Exploring the spiritual path of contemplative Christianity with a female voice
Eat my flesh
A homily based on the following scripture from the revised common lectionary:
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Manascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
The Wilderness + what is liturgy?
This episode begins with a fly-by definition of some recurring church words: liturgy, lectionary, liturgical calendar
to give context to when this sermon was preached (versus when it’s being released into the wild, wild internet). Send your questions to Heather here!
The gospel reading and homily begin at 8:30
Luke 3:1-6, NRSV
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
Humaning with the earth with Rev. Dr. Natalie Vail
I am so excited to introduce you to The Rev. Dr. Natalie Vail. Natalie is an ordained spiritualist minister, celtic shaman, acupuncturist, reiki master, among SO many other credentials and specialties. Needless to say, This episode is loaded with information, I seriously catch something new from Natalie every time I listen through this conversation.
We talk about a WHOLE lot of rituals and spiritual practices that may be new to you, we talk embodiment and holistic well-being, and dig deep into Celtic earth-based spirituality.
One thing I want to highlight is that about halfway through you’ll hear us talk about St. Brigid and her feast celebration called Imbolg, which happens to fall tomorrow night, February 1! So if you are listening before that, and feel inclined to participate, maybe you make a ritual out of leaving a scarf out for the Spirit of Brigid to bless tomorrow night.
No matter what you’re carrying, what questions you hold, and what path has brought you here, I am confident there’s something striking in this conversation with Natalie Vail for you.
find out more about Natalie: https://www.natalievail.com
The dance of abundance
A homily based on the following Gospel reading in the Revised Common Lectionary, originally preached at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Ordina, CA
17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ 20He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’
28 Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ 29Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’
A story of power
A homily based on the following Gospel reading from the Revised Common Lectionary:
Meanwhile Herod, the ruler of Judea, had heard about Jesus, whose reputation had become widespread. Some people were saying, “John the Baptizer has been raised from the dead, and that is why such miraculous powers are at work in him.” Others said, “He is Elijah;” still others, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” When Herod heard of Jesus, he exclaimed, “John, whom I beheaded, has risen from the dead!”
Now it was Herod who had ordered John arrested, chained and imprisoned on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom Herod had married. For John had told Herod, “It is against the Law for you to have your brother’s wife.” As for Herodias, she was furious with John and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be good and holy, and kept him in custody. When Herod heard John speak he was very much disturbed; yet he was moved by John’s words.
Herodias had her chance one day when Herod on his birthday held a dinner for the court circle, military officers and leaders of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, this delighted Herod and the guests so much that he told the young woman, “Ask me anything you like and I will give it to you.” And Herod swore an oath, “I will give you anything you ask, even half of my entire realm!”
She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” Herodias replied, “The head of John the Baptizer.” The woman hurried back to Herod and made her request: “I want you to give me the head of John the Baptizer on a platter.”
Herod was deeply distressed by this request, but remembering the oath he swore before the guests, he was reluctant to break his oath to her. So Herod immediately sent one of the bodyguards with orders to bring John’s head. The guard beheaded John in prison, then brought the head in on a platter and gave it to the young woman, who gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took the body away and laid it in a tomb.
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Empowering stories with Katherine Spearing
Katherine Spearing is the founder of Tears of Eden, a nonprofit community of support and recovery resources for the many of us who are healing from spiritual abuse. She also the hosts Uncertain podcast, where she highlights stories of survivors, and imagines a better future for spiritual community.
We talk about spiritual abuse in this episode. A lot. So take care of yourself if that touches something tender from your own experience. Pay attention to your responses, because all those emotions want is your attention and your compassion and your love.
We also talk about doubts and lies, Mary Magdalene, sex, the Bible—you know, the usual docket for Chickmonks. It gets heavy, but we also have a lot of fun! You know…because as we talk about in this episode, the capacity for two often go hand in hand.
Feedback? Questions? Looking for guidance? Contact Heather here!
Just what I needed
I’m discerning leaving the Catholic Church because of all the patriarchal constructs and lies. My heart is yearning for spiritual conversation that allows for questioning, dissent and unconditional love of all the humans. So happy I stumbled upon this podcast. Looking forward to hearing more!
Wise and Full of Grace
This podcast touches my heart, makes me think, and encourages me in my own ministry. It is full of wisdom, insight, and grace. I’m always so excited to see a new episode!
A wise and thoughtful perspective. Love your work- thanks for sharing ❤️