By: Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge
This Sunday, July 29, 2018, we continue 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 Grace Potter and the Nocturnals to learn how unity within can bring unity without.
Colossians 3:8-11: Christ is all and in all
John 17:20-23: … that they may all be one
A Course in Miracles, Lesson 95: I am one self, united with my Creator
Song used in the Sermon: Ragged Company by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
In our Jesus story, we find our guy in mid-prayer. In this supplication, he is asking God to help his disciples realize his true mission here on earth. He’s not here to die for anyone’s sins. He’s not here to start an ecumenical movement or the Catholic Church or any other reformation or denomination founded after that. He’s not even here asking you to believe in him or to affirm anything about him. His mission — as he says in this prayer — was to help us all realize “that they may all be one.”
Now, the world, of course, has taken this passage and made it into some sort of theological sniff test. We are “one” when we all agree on this theological point, or when we cast out these specific heretics and we all adhere to these specific sets of moral principles. We’ve even seen the word “unity” batted around in the political world as each party seeks it — basically by trying to get everyone to agree to at least a basic set of beliefs and policies.
This is what the ego thinks when someone says “unity” — you’re either with me or you’re against me.
But, this is not the kind of unity Jesus is talking about in this morning’s reading. He tries to clarify this point by adding that while he and God are in union, humans are part of that unity.
“The glory that you have given me I have given them,” Jesus prays, “so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one.”
The key word here is “glory.” When Jesus speaks about glory he’s using the Greek word “doxa,” which means “majesty.” What Jesus is saying is this, “God has given me majesty and so I give it to you.” What he’s revealing here is that everyone of us has that “doxa” — that majesty within ourselves. That “doxa” is your higher Christ consciousness. The divine, authentic place that resides within each of us and constantly calls us from our small, egoic self to live fully into this place of majesty — this place where we are all one.
Ah, but the ego — it reads that sentence differently. It puts the worldly definition of “glory” on that word and uses it as a weapon against us. Our first slip up — our first irritation or anger at something somebody said to us or did to us and the ego pounces: “Not so glorious now are you? You’re stupid to fall for that higher consciousness baloney. While you’re kumbayaing your time away, people are getting more money than you, more attention than you, better houses and cars and relationships that you. That’s the real glory! Why are you just sitting there? You’ll never succeed at this pace.”
The ego, as Marianne Williamson calls it, is a “scavenger dog,” and it will look for any weakness in your spiritual walk where it can attack you and make you believe that this ragged company you call yourself is not good enough and never will be. It’s not lying, though, because by the ego’s standards you never will be good enough, because it’s motto is always, “seek but do not find.”
The only way to true satisfaction — the only way to true unity — is to change your cruel course and pour self-compassion on that ragged company of your ego, and watch it melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. Breathe deeply.