By: Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge
This Sunday, June 24, 2018, we begin our Via Positiva theme of Yes! In Deed! exploring the various ways that we can embody our “Yes!” our “Oh, Yeah” in the world.
This Sunday we used music from Susan Werner to learn how an attitude of gratitude can help us embody the abundance we seek in the world.
From the Hebrew Scripture: Isaiah 55:1-5: … you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
From the Jesus story: Matthew 14:13-21: They all ate and were satisfied …
From A Course in Miracles, Manual for Teachers: The teacher of God is generous out of Self-interest.
Song used in the sermon: I Will Have My Portion – Susan Werner
I believe the miracle in this feeding of the five thousand story is not so much that meager rations fed them all with leftovers to boot. The real miracle is the change in perspective by not just the disciples but the people who were fed. This is one of the key concepts in A Course in Miracles – we teach what we are and others learn who they are by what we teach.
Jesus, on this day, taught the disciples who he really was – a miracle worker – someone who embodies – not just in thought, but “in deed” – who we all really are. In the moment before those loaves and fishes were passed around, you can imagine the disciples were still grumbling a bit, thinking, “This will never work. We’ll run out in the first row and people will tear us apart because they’re all so hangry!”
But, as the food kept going and going and going, I imagine the veil of ego dropped and they saw who they really were – miracle workers dipping into their own holy baskets of abundance to feed everyone in sight! That’s the miracle here, Jubilants. They did what Jesus told them to do – THEY fed the masses, not Jesus.
The miracle isn’t that there’s more than enough of the seemingly limited resources to go around – that’s a universal law that we can’t change – but we can deny it, just as the disciples did before they started handing out the food. In those moments, as the food never ran out, the miracle came when the disciples realized that they, themselves, just like Jesus, were a source of vast universal abundance.
The people, too, experienced this miracle, this change in perception, because as they took the food and shared more than enough with their neighbors, they realized who they really were, too. They were not just the beneficiaries of a miracle. They, too, were miracle workers.
In that moment, I would suggest, every person in this place realized they really were each other and there was only one of them there – feasting on five loaves of bread and two fish.
“The teacher of God is generous out of Self-interest,” the Course tells us. “This does not refer, however, to the self of which the world speaks. The teacher of God does not want anything he cannot give away, because he realizes it would be valueless to him by definition.”
When we realize there is only one of us here, we realize that whatever we wish on another human or living being on this planet, is exactly what we wish for ourselves. The Course says all thought creates on some level, so whenever we are wishing bad things to happen to other people, should we be so surprised when our own day turns out to be crappy as well? Or, on those days when we love the world, should we be surprised that the world loves us back?
When the Course says we shouldn’t want anything we can’t give away, it’s a warning about worldly things. The things we want just for ourselves, that we’re unwilling to share, be it money, power or prestige, will only bring us pain and suffering, it tells us. If we are dedicated to living out our “Yes” in our deeds in this world, then we understand the only things ever worth wanting are those things of the spirit that we can freely give away without cost.
If we want less pain and suffering in our own lives, we must seek to reduce the pain and suffering of others in the world by giving away the very things we want – peace, joy, compassion, love, comfort, security and kindness. We can do this through our actions, whether it’s giving our money, time or talents to organizations helping to change the world, or by just helping a neighbor or a stranger in need.
It all begins in our minds, though – that place where the ego likes to play dictator and keep us believing in the illusion of lack and competition. The only way to embody abundance in this world, though, is through a miracle – to realize that you – every one of you – is a miracle worker, and you all have more than enough to give without ever feeling deprived or depleted. Jubilants, YOU feed them.
Here’s your assignment this week: I invite you to become miracle workers in the world this week. Whenever you are tempted to think that there’s not enough to go around in this world and you feel like you have to compete with others for limited resources, recognize that’s your ego talking. I invite you to refocus, to be willing to have your perspective changed and instead begin to recognize that we live in an amazing universe of abundance that’s just waiting for you to open your arms and receive everything that’s coming your way to enrich not just your life, but the lives of everyone in this world. When we can embody that kind of abundant energy in the world, that’s when we’ll all say, “Oh, Yeah!”