Hail! The heav'n-born Prince of peace!
Hail! The Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark the Herald Angels sing!
We assemble once again to celebrate the Mystery of the Incarnation, the Birth of Our blessed Lord, the Nativity of the Christ Child, the coming of the Light into the World, the Manifestation of the Word.
The Liberal Catholic Church has from its inception taught a form of Incarnational Theology which is an expression of Ageless Truth taught through the centuries by Sages and Holy Ones and at the same time is an expression newer than the most modern developments in contemporary Religious thought.
In our effort to see and understand the hidden Truth extant in all places and in all times, we look to many sources, one of which is Holy Scripture.
We are taught that most if not all of the stories of the Holy Scriptutres contain within them symbols and glyphs that may be interpreted on many different levels. According to one of our early Bishops most of the accounts may be interpreted in up to seven different levels.
The Nativity may relate to the origin of our manifested Universe and the Descent of the Second Divine Principal into matter, that which we refer to with profound reverence as the Cosmic Sacrifice, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. A method of looking at the World in which we live as a veritable expression of the Godhead in Whom we live and move and have our being. It is a way of looking at our environment as an expression of God’s imminence.
Likewise the Birth of the Christ may relate to the historical birth of Our Lord Jesus in the fulfillment of prophesy and the preparation of a vehicle for the Christ in the Atonement of humankind. At this level we see the vast and awesome, overwhelming and irresistible Love of God for Humanity.
We may see within the richness of this story an unfolding of a way of attainment through the Portals of Initiations for individuals who have chosen the lofty path in following the Master. This Pathway and the related steps along the Way reveal the Divine Potential that exists for every individual and ultimately for all of Humanity. He or she who enters upon this Path after attaining to the First Initiation is said to be one who has met his own inner God face to face and is spoken of as Twice Born. This is the meaning of the words of our carole “Christ Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second Birth”
In addition to these levels of interpretation, we do no disservice to this Great Mystery if we look at the Birth of Christ as the discovery, revelation and expression of the Christ within each one of us as individuals. As a matter of fact it may well be the means whereby we may discover the reality of all the other Truths hidden in this great mystery drama. St. Paul speaks of “Christ in you the Hope of Glory.” It is the Christ part of us that we can, if we will, discover at the center of our being, hidden as it were in the cave of our heart. The fact that there was no room for them in the Inn shows that the spiritual spark of the Divine is not to be found in the hustle and bustle of the World and its way of wisdom. The external World will never make room for the inner reality. The Light is born in the stillness of the humble manger heart. This same Christ Principal will grow and wax strong.. He will be presented by his Mother/Soul Principal in the Temple and later found by that same Soul Principal engaged in the work of “being about his fathers business”. This same Christ nature calms the waves of the storm and walks on the water, showing the dominance of the Higher self in the control of the emotional nature. He is the healer within, to cast out the demons of fear and self doubt and heal the sick and raise even those hearts that seem dead.
For each of us as Christian Initiates this celebration of the Festival of the Incarnation points always to our involvement in this experience we call Life. Just as the Gospel portrays Our Lord Jesus Christ as a completely well integrated person so too are we called to follow him in expressing ourselves as complete and authentic human beings. Jesus did not come into Incarnation as a “Pretend” person like Superman masquerading as Clark Kent. He was immersed in andpersonally participated in every situation and in all of his relationships. Jesus took an active interest in the physical, social and emotional well being of those whom he met. Jesus himself was not divided, nor was his approach to the world. The lesson we see in the life of Our Lord was not that He provided a substitution for us in satisfying some imagined plan of Divine retribution. On the contrary His life provides the means whereby we find our entrance into the Divine Life which is our heritage as sons and daughters of the Most High.
We must always bear in mind this idea of the Unity in which we are connected at the highest and inmost levels of our being. It is this understanding and comprehension of our connectedness that determines our attitude and relation to others and the world in which we live. Development of this holistic unitive way of relating brings about reconciliation, wholeness and peace. St. Paul does not exhort us to give Christ the pre-eminence above or beyond all things, but “in all things” (Col. 1:18). To see Christ in all to respond to Him in all and to reverence All. The Word became flesh, and like salt or yeast it interpenetrated all of life; Christians must do the same. An incarnational ethic is holistic and integrative.
Each of us who have come this night to worship at the manger this new Birth of Light, will be, if we allow ourselves to be, transformed by the Light. As we see ourselves and relate to others as partaker of this same Light we relate to Life from a totally different perspective. Before the awakening of the Christ Light we function predominately along the line of a horizontal stream of evolution. By that I mean, we REACT to Life instinctually. Once the Light is born in us, we begin to function and relate to all of creation along a vertical line of consciousness. Now instead of blind instinctual reaction we RESPOND.
May each one of us discover this Light within which engenders Good Will – that is to say a Will which strives toward the GOOD – and then may each one manifest the Peace which comes to those of Good Will.
The Right Reverend William S.H. Downey
Regionary Bishop for the USA
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