Monday, February 13, 2017

The Little Red Hen

Dear Friends,

This year promises to be a very interesting one, full of challenges and change. Are you ready? Do you look at the future with optimism, hope, faith?
Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite stories, the story of the Little Red Hen. This Chinese New Year is called the red fire rooster, but I found one website that said it was actually the year of the red hen. Have you ever had the chance to visit a farm fair with hens, roosters and baby chicks? Perhaps you have some of your own and enjoy the gift of fresh eggs. They are absolutely beautiful, and the little baby chicks, under a heat lamp to keep them warm, are simply adorable.
Now chickens are very industrious as we know. Perhaps you already know the story of the little red hen. She lived on a farm with other animals. One day she decided to take on the project of making bread. Now this was a very challenging undertaking for a little chicken. Seeds first had to be planted, the wheat grown, ripened and harvested, ground into flour and finally made into bread. At each step of the way, she asked the others for help:
Who will help plant the seeds?
Who will help harvest the wheat and grind it into flour?
Who will help bake the bread?
None of the other animals were interested in helping, and she did the work all by herself. When the bread was ready, of course the other animals were more than happy to partake, but the little red hen decided she should enjoy the fruits of her labours all by herself. Of course, the story does not mention if she had little chicks to feed, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Perhaps one of the questions could be:
Who will feed my children?
This question is one that can be taken literally and figuratively. On the world stage, I truly believe that we need to be helping our less fortunate neighbours, oh, and by the way, with no feeling that a debt has been incurred and needs to be repaid. That is false economics. Neither is it fair for more industrialized countries to progress at the expense of, and downright cheating, of poorer countries. We know now that whatever happens in one place, has far reaching effects around the world – we do not live in a vacuum. We also must accept that each country, or “empire” has its day, and then recedes as another rises. It is the natural way of history. In other words, cycles of time. We have the technology that can help people be self-sufficient. Biodynamics is making a huge change in areas with poor soil, such as India. We cannot imagine trying to feed a billion people, certainly not without devastating the landscape, flora and fauna.
This year, let’s remember the story of the Little Red Hen. As you sow, so also shall you reap.

Wishing everyone a bountiful harvest!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

In the dark, I light a lantern with my heart

Dear Friends,
This weekend, I had the rare occasion to attend a concert. I had somehow come across the notice for this concert a month ago, and found it intriguing. It was called: Songs of the Desert Sufis, with Rajasthan Josh and Friends. Now I had never attended an Indian music concert before, but it promised to be lively and colorful. Indeed it was, and, as it turned out, just the tonic to take in between two Celebration of Life Services. This group was from a state in India called Rajasthan. The music in the first half featured folk songs from the 12th, 14th, and 17th centuries. This particular concert was dedicated to the late Aga Kahn, and to a musician recently killed by the Taliban, because his songs were those of tolerance, peace and love. The carpet carefully laid out on the stage had first been used by the famous musician, Ravi Shankar.
The audience was filled with women dressed in beautifully colored silk saris. The second half of the concert featured a fusion between local, contemporary artists, and these same elderly musicians from India – simply amazing, the music transcended gender, age, race and country of origin – with mutual respect and the overall love of music, it was well received by the audience. Luckily, there were screens up that held English translations of the songs, many of them being love songs. Think of the poetry of Rumi, and you will know what I am talking about.
This fusion of music was like a marriage and the old quotation: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue. Blue, or bleu, in this case, meaning something raw or pure. I immediately thought of our church service, The Act of Consecration of Man, and what the founders of our church had sought: a Movement for Religious Renewal. Through the guidance of Rudolf Steiner, seven sacraments were re-enlivened with not the past, but the future, in mind.
The enemy may tear down our churches, temples and monuments, but they cannot tear down what lives in our hearts and souls - the music goes on.
Wherever the darkness is touched by the Light, there manifests rainbows of color.

May the Sun Spirit, proclaimed by St. John the Baptist, ray into your hearts.

Dedicated to Tamara Alexandra Machala, 1969-2016: Educator, lover of animals and nature.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Saying "YES"

At the beginning of Advent in 2015, we here in North America switched from the word “Yea” to “Yes” during our Sunday services.
To me, this is a much more powerful affirmative.
Eleven years ago, I said yes and became a board member for our church here in Vancouver. It profoundly changed my life for the better over the ensuing years. This is the power of Yes.
I believe that our angels and spiritual guides can only help us when we are able to be open. To say yes, is to open up untold worlds of possibilities and pathways. Some people also call it Faith, or the power of positivity.
There were times when I was confronted by obstacles and had no idea how they would be overcome. Amazingly, someone always appeared that could help, or circumstances changed in such a way that the obstacles melted away.
In a small way, it also relates to the theme of this year’s 2016 Chinese New Year – the year of the Red Fire Monkey. Both the colour red and the element of fire represent passion. In the Act of Consecration we hear the words, “the fire of Love, creative of Being.”
Monkeys are curious, enviably flexible, swift, nurturing, and intelligent, with a huge capacity for learning. If they see something they want, they will figure out a way to achieve it. They have a very interesting group soul. A study found that where an isolated group of monkeys learned a particular way of doing something new, other groups of monkeys were soon found to be doing the same thing, even though there was no contact between the groups.
This year I encourage everyone to be open to the power of Yes, and be prepared for something unimaginably wonderful to happen.

Oh, and if a priest approaches you with a QUEST (ion), keep in mind Who it is they are asking on behalf of. This year, anything and everything can be possible!
Don't believe me? Check out my friend Stephanie Georgieff's website: The Heart of the Black Madonna. After more than 10 years of working, studying, travelling, writing and untold personal travails, her book will finally be published this Spring!


Friday, January 1, 2016

January 1st, 2016

Human Being

A being of body, soul, and spirit
Welcome to the Earth.
You have come with a soul
Shaped by a long past.
Shaped by the future, too.
Now let it be shaped by the Earth,
The realm of death.
It will be shaped by your community of souls
Who only know death,
By which they have come to know themselves
But, not knowing Christ
They no longer know life.
Fear not!
Through Christ can the Holy Spirit work
The healing spirit
That leads you to the truth.
Be patient!
It may take many life-times.
It may take an instant.
You may wander through many a maze
Of quarks and leptons,
Of holographic dinosaur bones, Artifacts of your creation
Creating many illusions of pasts and futures
Vast universes, rent by black holes.
Full of dead, dumb matter.
But later, if not sooner,
You will look within.
You will find the power
Through which creation comes,
You will find the spirit power
Through which you shape your future
And yourself.
A worthy future, when united with Christ.

by Jerry Bains

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Our Lady of Soufanieh

Dear Friends,

Sometimes it is hard to find the words that are in your heart, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

Borrowing from my friend Stephanie Georgieff's theme on Madonna's, I found this image of Mary and Child. Mary appeared 3 times in this town outside Damascus in recent times. The yellow that you see in the picture is olive oil weeping from the picture.

Christianity is only represented by about 10% of the population in Syria, which makes this image even more special. From the New Testament, we know that both Saint Paul and Saint Thomas visited this area. From the Old Testament, Abraham is a well known and revered name.

We here in Canada are preparing to welcome 25,000 refugees from Syria in the coming months and I thought it would be interesting to give just a snippet of information. Syrian culture goes back thousands of years, and is thought to be as important to history as Egyptian.

What does the name Damascus bring up for you? Silk, of course, as it was on the famous Silk Road. In terms of cuisine, think coffee, hummus, baklava, tabbouleh and shish kebab.

The current troubles in Syria arose because of suppression of pro-democratic parties. It means that millions of people have been displaced. Imagine having to leave behind not just your belongings but in a way, your cultural heritage. These are ordinary people who now must learn a whole new way of life and adapt to a completely different climate. One might call it a modern day Exodus.

We have a proud history of welcoming people from all over the world and respecting their beliefs and culture - it is why we call it The Canadian Mosaic. It won't be easy, but I believe we will benefit in ways we cannot even imagine.

The words of the Epistle from Michaelmas, which I have heard for many years have never been truer or more relevant than today. We can and will extend the hand of friendship.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Christ in You - Christ in the World!

Hello Everyone! 

The theme for this year's Delegates Meeting of the Christian Community is "Christ in You - Christ in the World".  I'm gathering thoughts from our community - where do we see Christ in the world?  How do we experience Him?  In our deeds, our social life, in our initiatives, in our hearts and minds, as individuals, small groups, our community!

I'll be sharing our thoughts at the delegates meeting and with you here on our blog, so more to come....  Join the conversation!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Moveable Feast

Dear Friends,

We were blessed in August to have a visit from Rev. Baan from the Spring Valley Seminary, which we called “The Moveable Feast”. It was held in 3 different locations in the Pacific Northwest.
This was so enlivening that we all felt enriched by the talks and workshops.
It would be impossible to put down on paper everything that occurred, but I would like to offer some small snapshots.
During the day on Vancouver Island, we did an artistic exercise in a small wooded area with gongs and chimes. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we wandered through the woods with our instruments. I stood beside a grand old cedar, and as I banged my gong, the tree seemed to respond in kind: B A U M! It’s a very interesting thing that the German word for tree is baum. It was a simply awesome experience.
My favorite exercise with Bastiaan is, of course, singing, which we did in Vancouver. I’m sure if he wasn’t a Seminary Director, he could easily be a Choir Director. Hmmm, or perhaps he is the Director of a Heavenly Choir of Angels (our seminary students)….
I included this picture, which presented itself to me this morning as I drove into work – a flock of geese flying overhead on the way to a local lake - listening to a song on the radio by Ed Sheeran called Photograph. Do try to find this song, or at least the lyrics, as it’s very touching:

Loving can heal
Loving can mend your soul
And it's the only thing that I know

Dedicated to Trudy MacMillan, who passed away suddenly at the age of 62.