Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sunday, January 20,2008

Call to Silence and Opening Meditation
A Reading from Thich Nhat Hahn
Looking For Each Other

I have been looking for you, World Honored One,
since I was a little child.
With my first breath, I heard your call,
and began to look for you, Blessed One.
I've walked so many perilous paths,
confronted so many dangers,
endured despair, fear, hopes, and memories.
I've trekked to the farthest regions, immense and wild,
sailed the vast oceans,
traversed the highest summits, lost among the clouds.
I've lain dead, utterly alone,
on the sands of ancient deserts.
I've held in my heart so many tears of stone.

Blessed One, I've dreamed of drinking dewdrops
that sparkle with the light of far-off galaxies.
I've left footprints on celestial mountains
and screamed from the depths of Avici Hell, exhausted, crazed with despair
because I was so hungry, so thirsty.
For millions of lifetimes,
I've longed to see you,
but didn’t know where to look.
Yet, I’ve always felt your presence with a mysterious certainty.

I know that for thousands of lifetimes,
you and I have been one,
and the distance between us is only a flash of though.
Just yesterday while walking alone,
I saw the old path strewn with Autumn leaves,
and the brilliant moon, hanging over the gate,
suddenly appeared like the image of an old friend.
And all the stars confirmed that you were there!
All night, the rain of compassion continued to fall,
while lightning flashed through my window
and a great storm arose,
as if Earth and Sky were in battle.
Finally in me the rain stopped, the clouds parted.
The moon returned,
shining peacefully, calming Earth and Sky.
Looking into the mirror of the moon, suddenly
I saw myself,
and I saw you smiling, Blessed One.
How strange!

The moon of freedom has returned to me,
everything I thought I had lost.
From that moment on,
and in each moment that followed,
I saw that nothing had gone.
There is nothing that should be restored.
Every flower, every stone, and every leaf recognize me.
Wherever I turn, I see you smiling
the smile of no-birth and no-death.
The smile I received while looking at the mirror of the moon.
I see you sitting there, solid as Mount Meru,
calm as my own breath,
sitting as though no raging fire storm ever occurred,
sitting in complete peace and freedom.
At last I have found you, Blessed One,
and I have found myself.
There I sit.

The deep blue sky,
the snow-capped mountains painted against the horizon,
and the shining red sun sing with joy.
You, Blessed One, are my first love.
The love that is always present, always pure, and freshly new.
I shall never need a love that will be called “last.”
You are the source of well-being flowing through numberless troubled lives,
the water from you spiritual stream always pure, as it was in the beginning.
You are the source of peace,And
solidity, and inner freedom.
You are the Buddha, the Tathagata.
With my one-pointed mind
I vow to nourish your solidity and freedom in myself
so I can offer solidity and freedom to countless others,
now and forever.

A Reading From Christ the Eternal Tao

In modern Western society, many people turn away from the Christianity of their formative years because they find its truths smothered under an unreal kind of religiosity. They see that the people in the churches are not changing and becoming better, but rather are comforting themselves and each other in their unregenerate state. They find that the spirit of the Western churches is, at its core, little different from that of the world around them... these churches have replaced a direct, intuitive apprehension of Reality and a true experience of God with intellectualism on the one hand and emotionalism
on the other.

In the first case, Christianity becomes something that is acquired through rote learning, based on the idea that if you just get the words right -- if you just memorize the key Scripture verses, intellectually grasp the concepts and repeat them, know how to act and to speak in the religious dialect of your particular sect --- you will be saved. Christianity then becomes a dry, word-based religion, a legalistic system, as set of ideas and behaviors, and a political institution that operates on the same principles as the institutions of this world. In the second case, the Western churches add the element of emotionalism and enthusiasm in order to add life to your systems, but this becomes just as grossly material as religious legalism. People become hypnotized by their self-induced emotional states, seeing a mirage of spiritual ascent while remaining bound to the material world.

This is not direct perception of Reality; it is not the Ultimate...The only way to get past a merely external apprehension of religious words and concepts is to seek, without compromise and self-pity, the Reality behind them. If
our rapidly diminishing Western Christendom has become too jaded by intellectualized or emotionalized religion to see the essence of Christianity, then we must, as it were, start over.

Foreword from Hieromonk Damascene's Christ the Eternal Tao (Valaam Books, 2004) 21-24.

A reading from the Gospel of Mary (trans. Karen King)

“Will matter be utterly destroyed or not?”

The Savior replied, “Every nature, every modeled form, every creature, exits
in and with each other. They will dissolve again into their own proper root. For the nature of matter is dissolved into what belongs to its nature. Anyone with two ears able to hear should listen!”

Then Peter said to him, “You have been explaining every topic to us; tell us one other thing. What is the sin of the world?”

The Savior replied, “There is no such thing as sin; rather you yourselves are what produces sin when you act in accordance with the nature of adultery, which is called ‘sin.’ For this reason, the Good came among you, pursuing the good which belongs to every nature. It will set it within its root.”

Then he continued. He said “This is why you get sick and die: because you love
what deceives you. Anyone who thinks should consider these matters!”

Matter gave birth to a passion which has no Image because it derives from what is contrary to nature. A disturbing confusion then occurred in the whole body. That is why I told you, ‘Become content at heart, while also remaining discontent and disobedient; indeed become contented and agreeable only in the presence of that other image of nature.’ Anyone with two ears capable of hearing should listen!”

When the Blessed One had said these things, he greeted them all. “Peace be with you!” he said. “Acquire my peace within yourselves! Be on your guard so that no one deceives you by saying, ‘Look over here!’ or ‘Look over there!’ For the child of true Humanity exists within you. Follow it! Those who search for it will find it.

Call to Conversation

Sunday, January 13, 2008

**The study on The Gospel of Mary is meeting once again.
1St & 3rd Thursdays of each month.
Brigit's Place Meeting Room, McGeehee Bldg.
Christ Church Cathedral
Free of Charge
Free parking in garage
We are studying the Secrets of Mary Magdalene by Dan Burstein & Arne J. DeKeijzer, chapter 3.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Gathering and Introduction of John Butler

This morning we welcome the Rev. John Beverly Butcher from California. Rev. Butcher is a student of Jesus of Nazareth, Mary of Magdala, and Lao Tsu of China. An Associate Fellow of the Jesus Seminar, Butcher is author of several books, including Telling the Untold Stories and The Tao of Jesus. Butcher is a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of California and a minister of the Pescadero Community Church on the Pacific Coast near San Francisco.

A Reading of Thunder, Perfect Mind
Sophia is communicating with us, inviting us to come into Union with her and experience Perfect Mind.

I was sent forth from the power,and I have come to those who reflect upon me, and I have been found among those who seek after me. Look upon me, you who reflect upon me, and you hearers, hear me.
You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves. Do not banish me from your sight.
Do not make your voice hate me, nor your hearing. Do not be ignorant of me anywhere or anytime. Be on your guard! Do not be ignorant of me.
(The chanting begins:)
For I am the first and the last.
I am the honored one and the scorned one. I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am the mother and the daughter.
I am the barren one and many are my sons. I am she whose wedding is great, and I have not taken a husband. I am the midwife, and I am she who does not bear. I am the solace, and I am the labor pains. I am the bride, and I am the bridegroom. I am begotten by my husband, and I am the mother of my father. I am the sister of my husband,and his my offspring. I am the slave of him who prepared me, and I am the ruler of my offspring. I am the staff of his power in his youth, and he is my rod of my old age.
I amt he Silence that is incomprehensible. I am the Idea whose remembrance is frequent. I am the Voice whose sound is manifold.
I am the Word whose appearance is multiple. I am the Utterance of my name.
For I am knowledge and I am ignorance.
I am shame and I am boldness.
I am shameless and I am ashamed.
I am strength and I am fear.
I am war and I am peace.
I am she who is weak and I am well in a pleasant place. I am senseless and I am wise.
I am the one who has been hated everywhere and I am the one who has been loved everywhere. I am the one whom they call Life, and you have called Death. I am the one whom they call Law and you have called Lawlessness. I am the one whom you have pursued, and I am the one whom you have seized. I am the one whom you have scattered, and you have gathered me together. I am the one before whom you have been ashamed, and you have been shameless to me.
I am she who does not keep festival, and I am she whose festivals are many.
I, I am godless, and I am the one whose God is great.
I am the one whom you have are refected upon, and you have scorned me.
I am unlearned, and you learn from me.
I am the one whom you have despised, and you reflect upon me
I am the one whom you have hidden from, and you appear to me.
I am an alien and I am a citizen.
I am the substance and I am the one who has no substance.
I am control and I am uncontrollable.
I am the union and I am the dissolution.
I am the abiding and I am the dissolving.
I am the below, and they come up to me.
I am the judgment and I am the acquittal.
I am sinless, and the root of sin derives from me.
I am lust in outward appearance, and I am interior self-control.
I am the hearing which is attainable to everyone and I am the speech which cannot be grasped. I am a mute who does not speak, and great is the multitude of my words.
I am she who cries out, and I am cast off upon the face of the earth. I prepare the bread and my mind within.
I am knowledge of my name.
I am the one who cries out, and I am the one who listens.
I am the Name of the Sound, and the Sound of the Name.

The Thunder, Perfect Mind (teaching portions omitted), George W. MacRae translation in the Nag Hammadi Library, third edition.
As to the place and date of coomposition of Thunder, we are left with no positive indications. The mention of Egypt in the text points toward an Egyptian milieu, perhaps Alexandria, but this remains hypothetical...The Greek original of Thunder might have been composed around the end of the second century or the beginning of the third.
Nag Hammadi Scriptures, Marvin Meyer, ed., HarperSan Francisco, 2007,page 370

Seminar Dialogue

Closing Prayer.

How Do You Pray?

Your eyes need to be closed or open
Or closed to go within and open to see with fresh perspective.
Your hands need to be held together or raised high and spread apart,
or simply raise one hand.
In your hands hold prayer beads, a rosary, someone else's hands,
or let your hands be empty.
Be connected
or detached.
Be sure you are standing, kneeling, squatting, touching your head to the floor,
or fully prostrate.
Follow a sequence of postures
or do not move at all.
Make sure you pray aloud
or in deep Silence
Use a language you know or an unknown tongue
or no language at all.
Stay very still
or move in rhythmic dancing.
Make sure you wear a veil or a camp,
or make sure your head in uncovered.
Be sure to wear shoes or sandals
or go barefoot.
Wear ordinary clothing, your Sunday best, special clothing, sacred vestments,
or nothing at all.
Pray when you are alone or with one or two other people.
or in a small group, or a large congregation
Pray in one place or while you are walking, signifying your sacred Journey,
or part of a pilgrimage with thousands of pilgrims.
Take holy food, share a symbolic meal,
or go fasting for awhile.
Pray when you are working, when you are making love,
and when you are doing Nothing at all.
Your mood should be filled with curiosity, thankfulness, and joy
or doubts, questions, penitence, and sorrow, or move beyond all feeling.
Let your praying open up all your senses
or shut them down completely.
Use strict celibacy to concentrate your energies
or release your full sexuality to express your soul.
Pray inside a building rich with symbolism
or one that is starkly plain,
Pray somewhere out in nature
or in the midst of heavy traffic.
Go up to the top of a mountain
or down into a deep canyon
Be out in the open where you can see for a long distance
or enter a cave,
Pray at a river bank or in the water
or into a desert place where there is no water for as far as you can see.
Make sure your body is very clean or covered with ashes.
Immerse yourself in water or in mud.
Follow the prayers in a book,
or let your prayers be on flags waving in the wind.
Pray in an orderly manner,
or spontaneously in your own words.
Pray whenever you have the impulse,
and when praying is the last thing you want to do.
Meditate on a story, a symbol, a mantra,
or empty your mind of all thought.
Make sure you believe there is a God
or that there is no God.
Be a theist, atheist, pantheist, panenetheist, agnostic,
or that the question of God makes no sense to you.
Allow yourself to say that you are uncertain
or resist all definitions of who you are and what you believe.
The point is pray to Something
or to Nothing at all.
Pray during war or during peace.
Pray in sickness and in health.
Pray when you have money or are deeply in debt or are barely breaking even.
Pray when you are very certain of your convictions.
Pray when you think the whole thing is just a bad joke.
Follow any or all of these practices with great care
or come to the conclusion that it is a total sham.
Do whatever it takes for you to know
that the natural state of human beings is Ecstatic Wonder.

John Beverley Butcher, Nov. 2006
inspired by the book Talking to God, Portrait of a World at Prayer, edited by John Battuso, Stone Creek Publications, 2006

We ask for your thoughts/comments to continue our Sunday conversation. Thank you.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Beloved Community,
---This weekend, January 11-13, 2008, John Butcher, Episcopal priest and Associate Fellow of the Jesus Seminar, will be presenting a program about the Nag Hammadi documents. There is a Friday lecture, a Saturday workshop, and on Sunday, he will be with us at the Rothko for conversation. Please see the following link for further information, times, and costs (the Sunday event is free).

--- There will be a major labyrinth event with Lauren Artress February 2-3, 2008. A flyer with all information (including fees) about the event as well as a registration form is attached. Also attached is an application form for an advanced teaching workshop on Sunday, February 3, with Dr. Artress. There is limited enrollment for this workshop. The weekend event will include the feast day celebration of St. Brigid. The feast day celebration is free, however, the lecture, reception, and book signing following the celebration is $20. More information may also be found at the link below:

--- In order for those who wish to participate in any or all of the Artress events, the Magdalene Community will not be meeting at the Rothko on Sunday, February 3, 2008. Do please join us for this amazing opportunity.

Peace and Love,
Bridgitt --

Sunday, Jan. 6,2008

Call to Silence and Opening Meditation

Opening Music – Preghiera (Ave Verum) from “Mozartiana” Suite,
Tchaikovsky/Mozart. (Meditation – Classical Relaxation Vol. 4, track 3, Delta Music,

Readings from Thomas Merton, The Inner Experience (HarperSanFrancisco: 2003)

“The inner self is precisely that self which cannot be tricked or manipulated by anyone... S/He is like a very
shy wild animal that never appears at all whenever an alien presence is at hand, and comes out only when all is perfectly peaceful, in silence, when s/he is untroubled and alone. S/He cannot be lured by anyone or anything, because s/he responds to no lure except that of the divine freedom.”

Music and Meditation – “Open Air”, (Peaceful Playground, Track 4,Incentive Media, 1999)

“There is no special planned technique for discovering and awakening one’s inner self, because the inner self is, first of all, a spontaneity that is nothing if not free. Therefore there is no use in trying to start a definition of the inner self, and then deducing from its essential properties some appropriate and infallible
means of submitting it to control -- as if the essence could give us some clue to that which is vulnerable in it, something we can lay hold of in order to gain power over it... the inner self is not part of our being, like a motor in a car. It is our entire substantial reality itself, on its highest and most personal and most
existential level. It is like life, and it is life: it our spiritual life when it is most alive. It is the life by which everything else in us lives and moves. It is in and through and beyond everything that we are. If it is awakened, it communicates a new life to the intelligence in which it lives, so that it becomes a living awareness of itself: and this awareness is not so much something that we ourselves have, as something that we are. It is a new and indefinable quality of our living being.”

Music and Meditation – “Berceuse”, (25 All Time Favorite Classics, Track 7, Distribution Madacy)

“The inner self is as secret as God... and it evades every concept that tries to seize hold of it with full possession...It is not reached and coaxed forth from hiding by any process under the sun, including meditation. All that we can do with any spiritual disciple is produce within ourselves something of the
silence, the humility, the detachment, the purity of heart, and the indifference which are required if the inner self is to make some shy, unpredictable manifestation of his/her presence.”

Music and Meditation – “The Memory of Trees”, (The Memory of Trees, Track 1, Enya, Warner Records,

“Nevertheless a certain cultural and spiritual atmosphere favors the secret and spontaneous development of the inner self. The ancient cultural traditions, both of the East and of the West, having a religious and sapiential nature, favored the interior life, indeed transmitted certain common materials in the form of
archetypal symbols, liturgical notes, art, poetry, philosophy, and myth which nourished the inner self from childhood to maturity. In such a cultural setting no one needs to be self-conscious about this interior life, and subjectivity does not run the risk of being deviated into morbidity and excess. Unfortunately such a cultural setting no longer exists in the West or is no longer common property. It is something that has to be laboriously recovered by an educated and enlightened minority.”

Music and Meditation – “A World Within”, (The Magdalene Mystique: Songs From Within, Track 2, Anita
Kruse, Church Publishing, 2006)

A Reading from the Gospel of Mary

This is why I tell you “Be in harmony. . .’ If you are out of balance, take inspiration from manifestations of your true nature. Those who have ears, let them hear.”
After saying this, the Blessed One greeted them all, saying: “Peace be with you-may my Peace arise and be fulfilled within you! Be vigilant, and allow no one to mislead you by saying: ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For it is within you that the Son of Man dwells. Go to him, for those who seek him, find him.”

Call to Conversation

Closing Music “Tales from the Vienna Woods”, (25 All Time Favorite Classics, Track 5,
Distribution Madacy)

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Magdalen Community is a connective community seeking conversation and dialogue with other spirituality's and religious traditions. This Community takes its inspiration from The Gospel of Mary, where Jesus encourages the assembled community to find the divine nature within.

Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007

Call to Silence and Opening Meditation

“How shall I grasp it? Do not grasp it. That which remains when there is no more grasping is the Self.”

---Panchandasi, from Richard Hooper, ed. Jesus Buddha Krishna Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings (Sedona, AZ: Sanctuary Publications, 2007)

Introductory Reading

When most of us use the word, “self,” we are usually referring to our ego identity---that persona, or mask, we wear to maintain our illusion of individuality. This small self includes our subconscious mind, our intuitive mind, and virtually everything else our brains produce that make us believe that we are separate and apart from every other thing in the Universe.

Krishna, Plato and Jesus, however, meant something entirely different when they used this word “self.” Self, to them refers to what lies beneath individuality. This Self is the core essence of what (not who) we really are: God, the Tao, Universal Mind. Self is what remains when the little self dies. Self is what discover when we are “born again.” Self is what appears when we cleanse our windows of perception. Self is what we recognize when we “wake up.” Self, really, is all that exists.

---from Richard Hooper, ed. Jesus Buddha Krishna Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings (Sedona, AZ: Sanctuary Publications, 2007)


Jesus: He who sees himself only on the outside, not within, becomes small and makes others small.
---Gospel of Mani

Krishna: The Self is hidden in all beings, but it is manifest only to those who have the intuitive ability to recognize it.
---The Upanishads

Lao Tzu: Some see the Self as wondrous. Others speak of it as marvelous. Others hear it and wonder. Still others hear it, but do not understand it at all.
---The Tao Te Ching

Buddha: He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye.
---The Buddha

Jesus: You recognized Spirit, and became Spirit. You saw Christ, and became Christ. You saw the Father, and you became the Father. And yet, if you do not recognize these things as your Self, you will not become what you see. But if you recognize your Self, that which you see you will become.
---The Gospel of Philip

Lao Tzu: He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.
---The Tao Te Ching

Jesus: That which you have will save you, if you bring it forth from within yourself. That which you do not have within you will kill you, if you do not recognize it within you.
---The Gospel of Thomas

Krishna: When one sees all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings, he hates no one.
---Isha Upanishad

Lao Tzu: The man of Tao remains unknown. In perfect virtue he produces nothing. “No Self” is “true self.” And the greatest man is Nobody.
---Chuang Tzu

Jesus: I Am that which cannot be measured or known, but I reveal Myself as I wish . . . I am the All, since I exist in everyone.
---Trimorphic Protennoia

(Readings above from Richard Hooper, ed. Jesus Buddha Krishna Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings)

A reading from the Gospel of Mary (trans. Karen King)

When the Blessed One had said these things, he greeted them all. "Peace be with you!" he said. "Acquire my peace within yourselves! "Be on your guard so that no one deceives you by saying, 'Look over here!' or 'Look over there!' For the child of true Humanity exists within you. Follow it! Those who search for it will find it.

Call to Conversation

Closing Reading

But what precipitates the ego’s disappearance? What causes the thinking mind to cease its thinking? Lao Tzu might say that any attempt to answer such questions would require too much activity of the discriminating mind. Better to just shrug one’s shoulders and laugh.

---from Richard Hooper, ed. Jesus Buddha Krishna Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings (Sedona, AZ: Sanctuary Publications, 2007)

This service is offered in Thanksgiving for the love and prayers of Sr. Phyllis Horne, C.S.J.

Sunday, Dec. 23, 2007

Call to Silence and Opening Meditation

Music: “Winter Bourne,” A Winter’s Solstice IV, Windham Hill Artists, 1994 (track 4)


The History of Yule

Most cultures celebrate winter holidays, whether they are called Christmas, Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Ta Chiu, Winter Solstice, or Yule. It is a time for reflection, resolution, and renewal. Each tradition has rituals to celebrate the balance of light and dark and the welcoming of the healing powers of warmth back into the world.

The winter holidays originated four thousand years ago in Egypt with the celebration of the rebirth of the sun god Horus. The Babylonians took up the festival, celebrating their own Creator/Sun God, Morduck. Next the Persians, then the Greeks began celebrating the rebirth of the sun. Finally, the Romans began honoring Saturn, the god of agriculture, fairness and peaceable living. Saturn was honored until the Sun regained power in the sky and Jupiter defeated Saturn. Celebrations of winter festivals spread throughout Europe.

With the rise of Christianity came the problem of converting the “pagans.” Churches were built on pagan worship sites; pagan symbols were incorporated into church decoration; and gods and goddesses were slightly renamed and made into saints. Many pagans still resisted. A large part of the pagan belief system was the birth-death-rebirth cycle, an element that was missing from Christianity, which concentrated on the death and rebirth of Jesus.

In order to truly convert the Pagans, a Mother Goddess needed to be adopted. Thus, Mary, Jesus’ mother, became “the Mother of God” and the “Queen of Heaven,” linking her to Isis, the Egyptian Queen of Heaven. Finally, December 25 was set as the Christ-child’s birthday, a date that fell in the middle of winter holidays and festivals. The festival was called the “Birth of the Son.” Son/Sun – the new festival was now acceptable to the Pagans.

(Yule: A Celebration of Light & Warmth, Dorothy Morrison, Llewellyn Publications, 2000)

A Reading – Charge of the Sun God

I am the Light that bursts through the Darkness
And the smile on the young child’s face
I am the warmth that melts the winter chill
And the sparks that dance from the old fireplace
I am the smell of oranges and apples
And the Scent of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove
I am the holly, the ivy, the mistletoe ball,
And the jocularity of the Great God, Jove
I am found in the twinkling of an aged eye
And in the hope of children Everywhere
Yes, joy and love and warmth am I
Where kindness abounds, I, too, am there
I am your brother, your father, the wise one
And I warm you gently in the light of my love.
I lighten your worries, bring good health and speed growth
By shedding my rays down on you from above
But remember, my children, be grateful
For my brother, the Darkness, and winter’s deep chill
For without them, there would be little reason
For this holiday season of peace and good will.

(Dorothy Morrison, Yule: A Celebration of Light & Warmth , Llewellyn Publications, 2000)

Yule Song - Glory to the New Born King, Ellen Reed

Brothers, sisters, come to sing
Glory to the new-born King!
Gardens peaceful, forests wild
Celebrate the Winter Child!

Now the time of glowing starts!
Joyful hands and joyful hearts!
Cheer the Yule log as it burns!
For once again the Sun returns!
Brothers, sisters, come and sing!
Glory to the new-born King!

Brothers, sisters, singing come
Glory to the newborn Sun
Through the wind and dark of night
Celebrate the coming light.
Suns glad rays through fear's cold burns
Life through death the Wheel now turns
Gather round the Yule log and tree
Celebrate Life's mystery
Brothers, sisters, singing come
Glory to the new-born Sun.

A Reading from the Gospel of Mary Magdalene

25) Peter said to him, Since you have explained everything to us, tell us this also: What is the sin of the world?
26) The Savior said There is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called sin.
27) That is why the Good came into your midst, to the essence of every nature in order to restore it to its root.
28) Then He continued and said, That is why you become sick and die, for you are deprived of the one who can heal you.
29) He who has a mind to understand, let him understand.


Call to Conversation

Candles are one of the most important symbols in all of the celebrations of winter festivals. Fire melts the winter’s chill and was thought to encourage the Sun to shine. The candle’s brightness was thought to chase away dark winter demons. The light “warms our spirits, rejuvenates our bodies, and shows us the way on our personal paths.”

Music: “Love Came Down at Christmas,” Christmas in the King’s Court, Ann Hayman, Harpist, 1992

Sunday, Dec. 16, 2007

The Magdalen Community is a connective community seeking conversation and dialogue with other spiritualities and religious traditions. This Community takes its inspiration from The Gospel of Mary, where Jesus encourages the assembled community to find the divine nature within.

Call to Silence and Opening Meditation

Music: “Give Me Your Story” from The Magdalene Mystique by Anita Kruse (track #1)


Advent and the Third Sunday

Advent (from the Latin word “adventus”, meaning "coming") is the beginning of the Church Year for most churches in the Western tradition. It’s a season marked by a period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ at Christmas. Originally it was a time when Christians readied themselves for baptism and it was represented by the color purple for penitence as well as royalty. There has been a recent shift in the colors and philosophy of Advent to replace the penitence and fasting aspect with thoughts of hope and anticipation. In fact, the third Sunday of Advent (today) is often called the “Sunday of Joy” and is marked by the color pink! Advent can be seen as a time of introspection, longing, preparation and celebration – whatever YOU want it to be in your life.

Morning Poem by Mary Oliver from Dream Work (1986)

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange
sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again
and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails
for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it
the thorn
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,
whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

A Reading from the Gospel of Mary Magdalene

“…I left the world with the aid of another world; a design was erased, by virtue of a higher design. Henceforth I travel toward Repose, where time rests in the Eternity of Time; I go now into Silence.’” Having said all this, Mary became silent, for it was in silence that the Teacher spoke to her.

(LeLoup translation, Appendix B, The Magdalene Mystique)

Call to Conversation

This will be a quiet time instead of conversation. I have bookmarks and markers for you to draw your self-portrait and your dreams for 2008 on. Give them to me at the end of the service with your self-addressed envelope and I will mail them to you to be received on or around January 1!

Winter Solstice by Lao-Tsu
(to be read together)

In the beginning was the Tao.
All things issue from it;
all things return to it.

To find the origin,
trace back the manifestations.
When you recognize the children
and find the mother,
you will be free of sorrow.

If you close your mind in judgements
and traffic with desires,
your heart will be troubled.
If you keep your mind from judging
and aren’t led by the senses,
your heart will find peace.

Seeing into darkness is clarity.
Knowing how to yield is strength.
Use your own light
and return to the source of light.
This is called practicing eternity.


Music: “The Conversation” from “All the Way to Heaven” by Jan Phillips (track #3).

Jan is one of Madeleine Manning’s favorite musicians; Madeleine is a longtime friend of Brigid’s Place and needs our prayers as she is transforming her life. Jan was instrumental in guiding the pioneers of Brigid’s Place.

As an expression of appreciation to The Rothko Chapel for use of this sacred space,your love offering in the box marked “Magdalen Community”will be gratefully received.

For more information about the Magdalen Community, please contact
or Please include “Magdalen Community” in the subject line.