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.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, March 3, 2013 [ Lent III C RCL in the Episcopal Church Kalendar ]

God said to Moses, "I AM Who I AM."
- Exodus 3

Our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,
and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink
- I Corinthians 10

A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?' He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.
- Luke 13

[ The complete Readings for Lent III, Year C, Revised Common Lectionary can be found at:

Very often in Scripture, there’s a lot of word and story to get to the central point. But the central point  -  the thing God wants us to hear  -  of the story of Moses and the Burning Bush is clear:  God’s saying, “I AM who I AM”.

For each of us, there’s only one question that God wants us to ask immediately: “Am I who I am?”    

On one level, knowing and being fully who we are is the central purpose of all “holy scripture”. All religious striving and activity  -  prayer, repentance, meditation, “good works”, worship  -  all are to lead us TO BE. To be Christ. To be a Buddha. To be an imitator of the Prophet. To be “made in the image of God”. To be a “saint”. To be Oneself. And to be fully Oneself is no less exalted than any of the others.

Moses says he can’t be what God wants him to BE … a Liberator. The Israelites say they can’t BE what God want them to BE … true followers of their God. The Corinthians say they can’t BE … faithful imitators of Jesus. Jesus’ parable of the fruitless fig tree says, “You think you can’t BE a manifestation of Love”.

We can BE who we ARE. But there is no cheap grace. Recall the beautiful lines of the song: “Behold a treasure not made of gold / In earthen vessels, wealth untold / One treasure only the Lord, the Christ / in earthen vessels.” Each of us has been filled with the amazing gift of the potential of Life. We must claim it. “Repentance” is a symbol of that claiming … reaching for Life. Eating the “same spiritual food” and drinking the “same spiritual drink”:  “God”.

This is what we do in the mystery of the Eucharist each Sunday:  eat God. That eating is the heart of all else we do in order to BE who we ARE. Who we ARE is no less than God.