PART II. SECTION 6: WHAT IS THE CHRIST?
Lesson 279 Creation’s Freedom Promises My Own.
- The end of dreams is promised me, because God’s Son is not abandoned by His Love. Only in dreams is there a time when he appears to be in prison, and awaits a future freedom, if it be at all. Yet in reality his dreams are gone, with truth established in their place. And now is freedom his already. Should I wait in chains which have been severed for release, when God is offering me freedom now?
- I will accept Your promises today and give my faith to them. My Father loves the Son Whom He created as His Own. Would You withhold the gifts You gave to me?
The end of dreams; the end of time. We are not abandoned by God nor is His Love withheld from us. Today we will accept the promises of God. We will give our faith to them. God loves us; He created us. He will not withhold His gifts from us.
Lately, I have been giving the Course a lot of thought. I watched a documentary on Netflix on Friday night called “Children of God.” It was about a cult that arose in the 1960s and 1970s throughout the world. Personally I have interest in the psychology of cults, the kind of people who fall into them, and the kind of people who allow themselves to be deceived and are willing to deceive others in this way. The Children of God cult is only a prototype of cults in general. There comes a leader who makes bold claims; who has charisma and whose message makes sense, this leader provides at least a first, a sense of belonging, specialness, and divine purpose, while demanding total obedience, adulation, support, and allegiance.
Perhaps my interest stems from the cult-like environment in which I was raised. Although my mother did not know how to organize herself enough to create a real, ongoing following, there are troubling similarities between the cults I have researched and the manner in which she ran her home and her spiritual outreaches. There is a particular kind of ruthlessness involved when one truly believes that they are not only receiving personal guidance straight from God but know what everyone else should be doing as well.
While my sister and I joked about how she deceived herself into thinking she could control the weather when she could not even control her own bladder, it was ineffably sad and deeply disturbing to watch our mother’s good sense disintegrate. There we were firsthand witnesses as our otherwise fun-loving, down-to-earth, beautiful, loving, and lovable mother turned into a caricature of herself making ridiculous claims, predictions, and pronouncements all in the name of God. She put her faith in tent evangelists, anointed people with holy land oil, and managed to ostracize us from the larger community. She saw visions, she spoke in tongues, she danced in the spirit, and brought kooks into our home that tried to molest me. Though I will always love her deeply, be thankful for all that she taught me both negatively and positively, for years I blamed her for destroying our family and any sense of belonging that I would ever experience with them or in the world at large. No judgment, no condemnation, but there is a profound lesson to be learned from all this, nonetheless.
When I agreed with my own inner guidance system, which I believe is the Holy Spirit, to study the Course in Miracles this year, my first objective was to be objective. To study it, after all, was not necessarily believing in it. While I had proposed ahead of time to put my skepticism and unbelief aside and practice the precepts, I was not prepared for how true it would seem to me. The singsong script in which it is written; the messages tucked within messages, the practices which at first befuddle and then slowly begin to make sense (BOOM, oh my Lord and God, I get it, I get it, I get it. I always knew this, and now I get it), all work toward what feels like enlightenment.
For as I puzzle through the lessons and the text, after devotion, contemplation, and prayer for illumination, Something fills me with hope, peace, serenity, bliss, and I receive practical, everyday techniques to manage the otherwise overwhelming complexities and demands of relationships, society, and quests for meaning, purpose, and a relationship with God. I am not asked to send anybody money. In fact, the Course teaches to share and give only intangibles – love, truth, joy, non-judgment, acceptance, faith. There is no human leader to bow before – we are not even to worship Jesus who claims only to be our Brother. We are not asked to sacrifice – the only difference between Jesus and us is that He has given His whole will to God, while we have only given our partial will. Even Helen Schucman who transcribed the text did her best to remain anonymous and refused to promote herself as any kind of prophetess or Great Seer.
There are these daily lessons that assure us we are as God created us – not a vulnerable body but an invulnerable, everlasting spirit. We are assured of God’s love for us. We are assured of the unreality of sin, suffering, despair, and death. This world, time, and separation is a dream; God’s world is the only one there really is. To accept the Course’s teachings as truth, one cannot believe that the bible is the infallible word of God. This is no problem for me. I was raised on the Bible. I have read it from cover to cover repeatedly. While I have respect for the writer’s of the Bible – for the historical stories of quests for God, for meaning, for purpose, for the recordings of the life of Jesus and the early church – I would never be able to love and serve the god responsible for this mess. In Genesis, the gods are said to have reached down and created a body from the dust of the earth, breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. This is no gift! As much as I enjoy the body, I have always been keenly aware of its capacity for manipulation, pain, and death. As much as the body can be pleasured, all pleasures lead to pain of one kind or the other. Only under the very best of conditions is the body at all bearable. The gods who came up with such a thing are not kind, loving, good, or true. They made our bodies to manipulate us, to play power and control games with us, to demand hard things from us for their own personal entertainment and enjoyment.
When we trip, we fall, and we hurt ourselves. You can say, “Oh, the angel kept me from dashing my foot against the stone,” all you want, but ask yourself why you end up with cancer, toothless, bronchitis, asthma, backaches, or stroke? Where are your angels in this case? You can pray in tongues, read your bible, attend church, pay your tithes, jump up and down and do cartwheels for Jesus all you want, but in the end, you get sick just like everybody else, and you certainly do not heal the sick, cleanse the leper, and cast out devils. We do not bring bodies back from the dead. These are the truths about us that our religions and spiritual practices are not addressing, because we are more content to push what we want to believe than we are to face the truth about the real state of our being here.
In the Children of God documentary, the main character reported that she was forced to not only perform all the traditional duties and responsibilities of wife and homemaker, partake in almost constant worship services, but also engage sexually with any man in the cult who desired her. There was also a practice called Flirty Fishing – an officially approved and encouraged ploy to bring in new converts in which women were required to prostitute themselves. The interviewer seemed astounded that she could let herself be deceived for so long – and yet all of us are deceived and misled by our allegiances, institutions, and alliances. Daily, we all take part in the deceptions of our government, health care, religious, and educational systems. We want so much to believe in the lie because it gives us a semblance of security – some worthy cause for which to strive, live, and die. You could say that this whole world is a cult ruled by the lies of the ego.
Today’s lesson gives us hope. What limits can we lay upon God’s Son? If God created us, then we must be limitless – the only imprisonment for us is in illusions and not in truth. So today let us honor each other, because this is the way to our Father. We will recognize our Selves as beyond the body; we are one as God created us. The honor that we give to ourselves and to our brothers we give to God, our Father. We will not follow any cult leader or make our home in this sectarian world. We will relinquish our special relationships in hopes of making them holy. In our Father’s Kingdom we are equals, creators with God. In Jesus name. Amen.
 A Course in Miracles/Workbook for Students/Creations freedom promises…Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition, p. 436