Join us each week at Sunshine Cathedral in Second Life. Download the software and make your avatar at http://www.secondlife.com. Search Sunshine Cathedral in Classifieds to find your way to us. We meet each Sunday at 5pm EST/ 2pm SLT My name in Second Life is CristoferAslan Muircastle.
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The Wisdom of Mary Baker Eddy (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)
“The advent of Jesus of Nazareth marked the first century of the Christian era, but the Christ is without beginning of years or end of days. Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, the reflection of God, has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or Christ, which baptized these seers in the divine nature, the essence of Love. The divine image, idea, or Christ was, is, and ever will be inseparable from the divine Principle, God.
1 Corinthians 1.9 (The Inclusive Bible, Priests for Equality)
God, through whom you have been called into intimacy with Jesus our savior, is faithful.
Mark 13:24-31 (CEV)
24“In those days, right after that time of suffering,
‘The sun will become dark,
and the moon
will no longer shine.
25The stars will fall,
and the powers in the sky
will be shaken.
26“Then the Son of [Humanity] will be seen coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27He will send his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the earth.
28“Learn a lesson from a fig tree. When its branches sprout and start putting out leaves, you know summer is near. 29So when you see all these things happening, you will know that the time has almost come. 30You can be sure that some of the people of this generation will still be alive when all this happens. 31The sky and the earth will not last forever, but my words will.”
Mary, Did You Know? 5:16 Christ Church Choir Christmas Tapestry Holiday
Simple Gifts 1:41 Celtic Christmas Celtic Christmas World
In the Bleak Midwinter 3:31 Annie Lennox A Christmas Cornucopia Holiday
Universal Child 4:14 Annie Lennox A Christmas Cornucopia Holiday
Hope 3:34 Ryan Calhoun Everything That I'm Not Singer/Songwriter
Welcome to the very first Sunday in the new liturgical year. Yes this is the beginning of the church year and the beginning of the Advent season. While the rest of the world is in full swing Christmas mode the church is out of sync. We have another agenda. We are in the business of waiting and anticipating the arrival of a baby.
Each year when this time of year arrives I greet it with an equal mix of excitement and disdain. For me this time of year is especially poignant. Along with the holidays come the anniversary of my mother’s death, my birthday and all its attendant reminders of mortality as I age. And my thoughts turn to those who do not have food or clothing or shelter as the rest of the world rushes about purchasing gifts to wrap in beautiful paper and ribbon. And each year I try to find the balance between enjoying the season and feeling just a little bit guilty that I have so much when so much of the world has so little.
I’m always struck by the Christian tradition of Advent, the waiting and anticipation of the birth of the baby Jesus juxtaposed beside the suffering and want of so many children in the world. It can become overwhelming. But overwhelmed is not a productive state. Overwhelmed is paralyzed with despair and stymied by depression. But there’s a remedy for being overwhelmed with the reality of the suffering in the world. That remedy is hope.
Hope is not a feeling. Hope is not a reaction. Hope is a decision to look to the future with anticipation. Faith that God is with us helping us become better people and become a better world is the result of cultivating hope. But what exactly can we do to cultivate hope? Well it’s actually pretty simple… we get up off our behinds and DO something.
It’s hard to become depressed and downhearted when we’re living in the kind of hope that requires us to actually put our money and our time where our proverbial mouth is. Hope is a way of life, a response to receiving the love of friends and family that mirrors the love God has for us.
This is part of what it means to be part of a community of faith. We come together to support one another and we come together to put our contributions together so that what we do together is more than the sum of what each of us gives. This year during the Advent and Christmas season we’re going to live in hope by doing something active. This year all of the funds collected beginning this week and carrying all the way through the twelve days of Christmas to Epiphany will be donated to the people of Zanskar in northern India in a region that once belonged to Tibet.
As I said last week I heard a Tibetan monk named Geshe Lobsang Yonten speak about the people of Zanskar. They have no running water, no electricity, no economy, no schools. His life’s work to build a school there and make certain that the children are educated so that they can have a future and preserve their language, culture, and religion. Meanwhile the children need food, clothing, and shelter. Geshe’s hope is to raise 100.00 each from 1000 people. This seems like a small goal in our opulent economy. But it is an overwhelming goal unless people like you and me get up of our behinds and help.
Here is what the website says about Save Zanskar. “The aim of Save Zanskar is to provide the children of the regions of Ladakh and Zanskar in northern India with both a proper modern education and ongoing immersion in their cultural heritage.
Geshe Yonten has said that just as a bird cannot fly without two wings, so humans cannot flourish without both an ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ education. Through this approach, Save Zanskar wishes to help educate the children and thus afford them with the best possible opportunity to become better human beings.
This dual approach will help preserve these ancient cultures, as well as embed an appreciation for their unique origins and destiny.”
Geshe speaks about the value inner education… the value of love, the value of compassion, the value of passion, the value of human beings. And he speaks about he necessity of outer education… math, science, reading, and writing. Both are necessary. One is not more valuable than the other. Geshe lives in hope by doing what he is called to do.
In our reading by Mary Baker Eddy this week she speaks about the glimpses of the divine nature that we have seen in various biblical heros and that the prophets experience. The Christic presence that the baby Jesus represents is a reflection of God. We who are made in the image of God are duty bound to reflect God’s love in the world in the work we are called to do.
Just as God is faithful to us so we are called to be faithful to each other. Our gospel lesson speaks of an apocalyptic scene where there are earthquakes and all manner of suffering and trials. We know if we watch the news each day that all these things are happening all the time all around us. But we also know that the magnificence of the human spirit is often revealed in what happens in response to this kind of suffering and need. Where there is need we are called to answer in an act of hope, in an act of reflecting God’s presence into a dark and broken world.
I hope you will take a moment to visit the website savezanskar.org to learn more about Geshe’s work. This is a man who lives in hope and that hope fuels a deep faith that one or two people can make a difference when they simply cultivate that hope by doing what they can. Let us do the same this Advent season. As we live in hopeful expectation let us do whatever is before us to do no matter how small or how large. We are called to an active waiting, a motivated hope. Let us who are so blessed give of ourselves this season so that the whole human family can be cared for.