Posted in Agape Project, Authentic Freedom, Death, Empowerment, Initiation, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Meditation Newsletter

Below is the meditation/spiritual practices supplement for this coming Sunday’s virtual church service.  Engaging in a spiritual practice helps you to find the answers to the following questions:

  • Who am I?
  • How do I find inner peace, contentment, joy?
  • What are my gifts and how am I called to use them for my own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world?

Spiritual practices help to fulfill the deeper longing in our heart for meaning, purpose and fulfillment and help us to overcome the inner obstacles to living our life’s purpose.  


Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter – Fifth Sunday of Lent

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service


Scripture Reading:

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill. So the sisters sent word to him saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” When Jesus heard this he said, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” He said this, and then told them, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” So the disciples said to him, “Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.” But Jesus was talking about his death, while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep. So then Jesus said to them clearly, “Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe. Let us go to him.” So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.” When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, “The teacher is here and is asking for you.” As soon as she heard this, she rose quickly and went to him. For Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still where Martha had met him. So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?” So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” And when he had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

John 11: 1-45


Additional Readings:

EZ 37: 12-14

Ps 130: 1-8

ROM 8: 8-11


Dying to Rise Again

The story of Lazarus foreshadowed Jesus’ resurrection and gives us an opportunity to foreshadow the promise of new life within our own lived experience. Like Lazarus, we too are invited to enter into the tomb so that we can experience the invitation to new life. As we enter the tomb, we are invited to identify the things within ourselves and within our lives that are not life-giving, those things which keep us small, constricted and imprisoned. Then, we are invited to allow those things to be released, healed and transformed within the tomb – metaphorically giving ourselves over to death. As we allow the imprisoning parts of ourselves to die, we are making room for new life to be called forth, to take root and to grow. At that time, we, like Lazarus will be invited to “Come out” – into the new and freer life that God intends for us.


Spiritual Practices:

With this week’s scripture, you are invited to participate in an exercise in Creative Expression. You will need two blank sheets of paper and crayons to complete this activity. You might also find it helpful to have music playing in the background as you complete this exercise (I might recommend The Davinci Code Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer for setting the scene).

  1. Slowly and meditatively read the gospel account of the story of the raising of Lazarus.
  2. With crayons and paper, draw your own tomb. On the stones of the tomb, write your fears, your compulsive behaviors, any unhealthy attitudes or thought patters, external obstacles, etc. anything that you perceive as a hindrance to enjoying the life of freedom, fulfillment, purpose and meaning that God intends for you. Specifically, depict those things you would like to let die and leave behind in the tomb.
  3. After you have created your tomb. Imagine that you are within the tomb and that all those things you want to be freed of are being healed, released and transformed as you surrender to death in the tomb.
  4. Once you feel freed of these fears, etc. or when you have a sense of the experience of the tomb being complete, Allow yourself to hear Jesus’ voice calling out to you, “(Your Name), Come out!” Allow yourself to respond to Jesus’ words and imagine yourself arising and coming forth out of the tomb.
  5. On the second piece of paper, create a depiction of what your new life will look like after coming forth out of the tomb.
  6. If you feel comfortable doing so, take a photo of your images and post them on the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church community page on Facebook.


Authentic Freedom

The whole point of Authentic Freedom is to invite us into the tomb – to provide us with an opportunity to identify the fears and resulting compulsive behaviors that prevent us from living the freedom that God intended – and to provide effective tools for transforming these fears. Naming the fear, I have discovered, is 99% of the process. Once the “demon” is named, it no longer has power over us and we are more free to discover the life of meaning, purpose and fulfillment that God intends for us.


What are the fears that prevent you from enjoying a life that is authentically free?


What are the unhealthy behaviors that arise out of these fears?


Posted in Authentic Freedom, Healing, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

Virtual Church – Weekly Service

The weekly service for the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church is now LIVE.  In the spirit of the healing intention of Lent, I have created a guided meditation as this week’s offering.  As we accompany Jesus to the tomb of Lazarus and witness Lazarus’ release from death and return to life, we are reminded of the Lenten invitation to enter into our own tomb.  It is within the tomb of God’s loving embrace where we have an opportunity to examine the inner obstacles to the life of freedom, love, meaning, purpose, connection and joy that God intends for us.  It is also within the tomb, through God’s love, that we are able to be healed and released of these inner fears and compulsions that entomb us so that we can be open to the promise of new life.

To really get the most out of this week’s service, you will need to set aside 1 hour of uninterrupted time so that you may fully enter into the guided meditation.  Turn off your phones and electronic devices.  Find a comfortable place to recline or sit upright.  Turn on the meditation and simply allow the words, sounds and intentions to help facilitate your own healing and release. Using Authentic Freedom as the guide, you will be invited to remember the truths that God has promised us and confront and heal the fears that stand as obstacles to these truths.  I hope you enjoy the meditation and find it meaningful!

To participate in this week’s service, click HERE.

And remember, if you find this offering meaningful and supportive of your own spiritual growth, healing and transformation, consider making a donation to Authentic Freedom Ministries.  To donate, click HERE. 

Posted in Surrender

Into the Tomb

Exploring the tomb stage of the spiritual journey.

In order to become the magnificent butterfly, the caterpillar must first die to the life it has known as a caterpillar and surrender into the chrysalis stage of metamorphosis.  So too are we invited at times in our spiritual journeys to die to what we have come to know about ourselves and about our lives and enter into the tomb of spiritual transformation.

This is the stage in which I find myself at this point in my own spiritual journey.  I have been invited to enter into the tomb of transformation and into the tomb I have been invited to bring everything I have come to know about myself, about my life, my hopes, dreams, visions, illusions, attachments, false perceptions, fears, etc. etc. etc.  Into the tomb I have also been invited to bring everything I think I know about myself and my life.  I have been invited to bring all this into the tomb knowing that much of what I bring with me has to die or at least come to an end.  This is a challenging time knowing that much of what I have known will now be coming to an end.  At the same time, there is great hope knowing that on the other side of the tomb is the promise of new life.  As the chrysalis heralds the birth of the butterfly, the tomb heralds the resurrection of a new life, yet to be revealed.  As I enter into the tomb, I share with you this poem offered to me by my dear friend, Linda in celebration of what is yet to come:

Skin and sinew, bone and dust

Offering my Emptiness into Hands I trust

Illumine and comfort, receive what is Thine

Bring forth my heart, renewed and aligned.


Into Your cave of Silence I find I have wandered

Layers of illusion, surrender I’ve pondered

Wrap me in your great Love so complete

Oneness we are, deep calls unto deep.


Smoke arises from my funeral pyre

Peace inhabits Your smoke of desire

All that I am, all that I will be

I humble release into all of Thee.


Holy Love asleep in my tomb

Prepares me for rebirth in your Loving womb

Your Arms enlighten me in a sacred embrace

Ashes of mourning into joy filled grace.

copyright 2011 Linda Johnson-Sailer


When have you been invited to enter into the tomb of transformation?

What did you find you needed to shed?

What was the new life you found on the other side?


Lauri Lumby