Rise Up!

To rise above your own limitations

I consider myself a spiritual person, not a religious one. When I lived in the northeast, I frequently attended a number of spiritual churches and even studied to become an ordained minister. I am an ordained minister. During my studies, I was tasked with writing a homily about the Kingdom of God. It feels like a perfect fit for Heavenly Healing. I hope it resonates with you. Enjoy.

To have a relationship with God, you must pray!

For most of my life, I believed that. I believed it because I was taught to believe it.

I grew up in a religious family. We were Episcopalians. My mother, the church organist, played every service for nearly seventy years. Week after week, year after year, she dragged me off to church with her, kicking and screaming. I attended Sunday school for six years and a confirmation class for three years after that. By the time I was twelve, I thought religion was nothing more than a conspiracy to control my mind. And until I left for college, I was forced to attend bible classes, religious retreats, and, of course, those never-ending church services every Sunday morning. I sat in the back pew in front of the organ – my designated spot. After years of sitting there, I was certain I was going to go deaf.

I was taught concepts like the Trinity. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. That’s where there is one Godhead. And that Godhead is comprised of three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Seems like a simple enough concept, but as a child, it confounded me. It still does. And because I couldn’t grasp it, I didn’t feel like I could have a relationship with God. I didn’t feel worthy. So, I didn’t pray.

Relationship? What Relationship?

But that wasn’t the only thing standing in the way of my having a relationship with God. A stern image of him had been created in my mind, and it made him seem even more remote and unattainable. God was this temperamental dude that sat on a throne in a faraway place called heaven. He was a harsh God who cast judgment upon us for all our wrong thinking and wrongdoing.

He was the father of just one person. Not you or me. Just Jesus. And even though I was told God loved me, if I wasn’t a good person and didn’t believe in him, I couldn’t go to heaven. Instead, I’d be sent to the fiery pits of hell where I would languish in pain forever. That’s a heavy trip to lay on kid. I learned to love God and fear him at the same time. But mostly, I feared him.

With all this havoc taking place in my mind, I was too afraid to pray. And quite frankly, I didn’t know-how. It would have been helpful if someone had taught me somewhere along the way how to pray. It was as though I was supposed to have been born with some innate instinct about prayer. But, of course, I wasn’t. So, when it came to being a good Christian, I was a failure on every level. I never did develop a relationship with God. And sadly, I gave up trying. But I never stopped wanting one.

Am I The Only One?

We all know what a harsh and lonely place this world can be. It’s even more so if you are alone or feel alone. I needed to know that there was something greater than myself out there; something I could tap into and hold onto when I needed help or felt inconsequential and small. Surely, I thought, I can’t be the only one. There had to be others like me, who regardless of their faith, had no relationship with God and wanted one. And even people of no faith – there had to be others out there that felt like something important was missing from their lives; something perhaps mystical that they couldn’t quite define.

My quest to have a relationship with God had begun. It took a long time, but one day it hit me: what if having a relationship with him isn’t so hard? What if it, in fact, is easy? And as soon as I opened the door to that possibility, God walked through it and into my life. He had been waiting at the door the whole time. And if you want to have a relationship with God, he’s waiting at the door for you too.

To inspire people to change

Who is God?

Put aside, for a moment, everything you’ve ever been taught, and everything you think or believe about God. And think of him as love. Just love. Not the conditional, possessive love that we have for one another as human beings. What I’m talking about is agape love. The kind of selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love that you have for a newborn baby or a new puppy the first time you hold it. There’s nothing more joyful than that kind of love.

Now think of the perfect father. But don’t think of your father here on earth. Our earthly fathers are flawed. Think of the quintessential, perfect in every way, shape, and form, father. The one who treats you the way you want and need to be treated. The one who guides and nurtures you throughout your entire life. This perfect father is all-knowing. He is the creator of all things: The stars, planets, and the moons. The vast infinity of space. Darkness and light. Water and earth. And every living being on the planet. Everything he created, he created out of love. He provides us with everything we need so we can live and thrive. He gives it to us freely and expects nothing in return. This father is God.

Because God is the creator of all living things, we are, therefore, all children of God. We are a part of God. God is a part of us. And because we are united with God, we possess his power, his energy, and what we call spiritual gifts. Now, whether we use any of those gifts, or not, is entirely up to us. We have free will. But we all think, feel, and create. These too are gifts from God. There’s a Buddhist saying, “What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” That’s powerful stuff. We are a powerful people. In fact, we are always thinking, feeling, and creating. We just don’t always do it in a positive way. And that’s our free will too.

You might be thinking, yeah, that all sounds good, but we can’t all be children of God. We’re all so different. We look different. We speak differently. And we have different beliefs.

God, of course, is not our biological father. He is neither male nor female. The term father is a metaphor. God is divine energy. And that energy is a force that surrounds us. It is above us, below us, beside us, and inside of us. We are all part of his energy. Therefore, we possess the same power as God. We all have the same power to love, heal, nurture, accept, and forgive every person on this planet, regardless of who they are, what they are, or what they have done. But we don’t always do it. Not because we can’t do it, but because we choose not to.

Having a Relationship with God

We live in a vast world. And we know so little about one another. But we all have one thing in common. God. We are a worldwide spiritual family that should be united and living in harmony. But we are more divided now than ever before. While diversity and inclusion are routinely espoused in our classrooms, on TV, and in social media, we, through our egos, prejudices, and outdated beliefs remain steadfastly divided by race, ethnicity, creed, gender, politics, economy, sexual orientation, gender affiliation, and the list goes on. It’s sad to think that we are actually hating, hurting, and killing our own divine family members. Toleration and acceptance have been taught since the time of antiquity, and we still just don’t get it. Our egos are powerless. Yet we let them control us. Everything that we think, say, and do is a result of how our egos feel. And the resulting conflicts are evidenced every day on our streets, in our homes, in schools, and even in our political system.

So, how do we establish a relationship with God and let him work in our lives so we can become better human beings? It starts with opening the door and letting him in. Everything we think, say, and do is a choice. Whenever we choose our egos over God, we are closing the door. Choosing to be prejudiced, angry, hateful, and unforgiving is our free will choice to make. When we choose bad thinking and bad behavior, the end result is never good. We don’t choose negative behavior because it makes us feel good. We choose it out of fear. The fear of what impact changing our prejudices and belief symptoms that do not serve us will have on us. The fear that “they,” whoever “they” are, will take over, and make us more like them. The ego-driven mind is afraid of change, of becoming the thing that it fears, and of losing something it values. Anyone who isn’t the same as we are challenges the status quo, and when confronted, the ego-driven mind reacts and does everything in its power to protect what it holds near and dear to itself.

Letting God work in our lives, and allowing him to work through us, requires us to step aside. We must turn off the ego-driven mind and allow ourselves to walk in someone else’s shoes. To rise above our egos and prejudices against people who do not look like, act like us, or think like us, we must elevate our thinking. We must educate ourselves about the various cultures of our society, and learn how to be compassionate and empathetic towards people from all walks of life. It isn’t hard to do. It just requires us to think beyond ourselves and to treat people the way we wish to be treated. Everyone deserves respect and to be treated with kindness. When you do this, you have let God in and allowed him to work through you. You have become one with his divine energy. A true child of God. You will spawn miracles everywhere you go. In your own life, and in the lives of others.

The Inner Workings of God

As I was preparing this homily, I couldn’t stop thinking about how God works, and why he allows bad things to happen to good people. I guess we all think that from time to time. When I finally became a prayerful person, I quickly learned that most of my prayers weren’t being answered. At least not when I needed them to be answered. What is it about God that makes him so mysterious?

The one thing we must accept about God, whether we understand it or not, is that like space and time, he is infinite. His wisdom is infinite. Our minds simply can’t comprehend all there is to know about God or why he thinks and acts the way he does. We don’t even know half the time why we think and act the way we do. God always knows what’s best for us, even if we disagree. He’s always there for us, even if we can’t see or hear him. And he’s always loving us, even when we feel unloved or unlovable.

While understanding the inner workings of God is impossible, understanding the Fatherhood of God is easy. If we accept him as love – just love – and we harness the power of his love that’s inside of us, we will rise above our own self-importance and fragile egos. We will become creators, not destroyers. Healers, not killers. We will become kinder, more compassionate, empathetic, tolerant, and forgiving. And we will become much happier, healthier, and more lovable.

Imagine Acceptance and Forgiveness

Imagine It

If even one person reading this homily opened the door to God and made the commitment to be more accepting and forgiving of others, it would have a rippling effect. Family and friends would notice the miraculous transformation, which could inspire them to change. And their change would inspire the people they know to change, turning the tides of hate.

When you open the door and let God in, he’ll no longer feel distant and unattainable. He’ll no longer feel like a judgmental God that we need to fear. That God simply doesn’t exist. But the God of love does. And he’s right here, right now. With you and with me. Allow yourselves to feel his love by giving love. For what you give, you receive. See his miracles, both large and small, which he gives to us freely every day. When you live in his love, the hate, the fear, and the need for guns disappear. It’s not hard to conceive. I believe one day it will happen – the Fatherhood of God will reign on this earth. And what a wonderful world it will be.

Imagine it. If we can imagine it, we can create it.

L.M. Lush

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