Our Essene teachings both pre-date and post-date Christianity as it has become recognized today, knowing that many of the rites and ritualistic observances we continue to carry forward existed before Jesus was born. We have adopted the Liturgical Calendar of the American Catholic Church and follow a cycle of scripture contemplations revolving around the life of Jesus. Essenes shared his journey 2000 years ago, and continue to learn, grow and evolve through the process of knowing His life and applying His teachings to ours. We are gratefully conscious of The Living Ascended Lord Christ in our daily lives, grateful for His love, grace and wisdom that helps to guide our choices and reform our lives. We try to expand our vision of The Christ, not just the man, but the ever-growing and evolving powerful soul of Light. We want to be like Him, emulate His ability to Love, forgive, create peace and harmony, suspending the need to judge.
As we participate in the Holy Eucharist, connecting with everyone here, opening to the process of rising in consciousness to align with the Ascended of Heaven, healing and rejuvenating through the power of Love and Understanding, we are the body of the Church, the Body of Christ. We become representatives of Christ-awareness –not always perfect or sinless, but conscious and alert to the ways in which we can proceed Christ-like, humble, patient, loving, strong, co-creators of miracles. The word Essene means ‘essence of purity’. Our desire to purify crosses all levels and phases of being: our thoughts, words, actions and intentions. The popular Christian bumper sticker ‘Not of This World’ is so true! –but so much more than the one life implied. The spiritual realm is magnificent, energetically weaving and connecting ethereal with material, influencing thoughts and things, expanding what matters more than one miraculous episode of matter.
Following his death, when key Apostles agreed to continue their spiritual work in the name of Jesus as sharing His teachings, they were immediately challenged and faced open hostility. It must have been difficult to be so filled with the passionate desire to share the expansive power of love and equality they were still learning and absorbing while forced to keep quiet for fear of death by association. Their dedication and love for Jesus were such that they determined to do the best they could. Sometimes this meant hiding, teaching with codes and symbols, and relying on the power of the psyche to develop and communicate freely. Every day life appeared the same as that which the Romans enforced, but contained a spiritual depth that one had to know to understand. Our goal as present-day Essenes is to restore the original teachings, awaken simple yet profound truths that will resonate with an open heart and mind seeking to know and commune with The Living Lord Christ.
Where Corpus Christi has popularly become a religious feast to contemplate the body and blood of Christ, partaking of bread and wine from the chalice, we want to share the importance of the spiritual and symbolic significance of the act. Holy Communion is a Holy Communication with the Living Ascended Lord Christ. We contemplate the whole of his existence, what his life personifies and what he embodied. We open to a profound connection with the spiritual realm, the reality of the Inner Life that exists in every breath we take, every sip we imbibe, every piece of bread we digest, every plate we wash, every word we utter – there is a spiritual transfer and exchange of energy. Where bread is the symbol for understanding and wine for wisdom, when we ceremoniously break bread with The Christ, we open ourselves to take in his wisdom and truth, seeking Divine understanding in what we need to process and digest at that time. We long to embody The Christ’s way, allow for Christ-Consciousness to pour through every cell of our being, feeling whole and serenely readied to make important decisions and balance our behavior. To embody is to give a body to a spirit, make it perceptible; what a glorious opportunity to help the Christ Light grow and expand. We release our personal struggle of ego and self-centeredness.
As we take the time to meditate and pray, we emphasize opening our minds, relaxing the learned structure of thought. We can let go of the stereotype perceptions regarding Jesus’ looks and demeanor, we will not forget them much less disregard or disrespect them, for they are sacred… just let them go and allow yourself a personal visitation. The icons tend to limit, and are really meant to serve as doorways to an expanded perception. Each one of us can hear the sound of his voice or feel the touch of his hand. It is a life-changing experience. For He gave the assurance that, as long as we seek the truth then fear and darkness will never gain control.
What a timeless testimony! Ours is the same challenge today to seek the truth and be honest. Do you ever ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Anger usually takes away that question to cover it up and give us a sense of power. Our society places another brick in the wall of denial each time we use the phrase ‘I’m afraid you can’t because… or I’m afraid your time is up… or I’m afraid you’ll have to… ‘We’re not really afraid in these instances, and we teach ourselves the wrong impression of being afraid. We deflect and turn away rather than stand in our own truth. Let us be careful with our words and listen to ourselves, our hearts, our intentions, our desires. What do we embody? What do we do to our bodies, these temples? What are we good at? What are we afraid of? Where do we go from here? Give time and energy to that which helps you to soulically grow. Transform or get rid of the rest. Look through Love and Truth as your filters of perception. The Christ offers The Way.
Trust that others are doing the best they can. It will help us look kindly on others, and respond with more compassion and dignity. On this day of Corpus Christi, and as we represent the Body of Christ, we dedicate ourselves to doing the best we can. For, as we vow to ourselves, we will give to others. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
~Sermon by Bishop Elizabeth Crandall
American Universalist Temple of Divine Wisdom
Sunday June 26, 2011
1st Sunday after Trinity, Corpus Christi