Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation
Thank you all for the beautiful music. To me, our music on Sundays invokes and welcomes the presence of God.
I stand before you today as a novice, calling something to remembrance. I trust I am not speaking to experts but to novices in the experience of the presence of God. A novice remains flexible and open to the unknown. Experts are rigid and not available to limitless possibilities. This rigidity is present when a person feels he has the spiritual principles mastered. The principles are not the experience of the presence of God. They provide a compass, pointing to that experience. However, a compass, which is useful for navigating while you are on Earth, becomes useless when you leave Planet Earth. You then need to navigate by the stars. This is a different experience altogether!
I am a novice as I speak words of welcome to the cosmic Presence of God. The tree of Emissaries of Divine Light (EDL) is firmly rooted in the cosmic nature of God, not in the principles about God. At the inception of EDL, Uranda (the founder) was awakened in the middle of the night for several nights in a row. He felt a strong Presence in the room and looked around to see what it was. He saw what seemed like a cloud, and he had an experience of communing with the Presence. He was open and receptive as he wrote down what came to him as a result of that communing. This experience changed his life and it has blessed many other lives since then. Here is a God encounter of the intimate kind. And even more can be released to a body of people than to any one individual.
When people tell their stories of how they first connected with EDL, they usually have deep feelings about it, because the stories are actually about the life-changing experience of touching the presence of God, not just an organization. God not only changes lives, He (gender inclusive) also has a great sense of humor. I noticed that sense of humor in the Community Day this week, where morale was high—morale is high. To me, morale is a quality of God that brings joy and confidence. So I would welcome that Presence to be experienced this morning.
When I speak of the “cosmic nature” of God, I am not speaking of just the physical reality of the cosmos, or the universe. Some people refer to God as Universe—but God created the universe and is more than that. I have watched DVDs containing photos of heavenly bodies, taken from the Hubble Space Telescope. They depict the beauty and the implicate order of the cosmic nature of God. There are areas in the cosmos called stellar nurseries. In some of these locations, two galaxies with billions of stars are shown to pass through each other without collisions. The two galaxies create a greater light than the sum of both of them, forming new stars and a new galaxy, which moves out on its own path. The creation of a new galaxy of stars is a cosmic act.
Scientists have discovered that we are made of stardust and that Planet Earth is actually made up of stardust. Jane Anetrini read a poem a couple weeks ago with the words “I named you when I made you.” It could equally be stated that He blessed us when He made us. God used a heaping tablespoon of stardust, a little water. He then gave life to His recipe as He exhaled the blessing breath of spirit into us.
In the Book of Genesis, there is a beautiful description of the creation of the earth and heavens. Contained in this description are five words that are the biggest understatement I have ever read in any book. The five words are: “He made the stars also.” (Genesis 1:16) It reads as if it is a side note: “By the way, in His spare time He made the stars also.” This cosmic nature of God is limitless and present in our hearts as we worship.
In my travels, I found myself as a conference cospeaker with a former priest and well-known author, named Matthew Fox. We had laughs together. I remember something he said to me about humor. I will paraphrase it: In the moment between a good-natured humorous statement and a laugh, we access the divine. To me, it is a heart tickle from the divine causing us to laugh and feel joy. Let there be room for humor in worship. King David was great at this—he danced and had a jolly time before the Ark of the Covenant, in the Presence.
When I use the word cosmic I am speaking of the miracle component. Are you ready for a miracle? Numerous times in this room, old ceilings of experience have become new floors on which to build. I wish to invite that again. But it takes novices. We go to various classes and gatherings, and come here each week to become a novice instead of an expert. It is ironic, isn’t it?
Musicians, writers, speakers, poets, maintenance technicians, cooks, practitioners—whatever field you are in—I urge you to welcome the divine Presence into your field. When we invite the cosmic nature of God, that is what we see, that is who comes into our experience.
I read something a few months ago about the Smithsonian Institute looking for a lot of money to restore Thomas Jefferson’s Bible, but here is the rub: Jefferson used a razor to cut out all the stories of miracles so that only the principles were left. He named it “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.” But the principles without the miracles are the compass without the experience. I have appreciation for Jefferson; he played an important role in the miraculous forming of this country. However, the intellect, the seemingly orderly intellect, becomes rigid to the experience when it assumes it has become an expert. The point at which a person becomes an expert is the point at which a person’s growth levels off and is stultified.
Bob Ewing was speaking recently of the attunement healing practice of Jesus. It was full of miracles. I remembered that Jesus used spit. Without the Presence, if you spit in a person’s eye it’s a huge insult and might even be harmful. In the Presence, which Jesus certainly revealed, it brings healing. He spat on dust, gave it a stir, put it on a blind man’s eyes, and the man could then see. Jesus used what was at hand—spit. The Bible used the word spittle—when it is called spittle it sounds cleaner and more exotic, but it is still spit.
I see Chris Foster sitting in the room. He wrote a book titled Bearers of the Sun, which was inspiring to me. In Genesis it states that God created light before the sun was created. Yet we tend to think that we depend on the sun for light. Let your intellect work on that a bit!
In the videos I mentioned, photos are shown of galaxies, heavenly bodies, stars and nebulae billions of light-years away and hundreds of millions of light-years in size. I watched the videos with an MD, who was amazed. She commented that the photos looked identical to photos she had seen that were taken within the human body with a powerful microscope.
We are here to shine light out through our stardust and circumstances. A few weeks ago Soma Hunter spoke about what could be called a broken place in him. I had a God encounter as he spoke. I have a broken place as well. I venture that we each have a broken place in body, mind or heart. That broken place is an aperture where the light shines through—from the inside out—where cosmic Presence is encountered and miracles occur. It takes raw courage to do this. Be strong and of good courage, you mighty people of valor. Let your light so shine.
In the miraculous, in the cosmic, we are lifted up. There is an updraft, taking us to a jet stream. There are a number of us here and elsewhere who have flown in the jet stream of outreach. I see Lou Rotola and George Emery seated here, both of whom preceded me in flying in this jet stream. Each of us has a very different approach but it is all in the one jet stream. This is the same jet stream that Bill Bahan flew in, and in which those who will follow us will fly. Let us all be in the updraft of openness, lifting us into the jet stream, on to sailing the solar wind and into the experience of the cosmic reality of God.
Yoda, the Star Wars character, spoke English in a sideways fashion. He had this to say: “Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” I would add, named must your false gods and idols be, before banish them you can. As we place our full attention on the true Presence, anything that does not belong is banished with ease.
With your permission, I would like to close with a prayer.
We lift our hearts and open minds in worship, in sacred worship to the One we love. Let the light of creation be released through us as we let our light shine out through the broken places, out through our whole being. We come in deep worship as novices, and call to You: Welcome, Welcome, Welcome! In the Christ. Aum-en.