|Seeds in the Sky, Seeds in the
Preached by Pastor Grant Lynn Ford at the Sunshine Cathedral mcc, Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, November 12, 2000
The great educator Edward Pulling tells of the dispatcher who went out to determine how laborers felt about their work. He visited a building site in France, approaching the first worker with the question: "What are you doing?" The worker snapped back, "Are you blind? I'm cutting these impossible boulders with primitive tools and putting them together the way the boss tells me. I'm sweating under the blazing sun, it's backbreaking work, and it's boring me to death."
He quickly moved on to the second worker with the same question. The worker responded: "I'm shaping these boulders into usable forms, which are to be assembled according to the architect's plans. It's hard work, and sometimes it gets repetitive, but I earn five francs a week, and that supports the wife and kids. It's a job. Could be worse."
However, when he asked the third worker "What are you doing?" the worker responded: "Why, can't you see?" He lifted his arms to the sky, and continued: "I'm building a cathedral!"
What are you doing today for tomorrow?
The Written Word
The Light of the Ages
The emergence of the future fifth world has begun. You can read this in the earth itself.
Plant forms from previous worlds have begun to spring up as seeds... the same kinds of seeds are being planted in the sky as stars. The same kinds of seeds are being planted in our hearts. All these are the same, depending on how you look at them. This is what makes the emergence of the next, fifth world.1
The Light of a Teacher of Truth
There is a silence into which the world cannot intrude. There is an ancient peace you carry in your heart and have not lost.
Strength and innocence are not in conflict, but naturally live in peace.
Lay down your arms, and come without defense into the quiet place where Heaven's peace holds all things still at last. Lay down all thoughts of danger and of fear. Let no attack enter with you.
Peace is of God. You who are part of God are not at home except in God's peace. Selection inclusified
The Light of the Master Teacher
9"Watch out! You'll be dragged into court; you'll be harassed in houses of worship. In the political and legal process you'll be called upon to speak up for me. But this will be your opportunity 10to proclaim the Good News to one and all. 11So when they hand you over to the authorities, don't worry about what you're going to say. Just speak from your heart. It won't be you speaking; it will be the Holy Spirit speaking through you."
21"If someone comes up to you and says, 'Look, here is the Anointed One!' or, 'Look. There's the Messiah!' don't fall for it. 22Fake Messiahs and phony preachers will appear on the scene -- with their flashy performances and self-proclaim wonderfulness -- to try to pull a fast one on those who should know better, and hopefully do. 23So be on your guard. Now you know what to watch for!"
The Confessed Word
The grace of our Master Jesus -- the love of God in the Unity of Spirit -- be with you all.
Ancient of Days: You have wonderfully blessed us with all good things. Our ancestors of family and faith have given us all a rich heritage to look back on. The stories inspire and guide us. The wisdom instructs us. The words of our Master Teacher especially point out the Way so we can face our future unafraid while living in the 'here and now'.
But still the future looms before us. Lord, have mercy.
We are not certain of what will happen tomorrow. Christ, have mercy.
We would rather not think about it. Lord, have mercy.
This morning, however, we will ask ourselves, "What have we done today for tomorrow?" We will face our future, and our responsibility as co-creators with you to make a world of peace, of prosperity, of generosity, and compassion. The New Age is ours to 'make happen', and we'll do it with the guidance of strength of our Master Teacher, in whose name we pray.
The Proclaimed Word
We are now in a period Theodore Levitt of the Harvard Business School calls "fast history." Can you remember just a few years ago when 5 Meg on your personal computer was a huge memory? Do some of you remember life before Windows? Before MS-DOS?
There are people still alive today who remember the introduction of the automobile to our way of life, and already we're traveling to the moon and beyond. In the next two decades we'll begin to populate outer space, and what will life be like in 50 years?
Why, whoever thought that we'd see a day with a presidential election in such a state as we see it today? It's a good case of the politics of voting being way behind our technological capabilities as a modern society.
Whoever thought our democratic society would be so narrowly divided into two camps who are equally invested in maintaining the status quo as they interpret it? Whoever thought that the level of rhetoric and bitter acrimony would rise to such epicproportions?
Thomas R. Bennett III said: "People fear change because it undermines their security." However, I remind you that we cannot successful resist change, we can only run from it or turn and bravely embrace it.
Saul Alinsky, one of this past century's most vocal social reformers, said: "Change means movement, movement means friction, friction means heat, and heat means controversy." I would guess the political rhetoric and acrimony are understandable manifestations of real friction-caused heat!
So what is the message of Jesus for us as we are only weeks away from the New Millennium: "Watch out! Be on your guard."
Watch out for what? Are we looking for a coming judge who will punish us for our misdeeds and failures? The words of Peter might give us that idea, when he says: Jesus is "the One destined by God to be judge of the living and the dead."Acts 10:42 NM
Many have felt just like St. Paul who wrote: "For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies." 2 Corinthians 5:10 NLT
'Whatever we deserve'? That's based on the fear of God, not a response to the love of God. Paul, just a few verses later, rises above his pessimism, writing: "All the wrong ever done was put by God on the one who never did wrong. In this way we can be put right with God. Because of this, God's goodness makes us to be everything that is right and good about God!"2 Corinthians 5:18 NM
Yet there are those who still insist on fearing God, rather than loving and being loved by God. They completely ignore the words of St. John, who writes: "Fear and love -- opposites of each other -- don't coexist. Love drives out fear." John then goes on to explain: "Fear is based on 'punishment,' on 'what God is going to do to us'. If we are afraid of God, how can we experience God, who is Love?" 1 John 4:18
So we learn that we need not fear the future, even though it will bring many changes. We are confident that we are in good hands, so to speak. All these amazing changes are not God's wrath but God's love.
Jesus, speaking through A Course in Miracles tells us: "Lay down all thoughts of danger and of fear."
This is in contrast to what Jesus warns us about in Luke's Gospel, when he says: "It will be a time of terror, and people will wonder what's happening in the heavens and on earth." Yet he's not saying, 'Be afraid'. He goes on to say:"That's the time to stand erect! Lift your heads high, because redemption is on the way."Luke 21:26, 28
Redemption -- or deliverance -- is God's intervention on behalf of all humanity. It's Jesus' way of telling us we have nothing to worry about when these momentous events take place, because they are birthpangs of the Coming Age. We are being awakened to the birth process and prepared for the change.
Speaking of the future, Barbara Marx Hubbard looks candidly at some of the images in the book of the Revelation (way back at the end of your Bible). She says: "I believe the vision of a New Jerusalem is a prescientific, early-human intuition of what it will be liked when our spiritual, social and scientific capacities mature in alignment with the ordering processes of creation. Holding such visions of our own personal and social evolutionary potential acts as a magnet to pull us forward, reinforcing our motivation to transcend and encouraging the intuition of radical newness emerging through us now."2
Radical newness is what Jesus encourages us to watch for, to be aware of, to sense and feel and think and believe. That's the Good News I feel called to declare: not the fear of the past, but faith in the future and in the God of the future. The pessimism of the fundamentalists will eventually give way to the courageous optimism of people who believe that 'God is good all the time.' This 'all the time' includes every step laid out before us, every moment of our future on earth, in the stars, and in all eternity.
This is the message I am called to preach. I hope you will support this ministry, even as it brings changes in our church, our society, our world, and in each of us."Lift your heads high, because redemption is on the way."
Anatole France (1844-1924), a French author who lived in the years before and after the turn of the last century, said: "All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."
I am inviting you to die to your past, to die to the pessimism that may have reached out to clutch you to its breast. I am inviting you to embrace a new life, a life of optimism and promise given to you in your baptism. Paul writes to the Romans: "Our baptism is a drama: we go under the water 'in death' and are raised to a new way of living, just as God raised Jesus from the dead."Romans 6:4
Come join with me in a ministry that declares Good News to a gay and lesbian community that still thinks religion is bad news. Join me in a ministry that declares that we are not separate and fearful of one another -- gay, straight; black, white; Spanish-Anglo; female, male -- but rather we are called to build a new society based on mutual respect, a world built on the Christ-consciousness of love. Let us affirm this new way of living with St. Paul, who writes: "Everyone who lives in the Christ -- the Anointed One -- is a brand new person, being constantly created anew. The past is gone; the future is 'Right Here, Right Now'." 2 Corinthians 5:17
The Hopi prophecy reminds us that even now we are planting the seeds of our future, the seeds of change. We are planting Seeds in the Sky, Seeds in the Heart, 'Right Here, Right Now'. So let us embrace the future unafraid, knowing that we are making it happen: as individuals changing and becoming, as a church growing and reaching, as a society learning to live in love.
We can do it! And that's the Truth!
The Final Word
It was that great anthropologist Margaret Mead who said: "Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has." So go and change yours. You can, you know!
1Hopi prophecy quoted by Peter Lorie & Manuela Dunn Mascetti, The Quotable Spirit (NY: McMillan, 1996), p. 279.
2Barbara Marx Hubbard, in New Thought for a New Millennium: Twelve Powers for the 21st Century (MO: Unity Books, 1998), p. 219