Behold, this is a time of great promise being fulfilled. The journey is over and done. The great task for which we have been set on this plane is accomplished. Our mission complete. We have doggedly pursued the vision/mission/call of our Souls and in many ways, we have died for the sake of this mission – died to our false selves, died to our ego, died to illusion, fear, hatred, ignorance and most importantly: separation. We have faced criticism, condemnation, ridicule and rejection. We have walked through valleys of burning coal and stood toe to toe with SATAN (the inner adversary) himself. In spite of our fears, in spite of the loves we had to leave behind, in spite of the excruciating emotional, mental and physical pain we have endured…..we are still here, breathing and alive as we now stand victorious for all that we have endured, with nothing but faith and some sort of blind hope that all would not be in vain.
With every fiber of my being, I feel the truth of this message. I see the seeds I/we have planted, having already taken root, now beginning to bear fruit. I feel the expanse of love that has taken over our world in spite of the fear and hatred that tries to dampen its cause. I see the faces of people CHANGING. No longer set fast by fear or arms crossed in separation, but looking on in wonder, asking the question, “Could there really be something more than this? Could life be softer, gentler, kinder, more loving? Could people turn to one another in wonder and awe, seeking to understand and honor our differences while honoring our common desire to be safe, and to feel loved?” I see it. I feel it. I know it. And it is because of our effort, because of our willingness to hold fast to the call of love, that this transformation has taking place and will continue to unfold. As I read this morning’s gospel, these words from Zechariah, I knew that what I was sending was true….and I knew it by the ocean of tears I shed in receiving these words – tears not of grief, but of celebration and relief. My Christmas gift to you is that you receive these words for yourself (translating them to fit your own personal beliefs please!) Merry Christmas and thank you for being part of the greatest Christmas present EVER!
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke 1: 67-79
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Authentic Freedom Academy and me!
This is the time of year I like to pause and reflect on what has been and dream about what might be.
In looking back, 2015 has been the year of LETTING GO! I knew this as we entered the year and gave myself over to a letting go and surrendering practice. I knew I had to be willing to LET IT ALL GO with absolutely no knowledge of what I was letting go of and for what purpose, only that I had to TRUST and BELIEVE that if I was being invited to let go so deeply, there must be something AMAZING coming on the other side of the letting go. What I discovered is that there seemed to be no end to the letting go and just when I thought I had this letting go thing figured out, the universe (or my spiritual director) helped me see there was still more I had to be willing to release. Over and over and over again, I put it all in the “bucket” for release. And when I thought I had enough in the bucket, I put in some more. Even if I tried, I could not possibly give words to all I have been invited to release, so I won’t even make an attempt here. Suffice it to say that the letting go all culminated in the crazy virus that left me immobile for an entire month with nothing to do but LISTEN and BE OPEN to what God/dess might be trying to say. And boy, oh boy, did SHE have a lot to say, mostly in clues and whispers, but it was certainly a lot to take in, most of which I am still processing today.
Fortunately, I am able to give words to some of what she had to say as it ultimately boils down to one thing: BIRTHING (more of) MY SOUL!
In birthing my Soul, She wanted me to realize how much energy I had been giving away and how much of that was being done with no regard for my own health and wellbeing, and how much of it was being done without return. She very loudly said, “ENOUGH OF THAT!” The very strong invitation (command) that arose out of this awareness was:
TAKE CARE OF LAURI FIRST! Fortunately, there were specific commands regarding what this means and how to implement this command – which had some to do with boundaries and even more to do with creativity – specifically, nurturing my creativity and making time to create a priority in my life! (DUH!)
The second part of Birthing my Soul had to do with being willing to step OUT of my comfort zone, RECEIVE support, and LET others help me. The stepping out, receiving support and letting others help supported me through my illness and then culminated in a business opportunity that has already taken root and is now getting ready to EXPLODE! The best part of this opportunity is the way it happened (miraculously and without much effort on my part) and that it is the fulfillment of a long-held dream to one day teach at Hogwarts! (I’m not kidding!). For the past two years I have told the universe that “When I am JK Rowlings rich, I’m going to start my own Hogwarts.” The great news is that this opportunity requires almost no investment on my part (other than time) and it is about as close to Hogwarts as one can get! A huge thank you to my sister-witch-friend who helped get this ball rolling! So, I know that this business opportunity is just the tip of the iceberg as to what 2016 has in store…..but without further ado……
I am excited to announce that I have been accepted into the teaching faculty at Mystery School of the Goddess – an online platform providing resources and courses for feminine EMPOWERMENT:
Whoot Whoot! Please check out Mystery School of the Goddess, sign up for their email mailing list, or even better yet, their FREE quarterly journal. Here you will find some of my courses, along with other courses being offered by equally amazing women!
And rest assured, I will STILL be teaching classes in Oshkosh, working with people one-on-one and supporting the community through enrichment and education opportunities….at least for now….because one of the other things I had to let go of was an attachment to image, mission, vision and place, stepping into what presents itself in the moment with no attachment to outcome or duration. Talk about learning how to be free!
Speaking of being free – this is my Christmas wish for you and yours – that you HEAR the imminent and immanent call to your own freedom. That you find support for accepting that call and the courage to nurture and cultivate this call so that you may find remember your original nature as LOVE, where you know peace, contentment, and joy and where you experience a life of meaning and purpose, where you are fulfilled in the generous sharing of your unique giftedness – both for your own sake, and for the sake of the betterment of the world. Because God/dess knows we need you and your gifts as we work together in re-creating our world!
Merry Christmas and Cheers to a fantastic new year and an even more fantastic NEWLY LIBERATED YOU and a newly envisioned world!
Lauri Ann Lumby
The Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service for Christmas is LIVE.
The theme, of course, is Christmas. At Christmas we commemorate the birth of LOVE into the world through the person of Jesus. Jesus came to know his Oneness with God which he experienced as love and came to teach us how to know this love so that we can be this love for one another, turning the world from fear into love. Transcending religious, political or even personal agendas, Christmas is about LOVE.
Attend this week’s service HERE.
Special Christmas Edition of the Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter, Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service: In lieu of a Sunday service, this week, I am offering one in celebration of Christmas – the day LOVE was born into the world through the person of Jesus. LOVE is the message of Christmas, thereby transcending religious, political, personal agendas. How are we all called to follow Jesus’ example by knowing the love that we are and embodying it in our lives so that the world itself may be transformed?
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as people make merry when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian. For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood, will be burned as fuel for flames. For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!
Is 9: 1-6
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Lk 2: 1-14
Ps 96: 1-3, 11-13
TI 2: 11-14
The People Who Walked in Darkness…
… Have Seen A Great Light!
THIS is who Jesus is. Beyond any political, religious or even personal agendas one might have, Jesus came to know the light that shined within him and sought to reveal that light to others, thereby giving light to the world. The light that Jesus came to know was the light of his intimate connection with God that he experienced as Oneness. In this state of light, in this experience of Oneness, Jesus discovered the remedy to the perceived darkness of the human condition. Darkened by perceived separation and its resulting fear, humanity felt (and still feels), the human experience as if one is “dwelling in gloom.” Jesus learned another way and tried to teach this way to his disciples and all those who found themselves in his presence. And through his Spirit, Jesus continues in these attempts.
THIS is what we celebrate on Christmas – the birth of one who came to know the light and who is attempting to help us to also know this light. If we look at Jesus from this perspective, the celebration of Christmas transcends beliefs, dogma, doctrine and the perceived separation between religions. Jesus came to know the light and wanted all of humanity to also know this light so that we too might be free as he was free. Free to live in peace. Free to enjoy a life of meaning and fulfillment. And most importantly….FREE TO LOVE.
On the day that Jesus was born, which we commemorate on Christmas day, LOVE was born into the world. How are you, like Jesus, called to know this love and live it fully in your own life?
Spiritual Practices – Music Meditation
Christmas is either the busiest or the loneliest time of year – depending on our particular life circumstance. This Christmas, I invite us to transcend the busyness and the loneliness and set aside time to simply be with God – to celebrate the birth of Love into the world in the person of Jesus and in doing so, to give ourselves an opportunity to get a glimpse into this love. I can think of no better way to spend this time with God than through Handel’s Messiah. If listening to Handel’s Messiah doesn’t give us a glimpse into the love of God through Jesus, I can’t imagine what would! So…..for your Christmas meditation, I have provided two links…..a short link and a long link. The short link is a excerpt from Handel’s Messiah, the long link is the Messiah in its entirety. Set aside 15 minutes or two hours and 45 minutes to immerse yourself in God’s love as it was manifest in Jesus who some call The Christ.
Short Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS3vpAWW2Zc
Long Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r68P8TBWiIQ
As we celebrate Christmas – the day we commemorate the birth of Love into the world through Jesus and the invitation to accept Jesus’ invitation for us too to birth love into the world – I have only one thing to say about Authentic Freedom and how it relates ——
At the end of the day Authentic Freedom is about one thing and one thing only – LOVE. The love of God that dwells within us. The love of God that Jesus (and others) came to remember within himself. The love of God that we are called to remember, fully embody and life in the world.
How are you called to know Love within yourself and to be that LOVE in the world?
And one final music meditation – all we need is love!
Please note that beginning, January 1, 2015, the meditation newsletter, Virtual Church and Superhero Reports will be available by subscription only. To continue to receive these life-giving resources, subscribe HERE for a very reasonable monthly fee (about the price of one large cappuccino a week).
As I write the Authentic Freedom Christmas message of hope for 2013, all I feel is love. And isn’t this appropriate? Why else could we possibly be here in these flesh suits if not for the purpose of learning how to BE love and for learning how to LOVE? And isn’t this the very reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place? Because somewhere around 2000 years ago, in the tiny town of Bethlehem, a child was born who came to understand the Love that he was and who desired to teach all of humanity how to know this Love and how to be this Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. The reason Jesus was born and what he hoped to teach us how to be. Or as I like to say it, “Jesus came to help us to REMEMBER THE LOVE THAT WE ARE.”
Jesus, through the spark that was born within him and through a lifelong journey wrapped up in contemplation, meditation and prayer, Jesus came to remember his origin in Oneness with God. God, he came to understand, was LOVE. Jesus then went about teaching us how to know this truth within ourselves – to remember the love that we are and to enjoy the peace, freedom and contentment that comes from living in this state of Loving Remembrance. And Jesus wasn’t alone in this remembrance. Mary knew. Joseph knew. Elizabeth knew. Many of the disciples knew. Most certainly Mary Magdalene knew.
My Christmas message then, is about LOVE! My wish for you is that you know love. That you know, without a doubt, the magnificent, glorious, expression of the Divine that God seeks to be through you. That you know, at the deepest core of your being, the Presence of this Love and that you know that you are the very nature of LOVE itself. That you come to know the uniquely creative way in which God wants to experience the human condition THROUGH YOU and that you know the peace, joy, contentment and fulfillment that comes in realizing this gift, and that you are free to find the fullest expression of this gift. That you come to realize that the WORLD NEEDS YOU….that only you can bring the unique gift through which God wants to be known in the world and that each and every one of us needs your gift. And that you realize that in being your gift and sharing it in the world, the world becomes a more loving, compassionate, peaceful and harmonious place. My Christmas wish is that you come to know what Jesus came to know and that through you, the vision of the kingdom that Jesus saw can now be made manifest in our world.
And finally, a heart-felt THANK YOU! Thank you for being born into this world. Thank you for being the unique expression of God’s love in the world. Thank you for being love and for being loving. Thank you for making the world a more loving and harmonious place because of the LOVE that you are. And thank you for the work that it takes to know this love – overcoming fear, transcending resistance, being willing to dive deeply into the wounds of the past so that they may be healed and released. And thank you for flying on wings of eagles, uplifted in the love of God so that you can be the glorious magnificence of who God made you to be!
All love, all peace and all joy to you and yours this Christmas and always!
Merry Christmas. In celebration of the time we honor the birth of Christ, I share with you some Christmas poems both written from Mary’s perspective. These came from Sr. Ruth Agnes Evans and were first recommended to me by poet and friend, Jay Ramsay. Sr. Ruth entered religious life in 1987 with the Poor Clares in the rural Cotswold valley of Woodchester, South West England. She lived there for 24 years until the convent closed in May 2011 and is now enjoying time in rented accommodations concentrating on her writing. Thank you Sr. Ruth for these beautiful Christmas reflections!
inside the sea, inside me,
under a sky without a moon;
your waves in me,
quieter than Lake Galilee.
You lay in my body’s swell,
where there was no wind or squall,
no tide to take you far away.
I was the night that kept you safe
before you knew the light,
O uncreated light,
that I was formed to be,
made me a beggar on the earth,
Queen for eternity.
  This was published in Star, Volume 10, September/October, 2010, p. 24
Not As Your Own 
You did not come here as your own,
this land where beasts and soldiers roam,
where men die bleeding and alone.
You claimed your flesh and blood from me,
who did not claim equality
with God, lay wrapped in me…
You came like one unknown to bliss.
You bore no mark of ages sown,
of homage known, of love enthroned,
yet yielded in eternity…
You took the comfort of my kiss,
you sucked my milk, your eyes were mild
on mine and rapt on me.
The night was cold, I made you snug,
with hay and strips of swaddling band.
The flesh you took from me must stand
before the gaze of men who brand
each other with their hate and lies.
No murmur here of majesty,
of seraphs stooped in ecstasy…
Next to my bed I heard you cry,
you were so small, wrapped by my hands.
  This was published in Star, Volume 10, January/February, 2010, p.37.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2: 1-14
On this holy day of Christmas, we celebrate the day that God’s love was birthed into our world. Jesus of Nazareth came to know that his natural state was love and lived out that love fully, freely and generously, thereby acting as a catalyst through which others could come to recognize the Divine love that resided within themselves. Through Jesus’ presence, his teachings and his healing touch, people were healed, transformed and empowered to live that love fully. On this holy day, you are invited to ask yourself:
How am I being called to remember the love that I am and live that out in the world?
Authentic Freedom Ministries
Examining the Jesus of love in a world that sometimes wants to make him about fear.
Beyond the Victim
As I allow the dust to settle from my own disappointment and grief over a Christmas Eve mass that did not meet my own personal needs, I find that beneath that grief is Jesus asking to be heard. Beyond my own inner victim lies the very real inner conflict I felt between the actions and messages that seemed to speak of judgment, unwelcome and fear and the Jesus that I have come to know that is everything but that. What I really wish I could have done was stand up in the middle of the liturgy and say “STOP, this is not what Jesus would have said and it is not how Jesus would have acted.” But then again, who am I to tell the Catholic Church about Jesus? Really, I’m nobody. So while I could not stand up Friday evening to defend the Jesus that I have come to know and love, I will do so here today.
I know, I will risk being labeled a “Jesus Freak” for talking about the man that I think totally rocks…but so be it. I think Jesus is cool. Of course I am unable to historically authenticate any of my own theories or experiences about the man, Jesus, all I can go on is what has been shown to me through scripture, prayer, meditation and contemplation. Since first hearing the soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar in seventh grade music class, I have been fascinated by the man, Jesus. When Sr. Marie Schwan shared with me the Christian practices of meditation and contemplative prayer, I have been hooked. Through these practices, I have come to experience a deeply intimate relationship with God and with Jesus. And these are the things that I have come to understand:
What Jesus learned through his prayer
The primary thing that stands out to me about Jesus is that his life seemed to be rooted and grounded in prayer. Through his own prayer, meditation, contemplation and reflection on the Hebrew scriptures, he came to know God. He experienced a deeply intimate and personal relationship with God and the primary thing he learned was that the perception of separation from God is FALSE. Jesus learned through his prayer that he was ONE with God. And….he learned that this ONENESS was not reserved for him alone…..all of us are ONE with God, if we could only be shown how to remember this truth. This is what he set out to do in his ministry – to help those to whom he ministered to let go of the perception of separation from God and remember that God is love and that they are One with this God in love. Remembering this Oneness, Jesus knew, would be the remedy to the suffering of the human condition.
What Jesus taught about God
In going about his mission of preaching this gospel of Oneness, Jesus taught about a God that was dramatically different than the God taught by the religious authorities of his time. (in the end, it was this that got him killed) Instead of a God of judgment, revenge, jealousy, punishment and wrath; Jesus taught about a God of love. God loves us infinitely, without condition. God is merciful, tender, unconditionally forgiving. God is generous, a source of help, guidance, compassion. God is about peace, joy, bliss. Jesus had come to know of a God that loved all, welcomed all, desired to be in intimate communion with all. All were welcome at God’s table – priest and sinner, rich and poor, healthy and sick, Jew and gentile (and I would add here: Catholic and Christian, Muslim and Pagan, Hindu and Wiccan, etc.). All were loved, holy and precious in God’s eyes. And Jesus knew that as people came to know the God of love in their hearts, that their fears, their compulsive behaviors and their “sins” would naturally fall away.
Who is the punisher?
And Jesus knew the things that prevent us from remembering the love of God that is in our hearts – fear, attachments and the resulting compulsions of pride, greed, gluttony, power and control, rage, envy and sloth. He invited those who would listen to welcome God’s love and to let go of those things that keep them from knowing this love. Jesus extended this invitation not from a place of judgment or punishment, but from a place of loving compassion. When we let go of our fears and attachment, we are able to more and more fully remember the love of God that resides within us. And, there is no punishment from God for failing in this recollection, the only punishment is that which we inflict on ourselves when we continue to live in fear. We are the punishers, not God.
So, this is the Jesus that I wanted to defend on Christmas Eve. I would have enthusiastically welcomed each and every person there – who cares if this is the only time they came to mass this year! I would have honored the enthusiastic anticipation that fills us in the celebration of Jesus’ birth. I would have welcomed ALL the children…who cares if they are naughty? Isn’t that what kids are supposed to do…besides, liturgy is messy! And I would have preached about love love love love love and joy joy joy joy joy. Jesus rocks. He rocks because he came to help us remember that we are One with God, that we are loved without condition and that in remembering these truths, we are free. In the freedom of remembering God’s love, the love that Jesus modeled and taught, we know peace, contentment and joy. In my humble opinion, this is why we celebrate Christmas.
Authentic Freedom Ministries
I will be on vacation starting today and taking a hiatus from blogging. I wish you blessings of peace and abundant joy this holiday season and into the new year and I invite us all to reflect on how we are being called to birth Divine love and light into this world. A Very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Authentic Freedom Ministries/Your Spiritual Truth. (I’ll be back on January 3, 2011 with more blogging! See you then!)
Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth