” Do you want to be one with God?”
“You are. What could be easier
than the will of God?”
” Do you want to be one with God?”
“You are. What could be easier
than the will of God?”
Hi everyone. Today is the fourth day of the Annual Season For Nonviolence. Each day of the 64 days between January 30th (Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi) and April 4th (Assassination of Martin Luther King Junior), is dedicated to a simple practice or thought which will help us to become more conscious of the peacefulness inside each of us. I was given this list on Sunday at my Church (The San Diego Center for Spiritual Living) and I would like to pass these thoughts on to you.
I’ll start with Jan 30th and catch us up to today then every Monday post the thoughts for the next week. In-Joy
Jan 30th: Today I will reflect on what peace means to me.
Day 2 Today I will look at opportunities to be a peacemaker.
Day3 Today I will practice nonviolence and respect for Mother earth by making good use of her resources.
Day 4 Today I will take time to admire and appreciate nature. (I’m off to the beach for a walk)
Day 5 Today I will plant seeds—plants or constructive ideas.
Day 6 Today I will hold a vision of plenty for all of the worlds hungry and be open to guidance as to how I can help alleviate some of that hunger.
Day 7 Today I will acknowledge every human beings fundamental right to justice, equity and equality.
Day 8 Today I will appreciate the earth’s bounty and all those who work to make my food available (i.e., grower, trucker, grocery clerk, cook, waitress, etc.)
Day 9 Today, I will work to understand and respect another culture.
Day 10 Today, I will oppose injustice, not people.
“I tell you for certain anyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (v.34)
Jesus’ mission was to preach the Good News which is: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
In this passage from Luke 4.18-19 Jesus is letting us know that we are slaves, poor, captives, blind and oppressed. The remedy is the “acceptable year of the Lord” which can be understood as the Kingdom of God. Can you imagine there being bondage of any kind in the Kingdom of God? He says: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand (right here right now); repent (change your mind), and believe in the gospel (good news).” Mark 1:15
We find Jesus talking here to believers (v.31) who do not understand what he is saying. Sound familiar? (v.43), “why can’t you understand what I’m talking about?” I’m reminded of Jesus’ statement on the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23.34
What is the sin we are slaves to? Sin from the Greek; hamartia means to miss the mark. The commentator from the online Blue Letter Bible says of this word; “It is the most comprehensive term for moral obliquity.” Maybe what this commentator is pointing out here is that the word hamartia itself is a morally oblique term. It is very possible this word is used on purpose to describe an amoral condition of blindness or ignorance. That we have not offended God for the simple reason we are unable to reason. We cannot see the target (God) and we have no clue as to how get there. Is this a moral failing or just the condition we find ourselves in?
Some of the synonyms for obliquity are: ambiguous, darkness, inscrutability, murkiness, mysteriousness, and opaqueness. Of course we keep missing the mark because we cannot see the mark. Is it not inscrutable that theologians would take such a morally ambiguous word and create an entire moral system based on the idea that God hates what spiritually blind people do? Of course God does not hate anyone and he is no more offended by our actions then we are of mentally compromised people. We just don’t know what we are doing. And this ignorance has us imprisoned, slaves to our insanity. There are no Venal sins, no mortal sins, no sins of omission and no sins of commission. These theological terms describe only one condition our inability to see.
There really is only one sin from which all our mistakes have their root. We mistakenly believe we are separate from ALL there is. God. We believe in the impossible. We believe in something that can never be. There are not thousands of choices for our happiness there is only one; choose God or we are stuck in our blindness.
Here is what Jesus’ contemporary theologians had to say:
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. (John 9 NIV)
This was said after healing the man born blind.
What we have done is cloak our ignorance in the fig leaves of theological thinking and convinced ourselves we can see. “Abraham is our father.” “We have just one father, and he is God.” said the people. Because of what they were taught they believed they could see.
For many of us our minds are full of theological theories and because we accept them and have called them MINE we are very attached to them. Did you know that your most important possessions are your beliefs? Aren’t we willing to kill for them even die for them? Unfortunately history proves this all to true. With this insight we see that the people in Jesus’ day were just like us. I find it interesting that at the end of Luke 4 and the end of John 8 the people are trying to kill Jesus. Isn’t this something we need to watch for in our lives? How do we react when someone threatens our theology? Do we demonize them? Once we do it is a very short path to the killing fields.
For the past 20 years I ave been a professional caregiver mostly working with people with Alzheimers and dementia. During this time I have been hit, accused of stealing, thrown up on, yelled at, told to leave etc. I would have not lasted very long in this work if I had taken any of this personally. These people no longer know what they are doing. In comparing our intelligence and spiritual insight to the creator of the known universe does it not seem that the human race has a case of Alzheimers? Now into this scenario comes a caregiver, a comforter who tells us we aren’t in our right minds. And why? because we have made a mistake, we believe that we are separate from God. This belief has given us dementia and we now think we are OK. However deep down inside there is a small bit of remembrance of how things used to be. It is this memory that Jesus is speaking to. It is like during those times of clarity when the one with Alzheimers remembers the name of her husband and begins to talk of all the wonderful things they used to do together.
What keeps us a prisoner? My mistaken belief that I can get back to God without help—”I can see.” This is where all of our insane actions (sins/mistakes) come from. I will have more than I need if I steal it. And we have forgotten we are sons of the King. I will have more love in my life with just one more lover. And we have forgotten that God is Love.
This way of interpreting hamartia in the light that God is not offended in any way brings us to a place where we must take another look at the death of Jesus and its purpose. But that is for future posts. Why if God is not offended did all those animals have to be sacrificed and why did Jesus have to be “sacrificed”? Just something to think about. And what of guilt?
I’ve decide to change the title of this series into a more positive approach, from obstacles into how to grow spiritually.
The last post on this topic pointed out that spiritual pride can get in the way of growing spiritually. So a good place to start our journey toward Oneness with God is in the Spirit of humility. That no matter what I have been told or how much I have read how many retreats or seminars I have attended I really don’t know anything.
The toughest pill to swallow is, Truth cannot be found in books or sermons. Truth can only be found in the doing. Then we will know for ourselves what the Truth is for me. Jesus points out that if you “obey what he has said” then we will know.
Enter Pontious Pilate: “What is the Truth”
Jesus’ answer: “Silence” So much can be said when we keep our mouths shut. It has always been a wonder to me that so much can be said about what we can’t explain. But we/I keep trying. Jesus tells us the Truth is discovered in the doing. Here is my verbal stab into the dark.
The end of attack. The actions are the flowering of the seeds of thought, the effects of a mental desire and the clouds which hide the Light of the Son of Heaven. Only Love is real. We may have gained some truth but truth without Goodness (action) is cold and dead. Truth without Goodness is attack. Truth and Goodness equal Love in action.
Yes there is only One Truth. It is Solid, the Cornerstone of Heaven, the Rock that people stumble over, unchangeable, unassailable and without compromise. However as the cornerstone or foundation is not the entire building Love and Goodness must be the building, the Fathers House. Love and Goodness can only stand on the Foundation of Truth. This is the Reality of Heaven.
Jesus could say he is the Way, the Truth and the Life because he was the full realization of God incarnate which is Love and Goodness. Love is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one can enter a heavenly life without Love. We leave all attack behind and enter the Gates of Heaven, here and now.
God is Love, God is Goodness, God is Truth and if we do theses things we will never die. We have moved from death into life.
We can only know the Truth when we do everything in Goodness and Love.
In these verses he says several times “I am doing only what my Father has shown me”(Love and Goodness). He points out the people have another father, not Abraham as they were told, in the physical, but in the spiritual realm they are offsprings of another thought system. The system of the world that believes in separation from God. Jesus came to teach them how to be one with God again but they have to leave their old thought system behind—their entire worldview actually—and do what Jesus says.
Is Jesus the Way, the Truth and the Life. He categorically denies his own Goodness/God. He never said he was Love. He did say he was the Light of the World and to follow him (do what he does) and we too will have the light that gives life. (Jn. 8.12) The Light of The World also tells us “we are the light of the world” (Matt 5.14) He is the way-shower illuminating our hearts and minds so we can be like him, One with God. (see John 17)
Now to leave you with the immortal words of poet and philosopher Leonard Cohen: When his audience answered in the affirmative that they wanted to know the secret, the truth of everything, he said: “de dom dom, de do dom dom”
Jesus and the People, some insights from John 8.31-59
These next few posts are going to be a bit different than the devotional posts I have written lately. It will be expositional in nature dealing with the very important topic of spiritual growth and the obstacles we face on the road to Oneness with God.
The first obstacle: spiritual pride.
There are several ways to interpret what is going on here and each has its value in helping us to understand what John is relaying to us in the confrontation between Jesus and “the people”.
Verse 31 tells us these were “people who had faith in him.”
Taken literally we are confronted with an historical incident in the life of Jesus between a group of people who didn’t understand (v.43) what Jesus was saying (v.31 he wants to help his new believers get free.) or doing. There are accusations thrown back and forth; “the people” are demonizing someone who is threatening them and Jesus is returning their accusations. It is the typical argument of I’m right and you’re wrong with a loaded charge thrown in, of demon possession, from both sides. And quite frankly if I came upon a group of people arguing in this way I would just turn around and leave. Honestly these types of exchanges are nothing but the mudslinging of children throwing tantrums. But that is on the surface, the literal historical event which has been played out for centuries between any warring factions, with the inevitable result that one group will want to kill the other: v.59 “The people picked up stones to kill Jesus.”
In other words: “I’m right and you’re wrong and I’m gonna kill you for being ‘wrong’–i.e. not agreeing with me. If there is any lesson to be learned form this literal story it is things have not changed much over the eons that man has been on the planet. This is especially noticeable in the religious and political arenas. And much of the time there has not been the luxury of a separation between church and state as we have in the western influenced world.
“The people” here are the fruit of the religious leaders; the Sadducees and the Pharisees, Jesus’ usual antagonists. I have read that the literacy of the common people in Jesus’ day was maybe 10% and most of those were the religious leaders. What the people were defending were the things taught to them by their religious culture (at that time all the Hebrew culture was religious/political), they did not have the luxury of looking into the scriptures themselves. They were defending their entire world view taught to them, the Hebrew paradigm of the day.
I think it is important to point out that the Hebrew people and their leaders were not the enemy as some have tried to enlist Jesus in their hatred of another race—they just did not understand, this makes them a symbol for the entire human race, they didn’t know what they are doing. Jesus used many metaphors for their spiritual condition: blind, sick, ignorant, crippled, deaf. Jesus never tried to kill anyone and killing another in his name is my definition of taking the Lords name in vain.
Swedenborg pointed out that when we try to kill someones belief we are actually trying to kill that person because a persons faith is actually what keeps them alive. If you have ever seen anyone who has lost their faith you know what he means.
This is the first obstacle we face on the road to Oneness with God, found in those new to their beliefs (no matter how long one has been a believer). “My way is the right way and yours is not.” Our pride quickly gets in the way as the result of our insecurity, not being quite sure of this new way of thinking. Spiritual pride and self-righteousness will be the fruit of this insecurity if not quickly dealt with. And if it is fostered by those in leadership ones spiritual growth will be limited and after a while non-existent. Hatred will be the result and it will be easy to find targets for those wanting an outlet for their anger. See verse 44.
Well there is so much more in these verses beyond the literal and I will get to them in the following posts. For now it will be good to remember My way is the right way for me at this time in my life and your way is the right way for you at this point in your life and respect and tolerance for all our brothers and sisters as they progress toward the Truth that sets us free.
“I am a unique, special individualization of God, and my whole purpose for being is to be a vehicle, a channel, for the expression of my inner self….Remember I am here for one purpose only, and that is to find my way back to the Father’s house—to be the True Self-expression of the infinite.” The Superbeings
Yes back to the basics, the foundation of my life and Spiritual practice—”to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to me.” Jesus
There is no reason to be concerned about anything or how things will turn out. Even though I have ideas of how my life will unfold I must surrender ALL of them. That is what Jesus meant when he says; “all these things will be given to me.” Maybe they will come to me just as I planed and maybe not, who knows? “This or something better,” as the saying goes.
What I hear in this saying of Jesus is to picture how I want my life to go, how I want things to be, write it out in as much detail as I can imagine, desire it and own it in my mind’s eye—then Surrender the whole basket of good I can see, to God—give it up, let it go, and flow with life without a care in the world. Trust God completely in all things and for all things. I do those things put in front of me each day and be open to new inspiration and new direction with a surrendered heart and a clear mind trusting completely in God. No worries, no fears, not trying to force anything and in Peace and Joy look forward to “all these things being added to me.”
I walk thru life confidently and at Peace in the knowledge of the complete provision from God in every area of my life.
The source of my very life is God. There is no Life in my body, it is only a container energized by the Holy Spirit. This inner life is Perfect, Whole and Complete lacking in nothing.
To borrow from the Eagles:
I get a peaceful easy feeling whenever you are around because I know I’m already standing on Holy Ground.
I get this feeling that I know you as a lover and a friend, I hear this voice whisper in my other ear, I’m standing on Holy Ground.
Day 37 of the 40-Day Prosperity Plan
“The Divine consciousness that I am is forever expressing its true nature of Abundance. This is its responsibility, not mine. My only responsibility is to be aware of this Truth. Therefore, I am totally confident in letting God appear as the Abundant all sufficiency in my life and affairs.”
Mr Price points out in another of his books, Superbeings; he is talking here about a listening attitude, “(‘…you are totally receptive to the clear message of Divine Mind…’)—and a listening attitude can work wonders in your life. The key thought that came forth from within went something like this: ‘Claim your good. Speak the word for your good. Then care not if your good ever comes to pass.‘… But caring which is another word for worry and concern, was actually diverting the power flow.” pg xxii [underline mine]
This is so opposite to how I was raised and the attitude of the thought system of the world which thinks: caring, is different from worrying and fearing, but they are actually the same. ‘Caring’ does not equal love but is a thin disguise for its opposite. To know that my care for someone is actually diverting their and my good. The highest form of care then is to surrender all cares to the Love of God and not get in the way by setting my own agenda of how I think things should turn out.
Surrender is in fact the cornerstone of the Spiritual Life. Everything without exception must eventually be surrendered to God. This is one meaning of Jesus’ statement; “He who looses his life shall find it.” This is the “stone” that people so often stumble over—surrendering my life in its entirety to God.
In my profession as a “caregiver” I found I so often had ideas of how things should go to help people lives be easier and yet I often met with resistance. I found I must surrender my ideas of outcomes and allow the situation to unfold and be available without any agenda.
I did find that being a caregiver was a life of constant surrender to God and allowing God to work in the situation for the best of all concerned. I did find that going into a situation with a surrendered attitude everything went much smoother than the times I tried to make things work according to my time and plan.
“Cast ALL your cares on God for he cares for you.” Total Surrender.