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Other Articles By Roger Stratton:
The Danger of Judging Sinners
It appears to me that Jesus is telling us that it isn't our place to decide right and wrong for anyone. We decide for ourselves. We must make decisions about what to do in any situation. We can refer back to Jesus' instructions in a nutshell, and say, "does this action show love to my neighbor or not?" But as for what our neighbor does, it is none of our business. We are supposed to love them anyway.
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Seven Wonders of the World
A friend recently sent me an article about a group of students that was asked to list what they thought were the present "Seven Wonders of the World." There was some disagreement, but the majority results were fairly predictable: Egypt's Great Pyramids, the Grand Canyon, The Great Wall of China, etc.
While gathering the votes the teacher noticed one student that had not finished with her paper yet. She asked the girl if she was having trouble.
The girl replied, "Yes, I couldn't make up my mind because there were so many. The teacher said, "Tell us what you have and maybe we can help."
The girl hesitated then read: "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are, to see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to smell, to laugh, and to love."
We talk about the mystery of God. We talk about miracles being proof of God. But what is a mystery, or a miracle? Something we haven't grown used to. We are surrounded by miracles and mysteries every day, but they are the same miracles as yesterday, so they aren't called miracles or mysteries. The sun rises over the horizon, 93 million miles away at temperatures in the thousands of degrees, yet it gently warms our face, and causes the nearby flower to open in a glorious display. It causes a tiny seed, a lump of what we call inert matter, to transform earth and water into everything we need: trees for oxygen and lumber, fruits and vegetables and grass for livestock. How? How does something so small have the intelligence to become a 50-foot Oak tree? How does it know when to make a limb, or a leaf or an acorn? How does it know when to sprout leaves then when to drop them off? We smugly say, "It knows by the temperature." How does it know?
Could we, in what we consider to be our superior intelligence, build a tree from earth, water and sunlight? Could we write the instructions to fit inside and acorn? Could we then tell a squirrel to go and bury if for us? Then ask the clouds to bring it rain every few days to keep it alive for the next 100 years!
If a peach tree and an apple tree are planted side by side, with their branches intermingled; when Spring calls them to bloom, the bee comes and pollinates the fruit. But the bee will not cross-pollinate a peach blossom with an apple blossom, even though they are inches apart. Why? What benefit is there for the bee? His brothers are beside him pollinating each tree separately, taking nectar from each back to the hive. They like them both, but yet they keep them separate, even though not doing so would be simpler. Why? What's in it for the bee? Nothing. But if they didn't, we wouldn't have peaches and apples, and that is what God wanted. They do it because God needed them to, not because it benefits them, but because it benefits everything.
A horse and a donkey can mate and produce a mule. A powerful animal built for work, but the mule is sterile. Why? Because if it weren't the species could intermingle and blur, and the original design would be lost.
As the girl said in her true observation of what wonder is; sight is a wonder. We believe that sight evolved from thermal sensor cells, very much like those in our finger tips; cells that learned how to produce an image in color from a mile away. How does that happen? If you really think about sight, it is a most amazing thing. How could it develop from nothing?
How does a single fertilized egg cell know how to turn into two identical cells, then into billions of cells, each with a specific purpose? One becomes a heart, one a liver, one a lung, tied together in the most amazing machine we can imagine. A machine that seeks its own fuel, builds its own shelter, and replicates itself, and oh yes, it loves. What is love? Perhaps the greatest mystery of all. That thing that makes your heart race and your pupils dilate and makes life worth living.
So, why is God a mystery, when all these other things are not? I think it is because we got a little bit of knowledge. We found out we could explain a few things, like why people get sick and why apples fall to the ground. We decided that the chicken could explain the egg; that we could write down why everything happens using our language. What is language? Primitive babbling that we developed and modified in order to get what we want from other people. Can the chicken explain its world without error? Can the worm? We are probably as far above the chicken as the chicken is above the worm, but how far is that? Not far enough to explain it all in words, that, I am sure of. I'm not saying we can't understand it, and even share it with each other, but can we state it in a mathematical or logical proof of some kind, using English, or French or Farsi? No.
How do we embrace the mystery of God? A Course in Miracles says we need not
seek the truth. We should instead seek to understand what is not true. Once
we have eliminated what is false, only the truth is left. So what is false?
That we live in an ordinary world surrounded by ordinary events, that ordinary
people have all figured out.
It is a function of the human mind to ignore what is not new and different. Only the things that are unfamiliar pose a threat, so those are what we see and hear. The oddities are what we notice. We have been surrounded by God since the beginning of time, and He most certainly is not a threat. But as we proceed up the scale of Maslow's hierarchy, once we are safe and warm and fed, we can raise our eyes a little and seek greater understanding of our purpose. To do this, we learn to see the magic and the mystery that has always been there. We look deeper. We throw off petty concerns about status and appearance and money, the things that occupy most of our time.
Next, we have to clean our hearts and minds of judgment, hatred, and ill will of any kind. These things block our connection with God. "If you bring your offering to the altar, and you remember that you have ought with your brother, lay it down and go and make peace with him." Then you can return and commune with God. Once your heart is pure, Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, you can see God. Then He will tell you everything you need to know, if you just ask, seek, knocků and then listen and look for the answers to come to you from everything you see and experience.
Why not the mysterious and the magical, instead of the mundane and the ordinary? How can one reality be any more unlikely than another? The Starseed Transmissions, by Ken Carey, tells us that we first lived as free spirits, unencumbered by bodies with no comprehension of space and time, to use words of this dimension, flying freely in a spirit world, much like our dreams. Then God, whom we were and still are a part of, conceived another dimension for our existence. The physical. A dimension of sensations unlike any we were able to experience. An existence that allowed us, to see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to smell, to laugh, and to love. Think of it. What a tremendous leap. I think this may be Heaven. Stop and think about that a minute.
But what happens when you give us a few thousand years of heaven? The same old thing. Now we are like spoiled rich kids, whining about how hard we have it. Why is it hard? Because we made it that way.
Let's say we flip it over, and decide that heaven is the other way, the spirit way. When we get to heaven, are we going to be concerned about our appearance? Our status? How do we improve our status? We get a better job than the next guy; maybe we sell things to our neighbors. Maybe things they don't really need, but we want them to think they do, so we can have more. We hire another spirit to advertise for us, to make them feel inferior if they don't buy our product, to convince them that our product will make their life better. It won't hurt if everybody contributes to our success, right? Then another spirit comes along and makes a product that makes our obsolete. We lose our company, and our status. We don't make a lot of money anymore. We hate the spirit that took it from us. We're in hell!
See how it works? Embrace the mystery.
Copyright © 2004 by the author
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