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Easter: Value of Good Works by Rev. Christine Emmerling DD, 3/31/2024

Today is Easter Sunday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. During the Lenten Season we had our Sunday talks based on Community of Infinite Spirit’s core values. It’s about living the Christ way. In this series we have covered the values of Truth, Acceptance, Integrity, Patience, Harmlessness, and today we culminate with the Value of Good Works.

Christ Jesus is a great example of one having done good works. He served tirelessly throughout his mission without complaint. Jesus always did his best, even if people mocked at his teaching, or wanted to hurt him, he didn’t let it stop him. Jesus knew what he had to do, and he did it to the best of his ability. When done, Jesus had left a foundation of teachings to carry on the good works, and some two thousands years later are still being taught.

The following are some of Jesus the Christ’s teachings on today’s subject matter: From Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”; Matt. 7:15-17 “Be careful of false prophets who come to you in lamb’s clothing but within they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do they gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? So every good tree brings good fruit; but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”; James 2:26, “If any man thinks that he ministers to God, and does not control his tongue, he deceives his own heart, and this man’s ministry is in vain.”

Jesus is clear that the intention must be pure - selfless works, or else you are as a ravening wolf. Some people will give or help another with the intent to manipulate or control, or to be owed a favor, for recognition and appreciation, or to guilt and shame, or getting paid. Then there are those that just do a sloppy or incomplete job. We can know when someone’s intention is not pure, by that we can feel our energy being drained from us. Or eventually the fruits of their work will show us.

An example is when my daughter and I visited a Caribbean Island. We were just walking along enjoying the beauty when this young boy starts walking beside us and talking to us. After about 5 minutes he put his hand out demanding to be paid for being our tour guide. Then there was the time I had my car’s timing belt replaced, and just past the 1yr warranty period the belt broke. I found out to save costs they didn’t replace the whole kit.

Then in Matthew 23:11, we are told, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” In those days the priests were treated special, and were waited upon. Now Jesus was teaching us a new way. He never took personal credit for any healing or miracle. Jesus said, it was the Father within that was doing the work. He was a servant to the Presence within, and to the people he was healing and teaching. Christ Jesus lived as a great example. This was to be carried on, and that is why we are called ministers, because we minister to God by serving others.

Then in John 14:12 we are told, “Truly, Truly, I say to you, He who believes in me shall do the works which I do; and even greater than these things he shall do, because I am going to my Father.” Those that believe in his teachings, by practicing and living these teachings, shall have good works.

Jesus knew that his mission was coming to a close and was preparing his students for the day they would be without him to carry on the good work. It is when the teacher is gone, that it is time for the student to go out in the world and put to task what they have learned. And even greater things shall they do. James 2:26, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”

The book Studies in Divine Science by Mrs. C.L. Baum has a chapter titled “Service in Love” that I will share from. She begins by having us take a few statements into the silence to bring us into a realization of this great Presence. “Love is the Cause of all things. Love is the Source of all things. Love is controlling all things. Love is the eternal Presence within me, guiding me in all my ways. Pure, divine and perfect Love is the very soul of the whole universe.”

We shall now understand that the reason we are unhappy when we are unkind or unloving or even indifferent, is that we are acting contrary to our own nature, which is always pure and perfect in love. How, then, as we do become acquainted with God, or with Love, are we to use this infinite, impersonal power in service? Service without love is service without God, and its result is without harmony and cannot possibly be a means of further unfoldment.

We first consecrate, not only ourselves, but our bodies, to the service of Love. In this manner we make of our bodies channels through which Love is manifested to the world. There are five channels for this manifestation: the eyes, the ears, the voice, the hands and the feet.

Taking first the eyes; if they are to serve in love we must take from them all appearance of anger, worry, fear, coldness and hardness, and show forth instead, peace, trust, faith, warmth and love. We must see as God sees, letting our very souls look through these wonderful channels, softly, gently, looking ever for the good in all, for the pure, the true, the grace of God that hides behind the mask of personality. As we find it and recognize it, it will respond to our call and come into outward expression.

Mrs. Baum shares an experience to illustrate this truth. She was called to help a young man suffering from the claim of appendicitis. On entering his presence she was received not only indifferently, but with marked disfavor. In a rather cross tone he inquired why she was there. She replied that his mother had called for her. He indicated his displeasure in no uncertain terms. He finally consented, though reluctantly.

When she had finished their silence, and looked earnestly at him and said, “What a very beautiful love nature you have.” His astonishment was great and he said, “I’d like to have you know that I have nothing of the kind.” She did not press the matter and said she would return the following day unless otherwise informed.

She returned the next day, the young man met her at the door with a pleasant greeting, saying that he had been waiting for her. He showed her every courtesy and attention. Of course, he was much improved, but the point to be noted here was his great change in attitude toward people and things. About a month later his mother stated that her son had changed completely. Before his treatments he had been careless, cold and selfish, whereas he was now loving, kind and thoughtful. (End)

Just by the recognition of the truth of that young man’s nature, his innate divine love was called into outward expression. The eyes being used in the service of love, saw the truth of his nature and the result amply justified the faith in love as the only power.

The ears are another channel for the manifestation of love in the world. How many of us hear the great voice of love singing in the world? It is there, and when our ears are opened to hear, we shall find it.

We begin by listening within for the inner voice of love; for until we hear that voice within we may not hear it in the world. But once it is heard and recognized within, it will be heard in all God’s creation. When we are waiting and listening for the voice of love to speak, we have no time nor inclination to listen to the voice of gossip or criticism, or to expressions of negation in any form.

If we are placed where such discussions are going on, we quietly affirm to ourselves, “My soul hears none of this.” Sometimes I say “Cancel or erase that” and affirm the Christ within them, and when possible, redirect the conversation to better things. Thus, we help ourselves and others as well.

Considering the voice, we find a beautiful opportunity for service in love. Our endeavor should be to train the thought so that the voice will speak only words of love, peace and joy. Jesus said, “Truly, out of the tongue are the issues of life.” “Its not what you put in your mouth that defiles you, but what comes out is that which defiles.” Matt. 15:11. Whether we speak words of blessing or of condemnation, they form themselves into external conditions.

By guarding the thought and keeping it pure and radiant with truth and life, the voice must express from such a consciousness, only words of love that will be unfailing in their power to cheer and uplift. Let each one resolve, “I will speak always on the side of the truth,” and if we are loyal to the truth, we shall be given words of wisdom to meet every experience in life.

The hands, also, are instruments for service. It makes no difference how they serve, what apparently menial task they may be called upon to perform. The only essential is that whatever form of service they are used in, shall be done in love and without resistance to the task at hand.

All work becomes beautiful and pleasant, free from weariness or despondency, when it is undertaken always with the thought of service in love uppermost. Have you ever thought how everything in your home or office is serving you in love? The very chairs you sit upon, the bed on which you rest, the tables, books, pictures and even the clothing on your body serve you continuously in the most silent, unobtrusive manner. The invisible Presence of Love fills all space, and acts upon and through all things. It is fitting, then, that we should stop and consider, “How well am I serving my world in love?” Everything in the universe is serving in some manner, so we must teach our hands to serve lovingly, doing all things “as unto the Lord,” in joy and sweetness of spirit.

Finally, our feet are to walk the path of love. When we walk in fear and worry, unwilling and ungracious, we tire quickly and feel irritated in thought and body; but when we walk in love we are co-operating with the truth of ourselves and the truth of the universe, and we feel “strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.”

We give this great service in love because it is our true nature so to do. Let us not consider it something foreign to us, something to be acquired artificially. All overcoming is easy when we put love into the work, and all service is pleasant when given in love. Love is conscious unity with all that is, with the truth of all. It is divinely natural to love; it is unnatural to work in any other way. Love is the uplifting power and the principle of unity. Without love we are nothing, but with love, which really means with God, we can do all things, for love redeems all things, all play, all work, all places, all persons.

To commence to love any apparent adverse condition in life will be to redeem it from our own condemnation, which is all that it really needs to become desirable in our sight. We can undertake no greater thing than to enter into the service of love, for true greatness lies herein – that we be doers of love and not hearers only. Service is the pathway to living the Christ way.

I’ll close with a poem I wrote for this Easter Sunday:

Let us arise it’s Easter day,

It’s Jesus Christ’s resurrection day.

Let us Arise in joyful prayer,

remembering this is God’s glorious day.

Come, come our inner voice says,

drawing us to our Christ within.

This is our day, our glorious resurrecting day.

Happy Easter!

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