Church Within Sunday Services
for March 1997
3-2-97 Sunday Service from "Church Within" #23
I will start today's Service with a reading which has been quite helpful to me in my quest for understanding myself and others... I hope it will likewise be so for you.
(The Urantia Papers - Paper 156)
Make not the mistake of estimating the soul's worth by the imperfections of the mind or by the appetites of the body. Judge not the soul nor evaluate its destiny by the standard of a single unfortunate human episode. Your spiritual destiny is conditioned only by your spiritual longings and purposes.
Religion is the exclusively spiritual experience of the evolving immortal soul of the God-knowing man, but moral power and spiritual energy are mighty forces which may be utilized in dealing with difficult social situations and in solving intricate economic problems. These moral and spiritual endowments make all levels of human living richer and more meaningful.
You are destined to live a narrow and mean life if you learn to love only those who love you. Human love may indeed be reciprocal, but divine love is outgoing in all its satisfaction-seeking. The less of love in any creature's nature, the greater the love need, and the more does divine love seek to satisfy such need. Love is never self-seeking, and it cannot be self-bestowed. Divine love cannot be self-contained; it must be unselfishly bestowed.
Kingdom believers should possess an implicit faith, a whole-souled belief, in the certain triumph of righteousness. Kingdom builders must be undoubting of the truth of the gospel of eternal salvation. Believers must increasingly learn how to step aside from the rush of life--escape the harassments of material existence--while they refresh the soul, inspire the mind, and renew the spirit by worshipful communion.
God-knowing individuals are not discouraged by misfortune or downcast by disappointment. Believers are immune to the depression consequent upon purely material upheavals; spirit livers are not perturbed by the episodes of the material world. Candidates for eternal life are practitioners of an invigorating and constructive technique for meeting all of the vicissitudes and harassments of mortal living. Every day a true believer lives, he finds it easier to do the right thing.
Spiritual living mightily increases true self-respect. But self-respect is not self-admiration. Self-respect is always co-ordinate with the love and service of one's fellows. It is not possible to respect yourself more than you love your neighbor; the one is the measure of the capacity for the other.
As the days pass, every true believer becomes more skillful in alluring his fellows into the love of eternal truth. Are you more resourceful in revealing goodness to humanity today than you were yesterday? Are you a better righteousness recommender this year than you were last year? Are you becoming increasingly artistic in your technique of leading hungry souls into the spiritual kingdom?
Are your ideals sufficiently high to insure your eternal salvation while your ideas are so practical as to render you a useful citizen to function on earth in association with your mortal fellows? In the spirit, your citizenship is in heaven; in the flesh, you are still citizens of the earth kingdoms. Render to the Caesars the things which are material and to God those which are spiritual.
The measure of the spiritual capacity of the evolving soul is your faith in truth and your love for man, but the measure of your human strength of character is your ability to resist the holding of grudges and your capacity to withstand brooding in the face of deep sorrow. Defeat is the true mirror in which you may honestly view your real self.
As you grow older in years and more experienced in the affairs of the kingdom, are you becoming more tactful in dealing with troublesome mortals and more tolerant in living with stubborn associates? Tact is the fulcrum of social leverage, and tolerance is the earmark of a great soul. If you possess these rare and charming gifts, as the days pass you will become more alert and expert in your worthy efforts to avoid all unnecessary social misunderstandings. Such wise souls are able to avoid much of the trouble which is certain to be the portion of all who suffer from lack of emotional adjustment, those who refuse to grow up, and those who refuse to grow old gracefully.
(The Urantia Papers - Paper 156)
The God-conscious mortal is certain of salvation; he is unafraid of life; he is honest and consistent. He knows how bravely to endure unavoidable suffering; he is uncomplaining when faced by inescapable hardship.
The true believer does not grow weary in well-doing just because he is thwarted. Difficulty whets the ardor of the truth lover, while obstacles only challenge the exertions of the undaunted kingdom builder.
If we wish to grow in our ability to Love and to BE Loved, it is important that we recognize and, as much as humanly possible, emulate the Source of All Love. Our Divine Parent is that Source. Human Love, in and of itself, is partial and incomplete. It satisfies, to a degree, the longings of the human ego. To satisfy the Soul's cravings for Love however, it is necessary to discover and understand the meaning of Divine Love. Human Love appears transient and conditional. Divine Love is Eternal and freely given. The Ego fears the loss of Human Love. The Soul understands the permanency of Divine Love.
What is Divine Love? Divine Love is the unconditional Love of a Parent for their Child. Parental Love recognizes the relative immaturity of the child and is understanding of the child's need to personally experience life. A Divine Love is allowing of mistakes and errors... it does not chastise for lack of experience, but gently encourages and guides.
Is there truly a difference between Human and Divine Love?
Only in Ego's PERCEPTION of Love... In the perception of the Soul, Love is Unified, Love is One, All Love is Divine.
Dearest Eternal Parent and Source of All that is,
Grant us the ability to make every expression of Love an expression of You from our Soul. Show us Your way of Loving and help us to continually grow in our ability to manifest Your Will in our Lives. Nurture our comprehension of Your Divine Parental Love and guide us in the sharing of it with one another.
Continually remind us that we need not yet BE Perfect to express Your Love, only that we need to continually STRIVE for Your Perfection.
Help me to live loyally each moment as Your Child and to grow constantly towards that seemingly ever elusive Maturity. I want to be just like You when I grow up.
Father's Love... through me... to all of you,
3-9-97 Sunday Service from "Church Within" #24
Matthew: 25 verses (34-40)
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was Hungry and you gave me meat: I was Thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer Him saying, Lord, when did we see you Hungry, and fed You? or Thirsty, and gave You drink? When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and came unto You?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these My Brethren, you have done it unto Me.
I've always loved this quote. Especially the last line of it: "Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these My Brethren, you have done it unto Me."
Pretty Awesome responsibility if you believe it. Do you? To a passer by you give a Smile... to Whom? With a child you share joy... with Whom? To One in need you give a hand... to Whom? You share your Gifts, your Talents, your Arts, your Love... with Whom?
Do you think He also feels it when you: Belittle another? psychologically or physically abuse another? are Prejudiced against another? Judge another? hate another? What if He does?
"Well if I thought I was doing it to Him I'd...." What... Smile? Share Joy? Give a hand? Share from your Soul? Love? Of Course... anyone would wouldn't they? if they thought they were doing it to our Lord?
Think That you are doing it for or to God... Indeed... you ARE!
Look for the Father within each other, "seek and you shall find"... See the Father within EACH other... Love the Father Within one another.
It is far less difficult than we make it seem.
Dearest Source and Center of All,
Our true religion is our personal relationship with You, let our relationship grow. We can serve You best by serving Your Children, our brethren... let us serve. We can most surely show You our appreciation for the Gifts you have bestowed upon us by sharing them... let us share. We can Love You most genuinely by loving each other... let us Love.
It is Your Light only which illuminates the Darkness Dear God... let us reflect it.
" The religion of the spirit leaves you forever free to follow the truth wherever the leadings of the spirit may take you. And who can judge--perhaps this spirit may have something to impart to this generation which other generations have refused to hear?"
(The Urantia Papers - Paper-155)
Father's Love... through me... to all of you,
3/16/97 Sunday Service of Church Within #25
"The effort toward maturity necessitates work, and work requires energy. Whence the power to accomplish all this? The physical things can be taken for granted, but the Master has well said, "Man cannot live by bread alone." Granted the possession of a normal body and reasonably good health, we must next look for those lures which will
act as a stimulus to call forth man's slumbering spiritual forces. Jesus has taught us that God lives in man; then how can we induce man to release these soul-bound powers of divinity and infinity? How shall we induce men to let go of God that he may spring forth to the refreshment of our own souls while in transit outward and then to serve the purpose of enlightening, uplifting, and blessing countless other souls? How best can I awaken these latent powers for good which lie dormant in your souls? One thing I am sure of: Emotional excitement is not the ideal spiritual stimulus. Excitement does not
augment energy; it rather exhausts the powers of both mind and body. Whence then comes the energy to do these great things? Look to your Master. Even now he is out in the hills taking in power while we are here giving out energy. The secret of all this problem is wrapped up in spiritual communion, in worship. From the human standpoint it is a question of combined meditation and relaxation. Meditation makes the contact of mind with spirit; relaxation determines the capacity for spiritual receptivity. And this interchange of strength for weakness, courage for fear, the will of God for the mind of self, constitutes worship. At least, that is the way the philosopher views it.
When these experiences are frequently repeated, they crystallize into habits, strength-giving and worshipful habits, and such habits eventually formulate themselves into a spiritual character, and such a character is finally recognized by one's fellows as a mature personality. These practices are difficult and time-consuming at first, but when they become habitual, they are at once restful and time-saving. The more complex society becomes, and the more the lures of civilization multiply, the more urgent will become the necessity for God-knowing individuals to form such protective habitual practices designed to conserve and augment their spiritual energies.
Another requirement for the attainment of maturity is the co-operative adjustment of social groups to an ever-changing environment. The immature individual arouses the antagonisms of his fellows; the mature man wins the hearty co-operation of his associates, thereby many times multiplying the fruits of his life efforts.
(The Urantia Book Paper 160 pg.1777)
Am I one who " arouses the antagonisms of his fellows" or do I win " the hearty co-operation of" my associates? Do I multiply the "Fruits" of my life efforts? Am I acting Maturely or...?
These questions we must ask ourselves frequently. Daily... better yet, moment by moment. What is it that makes one mature? Years of Life? Obviously that is not so... we need years to gain experience whereby we can make the decisions, or not, which Lead to Maturity. But there are too many examples of Phisically Mature Individuals who show but the barest inklings of True Maturity... no, it is not longevity. Then What? What is it that truly constitutes Maturity?
How often in your youth did you hear the words: "Grow UP!"; "Act your Age." or "You are not a Child any more, stop acting like one." What message does this give? We are taught all too often that we must give up those things which are a part of our growth... a part of our acquirement of relative maturity. Why?
The fear a child must feel when it must give up being the baby... The holding, the almost constant attention, the complete reliance on Parental provision for every need and desire. There will always be times when it is proper to be the infant.
Upon entering our second decade of life... Oh the fear of leaving behind the pure joy and exhilaration of our youthful Fantasy... Magic... Miracles... Beings that we cannot see with our eyes but are so deeply imbedded in our hearts. There will always be times when it is proper to be the Young Child.
An Attack of Hormones...The Teens. Discovering individuality... attaining relative freedom... the early development of goals and personal ideals... the excitement of new relationships... a budding sense of maturity. Oh... the Great Fear that one must leave all of that behind in order to "Grow up". There will always be times when it is proper to be the Teen.
At each stage of our physical development we experience the fear of losing or having to give up that which has become SO much a part of our personal process... the growth of our Soul. Why must this be so... why must we experience this fear? That which we have experienced is ours... it is our only true possession... it is everything that we have become.
Through attaining relative Maturity we recognize, NOT that we must ever give up ANYTHING which is a part of who we have become, but WHEN the time is most proper to be: the Infant... the young Child... the Youth... the Teen... the Emerging Adult...
ALWAYS will we need : "The holding, the almost constant attention, the complete reliance on Parental provision for every need and desire"... for this may we ever ask our Divine Parent.
ALWAYS will we need : " the pure joy and exhilaration of our youthful fantasy... Magic... Miracles... Beings that we cannot see with our eyes but are so deeply imbedded in our hearts". It brings on the desire for new discovery, for wonder and excitement.
ALWAYS will we need : " Discovering individuality... attaining relative freedom... the early development of goals and personal ideals... the excitement of new relationships... a budding sense of maturity". It is what continues to draw us towards the elusive goal of True Maturity.
Dearest Most Patient and Loving Divine Parent,
Let us never forget that we are Your Child... that we are barely infants in the long road to becoming perfect, even as are You. That is what the Master has asked of us, therefore it MUST be attainable... in Eternity. Remind us that we are forever cradled in
your Loving Arms... That You truly provide for our EVERY true need... that though we cannot see You with our eyes, You are so deeply embedded in our hearts and Souls... that Always will we develop new and exciting Relationships, Greater and Higher Goals and Ideals.
Let us Grow Dear God in our Desire and Ability to Discover You. What else truly matters?
3/23/97 Sunday Service of Church Within #26
A.) "The Kingdom of Heaven is Within you";
B.) "Our Father who art in Heaven..."
(Jesus circa AD30)
A+B= Our Father who is Within You...
How do we discover the "Kingdom of Heaven Within" us? Where might that be? Can we see it? With the Souls Eyes... Perhaps. Certainly we can feel it. Love is heaven... and Music... and being Appreciated for who you are... and, Well... I can think of Many things that are Heaven... can you?
All of the experiences of the Soul are of the Kingdom of Heaven. Soul is where we Love... where we are Creative... where we are at our Best... where we are Altruistic... where we are in Harmony with ourselves, others, and with God.
The Soul... why is it so elusive to our understanding? I believe it is our "passport" to The Father's Kingdom... our ticket to get in the door. We are given a Free Ticket at the Birth of our Soul. Our lives are, for the most part, the search for the gate. How is it that some people seem to have already found the entrance... and some of those have even already redeemed their ticket and gone inside?
Soul has Many different definitions in today's world. I first conceived it as a milk bottle filling up or emptying. [my dad was a milkman. 8^)]
Later I was taught to perceive it as a white circle that was covered with black spots whenever I sinned and was bad and then miraculously through the performing of some ritual or such, God just painted over them with White. There were some things I could do that could just black the whole thing out in one shot, and then there were other things that just kinda Spotted it with black... but those things added up pretty fast. So... if I didn't get back to that ritual thing every so often, I might die when it was all black and then... and then (gulp) ETERNAL DAMNATION IN THE FIRES OF HELL! [this one lasted quite a bit longer than the first I am embarrassed to say... sigh...]
Soul is said to be expressed in Music. "They got Soul!" Indeed music is an expression of the Soul. Good Music cannot be forced, it must be allowed to flow... from the Soul.
Every act of Creativity or Love and all of those things which just seem to come naturally are from Soul.
It is the Souls performance which creates the Hero. Who are your hero's? What is it about them that makes them a hero to you? I say it is the expression of their Soul.
My Hero's are: Well... Jesus of course and Gandhi, Michaelangelo, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., my Dad, Tony Gwynn, Sister Theresa, Kenny Loggins, Whitney Houston, Robin Williams and... Oh, there are quite a few others in there too. What makes them my Hero's? The expression of their Souls is what makes them my Heroes. Those times when they are being their very Best and most Natural.
Any time we are using our God given Talents or Gifts, we are revealing a part of our Soul to others, and to ourselves. Every act or feeling of love is an act or feeling of Soul.
Soul is our Real Self... our True Self... our Higher Self... our Surviving Self. Let us each be Heroes. Let us enter the internal "gate" to "the Kingdom of Heaven". Within is where we may discover God... within ourselves... and within others. Let us look with the Eyes of our Souls.
Oh Dearest Creator,
Always do You show me the way... when I think to ask. Always do You Provide for me that which I need... when I stop trying to tell You what it is that I think I need. Always do You shine forth Your Love... when I take the time to recognize it emanating from Your Children. Remind me Constantly of the Wealth of opportunities in every moment when I can Share and be with You. Help me to realize that what I want the most is for those things that You want for me... that my innermost desires are those things that You daily give me the opportunity to earn.
Be my Partner God. Together we can reveal a part of you never before expressed in time and space. Make me an Instrument of Your Will.
Father's Eternal Parental Love,
3/30/97 The Easter Sunday Service of Church Within #27
(John Chapter 20 verses 13-17)
And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have born him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Jesus saith unto her, Mary. she turned herself, and saith unto him. Rab-bo-ni; which is to say Master.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and Your Father; and to My God, and your God.
The Master died that we may have the fullness of Life. By example, He showed us even how to die. In the final act of his mortal life, he demonstrated the Father's Love, compassion and forgiveness. Even while hanging nailed to the cross, he gave loving service and comfort to the repentant thief hanging by his side. Said he of those who
crucified him: "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do."
Throughout the hideous act of Torture which resulted in the death of his human material body, he was at peace with himself and with God. He showed no anger, no resentment, no fear. He knew throughout it all that he would survive the death of his mortal body, that his death was but the last act of his mortal Life which would release him
into the after-life.
Why are the Resurrection and subsequent appearances to many so important that even 2000 years later, the large portion of Mankind Celebrate them? Is it because He survived Mortal Death? Many would say so. But to me the true significance is that Jesus showed us, that WE can survive mortal death. If we faithfully choose Father's Will to the best of our ability of recognizing it, we need no longer fear for nor doubt our OWN survival of this life in the flesh.
Already we have survived this Life in the flesh, already have we begun our life in "The Kingdom of Heaven" once we choose in our Soul to accept Father's Will over the will of our own limited human Ego... once we stop telling God what we think we need and joyfully accept that which He offers us... Once we have realized that God's Will for us is so much more Grand than we could ever imagine for ourselves.
The Masters Life was an example of Unselfish Service, Unconditional Love, and Unbroken Desire for the Father's Will... Even unto a Brutal Death on the cross. Let us Learn from His example and take for granted our own Survival of this life that we too may be an example of what it means to be God's Child.
Most Understanding and Compassionate Source of All Being,
I dedicate my life here on this torn world to Your Will for me. No longer will I selfishly question the purpose of those experiences in my life which You have chosen for me. Your Purpose I would choose as my own for it is in my best interests. No longer will I question Your Wisdom in allowing me to experience times of pain and strife, for in retrospect I am already beginning to see how valuable they have been to my continued Growth. Never will I take my own life, nor that of another, for it is Yours to decide when the next life is to begin... and this one is to end.
Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Love are the results of Your Will for us Dear God.
Your Will be Done.
Father's Eternal Parental Love,
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