300 E. Burlington at C St.
All are welcome
On Passion Sunday this weekend, the 5th Sunday in Lent, our theme is Humility, a right relationship to God, others and our self. Intellectual explanations are a start, but a personal, deeply felt experience of humility is a better teacher. Music is perhaps the best conveyor of feeling, so here is a song that can evoke humility in a very meaningful way for the Easter season.
You can listen to the song, Box Elder by JL Booth, with this YouTube link, but before you go there, I suggest that you keep this window open so you can read the lyrics while listening.
The songwriter is skillful, the song carrys a deep message. For most of us, it must be discovered gradually by spending a little time with the words and giving them a chance to reveal the story inside the story.
Below the surface there are discoveries to be made in the metaphors and personifications in the story. Who is the Box Elder? What might the story teller be about to realize?
You might say that this song contains an early Easter egg for you to find. You may just connect with the depth of God's passion, planted in the Gospel story for those who seek the Spirit.
- Father Thomas
BOX ELDER by JL Booth
The Federal Express man was down on the driveway
Out of his step van, cursing your name
It wasn't the first time you changed his side mirror
Into a mirror-less frame
And though I know you are guilty of nothing
Except for a strong will to live in the light
You throw your seeds on the wind, like a thistle
Good night Box Elder, good night
I sat down in town at the bar full of elbows
And a man from the county told me, “Time and again,
When you try to cut one, like the heads of the Hydra,
They grow back in a power of ten”
And that man told me
That from your tree
They formed the cross on Calvary
When the people cried, “crucify”
And Pilate washed his hands
A cloud of blue smoke will rise in the morning
The engine will sputter and the chain, it will spin
But here at my window, tonight it is quiet
Except for your leaves in the wind.
Mary Hammond Iber, a founder of St. Gabriel and All Angels church in Fairfield, Iowa, died unexpectedly in her sleep on Jan. 2, 2014. She was 64. Six days earlier, she had surgery for an aortic dissection, and she had been discharged from the hospital to recover at the home of one of her brothers, George Hammond, in Orinda, Calif., the evening before she passed away.
She spent a joyful Christmas with her son and his family, including her new grandson, before she suddenly became ill. In the following days, she was comforted by visits to the hospital from her son, a good friend, a nephew, and four of her brothers.
Two memorial services commemorating Mary's life will be held on Saturday, February 1. The first will be at 10 a.m. at St. Gabriel and All Angels, 300 East Burlington, corner of C Street, in Fairfield, Iowa. A second service will be held at 4:30 p.m. at Cornell Colleges King Chapel, in Mount Vernon, Iowa, with a reception to follow at 5 p.m. in the colleges Cole Library. Arrangements for a private cremation ceremony are being handled by Chapel of the Chimes, in Oakland, Calif.
In March of 1985, Mary, her son Patrick and her former husband, George Iber, were living in Fairfield, Iowa. Mary hosted Fr. Forrest Jolgens, a family friend, on his visit to Fairfield, Iowa. Fr. Jolgens was a priest in the Liberal Catholic Church at Our Lady and All Angels, Ojai, California. Mary helped organize a celebration of Holy Eucharist by Fr. Jolgens in the Barhydt Chapel on the campus of Maharishi International University (now Maharishi University of Management). The beautiful Liberal Catholic liturgy was very well received, and many of those in attendance were enthusiastic about starting a Liberal Catholic Church in Fairfield.
Mary was instrumental in the small group that carried that endeavor forward in the coming months and years as services were organized, out-of-town LCC clergy were invited, and all the underpinnings of a significant and growing congregation were established. She was one of the first to help gather women together for fellowship and service for the growing church. Mary's own enthusiasm translated into the administration of endless tasks, and calm, steady guidance and encouragement of others as the nascent church came into being.
Mary continued her relationship with many of our members and clergy into very recent days, and attended services when she could. She is much missed and respectfully and fondly remembered.
In recent years, Mary worked as a librarian at Cornell College, Iowa. She was a Kenosha, Wis., native who most recently lived in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Advent - preparation for Christmas, a time of preparation for birth of the Christ within each of us. Through this season, God sends us great help in preparing for this birth.
For Christmas is not only a commemoration of the birth of Our Lord, but a time of special outpouring of spiritual force to powerfully aid us in our spiritual evolution. By God's will all of the kingdoms of Creation swell up in rejoicing – the Angels and all the other kingdoms of Nature – the carol says, "let Heaven and Nature sing".
As a part of our spiritual heritage we humans have total freedom of will. During Advent we have a special opportunity to use our will and make the choice to attune ourselves with the rest of Creation in receiving and benefiting from the special outpouring of Christmas.
If we prepare ourselves, we shall receive more. continue reading
Intent—Precept and Practice
Epistle: General Epistle of St. James 1:19
Gospel: Gospel of St. John 6:28
Recently we celebrated together both All Saints Sunday, and Trinity 22 with the intent Right Energy. We heard that week in the Revelation of St. John the Divine about those who's robes had been washed clean, the purification of the subtle bodies.
We also heard in the Gospel of St. Luke the charge to, “Love your enemies, do good to them who hate you, bless them that curse you and pray for them who despitefully use you". We also heard, "as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise".
Todays 2 readings focus again on how to live life. From our intent of Precept and Practice, we are directed to look at our sense of hearing, both inwardly and outwardly.
Outwardly, as we grow we are exposed to and taught man made laws, rules for living that we hear over and and over again, in hopes that our outward hearing will give us the understanding and with that, some how, the reasoning to act in accord with those laws. DOES THIS WORK, DO WE FORGET WHAT WE HEAR?
Our prison systems clearly point out, this by itself, does not result in men & women acting in accord with the law.
Then the scripture refers to inward hearing of the law that governs all that we could possibly experience. This inward hearing, transcending the world around us, merges our spirit with the fullness of Gods love and is clearly expressed in the Epistle as, “He whoso looketh into the PERFECT LIBERTY and continueth therin, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed”.
This experience of God's love that we are, existing in Perfect Liberty, is a natural, effective means to the perfect end. YES, and if you dial the number on your computer screen within the next 15 minutes you will also receive 2 free get of jail passes and $200 cash, RIGHT! The point being, it sounds too good to be true, it is so simple that we, I, have a challenge embracing it all of the time.
Perfect Liberty, is being in harmony with Precept, the law that governs everything that we can experience. The Saints and the Holy Ones live life in harmony with this, they have a practice, the way they live life, that keeps them centered in both the silence and the dynamic expressions of existence, taking time for both daily.
This is life standing as the unmovable boulder, in the torrent of a rushing stream, smiling, firmly footed while both feet are swirled in the cool rushing waters of life.
Some who observe those who live life in perfect liberty often see incredible discipline, simple but to difficult for the average man or women, and miss that it is natural for them.
Lucky for us, we too can find our own individual natural way of living, that connects us with this perfect liberty. We know those things in our own lives that allow us to be that boulder, smiling in the torrent of life. We continue to take rest when we need it, spend time in silence, meditate, reach out to help those in need and pray as we do in the final collect of every Eucharist, when the celebrant says,
“Teach us, O Lord, to see thy life in all men and in all the peoples of thine earth and so guide the nations into the understanding of thy laws that peace and good will may reign upon earth; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The quarterly journal of The Liberal Catholic Church, Province of the United States. Archive of issues beginning Advent 2011. Click the issue link to download or view online.
I believe that the suppression of emotion is one of the main culprits is keeping our inherent spiritual nature root-bound. By now it is commonplace to know about the medical and health benefits of "a good cry", but other lingering social conventions (and even spiritual teachings!) denigrate the natural feeling of sadness and the shedding of tears. (see: Health Benefits of Tears)
Of course most of us would prefer to feel joy, but denying, suppressing, or avoiding sad feelings when they naturally arise is a sure way to prolong the lessons and healing that stand before us. Rather than assuming an attitude of feeling joyful when healing is needed first, wisdom suggests that we find a way to accept the cup that has come to us. But remember, while we must do our own healing (ultimately an interior process), we need not do it alone. continue reading
Absolution, one of the Seven Sacraments of the church catholic, comes from the Latin root words ab solvo, which mean "to loosen". This Sacrament is intended to help the person to discontinue from erroneous behavior, but, as, or more important, to be relieved and disconnected from the downheartedness and guilt that perpetuate of such behavior. Absolution provides an important feature in the life of the spiritual aspirant.
Absolution has commonly become known in just one of it's forms - confession - the telling of one's sins to a priest. The Liberal Catholic Church offers two additional, traditional forms of the Sacrament of Absolution. continue reading
''Those who take their religion seriously commonly go through a period, sometimes a
long period, when they experience the apparent absence of God. The ideas, images,
concepts which they have previously used in thinking about God or addressing him
have suddenly become meaningless and unreal.
The person feels as if God is absent or does not exist. The reason for this disagreeable
phenomenon is ... continue reading