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|Sunday, December 03, 2000
EDGING GOD OUT!
To practice the Presence of the Divine in others is to practice healing for it is a recognition of this Divine Presence which heals. - Science of Mind
One of the changes that occur for those of us who are called to healing and ministry work is that our experiences are no longer for our personal growth only but become instruments for teaching and healing. A practitioner is always working with self-healing, healing their own consciousness. This self-healing becomes a healing for their client as all healing is done in consciousness.
Dr. O. C. Smith, Founder and Spiritual Director of the City of Angels Church of Religious Science, teaches that in order to "BE" a minister, not just walk around with a meaningless title, we must know that we are ministers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7), in all that we do and in every situation in which we find ourselves. He instructs his students to carry the Science of Mind textbook with them wherever they go as a reminder of the Principle that they represent. As ministers, according to Dr. O. C., we are spokespersons for the Holy Spirit and we must always feel that we are expressing our God-Self - the God in us. He emphatically tells his students that "the ministry is nothing to play with," it is serious stuff as we are going to impact the lives of people - always "Be" your best, he says, and don't take this lightly, get your ego out of the way!
Dr. Domenic A. Polifrone, Spiritual Director of the Hollywood Church for Today, teaches his students that the two most important words to carry in your mind at all times are "Pay Attention." Pay Attention - very simple, just like the Principle that we teach - but sometimes very difficult to live up to. And why is that? It is because we allow the "EGO" to get our attention and we forget the very Truth that we know can set us free.
Some years ago, a minister in another religious teaching, a tele-evangelist, would walk up and down on a stage in front of his audience, dripping with sweat, screaming hell-fire and damnation and tell everyone who should be feared and shunned and who should be loved and embraced. However, he picked up "the devil in a blue dress" off a street corner and his ministry was destroyed for quite some time. Did he not believe what he told his followers? Of course he did, but he forgot to be a minister 24/7 - he forgot to "pay attention" to what he represented.
Some people snicker at the tele-evangelists, but I love to watch them. Actually, I love to observe ministers at all times, behind the podium and in their personal expressions of their ministries. I learn a lot from them, all of them. I learn what to do and what not to do. Most of them reinforce my beliefs and my convictions regarding the ministry.
I observed a minister from one of the local churches on Thanksgiving away from their podium and away from their church - or at least in their mind they were - in Truth we are never separated from that which we are. In other words, no matter where we go, there we are. I will make the effort to teach this lesson with discretion, as an observer, but keep the integrity of the lesson for it is truly a lesson for all of us, not just ministers and practitioners. I was very enthusiastic as I observed this minister and their companion walk into the restaurant, a wonderful Hollywood landmark hotel restaurant. Seated already at a prominent table was three of this minister's ex-parishioners. All three had been students through the 3rd year of studies and had been dedicated, long-standing volunteers of the church. All three continue to be legally members of the church. One of them was a Practitioner who had served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the church, produced numerous events for the church, had built the book store and assisted in the remodeling of the Children's Center. But there had been a rift in the "spiritual family" and now God was presenting this minister with the perfect opportunity to begin healing the situation. Are we paying attention? It is Thanksgiving Day - a day of unity, a day of reconciliation and giving thanks. This minister had just given a Thanksgiving Day service filled with words of Truth, no doubt declaring the Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God. I was excited to see this minister "walk the talk" and to "practice their practice" - in other words, I wanted to see the minister "BE" a minister. But the minister, also a Board Trustee of the church, wasn't "paying attention." The Practitioner even acknowledged the minister and their companion. But to no avail. Even though the minister was less than six feet away from this powerful opportunity for healing, for reconciliation, they could not move through their ego [fear/personality] and allow that which they know Is the Truth, create a joyful healing. Ego triumphed. The minister forgot that "to practice the Presence of the Divine in others is to practice healing for it is a recognition of this Divine Presence which heals." This Is the Truth and the only Truth that any of us require to heal any situation, condition or circumstance. This minister forgot to "practice their practice" even though the opportunity was so obviously "God-created" and like the tele-evangelist, forgot to "pay attention," forgot that all ministers teach 24/7 by living the Principles they represent.
As someone in the ministry, this observation was disappointing but at the same time, since I was "paying attention" [thank you, Dr. Domenic] I saw this as a perfect lesson for teaching and healing. So many of us do not find our healing because we continue to judge ourselves harshly by judging others as something other than Divine, by believing that we do not have the Power and the Presence of God with us at all times seeking Its perfection in our lives. We must not allow ego to "edge God out" of our experiences, we must "choose whom we shall serve" consistently. As we choose to serve only God in all things and all people, we will never find ourselves feeling separate and apart from that which we truly are.
We can avoid the confusion that was created by the two ministers in this message by answering these two simple questions and remembering the answers as we move through this experience called Life:
1) Am I to be shunned and feared or am I to be loved and embraced?
Of course, I am to be loved and embraced.
2) Isn't the answer to question #1 the same for others as it is for me?
Of course it is!
And So It Is!
Letting Love use me in Its own Good Way,
Henry Lee Bates