|UNITY OF VANCOUVER
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Is There Life After Birth?
Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
May 1, 2022
All Rights Reserved
People often sit around pondering the question, “Is there life after death?” There is a lot of thought energy spent on ‘what happens when we leave here?’
But very few of us ever ask ourselves the questions: “Is there life after Birth? Am I living the abundant life that Jesus said God created me to live? & What is death?”
This morning as we examine these questions hopefully you will discover the answer to an important and very personal question, which is “Am I dead or am I abundantly alive.”
Now please rise and sing “Surely The Presence”
MEDITATIONI invite you to close your eyes, relax your physical body and quiet all your thoughts. Enter that wonderful quiet place where you are very conscious of God’s Presence within you and in touch with you true self, your Spirit self, the Christ in you, your hope of glory. You can do all things through the Christ who strengthens you. Trust that. Quietly affirm: “I can do all things through the Christ who strengthens me.” Affirm it again and make it your truth. “I can do all things through the Christ who strengthens me.”
Release all your needs into the living, loving, healing presence of God within you and affirm: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
If you need healing from lack and limitation, release your sense of lack and limitation into the presence of God within you. Affirm: “I let go and let the presence of God in you lift you above all sense of lack and limitation.”
Ask for guidance and the whole presence of God within and around you will give you the answers you are looking for. Ask and you will receive. Affirm: “I know what to do and when to do it. God give me the strength to do it.”
Turn completely away from the problem and become one with God as the solution by affirming: “I can do all things through the Christ who strengthens me.”
If you need to find employment, release that need into the presence of God knowing, “Christ in you is guiding you now to your right and perfect place. Your right and perfect place is moving toward you now.”
Affirm: “I can do all things through the Christ who strengthens me”
If you need to heal a sense of isolation, loneliness or separation, release that too, trusting that God’s love will draw you into loving, meaningful relationships with people of like mind. Quietly affirm: “The everywhere presence of God assures that every need is met. You are vitally alive in God presence and your life is peaceful, joyous, and complete.”
And in my meditation time I will affirm that with you knowing that your prayers are being answered. “You can do all things through the Christ who strengthens you.” Amen
IS THERE LIFE AFTER BIRTH?
We’re beginning this talk with the question: “Is there life after birth?” No, I didn’t mean to ask, “Is there life after death?” My question is “Is there life after birth?” Think about that question for a moment. We all got up this morning, got dressed and came to Unity, so of course we think we’re alive, but are we? To be fully, abundantly alive we must understand the question, “What is death?”
As students of Metaphysics, Jesus, and Unity most of us have some level of belief that there is no reality to what we think of as death. Jesus taught that there is only God, and that physical death is an illusion. Unity also teaches this and like Jesus expands this idea. Since there is only God, there is only good therefore “There is no absence of life.” What appears on the body level as ‘to die’ is simply the movement of God as eternal life from one form to another; from one dimension of reality or one level of being to another, just as ice, water and steam are 3 forms of the same substance, H20.
Jesus said, “My Father’s house of life has many rooms. Fear not, if it were not so, I would have told you.” This form of death is a creative necessity. The apple seed must fall to the ground and die to become a sprout, which must die to become a sapling and the sapling must die to become a mature tree bearing fruit. But Jesus also spoke of another kind of death when he said “I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in me and I in him, brings forth much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. If a man abides not in me, he is cast off like a branch and withers.”
Here Jesus is defining true death as being cut off from the vine or Source of life. This death, wilting or lack happens after we’re born into a body, and it is caused by any ignorance or willfulness that causes us to believe we have a life apart from God. This is a form of spiritual death that happens when we are ignorant of our spiritual nature and the spiritual reality that God Life not only LIVES IN us, but it also lives through us, and IS us. It’s only when we understand Jesus’ meaning of true death as an experience of separation from God the Source of all, while in the physical body and overcome that belief in thought, feeling, word and action as Jesus did, that we can say, “Yes there is life after birth for me.”
This truth is dramatically demonstrated in the Old Testament Story of Daniel. “When the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, the king told his army to bring him any members of the royal family who were wise and had been taught the mysteries.” And that’s how Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were forced to live in exile in the Persian kingdom.
All characters and places in the Bible represent states of consciousness. The phrase “Exiled in Babylon” represents two things: The confusion that results when sense thoughts dominate your mind; and the state of outer limitation brought about by departure from spiritual consciousness. The Persian kingdom represents primitive or instinctual consciousness with its focus on the material world.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego represent an understanding of God as love, mercy, goodness and the channel of all power, wisdom, and Truth to and through the manifest man. Daniel represents spiritual wisdom and the clear, penetrating insight of Spirit. In other words, Daniel and his friends knew that there is only one God, one life force, one Source from which we all draw life, substance, and sustenance. These 4 friends were living their lives as spiritual beings, living in a spiritual universe, governed by the spiritual Law of Mind Action: ‘Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.” They were all Old Testament ‘Christs.’
Daniel refused to eat the meat and drink the wine that the king sent from his own table and requested that they only be served vegetables. This means he was unwilling to take on the lower consciousness of materiality that the outer authorities tried to force on him. Daniel prayed 3 times a day before a window (which represents spiritual awareness) opened toward Jerusalem. Jerusalem means habitation or possession of peace.
Daniel was so open to Divine Mind that he had achieved cosmic consciousness. The 3 times a day: represents the trinity of man’s being: spirit, soul and body and the trinity of God: Father, Son, and holy spirit. God as Divine Mind is full of divine ideas and limitless energy, the emotional nature as desire causes the mind of man to draw on those ideas and with imagination create a conceptual picture of it and then the emotional nature loves it and holds it in mind until it becomes an expression in the manifest world.
Daniel was so attuned to Divine Mind that he was able to interpret dreams and visions. It was a good thing that he could too because when the king had a dream of a great figure, a vision of a mighty tree and the handwriting on the wall appeared at the feast of Belshazzar, Daniel was able to interpret the 3 messages. This was a good thing too because none of the king’s seers could, so he ordered all prophets, holy men, magicians, and seers to be put to death. On hearing this was about to happen, Daniel told the king that he could and would interpret the dreams if he spared everyone’s life. And as it turned out, it wasn’t just a matter of 3 interpretations, Daniel had to tell the king what the specific contents of the 2 dreams and vision were to prove himself a seer. The metaphysical point being made here is: No matter how crazy or big a material demand or need is, God and your Spiritual self are always able to overcome when tested and answer any questions.
When your mind is attuned to Divine Mind through prayer and meditation, you too will have the ability to understand and interpret things that are mysteries and perform acts that are miracles to all those who are still in primitive or instinctual consciousness and focused on material thought. As a result, King Nebuchadnezzar made “Daniel great and gave him many gifts and made him to rule over the whole province of Babylon and to be chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon.”
Daniel’s reward was God’s gift of abundant life. Daniel metaphysically represents Christ consciousness which always, draws others to God the source of all good; at his request Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were also given positions of authority in the kingdom. As you can imagine, quite a few Babylonian men who had worked their whole lives for the King were angry about this turn of events. Since the Babylonians were idol worshipers, they contrived a plot to destroy the Jewish exiles. They flattered Nebuchadnezzar and told him he was beautiful and wise. They bowed to him and told him they thought he was a god. They convinced to make a golden image of himself and persuaded him to sign a decree that all must bow down before it. Of course, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to obey and bow down to an idol which is what the statue represented to them; they refused honor matter and their physical bodies rather than God and their spiritual selves. They were brought before the king and given the choice: bow down in worship to the king or death in the fiery furnace. Even then, they refused. So, the king said, “Let us see if your God will deliver you out of my hands.” And the three said, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace; and he will also deliver us out of your hands, O king.”
The fiery furnace represents a severe trial or challenge. And what happened to the 3 friends is the revelation of what happens to us when we hold fast to God as life, and the life that is our life. Nebuchadnezzar threw them all into the fiery furnace at night and the next morning when he looked into the furnace, he was amazed to see not only the 3 men, but a 4th and the aspect of the 4th was “like a son of the gods.”
This 4th man was an angel sent by God to assure them of his presence and to protect them. An Angel is ‘the consciousness of one’s I AM in its spiritual unity with God. Your realization of your spiritual identity and unity with God can be so powerful that others watching are even aware of it. They may even see a colorful glow around you. When the 3 stepped out of the fiery furnace not a hair on their heads was singed, their clothes were not burned, and they didn’t even smell like smoke. So, Nebuchadnezzar freed them.
Now Daniel also refused to bow down to the king and his enemies brought him before the king and accused him of breaking the law. The king loved Daniel and sincerely regretted making such a decree. But in Babylon, once something was put into law it couldn’t be undone, not even by the king who created it. In other words, something decreed in mind or through the power of the spoken word will eventually find its way into expression. Daniel was condemned to death and since the fiery furnace hadn’t worked the last time, they decided to throw him into the lion’s den. Upon hearing his sentence, “Daniel said, “My God whom I serve continually, will deliver me.” Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den at night and a huge stone placed to close the entrance. The next morning when the king looked into the lion’s den, there was Daniel unharmed. When the King asked him “How can this be” Daniel said, “My God sent an angel who shut the lion’s mouths and so they haven’t hurt me.”
The lion’s den represents the conditions in our lives where it appears there’s no way out. For ex: the rent is due tomorrow and you’ve got 5 dollars in your pocket; or you’re told you have a terminal disease. In a state of separation from God the human mind responds to hopeless situations by feeling depressed and holding thoughts in mind like: “This is it. I’m not getting out of this one. This is the end of me.” Remember the Law of Mind Action is: “So in mind so in manifestation.” Daniel, Shadrach, Messiah, and Abednego were over comers in the Old Testament just like Jesus would be in the New Testament. They proved that there is life after birth, and they were victorious over very formidable problems because they were one with God; one with abundant life.
When you are faced with a fiery furnace or being thrown in the lion’s den, that’s the time to ask yourself, “Is there life after birth?”
And then to say to yourself, “YES GOD” and to stand firm in your faith by knowing who you are and who you are is: “A spiritual being, living in a spiritual universe governed by spiritual law” where everything is a part of the wholeness of life energy.
When in the fiery furnace or lion’s den, remember that you are a spiritual being, governed by the spiritual law of mind action and then choose to operate the law from your Christ consciousness rather than from primitive or instinctual consciousness and the salvation of God will happen for you too.
And your friends and the people witnessing this who like Nebuchadnezzar are only aware of the material world and their limits as a human being will stand amazed at what miracles you can do. They may not understand how or why but they will see the miracle working power of God radiating through you and stand in awe of it.
What do you think?
© Unity of Vancouver, 2004 All Rights Reserved.