Christmas Morn Reflections: The Cosmic Christ comes into the world in the way of weakness, vulnerability, and need and a mission of radical grace and love for healing the world of power, oppression, and violence and lifting up the oppressed

Christmas Morn Reflections: The Cosmic Christ comes into the world in the way of weakness, vulnerability, and need and a mission of radical grace and love for healing the world of power, oppression, and violence and lifting up the oppressed

“God entered into our world not with the crushing impact of unbearable glory, but in the way of weakness, vulnerability and need. On a wintry night in an obscure cave, the infant Jesus was a humble, naked, helpless God who allowed us to get close to him….The Bethlehem mystery will ever be a scandal to aspiring disciples who seek a triumphant Savior and a prosperity Gospel.” – Brennan Manning, Shipwrecked at the Stable

“The whole point of the kingdom of God is Jesus has come to bear witness to the true truth, which is nonviolent. When God wants to take charge of the world, he doesn’t send in the tanks. He sends in the poor and the meek.” – N.T. Wright
art by Gari Melcher ‘The Nativity’

poem: and now it is Christmas ‘time’

poem: and now it is Christmas ‘time’

time slows
and deepens
at Christmas

from 40 days
of waiting

to the coming of the
Universal Cosmic Christ child
God with us Emmanuel

time now comes to
its eternal

filled with awe
and reverence in
this ever-present moment

standing in the silent
snow covered field
in bleak mid-Winter

stripped of adornment
travelers weary
in the cold and mud

only the
angels, shepherds, and magi
will witness this New Day

that Heaven and its Love
reign down on me and us all
then, now, and evermore

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
December 24&25, 2021

photo by author in
‘A Snowy Winter Eve’

Blue Advent reflections: The lowly, the imperfect, and the wounded shall be lifted up in dignity and rejoice

Blue Advent reflections: The lowly, the imperfect, and the wounded shall be lifted up in dignity and rejoice

God, by whatever name you know, chooses the lowly, the imperfect, the wounded to do God’s work in this world!

This season of our different faiths and spiritual traditions can be a challenging time for many of us this time of year.
However, my dear brothers, sisters, siblings, we must always remember that none of us is too ‘lowly’ to do the work of God, too imperfect do be loved by God and the Godly, too wounded to not be healed in this Divine radical acceptance and love!

Just consider the birth of the Universal Cosmic Christ in that dirty stable and on the run from the Roman empire!

And consider the words below of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pastor, saint, and martyr, as he preached in his Christmas sermon in his homeland of Germany during the reign of the Nazis.

And yes, we live again in the time fascist tyrants, dominant empires, pandemics, and violence and many are heartbroken, wounded, marginalized , oppressed, and neglected.

Let us remember, we are all children of a Universal God, a Cosmic Christ, and a pervasive Spirit, who belong together in diverse, authentic, neighborly communities of grace, love, mercy, justice, and hope

For God’s love for us, we love one another now and always!

Let us love one another during seasons of the Spirit, the Holy Days, the not so Holy Days, and all year around eternally as we are called to do by the Cosmic Universal Christ consciousness at its dawning!

“Lo, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Jesus, the Cosmic Christ, to the disciples, as reported by Matthew in his Good News

Authors note: My use of the ‘Universal Cosmic Christ’ designates an incarnate principal of consciousness grounded in radical grace and radical love for one another which extends beyond a single religion or spiritual tradition and therefore is universally available to all beings here and now always.

Advent Reflections

Advent reflections: When Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, meet during their pregnancies, they rejoice in the ending of Empire and its oppression of the lowly under which they live at that time with the Roman occupation of Judea

Mary sings a revolutionary song to Elizabeth, known as the Magnificat:

The Magnificat: Luke 1:46-55 NRSV lyrics:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer called Mary’s song “the most passionate, the wildest, one might say the most revolutionary Advent hymn ever sung.” Bonhoeffer, who would be hung 12 years later for resisting Nazism, added: “This is not the gentle, tender, dreamy Mary … This song has none of the sweet, nostalgic, or even playful tones of … Christmas carols. It is instead a hard, strong, inexorable song about collapsing thrones and humbled lords of this world … ”

Sister Elizabeth Johnson says “The Magnificat is a revolutionary song of salvation whose political, economic, and social dimensions cannot be blunted. People in need in every society hear a blessing in this canticle. The battered woman, the single parent without resources, those without food on the table or without even a table, the homeless family, the young abandoned to their own devices, the old who are discarded: all are encompassed in the hope Mary proclaims.”

image by Ben Wildflower
click on image for better view

Advent reflection: embracing the Life giving mystery of Life together vis-a-vis the personal hubris of self in a world to be calculated and exploited

Advent reflection: embracing the Life giving mystery of Life together vis-a-vis the
personal hubris of self in a world to be calculated and exploited

it is in our inability
to sit with and receive
the mystery of human’s
greatest gift of Cosmic Christ,
come down to us
filling our hearts with Love
to be shared mutually
with others, which is our
greatest human downfall

instead substituting our
selfish hubris too often
learned on our knees
at the Empire’s fortress
where we are led astray
in its’ lessons of power,
control, and violence
which hardens into
private, selfish hubris
thus losing our respect
for the mystery of Life
and Love and our Eternal Being,

failing to see and denying their
crucial transformative processes,
clinging to the old ways
of seeing the world as something
to be calculated and exploited
for our personal, selfish gain

dear one’s awaken,

art: ‘Dalit Madonna’ by Jyoti Saha

Author’s note: My reflection is
inspired by the writings of the
German Lutheran Pastor,
theologian, and martyr Dietrich
Bonhoeffer, who was hung by the
Nazi’s for his resistance and religious
beliefs after spending two years in Nazi
prisons and concentration camps. I offer
these reflections from the perspective
of spiritual experience universal to all
creation and humanity whatever one’s
religion, faith, beliefs, or traditions.
Herein lies our hope for the Oneing
of heaven and earth in true belonging
in authentic communities of radical grace
and radical love. Advent blessings!

poem: a sweet visit to Toddy’s house

poem: a sweet visit to Toddy’s house

exiting Toddy’s house
through the large kitchen
onto the screened porch
down the steep back stairs

across the backyard
out to the alley
then right four blocks
to the corner bakery

peering in the huge glass front
with the huge glass display cases
always filled completely
with cookies, pies, cakes, and rolls

entering the store
with its colorful display
and comforting aroma
enveloping all

with a pocket of change
one could buy a white paper sack
filled with their delicious
pastel, buttery, shortbread cookies

and for a bit more
the whitecake with creamy, white icing,
a chocolate meringue or chess pie,
or some fresh Parker House rolls

then on the way back, stopping
by the corner drugstore, its doorbell tingling,
and its wood slate floor, and high ceiling fan
hanging from the tin roof

buying an ice cold bottle of Coke
to wash it all down, a sugar high,
before the hike back up
to Toddy’s kitchen

there one would always find Toddy
in her apron smiling widely, knowingly,
preparing food at the big sink
as steamy pots cooked on the cast iron stove

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
December 2, 2021

images family photos of Toddy
Becker’s Bakery unattributed

Author’s Note: Toddy was my maternal
grandmother. Everyone called her Toddy
which was a nickname from her childhood.
The bakery us grandkids visited was
Becker’s Bakery founded in 1925, which
was one of Nashville’s best bakeries for
decades until closing a few years ago and
always one of the most popular. Getting
something there was always a treat, and we
were close enough to walk when at
Grandmother’s (Toddy’s) house.

poem: Thanksgiving passes, Winter Solstice nears, Advent begins (via negativa)

The Season of Advent Begins
Pregnant with Anticipation

poem: Thanksgiving passes,
Winter Solstice nears,
Advent begins (via negativa)

and now the family Thanksgiving
bountiful feast has been eaten
and the days revelry abated
( the dominant culture’s lies
about its oppression of the Native
American’s laid bare)

entering the liminal space
of late Autumn’s cold, short days,
the Winter Solstice nears
(the dominant culture’s
Black Friday and pre-Christmas
buying frenzy muted)

preparing ourselves through
deep reflection and contemplation
in our stillness and quietude
(the dominant culture’s frenetic
holiday festivities and prideful hail fellow
well met transmuted)

coming into the Advent season of the
coming of the Universal Cosmic Christ
and its call to “the high price of full
consciousness” (the dominant culture’s
distortions of Santa Claus and the churches’
sentimental baby Jesus plays notwithstanding)

Christ consciousness incarnate
Jesus is Lord, Come Lord Jesus
(not the dominant culture’s current day
Caesar of power, control, and violence,
but Christ with us in the neighborly
community of the Kin-dom)

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
November 28, 2021

Image by Matthias Stromer

Author’s note: My poem is meant to
convey the story of Universal Cosmic Christ
consciousness breaking into the worldy
human empires of the many Caesar’s and
their power, control, violence, and oppression.
As a universal cosmic, spiritual story, it extends
beyond the institutional Christian church and is
available to everyone regardless of personal
religious beliefs. It becomes part of the human
story of spiritual growth towards True Self and
belonging in Authentic Community together.
The quote in stanza four is from Richard Rohr.)