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Sermon Notes

December 24, 2017
4th Sunday of Advent




Fellow Asburians: The Men's Group will not be meeting this Thursday as we are in our Christmas break. Please use, or not, the following for your contemplative journey as you see fit.

Link to this sermon

Billy opens Sunday's sermon, "Do Not Be Afraid", reminding us that in biblical texts, "Be not afraid" or "Fear not" is the first thing that comes out of the angel's mouth. He then quotes Rev. Shannon Johnson Kershner as saying that the angel's invitation is always "to lean into courage....rather than give into fear" which is in direct opposition to the growing environment of fear that permeates our lives from the daily news. Billy recommends that we "pull the plug" (pun intended on our radio, TV, cell phones & computers) on the outside noise and connect rather to our inner Source, go inward to find God. Billy then reminds us not to fear God, as we have seen his face in the form of a baby, coming into the world from Mary's body, with Joseph's care, hungry for his mother's milk and wanting only to be cuddled and soothed. This little baby became one of the worlds greatest teachers and taught only love.

A Course in Miracles talks about the relation between fear and love as follows:
(Text page 14)
Perfect love casts out fear,
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.
              But:
Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist.

The Course goes on to say that fear is made by the conditioned self, what Richard Rohr would call the False Self, and its correction is our responsibility. Is this what Jesus was pointing towards when he talked about the greatest commandment, to Love God and to love your neighbor as yourself?

There has always been a disconnect here for me that has been somewhat nullified as I continue striving to maintain conscious contact with God. The conditioned self knows it must lean into fears to live in this world and the Unconditioned Self, who we are in God, knows that there really is nothing to fear. Our spiritual journey and our destiny, is closing that gap. As the Course says, it is really a journey without distance.

So as we move into 2018, knowing that God is on our side, we should always challenge ourselves with the question that Spencer Johnson's character "Haw" of "Who Moved my Cheese" fame wrote on the wall of the Maze: "What would I do if I wasn't afraid?"

Billy closes Sunday's sermon discussing an essay by Annie Dillard called "God is in the Doorway." The essay basically summarizes how the love, and only love, expressed by Mrs. White, was misinterpreted by Annie, and how Annie ran, mistakenly feeling only fear and pain.

"And so, once in Israel love came to us incarnate, stood in the doorway between two worlds, and we were all afraid."

Will your 2018 be different?

Love and Blessings,
Dwight



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