SOM Quarterly – Winter 2016-17

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Opening Letter:

“Out on the edge of darkness there rides a peace train.”

As we come into the Winter Solstice and the Christmas observance, the powerful experience of radiant darkness enters once again into the earth and into our physical bodies, or as much as much Light as we are willing and able to carry.

Our story of the birth of Jesus has become so sentimental and ornamented, and much of this is quite beautiful–but the stark reality of the story is that the parents were forced to register even in the late stages of Mary’s pregnancy, traveling through rough terrain where many robbers waylaid such strangers.  Walking and riding on the back of a donkey, Mary found no place to give birth when they arrived in Bethlehem except a primitive cave used as a stable.

Soon after the birth of Jesus, the family was in grave danger and had to flee to Egypt to escape the murderous ruler who called for the slaughter of innocents to protect his reign from the Messiah, which imminent birth his astrologers foretold.

And yet, Jesus the Christ was born into a stable environment — and this Light was protected, as His parents were initiates who listened and heeded the voice of the Spirit.

Times have always been hard when it comes to the Light of the world. 

In modern times, we’ve been told by our Master that “the New Age is being born under your feet” and this is happening despite the efforts of the worldly mind to kill it and continue the old ways and old days of clinging to power by any means.

Now I’ve been smiling lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun

Get your bags together, go bring your good friends too
Cause it’s getting nearer, it soon will be with you

Now come and join the living, it’s not so far from you
And it’s getting nearer, soon it will all be true

Now I’ve been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss

Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again*

-Rev. Mary Anderson

*Yusuf Islam

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The Middle Path Love:

“When you reach the place where you can begin to understand Jesus, when you can listen to him and feel his presence, then you can really begin to understand what love is, because you will know what it is, that it isn’t this sort of thing that most people are talking about.  No, it is the kind that, when it is felt, sets you into action.  You’re ready to get going and do something about it, not sit there and go ga-ga.  That’s not love; that’s just laziness, plain and simple.  Because the moment you have it, you cut off everything around you and become lazy.  Now just think about it.

In 2 John 6, he writes:  ‘This is love, that we walk after His commandments.’

And this is the kind of love that expects nothing in return.  It is the kind of love that gives without expecting, and it is the tough kind of love to attain, because you know the truth, that you can’t give without getting.  But if you can obliterate the last part of that and really give without really expecting anything back, honestly, then you will know true love.  This is the love that gives and says and does because it is right.  It is truth and it is real.

You love nature, and you love the Master, surely you do, but you’re here to love the people with all their perfections and imperfections.   Don’t leave out the perfections!  And this is what you do, very often.  You leave out the perfections and look at the imperfections.  But see the perfections in that person.  Sometimes you have to look awfully hard, but they’re there; and you’re giving that person comfort.  That’s what we’re here for.  That’s what I’m here to teach you for, until a greater Teacher comes.  That’s what you must learn to do, because if you dwell only on the imperfections, that is the only thing that will have life.  And this is not what we want.  The first message that any child understands is the love that is given, and he gives his love back.”

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Ring!!!  [click]  Christmas Calling…”Who do you wish to speak to?”  YOU…”Yes?”  I WONDERED IF YOU WERE COMING?            “Coming?  Where?  Who is this?”

THIS IS CHRISTMAS CALLING, AND WANTED TO INVITE YOU TO JOIN US THIS YEAR BY HELPING TO WELCOME IN THE NEW CHILD OF THE CHRISTOS.

“Oh, sure.” NO REALLY, SERIOUS!  ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SACRIFICE!…A LITTLE OF YOUR PRECIOUS TIME.  DEEPLY CONNECT WITH THE NEWBORN (IN GRATITUDE, JOY, SORROW, SELFLESS SERVICE, FORGIVENESS AND WONDER…AND…ABSOLUTE WORLDLY HELPLESSNESS.  GO IN AND SEEK THAT BRIGHT STAR.  YOU’LL BE GUIDED AND LIFTED…AND SIFTED.

  “Oooh-Oooh-Oooh”  AND THEN WE’LL ALL BE TOGETHER TO BASK IN HIS GLORY.  SOUND OKAY?  “Yup”  SEE YOU THERE…[click]

                                             Love, Christmas

 earthrise

The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon – December 13th:  During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.mistletoe-growing-on-a-tree-~-IS787-071

Martin Luther King Excerpts from A Christmas Sermon on Peace 1967

Peace on Earth…

This Christmas season finds us a rather bewildered human race. We have neither peace within nor peace without. Everywhere paralyzing fears harrow people by day and haunt them by night. Our world is sick with war; everywhere we turn we see its ominous possibilities. And yet, my friends, the Christmas hope for peace and good will toward all men can no longer be dismissed as a kind of pious dream of some utopian. If we don’t have good will toward men in this world, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own instruments and our own power….

Now let me suggest first that if we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world. Now the judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools…

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? …. And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.

Now let me say, secondly, that if we are to have peace in the world, men and nations must embrace the nonviolent affirmation that ends and means must cohere. One of the great philosophical debates of history has been over the whole question of means and ends. And there have always been those who argued that the end justifies the means, that the means really aren’t important. The important thing is to get to the end, you see.

So, if you’re seeking to develop a just society, they say, the important thing is to get there, and the means are really unimportant; any means will do so long as they get you there? they may be violent, they may be untruthful means; they may even be unjust means to a just end. There have been those who have argued this throughout history. But we will never have peace in the world until men everywhere recognize that ends are not cut off from means, because the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process, and ultimately you can’t reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree…

If there is to be peace on earth and good will toward men, we must finally believe in the ultimate morality of the universe, and believe that all reality hinges on moral foundations. Something must remind us of this as we once again stand in the Christmas season and think of the Easter season simultaneously, for the two somehow go together. Christ came to show us the way. Men love darkness rather than the light, and they crucified him, and there on Good Friday on the cross it was still dark, but then Easter came, and Easter is an eternal reminder of the fact that the truth-crushed earth will rise again. Easter justifies Carlyle in saying, “No lie can live forever.” And so this is our faith, as we continue to hope for peace on earth and good will toward men: let us know that in the process we have cosmic companionship…

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My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.                                           Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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From Father Paul:  Sermon:  Arise and Take the Child – Matthew 20:2, 12/21/69

I go through this every Christmas:  experiencing the sorrows that our Master experiences.  …  As we are approaching that time of celebration of our Lord, we today also are approaching the reality of this; for the new heaven and the new earth is being born.  Out of the 2nd chapter of Matthew

“Arise, and take the young child and his mother and go into the land of Israel; for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.  And he arose and took the young child and his mother and came into the land of Israel.”

These two verses are so appropriate today, because we whom have sought the way of Christ in the reality:  not just a group of words, but the reality of it, and who take upon ourselves the spiritual cloak of one of his sons and daughters, are being told that we are citizens of the Most High.  And this is what we in these two verses also are being told in this time:  to take those who will come to arise and take the child:  take this spiritual being within the body that we look at and take it into Israel; that place, the promise, the reality.  For we this day look all about us and see the many things which are going on in the world, and we know we have seen and we have watched the walking dead.

And this text not only speaks to us of the times of old, of the celebration which we are celebrating now in the Advent, as the approach of the birth of our Lord Jesus to the Blessed Virgin.  But it also speaks a great and powerful message to us.  For this too is our message from the Spirit:  to arise and take the newborn reality–that which has been seeking to come out for 2,000 years– into the people.  To take the rebirth through the Illumination and the receiving the reality of the Christ, the Christos and the Light; and to go into the land throughout the world.  For they whom sought to kill, to squelch, to hide, and to keep away from God’s children the Great Truth of the true salvation of the complete giving of the body and the soul to God, and how the transformation would take place.

And we have seen this here; and all around us we see where they have tried to kill the child.  They have tried to squelch the words of Jesus Christ by interpretation.  They have tried to tell and whisper into your ear, and those whom have fallen are the ones that have listened to the things which are contrary to the teachings of Jesus and the ancient sages.  For the teachings of the ancient wisdom and the ancient sages were not contrary to those of our Lord.  And those whom have fallen away or who have gone their way in an attempt to do it their way–they have listened and the child is not dead.  He lives.  And you whom have come into this Order, or you whom have come here as visitors to our chapel service, have come to where the child is revived.  They may have sought to kill it, but the words have lived on and the reality is here.

We are citizens of that new race, that new world into which the Light shall spread.  And it shall be in accordance with the teachings of our Lord.  Buddha tried–he tried too; but they defiled his teachings also…One of the old teachers who comes here occasionally said why, the teachings that they are trying to teach are no more like his teachings…  it is just like they have tried to defile those teachings of our Lord Jesus.  So let us not consider ourselves as just someone who has accepted the word of the New Testament and the teachings of our Lord Jesus, or the teachings of Paul, or John, or Matthew.  But let us know that we are the citizens of the new risen world.  We are part of the heavenly reality and as long as we stay that, so will the regeneration and the rebirth of that reality within us take place.

You are all part of the great Soul and Mind of the Father.  You have been given a piece of this Great Reality and what you do with it is up to you; whether you live or whether you go like those whom sought[to kill] the Light of Our Lord Jesus at his birth.  And these too will die.  For ye cannot destroy Truth; for they have tried it down through the ages; and every time it is tried, some suffer, but the Truth survives, and the reality and the Spirit survive, and the power of Creation and its reality lives on.  I ask you a question:  Shall the Child be reborn in reality in you?

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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Thanksgiving

We return thanks to our mother, the Earth,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams,
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs,
which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun,
that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit,
in Whom is embodied all goodness,
and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.

~ Iroquois ~

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“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Taka (the Great Spirit), and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.

This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is known that true peace, which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.”           Black Elk – Oglala Sioux