STEPS ON THE PATH, PART IV
During this month, we are looking at some of the teachings of Jesus as a roadmap for transformation. We are doing this by delving into Fifteen Steps to an Expanded God Consciousness.a
I've also used the analogy that these 15 concepts are building blocks of a spiritual armor - an internal armor, an armor of consciousness - that will strengthen, empower and protect us through whatever trials and tribulations life may offer.
We are looking at 15 concepts of Jesus as interpreted by Deepak Chopra in his book, The Third Jesus.
We are going to jump right into the three concepts for today and then we have a very special ceremony! First the concepts:
You must be born from above;b
Do not worry about tomorrowc and
You are the light of the worldd
Because the first two can be interpreted similarly, we are going to take them together.
1. YOU MUST BE BORN FROM ABOVE AND DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW
1. You Must Be Born From Above and Do Not Worry About Tomorrow
Being born from above could be interpreted to refer to being born into a higher spiritual viewpoint. Not a viewpoint that looks down upon things, but an expanded viewpoint that sees life from a broader perspective.
What new, higher viewpoint might Jesus be speaking of - and how could that viewpoint assist us in not worrying about tomorrow?
In an essay, How to Rout Fear and Worry, Eric Butterworth answers this question: "Epictetus once advised that if you are robbed you should always remember that peace of mind is more valuable, than any article you have been relieved of. Plato likewise taught that nothing in the affairs of man is worthy of great anxiety. Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but it won't get you anywhere; it is stewing within doing; it is mountain climbing over molehills. The Bible carries many prescriptions on this topic such as, "I sought after the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears."e There is nothing new in all of this, but it is a subject that needs frequent reiteration."f
The broader view, the view from above into which we must be born, which enables us to worry not about tomorrow is the view that there is great Power at our finger tips that is ready, willing and able to respond to us! And this is not just some power, but All Power. And this All Power is the creative Power of the Universe! And it is a Power for Good! That is such a key element!! In the end, everything is good - if it isn't good, it isn't over yet! Here's an illustration . . .
Two sailors ran into each other in a pub. One of the men told the other about his last voyage.
"After a month at sea," he said, "we discovered our masts had been eaten through by termites! Almost nothing left of them."
"That's terrible," said the second sailor.
"That's what I thought," the first sailor said, "but it turned out to be good luck. As soon as we took the sails down to fix the masts, we were hit by a squall so suddenly and so hard, it would surely have blown us over if our sails were up at the time."
"That's what I thought, but since the sails were down, we couldn't steer ourselves, and the wind blew us onto a reef. The hole in the hull was too big to fix. We were stranded."
"That is bad luck indeed."
"That's what I thought, but we all made it to the beach alive and while we were on the island whining about our terrible fate, we discovered a buried treasure!"
Trust that God's fullness and wholeness, abundance and perfection are in the middle of everything. Now this is so easy to say when everything is going great. It's so easy to be a follower of Unity when life is good.
But the real power of living these words of Jesus comes when things aren't so good. When, like the sailors in the story who were blown onto the reef, life looks bleak and scary. This is the time it really counts.
2. YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
2. You are the light of the world
It is told that on at least one occasion when Jesus had been praying and in communion with God, that his face was so bright his followers could not look upon it. He had felt and then physically expressed the Light of God and he said that he was the light of the world. But he didn't stop there because he also said: "You are the light of the world."
Chopra suggests that instead of thinking that wisdom is unique to the Messiah, we should take Jesus literally when he said this. He suggests that Jesus is describing our destiny as equal to his own.
There was a kindergarten child who had visited many churches in Europe with beautiful stained glass - came back and the teacher was asking the class - does anyone know who the saints are? I know, I know, she replied -- Saints are the people the LIGHT shines through.
Keeping your light shining does not mean you are happy all the time and always wake up cheerful and smiley. It means that even through our tears we know God is present within us.
To shine we must move through the outer layer of schtuff, clear it, cleanse it-so the light can be seen and can be used to point our way through life.
We are living today in a complex and changing world. If there is one thing needed more than anything else, it is light. Light in terms of insight into ourselves, guidance along the life's way, knowledge of how the Universe works and the wisdom to use this light and not abuse it.
What if you brought your light to dark situations?
As I think about these concepts this morning, it struck me that they really speak to the first two Unity Principles, which I have always said if we could really, really fully embody them, we would not need the other three.
1: Recognizing the fullness, the all-ness, the goodness of God as the only Power and Presence in this Universe - recognizing this is definitely being born from above and, in this consciousness, there can be no worry!
2: Becoming aware that we are One with this power - that the light of God resides within. Believing that we are the light of the world.
And now we are going to have a communion service, if you would get out the communion pamphlet and follow along.
"Almighty Father-Mother-God, Creative Cause, unto whom our hearts and minds are open, all our desires known, and in whose wisdom all secrets are revealed, recreate and purify our hearts. Cleanse and renew our minds by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, that we may love You perfectly and magnify Your Holy Name. Unto You we give all praise and thanks through the indwelling Spirit of Truth. Amen."
MINISTER: "The Master Teacher of the ages said, 'The Lord our God is One; and you shall Love your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the great and first commandment.' And a second like unto it is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments the whole law and prophecy hangs.'"
CONGREGATION: "There is but One Presence and One Power in all the Universe, God the Good, Omnipotent. I love the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength. I recognize my oneness with all mankind."
MINISTER: "We recognize that man is truly a spiritual being, made in the image and after the likeness of the Creative Cause. We also realize that all sickness, poverty and disharmony stem from our failure to live in this consciousness. Let us now acknowledge our truly spiritual natures and resolve to lead a life following the commandment of God and adhering to spiritual law."
CONGREGATION: "O Lord God, we now cleanse our hearts and minds by rejecting all thoughts that are unlike Your all-providing, loving nature. We know that Your will for us is all good, and we now confidently and gratefully claim this good."
MINISTER: "We need to recognize that all mistakes and shortcomings, whether on our part or of other people are due to ignorance; that we and all others act at the level of our limited understanding. Therefore, we understand that God does not hold error against the perpetrator. However, to gain freedom from the burden of our error we must first forgive all who may ever have offended us."
CONGREGATION: "Almighty God, I now forgive all who may ever have offended me. I forgive all persons all things."
MINISTER: "If we have offended others we must resolve to do all possible to adjust the offense, and claim their forgiveness and accept release from the Almighty God."
CONGREGATION: "Almighty God, I sincerely regret my offenses against other persons. I now claim their forgiveness. I now accept Your forgiveness. I am now free from the past and the mistakes of the past."
MINISTER: It says in Luke 22:19-20: "Then Jesus took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood."
Bread represents universal substance. Our daily bread is the sustenance for spirit, mind, and body. When we partake of the bread, we focus our minds and thoughts on the Christ.
The wine symbolizes the vitality that forms the connecting link between soul and body. Partaking of wine symbolizes knowledge that our own life is God life. By drinking the wine we are incorporating and acknowledging our desire to live a Christ life without beginning and without end.
I invite you all to come forward and form a semi-circle and celebrate the remembrance of the Christ of your being by symbolically participating in the eating of the bread of Divine Ideas and drinking the wine of eternal Christ life.
BREAD AND WINE CEREMONY: You are made clean through the Christ within. Receive love, healing, and cleansing power as you open your heart, becoming truly one with God and the Christ of your being in this holy moment.
Because we have all been ordained by God to feed our brothers and sisters and to uplift them in the Christ consciousness. We will now give the sacrament of communion to each other.
CONGREGANT: This is bread of Divine Ideas. Take it and eat. This is the wine of eternal Christ life. Take it and drink. Do these things in recognition of the Christ. I behold the Christ in You.
MINISTER: You may be seated.
"In prayer and silence we have appropriated the radiant Substance and quickening Life of Spirit. We have felt the inspiration of God Indwelling lifting our thoughts and feelings to a higher plane of understanding. Now we go forth and consecrate our thoughts and activities to His service."
CONGREGATION: "To this end I have been born; and to this end I am come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the Truth."
MINISTER: "We consecrate ourselves through recognizing our purpose to bear witness to the life of Truth. May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Jehovah, my rock and my redeemer."
"Almighty, Ever living God, we give thanks for this time of conscious communion with You in which we have appropriated the Substance and Life of Your Spirit. We give thanks that in mind and body and affairs we are being quickened and raised to the consciousness of our own divine nature, and that in all we think, say and do, we are increasingly manifesting this Divine likeness. In the Name of the Indwelling Spirit of Truth, Amen."
aDeepak Chopra, The Third Jesus
fHow to Rout Fear and Worry, Eric Butterworth