GREAT MORNING BELOVED!
Thou shalt not steal
SO, you’re looking at these 4 words and thinking, Sandy, this is an easy one…. simple – don’t steal. Well, that would be nice if people would pay attention to it.
But they don’t as we well know, and it’s not as simple as it sounds.
There is so much more to this Commandment… Spiritually…. as we shall see as we look at the Commitment, Challenge and the Law of Sharing.
But, let’s think for a minute…how could we look at this deeper? That’s what metaphysics asks of us, to look beyond the obvious.
I presented this question to my Tuesday class and we had a very interesting discussion.
SO, let’s start with Neal Donald Walsh’s take, his Commitment: You will not take a thing that is not your own, nor cheat, nor connive, nor harm another to have anything, for this would be to steal. I promise you, when you have found God, you shall not steal.
Stealing is trying to get something for which we do not have the consciousness and are therefore not spiritually entitled to. You cannot keep anything for which you do not have the consciousness.
The key is changing ‘shall not’ to ‘cannot’ and adding ‘consciousness’ to it.
Emmitt Fox – reminds us that the intent of the commandments is not to impose rules from above, but to keep us in alignment with the flow of divine energy and the working out of divine law.
When the Commandments were given, we were at a fairly early stage on our spiritual journey, we weren’t yet ready to understand the underlying spiritual truth; it is enough that we obey the commandments out of fear of negative consequences.
As we move toward spiritual maturity, we learn to replace the fear with love. We obey the same commandments, but we do so out of an energy of love for God, for ourselves and for our neighbors. This, of course, is the very heart of the message of Jesus, the Christ. He made it clear that his teaching was not intended to replace the law, but rather to shift our understanding from fearfully obeying arbitrary rules to joyful cooperation with God as loving and creative Law.
Jesus helped us to see that it is not behavior alone but consciousness that is at issue
We ‘cannot’ by right of consciousness. The Truth is that you can do anything, have anything, be anything, for which you have the consciousness – but not otherwise.
To be Healthy – you must have health consciousness
To be prosperous – you must have prosperity consciousness
To be Successful – you must have success consciousness
You must have the consciousness that corresponds with what you wish to have, be, do, etc.
In the same sense, we cannot keep anything for which we do not have the consciousness to correspond to it.
Think about what we are saying here…it’s a consciousness thing….
It’s the Law of Being – that sums up all the laws in life – whatever comes to you, whatever happens to you, whatever surrounds you, will be in accordance with your consciousness & nothing else, & whatever is in your consciousness must happen.
Stealing is trying to get something for which we do not have the consciousness & are therefore not spiritually entitled to.
You cannot do anything that is not in accordance with your consciousness at the moment, but you can change your consciousness – prayer, reading spiritual texts, music, poems, affirmations – affirm the Presence of God within and all around you.
Eric Butterworth looks at this Commandment as respect for property, right of ownership, and says it refers to all kinds of stealing – of course shoplifting, employee theft, armed robbery etc. = >30 billion in losses!
And that does not include the cost of insurance and security measures.
But there are other types of stealing besides the obvious.
Some of these may sound familiar to you…for whatever reason: stretching breaks & lunch hours; falsified sick days, padded expense accounts, even reduced effort or productivity – we use to call it RIP – retired in place, when someone was just counting their days till retirement, even if it was months or even years away & doing as little as possible to get there!
Felding defines his Challenge as – accomplish your goals without mistreating other people
SO those examples of stealing just mentioned are mistreating your employer.
How about Stealing one’s freedom – kidnapping & slavery, of course, but it’s also – a supervisor who breathes down your neck, is controlling or treats you like a servant; a possessive lover who is demanding & dictatorial; a parent, lover or friend who won’t let you have time alone, an overbearing parent refusing to let an adult child make choices for themselves, forcing sexual favors for the right to work?
Felding says it’s also a warning against deception & manipulation’
2nd century Rabbi Ishmael said, “the worst kind of thief is someone who uses deception to steal the good opinion of people”
He also said, “to win someone’s gratitude or regard through deceit is a form of thievery.”
A Politician who lies to steal your vote, a salesperson or advertiser who misrepresents a product’s attributes to win a sale, or a friend or co-worker who pretends to be on your side while secretly working against you are all examples of stealing…stealing a person’s self-esteem.
Dr. Lewis Smedes suggests, “The commandment confronts a modern culture which accepts greed as a style of self-affirmation. Recognizing the difference between stealing & dealing is a lost art. We still know that when a thug snatches a purse, he is stealing; we are not sure whether or not a creative ad writer who woos money from people by seductive lies is stealing. We know that a burglar who takes a family’s TV is stealing; we are not sure whether a company is stealing when it exploits a poor nation’s resources.”
From a spiritual point of view – Being rude, treating any human being in a demeaning way, even failing to respond to a greeting is a theft of self-respect;
Think about all that!
Stealing someone’s self-worth when you interrupt while they are talking, when we fail to acknowledge co-authors, researchers, sources of information, when we mistreat people who work for us…. all examples of taking away from their self-worth.
There’s a line between cleverness, ambition, or assertiveness & unfairly hurting someone.
DO we recognize that line?
Joan Chittister – refers to this as the Law of Sharing
She looks at how things were in Israel at the time of the ‘10 words’. The law was to protect the common property of the clan, their well, the sheep, the land from being used for individual profit. Property was common owned…welfare of the community was held over the individual.
The Israelis believed God owned the land, and the people were the caretakers, the stewards.
Further, these Laws were written to protect the poor from being exploited by the rich. Scripture is filled with warnings against using false weights in the marketplace, charging interest on a debt, or holding the cloak of a debtor as collateral.
Laws of charity are clear in Judaism. 1/10th minimum belongs to God & to be used to take care of God’s people.
DO you know what Gleaning is? -the right of the poor to the un-gathered part of the harvest, the obligation of the farmer to leave part of the season’s yield behind for the poor
There are some places where gleaning is permitted in PA, but I am not aware of any in Delaware.
The Bible forbids waste – nothing that is of use to anyone is ever to be destroyed, must be put to use for those who need it – waste is stealing from those who have need
Having more than we need & giving nothing to those who have nothing is another form of stealing. By consuming, controlling, hoarding all the goods of earth for oneself…this is spiritual gluttony
Stealing in a biblical sense is not so much a private or personal sin, but a social sin – we have missed the mark. To take what we don’t need, to destroy what is useful to another, to deprive those in the community of their basic needs is stealing
Sharing is a human imperative because we all depend on someone else somehow to provide what we each need. None of us is entirely self-sufficient.
I repeat; None of us is entirely self-sufficient. No where near it!
Stealing is as much about method as it is about money. (credit cards, scams, inflated prices, inflating the size of a box but not the contents but charging more-in other words, charging what we are willing to pay), stealing elections…sound familiar?
Stealing has become a way of life in a world bulging with wealth & teeming with poor
Think about this…. How honest we are about little things determines how straight we will be about the big things.
We might think those examples of stealing are insignificant, but they add up, they make their mark on our integrity, on our soul.
In addition, A person that refrains from stealing only because of fear has a limitation consciousness. He who robs another robs himself first by breaking his own integrity or wholeness. It breaks one’s soul.
I realize integrity & high values are not easy to maintain. Integrity means to be whole or complete.
Living with greater integrity & wholeness is a goal that many people feel is out of reach or no longer relevant but finding a way to be moral & compassionate will awaken the sparks of light within your soul & you will feel a greater sense of spiritual richness.
And life is easier…really!
This Law of Sharing challenges us daily to choose whether we wish to seek a life of integrity & wholeness – we must make our choices consciously.
Here are 4 principles to live with greater wholeness & integrity
1. Take time to make conscious choices. Think fully through your choices, just like our Native Americans – look ahead to 7 generations. There are often more than 2 options if we think through the situation.
2. Confront your own habits of being sneaky, deceptive or insensitive. Think about your behavior: BE HONEST! – do you get impatient & interrupt? Do you cut corners, are you rude or cold to people? Do you find yourself doing something unkind, immoral, illegal in business or relationships? Do you ever feel as if you are faking it or doing whatever will get people to like you? Are you sometimes controlling of someone? Do you sometimes take advantage of people’s innocence, niceness, trust? All good questions we can ask ourselves, if we are brave…
3. Anticipate when doing the right thing will be unpopular. Principled action sometimes causes people to turn against you. Be prepared to be strong and stand for your integrity.
4. Share a portion of what you have with people who have less. We shouldn’t steal, but we also should make sure that others don’t need to steal in order to feed & clothe their families. We have a duty to make it easy & non-shameful for a poor or hungry person to enjoy a portion of whatever we create.
Jesus. “Give and it will be given to you” Luke 6:38
The purpose of giving is not to receive but to give.
We must unlearn the concept of “get” “get” “get” and become enthusiastic about the ideal of “give” “give” “give.”
When one really understands the spiritual law of ‘you shall not steal’ she becomes meticulously careful not to take or accept anything that is not rightfully hers…or fail to fulfill an obligation that is her responsibility.
One can never get something for nothing…period. Eventually, we pay.
Sr. Joan is a warrior when it comes to standing for the rights of the poor…”We cannot claim that we are not a nation of thieves until we insist on a society where no one has to steal to live.”
We claim to be a “Christian” nation…but I have to wonder what that definition is.
Get yourself into the flow of the divine creative process & create the conditions within your own mind that will make the outward manifestation inevitable. Turn from the goals of getting and having to the ideal of giving and being.
Every person is constantly & abundantly supported by an all providing universe
True wealth is the magnetic flow of Spirit within us that draws the things we desire to us. There is a great sense of fulfillment in life that comes from just being in the flow.
And to be in the flow, we must come to realize that One’s property & creative gifts are not one’s own, only trusted to you from Spirit. Whatever we have we hold only in stewardship, in trust from the Divine Universe.
We damage our soul when we hold back from sharing our gifts. We’ve talked about the importance of sharing the gifts you have received.
The Native Americans teach sharing wisdom & gifts is a natural duty, it benefits your soul…we are to “keep emptying ourselves to receive more.” That’s nice.
Proverbs 11:24-25 tells us “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
And Matthew 6:1-4 reminds us: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Take those thoughts into the Silence…
Honor thy father and thy mother
Well, we’re half way through this series on the Ten Commandments. What have you learned so far?
Did you notice that the first 4 had to do with loving the God of your understanding? First, recognizing that there is only One God and then that we should honor that God and not carelessly use the name we’ve given to that God to attempt to strengthen our vow for earthly things. We were reminded to watch what we say when using our I AM.
And last week we were given reminders of what the Sabbath REALLY means and how we can honor it.
How did you do with that? Take any naps?
Now we will begin looking at how to get along with each other. Seems as if THIS is something we can’t seem to get right!
Lets all commit to doing our part to promote peace and love in our world, wherever that is and however that looks.
And that is my political statement for the day. Your responsibility is to do what is yours to do.
So, back to walking for 40 years through the desert, we would have to quickly learn how to get along with the other people in this group of thousands, would we not? Try to imagine that for a moment…..these people were not just Jewish, there were Gentiles included too…any slave was set free from many countries, anyone who wished could travel with the group. And all their animals and many pieces of household goods packed in all sorts of animals and carts and wagons.
Now, how would you handle getting along with all that?…….
Right, A bit difficult.
Today we take a look at “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
This is the only one of the “10 words” that includes a condition…’so that you may live long in the land your Lord is giving you.’
What do you think that is about?
Eric Butterworth reminds us, “we are spiritual beings, so God is our true father, and the divine tie always transcends blood tie.”
He also states, “we will never be able to fit into any human relationship until you can see yourself as a child of God.”
This statement falls into what Neal Donald Walsh states in his Commitment: “You shall honor your mother and father-and you will know you are the Son of God when you honor your Father/Mother God in all that you say or do or think. And even as you so honor the Mother/Father God, and your father and mother on Earth, (for they have given you life), so, too, will you honor everyone.”
John 3:16 reminds us – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
We are the “the only begotten Son”, each one of us.
The spiritual fulfillment of this commandment lies in our reverence for our Creator in whom the father quality of wisdom is joined with the mother quality of love. The masculine & feminine attributes are likewise present in each of us, the image and likeness of God.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
Emmitt Fox says we must recognize God as the only Cause, the only Power – & that is where we receive days that are long with no troubles or difficulties.
Where our part in ‘cause’ comes in is in our thoughts.
The word ‘Man” means a thinker, your acts happen through your thoughts.
But thought has no power unless it is accompanied by feeling – male & female. Balance!
Our Challenge, then according to Leonard Felding, is – How do you honor a parent when there’s tension between you?
The Parent-child relationship one of the most complex for humanity. But we can find honor for our parents by understanding what honor means.
The word for honor actually is 2 sided – heaviness, weightiness, difficulty, burden or honor, give importance or weight to someone, sooooo, this could mean honoring your parents is a heavy burden or it can be an opportunity to give weight or importance to bring honor & dignity to 2 people who need your support.
Whether we honor them as an irritating burden or a heartfelt opportunity, depends on:
1. Deciding whether or not to forgive. We often have unresolved resentments, we can choose to forgive to allow for the possibility of better relations. Edwin H. Chapin, “Never does the human soul appear so strong & noble as when it forgoes revenge & dares to forgive an injury.”
Incorrect to assume forgiveness means we have to forget, whitewash or minimize the things that happen…”forgiveness presupposes remembering” Paul Tillich
Forgiveness is an action of the heart, defined as – pardon or release from punishment; to give up anger, resentment, or the need for revenge; to show mercy or compassion. Each definition – They acknowledge an offender & an offense, but also allow you to turn your heart toward healing & release. Forgiveness allows you to build a positive while making sure to not repeat what happened.
2. Learning to create healthy & respectful limits
WE need to set healthy Boundaries & respectful limits – and that means how you chose to let people get to you emotionally & how well you protect yourself when someone is too close.
3. Uncovering the best ways to help your parents as they grow older or decline in health.
How do we help our parents as they become ill, when they feel isolated, and they become increasingly dependent on us for financial, emotional, & caregiving support.
Ask for help as you need it;
View yourself as a caregiving manager instead of a victim,
Stay healthy yourself
This is a chance to feel close to your parents…both your earthly parents & your Spiritual parent.
Our Sr. Joan calls this – The Law of Caring
And I can see why….
Chittister tells us this Commandment asks us to look at how we care for those who have gone before us, have shown us the way…and to consider our debt to the generations to come.
It is what we learn from those before us that enable us to go forward fearlessly
While pursuing my license from Unity, I was required to attend a weekend retreat at the Village. I chose one for Gay & Lesbians. It was a wonderful experience filled with music and discussion, meeting others. That’s where I first met Kathleen.
One part, the Saturday evening before we would finish on Sunday, the leaders asks all the participant to move to different sides of the room, based upon our age. Those on one side, over 50 and the other under 50.
Then he explained that the ‘younger’ side could thank the ‘older’ side because they set the tone, they led the way to change, to go from harasment and sometimes physical abuse, or more, to tolerance and finally acceptance. (Still working on that one)
It was a very moving experience, to be acknowledged for the path that you helped to forge so that others could find freedom and acceptance.
I believe THIS is what Sr. Joan is talking about.
The people who go before us, bringing the energy of the Universe higher and higher. They deserve our special care, reverence & acknowledgment.
We are seeing this happen in our society recently with the Woman’s Movement revival and the Me too and Times Up movements.
We too often disregard yesterday’s knowledge as obsolete. “When the Sage dies, the whole world morns.” The Talmud.
It was a sad time when I came to understand that the younger women in the US had no idea about what the people from before 2000 did for Women’s Rights. And how frightening it seemed to us as the legislatures in States and the Federal Government were chipping away at those rights. The Circle has come around again.
This commandment demands respect for the past & keeps us in touch with our roots. It questions what it means to be a family. I can attest that my idea of family goes way beyond my blood line.
The Native Americans teach: no decision should be made without considering its effect up to the 7th generation
If only our leaders around the world would remember this.
We must learn to consider the past seriously & the future thoughtfully. We do not wish for history to repeat itself with dire results.
This Law of the Heart asks that we honor whatever it is, whoever it is whose place in our life has been a place of honor, the ones who brought us to growth, to a wholeness of life, whose ways have given direction to our own path.
Confucius: “Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men & women from beasts?
Eric Butterworth – adds that this Commandment could ask us to accept the burden of your female and male sides. And the burden that you are heavy with the Christ of your being, the whole creature that you are created ultimately to become; your unborn possibility of limitless experience; …….it tells us to respect ourselves.
He believes putting too much emphasis on the role of our parents makes graven images of them – too often stifling of individuality and personal development.
Then we let guilt color our thinking, believing personal unfoldment has no place.
But as we honor our father & mother & all family relationships, we free each person to their own experience, and accept that freedom for ourselves. We shall respect the individuality, honoring all privacy, encourage everyone’s intellectual & spiritual growth.
Meister Eckhart “No matter what the relationship, your first loyalty must be to the divine flow…and to let God be God in you.”
Think about this – if we put family, country—anything!—ahead of our commitment to expressing as the Christ, as God expressing as us, we will not be able to fully express that Christ energy. We need to be in the flow of love constantly – Jesus taught –“love your enemies” to refuse to honor parents who seem to have been less-than-stellar examples of good parenting, we are placing OUR OWN conditions on God’s commandment!
Our spiritual commitment must be absolute if we are to manifest our Christ nature in our human experience.
It must be more important to us than even our closest human relationships, more important than the personal challenge and discomfort that will inevitably express as we allow the Christ energy to guide us through life.
It’s not that we must sever the bonds of family that are so important, but that we must always put our commitment to Spirit first.
It’s a lot like the First Commandment. The Lord of our Being must be our highest and only priority. If we create “false gods” by making other things or people more important than God in our lives, we will not be able to follow Jesus and express our Christ nature.
SO it comes down to this …..What is mine to do? What is my purpose and how do I make my way keeping with Spirit in ALL things…expressing God as me in all ways.
Let’s begin our meditation with this affirmation:
I AM an expression of the Divine, created in the image and likeness of God. The same Christ Spirit that was in Jesus is in me.
Great Morning Beloved!
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
Here we are, at Commandment #4.
Seems simple, doesn’t it? Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
It appears we are to establish a special time for religious study and worship
But it did other things too.
What is the Sabbath day?
How do we keep it holy?
Sabbath means a period of rest. And as we look at the Creation story literally, after all the work to create the earth and all that lies within, I would need a day of rest too!
The Jewish people held to the law strictly in the beginning. NOTHING was to be done on the Sabbath, at the penalty of stoning to death.
We aren’t that harsh today…thankfully for us or there would be many stonings!
Society grew away from the death penalty for missing church, but the Puritan influence strongly suggested that it was a sin to miss church service.
Any of you remember the Blue laws? Stores, resturants, gas stations were closed on Sundays, we all had to plan ahead for food and gas. One area Drug Store was deemed essential to be open for emergencies in my younger days. Of course, Pennsylvania was a bit slow in dropping those laws.
Eventually it became more a fear of not going to Service, because our religious domestication instilled the fear of God into us.
As society became more and more secular, it was important to be seen going to church, but not necessarily following through on the preaching through the week,
But we at Unity do not look at the Bible literally. And there is more to this than the command to go to church.
Let’s look at what our scholars have to say…I’m pretty sure something will interest you.
Neal Donald Walsh looks at this 4th Commandment as a commitment:
Commitment: You shall remember to keep a day for Me, and you shall call it holy. This, so that you do not long stay in your illusion but cause yourself to remember who and what you are. And then shall you soon call every day the Sabbath. And every moment holy.
The sabbath laws were not created by God, but by humans. They were created specifically to help us stay connected to our divine Source. We are not here in this human experience simply to obey spiritual laws in hopes of a reward in heaven. We are here to express more of the power of God—to create the kingdom of heaven here and now.
The laws are intended to help us remember and retain our spiritual purpose. But each of us is fully and uniquely connected to God as Source, and that connection, and the guidance it offers us, is more reliable than any pre-existing laws.
WE truly should not need a law to tell us to love God, to honor that Source of all that is visible and invisible.
The full version of this Commandment is:
“Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
The Jewish concept of Sabbath was unique, it’s a philosophy of life, a teaching, a guide to the good life…a reminder to us that we are all “made in the image of God,” human beings, equals…actually it could be said, the forefront to our Constitution.
This commandment emphasizes the sacredness of the individual; it applies to everyone: family, slaves, foreign residents, even to animals!
The seven days of creation are the time that it takes to create a new condition in your life. In any kind of work that you do, you must have a Sabbath. The creation story does not deal with time but with stages of unfoldment.
The mystical meaning of 7 is personal perfection. And ‘holy’ in this reference, means ‘set apart’. The 7th day should be set apart for personal perfection. Metaphysically, 7 is completion…that would be completing the creation cycle.
Each of us is to set time aside for the God of our understanding, for us to take time to work on who we wish to be.
Sabbaths are much more difficult in contemporary America. In fact, in a society that values busyness and productivity, observing the Sabbath is downright counter cultural, unfortunately.
Edythe Draper, Christian writer, “In my grandparents’ day it was called the Holy Sabbath, in my Parents’ Day the Sabbath, and today we just call it the weekend.” Catching up on work, errands, watching sports, playing golf.
The key to the Sabbath isn’t merely rest. Rather, it’s that in our rest we turn our attention to God. The Sabbath is an inner as well as an outer thing
Felding calls the Commandments a CHALLENGE – the struggle to unhook from your everyday pressures and connect with something profoundly joyful.
That sounds appropriate for todays society.
Wayne Muller from “Sabbath”:
“In the relentless busyness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between work and rest. We have lost this essential rhythm… Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing. Because of our desire to succeed, to meet these ever growing expectations, we do not rest. Because we do not rest, we lose our way… We miss the joy and love born of effortless delight. Poisoned by this hypnotic belief that good things come only through unceasing determination and tireless effort, we can never truly rest. And for want of rest, our lives are in danger.”
This Challenge will ask you to reexamine what Sabbath really means and how to make it a healthy and positive part of your life
Felding sees the Sabbath meaning resting, to cease from activity in progress, to put everything in its proper place which can only be done by taking a step back and looking at your life from a different perspective
It’s an opportunity to break free of the unfulfilling directions we get pulled into during the week and turn toward a more spiritual way of life. And we all get pulled into these directions…it’s how we respond to them that makes Sabbath important.
Ask yourself…What would deepen your sense of freedom each week?
Here are some ways to make the Sabbath richer
1. Choose what you need to stop doing each Sabbath to have a day of freedom from the strivings of the material world. I wonder how many of us could give up TV, or phones or computer…for a day…even half a day (and the part that you are awake!)
2. Select a few favorite activities that will reawaken your sense of Sabbath joy each week-
a. Lighting candles-the light of the candles symbolizes and reawakens the divine inner light we carry inside our hearts,
b. Napping – traditional for healing benefits and to connect with the dreams of our souls
c. Making love-making sexuality into a sacred moment of connection with the Divine Oneness is found in many spiritual traditions. Lovemaking that is relaxed, unrushed, and devoted to a higher purpose can be the most cherished spiritual moment for busy couples
d. Walking-calmly & slowly..walking meditation, help find a quiet center inside
e. Special meal – relaxed, entire family sits down together
f. Singing-good voice or not, the joy of singing with family & friends gives a sense of warmth & closeness
g. Dancing-fun, no matter what type of dancing folk helps us to remember our roots
h. Blessings for family members-prayers of encouragement & encouragement
i. Spiritual study – going a little deeper each week
j. Giving to charity-giving money, helping where needed, visiting elderly, gives a sense of sharing, reminds us to be grateful for what we have, however much it is
k. Special conversations-focus on the blessings and personal growth achieved through the weeks
l. See how much of the Sabbath feeling you can take with you into the week.
Alice Walker, “Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.”
Sr. Joan Chittister – calls this The law of remembrance
She says Life is about listening to the music of the soul.
She reminds us that work is important but it’s a distraction from meaning. Reflection is of the essence of being human.
What do you think of this statement —
Sabbath is about time & who gets it & how they get to use it.
She sounds a little feisty.
She says Sabbath is a day of rest because people are human & ought not be driven to death—every living thing needs time to renew itself.
To her, It was a protest against slavery, this Law made equals of us all because it required rest for all.
Unfortunately, we have enslaved ourselves as well as failed to notice the new kinds of slavery that are being created around us. Reexamine your life…where are you a slave?
I’ve mentioned several times, one of the things that draws me to Unity Principles is that we must be responsible for ourselves. We are accountable for the way we live our lives, the way we do or do not develop our humanity, the way we allow the abuse of others.
We are made for reflection & unless we do it, unless we reflect on what we are doing as humans to other humans, to the earth, to the cosmos, we become nothing but cogs in the enslaving system.
We must take the time to remember that we came from God and to determine what we are doing in process of returning there.
Take time to let Spirit breathe life into your whole being, to pause and become centered in the divine flow of life, love, and substance. On level of consciousness as well as time.
So, simply said, Sabbath is anytime you remember the allness of God present where you are. God is always there, everywhere, we forget that…
As we pray and gather with like minded folks, we will come to realize that God is working in you and in all your affairs. There will be a sense in which every day will be a Sabbath, because for you every day will be a holy day. — there will be no distinction between the secular and the sacred.
THAT is what we all are working for. Then EVERYTHING, EVERY DAY will be Holy.
Charles Fillmore said the ultimate in Sabbath-keeping is – “within every person there is a church service going on all the time & one needs only to enter in & experience it.”
Great Morning Beloved!!
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Welcome back to our look at the 10 Commandments from several different views. Recall that we stated the 10 Commandments are really interpreted as the 10 ‘words’ or ‘phrases’.
And the purpose of these 10 ‘words’ is to help keep us in alignment with the flow of Divine energy. If we look at our soul’s journey using the Bible as allegory, the laws were set to help us learn what we needed to do to get along in society and, in doing so, we learn to work out of Divine Law.
That is our purpose.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
People usually interpret this as meaning that we should never use God’s name in an irreverent manner. Of course, this is true but taking God’s name in vain goes much deeper.
When we were kids, we probably thought this or maybe even said it when being teased by others… “Stick and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”
But word can hurt us -what we call a thing has serious implications
Linguist S Potter states, “A primitive man felt that the relationship between name and thing. was close and intimate. The frivolous or malicious handling of a name in speech might imply insult or injury to the person bearing that name. The very name was hallowed.”
In ancient cultures, naming – knowing the essence of the thing—was part of a person’s identity. A signal of their place in life, their purpose, their role in the community, their power.
It was to endow them with the characteristics of the name itself
In Greek – Sandy – Defender of men; protector of mankind.
Maybe you would want to look up what your name means…just for fun. In the meantime, I will continue to defend humankind!
Looking at this 3rd Commandment with new eyes, we see the name of God really is our conviction concerning God.
Emmet Fox asks: “What do you think God is like? What is your REAL belief about God?”
These are questions we really need to ask ourselves.
Fox says ‘your idea of God will determine your whole life…health, appearance, home, business, friends, enemies.’
No matter what you call God the real name for God is your idea of God
The question “Do you believe in God?” cannot be answered until you say what kind of God you believe in…. that gives it meaning.
Think on that for a minute….
Do you believe in a God from the Old Testament – one that gets angry and tends to be fickle?
Or do you believe in the “ABBA” or Father from the New Testament, a loving God who calls you a Child of God?
These are important questions for us all to find the answers within.
Neal Donald Walsh’s take on these Commandment is a Commitment.
Commitment; You shall not use the name of God in vain. Nor will you call upon Me for frivolous things. You will understand the power of words, and thoughts, and you would not think of invoking the name of God in an ungodly manner. You shall not use My name in vain because you cannot. For my name-the Great “I AM”-is never used in vain (that is, without result), nor can it ever be. And when you have found God, you shall know this.
You cannot take the name of God [your conviction concerning God] in vain. Whatever your idea of God is, whatever idea you really believe in, that is what will be expressed in your life.
And when you have found God, you shall know this.
I think that statement is important too.
So, what do you think of all that!?! DO you get it? We can’t take in vain because there is always a result.
The important point Walsh is making here, I think, is the energy of our words and thoughts. There is always a result of what we think and say.
Remember – cause & effect?
SO, again, watch your words. Watch your thoughts.
Buddhism, Hinduism and others speak of ‘monkey mind’ which interrupts our connection to God & our true purpose. But monkey mind holds power only to the extent that we believe it is the normal flow of our life process. By naming it that, we have given monkey mind power.
Where do we give our power away?
It’s time to break free- Find a way to confront what’s been distracting you or holding you back…. bare your soul to the God of your understanding, to God’s compassion.
The Jewish word for compassion also can mean ‘womb’, ‘womblike’-you bare your soul surrounded by warmth & caring
When we are going thru hard time is precisely the time when we need to open up & let a higher sense of guidance & support in to give added strength & clarity.
Our next scholar, Joan Chittister, calls the 2nd Commandment the Law of Respect.
She suggests that when we swear to anything, we not only dishonor God but we take into question our own integrity…swearing will not make a truth any truer and will actually make an untruth worse.
The greater corruption in the name of Spirit, if there is a ‘greater,’ is trying to ‘play’ God with God’s name…assuming we know the mind of God and judging the world by that standard, our standard.
“God will get you for that”
“God doesn’t like little girls who do that”
“God punishes little boys who do that”
We use the name given to God to prove our piety, to manipulate others…the gay and lesbian population has been the brunt of this for decades! To believe those who vilify our community, we have caused hurricanes and fires and tsunamis all because we are cursed by God.
Any who invoke God to justify prejudice, to explain oppression, to enthrone absolutism, to enshrine authoritarianism, speak of God in vain.
God makes us all and loves us all. God does not love us because we are good; God loves us because God is good.
The Sufi tell a story of the teacher who sent his disciples to have a new shirt made for the upcoming feast day.
“This is a very busy time and so the shirt is still in process. But come back in a week,” said the tailor, “And God willing, your shirt will be ready.”
But it was not
“Come back next week, “said the tailor the second time, “and if God shines on us, your new shirt will be finished.”
But it was not.
“Come back tomorrow.” The tailor said, “and if God blesses us, your new shirt will be waiting for you.”
When the disciples explained to their master the tale of the unfinished shirt, the master said, “Go back to the tailor and ask him how long it will take to finish the shirt if he leaves God out of it?”
This commandment warns us against bringing God to bear witness to what should need no witness at all; Why swear to anything…if we are telling the truth, it’s not necessary; it brings our own integrity into question
Leonard Felder looks at these Commandments as Challenges. He sees them as different interpretations as ways to get along with others.
“If you want to find out how well you are living up to your spiritual values and higher principles, pay close attention to how you behave in the middle of an argument or a tense moment involving someone you live with, work with, or are in love with.”
So Felding says this set of ‘words’ could be:
#1 A helpful reminder not to make promises you won’t be able to keep esp. when you ‘swear to God’ you will.
Sound familiar to anyone?
#2 It could be a reminder not to become rigid or self-righteous when you disagree with someone. We must Learn to control anger, insecurity, and self-righteousness.
#3 It’s also a warning against using hurtful words, against the common human tendency to use God’s name as a weapon to get back at someone, esp. loved ones when you are upset or angry
#4 And it reminds us not to take others for granted.
Did anyone feel a pull on their heart when these were read? If so, that is where some work maybe could be done.
Your I AM is your identity. In fact, it is your only identity. Only you can say the words I am. Only you can direct the energy of these words to a universe waiting to do your bidding.
Years ago a television commercial for a stock brokerage company featured a crowded room filled with noisy people. The camera focused on two of the people who were speaking privately. One said to the other, “My broker is so-and-so, and they say … ” Suddenly the room became quiet as everyone turned to listen intently to what so-and-so thought about the stock market.
In a similar way, all the creative energies of the universe stop and listen when we say, “I am … ” since it is their function to bring us whatever it is that we’re claiming for ourselves. They are always ready to spring into action whenever a claim is entered.
We are co-creators of our world with God, our use of our I AM is the dynamic shaper of our world. It is the presence of God being you. Our I AM is an ongoing creative energy, always bringing into our world exactly what we ourselves identify with. It is using our I AM that we form and shape the circumstances and events of life.
Your real I AM cannot be angry. Your true I AM cannot be afraid. Your authentic I AM cannot be sick because I AM is the name of the God nature in you. I AM is the essence of the God potential which expresses as you. Therefore, I AM is all-peace, all-power, all-wholeness.
So, whenever you attach a negative or untruth to your I AM, it is then that you are taking God’s name in vain.
We have a choice in what we say & a responsibility to say it in ways that are positive
” Let something good be said” –sounds like ‘if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything. But that goes for THOUGHTS, too.
Be reminded – The darkness is only dealt with positively if we bring a light.
There is a story told of the Buddha when one day, he was addressing his followers and a man approached him and proceeded to unleash a stream of obscenities at him. The Buddha remained silent, softly smiling at the man – which caused the verbal abuse to become even more vicious. Finally, the attacker stopped and asked the Buddha why he was unmoved by what was being said to him.
The Buddha replied with a question “If you are offered a gift and refuse to accept it – to whom does the gift belong?” “I suppose, it still belongs to the giver,” the man replied.
“Well” responded the Buddha “I have declined your gift.”
I leave you with this thought:
Almost every major act of destruction in history has been while calling on the name of God for its legitimation: the Crusades, the witch burnings, apartheid. And no one said a word about sinning against the commandment. Which only proves how easy it is to become your own god.