|UNITY OF VANCOUVER
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On the Mountain Top
Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
January 16, 2022
All Rights Reserved
PRAYER / MEDITATION
I invite you to close your eyes and consciously connect with the power of God, within and around you; a power greater than any human problem. Silently affirm: “It is not I, but the Christ within that does the work.” Feel a deep inner peace rising and washing away anxiety and fear. Affirm: “God is the only Presence and Power in the universe and in my life. I live in serenity.”
Knowing your oneness with God frees you from darkness, doubt and indecision. God guides you through challenges and fills you with prospering ideas. God is wholeness and energizing life. Hold words of truth. Affirm: “I am one with God life. I radiate the wholeness and strength of the Lord.”
God’s goodness is sufficient to meet every need. Affirm: “Abundant supply is mine. I am grateful and trust God’s prospering love to meet my daily needs.”
Move through each moment of each day, centered in God and knowing that God is showering each of us with unlimited good, for we are all God’s beloved children. “The light of God surrounds us; the love of God enfolds us; the power of God protects us; the presence of God watches over us. Wherever we are God is and all is well. Amen.
ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP
Going to God in prayer is like climbing a mountain or stepping into an elevator and pushing the up button. Prayer is lifting your awareness from the bottom of the mountain where you can’t see the forest for the trees to the mountain top where you get a greater perspective and exchange the small picture for the larger picture.
We all have times when we have career changes, health or prosperity challenges, want something different or simply want to experience more and be more. In those times, rather than struggling, straining and trying to figure it out alone, Jesus said, “Be still and go to God.” People will tell me that they don’t feel or hear God when they meditate and pray. What often happens is that people are expecting a booming voice as a result of prayer, like Moses heard from the burning bush, “Moses, Moses lead my people out from bondage in Egypt.’ Most often God speaks to us as the hymn says, “God speaks to me in voices sweet and tender.” For example. Winifred was in her late 60’s when I knew her. She belonged to a group called “The Sunshine Club” that visited people who were home bound or in the hospital. Winifred had been visiting a couple in their late 90’s and who were both in the same hospital. The wife had lost her eyesight some months earlier and the husband was in for surgery for prostrate cancer. Both appeared very frail and Winifred really wanted to make a difference in their lives, but she didn’t know how, so she asked God in prayer, “Father show me what to do to make a difference in the lives of these two dear people.”
Much later in the day, the thought came to her to buy a beautiful pink rose, remove the thorns and give it to the blind lady so that she could hold it and enjoy its fragrance. When she got to the hospital to visit the man, another idea came to her. “Instead of giving the rose to the lady herself, give it to her husband so that he can give it to his wife.” The thought gave her goose bumps When she got to his room and asked him if he’d like her to get him a rose to give to his wife, the old man was very deeply touched by the idea and said; “I’d like that very much. Today is our wedding anniversary.”
So Winifred went to the gift shop and found a perfect pink rose, removed the thorns, returned to his room and gave it to him. He then gave it to his wife for their anniversary. She enjoyed feeling and smelling it and two days later was holding it in her hands in the night when she slipped away. He followed her the next day; within three days, they both were gone. Winifred had met the couple’s two daughters on her hospital visits and went to their home to offer her help. They gave her a tour of the couple’s lovely old house and to Winifred’s surprise, the back of the house was a greenhouse, filled with hundreds of roses. When she asked about the roses, one of the daughters said, “My father raised roses for many years.” Winifred told the daughters about how she had prayed and received inspiration to provide a perfect, thornless, pink rose for the man to give to his wife and how pleased she had been to find out that the gift coincided with the couple’s wedding anniversary. At that moment the elder daughter put her hands to her eyes and abruptly left the room. Winifred asked the other daughter, “Did I say something that offended her?” “No,” the woman replied, “It’s just that it was my father’s custom since their first anniversary, to give my mother one perfect pink rose on the morning of their anniversary.” It turned out that that the eldest daughter had left her church some months earlier feeling very resentful toward God when her mother lost her eyesight. But as a result of Winifred’s story, she turned around one became absolutely convinced that there is some great, loving, Presence that directed Winifred to do exactly the right thing to bring joy to her parent’s last days on earth. She forgave God and herself and returned to prayer and to church but she was a totally different person because like Winifred, she too had had a mountain top experience! The experience rekindled her faith.
It’s thrilling and fascinating to to follow God’s guidance. You feel like a sailboat responding to the wind. The Gospel of John says, “You don’t know when or where the wind will blow, stay alert.” When God gives you a divine idea what do you do? Do you ignore it? Do you think that’s a nice idea but not give that divine idea feet by living it? Are you like the disciple Thomas and say, “Until I see the wounds in Jesus’ hands and feet, I will not believe.” Or do you say, “Yes God” knowing, God is always guiding you forward to a greater expression of good not only for yourself but for the highest and best of all concerned.
Jesus had these kinds of mountaintop experiences, literally and figuratively. Figuratively: “He went to the mountain to pray”, and in every instance when he comes back down, there’s a miracle. ‘Christ’ doesn’t go from mountain top to mountaintop. He goes up and down the mountain constantly.
Literally speaking: Teachers in Jewish traditions would climb up on a mountain to speak because they didn’t have sound systems like we do. If you had something to say and a large crowd was invited to hear it, you had to go someplace high so everyone could hear. In the time of Jesus, it was tradition that an honored teacher would sit and the students would stand around to listen. In order for this to work, the teacher had to be on or near the mountaintop to be able to sit while all the rest would stand on various levels down the mountain. With this arrangement, everyone could see and hear. In Matthew 5:1, you’ll find this. In fact, it’s called the Sermon on the Mount. It says: “And seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain and when He sat down his disciples drew near to him.”
Most of you are probably familiar with the Sermon on the Mount. It’s also called the Beatitudes. For example: “Blessed are they that morn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are the peacemakers.”
But I don’t want to talk to you about that this morning. I want to talk to you about what he said after that talk because he followed it up with telling his listeners about their true value. He told them that they really were “Spiritual beings and human beings at the same time.” In effect he said, “You are not a worm of the dust, rather “You are the salt of the earth.” Many who gathered to hear him that day were outcasts, sinners and women who had no ‘value’ in Jewish or in Roman culture. Can you imagine being among that group and hearing this Great Rabbi say, “It is not true that you have no value? “You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men that they know the presence of their Father who art in Heaven.”
Remember this the next time you are tempted to put yourself down or to buy into someone else’s negative opinion about you. Remember what Jesus said. Tell yourself: “Jesus said that I am the salt of the Earth and the light of the world. Who am I to call him a liar?”
I want to spend our last minutes talking about what he said after the Sermon; probably to the most dedicated disciples who would stay as long as he was willing to teach. In Matthew 5:17, he continues, “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
If understood and taken literally, those words should have put an end to those like Judas who were pushing him to lead an army to push the Romans out and to restore Israel as a great kingdom with himself as King.
If understood and taken figuratively: How do you fulfill a holy scripture? He’s taking about the Law of Mind Action. “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.” In the story I told earlier, from the results you can see Winifred responded to a God thought, not just a human thought because it touched more than one person in a profound way. Winifred fulfilled the thought God gave her by giving it feet. She bought the rose and gave it.
In the early years the followers of Jesus were divided into two primary groups: Those who interpreted his sayings metaphysically and those who interpreted them literally. (even though he condemned this) As the church evolved, the further it got from its God inspired founder, the more literal in interpretation and dogma it became until being a Christian was ‘believing certain things about Jesus to be true and accepting and obeying church doctrines and dogmas.’ Those who disagreed, like the Gnostics and/or got too powerful like the Knights Templar were persecuted and put to death. This went on for centuries and this is what led into the Inquisition and murder of over 11 million people in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. That said, I want to share something from a book called “The Hidden Wisdom In The Holy Bible” by Goffney Hoden. Hoden gathered quotes and testimonies from those outside the church refuting its narrowing interpretation of the teachings of Jesus, while it was happening, especially regarding the Old Testament which wasn’t a Christian document but the assimilation of the Jewish Torah and the presentation of it as literal fact.
Moses Mainmonedes was a Jewish theologian who lived around 1200 AD. He wrote to Christian leaders who were interpreting the Old Testament and Torah, literally and said, “Every time you find in one of our books a tale of reality that seems impossible, a story that is both strange to reason and common sense, then be sure that the tale contains a profound allegory veiling a deep, mysterious truth. The greater the absurdity of the letter, the deeper the wisdom of Spirit.” He tried to tell early Christian leaders that they have to interpret the Holy Scriptures in a metaphysical way, beyond the letter and quoted Jesus’ words, “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
That’s not saying, ‘Let’s completely do away with the letter’. It’s saying, “Go beyond the letter by going to God and asking for guidance and God will inspire your thoughts to take you beyond the letter to an experience of a spiritual truth in your own life.”
Unity’s co-founder Charles Fillmore talked about something called transmutation; transmuting the negative inside of you into the positive. He used this allegory: “The shell, the white and the yolk together form the perfect egg. The shell protects the white and the yolk feeds upon the white. When the white has vanished, the yolk, now transformed into a fledgling bird, breaks through the shell and in due time soars into the air. Thus does the static become dynamic; the material the spiritual.”
In Unity, when we talk about the Bible we’re not doing away with any of the Holy Scriptures, we’re simply saying to take it inside yourself and feed on it in the silence in the same way all nature feeds. The shell, the white and the yolk are a trinity that forms the perfect egg to create a new life; and then that life must struggle and strain to break out of the shell to freedom. That same shell that protected it and provided safety to nurture life becomes lethal if it can’t break free. No one can help in that process.
In the study of butterflies, scientists have found that the butterfly is still in the process of transmutation as it breaks out of its cocoon; to help a butterfly prevents the wings from developing and results in a butterfly that can’t fly. The same is true for us. The ancients used the Phoenix to represent the process of transmutation humans go through. You must rise out of the ashes of your human life, out of the challenges whatever they are and fly by dwelling in your spiritual nature. The Christ Mind in you is beyond anything you have ever thought of before or can think of because the Christ Mind is beyond concepts. An unformed divine idea comes to us from above and we then conceptualize it and put it in the context of our lives and often put it in a shell of limits.
You have to train yourself not to automatically do this or you’ll just keep repeating your past experience. It’s not that God isn’t answering you, you are limiting the God idea by what you think is possible. When you pray and a divine idea comes into your mind, you will conceptualize it, that’s a fact, but then add: “This God or something better.” Add the realization that you can’t think big enough to conceptualize God’s solution. Say “Yes” to God be open and willing to follow guidance step by step just like Winifred did. Initially she thought she would buy and give the rose but ideas kept coming and she went with God’s flow and talked to the husband who then gave it to his wife. The temptation of the intellect is to say: “My first idea is good enough or it’s too much trouble to do that or he might laugh at me.”
To me, the most important part of the Sermon on the Mount are Jesus’ after thoughts to his disciples about how to do these things to break out of our human shell of limited thought step by step and fly. God bless.
What do you think?
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