Saturday, May 18, 2013

Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, May 19, 2013 [ In the Christian Kalendar, the Sunday of the Ascension ]

Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, May 19, 2013
[ In the Christian Kalendar, the Sunday of the Ascension ]

[ The complete Readings for the Sunday after the Ascension can be found at:

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come."
And let everyone who hears say, "Come."
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.

Rev 22 – the Epistle for this Sunday

Do you want this Sunday, as you worship, truly mean something?

Then listen.

In John 17, Jesus prays “that they all be one … as You and I are One”.

He’s not talking about some fantasy, generated by the “church”, that all people will acknowledge Jesus, literally, as “Lord”. Such a concept is the insidious work of the Evil One … and alas the temporal “church” is often very easily used as a tool of the “Prince of Lies”. But remember, Jesus made it clear that His Kingdom was not of this World.

Why did Jesus have to “ascend”? Why did He have to “leave”? For this:  so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.". [John 17]

This desire of Jesus will never happen until we renounce all characteristics of “earthly kingdoms”. To be “one” with Jesus, with God, means that each of us must invite Love to transform us into a Christ of God. It means that we must see, with the inner eye, that our Self is Jesus, living only for Love … in the Christian Myth, “taking up the Cross”. I remind you of the words of the hymn:  In Christ there is no East or West / in Him no South or North / but one great fellowship of Love / throughout the whole wide World. The Kingdom of God will never come if we think that all must acknowledge Jesus as the Christian Lord over all. It will only come when we see Jesus peering into our eyes from every human being. Until every person is a manifestation of our Self.

Jesus “went away” … “ascended”. As He said, He had to.

Or we cannot be faithful to His call to Follow Him.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, April 21, 2013 [ The Forth Sunday of Easter in the Christian Kalendar ]

Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, April 21, 2013
[ The Forth Sunday of Easter in the Christian Kalendar ]

The works that I do in my Father's name testify to me;
but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.
No one will snatch them out of my hand.
What my Father has given me is greater than all else,
and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand.
The Father and I are one."

- John 10 [The Gospel reading for Easter IV, Year C, RCL ]

[ The complete Readings for this Sunday can be found at:

Ultimately, who are “the sheep” who follow Jesus’s voice? Since I believe that Jesus is an authentic voice of the one Mystery that we call “God”, the answer to my question has to be “Everyone”. It has nothing to do with adherence to any particular institution. Jesus is a voice of Compassion, of Love (as well as of Justice, Kindness, Goodness) … and He is One with that Divine Voice. Along, I believe, with other such Great Voices in human history.

A friend of mine (whom I have never met in person … ah, the Internet!) raised the issue of the Boston alleged bombers, and of what can happen when ‘an "idea" is more important than bodies, their own or those of others’. Dualism … the separation of “body” and “spirit”. I’m not a great fan of all the various so-called heresies which have been propounded during the millennia … but I think that Dualism is a nasty piece of thinking. Not only are we a unity … but we are One with both God and every other human being at the most fundamental level.

Here is part of my response to him: “Jesus said, "Love your enemies" … which statement Joseph Campbell thought the most difficult three words in the Gospel … Is there a parallel, perhaps, in what these alleged perpetrators did in pursuit of their "vision" (if there was one) with what Bush/Cheney did in killing thousands of Iraquis and Afghanistanies, and torturing hundreds of people for the "American vision"?? I think so. Loving One Another, or our "enemies" … does not mean we have to like them or approve/accept their actions … but the Gospel says we are to love them … why? So that we don't diminish, first, our own humanity  -  as the Gospel sees the nature of our humanity  -  or theirs. It does not mean that murders can't be punished for vicious anti-social acts … it means we shouldn't do to them what we would not want done to ourselves.”

Politically, a very hard row to hoe!

I continued: “Jesus saying (in my interpretation) to His fellow Jews  that every human being is to be a "sheep" of His that can/will hear His voice  -  the voice of compassion, of love, of sharing in the nature of the God of Love  -  and become one with God. The "World" is the "World" … and we have to live in it, yes, and it's not easy at times. But many wise people have pointed out that when we completely deny anyone's humanity, we have demeaned and lost ours. It seems to me that the World today is in a general state of whatever it is that leads us to demeaning each other's humanity. The value of persons (despite, in our case in America, our supposed value of the individual and individualism and individual freedom, which in America we seem these days to support only for those with whom we agree) has almost disappeared. Sad … and what Hell we create for each other. Hitler did it perfectly, in seeking the dominance of the Aryan race. 

Balance (that quintessential Anglican virtue, until recently) is critical. Extremism very often leads to violence. And extremism has its roots in the failure to value the thoughts and personhood of others and in the misconception that we are not related to each other. But the bell tolls for all when it tolls for one. Jesus found His identity in His oneness with God his Father … and he clearly (to me) wanted us to find it with God and by definition with each other. 

How long would it take to create understanding and Peace if we started now? No idea. But I hope we don't go on the way we're going, or the experiment of the human race may come to a short; brutal and ugly end. Sometimes I think I'd rather have that than what we have now … after death there is always resurrection!”

A challenging Easter message.

Goodness! So much to ponder on a quiet Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning in the high desert of New Mexico! But I think we would do well to do so as we ponder the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd of the Sheep.

(Pardon this unconscionable length! I’ve always been too verbose!)


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, April 7, 2013 [ Second Sunday of Eastertide in the Christian Kalendar ]

Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."

The Gospel called John, chap 19

[ The complete Readings for this Sunday can be found at:

When does our Journey of Life truly begin? In one sense, it begins with the “Thomas Experience”.

We are conditioned to see Thomas as the lowliest of the remaining 11 disciples … he is known today as Doubting Thomas. I see him differently:  as the first to begin the “new life in Christ” by personally and mystically experiencing union with the Christ of God. At Jesus’ invitation, Thomas touches His wounds … and in that moment he recognizes that he is a mirror image of Divine Love. He sees with the inner eye who he truly is  -  a being dying to all that is not Love and there finding Life.

Such is the destiny of each of us. We, like Thomas, “will not believe”  -  that is, will not begin the essential Journey  -  until we ourselves touch the wounds of Christ. Until we see that we are a mirror image of the Christ, our nail wounds to His nail wounds, our pierced side to His … until we “see” that only when we “take up our cross and follow Him”, dying daily to what is not Love,  shall we rise to Life, to our most deeply human Self.

“My lord, and my God!”. When we truly “see”  -  wherever we are blessed to see it  -  our own essential beauty and goodness, we can only cry out in astonishment and wonder.

Our Journey has begun.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Greetings 2013

It is often when night looks darkest,
it is often before the fever breaks
that one senses the gathering momentum for change,
when one feels that resurrection of hope
in the midst of despair and apathy.

Hillary Clinton

We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Day
but Easter Day is but a sign
of the possibilities for Life
offered as a gift in every moment we breathe.
“God” is the symbol of that Gift of Life.

We wish you endless moments of Truth, Freedom, Peace, and New Life.

Dennis & Brian+

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Brian’s Reflection: for Sunday, March 24, 2013 [ Palm Sunday in the Christian Kalendar ]

… being found in human form, he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death--
even death on a cross.

Philippians 2 – from the Epistle for Palm Sunday

[ The complete lessons for Palm Sunday can be found at:

If I had paid more attention in my liturgy class at seminary, I would have learned just when the reading of the Passion Gospel was begun in the life of the Church. If I did, I don’t remember. My mini-research tells me that the Passion from Matthew was read on Palm Sunday during the time of Pope Leo the Great in Rome (400-461). In the Eastern Orthodox churches, the concentration seems to be rather on the celebration of Jesus entering Jerusalem as a “king” … though One whose kingdom is “not of this World”.

I would suggest that it is unfortunate that somewhere along the line the heavy medieval emphasis on the suffering of Jesus has come to dominate, finding it’s highly psycho-neurotic cultural climax in Mel Gibson’s travesty movie  -  an exercise in gross masochistic violence  -  which completely (in my view) distorts the Gospel message.

Listening or participating in the reading of the Passion Gospel on Palm Sunday (and Good Friday, when John is read) is much better understood as a meditation on that which, in the Christian understanding, resides with life-giving power at the core of human existence and of the God Who represents all Life:  namely, Love.

The suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus  in the Gospel story shows a human being who, “being found in human form … became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”,  obedient to the path of Love which  -  so the Gospel proposes  -  leads to fullest, deepest humanity. The story of Jesus points to the reality that each one of us is a manifestation of Divine Love, and that when we are “found in human form” is called to find our true Self in a desire and longing and determination to die to all that is not Love. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ” …. which is to say that dying to what is less than Love, which always involves some measure of “suffering” but which always potentially contains the seed of joy and freedom, is the holy path to Life.

Of course crucifixion is a horrible death; no one denies that. But I do not think that this is where we are called by the Gospel to focus. God does not want us to wallow in the suffering. God wants us to let go of what causes suffering in this mortal life  -  the illusions, the self-delusions, the fear, the “false gods”  -  and embrace Love, strong, unconditional, unsentimental Love, and be resurrected to Life over and over and over again. The Buddha would say:  Let go of the attachment to transitory things, which causes suffering; embrace Compassion, and you will be free to Live Fully.

As I participate in the Passion this Palm Sunday, I will try to join Jesus on the cross … try to let go of, “die to”, something that is not Love in my life, and be ready for a resurrection to New Life.