October 17, 2016

Look Upon God as Mother

Sri Ramakrishna describes a spiritual vision: 
"The Divine Mother revealed to me in the Kāli temple that it was She who had become everything. She showed me that everything was full of Consciousness. The image was Consciousness, the altar was Consciousness, the water-vessels were Consciousness, the door-sill was Consciousness, the marble floor was Consciousness - all was Consciousness. I found everything inside the room soaked, as it were, in Bliss - the Bliss of God. I saw a wicked man in front of the Kāli temple; but in him also I saw the power of the Divine Mother vibrating. That was why I fed a cat with the food that was to be offered to the Divine Mother. I clearly perceived that all this was the Divine Mother - even the cat."

Nectar of Self Awareness

I honor the God and the Goddess,
The eternal parents of the universe.

The Lover, out of boundless love, takes the form of the Beloved.
What beauty!
Both are made of the same nectar and share the same food.

Out of Supreme Love they swallow up each other
But separate again for the joy of being two.

They are not completely the same but neither are they different.
No one can tell exactly what they are.

How intense is their longing to be with each other.
This is their greatest bliss.
Never, not even in jest,
Do they allow their unity to be disturbed.

They are so averse to separation
That even though they have become this entire world,
Never for a moment do they let a difference come between them.

Even though they see all that is animate and inanimate, arising from within themselves,
They never recognize a third.

They sit together in the same place,
Both wearing a garment of light.
From the beginning of time they have been together,
Reveling in their own Supreme Love.

They created a difference to enjoy this world.
When that "difference" had one glimpse of their intimacy
It could not help but merge back into the bliss
Of their eternal union.

Without the God, there is no Goddess,
And without the Goddess, there is no God.

How sweet is their Love!
The entire universe is too small to contain them,
Yet they live happily in the tiniest particle.

The life of one is the life of the other,
And not even a blade of grass can grow without both of them.

Only these two live in this house called the universe.
When either one is asleep
The other stays awake and plays the part of both.

Should both of them awake, the whole universe would vanish without a trace.

They became two for the sake of divine play,
But in every moment they seek to become one again...

How can we distinguish these two from each other?
He appears because of Her,
And She exists because of Him.

We cannot tell sugar from its sweetness,
Nor camphor from its fragrance.

To capture light we take hold of fire.
To capture the Supreme Shiva we must take hold of Shakti.

Light illumines the Sun,
But the Sun itself creates that light.
The glorious Sun and its light are one and the same.

An object has a reflection:
When looking we see two images, yet there is only one thing.
Likewise, this work is a reflection of the Supreme Lord.

We may see two, yet only One exists...

Shiva and Shakti are One,
Like air and the wind,
Like gold and luster.

Shiva and Shakti cannot be separated.
They are like musk and its fragrance, like fire and its heat.

In the light of the Sun there is no difference between day and night.
In the light of the Supreme Truth there is no difference between Shiva and Shakti.

Shiva and Shakti envy the Primordial Sound "OM" because they are seen as two while the sound OM is always regarded as One.

Jnanadeva says,
"I honor the union of Shiva and Shakti, who devour this world of name and form like a sweet dish.
All that remains is the One."

- by Jnanadeva from "The Inner Treasure" by Jonathan Star

The archetypal masculine
The Seer
Pure witness consciousness
Pure being
The One
The still point
The unmanifest
The sun
Nirguna Brahman


The archetypal feminine
The Mother
Pure embodiment
Pure becoming
The many
The dance
The phenomenal world
The moon
Saguna Brahman

By Swami Tyagananda 
at Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, India

Mother of All Things
The universe had a beginning
Called the Mother of All Things.
Once you have found the Mother
You can know her children.
Having known the children,
Hold tightly to the Mother.

Your whole life will be preserved from peril.
Open up the openings,
Multiply your affairs,
Your whole life will become a burden.

Those who see the small are called clear-headed;
Those who hold to gentleness are called strong.

Use the light.
Come home to your true nature.
Don't cause yourself injury:
This is known as seizing truth.

- Lao Tzu

August 19, 2016

I Am The Infinite Ocean

I lived bewildered,
In illusion.

But now I am awake,
Flawless and serene,
Beyond the world.

From my light
The body and the world arise.

So all things are mine,
Or nothing is.

Now I have given up
The body and the world,
I have a special gift.

I see the infinite Self.

As a wave,
Seething and foaming,
Is only water.

So all creation,
Streaming out of the Self,
Is only the Self.

Consider a piece of cloth.
It is only threads!

So all creation,
When you look closely,
Is only the Self.

Like the sugar
In the juice of the sugarcane,
I am the sweetness
In everything I have made.

When the Self is unknown
The world arises,
Not when it is known.

But you mistake
The rope for the snake.

When you see the rope,
The snake vanishes.

My nature is light,
Nothing but light.

When the world arises
I alone am shining.

When the world arises in me,
It is just an illusion,
Water shimmering in the sun.
A vein of silver on mother-of-pearl,
A serpent in a strand of rope.

From me the world streams out
And in me it dissolves,
As a bracelet melts into gold,
A pot crumbles into clay,
A wave subsides into water.

I adore myself.
How wonderful I am!

I can never die.

The whole world may perish,
From Brahma to a blade of grass,
But I am still here.

Indeed how wonderful!
I adore myself.

For I have taken form
But I am still ONE.

Neither coming or going,
Yet I am still everywhere. . .

I am the infinite ocean.

When thoughts spring up,
The wind freshens, and like waves
A thousand worlds arise.

But when the wind falls,
The trader sinks with his ship,

On the boundless ocean of my being
He founders,
And all the worlds with him.

But, Oh how wonderful!

I am the unbounded deep
In whom all living things
Naturally arise,
Rush against each other playfully,
And then subside.

From: The Heart of Awareness 
A translation of the Ashtavakra Gita by Thomas Byrom

I want to tell you about a very special 20 year old Vedanta Society devotee. Four years ago, at the tender age of 16, a beautiful sweet soul, "Kamal" came to live with the nuns at the Santa Barbara Vedanta Society temple. After finishing high school early he was granted a rare, (for an American teenager) three year, full scholarship to Vivekananda University near Kolkata run by the Ramakrishna monks. His major of concentration was "Sanskrit" and "Vedic Culture". 

While in India,  Kamal decided to start a blog about his adventures as a way to keep in touch with family and friends.    

Take a read through his blog. The posts are very informative with lots of photos and antidotes about local customs and his new Indian life. He was a very brave and wise spirit, old beyond his years, and everyone at the Vedanta temple was so proud of his maturity and high achievements. We all had hopes he would become a full fledged monk of the Ramakrishna order someday. 

I pray his writings will inspire you like they have me. We will miss his passing but we take great comfort in knowing that he has returned to that infinite ocean of unchanging love. Now enjoying the bliss of samadhi with Holy Mother, Thakur & Narendra. Shiva, Shiva, Higher Birth!!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


From: Ripkyn Murphy <kamal.ripkyn@gmail.com>
Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012
Subject: Re: [India] New comment on Hey Mom, So I'm here at the University. They put....

Dear Andra,

Thanks so much for putting the idea of starting a blog in my head, I think that will be the easiest way to let people know what's going on with me. Thanks also for linking my blog with yours, hopefully some people can find it and get something out of reading it. I looked at your blog and was very impressed, it's very well done and has a lot of great information on it. Vedanta needs more people like you who are willing to use the internet to spread the word to people who are searching for it.

Stay in Touch,

In the words of Swami Vivekananda: 

"One day a drop of water fell into the vast ocean. 
When it found itself there, 
It began to weep and complain just as you are doing. 
The great ocean laughed at the drop of water. 
"Why do you weep?" it asked. "I do not understand. 
When you join me, you join all your brothers and sisters, 
The other drops of water of which I am made. 
You become the ocean itself. 
If you wish to leave me, 
You have only to rise up on a sunbeam into the clouds. 
From there you can descend again, 
A little drop of water, 
A blessing and a benediction to the thirsty earth."

- His Eastern and Western Admirers, Reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda, Advaita Ashrama, 1964

August 2, 2016

Luminous One

Bliss of Identity
by Sri Aurobindo

All Nature is taught in radiant ways to move,
All beings are in myself embraced.
O fiery boundless Heart of joy and love,
How art Thou beating in a mortals breast!

It is Thy rapture flaming through my nerves
And all my cells and atoms thrill with Thee ;
My body thy vessel is and only serves
As a living wine-cup of Thy ecstasy.

I am a centre of Thy golden light
And I its vast and vague circumference,
Thou art my soul great, luminous and white
And Thine my mind and will and glowing sense.
Thy spirit's infinite breath I feel in me;
My life is a throb of Thy eternity.

I have no plan for my life.
I accept the plan life has for me.
I follow that plan and what it provides me moment to moment.
I am not the roles I play in following the plan.
I am the witness of all that I interact with in my life.
I was a child, an adult, and will soon be an old woman.
I was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother.
I was an artist, a business owner, a dancer, a spiritual practitioner, a friend.
I have been healthy, sick, successful, a failure, awake, and asleep.
Behind all those changing experiences, 
I am the changeless consciousness that is constantly present.
I am that I am, in spite of the changes that "I am" experiences.
My present is pregnant with all my past.
My future unfolds from the way I live my present.
My being manifests in the present.
I am at home in the eternal now, living the plan life has for me.

- Amrit Desai


Though weighed down by past life samskaras, 
The soul (ball of energy) within you is a part of 
The mother field of Brahman (God). 

You are this ball of energy. 
You are NOT what you see in the mirror. 
YOU were born with the stars.

July 4, 2016

What Would Vivekananda Do?

After long searches here and there, in temples and in churches, in earths and in heavens, at last you come back, completing the circle from where you started, to your own soul and find that He, for whom you have been seeking all over the world, for whom you have been weeping and praying in churches and temples, on whom you were looking as the mystery of all mysteries shrouded in the clouds, is nearest of the near, is your own Self, the reality of your life, body and soul.
- Swami Vivekananda

The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

Behold, it comes in might,
The power that is not power,
The light that is in darkness,
The shade in dazzling light.

It is joy that never spoke,
And grief unfelt, profound,
Immortal life unlived,
Eternal death unmourned.

It is not joy nor sorrow,
But that which is between,
It is not now nor morrow,
But that which joins them in.

It is sweet rest in music;
And pause in sacred art;
The silence between speaking;
Between two fits of passion --
It is the calm of heart.

It is beauty never seen,
And love that stands alone,
It is song that lives un-sung,
And knowledge never known.

It is death between two lives,
And lull between two storms,
The void whence rose creation,
And that where it returns.

To it the tear-drop goes,
To spread the smiling form
It is the Goal of Life,
And Peace -- its only home!

- Swami Vivekananda

"I do not come", said Swamiji 

on one occasion in America, 

"to convert you to a new belief.

 I want you to keep your own belief; 

I want to make the Methodist a better Methodist; 

the Presbyterian a better Presbyterian; 

the Unitarian a better Unitarian. 

I want to teach you to live the truth, 

to reveal the light within your own soul." 

As soon as a man stands up and says he is right or his church is right, and all others are wrong, he is himself all wrong. He does not know that upon the proof of all the others depends the proof of his own. Love and charity for the whole human race, that is the test of true religiousness. I do not mean the sentimental statement that all men are brothers, but that one must feel the oneness of human life.

So far as they are not exclusive, I see that the sects and creeds are all mine; they are all grand. They are all helping men towards the real religion. I will add, it is good to be born in a church, but it is bad to die there. It is good to be born a child, but bad to remain a child. Churches, ceremonies, and symbols are good for children, but when the child is grown, he must burst the church or himself.

We must not remain children for ever. It is like trying to fit one coat to all sizes and growths. I do not deprecate the existence of sects in the world. Would to God there were twenty millions more, for the more there are, there will be a greater field for selection. What I do object to is trying to fit one religion to every case.

Though all religions are essentially the same, they must have the varieties of form produced by dissimilar circumstances among different nations. We must each have our own individual religion, individual so far as the externals of it go.  

A man may believe in all the churches in the world, he may carry in his head all the sacred books ever written, he may baptize himself in all the rivers of the earth, still, if he has no perception of God, I would class him with the rankest atheist.

And a man may have never entered a church or a mosque, nor performed any ceremony, but if he feels God within himself and is thereby lifted above the vanities of the world, that man is a holy man, a saint, call him what you will.   - 
From The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

June 6, 2016


If you want to
Know Buddha, it's pointless
To seek him in the temple;
The Buddha is simply you
Wishing to see Buddha.

The mind seeking
Buddha outside
Is the worst
Illusion of all.

Translated by Soiku Shigematsu
A Zen Harvest : Japanese Folk Zen Sayings (Haiku, Dodoitsu, and Waka)

Give up anger, give up pride, and free yourself from all bondage. No sorrow can be fall those who never try to possess people and things as their own. Those who hold back rising anger like a rolling chariot are real charioteers. Others merely hold the reins. Conquer anger through gentleness, unkindness through kindness, greed through generosity, and falsehood by truth. Be truthful; do not yield to anger; give freely, even if you have but little: by these three steps you will come near the gods. More than those who hate you, more than all your enemies, an undisciplined mind does greater harm. More than your mother, more than your father, more than all your family, a well disciplined mind does greater good. 
-Dhammapada, 221-225, 42-43

May 1, 2016

All for Her

No one is a stranger my child, 
make the whole world your own.

- The Divine Mother -

I am the empress of all that lives.
I am the sovereign power in all the worlds.
I am the bestower of all treasure.
I am the knower of the supreme.
Among those to whom homage shall be offered,
I am the first.
Everywhere the gods worship only me,
who am diverse in form
and permeating everything.
Whoever breathes,
whoever eats or sees or hears,
does so through me alone.
they depend upon me.
Hear now, one and all,
the truth as I declare it.
This truth revered by gods and men alike,
I am myself revealing to you.
Whom I will, I make terrible or benign.
Whomsoever I wish, I make mighty—
a brahmana, a seer, a sage.
I transcend heaven above
I transcend earth below.
This supreme greatness have I attained.

– Vag-Ambhrni Sukta (Devi Sukta), Rig Veda

Swami Chetanananda signing his book 
at Santa Barbara Vedanta Society March 2016

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them. A mother’s heart is a patchwork of love. 

Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers. A mothers love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. A mother is the truest friend we have, when suffering and heavy trials befall us. The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which we will always find forgiveness. Mothers can reach farther down into the heart and offer healing love that can pull a soul back into light from darkness. A mother never gives up hope for her child. Never finding fault with others she will fight to the death when her precious offspring is faced with unjust treatment or needless suffering. A moms hug lasts long after she lets go.

Quick to forgive she is the first to offer food and the last to eat. She assumes the best in those around her and works tirelessly to make them comfortable and included. Encouragement is something she does naturally. A Mother's love is the spirits fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. A mother always has faith that a child can change their errant ways. Being a mother means that your heart is no longer yours; it wanders wherever your children do. Mother is a verb, not a noun.

That which is Shakti is also Brahman.
That which has form, again, is without form.
That which has attributes, again, has no attributes. 
Brahman is Shakti;
Shakti is Brahman.
They are not two.
These are only two aspects, male and female, 
of the same Reality, 

- Ramakrishna -

Watch Video

Perfection will come when you are completely identified with the Divine Mother and feel yourself to be no longer another and separate being, instrument, servant, or worker but truly a child and eternal portion of her consciousness and force. Always she will be in you and you in her ; it will be your constant, simple and natural experience that all your thought and seeing and action, your very breathing or moving come from her and are hers. You will know and see and feel that you are a person and power formed by her out of herself, put out from her for the play and yet always safe in her, being of her being, consciousness of her consciousness, force of her force, Ananda of her Ananda. When this condition is entire and her supramental energies can freely move you, then you will be perfect in divine works; knowledge, will, action will become sure, simple, luminous, spontaneous, flawless, an outflow from the Supreme, a divine movement of the Eternal.

April 1, 2016

Buckle Up! Buddha

Peacefully sitting in a hidden corner of the discount department store, he waited for me. Unhurried and with a dignified sweet smile he humbly sat, waiting patiently until I eventually found him. I was thrilled! He was the one. And the price was right! The perfect finishing touch to my Zen garden. :) Today I had found a Buddha statue that wanted to come home with me. With my new meditation buddy safely buckled in my car we made the short journey home. Instantly the perfect garden spot revealed itself. I gently placed him in position surrounded by passion fruit vines and flowers. I breathed a sigh of relief and lit a candle offering a prayer of gratitude to the divine consciousness for bringing us together.

I've discovered that creating a serene Zen-ish environment is paramount to my progress in spiritual life. A quiet sacred space where my mind can relax and focus on God. Some days the weight of the world seems to be clouding my mind and it becomes restless. By committing to a daily sitting practice in a peaceful sunlit garden, the divine seems more easily revealed through nature. Surrounded by sacred art, birds chirping, bees humming, leaves fluttering, and clouds effortlessly floating on a fragrant orange blossom breeze, I momentarily transcend... bliss.

We are told... One day, after much practice, if we do not grasp at enlightenment or run away
from it, realization will catch up to us. Blissfully shining the great "I Am" sits as witness to all... as if to say, "I knew you would finally remember who you really are!"

Song of Zazen
By Hakuin Zenji

All beings by nature are Buddha,
As ice by nature is water.
Apart from water there is no ice;
Apart from beings, no Buddha.

How sad that people ignore the near
And search for truth afar:
Like someone in the midst of water
Crying out in thirst;
Like a child of a wealthy home
Wandering among the poor.

Lost on dark paths of ignorance,
We wander through the Six Worlds;
From dark path to dark path
When shall we be freed from birth and death?

Oh, the Zen meditation of the Mahayana!
To this the highest praise!
Devotion, repentance, training,
The many perfections
All have their source in Zen meditation.

Those who try Zen meditation even once
Wipe away beginning less crimes.
Where are all the dark paths then?
The Pure Land itself is near.

Those who hear this truth even once
And listen with a grateful heart,
Treasuring it, revering it,
Gain blessings without end.

Much more, those who turn about
And bear witness to self-nature,
Self-nature that is no-nature,
Go far beyond mere doctrine.

Here effect and cause are the same;
The Way is neither two nor three.
With form that is no-form,
Going and coming, we are never astray;
With thought that is no-thought,
Even singing and dancing are the voice of the Law.

How boundless and free is the sky of Awareness!
How bright the full moon of wisdom!
Truly, is anything missing now?
Nirvana is right here, before our eyes;
This very place is the Lotus Land;
This very body, the Buddha.

*Translation by Robert Aitken

I have arrived.
I am home.
In the here.
In the now.
I am solid.
I am free.
In the ultimate I dwell.

Breathing in, I invite the Buddha to breathe with my lungs.
Breathing out, I invited the Buddha to sit with my back.

Buddha is breathing, Buddha is sitting.
I enjoy breathing, I enjoy sitting.

I know that the quality of the breathing, in the Buddha breath, is excellent.
I know the quality of his sitting is excellent.
I enjoy breathing. I enjoy sitting.

I am aware that my father is fully present in every cell of my body.
I invite my father to breathe in with me. Breathe out with me.
I would like to invite my father in me to sit with my back 
– this is my back, but it is also his back.
Father and son. Father and daughter. Breathing together.

Breathing in, I feel so light. Breathing out, I feel so free.
Daddy, do you feel as light as I do? Do you feel as free as I do?

I know that my mother is fully present in every cell of my body.
I invite my mother to breathe with my lungs, to sit with my back.
This is my back, but it is also hers.
Mother and son breathing in together. 

Mother and daughter breathing in together.
Mother and son breathing out together. 

Mother and daughter breathing out together.

Breathing in, I feel so light.
Mother, do you feel as light as I do?

Breathing out, I feel so free.
Mother, do you feel as free as I do?

Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles
And the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?
-Tao Te Ching

March 27, 2016

Bread of Life

Joy dawned again on Easter Day,
The sun shone out with fairer ray,
When, to their longing eyes restored,
The apostles saw their risen Lord.
His risen flesh with radiance glowed;
His wounded hands and feet he showed:
Those scars their silent witness gave
That Christ was risen from the grave.
O Jesus, King of gentleness,
Do thou our inmost hearts possess;
And we to thee will ever raise
The tribute of our grateful praise.
Jesus, who art the Lord of all,
In this our Easter festival,
From every weapon death can wield
Thine own redeemed, thy people, shield.
All praise, O risen Lord, we give
To thee, who, dead, again dost live;
To God the Father equal praise,
And God the Holy Ghost, we raise.

Hymn ascribed to Saint Ambrose. 
English translation is by J. M. Neale

Luke Chapter 24 : Bible Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

News That Jesus Has Risen From Death
Very early Sunday morning, the women came to the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. They brought the sweet-smelling spices they had prepared. They saw that the heavy stone that covered the entrance had been rolled away. They went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. They did not understand this. While they were wondering about it, two men in shining clothes stood beside them.  The women were very afraid. They bowed down with their faces to the ground. The men said to them, “Why are you looking for a living person here? This is a place for dead people. Jesus is not here. He has risen from death. Do you remember what he said in Galilee? He said the Son of Man must be handed over to the control of sinful men, be killed on a cross, and rise from death on the third day.” Then the women remembered what Jesus had said.

The women left the tomb and went to the eleven apostles and the other followers. They told them everything that happened at the tomb. These women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James, and some others. They told the apostles everything that happened. But the apostles did not believe what they said. It sounded like nonsense. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb to see. He looked in, but he saw only the cloth that Jesus’ body had been wrapped in. It was just lying there. Peter went away to be alone, wondering what had happened.

On The Road to Emmaus
That same day two of Jesus’ followers were going to a town named Emmaus. It is about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking about everything that had happened. While they were talking, discussing these things, Jesus himself came near and walked with them. (But the two men were not allowed to recognize Jesus.) He asked them, “What’s this I hear you discussing with each other as you walk?”

The two men stopped, their faces looking very sad. The one named Cleopas said, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who doesn’t know what has just happened there.”

Jesus said, “What are you talking about?”

They said, “It’s about Jesus, the one from Nazareth. To God and to all the people he was a great prophet. He said and did many powerful things. But our leaders and the leading priests handed him over to be judged and killed. They nailed him to a cross. We were hoping that he would be the one to free Israel. But then all this happened.

“And now something else: It has been three days since he was killed, but today some of our women told us an amazing thing. Early this morning they went to the tomb where the body of Jesus was laid. But they did not find his body there. They came and told us they had seen some angels in a vision. The angels told them Jesus was alive! So some of our group went to the tomb too. It was just as the women said. They saw the tomb, but they did not see Jesus.”

Then Jesus said to the two men, “You are foolish and slow to realize what is true. You should believe everything the prophets said. The prophets said the Messiah must suffer these things before he begins his time of glory.” Then he began to explain everything that had been written about himself in the Scriptures. He started with the books of Moses and then he talked about what the prophets had said about him.

They came near the town of Emmaus, and Jesus acted as if he did not plan to stop there. But they wanted him to stay. They begged him, “Stay with us. It’s almost night. There’s hardly any daylight left.” So he went in to stay with them.

Joining them at the supper table, Jesus took some bread and gave thanks. Then he broke some off and gave it to them. Just then the men were allowed to recognize him. But when they saw who he was, he disappeared. They said to each other, “When he talked to us on the road, it felt like a fire burning in us. How exciting it was when he explained to us the true meaning of the Scriptures!”

So the two men got up then and went back to Jerusalem. There they found the followers of Jesus meeting together. The eleven apostles and the people with them said, “The Lord really has risen from death! He appeared to Simon.”

Then the two men told what had happened on the road. They talked about how they recognized Jesus when he shared the bread with them.

Jesus Appears to His Followers
While the two men were saying these things to the other followers, Jesus himself came and stood among them. He said to them, “Peace be with you.”

This surprised the followers. They were afraid. They thought they were seeing a ghost. But Jesus said, “Why are you troubled? Why do you doubt what you see? Look at my hands and my feet. It’s really me. Touch me. You can see that I have a living body; a ghost does not have a body like this.”

After Jesus told them this, he showed them his hands and his feet. The followers were amazed and very, very happy to see that Jesus was alive. They still could not believe what they saw. He said to them, “Do you have any food here?” They gave him a piece of cooked fish. While the followers watched, he took the fish and ate it.

Jesus said to them, “Remember when I was with you before? I said that everything written about me must happen—everything written in the Law of Moses, the books of the prophets, and the Psalms.”

Then Jesus helped the followers understand these Scriptures about him. Jesus said to them, “It is written that the Messiah would be killed and rise from death on the third day.  You saw these things happen—you are witnesses. You must go and tell people that they must change and turn to God, which will bring them his forgiveness. You must start from Jerusalem and tell this message in my name to the people of all nations. Remember that I will send you the one my Father promised. Stay in the city until you are given that power from heaven.”

Jesus Goes Back to Heaven
Jesus led his followers out of Jerusalem almost to Bethany. He raised his hands and blessed his followers. While he was blessing them, he was separated from them and carried into heaven. They worshiped him and went back to Jerusalem very happy. They stayed at the Temple all the time, praising God.

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied 
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine 
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

by Natalie Grant

Heart Prayer

Oh Lord please roll away the stone of my heart 
That blocks my connection to you. 
Divine eternal ever free your love 
Is the bread of eternal life. 
Risen from darkness unto light 
Your fire of immortality is the grace of infinite peace. 
Please remove the crust of my ignorance. 
Help me to go inward towards the clear light 
Of your unchanging oneness.

*Painting by Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí