UNITY OF VANCOUVER
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Psalm 121
  Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
  November 8, 2020

 All Rights Reserved

 

 

Today we are studying the inspiring and comforting words of the 121 Psalm. I hope you enjoy the lesson. You are loved.
~ Bernadette

 MEDITATION


Retreat now into the sacred space within yourself and give yourself the gift of time to touch God and to feel God’s indwelling presence and power.  Every time you pray, you increase your awareness that God is ever present within you.

God has placed spiritual vision inside of you and in this moment of prayer, God has given you the gift of seeing past any difficulty and past appearance to the good of God. You have the ability to see past limitation for you are connected with God.  You are not just ‘some body’ of flesh and bone; just human thoughts and feelings.  You are so much more because you are part of God.  God in you enables you to keep your vision high because you know in this moment that it is God’s vision seeing, through you. God in you sees past weakness to the enduring strength and stamina of Spirit. God in you sees past limited appearances to the underlying perfection that God is. God in you sees past difficulties to the kingdom, power and glory of God within you, ever at work.  With God, you have a vision that sees past delays and setbacks to the certainty of accomplishment.  Rest in the silence and see with the eyes of God in the silence of prayer.  (pause)

Ask God for the vision to see to see past the personal self to the invincible, glorious, spiritual self you really are.  Ask God for the vision to see this in others, for those for whom you pray. I invite you to make a commitment during this prayer time to God to keep your vision high and to view all things in the light of God.  Now close your prayer time by speaking the Prayer for Protection: The light of God surrounds us; the love of God enfolds us; the power of God protects us, and the presence of God watches over us. Wherever we are God is and all is well. Amen.

PSALM 121

Today we’re looking at Psalm 121 which Is one of the more beautiful psalms of the pilgrim collection. At least once in a lifetime it was expected that men and boys would make the journey from their home to Jerusalem. For many this was a very long journey often crowded with dangers, as well as delights. The pilgrims were frequently exposed to robbers and sometimes their path was blocked by enemies.  There were deserts to be crossed and many people suffered from the pitiless glare of the sun. On the journey, there were the sick to be tended and the aged to be supported.  But the trials of the way were immediately forgotten when the towers of the city of Jerusalem came into sight and the promise of the rich fellowship and safety.  It was in such a caravan that Jesus of Nazareth traveled with Mary and Joseph when he was twelve years old.

If you were a pilgrim journeying to Jerusalem once or even three times a year to attend one of the three great yearly festivals, you wouldn’t expect there to be an hour-long church service to happen and then to turn around and go home. The ancient Israelites didn’t speak of hourly church services on these occasions. They spoke of a season of worship. In Genesis, God created the seasons before he created years, days and mankind. A season is a long time. It is God’s time and according to the Bible, a season lasted for days.

Let’s look at Psalms 121 line by line to discover its meaning in our lives today.

PSALM 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved,
he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade
on your right hand.
The sun shall not smite you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and for evermore.

 According to the Psalm, when you have a problem, what is the first thing to do?  “I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lord who made Heaven and earth.”  “Lift up your eyes” to a higher consciousness or to a higher mind inside yourself because that is where your help will come from. There are always two level of minds within you that you can draw energy from: human (ego) mind and God or Christ Mind. To solve a problem, you have to draw your inspiration from a higher level of Mind than the level of mind that created the problem in the first place.

On the journey to Jerusalem, pilgrims camped in the desert. At night sentries were set on the top of neighboring hills in order to guard the encampment against sudden attack from robber bands. In the psalm, a pilgrim on the journey is commenting on this fact. As he prepares to enter his tent at night, he looks toward the hills and sees the human sentry standing there and he also senses (sees with faith) another guardian watching over the camp, the Lord.  Can there be a better help or guardian than the creator of Heaven and earth?

So, the Psalmist confidently says, “He will not let your foot be moved;” In other words, because you know that God is always with you and watching over you there is nothing to fear. With God as your partner, you have the strength to not only stand and face whatever it is but to overcome it.  As a woman once told her Granddaughter, "Responsibility is nothing more than responding to God's ability to work through us."

“He who keeps you will not slumber.”  God is at work every minute of every day, even at night when you are sleeping. The Psalmist knows that sometimes when a person has a problem, the tendency of the human mind is to lie in bed at night churning it over and over rather than turning it over to God. When we forget that God is the only presence and power in the universe and that it is in God life in which we live, move and have our being, a common mistake we can make that blocks and delays overcoming is that we don’t downsize our difficulties. We often do just the opposite, going on and on about a problem, feeding it energy and turn molehills into mountains. Someone asks us “How are things going?” and we start telling them all about the problem. We must downsize the problem and that means that we must focus on the power of God to overcome anything rather than focusing on the problem.  The Law of Mind Actions is: “SO IN MIND, SO IN MANIFESTATION.”

The former Dean of Columbia University said, "Half of the difficulties in the world are caused by worry and all the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge."

The University of Pennsylvania Law School has a method of demonstrating this to every opening class.  The Professor writes on the blackboard, a “4 & a 2” and then says, “Solve this problem.” The class automatically begins to churn out solutions, “6”, ‘2’, ‘8’.  The professor then says, “All these answers are wrong because the solutions were offered without first knowing what the problem was.  Nothing was said about subtraction, multiplication, or addition.  The problem was not defined. Remember:  Never waste your time on solutions or worry until you actually find out what the problem is.”  As I look back over my life, I see many times when I ran here and there, putting all my energies into trying to solve something only to discover that I was wasting time because I really didn’t know exactly what the problem was.

The Psalmist is saying, “It doesn’t matter what the problem is, God is the solution.” A business man once said, “Business is bad.  That’s my problem.  It’s so bad, I can’t sleep at night.  I’m a nervous wreck over this.”  Looking closely, it appears that he actually has three problems: bad business, sleeplessness, and his nerves are shot.  But in Truth, all three of these are not ‘problems.’ They are actually symptoms of the ‘real problem’ that hasn’t been found yet.

Another example: “I’m so unhappy I don’t know what to do.” Obviously, that doesn’t define the problem. Unhappiness is a result. Unhappiness is an effect.  The ‘outer emotional manifestation’ of what we are thinking inside which is ‘fear,’ because on the human level of mind we still believe we exist apart from God.  The problem is that we are holding a limited and thus wrong emotional thought climate. Whatever we look to we become part of.  If we look at the difficulty and say, “Mammoth difficulty,” we make the difficulty our God, we give it the power. Charles Fillmore cofounder of Unity said, “We must immerse ourselves in the Presence of God and develop a consciousness that dwells on the solution and not immerse ourselves in the difficulty and develop a consciousness that dwells on the problem. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, God is the solution.”

"The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.'  This guardian, the Lord, neither slumbers nor sleeps- the Creator of Heaven and earth can do more than a human sentry. “The Lord is my shade” translates as “The Lord is my complete defense or protection.” The Lord can also guard the travelers from diseases that might afflict them on their travels, as well as dangers like sun stroke or dangers of animals or robbers at night.

"The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life."  Jesus taught that we create our life by what we believe. Arnold Patton said "We are 100% responsible for creating our lives. It would be better if we could stand it better.” Any appearing difficulty is a form of growth and testing of our power of free will and choice. Which level of Mind and consciousness will we most habitually draw from and live from? We have to learn to stand firm in consciousness and demonstrate our unshakable faith. Unity calls doing this “Practical Christianity”. Unity teaches that “God is everywhere present and powerful.”  The question is: “Do you really believe that?” To really believe that you must be living your life like you believe it.  Do you live like you believe God is the only presence and power?

"The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."  To the Jewish people, the doorstep indicates a division between the safety, comfort and protection of home and the dangers and opportunities of the outer world. The home is an individuals’ temple. It is a refuge from the storms of life and the world is where one is exposed to temptation, tests and trials. Normally we cross the threshold and pass from one to the other without an immediate sense of change; partly for us because the door to our home is always open and we expect to return soon. The Psalmist is telling us to be aware when we cross a threshold and pass from one environment to another.  The going out and the coming in is also a reference to a break in old habits, a change for those who go out and for those who stay in.

From ancient times until today, the Jew fixes a ‘mezuzah’ on the portal the door and touches it each time he goes in or comes out of his home.  A ‘mezuzah’ is a small metal cylinder containing a piece of parchment on which the words of Deut. 6:4-9 are written "Hear O Israel the Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your might.  and these words shall be written upon your heart."  (“You will teach them to your children, talk of them when you sit in your house. When you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”)

You are to take the awareness of God's presence from one place to the next. Deuteronomy 11:13-21 continues, "And if you will obey my commandments to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the grass in your fields for your cattle, and food to eat and be full.  Take care so that your heart is not deceived, and you turn away and worship other Gods so that there be no rain, no fruit upon the land (manifestation), and you perish off the good land which the Lord gives you.”

The faith of the psalmist is that neither those who go out nor those who stay in the home are alone. God protects us all through the ordinary routines of life and guides us also through the extraordinary experiences. The way may be long, the dangers many but the Lord shall preserve your going in and your coming out.

Since yesterday millions of cells in your body have changed, millions of thoughts have passed through your head--hopefully most of them have been higher thoughts, God thoughts.  You are not the same person with the same level of consciousness as you were yesterday, or a couple of days ago or a few years ago.  We think we know who we are and where we are.  We like to create thresholds to cross because it makes us feel secure. We have divided up the seamless earth into countries, states, districts, counties, etc.  But in God, there aren't any seams. When you drive from Washington to Oregon, you see a sign telling you that you are leaving Washington State and entering into Oregon State. You see a sign and not a seam because the earth as God created it is seamless.

We don’t really know where we are, but we like to think we do so we draw up all these reference points.  If we really don’t really know where we physically are, how can we know where we are in relationship to the difficulty we’re dealing with?   The Psalmist is saying that we have to view it as a dispassionate observer and look with new eyes. The truth is ‘we live and move and have our being in God.’ We are points of light moving through eternity on an eternal journey.

If you have a difficulty write it down on a piece of paper and then put this piece of paper on a chair next to you. You have a relationship with this difficulty and it’s possible to change the relationship between you and it by changing your consciousness by shifting your level of mind.
This is the meaning of Psalm 121.  Let us pray:

PSALM 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved,
he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade
on your right hand.
The sun shall not smite you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and for evermore.





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