December 23, 2015 Top




Dear Ones, Greeting

Greetings in the name of the Incarnate One. As the celebration of Christmas draws near, I pray that you are finding the quiet space your heart needs to get ready. In favor of that quiet space, I offer only the simplest word of encouragement. In this newsletter you will find deep and nourishing words from Mary and Leanne. Their words will pair well with a lit candle, a room where you can be alone, some slow, deep breaths, a few minutes repeating the simplest prayer you know, or maybe the gentlest of walks in a peaceful place. Know that you are infinitely loved, deeply desired, and ardently pursued by the very One who nestled in for His newborn sleep in a manger in Bethlehem.

Yours in Christ,
Sarah

Image:  Russian Icon of the Nativity, 18th C., https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Файл:Икона_Рождество_Христово,_XVIII_в._ГТГ.jpg

The Light of the World
By Leanne Payne  Leanne
from her December 1980 Newsletter

"The Lord is our Righteousness."
Jeremiah 23:6b

"He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul and be
satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses
and imparts to others] shall My . . . righteous One, My Servant,
justify and make many righteous - upright and in right standing
with God; for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt
[with the consequences, says the Lord]."
Isaiah 53:11 Amplified

December 22, 1980

To: Dear Ones scattered over this wonderful planet Earth

From: Leanne Payne

Greetings in Jesus' Name, and Season's greetings as well: Joyeux Nol, Feliz Navidad, Frh Weihnachsten, Wesłych Świat Bozego Narodzenia and Alleluia: How wonderful it would be to really know these and other great languages. Living in Milwaukee where so many of the old country customs and languages are not only preserved but very much alive makes one all the more wish to be able to communicate in the different tongues. What a sound will go up when all the nations gather to praise and worship God! (Rev. 15:4)

I just glanced down the radio fare for one Sunday here, and Serbian, German, Croatian, Italian, Greek, Slovenian, and Polish programs were featured. The other night I was privileged to attend a festive and joyful dinner in a Polish home. The family had made the Christmas decorations, and the table linens were the exquisite work of Polish fingers. It was the home of my friends, Dr. and Mrs. Bernie Klamecki. Bernie, a Milwaukee surgeon active in the healing ministry, is also Roman Catholic and as such presides over a family where Polish national and religious customs are observed. Later, when I was thanking him for the experience of his "world," he told me (with quiet excitement in his voice) of another custom he and his family observe, and that on Christmas Eve. They go to church ready to give thanks for all the good things God has blessed them with throughout the year. That is a custom I plan to adopt - permanently. How exciting and wonderful to do that! And what a great preparation for the New Year's Eve Eucharist. At this service it has long been my custom to go to church prepared to offer up as special intentions new goals for the new year. These have come as a result of waiting quietly before the Lord, and listening to Him - pen and prayer journal in hand. These sheets in my prayer journal never seem to grow old, for God keeps on answering and honoring these petitions. Like the bread and the fishes, God multiplies and blesses to us all that we ask in His Name! Glory be! What a privilege, what a heritage we have as children of God. "Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing" - in praise of His Name, in thanksgiving to Him. My list of blessings to give thanks for will be so long that it will take from now until Christmas Eve just to prepare it.

God the Father, speaking through His prophet Isaiah, foretells the coming of His Son into the world, and that He would "reveal truth to the nations."

I have given You for a covenant to the people,
for a light to the nations
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon
and those who sit in darkness from the prison. (Isa. 42:6b, 7)

Unlike Isaiah, we live on "this side" of Christmas - of our Lord's first advent. And we who are Christians know that He came, and that "in Him was Life and the Life was the Light of men." We know this because He who is our Light and our Righteousness indwells us, and that the truth He came to give to the nations lives as a permanent shaft of light within our very souls.

The second advent of our Lord is the great Christian hope. He is coming for those who love Him, and "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." But this coming is pictured as a terrible day for the many who have despised the Light (Joel 2:1-13; Isa. 13:9-11; Rev. 19:11-21). The Scriptures give a terrible description of what it means to be finally separated from all that is good, all that is Light.

I had a dream recently that brought this absence of Light - the awfulness of it - home to me. I was sitting, looking out upon a black, black sea and horizon. There was no light, not even a star in the black sky or a candle upon the earth. Then I saw a great light rise (like a sun) over the horizon. It was a great ship cautiously coming into port, and its huge beam was the only light. It was almost to shore when it was suddenly blown to smithereens. There was a great fire and explosion - then no light. As I prayed about this dream, the thing that was borne in on me was that there was no transcendent light, not even from moon or stars, and that the only light was man-made. And God began to speak to me through the prophet Habakkuk. In verse 1:7, "[The Chaldeans] are terrible and dreadful; their justice and dignity proceed only from themselves." One has only to think of the Nazis, the Kremlin, and our own newspaper headlines to know what a dreadful scourge the Chaldeans would bring on the unprepared or defenseless nation. In verse 11, "They (the Chaldeans) load themselves with guilt, (as do all men) whose own power is their god." This is in contrast to the marvelous image of God approaching from Sinai, His glory filling the heavens, the earth full of His praise: "And His brightness was like the sunlight; rays streamed from His hand; and there (in the sun-like splendor) was the hiding place of His power" (Hab. 3:3, 4). God has continued to speak to me through this night vision - about the growing darkness in the world and especially in the minds of men, about what happens when the "light" of man's wisdom is separate from and even replaces the light of God's presence and truth in congregations of God's people. There again we must in the power of the Holy Spirit be channels of the true Light, and remind them of what faith in the Son of God really claims:

"Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims - that He can present us faultless before the throne of God, unutterably pure, absolutely rectified and profoundly justified. Stand in implicit adoring faith in Him. He is 'made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption'" (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Nov. 13). All of this inherent in the gift of the Christ Child, the gift of Christmas.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Leanne

Image: 1864 Aivazovsky Meer anagoria" by Ivan Aivazovsky - anagoria. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1864_Aivazovsky_Meer_anagoria.JPG
#/media/File:1864_Aivazovsky_Meer_anagoria.JPG


Living in Incarnational Reality
By Mary Carrington

Part 1 introduced incarnational reality as a concept permeating Leanne Payne's teaching and writing, a term she used to mean the presence of God both with us and within us. Part 2 explores further aspects of incarnational reality. Through incarnational reality, in all of its aspects, we share in the life of Christ and are linked to Him so that we can relate to God. We can forgive the unforgiveable because of Christ's incarnational reality in us reaching out in love to those who have offended us. God's grace descends into us and transforms us into His image through His incarnational reality dwelling within us. Our intuitive minds permeated by incarnational reality receive words, thoughts, and visions directly from the Father. As we dwell in incarnational reality, we also partake of holiness, one of the primary attributes of God. 

Incarnational Reality and Holiness

As Leanne writes in Listening Prayer, holiness is incarnational. "We tip over into evil the moment we forget to confess the tyrant within and acknowledge that our holiness is at every moment Another's: it is incarnational" (Listening Prayer, chapter 10). Sanctification, as Oswald Chambers writes, is "Christ in you." Chambers explains, "Sanctification means the impartation of the qualities of Jesus Christ. It is His patience, His love, His holiness . . ." Holiness then is imparted to us as we walk with the Lord participating in His divine life. 

When people repent and renounce false gods such as the gods of sexual promiscuity and other idols, holiness is set in. When we worship and confess our sins as in MPC conferences, holiness descends. Those who have felt degraded and filthy experience the cleansing of holiness. A holy light descends such as it did on Mt. Tabor during the Transfiguration when Jesus' face shone like the sun or when Stephen's face shone like an angel (Acts 6:15).

When the quality of holiness is imparted to us, it allows us to quickly discern the unholy and flee from its snares. My husband and I prayed with a young man, Joe, with a severe pornographic addiction. Joe was delighted when he experienced for the first time in his life how this new sense of the holy kept him from turning to pornography. His background in a legalistic church had not able to prevent his descent into pornography. Now, however, his heart transformed with a new sense of and love for the holy, Joe has an inbuilt resistance to the unholy.

Incarnational Reality and the Intuitive Mind

Leanne in chapter 11 of Real Presence explains our "failure to understand and appreciate the ways of knowing peculiar to the so-called unconscious mind" (p. 131). She defines the unconscious mind as the intuitive rather than the reasoning mind. The intuitive mind is "the seat of the creative imagination, the memory and the gifts of the Holy Spirit" (p. 131). Metaphor, symbol, myth, dreams, and visions are the language of the unconscious mind according to Leanne (p. 137).

As human beings partaking of the reality of God in us, or incarnational reality, we receive into ourselves the higher life that is "spiritual and supernatural" (Real Presence, p. 51). The Higher (God) descends and indwells a human spirit (Lewis, Miracles, p. 115). The intuitive mind then partaking of ultimate reality - like Christ did when He walked among us - listens, obeys, and collaborates with the Holy Spirit.


The Green Lady in Perelandra illustrates the mystical ways of knowing of the intuitive mind. When her companion Ransom asks her about her knowledge of other worlds, Maleldil (God) then sends the Green Lady pictures of Malacandra, a world that Ransom has visited (Real Presence, p. 143). She says to Ransom, "It all comes into my mind now . . . I see the big furry creatures and the white giants. . . ." (Perelandra, p. 61). Even though the Green Lady has never seen or visited this other world, she accurately describes those who inhabit it. Ransom then experiences a presence with them, and he realizes that this presence, this other person, Maleldil, whom the Green Lady speaks of and to, is the person giving her these impressions.

Practically, as we pray and listen, intuitions of the real, including ideas and impressions about how to proceed in perplexing situations come to us. Leanne writes about the many requests for help for emotional and spiritual problems she received from Christian counselors and pastors in a Winter 1982 Pastoral Care Ministries Newsletter. See (http://ministriesofpastoralcare.com/category/leannes-archives/)

Overwhelmed with the need, she prayed and rested in the Lord as He ministered to her and showed her the way forward. ". . . as I rested in Him, He began to stir up and strengthen organizational gifts within me which I have always resisted and even declared were simply not there. I knew there had to be new ways to have seminars and retreats for ministers and doctors, new ways to help laypersons get in touch with their God-given gifts and mature in them. . ."

Finally, a "wonderfully clear picture of what to do appeared." The plan, birthed in prayer and intuitive listening, was to hold five-day retreats annually in several locations in the United States. The plan led to the formation of Pastoral Care Ministries, a worldwide ministry that blessed thousands.

Leanne explains how some earnest Christians are afraid when attempting to listen to God. They invariably exclaim, "Oh, but I am so afraid it would be just me speaking!" (Listening Prayer, p. 159). Although this is a valid caution, we can sometimes be so afraid that we forget we are one with Christ and that He comes to us through our "thoughts, imaginations, dreams, and visions."

Encouraging us to listen to God, Leanne writes that we can begin to discern the difference between the knowledge we already have and the fresh word God speaks to us. Rather than overanalyzing the word we receive, we can wait a few days, reread it, and then be able to discern whether or not it is from our knowledge or that fresh word God is speaking to us.

Others, lacking an understanding of incarnational reality (Christ within us), believe that "the created mind and heart" could "not contain or convey the Lord or His Presence" (Listening Prayer, p. 157). Such a lack of incarnational understanding leads us to assume "that divine and human action exclude one another like the actions of two fellow-creatures so that 'God did this' and "'I did this' cannot both be true of the same act in the sense that each contributed a share" (Letters from Malcolm, p. 50).

Both fear of listening to God and hearing the word that He is sending, as well as the lack of understanding of incarnational reality, can hinder us in our attempts to hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. However, knowing more about how God speaks will help us to gain confidence in listening to Him.

Chapter 12 ("How God Speaks to His Children") of Listening Prayer by Leanne describes a number of ways that we receive God's messages. Many times "words or pictures are seen or impressed on our thoughts." These whispers of the Holy Spirit come as God indwells and empowers the church through incarnational reality.

Incarnational Reality and the Sacraments

"It is religion itself - prayer and sacrament and repentance and adoration - which is here in the long-run, our sole avenue to the real."
"Dogma and the Universe," God in the Dock, C. S. Lewis

Both Lewis and Leanne recognized that the sacraments, such as Holy Communion and baptism, are the avenues to the real. As Leanne writes, the sacraments "were for [Lewis] not mere symbols of union but means by which the Real Presence and the very life of Christ are channeled to man" (Real Presence, p. 35).

"An incarnational view of reality," Leanne writes in an unpublished paper The Sacraments and Their Relationship to the Holy Spirit, "understands that spirit indwells matter" just as Mary, "a created being and therefore 'matter' was incarnate of the Son of God" (p. 3). We are incarnate of Christ by the Holy Spirit, and the elements of the Eucharist, although matter, are incarnate of the Real Presence. To receive Communion then is to encounter the Real Presence.

Christ's presence, His incarnational reality, comes to touch and heal us through the Eucharist and other sacraments. I have experienced, as have many others, an infusion or infilling of His Holy Spirit that strengthens and heals as I receive the Eucharist. As Lewis writes, "Here a hand from the hidden country touches not only my soul but my body. . . . Here is big medicine and strong magic" (Letters to Malcolm, p. 103). Lewis, in the same passage, comments about how the Eucharistic bread and wine are such an odd symbol of the death and resurrection of Christ; yet his own heart as well as all of Christendom declare that the bread and wine are "uniquely important." Lewis's heart, open to the Holy Spirit, embraces the incarnational reality present in the Eucharist.

Similarly, Leanne writes about J. Rodman Williams, a Presbyterian theologian and pastor who had always wanted to believe that Christ was present at the Eucharist, but "as far as his own experience . . . he acknowledges that the Real Presence remained for him vague and uncertain" (The Sacraments and Their Relationship to the Holy Spirit, p. 32). Williams realizes the problem is primarily not of faith, but one of being open to God's Spirit, and he writes about the changes brought about by his opening to God's Holy Spirit.

How this has changed: The Holy Spirit has acted as a vitalizing agent making the Real Presence real. For it is the Spirit who opens the eyes to what is unclear, and brings about a living fellowship. This, then, is what "spiritual presence must mean" namely, Christ's presence through the Spirit! . . . the primary problem is not faith . . . but our not being open through the Holy spirit's activity. When at last the Spirit broke through, the presence of Christ became a reality in experience - and this makes all the difference in the world! (The Era of the Spirit, pp. 44-45).

Commenting on the different theories about the act of Holy Communion, such as whether or not the elements are "mere bread and mere wine," used symbolically to remind him of the death of Christ, Lewis concludes that the different theories or explanations leave "the mystery for [Lewis] still a mystery" (Letters to Malcolm, p. 102). However, he believes that ultimate reality or incarnational reality is experienced during the act of Holy Communion and that the veil between the divine and material worlds "is nowhere else so thin and permeable to divine operation" (Letters to Malcolm, p. 102).

The Eucharist is not the only sacrament where we encounter the Real Presence. The sacrament of baptism is often infused with incarnational reality. Agnes Sanford noted that physical healing often occurs during infant baptisms (The Healing Light, pp. 92-93). Leanne worked with Episcopal rector Fr. Richard Winkler of Trinity Episcopal Church in Wheaton, who was often called to the local hospital to baptize babies who were dying. Frequently, the baby was healed as Fr. Winkler baptized it (Heaven's Calling, p. 148).

The sacraments then are our avenues to the real or to Ultimate Reality as the sacraments are also incarnate of the Real Presence. The Real Presence touches our hearts and strengthens us through the sacraments. As we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, He mediates the Real Presence to us, inviting us to partake in the great mystery of divine realities.

Living in incarnational reality is an exciting and adventurous journey. It is also a journey of surrender and obedience as we yield to the Holy Spirit. Christ lives in us and radiates through us to touch and bless His world through our relationship with Him, through forgiveness, through our transformation into the image and likeness of God, through holiness, through our intuitive minds illuminated by incarnational reality and through the sacraments.

May we live in incarnational reality and let God's image shine through us as Eastern Orthodox bishop Nikolai Velimirovich writes in The Faith of Chosen People (p. 45): "Let your souls arise, you who are filled with the grace of Christ! Let the image of God within you shine."


References

Mackay, John, A. (1970). Christian Reality and Appearance. Richmond, Virginia: John Knox Press.
- - . (1941). A Preface to Christian Theology. New York: Macmillan.

McGrath, Alister E. (2006). Incarnation (Truth and the Christian Imagination). Minneapolis: First Fortress Press.

Payne, Leanne. (1973). The Sacraments and Their Relationship to the Holy Spirit: An Exploration (Unpublished paper). Wheaton, Illinois: Wheaton College Archives and Special Collections.

- - . (1973). Incarnational Reality: A Study of the Holy Spirit in Man (Unpublished paper). Wheaton, Illinois: Wheaton College Archives and Special Collections.

Velimirovich, Nikolai. (1999). The Faith of Chosen People: A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality, Volume 2. New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.

Williams, J. Rodman. (1971). The Era of the Spirit. Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International. 

Images 

Lorenzo Lotto [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Albrecht Altdorfer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

"Graveson Eglise 661" by Reinhardhauke - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Graveson_Eglise_661.JPG#
/media/File:Graveson_Eglise_661.JPG


Year-end giving to MPC  Giving

As you pray about how to distribute your end-of-year giving, would you please consider making a monetary donation to MPC?  Our goal is to fully fund our two full-time and one part-time staff members for the next calendar year by raising $86,000. Your contribution will make it possible for Sarah, Lori and Rose to continue with the magnificent work of sharing with people around the world the truth that "Another lives in me!". 



Please consider:
  • A one-time donation via debit or credit card;
  • Ongoing monthly donations via debit or credit card;
  • Mailing a check payable to MPC to P.O. Box 3792, Peoria, IL61612
We at Ministries of Pastoral Care pray that you and your family have a joyous and blessed Christmas!

2016 MPC schools and Other Recommended Conferences  Schools

God's Healing Presence - Conlee and Signa Bodishbaugh Conference
Marlburg, Germany
January 6-10, 2016
Presented in English with German translation.



Click here for more information.

Living Waters Leadership Training
January 30 - February 5, 2016 



"Living Waters was birthed out of California soil, so I believe this training has a unique anointing to offer a solid, pastoral answer for those dealing with a host of sexual problems, including same-sex attraction." Andrew Comiskey, founder and Director of Desert Stream/Living Waters

Click here for more information or to register.


MPC School - Houston, TX
February 21-26, 2016
Woods Edge Community Church
Registration now open!
Click here for more information and here to register!

MPC School - Wheaton, IL
July 10-15, 2016
Wheaton College
Registration opens Friday, January 8!
Click here to receive more information and be notified when registration opens!

MPC School - Jeju Island, South Korea
August 14-19, 2016
Click here to receive more information and be notified when registration opens!