MASTER'S LEVEL REMEMBERING
This month we have been enrolled in our own "Master's Program in Spirituality." Our Master's Program is a short, but powerful, course of study - only five weeks - and if you successfully complete the course, meaning you are here every Sunday and actively engaged in the work as the weeks in between unfold, you will receive a Certificate of Graduation!
In order to prepare for next week, we need to take a quick head count right now. Who has been present all month so far? Hold your hands up, please, so we can get a count. Great! Thank you.
As a reminder, our Master's Program comes from the four levels of consciousness evolution:
* Why Me or Mortal (victim),
* By Me or Metaphysician (through consciousness, I can make it happen),
* Through Me or Mystic ("the Father within doeth the work") and
* As Me or Master (I am one with God)
And it feels important as we are in the middle of Memorial weekend, that we look at the role remembering plays in our getting our Master's Degree in Spirituality. Remembering what, you might ask? Well, this morning I want us to remember THREE things.
1. REMEMBER/HONOR THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN WAR
1. Remember and Honor Those who Have Lost Their Lives in War. First, and most certainly, today it is important to remember those individuals who have given their lives in service to our country . . .
There's a sweet story about a little boy, Alex, who stood one Sunday morning staring up at a large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. The seven-year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the boy, and said quietly, "Good morning, Alex."
"Good morning, pastor" replied the young man, keeping his gaze focused on the plaque.
"Pastor Dave, what are all those names on the plaque?" Alex asked. "Well son, those are all the people who have died in the service," replied the pastor.
Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Little Alex's voice barely broke the silence when he asked quietly, "Which one -- the 9:00 or the 11:00 service?"
That is such a sweet little story and it makes us chuckle, but - of course - losing a loved one, a friend, who is serving their country is nothing to chuckle at.
And so this morning, the FIRST thing for us to remember -- to remember AND to honor -- is those who have lost their human lives in service to their country -- regardless of our political persuasion or our views and opinions on war.
And it is equally important to remember -- and to surround with the power of pure, sweet love -- anyone here today who has lost a loved one or a friend in such a way.
If you have lost someone dear to you in service to our country, you don't have to identify yourselves, but I want you to know that RIGHT NOW you are upheld in the arms of love. Let's have a MOMENT OF SILENCE while "Taps" are played.
2. REMEMBER GOD IS PRESENT
2. Remember that No Matter What is Happening in our Lives God is Present. The second Master's Level Living concept to remember is that no matter what -- no matter what - no matter what -- is happening in this journey we call life . . .
* from the loss of a loved one to the birth of a baby --
* from the diagnosis of cancer to a clean bill of health --
* from the demise of a 20-year marriage to the blush of new love --
No matter what is happening in this journey we call life, God is present.
During our moment of silence, we heard "Taps" playing -- music that we all know is used at military funerals. It is also understood by American servicemen as an end-of-day "lights out" signal. And did you take note of the words that Maxine sung?
As we go . . . this we know . . . God is nigh. This morning, I want us to remember, remember, remember, that no matter what is happening in this journey we call life . . . God is nigh!
* God is NIGH in times of troubles --- in times of joy
* God is NIGH in times of challenges --in times of play
* God is NIGH in times of grief -- in times of celebration
* God is NIGH in times of confusion -- in times of clarity
* God is NIGH in times of pain -- in times of relief -
GOD IS ALWAYS NIGH!
Dr. Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science, said so beautifully in the Science Of Mind textbook: "There is a Divine Presence at the Center of things . . . and It ought to be so real to us that we feel it everywhere, in everything, in everyone, and in every situation. "a
In other words, we ought to remember that everywhere, in everything, in everyone, and in every situation GOD IS NIGH. And our remembering of this ought be so real that we FEEL it!
One of the most comforting passages in the entire Judeo-Christian scripture is the 23rd Psalm. I recently received an interpretation of it that invites us to see that God is everywhere, in everything, in everyone and in every situation. Listen to this . . .
The Lord is my Shepherd---that's relationship!
I shall not want---that's supply!
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures---that's rest!
He leadeth me beside still waters---that's refreshment!
He restoreth my soul---that's healing!
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness---that's guidance!
For His namesake---that's purpose!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death---that's growth through challenge!
I will fear no evil---that's protection!
For Thou art with me---that's assurance!
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me---that's discipline!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies---that's overcoming!
Thou anointest my head with oil---that's Divine consecration!
My cup runneth over---that's abundance!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life---that's blessing!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord---that's security!
Forever--- AND that's eternity!b
3. REMEMBER MAKE YOUR LIFE COUNT!
3. Remember that this Life is just a short stop in the eternal journey, so make it count!
The last line of the 23rd Psalm -- and I will dwell in the House of the Lord Forever -- takes us to the third idea for our Master's Level Remembering this morning.
In our first point of remembering today I chose my words carefully when I asked us to remember those who had "lost their human lives in service to their country." LOST THEIR HUMAN LIVES is the key phrase here -- because a fundamental tenet of our Unity teachings -- as it is with all spiritual teachings -- is that life is eternal, life is ongoing, life is everlasting.
In the words of Holmes: "I shall never die, for the Spirit within me is God and cannot change. My life is hid within the Universe of Love and Light, and that Light shall live forever. Go, fear of death and change; be gone from my thought, fear of death and uncertainty. That which is cannot become that which is not; and that which I am can never change. The Spirit of Eternity is enthroned within me, and the Life of Endless Ages flows through my being. From Eternity to Eternity my Life flows along the way of peace and harmony."c
The third idea I want us to remember this morning is two-fold: First, Life is eternal - if you need to explore that idea to really embody it, please do it in whatever way would be meaningful for you.
The second "fold" of our third idea is that while, yes, Life is eternal, this human experience has a finite time -- it does have a "shelf life" -- and we never know when it will be over, so let's make it count!
George Burns once said: "When I talk about thinking young, I'm taking about enthusiasm, keeping active, having plans and projects for tomorrow, meeting people, doing things. . . . A lot of people are too quick to decide that their lives are over. And if you really think your life is over, and you have no place to go, I advise you to take very short steps. It will take longer to get there. The point is, with a good positive attitude and a little luck [which, of course, we know there is no such thing as!], there's no reason why you can't live to be 100. Once you've done that, you've really got it made, because very few people over 100 die."d
So, while we are here, experiencing this brief portion of our eternal journey, let's live, let's be fully present; let's fully love.
Holmes wrote: "We need not prepare to meet God, we are meeting Him every day and each hour in the day. We meet Him in the rising sun, in the flowing stream, in the budding rose, in the joy of friendship and love, and in the silence of our own soul."e
And he wrote: "It is not necessary, if we should pass on tonight, that anyone should remember that we have ever lived. All that means anything is that while we live, WE LIVE. With this in mind, and believing that there is an Infinite Law of the Spirit, or Law of Life, which tends to multiply our gifts, because in so doing it multiples Its own experience, Its own pleasure, Its own fruition, we may assume that spiritual man is already a success, is already supplied with every thing he needs."f
So this morning, we are living at the Master's Level:
. . . by remembering and honoring those who have given this human life over in the act of serving our country;
. . . by remembering that in every situation, God is Nigh (to use the words of Taps); and.
. . . by remembering to remember to remember that Life, with a capital L, is eternal and since this human life we live is finite, let us fully live and fully love while we are here . . .
I want to conclude with a poem. This is not a poem by a famous poet . . . it was written by a 19 year old when he enlisted in the Navy and wrote this poem the night before he shipped out for Iraq:
By John Wolf
IT'S TIME TO GO TO WORK NOW,
JUST ANOTHER DAY INDEED.
ONLY DIFFERENCE IS,
MY WORK HURTS AND MAKES PEOPLE BLEED.
PROTECTING THE UNITED STATES IS MY JOB,
I FEEL I DO SO WELL.
ONLY PROBLEM WITH THAT IS,
WHEN I DIE IS IT HEAVEN OR HELL.
I VOLUNTEERED FOR THIS JOB,
KNOWING FULL OF IT'S THREAT.
I CAN NOT AND WILL NOT COME HOME,
UNTIL THE MISSION IS MET.
I DON'T KNOW WHY I DO IT,
FOR RECOGNITION AND MERIT NOT SO,
FOR WHEN IT'S TIME TO LEAVE,
IT'S A SIMPLE "TIME TO GO"
IT'S WEIRD HOW I FEEL RIGHT NOW,
LEAVING THE ONES THAT I LOVE.
A FEELING I CAN'T EXPLAIN,
A FEELING SENT FROM ABOVE.
WHY THERE'S WAR, I DON'T KNOW,
TO SEPARATE WRONG FROM RIGHT,
IF THAT IS THE CASE, THEN I'M CONFUSED,
CAUSE IT JUST CAUSES A BIGGER FIGHT.
WHY CAN'T WE LEARN TO LOVE MORE,
LIKE WE WERE ALWAYS BROUGHT UP.
THERE IS TO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO
LIKE WATCHING YOUR CHILD GROW UP.
I'D LIKE TO TAKE THE TIME OUT NOW
TO THANK EVERYONE I KNOW.
YOUR DIFFERENT PATHS OF LIFE,
CERTAINLY HELPED ME GROW.
I'M BEING WATCHED OVER FOR CERTAIN,
OF THIS I AM CONFIDENT.
I KNOW GOD IS LOOKING OUT,
I FEEL THE LOVE HE SENT.
I AM NOT SCARED TO GO TO WAR,
IT IS MY DUTY NOW,
I HELP PROTECT THE UNITED STATES,
WHERE DOES THE COURAGE COME FROM?
I DON'T KNOW WHERE OR HOW.
I WILL COME HOME SOON,
BUT THIS IS NO GUARANTEE.
THIS FEELING THAT I FEEL RIGHT NOW,
IS SURELY YOU LOVING ME.
aDr. Ernest Holmes Science Of Mind textbook
cDr. Ernest Holmes Science Of Mind textbook, p. 546
eDr. Ernest Holmes Science Of Mind textbook, p. 388
fDr. Ernest Holmes Science Of Mind textbook, p. 270