1. There is no time, no place, no state where God is absent. There is nothing to be feared. There is no way in which a gap could be conceived of in the wholeness that is His. The compromise the least and littlest gap would represent in His eternal love is quite impossible. For it would mean His love could harbor just a hint of hate, His gentleness turns sometimes to attack, and His eternal patience sometimes fail. All of this do you believe when you perceive a gap between your brother and yourself. How could you trust Him, then? For He must be deceptive in His Love. Be wary, then, let Him not come too close, and leave a gap between you and His Love, through which you can escape if there be need for you to flee.
2. Here is the fear of God most plainly seen. For love is treacherous to those who fear since fear and hate can never be apart. No one who hates but is afraid of love, and therefore must he be afraid of God. Certain it is he knows not what love means. He fears to love and loves to hate, and so he thinks that love is fearful; hate is love. This is the consequence the little gap must bring to those who cherish it and think that it is their salvation and their hope.
3. The fear of God! The greatest obstacle that peace must flow across has not yet gone. The rest are past, but this one still remains to block your path, and make the way to light seem dark and fearful, perilous and bleak. You had decided that your brother is your enemy. Sometimes a friend, perhaps, provided that your separate interests made your friendship possible a little while. But not without a gap perceived between you and him, lest he turn again into an enemy. Let him come close to you, and you jumped back; as you approached, did he but instantly withdraw. A cautious friendship, and limited in scope, and carefully restricted in amount became the treaty that you had made with him. Thus you and your brother but shared a qualified entente, in which a clause of separation was a point you both agreed to keep intact. And violating this was thought to be a breach of treaty not to be allowed.
4. The gap between you and your brother is not one of space between two separate bodies. And this but seems to be dividing off your separate minds. It is the symbol of a promise made to meet when you prefer and separate till you and he elect to meet again. And then your body seemed to get in touch, and thereby signify a meeting place to join. But always is it possible for you and him to go your separate ways. Conditional upon the “right” to separate will you and he agree to meet from time to time, and keep apart in intervals of separation, which do protect you from the “sacrifice” of love. The body saves you, for it gets away from total sacrifice and gives to you the time in which to build again your separate self, which you truly believe diminishes as you and your brother meet.
5. The body could not separate your mind from your brothers unless you wanted it to be a cause of separation and of distance seen between you and him. Thus do you endow it with a power that lies not within itself. And herein lies its power over you. For now you think that it determines when your brother and you meet and limits your ability to make communion with your brother’s mind. And now it tells you where to go and how to go there, what is feasible for you to undertake, and what you cannot do. It dictates what its health can tolerate, and what will tire it and make it sick. And its “inherent” weaknesses set up the limitations on what you do and keep your purpose limited and weak.
6. The body will accommodate to this if you would have it so. It will allow but limited indulgence in “love,” with intervals of hatred in between. And it will take command of when to “love,” and went to shrink more safely into fear. It will be sick because you do not know what loving means. And so you must misuse each circumstance and everyone you meet and see in them a purpose not your own.
7. It is not love that asks a sacrifice. But fear demands the sacrifice of love, for in Love’s presence fear cannot abide. For hate to be maintained, love must be feared; and only sometimes present, sometimes gone. Thus is love seen as treacherous, because it seems to come and go uncertainly, and offer no stability to you. You do not see how limited and weak your allegiance is, and how frequently you have demanded that love go away and leave you quietly alone in “peace.”
8. The body, innocent of goals, is your excuse for variable goals you hold, and force the body to maintain. You do not fear its weakness, but its lack of strength or weakness. Would you know that nothing stands between you and your brother? Would you know there is no gap behind which you can hide? There is a shock that comes to those who learn their savior is their enemy no more. There is a wariness that is aroused by learning that the body is not real. And there are overtones of seeming fear around the happy message, “God is love.”
9. Yet all that happens when the gap is gone is peace eternal. Nothing more than that, and nothing less. Without the fear of God, what could induce you to abandon Him? What toys or trinkets in the gap could serve to hold you back an instant from His Love? Would you allow the body to say “no” to Heaven’s calling, were you not afraid to find a loss of self in finding God? Yet can your self be lost by being found? 
When we look upon each other with suspicion and hatred, recall old wounds, fail to address what needs to be addressed in our efforts to protect our vulnerability and to cherish being a victim of another, when we fail to love and trust each other we see God as absent, as leaving us hanging, as not caring about us or our needs. We live in a realm where God is a mystery, a “thing” that others devise to use against us, to manipulate us, to make us feel bad, to keep us in a lower state of mind so God can always loom too large and holy to conceive as being part of me, as being one with me. And so we live in this gap of unbelief, this dream of death and dying, this dream of being against each other instead of for each other. I can go there, to the gap, when God fails me and I can take care of things myself, the way I want them to turn out. Me and my little universe that I rule and reign all by myself and without the love and support of anyone else, where I am King of Kings and Lord of Lords – I will go there and reign forever on my throne. And there I sit on my lonely little pretend throne looking about and blaming everybody else for its pretense and wondering why everybody else wants to sit on their throne when they know in their hearts that the throne is mine and where I belong!
It is scary to sit on my own throne. I know that I am not King of Kings or Lord of Lords, nor do I really want to be. I know nothing about anything at all. I want people to love and adore me, but I do not know how to love and adore them. I am afraid to love others because if I love them I am sharing power and I must come down from my throne and deign to return to them what is their due. And to do that, I must leave the only thing about me that is special and dear and distinguishes me from the masses. I would rather despise them than to love them and to be one with them. How dare they expect me to love them? And so in separation from love, I turn love to hate and hate to love. And this is the consequence that comes from living in separation, from making an opposite to love, to opposing the reality that has no opposite.
This is the story of our lives. We feel as if other people diminish us, or at the very least do not add to our vitality and strength. They take far more from us than they could ever give in return. But this is not true! God is represented in our brothers. My thoughts about you are my thoughts about God. If I do not trust you, I do not trust the God in you. I am relating to you as a body and not the holy Self you are. When I relate to you as a body I will not be honest with you, I will not communicate with you, I will talk about you behind your back, I will make up stories about you, I will believe and share the stories that I make up about you, but I will never take the time to get to know the real you for you are merely another body, and I choose to keep it that way.
The body is innocent of all this. It is the excuse for the opposing goals we keep in our mind. We want to be close and intimate with our family members, but their rudeness and ingratitude keep us apart. We want to see the best in others, to love them, cherish them, and hold them dear, but their bristly personality disorders and their constant gossiping keep us apart. It is not our body’s weakness that frightens us so much as its lack of either strength or weakness, its complete neutrality, its complete dependence upon what we have chosen. For we made it to hide from love, to keep our brothers separate from us, to be a piece of meat looking out licking our chops over other pieces of meat, devouring as much of creation as we can before creation devours us.
Jesus points out the obvious – the devices that we made for separation do nothing to protect us from each other or keep us apart. Our minds will ever be one. It may come as a shock to us to find that we are all one mind having one hallucination with many different forms, but the oneness that we would hide from is our salvation. To fear oneness is to fear Love, for the body cannot stand between us and Creation, it cannot stand between us and the Father, it cannot stand between you and me. As long as we believe the body protects us from each other, we give the body a pretense of power that it simply does not have.
We end this section with the promise of eternal peace for when there is no longer a gap between us, when I can see you only as my brother and with the perception of Christ, peace is established between us. Peace is all we need. All of the cares of the world disappear. Our food and shelter needs, our warmth and comfort needs, our sense of belonging needs, our need for freedom, fun, and adventure needs – all of them are covered in the peace of God. For only in peace can our needs be met without conflict, without stress and anxiety, for our peace does not hinge upon another’s unrest, our peace in God does not come at the cost of war, it is not tentative but certain and everlasting.
We close the gap between us and God by this final hurdle – we lose our fear of God. We lose our fear of each other. Your fear of me is not good for us; I am not here to hurt you or to put you down. I may have made mistakes. I may have said and done things that seemed to hurt you and take something away from you – but mistakes are of the past, they are limited to the past, they cannot go into the future or remain in the present unless we choose to cherish them, to dwell upon them, to vomit them up and swallow them again. When you get over your fear of me, when you are no longer willing to abandon me, to put me out to pasture, to take me off your friend list, you move closer to God for I am your salvation, and you are mine. Let there be no gap between us! For we go to God together in peace – or not at all.
In your personal devotions today pay particular attention to paragraph nine and ask the light of Holy Spirit to shine upon your fear of losing self in finding God. Examine what you call your self and what is so special about this self you are afraid of losing – for your body was not made for the Reality of God but for the realm in which we relate to one another in separation, division, uncertainty, and confusion. As much as we may cherish our bodies, we cannot find our Self in them! Our salvation comes from recognizing, remembering, and reaching for God’s Promise. And you are God’s promise to me, and I am God’s promise to you.
A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening i. the closing of the gap. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
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