“I have great need for lilies, for the Son of God has not forgiven me. And can I offer him forgiveness when he offers thorns to me? For he who offers thorns to anyone is against me still, and who is whole without him? Be you his friend for me, that I may be forgiven and you may look upon the Son of God as whole. But look you first upon the altar in your chosen home, and see what you have laid upon it to offer me. If it be thorns whose points gleam sharply in a blood-red light, the body is your chosen home and it is separation that you offer me. And yet the thorns are gone. Look you still closer at them now, and you will see your altar is no longer what it was.” (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-20.II.4)
Here Jesus is speaking of the way in which we react to him. How we respond to Jesus will testify to how we respond to other brothers, brothers in this world now. We may think that we have nothing to forgive in Jesus, but do we also have nothing to forgive in other brothers? The dynamic is the same. If we can offer lilies to Jesus, we can offer lilies to all of our brothers.
There is a clear metaphor in this quotation of our inner altar, and Jesus tells us that our altar is not as it has been. We have traveled far enough along toward salvation that we are no longer offering thorns to either Jesus or other brothers whom we encounter. Our altar has been purified, our inner altar, where our inner Self reigns. We are facing a different world than we did in the past, and it behooves us to show a different face to this different world.
Previously, just recently, we chose separation, and the thorns were sharp and gleamed sharply in blood-red light. We are no longer offering separation, though, for from our pure altar we see a different world, and we react differently because our projection from within (making perception of the world) is different.
This day we choose once again. We choose not to offer separation to any brother, including our brother Jesus. We offer salvation by our forgiveness of the words and deeds that have come from our brother. We do not take any attack personally. We know that we are seeing an innocent brother who only seems like an enemy because he is lost in madness. Today it is given us to remove a bit of that armor from him by accepting him totally, recognizing that inside him is a perfect altar where his Self resides. He may be offering us thorns, of course, but we don’t reciprocate. We offer lilies, and in this offering is all the world saved.
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