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 THE WAY TO A WONDERFUL LIFE WEEKLY MESSAGE

 Rev Bates
Henry Bates

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The Way to a Wonderful Life, Sunday, April 6, 2014 
  

Listen to the Radio Broadcast of this Message:  click here
           The idea for this message came to me after I was approached by a man asking me for money on my way to the church here in Palm Springs.  It was his initial words that caught my attention as he called out to me.  He said, "hey, are you afraid of me?"  To which I replied that I was not.  Then he said, "you are the only person I have met today that was not afraid of an old black preacher with an Alabama accent."  Then he proceeded to tell me that he had driven his car to Compton to preach in a church service (he showed me the Bible in his satchel and his words seemed to imply this was the truth) and was on his way back home when he had car trouble going through the Coachella Valley.  He caught a bus to Palm Springs but then found out that the repairs on his car were going to be more than the car was worth and so he needed money in order to get a Greyhound bus ticket back to Alabama as he had already given the auto shop all the money he had for the trip.  Now, this story had a familiar ring to it but his coloring the familiar story with the race issue, I thought was clever, and probably very effective here in Palm Springs ... and so I gave him money not that I believed his entire story but it felt right to do so.

      It came to me after this that the reason for the race issue probably being effective for him is that it rings of truth.  To hear that someone feels a sense of fear based on the race of another person has been part of our culture and fragments of it continue.  Even though the most populated areas of our country have become a melting pot of different races, cultures and ethnicities, these surface differences still continue to separate us.  And perhaps this has always been this way for we find in the ancient writings of the Holy Bible and The Torah similar ideas of separation among the people.  And perhaps this is why the Master Mind Jesus came to the conclusion that only through the Power of Love would we ever come to realize that we are all part of One G-d, One Spirit, One Intelligence and One Power.  His teachings regarding Love are perhaps his most idealistic instructions, yet few can deny the intelligence and the spirituality that they represent.

        "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this everyone will know that you follow me, if you love one another." - Jesus, John 13:34-35

     When the Master Mind Jesus gave his "new commandment" to "love one another" he was speaking to a divided people who were already in the consciousness of hating and distrusting anyone unlike themselves.  The Jewish people were divided into primarily two tribes, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and then there were the Gentiles, the non-Jewish and the non-believers.  We find Jesus making a passionate plea for the people to understand this new commandment to foster love in the Gospel of Matthew 5:43-48, "43You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.  44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  45That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the tax collectors do the same?   47And if you salute your brothers and sisters only, what do you more than others? do not even the tax collectors do so? 48Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven [Spirit] is perfect."  

     I believe that Jesus knew he was only planting a "seed" of a better idea into the minds of the people that he was talking to.  Unlike so many other mystics and philosophers before and after him, it is important to realize that he was looking to the world to "evolve" this idea of "love for one another" and did not expect it to be immediately accepted or the importance of it understood.  He knew that if we believe the way in which the world believed, we would never realize lasting peace on earth.  We are not born with hate or all the ways in which hate surfaces in our world.  We learn hate from the world and the "cause" of hate is fear.  We hate what we fear and in this state of mind we are no less primitive than the people that Jesus was talking to over 2,000 years ago.

     A couple of years ago a 23 year old Muslim murdered a Rabbi and three children in France because they were Jewish.  He didn't murder them because they were threatening his life or anyone else's life, he murdered them because hate had twisted his mind into a compulsion for revenge.  A 19 year old man in Starkville, Mississippi admitted to murdering a Black man, James Craig Anderson, because of his race.  The 19 year old, Deryl Dedmon said, "I was young, I was dumb, I was ignorant" and "I was full of hatred."   The death of Trayvon Martin, a young black man who was only 17 years old, in Sanford, Florida, whose life was ended in suspect circumstances gained worldwide attention as did the shooting by Nidal Hasan the Muslim American who killed 13 people and wounded several others.  And so we can see that both race and religion can be twisted justifications for hate.
 
     Hatred overwhelms the reasoning power of the mind and its ability to distinguish between good and evil and the consequences that result from it.  This 23 year old Muslim in France and this 19 year old white man in Mississippi are just two examples of how hate can poison the mind with an insane logic.  This is not the life that G-d gave them, but the life that the world gave them as they accepted the twisted ideas of the people around them.  These are the consequences that Jesus implied when he said, "be in the world, but not of the world" for he knew even over 2,000 years ago that hate can dull our senses and blind us to the Life of the Spirit within all of us.

     This "new" commandment that Jesus taught appears to be simple on the surface, but it is not.  More than just a commandment it is a "challenge" ... or we could even say a "test" ... and if we meet the challenge or pass the test, it takes us into the realm of "being in the world, but not of the world."  But, as we read in the scripture, Matthew 7:14, "For narrow is the gate, and straight the way, that leads unto life, and few are they that find it."  It is easy for us to love the Jewish children and the Rabbi in France and to pray for them as they transition into new life in the Spirit.  And it is easy for us to love James Craig Anderson the Black man who was murdered in Jackson, Mississippi, and know peace for him as his spirit returns to G-d.  It is easy too, to love Trayvon Martin even as we feel a sense of the pain that we know is felt by those who loved him most.  We have an infinite capacity for love for we draw it from the Love of G-d.  And Jesus knew this.  And that is why he called us to seek within our own heart, our own mind, and our own soul, this infinite capacity to love ... not just those who touch our hearts, but to love the Muslim who murdered the three Jewish children and the Rabbi, to love Deryl Dedmon who murdered James Craig Anderson because of his race, and to love the two men who murdered so many others at Fort Hood.  Each of these men lived because of the grace of G-d.  Each one is part of the spirit of G-d, even though they may never have recognized this truth.  Our ability to reason tells us that we must do this if we are to see an end to the chaos that hate continues to create in our world.  But many will look to their religion for justification to continue to hate, rather than to identify with the Love of G-d that is seeking to be expressed through them.  And others will turn to their political affiliation to continue to foster hate and separation from others.  And, there will be others who "just don't get it" ... and they may never will.  There will be those who denounce racism while still holding onto their homophobia.  And there will be those who denounce racism and homophobia while holding onto their negative feelings about illegal immigrants, Muslims, Catholics and Jews.  The world will always supply us with a twisted justification to hate, but if we find it acceptable it will be at the expense of G-d's love within us and G-d's good for us.  There are those of us who will find this deeper love for those who committed these heinous crimes even while we are committed to justice being served.  We do this not because it is easy or because we feel we are superior to those who don't, but we do this for we know that the Master Mind Jesus was giving us the only way in which we can make our world a better place for all of us ... and the world has never found a another way.

      Ernest Holmes writes that "G-d is all there is" and in this we can substitute the word "Love" ... "Love is all there is" ... and this truth permeates the teachings of the Master Mind Jesus.  And for us this means that Love is more powerful than anything unlike it ... but, we must give rise to it in our own heart, our own mind and our own soul, in order to experience the truth that this is so.

         From the mystical Ernest Holmes we can read: 
"As a matter of fact, Jesus taught three great truths.  And you will see them running through everything He said.  The first is, of course,  that G-d is all there is.  Whether it is here or hereafter, G-d is life.  G-d is good.  That is the first great truth that Jesus sets before us.  Next, He told us about a divine power greater than we are and about the law of good, which we all may use.  And we are all using it, whether or not we are aware of the fact.  He told us exactly what this law is and how to use it.  And He said it will never fail us, b
ecause it is done unto us as we believe.  And this was the second great teaching of Jesus.  And perhaps the third is even more important than the other two.  Jesus taught that the divine giver is also the great forgiver.  And that Love finally will heal every wound, somewhere, sometime, somehow, either here or in the hereafter.''

      
The Love of G-d is seeking you; that is, seeking an inlet and outlet to express the healing power of love through you.


AND SO IT IS!

Keep the faith!
Rev
. Henry Bates

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