Tag Archives: traditional christianity

Change that Even Angels Could Not Bring About

hass - pennsylvania impressionist“How difficult it is to believe that you need not change the world but only your own self. How difficult to imagine that this one change could bring about all the changes you would imagine that even an army of angels could not bring about. While such a thought remains inconceivable to you it will not come to be. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.8)”

Affirmation: “I need change only myself today.”

Reflections:

1 – Comparison to Traditional Christianity

The passage for today actually suggests a similarity to traditional Christianity, the personal salvation that will reach and change the world. But it is not the social gospel. We must change ourselves first through a personal commitment to God, and, in traditional Christianity as in A Course of Love, this commitment extends to Jesus as our leader and savior.

2 – Change Ourselves

If we can change ourselves, we will walk a new earth. This is a tenet of A Course in Miracles as well as ACOL. We will see things differently, entirely differently. We project that which is within, and when the within is informed by the Christ Self, that projection changes accordingly. And we dream the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles), at least until Awakening beckons. And then we are in the real world, a concept that is never defined very precisely, but which we can intuit is a shining world awash with joy.

3 – No Idle Fantasy

How can we change ourselves? It could be argued that we are in the driver’s seat on this one, but we have plenty of assistance. Jesus himself will assist us. We need only imagine that he is holding our hand as we walk along the pathways of this world. And this will be no “idle fantasy.”

4 – Changing the World

We imagine that we need to change the world, but we will be curiously inept until we change ourselves. Other people, the ones we are trying to help, will see through us, knowing that our hearts are not right. And they will be helped only superficially, if at all. When we change our hearts to be in league with God, we will know success as we seek to change the world.

5 – Mari Perron

Mari Perron, the scribe of A Course of Love, seems to me to be particularly interested in seeing changes in our world. This is perhaps a difference between Mari and Helen Schucman (the scribe of A Course in Miracles). Their times were different, and Helen kept her involvement with ACIM a secret; even the channeling was not mentioned at her funeral. Mari is actively speaking for A Course of Love, to great benefit to our world.

6 – Personal Salvation vs. Salvation of the World

This question of personal salvation vs. salvation of the world is a controversial one. Here A Course of Love says definitively that no lasting change will occur in this world until we ourselves are changed first. Then our efforts, and only then, will bear fruit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

All too often I want to make a greater change in this world than I am capable of doing. I know that only when I change myself will any action in the world bear fruit. This is the message of ACIM and ACOL, as well as traditional Christianity. It is a step removed from the social gospel, but changes do occur in this world when our own hearts are right. And we will be zealous then in making those changes.

Thank You that there is no conflict in changing myself and changing the world. But I must change myself first, and that is not my doing only. You are there every step of the way; You make the changes, with my consent.

Thank You for the joys that You are giving me every day. Thank You for being there for me. And thank You for the smooth path on which I walk. Even struggles take on a different hue when I realize that You are there for me in the midst of them.

Amen.

Our Internal Self

Cezanne----Fruit-And-Jug-On-A-Table---0“Yet you have not remembered that the first union is of mind and heart.  The first union is union with the Self.  This union with the Self is resurrection or rebirth.  All are capable of this life-giving union.  All are capable of birthing the Self.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 9.7)”

Affirmation:  “I will seek to birth the Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Enlightening Passage

This is an enlightening passage.  We first unite within ourselves, the mind and the heart into wholeheartedness, and then we move to the union with the Self within.  And this is resurrection or rebirth.  The words are clear, the meaning clear.  We do not have to do anything special by way of meritorious deeds.  We can all birth the Self.

2 – Christ-Consciousness

We can all birth the Self!  But will we recognize this when we have done so?  I think that the knowledge that we are birthing the Self comes upon us gradually, in snatches, even as birthing the Self is seen in snatches (an interpretation, not stated in A Course of Love).  I do know that Christ-consciousness, or Awakening, is most often seen in snatches, in glimpses.  And the birth of the Self, the rebirth of our entity from just the personal or “little” self is akin to Christ-consciousness or Awakening.  And Jesus says further on in the trilogy of A Course of Love that nobody has yet sustained the elevated Self of form.  But we are on the cusp of a reformation.  We are on the cusp of more and more individuals birthing the Self/Christ.

3 – What Can We Do to Birth the Self?

Is there anything that we can do to hurry the process?  Yes and no, and these ideas are interpretations, not stated in A Course in Miracles or ACOL.  We can commune with God on an almost constant basis, though constancy is not demanded of us, and may be beyond us.  We can study ACIM, but we can read ACOL as though we were reading a story.  (There are distinct differences in the way that the two trilogies are best read.)  And we can look to answering the needs of our brothers and sisters, in relationship to them, holy relationship to them.  ACIM indicates that our way home is through relationship to our brother.  ACOL indicates that our way home is through unity and relationship, adding the fact of unity or union.

4 – Union

The fact of union is perhaps an elusive concept.  But we join; we do not separate ourselves in any way from the universe or from God or from others.  We will be less inclined to go it alone when we have had our heart warmed by God’s love.  This time of tenderness is well-described in ACOL.  We may cry easily.  Certainly we will cry when listening to a poignant story of others’ plights.  This is what the time of tenderness does for us.  It readies us for the birth of Christ-consciousness (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to begin today to let go of stress and to engage calm, for only in a peaceful mind and heart can the Self the birthed.  We cannot run around helter-skelter and expect to know peace.  Help me to talk to myself, to talk myself down, when I have let the world intrude on my inner being.  I would follow You, and You do not welcome an agitated mind.

Be with me as I walk through today and all the days to come.  Thank You for Your felt presence.  This feeling of Your being there for me is an enormously comforting and calming state.  

Thank You.

Amen.

Transformation

Paul-Cezanne-Painting-012

“Your experience here is but an extension of mind into a realm in which experience can occur.  Your ego has made of this something different than it is.  Rather than extension of mind your experience has become a projection of ego.  This can change.  (A Course of Love, 31.35)”

Affirmation:  “I would withdraw from the projections of my ego.”

Reflections:

1 – ACOL vs. ACIM

A Course of Love is more welcoming to experience in this world, in my opinion, than is A Course in MiraclesACOL sees real benefits to an experience in this world, provided that we are moving toward the elevated Self of form.  This elevated Self of form is the sustained awareness of the inner Self/Christ which we will know when we have walked the whole pathway, the pathway to Christ-consciousness, or Awakening.

2 – The Insane Ego

Our experience here is of the physical.  In ACOL, such an experience is not denigrated.  But our problem is that our minds have dipped into insanity by way of the creation of an insane part, the ego.  And the ego does not love us or wish us well.  We can frequently see in the ego the old devil, or enemy, concept of traditional Christianity.

3 – The “Devil”

Just what was the devil, or enemy, in traditional Christianity?  It was a fallen angel who took on God as its rival, at times (as in Job) causing God to engage in contests that sought to prove that the devil knew better.  And there is in many of us this dualistic nature of thought still raging.  We have not left behind this egoic interpretation, for that is exactly what the devil really is, an invention of the ego.

4 – Battle with God?

We are not in a battle with God, and neither is our ego.  The ego just thinks that it is battling God.  God doesn’t respond.  He knows that eventually all of us will choose to eliminate the pain from our lives and choose again His way.  We, unfortunately, do not always understand the truth that His will and our will are actually identical.  We want what He wants for us, but we are just unsure about this.  We think that it is an infringement on the free will that he gave us.

5 – An Imprisoned Will

Actually this is a misnomer.  Our will is actually imprisoned when we choose against God (an ACIM tenet).  And we would not choose to live a life that is, essentially, a loveless and painful experience.  We find joy in turning to the God within.  There is no greater joy than communion with Him or with His Universal Inspiration, the Holy Spirit.  Once we realize that truly His will for us is the same as our true inner will, we will no longer be in conflict.  We will no longer be Jonahs, railing against His will for us.  We did not create ourselves, though an agnostic or atheist might have trouble with this assertion.  We need to set to one side our intellectual doubts, and just allow the experience of God to infiltrate our minds.

6 – Agnostic or Atheistic?

We will then not long remain agnostics or atheists.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would transform my experience in this world from a battleground for the ego to an experience of a transformed Self for whom God is very real.  I would see that my ego’s idea that I am battling God is not true.  I would seek to know only the true.  

May all of us walk together toward an experience in this world that is the best that this world can offer, the best that life on the earth can offer.  We will be surprised at the transformation that can occur.  And we need to take steps toward that transformation today.  Thank You for guiding us.  Thank You for Jesus’s inspired words in A Course of Love.

Amen.

Living a Life of Love

1217335673_paul-cezanne-wallpaper-the-sea-at“You are ready now, and all that will prevent you from living a life of love is unwillingness to do so.  There is only one remaining source of such unwillingness.  Your willingness will now depend on whether or not you trust.  Do you trust these words?  Do you trust in God?  Can you trust in your Self?  (A Course of Love, 27.21)

Affirmation:  “I am willing to live a life of love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Trust

Trust is the bedrock of the Teacher of God’s life (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).  Nothing else good, on a permanent basis, can really come to us until we trust, in God and in our Self.

2 – Better Living

We are reassured that we are ready now for that better living.  This is akin to Helen (co-scribe of ACIM) and her remark to Bill (co-scribe) that she would help him find another way.  And in A Course of Love, the work that was begun in ACIM comes to fruition.  We see Jesus not any longer as just our teacher, but as our heartfelt companion.  This is not so different from traditional Christianity.

3 – Life of Love

We are willing to live a life of love.  Only doubt that it can be so would prevent us from so living.  And we can banish doubt from our minds by a concentrated will to do so.  If pursued by doubt, turn to your heart, which does not seek for proof.  Ask internally what your heart really knows.

4 – The Heart Will Answer

And you will be answered.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live that life of love that is indicated herein.  May I trust enough to do so.  I feel ready, sometimes, for a continual life of love, and I thank You for those times that I feel so blessed.  Extend those times to be a continuous thread throughout my life.  May today be the beginning of the rest of a life of love.

I wish to be able to express love in a way that can be accepted.  Guard my tongue if I am saying the wrong thing, based on thinking the wrong kinds of thoughts.  Help me to be of assistance to those in my circle.  May I listen to what my heart is telling me, and with that heartfelt messages will arrive, guiding my thinking, my words, and my actions.  I fully believe this, and I thank You for the assurances that You give me constantly.  May I always be ready to accept Your assurances of love and peace and hope and tranquility.

Amen.

How to Receive Constant Help

“What it [A Course in Miracles] says is that the unknown is benevolent.  What it says is that what you cannot anticipate can be anticipated for you.  What it says is that you could be receiving constant help if you would but let it come  What it says is that you are not alone.  (A Course of Love, 17.8)”
paintings-by-claude-monet- close-up water lilies
Affirmation:  “May I receive constant help today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

When I was little, I was not sure that the universe was benevolent.  This was when I had learned just enough science to be made confused with my religion.  (My religion was traditional Christianity.)  I used to lie in bed and ponder questions about the universe.  Was God just superstition?  Was hell real?  Was the center of the universe a terror?

2 – Scary Thoughts

These are scary thoughts for a 12-year-old to have.  But now we have A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love to reassure us that all is well, and we can proffer this knowledge to our children.  There is nothing to fear.  God is here, and God will help.

3 – Constant Help

Receiving constant help is a tremendous blessing, and all that we have to do to receive this constant help is to be open to it.  Actually, I think we do not even have to know that we are receiving the help from a benevolent universe to be blessed by good fortune.  The rain and sun are there for good and bad alike, and ACIM notes that we are all innocent of wrongdoing; we only have made mistakes.

4 – The Future

When we cannot anticipate the future, and we fear that it will be bad, then we can know that help is walking ahead of us to smooth the way.

5 – Reassuring Passage

These three facets of the passage–benevolent unknown, anticipation by helpers, and the fact that we are not alone–make this one of the most reassuring passages in A Course of Love.  And this is just the beginning of many such reassuring passages in ACOL.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You everyday that I no longer have to fear that I am all alone in the universe.  I thank You that I know that You are a constant help to me.  And Your offer of help is a free offer; I don’t have to do anything to deserve Your help.  A free offer!  Such a blessing!

May I drop into the past the scary thoughts that I had as a 12-year-old child.  Thankfully, I had only four years of the scary thoughts before You warmed my heart one night in a religious meeting.  Thank You for that happening, remembered now from my 16-year-old self.  Be with me today, in future warmth also.

Amen.

To Sing a Song of Gladness

“Ages have passed since creation began, and still you have not learned the lesson of the birds of the air or the flowers of the field.  Two thousand years have passed since you were told to observe this lesson.  The lilies of the field neither sow not reap and yet they are provided for.  The birds of the air live to sing a song of gladness.  So do you.

“God’s will for you is happiness, and never has it been otherwise.  (A Course of Love, 9.32 – 9.33)”

Affirmation:  “I would live as the lilies of the field, the birds of the air.”

Reflections:van gogh - tree5

1 – An Ideal

How do we respond to this ideal, for it is an ideal?  We know that we have to do things in this world to provide for our families and ourselves, and so how can Jesus be serious with us when he invokes this long-ago parable?

2 – Effortlessness

We can work in a way that is effortless, for when we have given all to All, we know peace and joy in the midst of the most hard work.  We are not fooling ourselves at such times.  It is really possible to know ease in the midst of great work.  Work with ease, and we will live a long and fruitful like that will allow us to feel very much like the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

3 – Calm and Centered

Do I say this on blind faith?  No.  When we are calm and centered, collected, the hardest work seems to be a “breeze.”  But when we become agitated, even the simplest effort becomes a chore of the greatest proportions.

4 – Attitude

We need today to ask fot the help that we need to do our necessary work with ease and delight.  If we are not where God would have us in our work, ask to be led elsewhere, and He will oblige.  But do not think that a change of venue is always what is needed.  Attitude makes a huge difference.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to be calm and collected today in all the various tasks that I think I have to do.  Some of these tasks may not be necessary, and I ask You to guide me to delete those that are unnecessary.  Be with me for the necessary ones.  I know that You will be with me, for You are always.  And for that I thank You.

Help me to remain calm and collected at all times, now and into the future.

Amen.

Reassurance to Children of God

“Child of God, you need no imaginary friend when you have beside you he who is your friend always and he who would show you that you have no needs at all.  What you truly are cannot be used, not even by God.  See you not that it is only in illusion that you can use others who are like yourself?  (A Course of Love, 9.31)”

Affirmation:  “Jesus is beside me today.”

Reflections:vincent-van-gogh-paintings-from-saint-remy-1

1 – Strains of Thought

There are several strains of thought in these simple sentences.  Let us take the strains up one at a time.

2 – No Idle Fantasy

Jesus walks beside us, when we have asked for his presence.  This is a long-time declaration of traditional Christianity, but here in A Course of Love, we find the same declaration in New Age thought.  In A Course in Miracles, Jesus says much the same, inviting us to imagine that we hold his hand as we walk along, and he says that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

3 – No Needs

We do not have needs, because all needs are met at the point that they arrive.  The solution is with the problem (an ACIM tenet).  Now, it is true that we may not recognize that our needs have already been met; there may be some delay before this is recognized.  But when we look within, we can know, and know immediately.  We do not have to wait for God’s grace.

4 – No Need to be Defensive

We are not people who can be used by anyone.  For this reason, we do not have to be defensive about anything.  To defend against is to make the resistance strong, and to reduce the likelihood that we recognize that we do not need to be defensive.  Our defenses will not work, but we have no need of them (from the Manual of ACIM).  Even God Himself, most of all, would not seek to “use” us.

5 – Being “Used”

Only in illusion do we encounter the concept of being used by another.  And this world is an illusion.  Do we need to defend against illusions, thereby making them real to us?  We should not think in this way.  We would not make real the attacks of others by focusing on them, and being used by another is an attack (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).  Let us turn aside from attacks of all kinds, giving them no emotion, and thus not reinforcing them.

6 – Happy Dreams

Then all will improve in this dream world where we find ourselves.  We will know the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for the reassurance that nobody here can understand, but can only be experienced:  that Jesus walks beside all who ask him to do so.  Thank You for this helper, this companion.  Being companioned is a truly wonderful blessing, and, if we heed the message, we will fear no more.

May I leave fears and anxieties behind today.  This tendency toward anxiety which I have had does not have to haunt me any longer; that is your blessed reassurance.

Thank You.

Amen.

Every Miracle Accomplished

“Accept Atonement and you are healed.  Atonement is the Word of God.  Accept His Word and what remains to make sickness possible?  Accept His Word and every miracle has been accomplished.  (M-22.1)”

Affirmation:  “May I accept Atonement today.”

Reflections:

1 – Atonement in ACIM

Atonement is different in A Course in Miracles from traditional Christianity.  In ACIM, we look to the resurrection, not the crucifixion, for Atonement.  And we make a change of mind in the way that we look at the world.  We let our errors be corrected for us.  And, with this, we have accepted the Word of God.

2 – Theology

All of these ideas are part of the theology of ACIM, and theology can delay.  ACIM does not look for controversy, looking only for the practical, for what works in making changes, corrections, in our lives.  And then we are said to be healed.

3 – Trust

Certainly this is not always a physical healing, though we are told by Jesus in the Manual that to doubt a healing because of the continuing presence of symptoms is a lack of trust, and trust is the bedrock on which all of our salvation rests.  Trust is the bedrock for the teacher of God, and therefore for students as well, for only time separates us, and time does not really exist.

4- Hard to Understand?

These are hard words to understand, but we are not asked to accept anything for which we are not ready.  We are told not to appeal to “mysteries,” in our acceptance of ACIM.  We are asked only to walk along the pathway as far as we can, using our minds and hearts to accept Jesus’s word when we are ready.

5 – Healing

I believe that the ethereal body may be healed when this world’s body, the physical, continues to have symptoms (a personal interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  But one thing that we can probably all agree on is that the emotional body can be healed, given time, the right medication, and the right attitudes.  (Jesus says pills are sometimes needed, and so he is not opposed to medical intervention.)

6 – Probable Realities

What does it mean:  “. . .every miracle has been accomplished”?  Perhaps we will not know in our lifetimes.  But perhaps we will.  There are blessings ahead for all of us who are ready to accept God’s Word, and while we can attune to the Unknown, we cannot always predict it.  There are probable realities that make fortune telling unreliable (not an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am very glad that You have promised healing.  Perhaps we will not understand in our lifetimes in this world what it means to doubt a healing when there are continuing symptoms.  This is an Ideal that not all of us are ready to accept.  But we want to walk as far along Your pathway as we can.  And we trust that Jesus knows what he is talking about.

Be with us today.  If we need a healing, may it come today–not tomorrow, nor in some far distant time.  May we accept that healing is a part of Your plan, and may we react accordingly.  May all of our brothers and sisters be healed along with us.

Amen

Worry Not

“I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what
   to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing
   He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.  (T28)”

Affirmation:  “I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do.”

Reflections:

1 – Follow the Holy Spirit

This is a lovely prayer, set in the form of a blank verse poem.  The “He” and “Him” referred to in the poem mean the Holy Spirit.

2 – Beautiful Poetry

Two of the most beautiful lines are Lines 3 and 4, in which we are assured that the Holy Spirit will guide us.  We do not have to reach ahead to the future, wondering what to do.  We will be told in the present.  If there are plans that need to be made, we will be told of them at the point of need.  There is no need to worry.

3 – Guidance Where We Are Led to Go

We will follow guidance to go wherever in this world we are led to go.  This is truly being led by the Holy Spirit, and it may not take what is commonly known as blind faith.  We will know inwardly and with assurance what pathway is best, and where that pathway is physically located.  We will go with knowledge that we are there with the Holy Spirit.

4 – Our Brother’s Keeper

We are also our brother’s keeper.  “I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal,” which is the last line, is an assurance that our relationship to our brother is where healing lies.

5 – The Blessing of This Poem

If we study this poem, we will have its blessing, for it is indeed dense with meaning.  Let the Holy Spirit speak to us as we read.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you for helping me to make decisions through the Holy Spirit.  Let me realize that I do not have to worry about what to say or do, because I will be guided.  This is Your promise.

Help me to be helpful to others in my daily life.  As I am healed, I will be better able to effect healing in others through Your grace.

Amen.

The Undoing of Fear

“Miracles represent freedom from fear.  ‘Atoning’ means ‘undoing.’  The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “freedom from fear”

 

Reflections:

1 – Atoning

This passage gives a definition for atoning that is at variance, perhaps, with traditional Christianity.  Jesus gives “atoning” a very benign meaning:  “undoing.”  It says little about the crucifixion, a happening meant to describe that Jesus did not blame his tormentors for anything that they did in illusion.  He remained defenseless.

2 – Atonement = Relinquishment of Fear

Here the passage from A Course in Miracles links the atonement with the relinquishment of fear.  What a wonderful promise this is!  We need to live fearless lives, because all too often our good works and good thoughts are marred by the anxiety that pervades our society.

3 – Our Usefulness to Others

We let our own personal difficulties hinder our usefulness to others.  When we fear for our own safety and personal welfare, we also project this onto others.  And sometimes we are paralyzed by this fear about our personal well-being.  Then we are of no use to others, including Jesus and his message to humankind.

4 – Live Fearlessly

With miracles an essential part of our lives, we will live fearlessly.  Because love and fear are the only two emotions, we know that to love while experiencing miracles will free us for the Atonement.  Atonement signals a certainty that we are living lives in line with what Jesus would approve.  We are right with God, though it is still not beyond us to continue to make mistakes.  God does not need to forgive us for these mistakes, but we need to forgive ourselves.  (God does not forgive, because he has never condemned–a Text tenet.)

5 – Freedom from Fear

“Freedom from fear” is a boon enjoyed by so few of us.  But we have Jesus’s promise that it is only waiting for us to receive.  We do not have to be in bondage to fear or, indeed, to any of its component negative emotions.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would, beginning today, so relinquish the ego and its fear that I would live fearlessly.  Guide my faltering steps to this goal.  I realize that anxiety has been one of the issues in my life, but You would not have it so–this I know.  So I must remove the conditions that lead to fear, and walk into the sunlight with You.

May I have no moments of anxiety today.  May I walk in peace, comfort, joy, and serenity.  Be with me so that I can feel Your presence.  The felt presence of You gives me great happiness.  Thank You for staying with me, inside, and may I commune with You often today.  Yours is the way that I would forever choose.

Amen.

The Undoing of Fear

“Miracles represent freedom from fear.  ‘Atoning’ means ‘undoing.’  The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “I welcome the undoing of fear.”

Reflections:

1 – The ACIM Definition of “Atoning”

This passage gives a definition for atoning that is at variance, perhaps, with traditional Christianity.  Jesus gives “atoning” a very benign meaning:  “undoing.”  It says little about the crucifixion, a happening meant to describe that Jesus did not blame his tormentors for anything that they did in illusion.  He remained defenseless.

2 – The Crucifixion and the Resurrection

Traditional Christianity frequently teaches that the crucifixion is some way “bought” our atonement with God.  A Course in Miracles would have us look to the resurrection, which it never denies actually happened, as the way in which our eyes should travel.  If we find trouble with accepting the resurrection, believing that it disobeys all known physical laws, perhaps we need to realize that science has not yet caught up with many concepts in religion.  But Jesus would not have us to accept concepts for which we are not ready.  In an interpretation (not stated in ACIM), I would say that if we have to see the resurrection as metaphorical, we are not to be find ourselves at fault and chastise ourselves.  Take time, and accept all that does not cause conflict within ourselves.  Jesus always in ACIM counsels against theological concepts that are divisive.  He says that a universal theology is impossible, but that a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary.

3 – Atonement

With miracles an essential part of our lives, we will live fearlessly.  Because love and fear are the only two emotions, we know that to love while experiencing miracles will free us for the Atonement.  Some students/teachers of ACIM says that Atonement does not mean “At – one – ment.”  And there are differences of opinion, but I have personally found this interpretation to be helpful.  But nowhere in ACIM is Atonement spelled out in this way.

4 – Anxiety

“Freedom from fear” is a boon enjoyed by so few of us.  But we have Jesus’s promise that it is only waiting for us to receive.  We do not have to be in bondage to fear or, indeed, to any of its component negative emotions.  Fear is frequently manifested as anxiety, and most of us cannot turn meaningfully to our brothers and sisters if we are paralyzed by anxiety.  We become very self-absorbed, which any psychologist of today would say is not to be desired.  It is just good psychology to turn outward to others, as much as we turn inward.  And anxiety is a definite hindrance to this healthy living.

5 – Defenses Make What They Would Defend Against

So we would be wise, at this early point in A Course in Miracles, to come to terms with fear.  We do not have to devise defenses against fear, because we are told in ACIM that defenses make what they would define against.  We need only to allow love to touch our hearts, and fear will wither away.  We become not so interested in our physical safety, because we know that the real Self is safe.  Once we have let all our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (a Workbook tenet).  This may mean that the Self is safe, because the little (the personal) self may still know trouble.  We are, after all, living in an illusory world where bad things do happen to good people (a concept from Harold Kushner).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would today make a resolution that I plan to keep.  I would turn aside from fear in all its manifestations, and turn to You when anxious thoughts crowd into my mind.   I certainly know that praying in the middle of an anxious night will soothe me, and allow me to turn the night over to You to handle until the morning.  I pray myself back to sleep, and I don’t think that this is an affront to You.  You would have us enjoy restful restoration through sleep, while You stay awake and handle all the details of my tiny life.

Be with all of us who need You to quell anxiety in our hearts and minds.  We do not wish to be fearful.  We know that this is evidence that this world is too much with us.  Tonight as I write this prayer to You, I would know that it is one of the final deeds of the day.  And I will go to sleep with Your blessing on my life, for I have asked Your blessing upon me.  And You never fail to answer that prayer in the affirmative.

Thank You.

Amen.

Nailed to the Cross

“The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross.  Perhaps it seemed to be salvation.  Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear of God is real.  And what is that but hell?  (WB374)”

Affirmation:  “I would love God rather than cringe in fear.”

Reflections:

1 – Hell

We often wonder about “hell.”  This passage indicates where it is to be found in the fear of God.

2 – Interpretations of the Word “Fear”

This concept goes against traditional Christianity.  But I think that the difference is in an interpretation of the word “fear.”  A Course in Miracles would suggest that it is a lamentable way to approach our Creator, but traditional thinking merely wants us to honor God by such “fear.”  In traditional thinking, it is a humble way to approach our Creator.  In A Course in Miracles, the fear of God is linked to that which is keeping us from salvation.  The two emotions, fear and love, are said to be the only emotions; all  others are linked in some way to these two.  We are encouraged to love God, but not to “fear” him in the sense that we are afraid.  Traditional Christianity does not use fear in that sense of being afraid either.  The fear of God is seen in an awesome sense, and this type of awe is seen as perfectly appropriate toward our Creator, both in traditional Christianity and as stated in ACIM.

3 – God Is Our Friend

ACIM would always see God as our Friend.  We dishonor that relationship when we attack others, in part because we always attack ourselves first (another concept from ACIM).  The image of being “nailed to the cross” is especially important, because elsewhere Jesus asks us to look beyond the crucifixion to the resurrection (T36).  When we look to the resurrection, we are seeing A Course in Miracles in its true light.

4 – Look to the Resurrection

A Course in Miracles differs from traditional Christianity in that it does not see a suffering savior as the best way to view Jesus’s crucifixion.  ACIM would have us look to the resurrection, which it does not deny as a plausible occurrence (but, of course, one that we cannot fully understand, given our belief in the laws of this world).  Jesus did not defend himself in his trial, just as he encourages us avoid defense as a way of life.  ACIM sees the crucifixion as a benign concept, and would not have us cling to this historical occurrence as our route to salvation.  In that sense, ACIM and traditional Christianity are at odds.

5 – The Scriptures

It would be especially good, I believe, if we did not attack the beliefs of others as we feel led to encourage reading of ACIM.  There is a progression from the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), the New Testament, A Course in Miracles, and A Course of Love.  In all cases, we would be advised that theology and theological concepts would only prolong our pathway to salvation.  Jesus calls for a universal experience in ACIM, saying that theology will only delay us.  A universal theology is impossible.  But a universal experience is not only encouraged, but is felt to be necessary (from the Text).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not speak my beliefs in any kind of strident way.  Not all are ready to believe that A Course in Miracles (and, of course, even more so A Course of Love) are the latest manifestations of Christian belief.  Those of traditional Christianity would be particular hostile to this idea.

So help me, dear God, to share only with those who feel inclined to study Christian experience differently.  I do understand that theology divides, but that a universal experience will transform all of us who seek You.  Help me to speak my truth in a way that is accessible to my readers.  Help me to share what I have learned of You in a benign way, non-threatening way.  And may I always look to the resurrection, which of course none of us fully understand, as my beacon in a sometimes difficult world.

Thank You for allow me to sense Your felt presence today.

Amen.