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Liberation

There are two trees in paradise. The one produces beasts; the other produces man. Adam ate from the tree which produced beasts, and becoming a beast he begat beasts. God created man and man created god. So it is in the world. Men make gods and they worship their creations. It would be fitting for the gods to worship men. 

– Gospel of Philip

The theme in this fourth week of Eastertide suggests that we focus on how we are assisted in our quest for liberation by the Divine.

At Sophia Café a few weeks ago we discussed the idea that Yeshua, the Hebrew name the we transliterate as “Jesus”, means “liberation”. The name is more commonly translated as “salvation” or perhaps “deliverance”, but in the 1st century Jewish context the ideas of deliverance or salvation would have been understood in the context of the plight of the people. Salvation from domination by the Romans, or before them the Hellenistic Empire. Deliverance from captivity in Babylon or Egypt.

Salvation – such a commonly used concept in Christianity, so common there is a whole area of theology called “soteriology” devoted to it – would have primarily meant “liberation” to both Yeshua and his disciples. Salvation has come to refer to something like “forgiveness from sin” to many traditional Christians. Given the doctrine of Original Sin and the huge role guilt seems to play in many people’s understanding, this meaning seems to be more about bondage than liberation.

This week’s reading from Philip gives us a way to understand something of what’s going on. To me, the reading implies that much of what we call religion, rather than genuine devotion to the transcendent, involves instead the worship of our own projections: feared images of a judgemental parent eager to be obeyed without question.

The Gnostic view of the Divine, by contrast, is of the radical face of Spirit both utterly ineffable and transcendent as well as utterly intimate and immanent – not separate, close as your own breath, the Unspeakable Name unspoken in Silence. The Divine waits, entices, demands that we turn from our egoic fantasies – the small view of the jailer on whom we blame our own cruelties. “Step into freedom”, comes the whisper. “Face your True Nature, stand up in truth, acknowledge your responsibility and embrace Me and your neighbour. One, one, one.”

Readings for the week

Service – 6pm
The service this Sunday will be a “Sophianic Eucharist”. The service praises Sophia or Holy Wisdom as the immanent, feminine face of the Divine and celebrates the sacred marriage between the immanent and transcendent aspects of Spirit. The service features prayer and chant and the sharing of the Body and the Blood in the form of bread and wine. 

Sophia Café – 7pm
Sophia Café follows the service – stay around for tea, snacks and conversation. Each week starts with a short talk by someone from the community followed by open discussion.

This week we will meet to choose our next study text. Come and browse the choices and express your opinion.

Parish logo 

The congregation at St Uriel’s meets every Sunday at 6pm at:
The Unitarian Centre
15 Francis St
Darlinghurst, NSW
Map

Rector: Father Tim Mansfield
email blog

Apostolic Johannite Church

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Parish of St Uriel the Archangel

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Marrickville, NSW 2204

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Divine Grace

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’
 

The focus of this week’s meditations is “Divine Grace”. Both our lectionary and the mainstream lectionary use the same story of Jesus appearing to the disciples and transmitting to them the Holy Spirit.

Grace is such a fundamental concept in the Semitic traditions. As a concept in Judaism, it pre-exists Christianity by at least several hundred years. Ironically, many of us imagine the Divine in ways other than suggested by the doctrine of Grace.

Divine Grace suggests that the Divine pours itself out to us, constantly, lovingly. With no concern for our actions, no particular interest in our sins or virtues, with constant loving-kindness. We are bathed in God in every moment. No matter what we do in our relationship with the Divine, God always shows up first. She is always waiting, always ready to receive us, the feast is always prepared ahead of time.

This is the truth of the Kingdom of Heaven and to live in the Kingdom, to stand faithful in the Name, is to to manifest this truth of Divine Grace. Which, it turns out, is terribly challenging. Instead, we fret and worry, we get anxious about our own sins and (more commonly) the sins of others. All of which really just gets in the way.

In the Gospel story this week, Jesus breathes over the disciples, just as our mother, Sophia, breathed life into the First Adam. An act which ought to remind us that instead of fretting about Original Sin, we should be celebrating our birth into Original Grace.

Readings for the week

 

Service – 6pm
The service this Sunday will be a “Sophianic Eucharist”. The service praises Sophia or Holy Wisdom as the immanent, feminine face of the Divine and celebrates the sacred marriage between the immanent and transcendent aspects of Spirit. The service features prayer and chant and the sharing of the Body and the Blood in the form of bread and wine. 

Sophia Café – 7pm
Sophia Café follows the service – stay around for tea, snacks and conversation. Each week starts with a short talk by someone from the community followed by open discussion.

Topic: “Living Gnosticism” by Jordan Stratford, pp 108-116
Presenter: Tim

Parish logo 

The congregation at St Uriel’s meets every Sunday at 6pm at:
The Unitarian Centre
15 Francis St
Darlinghurst, NSW
Map

Rector: Father Tim Mansfield

You’re receiving emails from us because you signed up to receive announcements of services at the Parish of St Uriel in Sydney, Australia.

Unsubscribe <<Email Address>> from this list.

Our mailing address is:

Parish of St Uriel the Archangel

5a Lilydale St

Marrickville, NSW 2204

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Copyright (C) 2009 Parish of St Uriel the Archangel All rights reserved.

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First Sunday after Easter

The First Sunday after Easter (or “Low Sunday”) is the beginning of the quiet period between the drama of Easter and and the excitement of Ascension and Pentecost. This short period commemorates the post-Resurrection teaching period of Jesus during which he gave some of his most direct and openly esoteric teaching.

The meditation themes for these weeks focus on appreciating the gifts of the Spirit in our lives. This is a period of spiritual ripening towards the maturity signalled by Pentecost when we are sent forth as “spiritual adults”.

Readings for the week

 

Service
The service this Sunday will be a “Sophianic Eucharist”. The service praises Sophia or Holy Wisdom as the immanent, feminine face of the Divine and celebrates the sacred marriage between the immanent and transcendent aspects of Spirit. The service features prayer and chant and the sharing of the Body and the Blood in the form of bread and wine. 

Sophia Café
Sophia Café follows the service – stay around for tea, snacks and conversation. Each week starts with a short talk by someone from the community followed by open discussion.

This week concludes our discussion of the esoteric understanding of the church’s liturgical calendar – the period from St John’s day to Christmas.

Presenter: Father Tim.

 

Parish logo

The congregation at St Uriel’s meets every Sunday at 6pm at:
The Unitarian Centre
15 Francis St
Darlinghurst, NSW
Map

Rector: Father Tim Mansfield
email blog

Apostolic Johannite Church

You’re receiving emails from us because you signed up to receive announcements of services at the Parish of St Uriel in Sydney, Australia.

Unsubscribe <<Email Address>> from this list.

Our mailing address is:

Parish of St Uriel the Archangel

5a Lilydale St

Marrickville, NSW 2204

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Copyright (C) 2009 Parish of St Uriel the Archangel All rights reserved.

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Services this week.

Hi, this week we celebrate…

Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter. The day commemorates the moment in the Gospel stories when Jesus enters Jerusalem as the heralded saviour of the people, just four days before being betrayed and killed.
There is a point in spiritual work when we have done enough in secret and the time comes to declare ourselves, for Love, for openness, for Life, for freedom, for Wisdom. There are consequences to coming out, the results aren’t always pretty, but the Light burns a little brighter as a result.

Readings for the week

 

Service
The service this Sunday will be a “Sophianic Eucharist”. The service praises Sophia or Holy Wisdom as the immanent, feminine face of the Divine and celebrates the sacred marriage between the immanent and transcendent aspects of Spirit. The service features prayer and chant and the sharing of the Body and the Blood in the form of bread and wine. 

Sophia Café
Sophia Café follows the service – stay around for tea, snacks and conversation. Each week starts with a short talk by someone from the community followed by open discussion.

This week’s Sophia Café focuses on the inner meaning of church festivals from July to December.
Presenter: Father Tim Mansfield

Parish logo

The congregation at St Uriel’s meets every Sunday at 6pm at:
The Unitarian Centre
15 Francis St
Darlinghurst, NSW
Map

Rector: Father Tim Mansfield
parish website

 

You’re receiving emails from us because you signed up to receive announcements of services at the Parish of St Uriel in Sydney, Australia.

Unsubscribe <<Email Address>> from this list.

Our mailing address is:

Parish of St Uriel the Archangel

5a Lilydale St

Marrickville, NSW 2204

Add us to your address book

Copyright (C) 2009 Parish of St Uriel the Archangel All rights reserved.

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Update your profile

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