At some point in our lives, we make a conscious decision to feed our spiritual appetite. For some, it begins quite early. I know people who have always attended church and maintain a pretty religious regimen of prayer and Bible study.
Others, like me, come to feed our spirit in fits and spurts over a lifetime. I’ve dipped into the waters of spiritual nourishment many times over the years.
But, somewhere along the way, if we listen very carefully, we hear a voice instructing us to be fully committed to our spiritual life. It’s an inspiration that comes and renders everything else in our lives as secondary pursuits.
And perhaps we never get that inspiration in this incarnation. That’s quite possible.
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”Matt 4:18-19 NRSV
While we may often hear the urging to “follow me,” we are not as eager to always lay down all else and follow.
I’ve wrestled with this for most of my life. I know that to follow the calling of a spiritual quest is the highest purpose of my existence, but I am so hesitant to just dive in with all fours. I am so attached to this life, this expression of life, that to give any or all of it up seems a pain I am not yet ready to suffer.
I think of Jesus and how his excruciating death symbolizes the death of our ego-self, and that it is that death that precludes our eternal life as one with the Divine.
And I get the chills. I worry that I’m not brave enough or devoted enough to complete this journey.
But, then I think again of our way-shower, the man named Jesus. I think of His humble beginnings and how He spent the first 30 years of his life studying, learning, contemplating, and experiencing His Divinity.
His presence on earth signaled a new paradigm of communing with God. He taught us that we need not be exemplary in our spiritual acts; that we need not pray in flowering terms and incantations.
“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.Matt 6:5 NRSV
If anything, Jesus taught us that we have the connection we need with God right within our grasp!
Yes, He was crucified. But, he suffered no pain. In fact, he spent His time on the cross praying for the others being crucified. But the crucifixion is not about Jesus dying for us. It is about how we must allow our egos to die so that we may enjoy the rich, eternal life with our Kingdom within.
And that brings me such joy. Yes, I believe I can find the courage to move beyond my ego-self. Yes, I do believe I can move from a mind full of want and desire into a mindfulness of peace and love. And yes, I believe that the life eternal is accessible today, right now, right here.
But, to realize this Truth, to experience this Truth, I must begin my Spiritual Journey. I must embark on a mission to bring myself along the same journey as our way-shower.
Jesus spent years studying and contemplating. The Gospels don’t go into much detail at all on His 20s. But, I think he spent them on a journey very much like the one we can take. It was filled with meditation and contemplation. It was a journey devoted to self-discovery as much as it was a journey to find God.
And how did he emerge? He came into the public as a Rabbi, a teacher. He began a ministry of teaching what he had discovered. And he called with him 12 different apostles who represent to us today, in Unity, as the 12 inherent powers of the Christ Consciousness. Those apostles — and many others — joined Jesus on his mission.
Now many signs and wonders were done among the people through the apostles.Acts 5:12 NRSV
In Acts, we learn that the apostles continued the ministry begun by Jesus. They performed healings and traveled sharing the teachings of the way-shower. They adopted and embraced a mission, a spiritual mission of sharing and caring.
In other words, the journey to identify and embrace one’s Divinity did not begin and end with Jesus.
I remember when growing up I took from my Sunday School lessons that Jesus was the only person to be fully connected with God. I believed that the ministry of forgiveness and healing and manifestation was only about 3 years long. I believed that the end result of being in such a high level of existence with the Creator was a painful death. There was no way in heaven I would either be or even wanted to be fully like Jesus!
And then I discovered a new way of interpreting the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. As I read Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes and Sermon on the Mount by Emmet Fox and The Twelve Powers by Charles Fillmore, I began to see another view of my life. Now, finally, I could see that my life, my little ol’ existence among billions had a purpose and a meaning far beyond any I could imagine for myself.
All I had to do was take the path of the way-shower. I simply had to begin a spiritual journey to first know, then experience, then live in the power and presence of the Divine.
You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.John 8:32 NRSV
You and I know the truth, don’t we? We know that we are the Child of God. We know without hesitation that the power of our Creator, the love of His being, and the guidance of the Christ Consciousness is ready and available to us at all times.
We know that. We believe that. It’s now time to live that.
And today is perhaps the best time ever in our lives to begin living as the Christ we are.
When I would sit in the oak trees on our property when I was in my early teens, I often wondered about the life of Jesus. I would ask to no one in particular – although, in truth, I was really asking God – why did Jesus live 2,000 years ago? If God had only ONE begotten son, why waste that when there was no television or radio to spread his Gospel? Just imagine at how wide an audience He could have reached had he come about in this era?
As I contemplate that question today, I realize two things.
By the way, when I say I realize anything, it is not that I, personally, have contrived anything special from my mass of grey nerve cells. When I realize something it’s because I have listened and heard as inspiration a truth of Divine wisdom. Now, I may not state that Truth correctly or even articulate it with much clarity. I just know that Truth with a capital T comes not from me, but from the Christ Consciousness – the Super Consciousness – of which we all share our Divine wisdom.
The first thing I realized in my contemplations was that Jesus came into this reality at the exact proper and precise time needed. His message needed an attentive, undistracted audience hungry for the truth he taught. His followers, his students had already been primed by John the Baptist.
”This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”John 1:30-31 NRSV
The followers were ready and waiting for a Messiah, a messenger to teach them.
Could we imagine our world of today being so focused on learning of a Truth from a singular, humble man? Can you imagine the talking heads on network news blindly accepting a new Truth, a new Gospel without attempting to denigrate and sow doubt?
No, the very best time for Jesus was the time he came. It’s given us a head start to getting where we need to be today. It’s taken humankind 2,000 years to move from the ministry of the early apostles to a global spreading of Christianity and in the last century or so into a place of higher understanding of Jesus’ teachings.
In other words, if Jesus came today, it might be another 2,000 years before we could rise to a fuller understanding of his message.
Nope, I’m pretty happy we now have those two millenia under our belt.
And, the second, inspired epiphany I’ve had is that in today’s world, with social media, the internet, and now the pandemic, it is the perfect storm, as it were, for us to personally and collectively move along our path of Spiritual discovery.
Self-quarantine has given me more time to contemplate. It’s forced me to think about my place in the world with much more fervor and focus than ever before. With the zoom calls we have with many of you, we are connecting more often on a spiritual level. We pray more, we read more, and we share more.
I even spend more time deliberating about my Facebook posts. Am I posting messages of positivity, spirituality, and truth? Or am I re-posting messages of doubt and distrust?
As a singular person – not as the pastor of a congregation, but as Bret the individual expression of Christ – I am asking myself, what is my ministry?
I think I’ve related to you before how when I first attended a Unity church in the late 80s, early 90s, it was at Unity Church of the Oaks in South Austin. It’s no longer there, but it was a beautiful campus. The minister was an amazing woman named Sallye Taylor.
I asked Sallye one day, I said, “Reverend Sallye, if I dive into New Thought and Unity studies and really absorb the teachings, where will that lead me?” I expected her to say something like, “you’ll transcend to a higher level of consciousness,” or “you’ll eventually see the face of God!” Instead, without a moment’s hesitation, she said, “the ministry.”
Now, I took that to mean that if I committed to a spiritual journey, I’d end up with an ordination robe, the title of Reverend, and a church to manage. I wasn’t ready for that at that time. I ran from that prediction, in fact, and I believe it was the reason I stayed away from Unity and new thought for the next 20 years. I didn’t want to believe that by learning and living the capital T truth it would mean I would have to be a church official.
But that’s not what Sallye meant. I now see with clear eyes and heart that what Sallye was telling me was that whenever we are on a spiritual journey, we become ministers of Truth. That’s our price of admission. We must share what we know. If we love one another as ourselves, then we are obligated to share the truth of our existence with others. I will go so far as to claim that as Divine Law.
It doesn’t mean that you have to stand before a congregation and preach. A personal ministry is not about seminary or credentials or even speaking in public. I’m not ordained. I’m not in seminary – yet.
But, I am on a spiritual journey. With you! We, together, are moving along the trail blazed for us by our way-shower.
And as travelers, we are now obliged to share this journey with others. It is our Spiritual Mission to do so.
How do we do that? Well, there are perhaps as many ways as there are individuals.
Some, like Sheweia, choose to express Truth in their art. Her paintings, like the one behind me, are so deeply expressive and divine. There is a truth to her art. Others, like Pam Becker, host study groups so that several can come together and in that communion discover, celebrate, and share Truth they are exploring.
You can be a minister, just like Sallye said, simply by praying. Whether alone or with others, simply pray. You could post supportive messages on social media and respond to those in need with messages of love and hope and healing.
To find out what your ministry should be, you only have to listen to the Christ within.
But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.Matt 6:6 NRSV
I’d like to invite and encourage you to meditate. Find a quiet time without limit or deadline. Meditate when if you went for an hour, you’d feel no pressure to conclude.
Contemplate, pray, and listen in that meditation. Simply listen for an answer to “what is mine to do?”
I’m going to let you in on a bit of a secret. You may have heard me tell this before, but it’s absolutely true because I and so many others experience this all the time. Whatever you ask in the Silence will be answered.
Now, I didn’t say demand or request, did I? Ask for what is yours to do, and you will be told. Ask for which choice you should make about an important decision, and you will be told. Ask for the perfect outcome for a challenge or illness, and it will be delivered.
It’s really that simple.
I’m not talking about manifesting. That’s a whole another discussion we’ll have soon. What I’m talking about here is guidance. It is the truth coming to you because you love God, you love yourself, you love others, and you’re willing to listen for the answer.
For me, I will ask at night when laying down to sleep and the answer will be given to me the next day. Without fail.
For some I know, as soon as they ask, they have the answer.
So, in terms of your ministry – and you have one, whether you think you do or not – find out what is yours to do for the highest good by simply asking the Christ Consciousness, the Holy Spirit.
And then go forward on your spiritual mission. I can’t wait to see what’s next.