TRUST TO TRANSFORM (EASTER)
I want to begin this morning with a poem from Dr. James Mayfield. It is entitled "The Face of Faith":
It is the face of faith I see - in every flower, every tree.
Although their shroud is winter's snow - calm, serene, their hearts beat slow.
What faith, what dreams help them bear - The sunless days with patience rare?
I asked a rose, "are you alive? - The winter's long, can you survive?
The rose spoke softly in my ear - I live and know, and have no fear.
You've asked my secret, I'll confide - God with me, lives deep inside.
This morning, this Easter morning, we are looking at the face of faith - but we are giving it a different name. We are going to call it THE POWER OF TRUST -- more specifically THE POWER OF TRUST TO TRANSFORM.
The power of Trust to transform that which seems to be HOPELESS into something filled with HOPE.
The power of TRUST to transform that which seems to be SO, SO DARK into that which is FILLED WITH LIGHT.
The power of TRUST to transform that which seems to be DEAD into something quite VIBRANT AND ALIVE.
Trust what, you might ask? Trust the Law, trust God, yes, yes. But this morning, this Easter morning, I want us to explore a very specific kind of trust -- TRUST in the RESURRECTION PRINCIPLE.
Every flower and every tree trusts this Principle implicitly. It is the principle that says even though something appears to die, it does not really!
But it is the seeming death that allows something more wonderful to come forth. The last verse of the poem tells it all! Here it is again.
The rose spoke softly in my ear - I live and know, and have no fear.
You've asked my secret, I'll confide - God with me, lives deep inside.
The Master Teacher Jesus certainly trusted the Resurrection Principle, clearly, he trusted the idea that there would be a resurrection after the crucifixion. Otherwise, he would not have done what he did and because he did, he was able to rise to a transcendent way of being.
But he went deeper than that and that is where I want us to go today - he TRUSTED the idea that in order for there TO BE a resurrection there had to be a crucifixion. There could be no resurrection without a crucifixion.
In order for him to be transformed into a higher vibrational being, the old had to appear to die! And here's a spiritual paradox for us - because the Resurrection Principle says that nothing REALLY dies!
The caterpillar appears to die for a butterfly to be born, but the caterpillar doesn't die. It does however, get reduced to a pile of goo, a big blob of DNA inside the cocoon, and then is transformed into the beauty of the butterfly!
In order for us to be transformed into higher vibrational beings who are beneficial presences here on earth, the old has to seem to die away! And the Resurrection Principle tells us that nothing really dies, but is reconstituted, if you will!
I know a lot of you are going through or have recently gone through crucifixions (deaths) of sorts. I ask you to think this morning, think deeply and honestly -- do you trust the Resurrection Principle at work in them?
Or, are you afraid? Jesus, our Master Teacher, the Way Shower, said 4 times in the Bible: "Be ye not afraid." Now it's interesting that 3 of the 4 times he said this, he said it to his disciplines - which all Metaphysical Bible interpretations suggest represent the faculties of our minds. All the different aspects of our mind - the "committee"!
Now here's something interesting to note about the construction of the Greek language, which is the first translation of the New Testament from Aramaic.
There is a part of speech in the Greek language called the PRESENT IMPERATIVE, which has a particular significance, and which does not exist in the English language.
When a commandment was given in the present imperative, it was meant to be a commandment that said do this thing I am commanding now and do it as a continuous and steady practice in the future.
We don't get that from our language. For example, if someone says to you "Be still." Does that mean just right now or as a continuous and steady practice in the future? We can't tell. But when something in Greek was constructed in the present imperative, they knew what it meant. It meant do this thing now and keep doing it as a steady and continuous practice in the future.
Jesus said to forgive. He meant to forgive now and as a steady and continuous practice in the future.
Another important point about the present imperative tense. When it's said in the negative - like "BE YE NOT AFRAID" -- there is an additional meaning.
It means STOP doing what you've been doing, don't do it now and don't do it in the future. So, specifically, Jesus said 4 times (3 times to us!) stop being afraid like you have been, don't be afraid now and don't be afraid as a steady and continuous practice in the future.
And the reason he could say this is because he knew - just like the flowers and the trees - he intrinsically knew and trusted in the Resurrection Principle.
The rose spoke softly in my ear
I live and know and have no fear
You've asked my secret, I'll confide
God with me, lives deep inside.
That's trust in the Resurrection Principle. And when we trust in this principle, then there is transformation! There is a transformation in us AND there is a transformation in our lives.
I believe in being very specific and concrete so here are some very specific examples of what Trusting the Resurrection Principle in your life could look like . . .
Trusting it means you know that if a job ends, it just means there's a better one waiting for you.
Trusting it means that you know if an illness strikes, there is a newness and a rebirthing yearning to take place in you.
Trusting it means that you know if a loved one dies there is still great love available to you.
Trusting it even means that WHEN you die (notice I didn't say IF you die), you know that your life still flows on with the currents of eternity .
Where do you fit on the trust vs. fear scale?
We all have things going on in our congregation right now -
Dana lost his job, but it created an opening for an even better and more reliable job,.
Ireene had to move out of her place in Oakland, But that created an opening for a better place closer to church.
I am hoping that our experiences with deaths of those close to us have given us the opportunity to reflect on our beliefs about it and move to a place of knowing that Life is Eternal.
There is a wonderful story about the 6th President of the US John Quincy Adams. When he was 80 years old, he was shuffling along outside his home one day. He encountered a neighbor who greeted him with the question. "And how is Mr. John Quincy Adams this morning?"
The old man replied, "John Quincy Adams himself is very well, thank you. But the home he lives in is sadly dilapidated. It is tottering on its foundations. The walls are badly shaken, the roof is worn. The building trembles and shivers with every wind and I'm afraid John Quincy Adams will have to move out of it, move on and change residences before long. But he himself is very well, thank you."
Now there's a belief in the Resurrection Principle!
And because of the Resurrection Principle, we can TRUST that whatever, whatever, whatever we are experiencing, we are very well, thank you very much! Because God with me, lives deep inside. And that out of whatever is going on, there is a rebirthing waiting to take place, a transformation ready to occur, even a transcendence - an ascension!
And so my friends, I ask you this morning - do you trust the Resurrection Principle? You may say "yes, but when is this tomb of darkness going to be over?"
Jesus was three days in the tomb - darkness. Time is symbolic.
Mary Morrissey's idea: What happened Saturday night in the tomb? A breaking down of the old (the caterpillar turning into a blob of DNA) so that the new, the transformed, the ascended could arise.
If you are in your tomb of darkness, be assured that everything is happening in divine order. Let yourself off the hook. That means that you are not to expect your human self, to always understand what is happening; do not expect it to be perfect; do not expect to always avoid tough moments but do trust the process. Trust the Easter experience. Surrender yourself to your Higher or inner self and know that resurrection is assured.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, To be a traveler on this earth, you must know how to die and come to life again.
This Resurrection Principle is not some far away concept; some theoretical idea - it is living and breathing and having its way with you!
Trust that my friends, and you, like Jesus, will rise to a transcendent way of being. And as you are lifted up, others will be lifted as well.
In a moment we will have an opportunity to blossom forth in the beauty of this Easter Day. We are going to do a ceremony where the promise of the leaf is fulfilled in the blooming of the flower.
Would you now get out the sheet of paper that has on it the Easter Responsive Reading:
MINISTER (Giving the call to prayer): Lord Christ, we pause in adoration before Thy pure presence of being.
CONGREGATION: Lord Christ, we pause in adoration before Thy pure presence of being.
"Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen. Amen."
MINISTER & CONGREGATION:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And leave us not in temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
MINISTER: I believe in one God almighty - peace, love, joy, and life. Father and Creator of all good.
CONGREGATION: And in Christ, our Lord, through whose power I am saved from mistaken beliefs and unfulfilling experiences.
MINISTER: I believe in myself, in God in me,
CONGREGATION: And in my power through Christ to behold in myself the Son of God, for such I am in Truth.
MINISTER: I believe in all people, in God in them,
CONGREGATION: And in His power to be filled with all good, because God in their midst is All-Good.
MINISTER: I believe in forgiveness,
CONGREGATION: Which takes place when through Christ in me I remit and release mistaken beliefs from my consciousness.
MINISTER: I believe in the resurrection of the body to perfect life and health,
CONGREGATION: Which is achieved when through Christ the body is exalted above mistaken beliefs and limitations of any kind.
MINISTER: I believe in everlasting joy, peace, love, and life.
CONGREGATION: Which are realized when through the knowledge of Truth we behold heaven in our very midst. Amen.
MINISTER: O Lord God, quicken in us the vision that, looking within the fleshly walls of Thy temple, beholds Thy Spirit there! Light within us the fire of Thy consuming love that burns away the dross of error, and makes of our heart a holy shrine for Thine abiding. Give us to know Thy joy, as with patience and forbearance, with infinite thoughts and words and deeds of love, we reveal Thy Son within.
CONGREGATION & MINISTER: Through the power of the living Christ I am quickened to newness of life.
MINISTER: Perhaps too the thought of some loved one at a distance, or of one who has slipped into the realm of life beyond the physical, may enter your thought. Let us become still and for this loved one affirm the same thoughts together:
CONGREGATION & MINISTER: Through the power of the living Christ you are quickened to newness of life.
How we find God is less important than that we find Him. We are assured that if with all our heart we truly seek Him, we shall surely find Him. Sometimes we can more fully express our feelings and our desire in a simple act of faith than we can in words. In either case a symbol is employed. In one case we symbolize thought and feeling by the language of speech, in the other by the language of action. So today in flowers we offer our devotion in an active prayer of faith.
Let the wreath of green before you symbolize the infinite life of God. The wreath is circular and endless to remind us that the life of God is without beginning or end. It is green to symbolize the expression of life in the abundance of the natural world.
The life of each of us is a part of the larger life of God. Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches..." It is in us that the life of God comes into manifestation. The closer we live to Him the more beautiful and radiant our own life is, and the more glorious life becomes to us.
I invite you to come forward and place your flower in the wreath. You were also given a written blessing, which has been lovingly and prayerfully prepared for you. I invite you to keep it and memorize it, and I trust that by the law of attraction you have received just the blessing that will most help and inspire you in meeting the challenges and opportunities that lie before you.
As you place this flower in the wreath let it be with the thought of consciously placing your life in the infinite life of God, or of recognizing that your life is already safely and lovingly held in His. Perhaps as you do so, the thought of some deeply felt desire of your heart will come to mind. If so, place this too in the encircling life of God.
So would you now come forward row by row and place a flower in the wreath and we will watch the dull-green wreath become a radiant figure of fragrant flowers. The drabness of Easter Eve gives way to the glory of Easter Day. The promise of the leaf is fulfilled in the blooming of the flower.
Easter is inviting us to believe in the Powers of God to create magnificent new life, to believe the miracle that God transforms caterpillars into butterflies, to believe the miracle that God transforms earthy bodies into heavenly bodies. Easter is the invitation to believe as children because maybe it is only children who understand the miracles of God.
BENEDICTION: "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you." And you will become an inhabitant, here and now of "a new heaven and a new earth. "
aDr. James Mayfield "The Face of Faith" (p. 59, Poems for Personal Transformation)