Re-Birthing God: a sermon for Advent 1C

Made of God Julian pastordawn copyThis sermon relies on the work of John Philip Newell in his book, The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings. On this, the first Sunday of Advent our readings included “The Star Within” a creation story by Dr. Paula Lehman and Rev. Sarah Griffith, Luke 21:25-36, and John 3:1-9. A deliberate choice was made not to use the traditional Advent reading from Jeremiah so as to avoid the trap of the false Christian appropriation of the Hebrew prophets as foretellers of Jesus as the Messiah. Listen to the sermon here

A very happy new year to you all! On this the very first Sunday of the Church year, in churches all over the world, congregations have sung out their pleas for advent. Advent from the Latin verb “to come:. O Come, O Come Emmanuel, loudly and with gusto, or softly but with earnest desire, that Emmanuel “God with us” would come and put an end to our anxious longing to escape the darkness. I love all the blue, with just the hint of evergreens. I love the images summoned up in our liturgical silences, of darkness, wilderness, longing and expectation. I love the idea of coming in here as sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of our consumer culture’s lead up to the Christmas season. I love the music, I could sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel during all four Sunday’s of Advent and never tire of all eight of its plaintive verses. Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord, Preee—pare Ye the way of the Lord, There’s a Voice in the Wilderness crying, Comfort, Comfort Now My People,  Each Winter As the Year Grows Older, we’ll have no Christmas carols in Advent even if you please!!! Soon and Very Soon, we are going to see our God, wait, wait, wait, for it ….let the malls over-dose you with carols…let us wait… Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.

People, Look East, Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding! Let the world fill up on Christmas cheer, shop till they drop. For we in here are Lost In the Night. Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah. Hark, the Glad Sound! Prepare, Prepare, Prepare, we’re not there yet! Wait! Awake! Awake! As the Dark Awaits the Dawn. Wait for the Lord. Prepare the Royal Highway. Four blue Sundays, contemplate, keep silence, get ready to Fling Wide the Door, the Unexpected and Mysterious, Creator of the Stars of Night, let the silence speak to us, as our Ancient Love, prepares the way for our God. Hope, Joy, Love, Peace shall be ours if we but wait.

Every year while the church heralds Advent, the world greets Santa. For years I’ve loved this valiant attempt to hold on to allow the child to gestate, while the world casually tosses the baby into the muck and the mire of busy streets, crowded malls and boisterous, drunken, celebrations. I still treasure the memories of my first Advent seasons. I came to the church when I was just fifteen years old. I had never even heard of Advent. I was excited about my first Christmas in the church. I wanted to soak it all up. I expected Christmas carols, and stories about the Christ Child. I had no idea about the darkness of the wilderness. My first inkling came on the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent. The Lutheran church where I was introduced to life in and among Christians, was comprised mainly of Scandinavians who had more Advent traditions than you can shake a Yule log at. Don’t get me started on the lutefisk!!! No, gelatinas lye fish for me if you please, just save the rullupylsa for me, and maybe just maybe I’ll have a little pickled herring, but pass the aquavit and let a few icy shots loosen us up and before you know it … off da… we’ll all be warm from the inside out. Continue reading

Listen Beyond the Tweets to the Deep Peace of the Still Small Voice

Inner Peace KempisOn this quiet summer morning, I arise to find the airwaves clamouring with the sound of Tweets. As news of war and rumours of war penetrates my consciousness and awaken me to the surreal clamouring of madmen who hold the power of life and death in the grasp of their tiny hands, it is so very tempting to give in to the cynicism of the talking heads. While our hearts grieve for our broken world, let us remember that while we cannot control the actions of others, we can, however, control the way we react to the actions of others. Let us not fall into temptation. Let us live in hope. Let us pause in the gentleness of this summer morning to turn our being toward the dream of peace. Shalom, Salam, Santi, Pax, Udo, Santi, Axsti, Salmu, Sith, Paix, Peace….Let us open ourselves to the sound of the still, small voice, the Daughter of a Sound, the Bat Qol who calls us Beyond the Beyond and Beyond that also toward the Deep Peace…. 

Two videos which present John Philip Newell’s interpretation of the Celtic prayer for Deep Peace

Re-Birthing God: a sermon for Advent 1C

Made of God Julian pastordawn copyThis sermon relies on the work of John Philip Newell in his book, The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings. On this, the first Sunday of Advent our readings included “The Star Within” a creation story by Dr. Paula Lehman and Rev. Sarah Griffith, Luke 21:25-36, and John 3:1-9. A deliberate choice was made not to use the traditional Advent reading from Jeremiah so as to avoid the trap of the false Christian appropriation of the Hebrew prophets as foretellers of Jesus as the Messiah. Listen to the sermon here

Journeying Toward Resurrection: John Philip Newell


snowdropsA powerful series contemplating resurrection in ever deepening ways in order to explore what a risen christianity might look like in terms of its offering of healing and blessing for the earth. Created by John Philip Newell a poet, pastor and scholar who opens our eyes o a vision beyond doctrines and dogmas that fail to proclaim the wonders of the universe in which we live.  “Christianity will rise again to the extent that we remember the sacredness of everything that has been born in the universe.”

Deep Peace: John Philip Newell

Inner Peace KempisAs news of wars and rumours of war penetrate our consciousness, it is so very tempting to give in to the cynicism of our age. While our hearts grieve for our broken world, let us remember that while we cannot control the actions of others, we can control how we react to the actions of others. Let us not fall into temptation. Let us live in hope. Let us pause in the gentleness of this summer morning to turn our being toward the dream of peace. Shalom, Salam, Santi, Pax, Udo, Santi, Axsti, Salmu, Sith, Paix, Peace….

Two videos which present John Philip Newell’s interpretation of the Celtic prayer for Deep Peace

Celtic Night Prayer

Video: Halianna Burhans: Music:  Rev. Will Burhans – Weight of Grace Text: John Philip Newell, Celtic Benediction: Morning and Night Prayer

Listening to the Heartbeat of God: John Philip Newell

sacred earthJohn Philip Newell is a poet, author, and peacemaker. He is the co-founder of Salva Terra: A Vision Towards Earth’s Healing. Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, he is currently Companion Theologian for the American Spirituality Center of Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch in the high desert of New Mexico. For more about Newell follow this link Newell’s progressive insights are permeated by his deep understanding of Celtic spirituality. It is no surprise then that Newell calls for a renewed understanding of the sacredness of matter. 

In response to the current crisis of institutional Christianity, Newell sees three responses: denial of the crisis, shoring up of the old, or to ask “What is it that is trying to be born? What is it that is trying to emerge from the human soul and how can we within the Christian household be part of leading that and serving it with humility?”  Newell’s gentle invitation is challenging the church to serve the deep knowing that is in the hearts of people everywhere and to empower the deep knowing of the sacredness of the knowings that come up from the deepness of our being which is of God.

Journeying Toward Resurrection: John Philip Newell


snowdropsA powerful series contemplating resurrection in ever deepening ways in order to explore what a risen christianity might look like in terms of its offering of healing and blessing for the earth. Created by John Philip Newell a poet, pastor and scholar who opens our eyes o a vision beyond doctrines and dogmas that fail to proclaim the wonders of the universe in which we live.  “Christianity will rise again to the extent that we remember the sacredness of everything that has been born in the universe.”

Morning Prayer Liturgy: John Philip Newell

Chanting for PeaceMorning Prayer Liturgy from Casa del Sol, Ghost Ranch. Led by John Philip Newell, Ali Newell, David E. Poole, Winona Poole. Chants from “Chanting For Peace, Praying with the Earth”

The Fundamentalist Within Us – John Philip Newell

moon like consciousness

“Life does not exist in fixed categories. It is ever changing.” We are living in an age of enormous change. If we are one we are going to have to radically change.

 

Reconnecting Faith Traditions and Reconnecting through the Well of Imagination – John Philip Newell

John Philip Newell

Moved by the humble and holy desire to learn wisdom from other traditions John Philip Newell looks beyond the Christian household to explore the wisdom of the East. 

A New Harmony: Re-Imagining St. Paul’s Vision of Oneness

interfaceThinking about this Sunday’s epistle reading, Galatians 3:23-29 and wondering how we might  re-imagine  the Apostle Paul’s insistence that in Christ “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Might it be that those of us who follow the way of Jesus need to consider subtracting our language about “Jesus Christ” as the source of our ONENESS in the One In Whom All Life Is Rooted? Can we begin to re-imagine language for what we mean by “Christ”? What can we learn from sisters and brothers who follow a different way to ONENESS?A New Harmony

John Philip Newell’s recent book, “New Harmony: The Spirit, The Earth, and The Human Soul” provides an Eastern perspective from which I’m looking anew at the Galatians reading. You can hear Newell reading from the chapter “Every Bush Is Burning” in which I trust preachers and seekers alike will find much to contemplate. Enjoy!

The Wisdom of God Is Deep Within Us – John Philip Newell

dear longsLast night I had the privilege of attending a lecture by John Philip Newell who spoke about his recent book, “New Harmony: The Spirit, The Earth, and The Human Soul”. So many images and phrases linger in my imagination. Newell’s gentle, provocative, prophetic call to live into what Thomas Berry calls this “moment of grace” in order to heal the Earth moved me beyond words. I am so grateful to Newell for uncovering Wisdom who lives in the Christian Household; especially Julian of Norwich’s conviction that “we are not just made by God, we are made of God.”

This video contains a Prayer for Presence, followed by the chant: As the Deer Longs, by Newell. For more on Newell follow this link

You Shall Be Like a Garden: John Philip Newell

john philip newellI am currently reading John Philip Newell’s “A New Harmony: The Spirit, The Earth, and The Human Soul. It is a wonderful excursion into the depths of a modern Celtic soul which I find difficult to put down. Newell provides a new vision of what he sees as the “new Pentecost” and I’ve already discovered several sermons waiting to be written. Happily Newell will be speaking in Guelph next week and I will have the opportunity to journey further along the way with this gentle soul. I suspect that his vision of Pentecost will spark some flames of the Spirit as I prepare for the celebration of Pentecost!  A New Harmony

Newell is a poet, author, and peacemaker. He is the co-founder of Salva Terra: A Vision Towards Earth’s Healing. Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, he is currently Companion Theologian for the American Spirituality Center of Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch in the high desert of New Mexico.

Enjoy this video “Prayer for Creativity Chant: You Shall Be Like a Garden”. Music composed by Linda Larkin.

Journeying Toward Resurrection: John Philip Newell

A New HarmonyA powerful series contemplating resurrection in ever deepening ways in order to explore what a risen christianity might look like in terms of its offering of healing and blessing for the earth. Created by John Philip Newell a poet, pastor and scholar who opens our eyes o a vision beyond doctrines and dogmas that fail to proclaim the wonders of the universe in which we live.  “Christianity will rise again to the extent that we remember the sacredness of everything that has been born in the universe.”