Speaker: Sandy Souder, July 31, 2016

Last week we explored the First Principle of our fundamental operating Truths: There is only one Presence and one Power active as the Universe and as my life, God the Good.

We saw that God is not outside of us, but is both transcendent (all there is and everywhere) and immanent (personal and within). We saw that God is a force of energy. And how that energy expresses, or doesn’t, is up to us.

I hope you all found many ways to express God through you throughout your week.

And that brings us today to the Second Principle:

Our essence is of God; therefore, we are inherently good. This God essence, called the Christ, was fully expressed in Jesus.

Or we could say…

We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good.

Or, another way…

Humankind was created from absolute good and our inherent nature is also good. We call our inherent goodness the Christ.

Or simply: as John 14:20 puts it: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

Anyway we look at it, we are inherently good, made in the image and likeness of God.

In his book, “Original Blessing”, Matthew Fox gives us cause to deny the traditional doctrine of original sin.

He says we do not enter existence as sinful creatures, instead, “We burst into the world as ‘Original Blessings.’” The only sin Fox recognizes is the sin of dualism; i.e., of seeing people and things as being separate from one another.

The only sin, therefore, is the refusal to see all as one.

I find comfort in Original Blessing… don’t you?

Fox continues: “The forces of fear and pessimism so prevalent in society and religion need to be countered by an increased awareness of awe and goodness,” and he teaches that when Original Blessing replaces Original Sin, relationships of awe, of passion and compassion, of love for justice and for the earth, are resurrected.

Nature gives us so many opportunities of awe. And our families and friends give us opportunities of passion and compassion.

In her book, The Five Principles, Rev. Ellen Debenport writes: “Most people still want to believe in a God that knows and cares about the details of their lives, that can make a difference in what happens or at least in how they feel about what happens. Even with a concept of God as the Ground of Being, as impervious to our dramas as the air we breathe, that personal relationship with the divine has not been lost. With Principle Two, it merely has been relocated – inside us, as us.”

Ellen continues: “People who insist that humans are divine are often accused of thinking they are God, and the secret is: We are! Just as every tree is God in expression, just as every sunset or newborn child or act of mercy allows us to witness the divine, we, too, are expressions of God on Earth. We are the divine expressing in human form. At first it may sound grandiose to claim it, but properly understood, the awareness of our own divinity is where we derive our comfort, guidance and strength for the human experience. We can never be separate from God, and we have only begun to tap the power of the human spirit.”

This is what Jesus came to teach us, isn’t it? He taught on several occasions that we would do even greater things than he did. He taught his disciples when they tried to deify him, “It is not I but the Spirit within who does the work.”

Jesus allowed himself to be a clear vehicle for the expression of God and as such was able to love, forgive, heal and teach from the Christ within him. Just as a drop of water from the ocean, or a wave of the ocean, is not the whole ocean but contains all the attributes of the ocean, so are we expressions of God, not being all of God, but having within us all the qualities of God, if we are only willing to demonstrate them.

This means being willing to live from our Christ self, to be more interested in doing the right thing than in being right, to be willing to show up as who we really are, not who we’re afraid we are. We learned a few weeks ago how the Four Agreements would help us be who we are meant be to, would help us to disregard some of the domestication we have learned, to release our negative history. By Being Impeccable With Our Word, Not taking Anything Personally, Not Making Assumptions, and Always Doing Our Best; we move closer to our Christ selves.

We need to become increasingly more aware, as we heard Fox observe earlier, of awe and goodness.

This is what Jesus was trying to teach us and what he demonstrated with his life. When he healed, it was because he only saw wholeness. When he forgave, it was because he didn’t recognize anyone as sinful. Jesus became an absolutely clear conduit for Spirit, for the Christ consciousness, to fully demonstrate as him. And he did his best to try to teach us that we could do the same!

Eckhart Tolle, in “A New Earth,” observed: “Jesus speaks of the innermost I Am, the essence identity of every man and woman, every life-form, in fact. He speaks of the life that you are. Some Christian mystics have called it the Christ within; Buddhists call it your Buddha nature; for Hindus, it is Atman, the indwelling God. When you are in touch with that dimension within yourself – and being in touch with it is your natural state, not some miraculous achievement – all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within. This is love.”

Jesus came to teach us that we are one with God, that the Kingdom is within us and all around us. Now, do we always act that way? Probably not. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, with human brains that have been a little slow to catch up with our soul’s unfoldment. Brains that second guess our inner wisdom, that try to be the boss. But as humans, we have the capacity to change. We have the capacity to observe our own evolution. We have the capacity to choose awe and compassion and goodness.

So how do we live the Second Principle? By being curious to explore, to discover how and why your life is unfolding as it is. Be in the question!

Become willing to stop clinging to what we think we know, about ourselves and others. We see that everyone is of God and is inherently good, regardless of how we or they are behaving.

Please hear that this doesn’t mean that any and all behavior is OK, because clearly it isn’t. What it does mean is that we’re willing to see beyond what is currently demonstrating in physical reality, as Jesus did, to see the truth of ourselves… that our essence is of God and that we are inherently good.

As we make our attempts to live as Jesus has shown us, my guess is that this will cause us to become more loving, more forgiving, more compassionate, more interested, as Fox observed, in the awe and goodness around us than in whatever else is showing up.

It means that we become willing to see that everything is working together for good when we are willing to trust and let go of our old ways of thinking and being. We become willing to question the beliefs and assumptions we’ve based our actions and reactions on, and see through innocent eyes once again. The Buddhist’s call this having Beginner’s Mind… where we are willing to become teachable again, to see with new, fresh, innocent eyes, not limited by all our preconceived notions and prejudices.

We realize that all people are created with sacred worth and that no one exists outside the heart of God.

This principle frees us from low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. It frees us from earlier teachings that told us we were inherently sinful. It frees us to express the Truth of who we are which, like our Creator, is goodness and love. It frees us to trust ourselves. In awareness of our Christ nature we realize that, “No One, and Nothing, is Against Me!” Our self-esteem grows.

Ellen completes her exploration of the Second Principle with these observations: “The Easter metaphor of crucifixion, tomb and resurrection reflect our lives as they play out over and over. The worst of our experiences can become the greatest blessings of our lives. The darkest human behavior can move us to compassion and to the expression of our higher selves. Remember the global outpouring of love and our sense of oneness on September 11, 2001? With our response to a terrorist attack, we glimpsed who we truly are and what the kingdom of heaven can be. Love outweighs violence, our human oneness trumps our differences. As we continue to call on the best of ourselves – whether we call it the prefrontal cortex of the brain or the divine within – we consciously evolve for the better.”

These sentiments still hold true as our country and world continues to hold the light of love against terrorists. You are the light of the world… you are the hands and feet, the ears and mouths, the heart and soul of God. You are the face of God….

We again ask ourselves “What is mine to do?” with regards to this and the negativity in our own nation. It is not more negativity…it is love. It must be love. Love is the healing balm for us all. And it ALWAYS starts with each and every one of us.

If there is negativity in your house or mine, in your heart or mine, we must release it. Resolve it. Remove it.

So ask yourself if there is and where is it coming from and how is it resolved? And then put feet to your prayers and resolve it in whatever way is needed.

We must remember something stated by Russell Brand, and many others in different ways, “Beneath and beyond our identity as human beings there is a divine self that is connected to all living things that is part of an infinite source of creativity.”

This is the One who will never leave us, the One who is not different from the essence of who we truly are.