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Sunday Message for February 13, 2022


Jesus makes it clear that "eternal life" is a quality of living now. It is not how long we live but what our quality of living is. We enter eternal life as we express love in our relationships. Jesus gives the blueprint for this love-life in his story of "The Good Samaritan.a"

Love is what living is all about. Loving in a generous, helpful way brings new life, health and healing. We are not waiting in the Earth's anteroom for the next "real" life to come in a celestial "Heaven." Neither is it a matter of how long we can keep the body going but how deeply, significantly and caringly we live. How well, not just how long.

Carolyn Myss writes in Anatomy of the Spirit: The faculty of Love aligns with the Fourth Chakra, which holds lessons related to love, forgiveness, and compassion.b

If you look at the seven sacraments of Catholicism this would be the sacrament of Marriage. The symbolic purpose of this sacrament is to receive or bestow a blessing making sacred a union with oneself. It is symbolic of recognizing and honoring the essential need to love and care for oneself in order that one can fully love another.

If we move to the Jewish Tree of Life we are talking about Tif'eret (also known as Rahamin) which represents compassion, harmony, and beauty. This seferah is considered the trunk of the tree or, to use a comparable symbol, the heart of the tree.

The power created by these three archetypal forces transmits into our systems the sacred truth Love Is Divine Power. This energy center is the central power point within the human energy system. It is the symbolic doorway into our internal world.

Love is the only authentic power. Not only our minds and spirits but also our physical bodies require love to survive and thrive. We violate this energy when we act toward others in unloving ways. When we harbor negative emotions toward others or toward ourselves, or when we intentionally create pain for others, we poison our own physical and spiritual systems. By far the strongest poison to the human spirit is the inability to forgive oneself or another person. It disables a person's emotional resources. The challenge inherent within this faculty is to refine our capacity to love others as well as ourselves and to develop the power of forgiveness.

Symbolically, the sacrament of Marriage brings into our lives the need and responsibility to explore love. First, we must love ourselves, and our first marriage must be a symbolic one: a commitment to attend consciously to our own emotional needs, in order to be able to love and accept others unconditionally. Learning to love ourselves is a challenge that we have to work toward. When we neglect ourselves emotionally, we not only become emotionally toxic, but we also bring that toxin into all of our relationships, particularly into an actual marriage.

The sefirah of Tif'eret, symbolic of the heart and sun within the human body, pulsates into each of us the energies of compassion, harmony, and the beauty - the tranquil qualities of love. The energy radiated by Tif'eret balances all the Divine qualities in the ten sefirot. We are, by nature, compassionate beings who thrive in an atmosphere of tranquility and harmony. These energies are essential to physical health as well as to emotional development and "acts of the heart." When the heart is not filled with the vital energies of love and harmony, no amount of money and power can keep it tranquil. An empty heart creates an empty life, often resulting in illness - a concrete expression of disharmony that hopefully will get the mind's attention. Violations of the heart must be set right, or healing will be impossible.

The fourth chakra is the central powerhouse of the human energy system. It is the middle chakra, and it mediates between the body and spirit and determines their health and strength.

More than any other chakra, the fourth represents our capacity to "let go and let God." With its energy we accept our personal emotional challenges as extensions of a Divine plan, which has as its intent our conscious evolution. By releasing our emotional pain, by letting go of our need to know why things have happened as they have, we reach a state of tranquility. In order to achieve that inner peace, however, we have to embrace the healing energy of forgiveness and release our lesser need for human, self-determined justice.

The primary fears of the faculty of Love are fears of loneliness, commitment, and "following one's heart." They are the fear of an inability to protect ourselves emotionally, and the fear of emotional weakness and betrayal. When the faculty of Love is not developed it can give rise to jealousy, bitterness, anger, hatred, and an inability to forgive others as well as ourselves.

The primary strengths of the faculty of Love are love, forgiveness, compassion, dedication, inspiration, hope, trust, and the ability to heal oneself and others.

We are as attracted to love as we are intimidated by it. We are motivated by love, controlled by it, inspired by it, healed by it, and destroyed by it. Love is the fuel of our physical and spiritual bodies. Each of life's challenges is a lesson in some aspect of love.

Let's look at the parable of the "Good Samaritan" told by the master teacher and storyteller, Jesus Christ.

(Luke 10:25-57)
   "Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live."
   But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.

   Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
   The next day he took out two denarii, {Which was two day's wage for a laborer} gave them to the innkeeper, and said, "Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.'
   Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."c

Here we find an excellent picture of Divine Love practically applied to human needs.

Love is accepting.
Love is helping.
Love is sharing.
Love is respecting.

The three "people" in Jesus' story represent three different attitudes toward human needs and hurts.

Be the priest. A priest of that day could not touch a dead body or the body of a non-Jew. He would then have to go through several days of purification before he could resume his priestly duties. What does the priest feel, say, do? Who is the priest in you - that would rather look the other way, than be bothered with some scum lying in the ditch? Who is the priest in you - that instead of interrupting your routine, would rather not notice those in need.

Be the Levite. What does the legalist feel, say, do? Who is that legalist in you that tells you that you had better stay clear of this or you will get into all kinds of legal hassles.

Be the Samaritan. The Samaritans of that day were outcasts because they had intermarried. And the Jews who were purist would have nothing to do with them. What does the outcast Samaritan feel, say, do? Who is that Samaritan in you? Who is that in you who feels for the downtrodden ones of the world?

Be the person who is beaten up, robbed, stripped, thrown down at the side of the road. What do you feel, say and do? Do you have that victim in you who allows himself to be battered by others?

What is the significance of the person being stripped of all his clothes? What is the significance in our everyday lives of being beaten, hurt, robbed, put down, cast aside, damaged, and stripped? Are people safe on the Byroads of your mind? Or do you, in your mind, beat, rob and cast them aside?

What is the meaning of the helping consciousness represented by the Samaritan Figure? Why does Jesus make the helper a Samaritan?

The leading characteristics of the Samaritan in this parable, according to Charles Fillmore, are kindheartedness, helpfulness, and generosity. He typifies the traits that make religion a living, spiritual, uplifting power. These forces are the activities that open the doors of the inner kingdom, so that our consciousness may be lifted up and merged with the God consciousness.

Metaphysically a man's neighbor is his nearest and most intimate embodied thought. The body is our nearest and most intimate embodied thought; therefore the body is our neighbor.
The man who was stripped and beaten and left half dead symbolizes the physical body that is in a similar condition. The robbers are our lawless thoughts that rob our body of its energy and substance.

The priest and the Levite represent the ignorance and the indifference to Truth that are found in both formal religion and law.

The good Samaritan is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Without the inner Christ, the body would never be healed of its many wounds. The Samaritan's animal is the divine-natural substance; the "oil" is love, and the "wine" is life.

The parable of the good Samaritan teaches that the body is being robbed of its life by ignorant, lawless thoughts, and that life will be restored by Christ if we exercise His merciful, healing love. Thus this parable helps one to attain eternal life.

Empathy is the projection of one's self into another in order to understand him better. There is an old Native American saying, "I will walk four moons in the moccasins of my brother before judging him."

Empathy is not saying, "I know just how you feel." Empathy is not sympathy. Empathy is trying to grasp what the other person may be going through.

The life force is increased in us as we express compassion and empathy toward people. Love is the healing power. To love is to live in the eternal dimension of the Kingdom of Heaven right here and now.

So here are some Ways we can apply practical love:

Respecting people rather than "needing" or trying to manipulate people.

Listening to others' viewpoints and situations.

Reflective listening without judgment - "I hear you saying that."

Reaching out to those who are different, who have discriminated against us, who need help regardless of who they are.

There is a little poem by Edwin Markham called Outwitted that is a favorite of mine:

     He drew a circle that shut me out --
     Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
     But Love and I had the wit to win:
     We drew a circle that took him in.
                    -- Edwin Markhamd

Live by creative altruism, extending yourself beyond yourself to being a positive energy for good into the world. Give and you will receive.

Affirm: I express God's Love, and that Love never fails to help, harmonize, heal and bless.

aLuke 10:25-37
bCarolyn Myss Anatomy of the Spirit
cLuke 10:25-57
dEdwin Markham Outwitted

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