Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am
they also may be with me. …
I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.
- John 17:24, 26
And so, the conclusion of Part 2: Time Body of our curriculum coincides with the great cycle of Holy Week. As we abide in these most holy of days, we pause and reflect on the time-body: the historic events with their unfathomable transmission of divine love, their place in our own time, and in our own lives. How do they speak to us?
The timeless spiritual and theological themes of suffering, dying, redemption/healing, and new/resurrected life have resonated throughout 2000+ years, enjoining myriads and myriads of seekers, even as they do today. We are the recipients and participants in Christ's own long-body. There is no literature written that surpasses the eloquence, poignancy and meaning of the Last Supper Discourses (John:13-17). You are invited to read these verses today and in the coming days approaching Easter – slowly, attentively, noting the sensations that they evoke in your body-mind, the feelings, the thoughts. What comes to meet you?
Letter to God
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also love one another.
- John 13:34
In 2020, just weeks over the threshold of the official declaration of a pandemic and shortly before Easter, Ilia Delio published a letter to God and her letter speaks so eloquently to our time and place even today. Here are excerpts for our Easter reflection: "Dear God, These are very strange times … The scare of COVID-19 [and now war] has pervaded the entire globe. People fear for their lives and their children's lives. … Hope has lost sight that the future is open to new life. Despite the events, I celebrated a lovely Shabbat meal last evening with my Jewish neighbors … I was struck by the careful details of the table setting with the lit candles … the beautiful prayers of thanksgiving recited in Hebrew over the food we were about to eat. Our gathering was one of community – agape – and during this time of Lent, I thought of Jesus dining at the house of Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus. … Our being together and sharing a meal transcended our fears. There was a sense of oneness, unity, as we spoke about many things, including religion. I shared Teilhard's vision on religion and evolution and they had never heard of such insights before. … that evolution enfolds the best of the old into the new. Nothing is really ever lost; rather it is taken up and understood in new ways and expressed with new symbols and meanings. We all agreed that tradition is important and that life flourishes in friendship and community.
"After I returned home from dinner last evening and reflected on our time together; I was reminded of the beauty of personhood. We are born out of love and are created to live in love. How did we fall so far apart from one another, turning the possibility of friendship into animosity and opposition? Why have we built walls to separate us instead of bridges to unite us? This is what I pondered. Then I thought to myself, 'You are infinitely near us, O God, within us, among us – the depth and breadth of our very existence.' … Apart from you we are random particles of matter struggling for existence. In you who are the Whole we know ourselves to be whole; each of us is a whole within a larger whole of which you are the center. When you are present [in our awareness] we are one and we can pray in a thousand different languages and feel at home together. But when we ignore you, reject you, suppress you, or turn you into an idol, we become scattered fragments of matter without meaningful life together. Only when we move toward one another do you emerge as the center of our lives. …
"Community meals remind me that nature is a relational whole. Twentieth century science opened new windows to the realization that nature is porous, permeable and chaotic. Complex cellular life organizes according to principles of systems rather than individual function. Neural nets, algorithms, genetic codes are just some of the ways that nature has developed tools to calculate the processes of life in ways that are open to more life … a symphony of unfolding life, where even the seasons express the different movements of nature's flow.
"[It is] spring here in North America and, once again, tiny buds are piercing through what appeared dead during the course of winter; the dried bark of the maple tree has been a disguise for the flourishing life within. Every aspect of nature has a part in this symphony. …
"I share these thoughts with you, God, because many people ask, 'How come God does not save us or spare us from tragedy and death?' Others interpret these times as the beginning of the apocalypse, thinking that you are standing ready in judgment, as we approach 'end times.' Still others say, religion is the problem and not the solution. Yet, all of these ideas are foreign to you who are Life itself. You have nowhere to go but to remain with us because you are Life itself. You do not punish because the world is blind, deaf and dumb; rather we punish ourselves by losing trust in you. … You are always present, faithful and empowering in love. You are absolute oneness in love and will not rest until we are joined together fully in love – not just every person – but the whole world, the planet, the galaxies, the entire universe – you are in all and all is bound to share in your light and life. …
"Christianity is precisely focused on eating the Body of Christ, which leads me to my final thought on the Eucharist. … What does consubstantiation and transubstantiation mean in an unfinished universe? Well, in light of dinner last evening … I can say Eucharist is the sacrament of evolution. … in an unfolding universe. The bringing together of diverse elements, people, ideas, values, traditions, in the breaking of bread and the sharing of wine, toasting together to the fullness of life. When we share life together, you appear in our midst as Life itself, and we rise up together beyond the resistant forces around us and within us; this is the Body of Christ.
"Christianity can help us realize that death and resurrection are part of the evolutionary path toward wholeness; letting go of isolated existence for the sake of deeper union. Something dies but something new is born – which is why the chaos of our times is, in a strange way, a sign of hope; something new is being born within. … Breakdown can be breakthrough if we recognize a new pattern of life struggling to emerge. … We are living in the midst of a great epochal shift. … Awakening to your presence can help us know that we need one another; we belong together. Life takes on a new fullness when it is celebrated together. To know we are not alone is the beginning of our peace; and when we live in peace, we live in freedom. If we realize we are not alone, then death has no power over us. Even if we succumb to physical death we will live in a new power of cosmotheandric life, the life of the whole in which we will find our truest personhood for all eternity: I believe in the resurrection and the life. …
"We are in this together and no matter what happens, O God, you are Love itself and you will always be our future" (New Creation, Center for Christogenesis, March 16, 2020).
I believe in the resurrection and the life.
Maurice Nicoll affirms: "Will there be any resurrection …? The idea of resurrection is that the quantity of force that would have gone into this thing and has been genuinely sacrificed from one's deepest will, reappears in a higher form – that is, on another level – and begins to create another form of insight, of understanding, of feeling, of thinking … on a quite different level. … Easter is not something that comes once a year but something that comes every day: the idea of non-identifying or dying to some typical mechanical reaction, is a daily possibility, and if it is done in a spirit of a kind of gaiety, it will gradually result in energy being transformed daily and passing upwards to another level which after a time will become a distinct experience to you. … The full evolution of Man which is a definite path marked by definite stages – in fact, a way that has to be traversed by everyone who seeks to evolve internally and so fulfill his real meaning of creation" (Commentaries, "An Easter Message," March 31, 1945, Vol. 2, pp. 663-664).
"Perhaps what this means for you and me is that when we really discover what we are, we begin to discover a quality of fearlessness – not a naiveté, but a deep faith, that enables us to give and serve and live for others in the face of uncommon situations and demands. Resurrection fuels unconditional love and spending oneself to the fullest extent possible in service to love and joy, easing the suffering of our Common Father, and our brothers and sisters in the human family."
- Peter Haas, The Mark, April 2020
What impressions land in you from these Easter reflections? Has your understanding of the possibility – the daily possibility – of redemption, sacrifice and resurrected life deepened? How does practicing resurrection look for you – practically – now?
What is your prayer to God for Easter?
April Practice: Listening Deeply
Listen deeply for the call of resurrection in your life.
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There is no Thursday class this week; class will resume next Thursday, April 21.
You are invited to participate in the Maundy Thursday-Easter offerings:
Do This in Remembrance of Me: A Jewish Seder in the Footsteps of Jesus' Last Supper
Maundy Thursday, April 14th 5:30-6:45 pm CDT
Seder dinner is the Jewish traditional Passover meal. This is the meal Jesus would have celebrated as what is known as The Last Supper, which we celebrate on Maundy Thursday. While food will not be served, we will walk through each aspect of the Seder dinner interpreted in the light of Jesus’ teaching, noticing how Jesus’ both includes and transcends the Jewish traditions. If you have ever wondered what the meaning of The Last Supper is, or Passover, we invite you to this simple and quiet experience with a wish that it helps you more deeply embody the Holy Week events. This will take place in the Fellowship Hall. Attendance is in-person. Space is limited to 40 participants. Please register HERE.
Maundy Thursday Candlelit Taizé Service
Thursday, April 14th 7:00-8:15 pm CDT
Join us in-person for our contemplative Taizé service, including chants, Centering Prayer and the three stations of devotion: The Candle-Cross, the St. Damiano Cross Adoration and the Mary Icon.
Good Friday Service: Noon CDT
Join us in-person or online for our Good Friday service. The service begins at noon and will conclude by 12:45 pm. The service includes chant, Centering Prayer, Scripture readings and a homily. Click HERE to watch online.
Good Friday - Easter Prayer Vigil - In-person and online
Friday, April 15th 1:00 pm until 6:00 am Easter Sunday morning
We wait in silence from 1:00 pm Good Friday to 6:00 am Easter Sunday together in silent vigil – remembering the Presence of Christ. To participate in the online vigil, sign up for a 30-minute slot HERE. To enter the online vigil click HERE. The in-person vigil will be held in Theosis Chapel. A signup board will be outside the sanctuary. Write in your name for the 30-minunte times of choice.
Half-Day Online and In-person Holy Saturday Centering Prayer Retreat
Saturday, April 16th 9:00am-Noon CDT. Register HERE
Easter Sunday Services – Sunday, April 17th
Easter Sunrise Service and Labyrinth Walk 6:30-7:00am CDT
Join us as we light the Christ candle in the courtyard and process into the sanctuary. The service begins in the courtyard at 6:30 am and concludes at 7:00am. You are then invited to walk the church labyrinth, weather permitting. The Sunrise Service is in-person only.
Lectio Divina Service: 8:00-9:00am CDT
In-person in Theosis Chapel or join us online HERE
Easter Fellowship Brunch: 9:00am CDT
Held in-person in the Fellowship Hall. Please bring a dish to share.
Easter Sunday Service: 10:00am CDT
Join us in-person or online for our Easter celebration service. Click HERE to watch online.
You are invited to celebrate the possibilities of resurrected life and move deeply in the 50 days of Easter by participating in the Christophany Series:
Eastertide Christophany Series
Wednesdays: April 20 - June 1, 7:15-8:30 pm, CDT
Please join us for a seven-week exploration of Christophany, the emerging vision of wholeness at the intersection of science, spirituality and contemplation as articulated by Ilia Delio, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and others. We will meet on Zoom for weekly readings, dialogue and exercises to facilitate growing awareness of Christ at the center of all aspects of physical creation including the cosmos, the biosphere and the human person. The prerequisite for participation in the Christophany Series is experience in The Journey School during 2022-to present and a daily meditation/Centering Prayer practice. The group will be facilitated by Brian Graham. $70 suggested donation. Click HERE to register.