Address at Elevation


God is No Man’s Debtor
Rev Antoinette’s address at the Elevation
of Rev Robert John to the Office of Meritus
25th February 2006

The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written,

“He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures for ever.”

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God; for the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God. Under the test of this service, you will glorify God by your obedience in acknowledging the gospel of Christ, and by the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others; while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God in you.

(2 Corinthians 9:6-14)

REVEREND MERITUS-ELECT Robert John, my fellow priests, dear members and honoured friends: welcome. It is wonderful that you are all here. There has been much love, thought and energy flowing towards this moment and tonight it is made manifest and visible in this place. And your presence here tonight is the foundation on which we will build something of great power, beauty and hope.

Tonight our dear Reverend Robert who has grown up within our Centre will enter into the Office of Meritus, and there are many here who see that this is an office that Robert was born to fulfill. I concur. And obviously you all concur. And that this is within the will of God is also evident, for here it is about to happen.

There are of course many thoughts and feelings and memories within me tonight. Robert and I have grown up together and as such we share many experiences and values. We have been and will continue to be great colleagues and co-workers. But tonight something new will be added to the mix.

What this is precisely none of us here know but I am going to venture a few thoughts. In accordance to our founder and first Meritus something like this will occur: Through this service tonight, the Meritus-Elect will receive from you and from the fraters and sorores of our brotherhood a renewed impouring of the Christ forces and will therefore be enlarged within self. The powers which are already present will now double if not triple. 

So I have been reflecting on Rev Robert and the powers that are already present that will be enlarged. There are many, but there is one in particular that I want to focus on for a moment, for it brings me much hope and joy to think that this may be increased and flow through our whole Centre.

The Power that Will Be Increased
This power or ability is described in the reading we have just heard. In this letter St Paul is writing about how the saints are upheld. This is definitely one of the functions of the Office of Meritus – to uphold the saints - the members, initiates, deacons, priests, those who are learning and growing and working in their identification with Christ – those whom we call the people of God. They are the saints and I think it is significant that when Rev Robert was ordained a priest many years ago, he was ordained on All Saints Day.

Paul writes that the Saints, the people of God, are upheld through the ability to give generously, cheerfully, and wholeheartedly, and this is certainly one of the powers that I experience in Robert.

To give of self generously is actually an expression of the coming together of many powers. It is the outcome of a complete trust and reliance upon God and the power of Christ. Which becomes possible when you learn not to lean on your own understanding, your own resources and riches, but to place your trust in the laws and purposes of the Divine. It indicates a deep knowing that you are being led by the forces of evolution for good.

It is a lifting up of the heart to God, it is turning of your eyes toward Jesus. It is a real rejoicing in the presence of the Bride-groom, knowing that his grace is sufficient, and that he knows what you need better than you do yourself. 

This power, this ability, this expression, plays such an important part in the unfolding of the Gospel stories about the incarnation of Christ. Without this ability to trust and to give nothing can be built, nothing can be done, nothing can come into existence. For there is then no real substance to work with.

As I reflected upon the many expressions of this ability in both the Old and New Testaments, I found that the words and images weaved together and formed a type of poem or refrain within me. So I would like to repeat to you now what came together in me as I thought about Robert. 

Come, follow me, fisherman.
Leave all behind and do not look back.
My God will supply all your needs.
No one has left houses or lands,
family and friends,
without receiving much more in this life.
Sell all you have, and carry no purse,
for the laborer is worth his hire,
My God will supply all your needs
and your reward will be great in heaven.

Come, follow me.
Foxes have holes and birds have nests,
but for you there’ll be no place of rest.
Nevertheless, my God will supply all your needs,
for my God is no man’s debtor.
No one has left houses or lands,
family and friends,
without receiving much more in this life,
and more in the life to come.
Take up your cross and follow me,
and be of good cheer.
In trembling or in strength,
your emptiness will be filled.
The laborer is worth his hire.
Be of good courage.
My God will supply,
with the test the means to endure.

Come, follow me,
and I will make of you
an apostle and fisher of men.
Leave all behind and do not look back,
my God will supply all your needs.
No one has left family or friends,
possessions or lands,
without a return of ten.
Peace I give to you, 
and not as the world gives, do I give.
Be of good courage, 
and let not your heart be troubled.
If you who lose your life, for me, 
you will find it and more.
For my God is no man’s debtor.
My God will supply all your needs.

His love is steadfast and sure and abides.
He will supply and multiply
the harvest of righteousness.
So come, let us adventure through this world.
Let us dance under the stars and the sun.
Follow me, fisherman.
For when I saw you I loved you,
and because you cleave to me in love, I will deliver you;
I will protect you, because you know my name.
When you call, I will answer;
I will be with you in trouble,
I will rescue you and honor you.
And I will show you my salvation.

You will of course recognize many influences in this little ballad.

Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee and the immediate response of the fishermen to his call. The rich young ruler whom Jesus loved. Jesus’ words to his disciples when he sent them out two by two. And Jesus’ words on the eve of his departure. All these stories and more come into my mind when I think of Robert and his response so many years ago to the call of Christ, and his continued willingness to leave all behind and follow him. 

Through the years, nothing was withheld, no conditions were put in place, there was no safety net. There was a higher standard somehow than safety and security. A simple trust in the fact that the labourer is worth his hire, and also an acceptance of the fact that the son of man has nowhere to lay his head.

Robert left his home and his family to be fully within The Centre, to do whatever was required and to go wherever he was sent. In the process he left behind relationships, career, prospects, worldly security and other opportunities. And yet, in the process has been richly compensated spiritually. He has been given many beautiful relationships, a career with many expressions and colours, and so many other glorious opportunities and experiences. Many dwelling places, many fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children. Of course this is not always a blessing(!) but that is the double-edged sword.

When I think of what has occurred over the course of the thirty years of Robert’s adult life in The Centre then the often-repeated words of Mario ring in my ears: God is no man’s debtor. 

The words of Christ to his disciples, also ring true: The measure you give will be the measure you get back. (Luke 6:37-38)

Our Reverend Robert is a living picture of this.

The Promise
There is another aspect I want to draw attention to tonight, in terms of the newness that is being added to all of us through this Elevation. And I hope you don’t mind Robert, that this prophecy now become public knowledge. During the 1995 Priest Conclave, when Mario and Colin bid farewell to their priests, Mario blessed each priest and when he spoke to Robert he predicted this event tonight. This is what he said:

“I have nurtured you, and have created within you the spirit of individuality and of the breaking of the blood bonds, and have made you aware of the bond that binds you through Christ to all those who are in Christ.

You have received the gift of intuition and perception if you use it and believe it. There is wisdom that can be put to the test, and shall be put to the test in days and years to come. You have been chosen by the Holy Ones and the office that you will eventually occupy will be a mighty one and full of responsibilities. Mighty, not in the sense of the ego, but mighty in the sense of power, spiritual power.

The channel that is being created within you now, right now, will be the channel through which the spirit of the ancient of days can operate and work, and the time will come that this entity must pass on to you the etheric of St Paul. That must be done, says the insistent voice, so that the channels that will be operating within you can be used by these spirits to fulfil the function of bringing Christ to a wide audience, through drama but also in organisation, preaching and teaching, beauty and art.

For all this you have been prepared, and even though the road will still be a long road, prepare yourself right now for the channels are being born within your consciousness, within your head, within your brains, and many nasty experiences, physically, may well occur. Be aware of these experiences, and be aware that this is the creation of new brain cells through which the spirits can operate and work, and your perception will become wider and greater.

Do you not doubt when new experiences of the spirit unfold before you. Do not doubt when the horizon suddenly disappears and other colours and pictures take its place. Do not be afraid, for it is the beginning of the coming of the Lord into your consciousness, and thereby the seal will be broken and a new covenant will be created.”

Many of Rev Robert’s fellow priests have been aware of this promise and have been silently with him as he has gone through the preparations, both inwardly and outwardly for this moment. Again, this promise and blessing fills me with joy and anticipation for what it means for our whole fellowship.

Lastly, I would like to speak briefly about the Office which the Reverend Robert is about to enter.

The Nature and Task of a Meritus
We know that all our initiation and ordination ceremonies confer a new knowledge, ability and responsibility. And to be ordained a Meritus is no different. It is absolutely to have a different consciousness and awareness which is with you wherever you are twenty-four hours a day. 

We also know that every time someone is inducted, initiated or ordained in our Centre we learn more about that office – be it as member, initiate, deacon or priest. We shall therefore, through this service, and in the coming months and years, learn much more about the Office of Meritus, through Robert’s experience and expression of it.

It is simply sufficient to say now that the Meritus is the focal point for Christ and the Brotherhood, translating the impulses and inspirations of the heavens into earthly applications and deeds. The Meritus is also the focal point for our Centre, drawing around them human souls who also have within themselves the light of Christ and the impulse to reconcile heaven and earth. 

To be such a focal point, to be a Meritus, Mario said, is to take the burden of the whole Centre upon yourself, visible and invisible. The Centre and all its members and friends will live henceforth within your soul Robert, and the reality of this, the responsibility of this, the care for this, the joy and the sorrow of this will never leave you for a second. And, Robert, I can assure you that it makes for plenty of sleepless nights! 

It is a mighty thing, therefore, that Robert is taking on tonight. I am only grateful to have someone to share this with, but I also know what this will mean and require. Therefore, and I address this to all of you present, the greatest gift that you can give to our new Meritus is pictured and symbolized in this service. It is called the Salutation of Peace. At that time you will come forward to acknowledge the new Meritus and you will say: Peace be with you. And I hope that you will pray that the peace of Christ will always abide in his heart. Your prayers, your longings for him, as St Paul wrote in our first reading, are a vital part of the Covenant which will be made tonight and by which the Saints will be upheld.

But above all, Robert, pictured in this service tonight is the assurance of an intimate relationship with Christ and his Holy Ones. Reliance on that and not on the outer resources is what gives the Meritus the strength to act alone when this is needed, and there will be those times. You know this and this will be multiplied within you. It is therefore with the reassuring words of Psalm 91 that I will end this address:

Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
and show him my salvation.

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