 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings, in the highly sanitized 1-2 Chronicles. By sanitized, remember when Wal-Mart took R rated movies, and edited them to be family fair? Or the editing Turner Classic Movies does. All the excess violence, rape, murder plots, were removed, and David was presented as this holy warrior. What is lost when one takes away the evil? That which is meant to be overcome? Simple, we get a picture of life where you must always be good. No I am not condoning rape and murder, though in the time David was functioning as a monarch was allowed to. What I am saying, is we need to honour the whole person, but also understand restoration. Whether it is in our communities or justice systems. It is not simply about constant vilification, and revenge. 

If the soul is willing to change and heal for the betterment of themselves and others, then it is our calling within the Holy Spirit to create space for that as well. For would we not wish the same quarter given us?

The firm flipside of that however, is that we must also hold space, and carry through with restoration, healing and reconciliation with the victim so they too can be truly whole once more. It is the debate and growth that is lost when we sanitize our past and cannot use it is a foundation for healthy growth forward.

 

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 

That is firm to remember. If we hold in the past without the healing that is possible. No, I am not pointing only to the spiritual. That is a piece of it, but within the blessings we are also given medicine, scientists, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. True healing with the power of the Holy Spirit from the traumas of the past and present…is trusting the Holy Spirit in the other. It is the path of healing laid out, and by entering into it, like one in faith would enter into a prayer meeting with that level of faith and trust… well… new life is just around the corner.

34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35     until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

The cross is messy and nasty. We have attempted to individualize it, and bring it down t a simple prayer of contrition at an altar call post after filling coffers. Crap on a stick people we have missed the point. It is about the person, the neighbour, the whole of creation. The past being pointed out as buried points to the cycle of life. Dust to dust. Or as one state recently passed, corpses as compost. We are interconnected. We choose love, we choose life it means we choose a path of reconciliation, healing and belonging.

Honour the foundation that you have built your life on. Know good or bad, the past is in the past. Deal with the pain, trauma and loss. It does not do our body or communities well to suppress and hide it. It is a hard path, but well worth the release of what is next. Thank your system for the internal gremlins that though may have held you back- kept you safe and going forward. Then do the work to release and eliminate.

A new day is here. One day at a time.

Will you build upon the past and let your new life fully bloom?

What does growing reconciled with your past mean for your present and future?

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Check out the YouTube Channel- Ty Ragan

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coverSeeking to understand…building on the past, preparing for healing and reconciliation to move forward:

A stone skipping across a pond leaves ripples with each impact.

The joys and life of traumas are the like the skipping stone through the generations.

Soul Ripples

What happens when the helper needs help?

For over 20 years Ty Ragan served his neighbour from the rough camps to the shelters to home and every where’s in-between. The simple life lesson of Jesus of Nazareth to love your neighbour as yourself was the centre question to be answered in his life. In May 2016 his life would begin to change drastically through unknown seizures and strokes.

Enter into the ripples that brought him to 2016, the transformational power of love of family and friends as he seeks new ripples in hope for his soul.


We now enter a writing that may or may not have been written by Peter. For those that assume a Petrine authorship it was probably written around 64 CE before his execution, but there is a point on its leaning on Jude, which could put the writing anywhere’s from 64 CE to 150 CE in the city of Rome. It opens with this concept of communal discernment of calling.

 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[c] his own glory and excellence,[d] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,[e] and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities[f] are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers,[g] be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body,[h] to stir you up by way of reminder,14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

-Epistle of 2 Peter 1:3-15 (English Standard Version)

Discernment and confirmation of path. A vocational path laid out for you. What we call today a life mission statement. This is more though of living out a way of life, and the curves and swerves it may take you on in the journey. It is a life though that can be used to lead individuals to compassion fatigue or burnout. For it becomes resting upon the “if you had more faith in the conviction that what you are doing is for the Kingdom it would not be draining.” It is a statement, or ones like it, “this is just how church is you get used to the bullies.” that remove the human element of service. The key piece being not that we are meant to do everything that needs to be done, but we are called into the vocation that is meant to bring us most contentment. Yes, we may need to take other paying work while we pursue a passion, but that in itself does not mean we are meant to set aside who we are created to be, and what we are created to do…simply because according to a hierarchy of need there is an assumption that we will fit here- i.e. women in the kitchen or young women in the nursery, men doing maintenance etc.

Then there is also the other trap though of following one’s vocational call and becoming a workaholic. Since it is an acceptable addiction within our province it can be overlooked easily by support networks. It is simply one driven or trying to make a difference. Yet it too can lead to compassion fatigue, burnout, or the drive, even with self care, eventually leading to an internalized trauma and crash. It can happen, it may not happen, but this is where strong supports come into play, and knowing that even with appropriate self-care, soul work and community one can still crash.

I reflect back on my call. It is a simple one of making my own corner a little bit better. I had and have quite a few passions as those who have been readers throughout my career can attest. I ran parallel careers of writer, speaker, teacher-instructor, spiritual director-coach, youth and young adult pastor, chaplain, housing manager, political policy writer, volunteer, shelter worker, vocational coach for persons with disabilities, student, dad, husband, and political candidate. For some it looks like a whirlwind, for me it was the pace of life, and I was working within the care of self. Then something neurologically happened in a heart whirlwind where some supports crumbled, and… I crashed… it is a long road back, but part of the long road back is the message by this writer.

Remember who you are.

It can literally be a battle through the convulsions and flashbacks. The crushing emotional lie of never having made a difference. Of being worthless. But it is a battle worth fighting when I look upon my kids and wife. Some days there may be a brief glimmer not to wake up, but it is ever only so slight. For I am needed. I am me.

Remember who I am.

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,[i] with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

-Epistle of 2 Peter 1:16-21 (ESV)

Just like entering into the passage when Jesus gave the keys to Peter, you should replace Peter’s name with yours to remind yourself of the Original Blessing. That it is you who has been given the keys to the Kingdom within to live outwards and in conjunction with. Linked in Holy Love.

So to at the baptism when the dove game down as verse 17-18 here attest, you are the child who is beloved. Remember that, you are beloved for being simply who you are.

Remember who you are.

And be loved within.

Apostle Shuffle 1

Posted: December 1, 2018 by Ty in Brunch & Bible, Spirituality
Tags: , , , ,

Ah Simon, whom Jesus named Peter. Which can be translated in two ways- as rock or little pebble. I like the concept of little pebble, for if that is what community is to be built upon it works so well within the Gospel proclamation that a seed as small as a Mustard Seed will grow a huge tree to house all the birds. Peter, eventually came to lead the gathering in Rome.

But let’s touch upon a few of the things that happened before this. Peter could be working class to middle class if economics could be described as such in the occupied Judea. He was married (we know this because Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law). He is recorded as the one that tried to step out of the boat and walk on water, but a shaking of his faith causes him to fall in, to be rescued by Jesus. He is there when Jesus is transfigured and has an adventure in missing the point by wanting to commemorate the moment in the old ways. At one point in the journey of life, Jesus calls his best friend, Satan. Oh, and there was the sword and the cutting of the guard’s ear off in the garden. Let us not forget when Jesus was arrested and lynched, Peter in his fear would deny even knowing him. His closure and new beginning coming when Jesus walks with Peter to re-affirm his conviction of the new path Jesus had laid out. Oh, and for the Roman Catholics, the big shout out that Peter seeing the incarnation for what it truly was, and knowing the Oneness possible in the Holy Breath of creation, Jesus metaphorically let Peter know the keys to the Kingdom were his. Peter was the one that stood at Pentecost with the other Apostles as the Holy Spirit renewed the community; he argued with God about what was clean and unclean. Scholars believe it is his stories that inspired John Mark (the one running naked from the arrest in the Canonical Gospel of Mark) to put quill to parchment and write the Canonical Gospel of Mark circa 70 CE (6 years after Peter’s martyrdom).

This is the man that has Jude or perhaps John Mark act as his scribe to write 1 Peter for encouragement under times of persecution. Let us pause and really understand persecution, it is not when people get offended if you say Merry Christmas, or a world embracing all people so you feel social conservative values are threatened. It is actual execution level persecution. Yes there are Christians that still encounter this in the 21st Century, but there are many groups as well and that needs to be remembered.

Even at the time this letter was written there was some highly active persecution, as recorded in the ancient texts of the Didache. That saw some governors comparing notes of one-up-man-ship in how they executed Christians and other malcontents. Some areas could care less, and just let the small sect exist, for natural distrust by other citizens and residents of the new sect led to exclusion. Others took more of an active role encouraged by the Emperor who needed an enemy to cover up his short comings. As well remember this letter came out around the time of the Epistle of James that saw the religious re-seize Jerusalem from Rome, which created more of an air of suspicion for this small sect whose teachings completely removed followers from being apart of the Emperor Cult.

Which when Nero would burn down Rome in his madness…well… can one say scape goat in 64 CE? That is what happened with Peter, reported crucified upside down, for his beliefs in a hope of eliminating the sect in Rome.

These are the words in 1 Peter that came before that moment.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Epistle of First Peter 1:3-9 (English Standard Version)

The pilgrimage of the soul to the heart of the sacred (I believe I wrote a book called that). It is the journey of the visible and invisible. The teachings of hope, faith, peace, joy and love. In his visit in Acts of the Apostle’s to Cornelius’ house (Acts 10) that all barriers and labels had fallen away. As originally intended, yet our shadow side of humanity had gotten in the way. This is the true salvation, moving into Oneness with the Holy Mystery, letting that Holy Breath (Spirit) connect us each with one another. It is as the Great Commandment had been laid out. No barrier love of the Holy, opened up love of the Image Bearer in the mirror before you, and for the one next to you.

Creates eternal joy as you are the authentic you. Knowing you are created just as you are meant to be. Now you are on the path of the vocation that is truly you.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time[a] the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

-Epistle of First Peter 1:10-12 (ESV)

Psychology. Mindfulness. CBT. DBT. These are things that are used secular to draw us back to our true core. Energy Healing and other holistic spirituality are used to draw us back to our core. Centering prayer and meditation are used to draw us back to our core. As is ritual in community and individually used to draw us back to our core.

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[b] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for

“All flesh is like grass
    and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
    and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

-Epistle of First Peter 1:13-25 (ESV)

Peter relying on what he learned as a child from the stories that would become the Hebrew Bible synthesized through the completion of the Law and the Prophets Jesus of Nazareth extolled in what would become the Christian Testament. How do we know this?

When the lawyer came to trap Brother Jesus about the greatest commandments he rested on Love- God, Self, and Neighbour with your everything– mind, body, soul and emotions (very much a medicine wheel). This is what does not perish when one is gone, the love they lived within this world, and the love in Paradise of the next life to come.

What story does your love create in the world?

 

 


I have been running a poll to decide where to venture next…into pseudo-Pauline epistles of leadership in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus known colloquially as the Pastoral Epistles. Or into the Petrine line of thought within 1& 2 Peter. These types of reflection are a bit of a comfort zone for me, as I have spent literally decades studying, teaching and preaching from the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament. Yet in this time of renewal, it is also about re-asserting a daily practice. I haven’t fully decided which of them I will open up with but thought I would share broad strokes upon where I would be going.

Image result for st. titusThe Pastoral Epistles were written to young leaders coming into their own in Ephesus (Timothy) and Crete (Titus) respectively. They are seen as having been written at least 8 years after the Acts of the Apostles chapter 28, some will say 1 Timothy was written during Paul’s first imprisonment circa 61 CE but the written dates could come as late as near the end of the First Century. Both Titus and Timothy had journeyed with Paul at different times in his ministry. The Image result for st. timothyauthorship of the epistles comes into dispute because the church appears more highly structured than during Paul’s era, but also there appears to be texts of misogyny which do not fit Paul’s overall writings and teachings post-conversion. Yet it needs to be remembered that using a venerated teacher’s name as a pseudonym was not an act of dishonesty, but rather esteem and honour. It is the writer showing a continuation of lineage within the wisdom tradition.

While the Petrine epistles of 1 & 2 Peter appear to have more authenticity of the author Peter (Simon-Peter, the one whom Jesus of Nazareth gave the keys of the kingdom to in Gospel of Matthew 16:19).  The Gospel of Matthew with this declaration dates from 85-90 CE; and 1 Peter is believed to have been penned by Peter around 60-64 CE as he was martyred under Image result for st. peterEmperor Nero by being crucified upside down in 64 CE.  It is believed that Peter was part of the persecution visited upon the church after Nero burned down most of Rome, hence this letter came from Rome where Peter was serving as Bishop at Image result for st. judethe time. Second Peter has a more gnosticish flare to it, and a heavy leaning on the Epistle of Jude.

Pauline and Petrine Christianity diverged on certain topics, before Constantine’s unification movement in 325 CE. As Peter (or more accurately, his scribe) puts quill to parchment, he leans on the mysticism and prophecy of the Hebrew Bible. Pseudo-Paul (and Paul) will lean on the mystery of Christ. As Peter served as the Bishop of Rome, and noted in the Gospel of Matthew, that the keys to the kingdom were given to him by Jesus of Nazareth, it is how the concept of Apostolic Succession grew within the Vatican. Since as well, the Empire overlaid itself upon the Christianities to make Christendom, it became important for both seats of power to exist in one location. As the Roman Empire collapsed, the church empire would thrive still…yet monastics, mystics and Reformers would keep bringing out the beauty of the mosaic that is the Body of Christ.

As I have written about before, the early movement, like today’s, was not a unified indoctrinated stance. It was a mosaic of beautiful Christianities. We have recently journeyed through James’ Christianity, now these present some Pauline traits, and Petrine. We are in the season of Advent, something new is awaiting to be born into the darkness, a new light into the world. The journey to the new light, takes us through old shadows, and new insights as we pilgrimage to the Creche.

Over the next few weeks we will be looking into the wisdom words of these letters. Either in Apostle’s Shuffle or Pastorally Yours…

What letters are coming to your mailbox…

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

-1 Peter 1:1-2 (English Standard Version)

 Simeon[a] Peter, a servant[b] and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

-2 Peter 1:1-2 (ESV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Timothy 1:1-2 (ESV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:1-2 (ESV)

Paul, a servant[a] of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began[b] and at the proper time manifested in his word[c] through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

-Titus 1:1-4 (ESV)


43 The apostles were doing many miracles and signs, and everyone felt great respect for God. 44 All the believers were together and shared everything. 45 They would sell their land and the things they owned and then divide the money and give it to anyone who needed it. 46 The believers met together in the Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts. 47 They praised God and were liked by all the people. Every day the Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers.

-Acts 2: 43-47 (New Century Version)

Pentecost is celebrated as the birthday of the Christianities. The time when the Holy Spirit (Ghost/Breath) swept through the people. It was the moment that even those who had journeyed, worked and served with Brother Jesus truly felt the Holy Mystery come alive in them. That piece of cosmic dust, intrinsic soul self aflame.

When they heard this noise, a crowd came together. They were all surprised, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were completely amazed at this. They said, “Look! Aren’t all these people that we hear speaking from Galilee? Then how is it possible that we each hear them in our own languages? We are from different places

-Acts 2:6-8 (NCV)

The time when a middle-class fisherman from Galilee and his brethren stood in metropolitan and mutli-cultural town square. Where those that feared inclusion, and belonging still rattled the chains on segregation and fear. What came through though in the first act of this mysterious Spirit?

Understanding.

Profound act of kindness, love and belonging. Dropping one’s walls. In this story, the most dramatic way possible, the shattering of linguistic walls so the story of all encompassing love and hope could be heard. The idea of what Empire had been built upon- personal wealth, personal power, certain individuals seen as people and others as property—Empire values, where everything is a commodity, and the only value is the one of your own independent self, and corporate responsibilities and rights were not a priority.

          Think of how badly the Christianities have inverted the Pentecost message?

Acts of Apostles 2, New Century Version

The act of understanding allows for something more profound in the counter movement to power. The power, that the religious and political authorities clung to and tried to discredit.

Belonging

We belong because the labels that separate us are not real. They are arbitrarily given based on politics, geography, socio-economics, culture, religion, etc. Some may be helpful to find ways to fully include us in society (i.e. supports for those with disabilities), but only if they are used to discover inclusion and belonging. Sadly, we function too much like the religious and political authorities of 2000 years ago and since. The labels are used to build fear and segregation, active/passive eugenics. The inevitable outcome is hatred. Or to be the anti-thesis of the Jesus community four letters: H-A-T-E.

Pentecost was the celebration of the disenfranchised, marginalized and silenced voice of society speaking out of joy, peace, hope and faith. Speaking out that rattled the bell for justice and shattered bonds. For the intrinsic value of you, heard the intrinsic value in me (and vice-versa). It showed there was a multitude of ways to be community, to be me and to be you. None of these were a threat.

Pentecost if fully embraced, should have shattered the chains that bound the world. Instead we use it as an opiate to pacify the masses tied to a religious traditionalism that fears the true message. This was apparent with how shocked and viral Bishop Curry’s homily at the Royal Wedding was. He spoke like the followers on Pentecost. He was heard. The most offensive four letter word of the human language was once again proclaimed loudly, and was once again debated and attempted to be sidelined.

That word:

L-O-V-E.

So if Pentecost doesn’t begin the dialogue of inclusion, understanding and belonging for all in your community…then the Spirit has not blown through. What has blown through is the rigidity holding the structure of oppression together.

Are you ready for the breath?


What blocks you in your false life from living truly free and within/through the Holy Mystery?

What holds you in the past, and not being able to step fully into the glory of the present?

leaving-the-church

Aquarian Gospel chapter 138

Brother Jesus discourses on ancient laws that were designed to limit harm to others. To bring more a balance to a situation of reprisal (eye for and eye, instead of massacring your whole tribe for the loss of my eye). It was pointing to the pain that existed within or that selfishness that holds one in blindness of what truly can happen in your life. This story uses an existence that the ancient world could understand to show this juxtaposition. A blind man.

What is the blindness you exist in today? It is not a physical impediment. Are you in the wrong job? The wrong life? Can you not connect to that holy work (vocation) that fills you up? The soul flow that energizes you and aids you in being deeply rooted into the cosmic dust we are formed from?

This is the story of blindness.  The blindness kept the man out of true community, for he was isolated. In the 21st century our isolation is created through giving ourselves fully into the wrong work, the wrong life, the selfishness we mistake for holy love, that is true self hatred and destructive.

As this story unfolds, it shows that this is where the unjust, the oppressors, those that seek power and control over others want us to exist in.  Just look to the Pharisees response, not seeing the celebration of a holy family member becoming whole. Rather it is to challenge that it can’t be holy because it happened contrary to the control mechanisms, it happened on a day of rest. But whomever stated that the work of loving neighbour as self, was the work we are to rest from on the Sabbath?

The man’s own parents even though celebratory, bowed to the oppressors and lived into the injustice towards their son out of fear of being cast out themselves. But the man stood his ground, even though now whole, awakened, he was still once more cast out because he shook the foundation of the oppression (perhaps the first Marxist calling out the cabal creating the opiates of the masses?).

Move into this story yourself. Each of us have had moments of needing to willingly or being forced out of those situations where we need to make the moral over money or belonging or safety choice. Where we needed to walk in the Holy Mystery and trust blindly. For let’s be honest, the Holy Mystery is well, a mystery that is meant to be lived.

Take time to centre yourself with a candle or light imaging prayer. Feel your body relax before you come back to the words of the text with a fresh heart.

The Christines in Jerusalem. They meet a man blind from birth. Jesus teaches a lesson on the cause of disease and disasters. He heals the blind man.

1. The Lord with Peter, James and John were in Jerusalem; it was the Sabbath day.
2. And as they walked along the way they saw a man who could not see; he had been blind from birth.
3. And Peter said, Lord, if disease and imperfections all are caused by sin, who was the sinner in this case? the parents or the man himself?
4. And Jesus said, Afflictions all are partial payments on a debt, or debts, that have been made.
5. There is a law of recompense that never fails, and it is summarised in that true rule of life:
6. Whatsoever man shall do to any other man some other man will do to him.
7. In this we find the meaning of the Jewish law, expressed concisely in the words, Tooth for a tooth; life for a life.
8. He who shall injure any one in thought, or word, or deed, is judged a debtor to the law, and some one else shall, likewise, injure him in thought, or word or deed.
9. And he who shed the blood of any man will come upon the time when his blood shall be shed by man.
10. Affliction is a prison cell in which a man must stay until he pays his debts unless a master sets him free that he may have a better chance to pay his debts.
11. Affliction is a certain sign that one has debts to pay.
12. Behold this man! Once in another life he was a cruel man, and in a cruel way destroyed the eyes of one, a fellow man.
13. The parents of this man once turned their faces on a blind and helpless man, and drove him from their door.
14. Then Peter asked, Do we pay off the debts of other men when by the Word we heal them, drive the unclean spirits out, or rescue them from any form of sore distress?
15. And Jesus said, We cannot pay the debts of any man, but by the Word we may release a man from his afflictions and distress,
16. And make him free, that he may pay the debts he owes, by giving up his life in willing sacrifice for men, or other living things.
17. Behold, we may make free this man that he may better serve the race and pay his debts.
18. Then Jesus called the man and said, Would you be free? would you receive your sight?
19. The man replied, All that I have would I most freely give if I could see.
20. And Jesus took saliva and a bit of clay and make a salve, and put it on the blind man’s eyes.
21. He spoke the Word and then he said, Go to Siloam and wash, and as you wash say, Jahhevahe. This do for seven times and you shall see.
22. The man was led unto Siloam; he washed his eyes and spoke the word, and instantly his eyes were opened and he saw.
23. The people who had seen the man for many years sit by the way and beg, were much surprised to see him see.
24. They said, Is not this man the Job that was born blind, who sat beside the way and begged?
25. He heard them talk among themselves; he said, Yes I am he.
26. The people asked, How were you healed? who opened up your eyes?
27. He said, A man whom men call Jesus, made a salve of clay and put it on my eyes, and bade me say a word and wash in Siloam seven times; I did as he commanded me, and now I see.
28. A certain scribe was passing, and he saw the man and heard him say that Jesus, by the Word, had opened up his eyes.
29. He therefore took the man up to the synagogue, and told the story to the priests, who asked the man about the miracle.
30. The man replied, I never saw the light until to-day, for I was blind from birth.
31. This morning as I sat beside Siloam, a man I never knew put on my eyes a salve that people say he made of clay; he bade me say a word and bathe my eyes in water seven times; I did as he commanded and I saw.
32. A lawyer asked the man, Who was it opened up your eyes?
33. The man replied, Some people say, His name is Jesus and that he came from Galilee; but others say, He is the son of God.
34. A Pharisee came up and said, This is the Sabbath day; a man who does a work like this, regarding not the Sabbath day, is not from God.
35. Some of the priests were much amazed and said, A wicked man could never do a miracle like this; he must possess the power of God. And so they strove among themselves.
36. They asked the man, What do you think about this man from Galilee?
37. He said, He is a prophet sent from God.
38. Now, many of the Jews did not believe the man was blind from birth; they said, There is no power to open up the eyes of one born blind.
39. And then they brought the parents of the man before the Pharisees that they might testify.
40. They said, This is our son who was born blind; we do not know how he received his sight; he is of age and he can tell; ask him.
41. They were afraid to say what they believed, that Jesus is the Christ who came to manifest the power of God, lest they offend the priests and be cast from the synagogue.
42. Again the rulers said, This Jesus is a wicked man. The man who had been healed stood forth again and said,
43. This Jesus may be sinner or be saint, I do not know; but this one thing I know; I once was blind, but now I see.
44. And then the scribes and Pharisees reviled the man and said, You are a follower of this man from Galilee. We follow Moses, but this man, we know him not, and know not whence he is.
45. The man replied, It is a marvel that you know not whence he is, and yet he opened up my eyes.
46. You know that nothing but the power of God can do such things.
47. God hears not sinners pray, and you must know that he is not a wicked man who can employ the power of God.
48. The Pharisees replied, You wretch! you were begotten and were born in sin, and now you try to teach the law to us. And then they cast him from the synagogue.

-Aquarian Gospel 138

When ready, have your journal ready. Seek where the Holy Mystery is guiding you in life at this moment. Which role in the story speaks to your current situation?

  1. Peter/James/John
  2. Blind Man
  3. The parents
  4. The Pharisee

Take time to re-write the story from that point of view. Remember during the re-write to include insights and emotions as the character.

Spend time each day for about a week re-reading your story, asking where it is speaking into to your life now.

How does this ancient wisdom speak to your modern life?

Ready to step from story to life-story?

kids


Read Aquarian Gospel 129 here.

Transfiguration. It is one of those unique stories that some have alluded to, almost like Clark Kent changing into Superman. But then that removes the mystical aspect. For it is a transformation.

Perhaps there is more for us to uncover than simply changing clothes.

What if it was more akin to when the Incredible Hulk becomes Bruce Banner. When the ego run rampant, that which separates us from the Holy Mystery is stripped away to truly live into our vocational calling of brilliance. For, the Hulk was the protector. In life coaching, we coin the term saboteur or gremlin. That which allows us to survive in life, but holds us back from truly thriving. It is once we have released the monster truly from our being, and lived into our true self that we are at peace, content, whole in Holy Love…

Transfigured.

Like Brother Jesus:

  1. And as he prayed a brilliant light appeared; his form became as radiant as a precious stone;
    13. His face shone like the sun; his garments seemed as white as snow; the son of man became the son of God.
    14. He was transfigured that the men of earth might see the possibilities of man.

-129:12-14

Peter, James and John play the role of showing what has allowed survival…but the next step into thriving they show letting go of the past in the manifestations of Moses and Elijah to live into the Cosmic Christ.

First acknowledge and give voice to that holding you back.

Draw it out.

Prepare your self for release.

Thank the Gremlin for allowing you to survive up until now, while acknowledging it is time to move forward in your new life.

Destroy/discard the image when truly ready to step out of the past, this is the monument left on the mountain.

  1. The veil that separates the worlds is but an ether veil. For those who purify their hearts by faith the veil is rolled aside, and they can see and know that death is an illusive thing.

                        –129:19

For the old must die, for the new to be born, like a fire releasing the seed of life within the pine cone.

  1. And all symbolic of the path that every man must tread; symbolic of the way the sons of men become the sons of God.

                        –129:24

The symbolism of release, the stepping into your new reality connecting with the Cosmic Christ-Holy Mystery within. Letting your love light shine brightly within your own transfiguration. Each moment of each day.

The question is, are you willing to leave the gremlins on the mountain top and descend with the Holy Mystery into true life?


It has been a while trying to put together reflections on the Aquarian Gospel or even complete the next installment of Great Crime Fighters Together or even some reflecting I would like to do on last week’s church scripture of salt & light.  Yet it has been a while. The reason? The Universe enjoys curve balls to continue the purging of the past anchors that hold us in port and do not allow us to navigate new waters.

Every so often these curve balls hit from the most unlikely of sources, and at the most unlikely of times. I have written about the struggles of settling back into a UCC congregation as an attendee this past winter-spring, because of the history with the tradition. But comfort comes slowly.

The hard part is not realizing the imprint some of the soul crud has left on my kids. This past Sunday we were celebrating the new ordinations to the Order of Ministry when my son would not focus and was quite emotional. Honestly, unless it is a sad topic, or one around grief/reconciliation this is not his norm for gatherings (and even with the journey of his foot reconstruction, he has been a positive trooper throughout). But I wheeled him into the Narthex (is my Angl0-Cath showing over that one?) to get him to focus on me and his breathing to calm down and see what can be pieced together.

This is when my son broke my heart with what his little soul let out.I ruined your life.” Almost 10 years on in this moment he released that he believed it was his fault I surrendered ordination.

What could I do?

Simply love and tell the truth.

No son, you didn’t.

Hug, kiss the top of his head and hold him.

This is what took me even longer to process through. For I thought I had let it go if you will. But there was a piece of me that rekindled the pain, not from my own path, and a battle of choosing inclusion over titles…no…the pain and hurt was rekindled because in the moment seeing the hurt in my little man’s eyes that he believed he had done harm to my life by being, well, by being him.  And that is not true. For it was time this week to process out the soul sludge of the hypocrisy and the venom that did me in.

Take time to read these words:

Scribes and Pharisees visit Jesus. They censure him for eating with unwashed hands. He defends his acts and teaches a lesson on hypocrisy. Privately explains to the twelve his public teachings.

1. A company of scribes and Pharisees came from Jerusalem to learn wherein the power of Jesus lay.
2. But when they learned that he and his disciples heeded not the custom of the Jews, regarding washing of the hands before they ate, they were amazed.
3. And Jesus said, Hypocrisy is queen among you scribes and Pharisees. Oh you Isaiah wrote:
4. This people honour me with lips; their hearts are far away. In vain they worship me; their doctrines are the dogmas and the creeds of men.
5. You men who pose as men of God, and still reject the laws of God and teach the laws of men,
6. Stand forth and tell when God gave unto the ceremonial laws that you observe; and tell these people how the spirit life is sullied if one washes not before he eats.
7. His critics answered not, and then he said,
8. Hear me, you men of Israel! Defilement is a creature of the heart. The carnal mind lays hold of thought, and makes a monstrous bride; this bride is sin; sin is a creature of the mind.
9. That which defiles a man is not the food he eats.
10. The bread and fish and other things we eat, are simply cups to carry to the cells of flesh material for the building of the human house, and when their work is done as refuse they are cast away.
11. The life of plant and flesh that goes to build the human house is never food for soul. The spirit does not feed upon the carcasses of animal, or plant.
12. God feeds the soul direct from heaven; the bread of life comes from above.
13. The air we breathe is charged with Holy Breath, and he will may take this Holy Breath.
14. The soul discriminates, and he who wants the life of Christ may breathe it in. According to your faith so let it be.
15. Man is not a part of his abiding place; the house is not the man.
16. The lower world builds up the house of flesh, and keeps it in repair; the higher world provides the bread of spirit life.
17. The loveliest lilies grow from stagnant ponds and filthiest muck.
18. The law of flesh demands that one should keep the body clean.
19. The law of spirit call for purity in thought and word and deed.
20. Now, when the evening came and they were in the house, the twelve had many things to say, and many questions to propound.
21. Nathaniel asked, Was what you said about the house of flesh a parable? If so, what does it mean?
22. And Jesus said, Can you not yet discriminate? Do you not yet perceive that what a man takes in his mouth defiles him not?
23. His food goes not into his soul; it is material for flesh and bone and brawn.
24. To spirit everything is clean.
25. That which defiles a man wells up from carnal thoughts; and carnal thoughts spring from the heart, and generate a host of evil things.
26. From out the heart comes murders, thefts and foolishness. All selfish acts and sensual deeds spring from the heart.
27. To eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.
28. And Peter said, Lord, What you said to-day has grievously offended scribe and Pharisee.
29. And Jesus said, These scribes and Pharisees are not the scions of the tree of life; they are not plants of God; they are the plants of men, and every foreign plant shall be plucked up.
30. Let all these men alone; they are blind guides; they lead a multitude of people who are blind.
31. The leaders and the led together walk; together they will fall into the yawning pits.

-Aquarian Gospel 126: 1-31

Take time to reflect on the above words, writing it out from two perspectives:

  1. From a scribe/Pharisee hearing these words. What have you learned about values you hold that may need to be changed?
  2. From one of Jesus’ inner group. What have you learned about values you hold, but may not have been able to put into words as they challenge a status quo?

But also, like Peter in the passage to reflect on to follow, the idea that by taking a stand for equity and justice, that harm could be done to the other, that is the scribes and the Pharisees who saw the most vulnerable in community/faith family as okay to target.  Trust me, I am of thick skin, I ran in 2006 as NDP in Alberta back when it was a washed in Tory-CONS Blue forever and ever Amen, argued restorative justice with my MP Hang `em High Hanger and came out victorious by accounts in the media on that topic.

And yes, I know my challenge and throw down caused “harm” to those who wielded power over the vulnerable for I challenged their existing paradigm. In the moment, some would say I lost.

But to have allowed the status quo that is oppressive to remain in place through my silence for a title. That is not only morally-ethically wrong. It is the true essence of lost.  Never mind how by not standing up for the most vulnerable, how could I have ever looked at myself in the mirror? My wife and kids in the eyes again?

No, taking the stand for what is right, and holding one’s ground is where the victory is held. This I have always held to be true. My life has been built on challenging oppressive status quos, and I wasn’t about to let another one exists that directly impacted my child(ren) and remain silent.

Son, you did not ruin my life.

If anything, each day, each decision, each choice, has been a journey of growth, love, transfiguration and joy into the man you deserve as a Daddy.

What is the heart of faith/religion/spirituality? Making yourself and little corner of the world better for truly loving in at-onement with the Cosmic Christ within.

So are you ready to release your false values of tradition and live into the true (self) ones of love?

Bonus: A song that has been resonating on van rides with the family recently Brad Paisley Me & Jesus Music Video


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?