III: The Holy Encounter
- Glory to God in the highest, and to you because He has so willed it. Ask and it shall be given you because it has already been given. Ask for light and learn that you are light. If you want understanding and enlightenment you will learn it, because your decision to learn it is the decision to listen to the Teacher Who knows of light and can therefore teach it to you. There is no limit on your learning because there is no limit on your mind. There is no limit on His teaching because He was created to teach. Understanding His function perfectly He fulfills it perfectly because that is His joy and yours.
- To fulfill the Will of God perfectly is the only joy and peace that can be fully known, because it is the only function that can be fully experienced. When this is accomplished, then, there is no other experience. Yet the wish for other experiences will block its accomplishment because God’s Will cannot be forced upon you, being an experience of total willingness. The Holy Spirit understands how to teach this, but you do not. That is why you need Him, and why God gave Him to you. Only His teaching will release your will to God’s, uniting it with His power and glory and establishing them as yours. You share them as God shares them because this is the natural outcome of their being.
- The Will of the Father and of the Son are one, by Their extension. Their extension is the result of Their oneness, holding Their unity together by extending Their joint Will. This is perfect creation by the perfectly created, in union with the Perfect Creator. The Father must give fatherhood to His Son because His Own Fatherhood must be extended outward. You who belong in God have the holy function of extending His Fatherhood by placing no limits upon it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you how to do this, for you can know what it means only of God Himself.
- When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself. For I am always there with you, in remembrance of you.
- The goal of the curriculum, regardless of the teacher you choose, is “Know thyself.” There is nothing else to seek. Everyone is looking for himself, and for the power and glory he thinks he has lost. Whenever you are with anyone, you have another opportunity to find them. Your power and glory are in him because they are yours. The ego tries to find them in yourself alone, because it does not know where to look. The Holy Spirit teaches you that if you look only at yourself you cannot find yourself, because that is not what you are. Whenever you are with a brother, you are learning what you are because you are teaching what you are. He will respond either with pain or with joy, depending on which teacher you are following. He will be imprisoned or released according to your decision, and so will you. Never forget your responsibility to him because it is your responsibility to yourself. Give him his place in the Kingdom and you will have yours.
- The Kingdom cannot be found alone, and you who are the Kingdom cannot find yourself alone. To achieve the goal of the curriculum, then, you cannot listen to the ego, whose purpose is to defeat its own goal. The ego does not know this, because it does not know anything. But you can know it, and you will know it if you are willing to look at what the ego would make of you. This is your responsibility, because once you have really looked at it you will accept the Atonement for yourself. What other choice could you make? Having made this choice you will understand why you once believed that when you met someone else you thought he was someone else. And every holy encounter in which you enter fully will teach you this is not so.
- You can encounter only part of yourself because you are part of God, Who is everything. His power and glory are everywhere, and you cannot be excluded from them. The ego teaches that your strength is in you alone. The Holy Spirit teaches that all strength is in God and therefore in you. God wills no one suffer. He does not will anyone to suffer for a wrong decision, including you. That is why He has given you the means for undoing it. Through His power and glory all your wrong decisions are undone completely, releasing you and your brother from every imprisoning thought any part of the Sonship holds. Wrong decisions have no power because they are not true. The imprisonment they seem to produce is no truer than they are.
- Power and glory belong to God alone. So do you. God gives whatever belongs to Him because He gives of Himself, and everything belongs to Him. Giving of yourself is the function He gave you. Fulfilling it perfectly will let you remember what you have of Him, and by this you will remember also what you are in Him. You cannot be powerless to do this because this is your power. Glory is God’s gift to you because that is what He is. See this glory everywhere to remember what you are.
Today Jesus tells us that we share God’s glory because that is the nature of God, to share what He has and what He is. When we ask for truth, for light, for health and wellbeing – we learn that this is what we already are in God. Seeking enlightenment and understanding guarantees that we will learn it, because the decision to learn is the decision to listen to Holy Spirit who remembers our light and can therefore teach it to us. When we accept our worthiness, when we are over our fear of God and have come to know His love and undying devotion to us, there are no limits on our learning because our mind expands like the Mind of God. Jesus tells us that there are no limits on Holy Spirit’s teachings because being created to teach, teaching is the joyful perfect function of Holy Spirit as it is ours.
In paragraph two, we learn that joy and peace can only be had by fulfilling God’s Will perfectly. This is the only function which fulfills us; accomplishing God’s Will is the only experience there truly is. When I read this today, several different memories surfaced in my mind about my former teachings about “God’s Will.” I was always taught to seek God’s Will for my life as if it were concealed from me. God would reveal His Will only if I were a good girl, if I stopped loving boys so much, if I stopped making up stories, if I wore dresses that covered my chubby knees, and prayed and read my bible and stopped reading novels. God’s Will and my will would remain going in two different directions until I stopped questioning the word of God found in the King James version of the Holy Bible, until I spoke in tongues, until I obeyed my mother who had a list of do’s and don’ts that surpassed Mosaic law! God’s Will was also a slippery thing, it would send you to the places that you expressly did not want to go, which led my sister who had a fear of Africa to use reverse psychology on God Himself and pray to be sent there as a missionary!
In our Course we learn that God’s Will is simply sharing of the love, peace, and joy that is naturally ours because it is God’s. We meet no other condition than that we seek not to replace His Will with the very things that impede it – for when we choose grudges, conflict, suffering, and sacrifice and try to share that, we are not extending the Kingdom of God. God has no way to force His attributes on us for love, peace, and joy cannot be found in unwillingness, in force or in constraint. The moment love, peace, and joy is forced upon a will, it is no longer love, peace, and joy but a law which inflicts limits, becomes complicated, requiring enforcers and a place to inflict punishment upon those who do not comply. In other words it becomes a device of the ego rather than the Will of God.
Holy Spirit teaches us that we are God’s Will, the very attributes of God, and being God’s Will, we share in the power and glory of God. It is only natural to share love and peace and joy because love and peace and joy can only be love and peace and joy when they are shared. Try to keep love and peace and joy to oneself and it evaporates into a sad, twisted form of egoism that is no good for anybody!
God’s Will and our will are one because they are shared. Sharing peace is sharing joy is sharing love. No matter how you may arrange the attributes of God’s Will, we cannot share a single attribute of God without sharing them all! This makes a perfect creation by the perfectly created as one with the Perfect Creator. When we know God as our Father, we know the love that is bestowed upon us as His Son, as His Will and the only way to be His Will is to share the attributes of Sonship outward. We place no limits on it. We love because God loves and made us to love and to be love. We share peace because God made us in peace and for peace and to be peace. We share joy because God made us in joy to be joyful and to be joy itself. We are not out of God’s Will just because we are not out on the mission field saving souls. Stay at home, clean your office, cook meals, feed your ducks, take a walk with your mate, or head off to work each day. Our only function as God’s Will is to extend love and peace and joy wherever we are and with whomever we find ourselves. Ask Holy Spirit to reveal this to you and teach you how to do this, for we cannot understand this concept without understanding God.
So often we will be tempted to think that we are not doing enough for God. Our egos will send us down many unnecessary paths in our efforts to please Him, to earn our salvation, to share the good news. My missionary mother would get tired and so cranky, resenting her children, our house, our few acres, animals, and even my dad for holding her back from doing God’s Will. She could not understand why people were not particularly happy to hear about her visions, her calling, her little mission trips here and there, and the thrill she got from serving Jesus. It was not until her final days that she realized that she was God’s Will on earth and that her boundless acts of kindness, generosity, benevolence, and goodness that she extended to her family, her nieces and nephews, the people she visited in prison, the hymn sings she held at local nursing homes, her beautiful smile and the deep appreciation that she expressed toward any small favor was the Will of God!
The ego’s goal is to establish a Kingdom in opposition to God’s Kingdom, but the ego cannot establish an ongoing Kingdom because it opposes love, peace, and joy. A kingdom which opposes love, peace, and joy – falls to pieces. The ego cannot understand this, but we can. A friendship, a marriage, a family, any kind of organization at all cannot last where there is conflict, hatred, and unhappiness. We were made to be happy! We were made to get along! We were made to love one another, have fun together, to enjoy creation as one. It is our responsibility to recognize how the ego would come between us to keep us apart and then feel victimized and project blame when its schemes always fail.
When we accept the Atonement we have accepted what we are. We have accepted that we can never be apart from God. We have accepted that our brothers are one with us. Every holy encounter teaches us that oneness is true and separation is not.
God has no need to shame us or make us suffer. Punishment does not correct mistakes – this is why we have the means to undo every wrong decision we have ever made. Through the power and glory that God bestows upon us, every wrong is undone completely. We are set free from every wrongful thought and deed that the Sonship has made. Wrong decisions have no power because they are wrong, they are not right. In God’s Kingdom that which is not right is not true. That which is not true is simply a lie, it has no power because it is not true and therefore does not exist. Any kind of bondage that wrong decisions seem to produce is not true and are erased from the record.
Practice the power and the glory of God by extending this gift to everyone you meet. Let bygones be bygones. Do not bring up the sins and shortcomings of others but extend to them the forgiveness and undoing that God extends to us. Practice vigilance in extending loving, peaceful and joyful thoughts toward those who oppose you. When we give of ourselves in this way, we are denying the ego’s opposition to God’s Kingdom which would have us give hatred, bitterness, and spite. When we give love and peace and joy we remember what we really are in God and realize that we can never be victimized again, because what we are is powerful. Let us personalize and meditate upon the last two lines of our reading today, asking Holy Spirit to make it real to our minds and hearts:
Glory is God’s Gift to me because that is what He is. I will see His glory everywhere to remember what I am.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back III The holy encounter. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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