LIFE DOES NOT COME AND GO
We are studying LIFE this month so what we want to learn and practice this week is that our lives are expressions of God-Life, and to choose to affirm more fully that 'power of life' every day. I am not getting "older;" I am getting better!
LIFE IS A SPIRITUAL POWER OR ABILITY
So in December we celebrate Christmas, and we celebrate life. Life is a spiritual power or ability. We have the Power of Life. Life evolves in its various expression. The forms of life change. Our connection with the life power is ageless, forever unfolding. We are living in "eternal life" now.
Real life doesn't "start" after we "die" and go to some other realm called "heaven." Life doesn't begin with birth and "end" with "death." Life is an ageless, continuing, vitalizing power - our twelfth power.
UNDERSTAND YOUR LIFE POWER & REALIZE LIFE IS FOR LIVING!
It is time to understand your life power and realize life is for living!
|Limited View of Our Life Power|
Life is limited and is measured in years.
Life comes from the body
Life gets old and wears out.
Sickness is natural.
Death is the end of life.
Human life is just a preparation for being "with God" in "eternal life."
|More Constructive View of Our Life Power|
Life is an infinite endowment of God.
The body comes from life.
Life is an endless power.
Health is natural.
Death is a transition from one phase of life expression to another - a change of cosmic address.
Eternal life is always - here and now.
YOUTH IS NOT A TIME OF LIFE; IT IS A STATE OF MIND
Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind. Our life power is ageless, forever unfolding. Affirm life, celebrate life. The source of our life is God, and God is eternal, almighty good. I am the everrenewing, ever-unfolding expression of infinite life. We are not just aging, we are saging!
JUDAS ISCARIOT REPRESENTS THE POWER OF LIFE
Judas Iscariot represents the Power of Life. Judas must have demonstrated high qualities or Jesus would not have chosen him as a disciple. Jesus trusted Judas enough to have him handle the money to provide places for the disciples to sleep and eat on their travels. However, Judas miscalculated the life Jesus was revealing - wanting to force Jesus to use his powers to get rid of the Romans rather than seeing that he was demonstrating a greater love consciousness and life to be applied by all people as individuals and society. When Judas led the authorities to Jesus, Judas may have believed that God would intervene and not let Jesus die. Maybe he hoped Jesus would bring a worldly kingdom that would overthrow Roman rule. Judas hung himself and was replaced by Matthias, who is thought to be in harmony with the others and able to carry forth the work of the indwelling, living, Christ Spirit.
LIFE IS CONTINUOUS
Life is continuous. There are three realms of life we have the courage and wisdom to explore: Life before birth, life after birth, and life after death.
Ian Stevenson, MD, who was Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, points out how odd it is that so many people have accepted and argued for a life after death, but so many Westerners never even have considered a life before birth.a
Life after death has not been proven but certainly has been indicated by the research of Raymond Moody, MD. His study of near-death experiences offers fascinating possibilities that we go forth into a loving, welcoming, light-filled "hereafter."b
But, by far, the most important question for us is: Is there life after birth? How alive are we now! This program of spiritual study and practice helps us to use all our Powers to affirm, believe in, will, image, and embrace life. We declare that life is good. We all have our challenges, but life is worth the effort - worth living. Our credo for the Twelve Powers study is: I study life! I teach life! I meditate on life! I affirm life! I talk life! I live life! I use all my Twelve Powers to live fully and productively! Life is for living!
IF YOU WERE AWARE
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness...
you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation ...
you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death...
you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep...
you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace...
you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.
So being that blessed maybe it is time we started LIVING our lives.
I would like to conclude with what Barbara Sher wrote in a book entitled, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was "'Now' is the operative word. Everything you put in your way is just a method of putting off the hour when you could actually be doing your dream. You don't need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating."c
TWELVE POWERS CANDLES
And now we will move on to the 12-Powers candle lighting ceremony.
The tall lighted candle that stands here before us is to remind us of Him who said: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life."d And "You are the light of the world. ... let your light shine before others."e And "in him was life, and the life was the light of all people."f
The twelve candles that are now to be lighted represent the twelve disciples of Jesus and the attributes of Being that the disciples symbolize. These attributes exist within each of us and are to be quickened into service of the Christ as we take on His likeness.
So I invite the first disciple, Peter to come forward and light his candle from the Christ light.
FIRST DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for Peter, in honor of the Christ faculty of FAITH. I bring the gift of faith."
MINISTER: From our innermost being, we give to the world our gift of faith. This is the faith that knows God is the true essence of everything. Our faith is unshakable. We know God is the power at work in every situation.
Our faith acknowledges all people everywhere. 'You are the Christ, the son and daughter of the living God. You are God's dearly beloved.'
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents our gift of faith in the presence and power of God active in the universe."
SECOND DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for John, in honor of the Christ faculty of LOVE. I bring the gift of God's unconditional Love."
MINISTER: From our innermost being, we give to the world the gift of our Love. As God's creation, we are important and are needed to fill our own particular niche in life. No one else can express God's love. We acknowledge God's love in action through us. We bless others through us. We bless others through our gift of love.
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents the spiritual Love we send forth into our world."
THIRD DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for Andrew, in honor of the Christ faculty of STRENGTH. I bring the gift of strength."
MINISTER: From our innermost being, we give to the world our gift of strength. Christ is our strength. In the midst of confusion we trust in God. We acknowledge our patience and steadfastness in Truth."
"We hold in prayer for all people, everywhere, that they have the inner resources and strength to do what is theirs to do. God is our refuge and our strength. With God all things are possible. We hold the High Watch for others.
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents the spiritual strength we bring to our world."
FOURTH DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for James the son of Zebedee, in honor of the Christ faculty of WISDOM or JUDGMENT. I bring the gift of Divine wisdom."
MINISTER: From our innermost being we give to the world the gift of wisdom. Divine wisdom is being established in all people everywhere.
May each person develop the ability to make wise decisions; to remember and retain needed information; to put things into proper perspective; to weigh options and to make right choices. This gift comes from our hearts and minds and flows freely into God's great world.
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents our gift of Divine Wisdom for all."
FIFTH DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for Philip, in honor of the Christ faculty of POWER. I bring
the gift of Divine Power."
MINISTER: From our innermost being, we give the world the gift of power. The powerful affirmation of the Truth of God is our gift to the world this Christmas season. Through the power of the Christ within we bless the world.
We release this power in positive ways, uplifting, creating, liberating and enlightening as we speak. We affirm only good; we affirm only love; we affirm only peace.
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents the one power and presence of God on earth."
SIXTH DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for Bartholomew, in honor of the Christ faculty of
IMAGINATION. I bring the gift of God's creative imagination."
MINISTER: From our innermost being, we give the world the gift of imagination. We imagine a world full of love. We imagine a world of peace. We imagine everyone well fed. We imagine every home prospered. We imagine everyone reaching his or her full potential.
We imagine all people realizing that they are God's beloved and living in accordance with this truth.
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents our ability to imagine heaven on earth."
SEVENTH DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for Thomas, in honor of the Christ faculty of UNDERSTANDING. I bring the gift of understanding."
MINISTER: From our innermost being, we give the world the gift of understanding. We recognize there are many troubled situations in our world and to these situations we give understanding.
The foundation of our world is God, and we give strength to that foundation by our understanding.
We acknowledge the good - active in our lives.
We give thanks that the perfect, full expression of the Christ is present within all people. We affirm Divine Understanding for all.
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents our understanding that God is the source of truth and guidance in all situations."
EIGHTH DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for Matthew, in honor of the Christ faculty of WILL. I bring the gift of Divine Will."
MINISTER: "From our innermost being, we give to the world the gift of our will. We let go of all small ego concerns. We relax our hold on earthly demands. We let go of tension and stress. We know that God is in charge of this world, and we give to the world our willingness to let God's perfect will be done. We acknowledge that God's will for all people is good and only good.
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents our will. We turn our will over to God and let God's will be done."
NINTH DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for James the son of Alphaeus, in honor of the Christ faculty of ORDER. I bring the gift of order."
MINISTER: From our innermost being, we give the world the gift of order. We realize there is no need or situation that the divine order of God cannot harmonize, adjust, and make right. Our trust in God establishes Divine Order. We are in tune with the Infinite.
Our gift of order establishes itself in proper timing and perfect peace. All confusion and disorder are dissolved. The presence of God is active in the world in an orderly, peaceful and loving way.
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents our dedication to Divine Order in our world."
TENTH DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for Simon the Cananaean, in honor of the Christ faculty of ZEAL. I bring the gift of zeal."
MINISTER: From our innermost being, we give to the world the gift of our zeal. Our joy, enthusiasm and zeal bring a sparkle into the world. The indomitable Spirit of God uplifts and sustains us. Whatever the need, the Spirit of God lifts us up and all is fulfilled. We celebrate the joy and enthusiasm that bubbles up and bursts forth into the world, bringing the everlasting gift of God's good.
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents the joy we send forth through the power of our
ELEVENTH DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for Thaddaeus, in honor of the Christ faculty of Renunciation. I bring the gift of renunciation."
MINISTER: From our innermost being, we give to the world the gift of our renunciation. Our world is cleansed as we release all that no longer serves us through the power of our indwelling Christ.
With one clean sweep, the power of Christ frees us from mistaken ideas and makes room for higher concepts of Truth. Hurts of the past, misunderstandings and sorrows are washed away.
We release all unforgiving thoughts and feelings. We let go of the past. We establish a new, fresh beginning.
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents our gift of renunciation to the world as we release all that no longer serves us."
TWELFTH DISCIPLE. "I light this candle for Judas, in honor of the Christ faculty of LIFE. I bring the gift of vibrant and healthy life."
MINISTER: From our innermost being, we give the world the gift of life. We acknowledge that every phase of life has its divine purpose. We rejoice each day in the new ideas, discoveries, revelations, and involvement of the day.
We bring the awareness of spiritual life to every part of life. We bless the people, the animals, the plants and all living things. We give thoughts of pure vibrant health and revitalizing life to every area of our own life and to every area of the lives of others.
CONGREGATION: "This candle represents the gift of life in our world."
YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
I would remind you that this ceremony that we are about to do is very sacred to many people - so hold your nonsense for later.
MINISTER. The small candles that were given to you are to remind you that you have been entrusted with a gift of God, the Christ within you, and that as Jesus became the light of the world by letting His light shine, so that same Christ light, quickened and glowing in each of us, is to become the light of our world, and is even to reach beyond our own world into the life of others.
The candles were given to you unlighted, because you alone can bring forth the light that is within you, even though others may call it forth by the inspiration that they give you. You are to light them from the light of the universal Christ, for it is in the light of the Christ that we find the light within us and learn how to bring it into expression. You are to place your candle with the others, there to let it shine and add its brightness to "the light of the world." You will place your candle in a bed of salt, for those who light the light of Christ within themselves are indeed the salt of the earth. So this simple ceremony becomes a prayer of the hand and the heart as well as of the lips so that the Truth which it symbolizes may be speedily manifest for you.
There is also a special blessing that has been lovingly selected with the prayer that it may reach the person for whom the Spirit intends it.
So, row by row, come forward, light your candle from the tall one, place it in the tray of salt before it, select a blessing, and go back to your seat
Now that everyone has added their own unique individual light to the light of the world, let's just go around the room and read the affirmation that you received.
YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
I want us to contemplate for our few final minutes together here what it means, what it looks like, what it feels like to be the gift!
Close your eyes if you will and see in your mind's eye a beautifully wrapped Christmas present.
Perhaps it's wrapped in gold, perhaps it sparkles and shimmers. Perhaps the paper has a pattern, perhaps not. Maybe it's wrapped in that kind of material that seems translucent and yet contains all the colors of the rainbow and more.
My guess is that every gift that is being imagined in this moment is different from any other one.
But each one is beautiful in its own way. Exquisitely beautiful because it represents the outer expression of God of each one of you.
You are the outer expression of God.
You are the beautifully wrapped gift of God.
You represent (re-present) God in this world.
But you are more than a shiny, pretty package. Because as beautiful as that is, the inside is even more glorious. So, open the package now. And see that the gift is filled with . . .
. . . the light of God.
. . . the energy of God.
. . . the power of God.
. . . the love of God.
. . . the abundance of God.
. . . the peace of God.
Inside is all that is.
Recognize this box as you. Inside and outside, you are the gift. So, my friends, bring to this holiday season the greatest gift you can. The gift of you, your heart, your love, your ideas, your creativity, your sweet, sacred and holy presence and when you do, the holidays will be just that - sweet, sacred and holy. And so it is.
aIan Stevenson, MD, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Virginia
bRaymond Moody, MD
cBarbara Sher, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was