August 29, 2020
The Sacramento Newsletter
The Christian Community



sixth Sunday

                   Julia Skatova  
And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, 'Eph′phatha,’ that is, "Be opened.” And his
sense of hearing was opened, and immediately his
tongue was released from its bond, and he spoke
clearly and without impediment.”
Mark 7: 34-35



In this newsletter:
  1. News, notes, and needs.
  2. Contributions from the Community: Nací Zecchin, Afshin Jalalian, and Holly Juch.
  3. Inner Life.                                                                                 
  4. Gospel Reading.
  5. Contemplation by Luis González.

1. News, notes and needs
  • Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew’s Gospel II with Sanford Miller. Next sessions: 9/3 at 10:30 A.M. We will look at the second group of seven parables. This group of seven parables begins in the 18th Chapter with the “Parable of the Unforgiving Servant,” told shortly before Jesus enters Jerusalem for the final time, and ends with the “Parable of the Talents.”
  • The priests will continue to celebrate the Act of Consecration daily at 9 A.M. You might consider accompanying us during the 9:00 A.M. celebration of the sacrament from your home. We would be happy to bring communion to you in your homes. Please let us know.
  • If you are enjoying this newsletter and would like to subscribe, send us an email requesting to be added. If you would like to receive earlier newsletters you only need to let us know.
  • Please, consider contributing to the Christian Community in this unprecedented time. The many ways of giving are described at the end of the newsletter. Remember, any amount, however small, will be greatly appreciated. 

    You are invited to an open-air conversation based on a selected excerpt from the work of James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time.  Written in 1963, the voice of this powerful African-American leader continues to speak to and challenge us today.
    This conversation will be held next Saturday, August 29 at 10:30.  We will meet at the Fair Oaks Library and find a shady place to sit.  BRING CHAIR.  It would be helpful to know if you plan to be there.  Please email:
    If you would like to do something artistic as well, Alice Stamm will offer a sketching session this Saturday, August 29, at 9:00-10:00am and Eurythmy 10:00-10:20am; same place at the Fair Oaks Library, near diamond. If interested, be welcome and bring a board or similar to support paper, and a chair. Alice will provide pencils and paper. No previous experience necessary!!!!

Cheryl Martine and Luis González
2. Contributions from the Community
Up at the Mountains


                                                       Alexander Anurfriev

The silence of the mountains
    The silence of the mountains and woods around Wright’s Lake spoke to me very loudly. Even the joyful children’s voices and the occasional bark of a playful dog did not break the feeling of silence that was inundating me. Wright’s Lake is high on the Sierra, higher than Lake Tahoe and sits right by the border of the Wilderness. The beauty of the mountains framing the lake and the immediacy of the wilderness brought me to a warm, serene place in myself. A sensation of being naked in my soul. A resonating feeling with the surroundings.
    Less than a week later we had a chance to camp at a beautiful spot in Tahoe. I knew the lake but I was curious if I would have the same feeling I had in Wright’s Lake regarding the silence. Tahoe is incredibly beautiful, the hues of blue and the crystalline water are so refreshing just looking at it. Particularly lovely were the early mornings and the late afternoon hours when the light was rounder and softer and the intense summer activities had faded leaving space for a tranquil sand beach with a calm sea of water gently touching the shore.
    And the silence? I did observe it in the placid waters of the lake and when looking at the subtle waving of the top of the pine trees against the blue sky. But it was different than what I experienced in Wright’s Lake. I remembered one of my teachers during my eurythmy training. It was said that when he wanted to know a city/town he would go in the middle of the night to the outskirts of that city to hear the quality of the silence surrounding it. I had to think of him while writing this. 
Nancí Zecchin
Click this link to watch a beautiful presentation of pictures assembled by Afshin Jalalian.

                                                                                 Kathy Hodge

    Among my possessions from childhood is a black and white photo of my three-year-old self smiling ear to ear and proudly holding a snowball in my mittened hands.  I’m standing as tall as I possibly can on the black, wet pavement of a mountain pass, and behind me is a towering snow bank.   In the distance, dark fir trees jut up from mountains blanketed with snow, reaching toward a white, overcast sky.  Although I do not actually remember that moment, the joyous expression on the face of the child that was me, and the sheer exuberance expressed in her stance, evoke in me today some of the exhilaration I feel when I am in the mountains.
     Within this feeling memory “space,” I hear echoed within me the piercing cry of a bald eagle as it soars on the wind, and re-witness the high-velocity descent of an osprey diving from the heights toward the lake surface below, only to rise the next instant shedding a spray of water droplets and clutching in its strong talons a silvery salmon, enough to feed the entire hungry brood waiting high up in a nest offshore.
     I recall arduous treks up Lassen Peak, hiking through fields of wildflowers, welcomed by my favorites: Mules’ Ears and Silverleaf Lupine, then winding past dwarfed, bonsai-like conifers emerging from narrow crevices in mammoth granite boulders lining the switch-backs.  Above the tree-line, the approach to the summit calls for careful footing through snow fields and over tottering talus rocks. The reward of this hard work is a breath-taking 360-degree view of the upper Sacramento Valley, of lakes and forests below and beyond, and the most stunning sight of all: massive Mount Shasta, snow-covered and towering in the near-distance, just 80 miles to the north.
     It is the strong sense of being completely alive and awake ie body and senses, and the peace that comes from a feeling of expansiveness, of dissolving into the vastness of this immense natural beauty, that I most treasure in my memories of my time in the mountains.  A whispering breeze blowing through the pines, the fragrant air, the rush of clear-running streams, and the sight of lush, green alpine meadows skirted by aspens, their graceful piebald trunks standing out in delightful contrast against dark forested slopes, and so cheerfully decked out in yellow leaves before the snows set in. 
    These memory treasures that I keep alive in my soul are especially nourishing to me during these recent days of increased isolation due to the oppressive smoky air from the fires here in California.  I have been musing on the metaphor of having one’s breath taken away, both by a sense of wonder, and currently by smoke and particulate air pollution, while we find our way through the present pandemic and warnings from our healthcare professionals of viral spread through the air.  I realize that for the health of body, soul and spirit, our inspiration is as necessary for life as our respiration.
      One morning this week, my day began with an interesting shift in consciousness. After the sun rose, I looked out my window through the smoky air, and had an odd experience.  It was the momentary illusion that I was looking out on morning fog, cool, and fresh, and likely to burn off to reveal clear, blue skies. Even as the reality of the moment sunk in, that this of course was not fog, but air clouded by smoke, somehow the happy feeling brought on by my first impression lingered with me for quite a while, and just the memory of that illusion refreshed me as I started my day. 
Holly Juch


                                         Lynne Huras
"A Poet Dreams of a Mountain"
Sometimes I grow weary of the days, with all their fits and starts.
I want to climb some old gray mountain, slowly, taking
the rest of my lifetime to do it, resting often, sleeping
under the pines or, above them, on the unclothed rocks.
I want to see how many stars are still in the sky
that we have smothered for years now, a century at least.
I want to look back at everything, forgiving it all,
and peaceful, knowing the last thing there is to know.
All that urgency! Not what the earth is about!
How silent the trees, their poetry being of themselves only.
I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts.
In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall.

                                                                     Mary Oliver

3. Inner Life
     The best path to knowledge will always be the one that leads to the supersensible world through strengthening or condensing the life of the soul by means of concentration on inner meditations during which certain thoughts or feelings are retained in the mind. In this case it is not a question of experiencing a thought or an emotion as we do in order to find our way in the physical world, but the point is to live entirely with and within the thought or emotion, concentrating all the powers of our soul in it, so that it entirely fills the consciousness during the time of retirement within ourselves. We think, for instance, of a thought which has given to the soul a conviction of some kind; we at first leave on one side any power of conviction it may have, and only live with it and in it again and again so as to become one with it.  It is not necessary that it should be a thought of things belonging to the higher worlds, although such a thought is more effective. For inner meditation we can even use a thought which pictures an ordinary experience. Fruitful, for instance, are emotions which represent resolutions with regard to deeds of love, and which we kindle within ourselves to the highest degree of human warmth and sincere experience. Effective – especially where knowledge is concerned – are symbolic representations, gained from life, or accepted on the advice of such persons as are in a certain way experts in these matters, because they know the fruitfulness of the means employed from what they themselves have gained by them.
     Through these meditations, which must become a habit, nay, a necessity of life, just as breathing is necessary for the life of the body, we shall concentrate the powers of the soul, and, by concentrating, strengthen them. Only we must succeed during the time of inner meditation in remaining in such a state that neither outer impressions of the senses nor any recollections of such play upon the soul.
Rudolf Steiner
A Road to Self Knowledge

                                                                              Franklin Carmichael
Quiet I bear within me,
I bear within myself
Forces to make me strong.
Now will I be imbued with their glowing warmth.
Now will I fill myself
With my own will’s resolve.
And I will feel the quiet
Pouring through all my being
When by my steadfast striving
I become strong
To find within myself the source of strength
The strength of inner quiet.
                                    Rudolf Steiner
4. Gospel Reading
     Mark 7: 31-37
   And again departing from the region of Tyre, he came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the midst of the region of the Decap′olis, the ten cities. And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they implored him to lay his hand upon him. And taking him away from the crowd and alone with him, he put his fingers into his ears, and spitting, touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Eph′phatha,” that is, Be opened.” And his sense of hearing was opened, and immediately his tongue was released from its bond, and he spoke clearly and without impediment. And he ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it; for they were astonished beyond measure, saying, He has done all things well: he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”  

5. Contemplation
    The singing of a bird can become an experience of great joy. If we are in a calm space inwardly we may choose to pay attention more deeply to the sounds and to the rhythms of the singing, and as we concentrate on the singing our listening becomes more alive. It is as if the sense of hearing becomes more refined and focused and the rest of our senses and our thinking fades away, merging into the background. A kind of inner ear opens wide. There may even come a moment when we abandon ourselves entirely to the singing of the bird, and its voice begins to resound inside us, awakening movement within our soul.  
   In the same way, when we listen attentively to the Act of Consecration (the Eucharist service of The Christian Community), we can pay attention deeply to the sounds and the rhythms in the prayers and be carried by their meaning. As we concentrate on them, our listening becomes more alive. As with the bird there may come a moment when we abandon ourselves to the meaning and it begins to resound inside us. After listening to this living gospel, what we hear is the voice of humanity addressing God, within us.  At that point, the altar is no longer only outside us, but also inside our heart. We may be carried by the devotional reverence in the prayers in direct and vivid communication, sometimes with the Father, sometimes with the Spirit, sometimes with the Christ. We may be carried by the intensity of the intention in the offering; or by the holy deed of the transubstantiation. So may we also hear the call for Communion inside us.
    Allowing our ears to open to the Word sounding through nature and also in our prayer life can prepare us to listen in the inner depths of our silence to the voice that sounds deep inside our heart. This is one of the most joyful, peaceful, and meaningful experiences we humans can have.
Luis González
 Thank you for your Gift

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