STARTING THE YEAR WITH GOD
There is a song sung by Rickie Byars Beckwith called "Stayed on Spirit". How perfect it is for us this morning. I actually think the lyrics could be beautiful New Years' Resolutions for us all. She sings:
"I wake up each morning with my mind stayed on Spirit."
"I walk and talk with my mind stayed on Spirit."
Great resolutions, aren't they?!! Well then, are you ready to Start the Year with God?! Excellent!
It is a tradition to get "back to basics" during the month of January and to reground in our fundamental Unity tenets. And, that is exactly what we will do this January - in our own unique way, that is. Because each week we will bring fresh eyes and a new perspective to our life-altering teachings.
And, while we will be looking at things with fresh eyes and from a new perspective this month, there are some things so basic, so fundamental that there might not be a new perspective on them, but there is always a way to go to a deeper level! And that is what we will do today. So my invitation to you is to put fresh eyes on some things you just might have heard before!
There is One Principle and Presence in the Universe, One Cosmic Reality -- God . . . or whatever you want to call it!
In New Thought, we don't get too hung up on labels. We realize that some people have negative feelings around the word God, and if that is the case for you, my heart goes out to you for whatever experience you had that created the way you feel. I truly mean that. And, now, with the utmost love and respect for you, I invite you to get over it!!! Now is the time to heal that. Boy, that will bring an entirely new and fresh perspective to your life starting today.
Let's state that idea again:
There is One Principle and Presence in the Universe, One Cosmic Reality -- God. All creation originates in this One Source. God is. God is all there is. From this One Infinite Source flows the spiritual, mental and physical Universe -- all Life, all Love, all Law, all Energy, all Harmony, all Being, all physical form or effect . . . are contained within the One.a
This is a simple, yet deeply profound concept. One that we can get and then forget; get and then forget; get and then forget, get and then forget! Today, I want us to get it again.
Everything is contained within the One. It's all God. There is One Life - This Life is God.
If you are new to this way of thinking, or if you are in a moment of forgetting, this concept requires a shift in thinking because we may well have slipped into duality thinking. You, know -- God and . . . What? God and the Devil. Good and Evil. Heaven and Hell. God and anything else!
We don't believe that . . we believe it's all God.
Say that with me, won't you: "It's all God."
What does that say about us, then? We are each a creation of God, made of the God-substance, unique, individualized incarnations of Spirit. This Incarnated Spirit is the Essence of every human being. This essence is unique to each of us. It can never be lost, damaged, diminished or destroyed throughout our eternal journey.
Now and forever, each of us is an expression of God, right where we are. Despite our feelings of separation, this Oneness is irrevocable and eternal. It is who we are.b
That's one of my favorite ideas: Despite our feelings of separation, this Oneness is irrevocable and eternal. It is who we are!
We have a phrase we often use here, which I also love. Very simply: God in me, as me, is me.
Say it with me, won't you. "God in me, as me, is me."
And because this is true, we matter - we're enough, not because of anything we have ever done or ever will do, but because the source of our identity is God.
Ernest Holmes said it this way: The highest God and the innermost God is one God.c
Or as Charles Fillmore said: "I have proved to my own satisfaction that when Jesus said, 'The kingdom of God is within you,' He meant it literally and not figuratively. There is within everyone a place, a conscious sphere of mind, having all the attractions described or imagined as belonging to heaven. My most exalted ideas of the joys of heaven never anticipated the ecstatic thrill that suffuses my whole being while I rest in Spirit at this center within."d
It's all God -- and I am one with that. We do not belief in original sin; you're never going to hear me tell you that you are sinners, which perhaps you have heard from the pulpit in your past! For example:
There was a brand new minister to his church, who preached his first sermon. After it was over a church member and a guest were talking. "Why did you ask the other preacher to resign?" asked the visitor.
"Oh," said the member, "he always preached that we were sinners and if we didn't mend our ways, we'd all go straight to hell."
Puzzled, the visitor said, "Well that is just what this preacher said today, isn't it?"
"Yes, it was," said the member, "but the other preacher acted as if he were glad of it!"
What I am glad of is that instead of believing in original sin, we believe in original perfection or original innocence -- because God is in me, as me, is me!
This is the nature of Reality and is non-negotiable. It cannot be won or lost, bought or sold. Nor is it a gift that God bestows upon someone who has followed the doctrine of a particular religion -- it's simply the way it is. Spirit put the stamp of individuality upon Itself, and called it you.
While we do not have the power to change our actual identity, we can change how we think about ourselves. One day we may think of ourselves as capable of dealing with life, and the next day incapable, but the truth is, regardless of appearances or how we feel, we are one with all the power in the Universe, and therefore always capable.
These beautiful New Thought teachings, then, reveal the nature of Reality and the part we play in it. They answer the age-old question "Who am I?" by telling us that we are conscious centers of Divine Intelligence. As such, we have the ability to use our conscious minds to create desired experiences.
I love how Thomas Troward put it: "But all the time there has been no change in the Universal Spirit, the only change has been in the mental attitude of the individual - he has come into a new thought, a clearer perception of God. He has faced the questions, What is God? Where is God? How does God work? and he has found the answer in the apostolic statement that God is "over all, through all, and in all," and he realizes that "God" is the root of his (the individual's) own being, ever present in him, ever working through him, and universally present around him."e
Our starting point, then, is to recognize that everyone matters, whether they know it or accept it. Everyone is enough, because each person exists as an individualization of the Creative Power of the universe that we call God, a Power that exists within the individual and yet transcends the individual.
This great Truth satisfies the soul because it takes us home to the very Source of our being -- God. In God, we are enough!
During one Sunday lecture, Ernest Holmes said: "Many who had lost faith in God have, in this new manner of thinking, found what their souls had sought. The emphasis is insistently on God, ever present, ever available, and our ability to make ourselves receptive to the inflow of the Divine Spirit. In essence, this is the primal message of enlightened prophets of all ages, and this is the message of Religious Science [and I will add "the message of all New Thought"]."f
This idea is beautifully illustrated in one of my all-time favorite stories written by Jack Canfield in the first volume of Chicken Soup for the Soul. It goes like this.
In the late 1950's a group of monks had in their monastery a giant clay Buddha. The clay Buddha was enormous - 10-½ foot tall, weighing over 2 ½ tons. In 1957, the monastery was being relocated and so everything, including this giant Buddha had to be moved.
When the crane began to lift the giant statute, the weight of it was so tremendous that it began to crack. What's more, the rain began to fall. The head monk, who was concerned about damage to the sacred Buddha, decided to lower the statue back to the ground and cover it with a large canvas tarp to protect it from the rain and try again to move it the next day.
Later that evening the head monk went out in the rain to check on the Buddha. He shined his flashlight under the tarp to see if it was staying dry. As the light reached a place where the Buddha had cracked, the monk noticed a little gleam shining back at him. He thought, how strange. As he took a closer look at this gleam of light, he wondered if there might be something underneath the clay. He ran inside, got a chisel and hammer and begin to chip away at the clay. As he knocked off shards of clay, the little gleam grew brighter and bigger. Many hours of labor went by before the monk stood face to face with an extraordinary sold-gold Buddha.
Historians believe that several hundred years before the head monk's discovery, the Burmese army was about the invade Thailand. The monks in the land at the time, realizing that their country would soon be attacked, covered their precious Buddha with an outer covering of clay in order to keep their treasure from being looted by the Burmese. Unfortunately, it appears that the Burmese slaughtered all the monks, and the true nature of the Buddha was buried with them until that day in 1957 when the Buddha was to be moved!
Jack Canfield wrote: "Aren't we all like the clay Buddha covered with a shell of hardness created out of fear, and yet underneath each of us is a golden Buddha, a golden Christ, a golden essence, which is our real self. Somewhere along the way, we begin to cover up our "golden essence," our natural self. Much like the monk with the hammer and chisel, our task now is to discover our true essence once again."g
Let me leave you with a passage from Ernest Holmes' book entitled The Art of Living:
God is Life; not some life but all Life.
God is Action; not some action but all Action.
God is Power; not some power but all Power.
God is pure Spirit, filling all space.
This pure Spirit animates our every act.
There is a real you, which lives in a real God, and the two are one.
And the two are one.h
If we keep our minds stayed on these ideas, we will not only start the year with God, we will stay with God throughout all of 2015!
aReligious Science Foundations Course
bReligious Science Foundations Course
cDeclaration of Principle
dCharles Fillmore Talks on Truth, p. 34
eThomas Troward The Dore Lectures, p. 185
fSunday lecture, Ernest Holmes
gJack Canfield, first volume of Chicken Soup for the Soul
hErnest Holmes The Art of Living (formerly This Thing Called Life)