Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Homily by Ann Harrington ARCWP for Liturgy "Celebrating the Cosmic Christ" at Free Spirit Inclusive Catholic Community in North Carolina 4/24/16

Ann Harrington, ARCWP pressiding at Liturgy Celebrating the Cosmic Christ
Photos by Mark Harrington
Opening song:  O Magnum Mysterium  https://youtu.be/nn5ken3RJBo

Psalm:  Everyday God  https://youtu.be/2_3MSBJIq5o

Communion Hymn:  We Are the Body of Christ  https://youtu.be/9Vj_VYbbn_c  Stop at 2:48

Recessional:  The rest of "We Are the Body of Christ

What follows are some ideas from Richard Rohr and Ilia Delio, both Franciscans, both I believe, are Prophets and Wisdom teachers.  I will post the links I used on our fb page if you are interested in furthering your understanding of the Cosmic Christ..

The Big Bang occurred over 13 billion years ago.  As God revealed God self in the material evolution of life, the Christ was present.  And this revelation has been ongoing since the beginning. On the first day, God says, "Let there be light".  The Cosmic Christ is the light that fills all things since the beginning of time and invites us into this realm of reality.  God is love--the love that loves to love.  God created the world because God longs to share that love with one who could respond to God in grace and glory.  I learned in Bev Bingle's homily this week that glory means "manifestation of God's presence". A favorite quote of mine is from the second century St. Irenaeus.  He said, "The glory of God is a person fully alive".  Jesus is this man fully alive.  Ilia says he was like a Big Bang, for in Jesus, God consciousness breaks forth.  Jesus had an immediate awareness of God in his life that breaks through the Jewish tradition.  His mission was to take what is fragmented in life make it whole whether it means challenging the Jewish Law or turning over the tables in the Temple.  Whatever is opposed to more unity and love must be challenged.  Jesus ushers in a New Integral Wholeness.  So, Jesus can be called a Whole Maker, a healer.  We his followers share in this mission.

The early church recognized that Jesus was the "Christ".  But this understanding was lost.    Our religion is carrying a lot of baggage.  Our God concept is for many, of medieval origin.  A God out there somewhere.  The legacy of the Greek philosophers is with us still.  Platonic spirituality gives us the idea that God is up there and we are here and our whole path is to leave here and go there. This thinking leads us to see earth as a mere way station on the journey to some other heavenly realm and explains the current ecological condition we find ourselves in. Our call is to embrace this wise home that has been given to us, to become conscious that beauty is all round us and life never stops bursting forth.                                                                                                                     
In the 14th century with the invention of telescopes people saw something very different from what  they had believed.  The earth was not the center of the universe but just one planet that revolved around the sun.  The church decided not to deal with this. For what then does Scripture mean?  What is our purpose in creation if humans are not the be all and end of creation?  How can we come to any certainty about God amidst all these changes?  Seventeenth century French philosopher, Rene Descartes decides to take God out of the cosmos and put God in a self thinking person.  This leads the church to respond with a heavy emphasis on doctrine and law.  God becomes judge, the one who is "over us".  Once you separate God from the cosmos you don't have God, you have a thought.

 Teilhard de Chardin was a Jesuit paleontologist who spent many years beginning in the 1920's in China looking for the story of how humans emerged and continue to emerge.  He put evolution and the Christ story together.  He said evolution is not a theory, it is the way nature works, it is a process of unfolding life.  There seems to be a fundamental law of attraction going on.  Things come together and form a new entity.  A new complexity forms something else new.  It is because of what was there that something new comes, emerges.  de Chardin calls this fundamental attraction, love.  Love is the physical structure of the universe.  This dynamic universe of energy of love, unites, attracts and gives rise to more being, over and over again.  The whole structure of the universe is oriented toward more life, more being, more consciousness.  The story is still being written.  Evolution continues through us.  We are the arrows of evolution.  Our choices and decisions are fundamental to how this universe will continue to evolve.  Everything we think, say or do matters.

  It may help to come to some understanding of the immense process that we are part of.   The first stars emerge 400 million years after the Big Bang.  If Evolution is a 30 volume encyclopedia, humans show up in the last volume, on the last page, the last 2 words of the last line.  We are new to the universe, We have been given a crucial role in evolution.  For if Christ is as, T. says, the organic unfolding of divine life that has come to consciousness in the human person, what does that make us but evolving Christ's?
In the life of Jesus we see what the Big Bang is about, love poured out for the sake of more life.  Evolution is cruciform, suffering and death all along the way.  Resurrection is a new energy field, this is why the early Church was so dynamic.  They were experiencing something new, New Life, life that will never end.  Life that empowered them to give their lives for the sake of the Gospel.

We  often miss the Risen Christ.  We are so driven by self-preservation.  We are  so distracted by noise and busyness and clutter that we cannot find that "still center" within, the place of Integral Wholeness where Jesus lived and moved and had his being.  It is when we come to know the whole within, when we meet the Christ within, when we get in touch with what Merton says is "the pure glory of God in us", when we find ourselves embraced in love, then we can move outward and become whole makers, reconcilers, people of mercy and compassion. 

Ilia defines a Christian as one who is connected through to the heart and to the whole of life, attuned to the deeper intelligence of nature and called forth irresistibly by the Spirit to creatively express one's gifts in the evolution of self and world.  As we open to change, to grow, to unite, so too will the world around us, because we are part and parcel of a larger whole.

Questions for reflection: I think it important to claim our goodness.  All of us are involved in whole making in some way.  I invite you to share what you do to bring wholeness to yourself and the larger world.

 What gives you energy? What gift/s is the Spirit calling you to creatively express?  You might be having a niggle of awareness that this thing is calling you.

If we stopped using the word Catholic and said "wholemakers", Free Spirit Inclusive Whole maker's Community, how might that change how we think about ourselves and what we are doing?

Readings for 4/24/16
First Reading:  Hymn of the Universe by Teilhard de Chardin

...far from light emerging gradually out of the womb of our darkness, it is the Light, existing before all else was made which, patiently, surely eliminates our darkness.  As for us creatures, of ourselves we are but emptiness and obscurity.  But you, my God, are the inmost depths, the stability of that eternal milieu, without duration or space, in which our cosmos emerges gradually into being and grows gradually to its final completeness, as it loses those boundaries which to our eyes seem so immense.  Everything is being;  everywhere there is being and nothing but being.

Psalm:  Everyday God by Bernadette Farrell  https://youtu.be/2_3MSBJIq5o

Second Reading:  Colossians 1 15-16  Inclusive New Testament

Christ is the image of the unseen God
   and the firstborn of all creation,
for in Christ were created
    all things in heaven and on earth:
everything visible and invisible,
    Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers-
     all things were created through Christ and for Christ.

Gospel:  John 1: 1-5  Inclusive New Testament

In the beginning
there was the Word,
the Word was in God's presence
and the Word was God.
The Word was present to God
 from the beginning.
Through the Word
all things came into being,
and apart from the Word
nothing came into being
that has come into being.
In the Word was life,
and that life was humanity's light-
a Light that shines in the darkness,
a Light that the darkness has never overtaken.

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