STAY THE COURSE OF LIGHT
Let's start with a prayer. Father/Mother/God, we open our minds and hearts to the needs in this world. We ask that you be with all those suffering from this pandemic and we ask you to help us see beyond the suffering to the higher purpose being served. Please be with all those whose lives are impacted by prejudice and help us see beyond prejudice to a knowing of all people being equal children of God. Touch the hearts of those in power in our world, that they may know the higher calling of service to their country. Expand our minds and hearts so that we may truly love God, love ourselves, and love our neighbors. Amen
Two frogs fell in a can of cream
Or so I've heard it told;
The sides of the can were shiny and steep.
The cream was deep and cold.
Oh, What's the use? Croaked number 1.
This fate; no help's around.
Goodbye, my friends! Goodbye, cruel world!"
And weeping still, he drowned.
But Number 2, of sterner stuff,
Dog-paddled in surprise,
The while he wiped his creamy face
And dried his creamy eyes.
"I'll swim awhile, at least," he said
Or so I've heard he said:
"It really wouldn't help the world
If one more frog were dead."
An hour or two he kicked and swam,
Not once he stopped to mutter.
But he kicked and swam and swam and kicked,
Then hopped out, via butter!
In today's lesson, as we wrap up our theme of "Consciousness never takes a vacation," we are going to look at frogs -- No, that's not right. Butter? No, not that either. Swimming and kicking, kicking and swimming? Well, indirectly, yes.
Today we are going to look at the activities of persistence and determination as we navigate ourselves through life. As we endeavor to create lives of passion, fulfilling our dreams and our higher purpose, how every now and then, we fall into that can of cream!
And even though we may get thrown a curve, it doesn't mean we should give up on our highest vision for ourselves -- which I believe in the bottom of my heart -- is God's vision for us as well.
H Emilie Cady believed that as well. She writes in How I Used Truth: "The "will of God" is God's plan of Absolute Good for man and all creation. It is God's will for His good to be expressed and manifested continuously through His creation."a
It is important to know that taking that trip toward our dreams, goals and vision is not always a straight line going upward without a break. Life does seem to have its ups and downs, its cans of cream.
Sometimes we feel that our lights burn very brightly, and we are right on track. And sometimes our light feels like a 25-watt bulb on its way out - right??! - and we feel way off course.
And when we feel like a 25-watt bulb on its way out, it is important, so very, very important that we do what we need to do to get back on course; that we keep on keepin' on, as they say; that we swim and kick and kick and swim.
As an old football coach used to tell his team: When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. . . . no, I think I said that! The tough get going!
In a Hagar the Horrible Cartoon, the Viking Hagar and his sidekick are talking. Hagar says: "I realize we're lost, but always remember, 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going!'" "I know," said his sidekick. Second frame is expanded to show that they are standing in a vast wasteland: Sidekick says, "But which way do we go?"
When the going gets tough, which way do we go? We go the way of God; we stay the course of Light! Easy for me to stand up here and say, perhaps not as easy to do, because we can be readily lured off the course. And this year we have had many distractions that could do just that.
STAY THE COURSE
We have an incredibly powerful metaphor for getting lured off course appearing in the Biblical Scriptures at Judges, Chapter 16. It is the story of Samson and Delilahb...A man named Samson was blessed with the gift of incredible strength. Samson's might was so immense that the Israelites depended on it to defend them against the oppressive Philistines. But Samson did as many of us do: He allowed himself to be lured off course. He was tempted, and he succumbed.
Now as I recount the story of Samson and Delilah, I want you to be thinking, "What is my Delilah?" What gets me off course from fully expressing my God Light?
So Samson flirted with a woman in the enemy camp named Delilah. She'd ask him, "Samson, how do you get all that strength?" He played with her, pretending to give away his secret, confessing:
First, he told her if he were tied with seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, he would be rendered as weak as the next guy. So she did that, but he broke them as if they were threads.
Next, he said that if they bind me securely with new ropes that have never been used, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man, so she did that while he slept, yet when he awoke, he broke free.
Third time, he told her, if you weave the seven locks of my head into the web of the loom, then I shall become weak. Of course, she did this, but to no avail. He was as strong as ever!
Now, you'd think at some point Samson would have figured out this woman was bad news, but he chose to ignore the obvious. (How often do we ignore or indulge those very things that get us off track?!)
Finally, after she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, his soul was vexed to death [to quote the Lamsa translation] and he blurted out, "If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me and I shall become weak, and be like any other man." Delilah wasted no time in getting news of her discovery to the Philistines.
Then she lulled Samson to sleep on her lap and called for a man to shave his head. When the Philistines arrived, the weakened Samson could not fight them. They plucked his eyes out and took him to prison, where he was harnessed to the millstone to grind grain.
Isn't that a powerful metaphor for each of us? For one reason or another, most of us get off course at one time or another. Here's the deal: If you allow yourself to play with the Delilahs in your life, you will live at the millstone, grinding away, going round and round in circles going nowhere, with no vision. (no eyes!).
Now our Delilahs don't come waving banners saying, "I Am Your Destruction." They may come looking good. Samson's Delilah was gorgeous, a true temptress. Perhaps those things that get us off course are not as good looking as Delilah, they may simply be familiar, comfortable or habitual. But they are just as destructive, nonetheless.
Earlier I asked you to be thinking about your Delilah's. What gets you off track?? Reacting to circumstances, allowing other people to affect you? Self-destructive habits? Seeing only lack, ill health, etc.? Being in the company of negative people? Not doing our spiritual practices? Not taking care of the physical vehicle? Unchallenged, unproductive belief systems? Taking things personally and making assumptions?
So here's Samson, eyes plucked out, had lost his vision, just as we lose sight of our light, our vision, our goals. We disconnect from our vision, our Light and we veer off course. Something happened for Samson, however. He's grinding at the millstone, blind -- who knows the "rest of the story," as Paul Harvey used to say?
Sure, he began to realize that his hair was growing back. He was getting a second chance to let his light shine.
During this time, the Philistines and their leaders, feeling pretty triumphant over having squashed Samson, ordered him brought to their temple so they could mock him. They ordered him to stand between two pillars that supported the temple, Samson called to God, "Remember me...and strengthen me" He reached out his arms and with every ounce of his renewed power, brought the temple down, killing all those within and himself with them. Samson, dying a triumphant death, did not abandon his people. In his final moments he defended them as never before. Samson fulfilled his destiny.
We always get a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance -- however many chances we need to get back on track. At any moment we can correct our course and turn our attention back to our vision, our light.
It says in Matthew 6: "If our eye is single, we shall be filled with light." We must cleave to the good, and trust absolutely in the Law of God to bring about any desired end. Spirit will mold our purposes when we allow It to do so. As we learn to depend more and more upon the perfect Law, we shall find that the outward things, which are necessary to our good, will be provided. We shall be "cared for as the lilies of the field, which live directly upon the Divine bounty and yet they toil not nor do they spin"c
Here is something I invite you to set your eye on . . . We are told in the Biblical Scripture in the first chapter of Genesis that we are made in the image and likeness of God. And that God looked upon Its creation and said it was good, it was very good.
What if you began to keep your eye singularly on that idea? Say it with me, will you? I am made in the image and likeness of God and all is good, very good.
Put your hands on your chest and say it again. I am made in the image and likeness of God and all is good, very good.
Put your hands on your chest, close your eyes and say it one more time. I am made in the image and likeness of God and all is good, very good.
Turn to someone and say to them: You are made in the image and likeness of God and all is good, very good.
Look at that someone and say one more time: I am made in the image and likeness of God and all is good, very good.
When we say that, doesn't it begin to stimulate things we didn't know were even there? Doesn't that just turn up the wattage on our light?!
How do we stay the course of light when we fall into our can of cream? We stay focused on this Truth of our being. We trust that God is the only power, that God is good and wants good in every situation. We know that we are supported.
Prayer of Faith by Hanna Moore Kohaus
"God is my help in every need,
God does my every hunger feed;
God walks within me, guides my way,
Through every moment of the day.
I now am wise, I now am true,
Patient, kind and loving, too.
All things I am, can do and be,
Through the Light of God that is in me.
God is my health, I can't be sick;
God is my strength, unfailing quick.
God is my all, I know no fear,
Since God and Love and Light are here."d
So you have choice -- when the Delilah's show up in your life and you fall into a can of cream, you can drown like the first frog or you can persistently kick and swim with this truth like the second. As always, the choice is yours.
Father/Mother/God, help us to know that you are with us as we make choices in life. We know that we are made in your image and likeness and that all is very good. We trust that every situation is for our highest and best good. So help us to see beyond the physical to the spiritual knowing. And help us to see that you support us in any choice we make. Amen
aH Emilie Cady How I Used Truth
bJudges, Chapter 16
dPrayer of Faith by Hanna Moore Kohaus