March 2015 NewsletterSOPHIA'S Well of WisdomMeet me at the Well. . .
Dear Loraine,The weather has been so lovely here in the Gold Country and we are basking in the coming Spring. The daffodils our in full bloom and Daffodil Hill opened two weeks early this year. Gather with us at The Well to support your and each other's Path of the Soul. We strive to support Spiritual Community Life in Amador County.SOPHIA'SMission is to serve all who come in search of Wholeness.As such, we endeavor to create and hold a sacred and safe place to engage spiritual community and provide holistic services to enable each person to discover Inner Light, to connect with Soul, to embody Spirit, and to encounter Sacred Wisdom in everyday life.
March's Wisdom Topic: The Ageless WisdomWe have already covered the first two weeks of this topic and all who have attended discovered that we have been studying the Ageless Wisdom all along. Looking at some of the basic principles and concepts, we discovered the Primary Principle of Ageless Wisdom is Oneness, out last year's theme. Last Sunday we covered the Religious Impulse in the Ageless Wisdom. Nextwe will explore a much misunderstood topic - Spiritual Hierarchy. On 3/22, not only will be celebrate the SPRING EQUINOX, but also look at the role of Service as a fundamental teaching of the Ageless Wisdom. I will be hosting these circle gatherings. The last topic for March will point to some of the Dangers that one may encounter along the path. Lynnea Honn will host this class. The topics this month are an introduction that will lead to the year-long in-depth inquiry of the Esoteric Philosophy revealed in the Ageless Wisdom Teachings throughout time and across cultures and religions.
SPIRITUAL ARTS DAYJoin us for a fun and inspiring afternoon exploring some of the Spiritual Arts.~ INTUITIVE ARTS ~Rev. Patsy will share some intuitive development tools to explore the nature of your True Self, the Soul.~ EXPRESSIVE ARTS ~Shari Anderson will guide participants to a delightful voice expression.~ HEALING ARTS ~Reiki Healing Touch practitioners will share healing work through a Healing Circle.We will also enjoy an AFTERNOON TEA break.Wear comfortable clothes and come to play and enjoy your spiritual life.Do RSVP so we'll know how many scones to make for the Tea break!Call Patsy at 209-418-9003
Celebrating the Spring EquinoxThe annual Spring Equinox Celebration will be held onSunday March22 hosted by Rev. Tracy Johnson. This is a wonderful time to stop and contemplate the message of the Season, its gifts, inspiration, challenges, andopportunities to further advance on our spiritual journey. All who attend these Celebrations of the Seasons leave refreshed and strengthened. Our celebration will be combined with meditation and other activities and replace the regular Meditation starting at .
MEDITATION CLASSESYes! The 5-week Meditation classes are still offered on Wednesdays. Lynnea Honn teaches the morning classes and Patricia Green teaches the evening classes, which are offered as often as a small group of people register for them. You can call Lynnea, the registrar, at 209-304-6174 to find out the next class schedule or to be put on the waiting list for the next class.Coming Soon: Intuitive TherapiesAmel Tafsout has provided Sacred Dance classes at SOPHIA's for about a year now. She's off to her annual European tour through March and most of April. When she returns, Amel has agreed to use her gifts, experience and training in the Intuitive Arts and Spiritual Response Therapy to provide services on Tuesdays. Watch for further announcements next month. She will resume her Sacred Dance classes when she returns in late April.
We appreciate your support to maintain an Inter-Spiritual ministry in Amador County. Our programs will continue as long as people support the work through their presence and the financial support needed to operate the center. Community services are by donation and SOPHIA'S is tax-exempt through its association with Light of Christ Community Church. Individual services are fee-based at reasonable rates with adjustments made for those in need. Besides sacred education classes and meditation groups, spiritual care and holistic healing services are offered.SOPHIA'SWell of Wisdom270A Hanford StreetSutter Creek, CA 95685Wisdom CircleWomen WritersA Course in MiraclesInquire for Next Scheduled ClassesMeditation Classes orSacred DanceBy AppointmentSpiritual DirectionMeditation TherapyContemplative Massage and BodyworkReiki Healing Touch
Spring Blessings,Rev. Patsy Walker Fine, D.Min.Minister, CMT/RMT
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Lent 3/B 3-08-15
If you’ve ever gone to target practice, you know that there are certain fundamentals. The stance you take is very important. You must face the target with feet apart, lean forward, and slightly bend one or both knees. You need to have a good grip, a smooth draw, a keen eye, good breathing technique, careful trigger control, and a clean follow through. Aim big, miss small! Once you have mastered these techniques, you should be successful in hitting your target, at least most of the time.
The religious journey is all about learning to keep our eyes focused on the target and to acquire certain skills that will help us hit the bull’s eye. These skills are honed when we practice the spiritual disciplines. So we pray, we read the scriptures, we reach out in compassion to serve others, we worship together, we live moral lives, and we follow in the footsteps of Jesus by making choices based on what is honorable and true. We share our resources, we open our hearts, minds, and bodies to God’s grace, and we strive for justice, peace, and the dignity of every human being. The season of Lent is that time of the year when we especially focus on these disciplines.
However, even if we practice all of these spiritual disciplines we will not reach our goal unless we know what and where the target is. So here is my question: What do you think the target or the goal of Christianity is? In my experience as a priest, many folks have never really asked or pondered this question. Some have set their sites on short range targets like “being a nice person” or “growing a parish church” or belonging to a community of faith where people are “friendly and happy.” Others think that the goal of Christianity is to believe and say the right things like: “Jesus is the Son of God” or “Jesus died for my sins” or accept in the many dogmas and doctrines that have arisen over the years. And while these are important in understanding the goal of Christianity, they are not the final target.
No wonder Christians have easily fallen off track and have gotten distracted with minutia. Just think how much time and energy have been expended in the Episcopal Church (as well as most churches in the United States) on issues like women’s ordination and the inclusion of gay and lesbian persons. What was that all about? What I would like to talk about today is the goal of Christianity and those things that prevent us from hitting the target. I will use the reading from Exodus as my text.
So let’s begin with the goal of Christianity, which has to do with unity, harmony, and peace throughout the entire creation. Before his death, Jesus prayed, “We all may be one.” (Jn 17:21) Elsewhere in the gospel of John he says: “When I am lifted up, I will draw all to myself.” (Jn. 12:31) In trying to explain his key mission, Jesus said: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (Jn. 10:10) From this vision of what the Kingdom of God would look like, the Church took upon itself its primary mission: “The mission of the church is “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” (BCP 855) And what would a full restoration look like? We would become like Jesus, having the mind of Christ and being transformed into his likeness. And when this Christ consciousness happens in its fullness, the Kingdom of God will be complete. This is the goal or target of Christianity. This is where we aim our sites. So, where do we start?
We start with Christian target practice. We need to work on our stance by living the moral life. Our grip on the truth needs to be discerning, pure and honest. Our draw needs to embrace all of God’s creatures. We have to keep our focus on the glory of God, not on “me, myself, and I.” Our breathing needs to be healthful and calm, surrounded by an environment of clean air and water. And our aim needs to be pointed at justice, peace, and the dignity of every human being. And one of the ways we can improve our chances of hitting the target is by following the 10 commandments.
In our first reading, Moses has had a mystical experience of God up on the mountaintop. It is during this mystical experience that he discerned God’s wisdom about how the Hebrew people should relate to one another and to God if they are to grow into a healthy society. These statues were vital to the survival of the Hebrew community some 3200 years ago; a community that was transitioning from being a loosely-knit band of slaves into a settled agricultural community. These ten essentials kept chaos from breaking out and wreaking havoc among Gods’ chosen people. They eventually became the foundation of their faith. And since that time, Christians have also embraced these commandments as a way to live in a healthy relationship with God, family, and society.
We all know the 10 commandments and if I were to repeat them now, you would probably start daydreaming. So I thought I would paint a picture of what life looks like when we totally ignore the 10 commandments.
So let’s start at the beginning of the list:
Instead of worshipping the one God of Abraham, why not take up company with the whole pantheon of gods. Let’s worship Bacchus, the god of joy, whom people celebrate with devote loyalty as they eat, drink, and be merry without considering the impact of this hedonistic lifestyle on themselves or society. Let’s keep Mars alive, the god of war, whom we serve in order to gain security, oil, or property. Some of us have such loyalty to this god, that we allow about 25% of our national budget to support him. We pour out our treasure and lay the lives of our young people upon his military altar, building machines of destruction while relying on acts of violence to save the planet. And don’t forget the fertility god, Baal, who has become very popular in recent times as people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in fertility treatments while others support the multi billion-dollar sex industry.
As for false idols, well, the golden calf still holds first place in our world today where people are allowed to take advantage and step on others in the name of economics. Who cares about the common good if we can squirrel away more money for ourselves? So what if greed infects our politics, our financial institutions, and our hearts. After all, we need to satisfy our appetites first and foremost!
Using the Lord’s name in vain? Why not use the name of Jesus to justify our prejudices or to oppress those who are different from us. Better to blame him than take personal responsibility.
Sabbath taking? Huh! Keep those stores open 7 days a week and make sure there is not one day in the week when families can come together and enjoy some much needed rest.
Who wants to honor father and mother especially when it becomes inconvenient! Let’s bleed them of their money while they have it and then put them away when they get too old.
Murder? Don’t you know life is cheap? After all, there are over 6 billion people on the planet. Why not exploit children, immigrants, and those in third world countries, especially if it is to our advantage. They would die anyway of poverty and disease so we might as well use them while they are still alive. Kill those troublemakers in the Middle East and while we are at it, let’s get rid of the prison population.
Adultery? Get real. If it feels good, then do it. Who cares if relationships are broken and commitments are compromised or someone gets an STD. People have been doing it for centuries so why stop now?
Stealing? Hey-junk bonds, computer hacking, stock manipulation, deceptive lotteries, Savings and Loan debacles, not honoring pension plans…these are all part and parcel of the 21st century so just get used it. False witness? Harrumph…lie when it is to your advantage. After all, what harm is there in padding a resume, making false campaign promises, doctoring evidence, using doublespeak, perjuring, or exaggerating and misrepresenting a product for sale. Everyone does it.
And speaking of products for sale, if it wasn’t for coveting, (desiring more, bigger, better, and faster), our economy would suffer. Don’t you know that “the one with the most toys wins?”
Whenever a people worship multiple gods, come under the spell of idols, ignore the sanctity of marriage, cheat, lie, steal, and focus on possessing what does not belong to them, there can be no unity or community. Without some kind of moral agreement, society becomes fractured and remains in turmoil. To miss the mark, to miss the target, to wander from the path of righteousness, to violate the divine law or to trespass against any creature of God is summed up in the Greek word, Hamartia, which in religious language is translated as sin. And it is sin (alienation from God and one another) that prevents us from hitting our target & reaching the goal of the Christian faith.
Before he died, Jesus prayed that “we all may be one.” The 10 commandments are a gift to us, divine wisdom coming from above that can help keep us on this path towards the fullness of the kingdom of God.
Friday, March 6, 2015