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Archived Message

Sunday, July 22, 2001

Moving in consciousness to the Religion of Jesus, from the Religion about Jesus.
                                
                       Two days before I do a work shop, I go into seclusion.  No matter what is going on in the outside world, I cease being a part of it and spend my time in prayer, meditation and contemplation of the subject or issue that I am to teach at the work shop.  In this work, each minister and practitioner who is called to teach, must seek something "original" to bring to their audience.  But, during this time, often, something more will come to me, something not expected and something that has nothing to do with the work shop I am working on.  This is what happened this past week.  During my preparation, my mind kept moving to the subject of Spiritual Experience and the evolution of Spirituality as it becomes individualized in each of us.

                      In this teaching we talk a lot about living in the "Now" and letting go of the past.  However, every experience we have ever had, created the "Now" that we are in.  This is the Truth.  Now, I am not saying dwell on the past, but don't lose the valuable and important knowledge gained from past experiences whether they appeared as wonderful and beautiful or seemingly not so good.

                       In the midst of reflecting on my spiritual journey, I remembered The First Baptist Church of Paris, Missouri.  As a child this was my church.  I used to sing "Jesus loves me this I know...." in Sunday School, and I believed it.  As I experienced some of life's confusion, this sweet little song made a difference in my life.  It reminded me always, that someone, something, greater than me that I could not see, loved me.  Why, I didn't know exactly.  I felt no impulse to be any better that who I was or to try and be someone different.  I just accepted that Jesus loved me and on I went.

                        As I moved through the experiences of life, I no longer sang this beautiful little song and my ideas about Jesus changed.  I have always read the Bible and continue to do so now.  I sympathized with Jesus dying on the cross.  I was confused about the resurrection and I thought most of the healings and demonstrations were merely stories, that perhaps they were true, but I could not reason in my mind, any real understanding of them.  I never believed, even as a child, that Jesus would "save me," although this was a constant theme of many sermons and services that I had listened to.  But, I always had an affinity for Jeus, a respect and a love that went beyond expecting him to "save me."

                        When I began my study of Religious Science, I found the Science of Mind is filled with a deep love and respect for Jesus.  Dr. Ernest Holmes, Founder of Religious Science, understood the healings and the teachings of Jesus.  I came to the understanding that Jesus was not "just a man" or a "religious figure" but the embodiment of Truth.  I came into the realization that Jesus was trying to teach us to "save ourselves."  But, like the people in the days of the Bible, most of us don't want to, we want something or someone else to "save us," or to blame for our self-imposed miseriesEven in Religious Science, there is a hesitancy to teach the Principles that Jesus taught in the absolute way that Dr. Holmes presented in his writings in the Science of Mind textbook.  Many Religious Science ministers and practitioners will quote anyone but Jesus; the Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Paramahansa Yogananda, Emerson - but they shy away from Jesus.  Why?  Because Jesus taught, "narrow is the gate and straight is the way."  Jesus said "pick up your bed and walk."  He didn't say, consult a psychologist, run to the doctor with our every pain, take a Tylenol, or keep in constant contact with a practitioner.  He said our "faith has made thee whole."  Our faith, not a minister's or practitioner's.  He knew these things were just the "excuses" that keep us from seeking and discovering the Power and the Presence of God within us, that can heal whatever it is that brings discord into our lives.  He knew that we would never truly "trust God" until we found the "kingdom of heaven within."

                       Jesus dedicated his life to teaching a higher truth and in demonstrating that truth so that each and every one of us could know that, "I and the Father are One."  Not, Jesus and the Father are One, but each and every one of us are both human and divine.  When we recognize this truth within ourselves, we will then begin to see every "need" filled in our lives.  We will then begin to live the life of love, joy and happiness that awaits our recognition.  We will then be practicing the "Religion of Jesus" rather than the religion about Jesus.

                                 
 And So It Is!           

Letting Love use me in Its own Good Way,
Henry Lee Bates