Mother Jenni’s talk about the Parliament

FAITH Sermon Notes

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe

Oct. 25, 2015

Rev. Jenni Walker



MK 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,

Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,

sat by the roadside begging.

On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,

he began to cry out and say,

“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”

And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.

But he kept calling out all the more,

“Son of David, have pity on me.”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man, saying to him,

“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”

He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.

Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”

Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”

Immediately he received his sight

and followed him on the way.


As many of you know, we have just returned from a week in Salt Lake City, at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. This was a huge event, with about 9,000 people from all over the world from almost every religion you know, and many even we had never heard of. The Parliament began in 1893, took a long break, but since 1993 has been meeting every 5 years somewhere in the world. When we found out it was going to be in the US, we knew we had to go. Seminarians Rob and Lian, parishioners Rahmaneh and Shaktipriya, Tony and LaVette, and our musician today Mary, and her partner Ullas, who has played for our interfaith mass in the past, also came. (We all shared a house, along with some new friends who came from California, Colorado, and North Carolina.) Indigenous cultures were honored and highlighted, with several of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers there. In fact one of the focuses of this Parliament was Woman’s Spirituality and Women’s equal rights, and for the first time in Parliament history, the entire opening day was devoted to this (Show badge with Women’s Inaugural Assembly). Even Paganism was well represented (we attended a Bridgid ritual- St. Bridgid crosses between early Celtic Christianity and the Culture that pre-dated Christianity in those lands).


In addition to a particular focus on empowering women, and freeing them from oppression, this Parliament was about “working together for a world of Compassion, Peace, Justice, and Sustainability”. Many big name people spoke and led sessions: Jane Goodall, Marianne Williamson, Michael Beckwith, and Matthew Fox, to name a few. It will take us some time to integrate all we learned and experienced, to follow up on all the heart connections we made with people there, and to share it with you as we continue to clarify how we might live out our unique call to work on these issues.


Today’s gospel reminds us of the power of Faith. I think what is impossible to ignore when people of all faiths surround you, is that humanity cannot seem to live without faith. Faith enables us to feel safe, and to feel that we are part of something larger than just our individual lives. Faith is not just about Faith in something, but it is a way of living, with trust and openness. Faith does not belong to one religion, but rather is the way we humans live out all our religions. As I have said before, I am a Perennialist. This means, just like flowers that come back year after year, I see that the Divine cannot help but return through every culture and time. I am a disciple of the Master Jesus, Yeshua, and I believe he has a unique role in the unfolding drama of Human life on this planet, and in the Eternal Cosmos. But my faith in Him does not need to lesson the power of the unique role of other prophets, enlightened Masters, and teachings that have emerged throughout history and continue to emerge even in our day. The action of the Divine through different forms actually increases my faith in an omniscient Godhead.


The experience of Love overflowing throughout this Parliament was, as one person put it, like experiencing Heaven on Earth. It truly increased everyone’s faith that we can create a world of Harmony and Love. The subtitle for the Parliament was “Reclaiming the Heart of our Humanity”, and we truly experienced that, at least during this Parliament. Now, the work of all of us who attended is to go back into our communities and continue that good Heart work.

Now today, we have Baptisms. While we celebrate the joy of these souls saying yes to a life in Christ, we also proclaim that the role of Christ is to bring us all into the Oneness of Love. And our test, as evolving Christians, as we come to understand the true teachings of the heart of Jesus, is to live out our Faith in ways that open us and everyone we meet, to the experience of being One. To the experience of being One Humanity, One Creation. Forever interconnected. Let our Faith be demonstrated not by separation, by feeling like we are now part of the right club. But rather, let our Faith demonstrate our understanding that the God of Love is our model, and is our Way. Our Faith should bring us closer to others, should open our hearts to all creatures and the whole of this beautiful Creation we are a part of. Let us be faithful to the Call of Love, that we might truly work together with each other, and people of all faiths, to create that world of Compassion, of Peace, of Justice, and of Sustainability on this planet, our home. May those who are baptized today be emboldened to live as shining examples of the Way of Love that Jesus teaches us!