"Having a Relationship with God" by Rev. Christine Emmerling 2/7/2021 (text)
“Having a Relationship with God” by Rev. Christine 2/7/2021
Today’s talk is “Having a Relationship with God.” Jesus the Christ said,
in Matt. 22:37-40, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like unto it, Love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Then in John 13:34 he adds “A new commandment I give to you, you shall love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Christ Jesus’ message was of knowing the truth and to love. This is our real quest in life - our spiritual journey.
Love begins in having a relationship with God, loving God with all our heart, soul, might and mind. Then we can begin to love our self, for we are told that we are made in the image and likeness of God, the Kingdom of God is within us. Our first relationship is with God, to know our self – by knowing our true Self we can love as God loves us.
We always are loving our neighbor as we love our self. The problem is that we don’t know how to truly love our self. Thus our love is not love at all, but fear based in separation and judgement.
Many adults still have their childhood image of a God up in heaven that sits upon a throne wearing a white robe and crown, and passing judgement on us. We believe that this God dispenses its blessings depending upon how good we’ve been or not. In doing so, we have made a God to fear. This is not love, but this is the kind of conditional love that most people are capable of giving to their family, friends, neighbor, or seeming enemies.
To love God, and for us to Love our self and each other, we must first know the truth of God in relationship to our self and of all life. Human love is always looking outside our self for love and acceptance, and thus we eventually find disappointment. While true unconditional love, the kind of love that is always present, is already within us. God is the source of love, for God is Love. God is always living within, through and as us. “We are made in the image and likeness of God” – thus Love is ever available to flow and express through us, and allow us to be who we really are; pure love in expression.
I was a teenage bride. “When I was 17, I thought I knew everything, but then when I turned 21, I realized I knew nothing.” I had expectations of marriage based on the American Dream made by television. You see, I thought I loved my husband, but then how could I – I didn’t love or even know myself. Of course, he was just as much in the dark of loving or knowing himself. I can say that the closest I knew of unconditional love was the love for my children.
Our marriage didn’t have any religious centering. Then when our marriage began to crumble, I started to search for God. In my free time I would read books on spirituality and put to practice. I discovered a kind of God that I had never known before; an all loving, all powerful presence that fills from the inside out, and this love is unchanging. I now understood what so many people called love, was but a faint shadow for the real thing. As I changed, we grew apart. Shortly thereafter we went our separate ways.
My spiritual journey had just begun – I had a new relationship with God. But every time I would forget, and look to another person as my source of love, I would find disappointment. Then I would remind myself that I was looking amiss – and again focus on God as my source of love. God always finds an outlet for love, there are unlimited channels. Although, it may not be from where we expect or feel we deserve it, but if we are truly being love – love will come to us. It is a law that like attracts like.
I found a love that is so much greater than the kind that we find when we are looking for love from each other. I found a true companion that will always be with me and never judge me. But like with all friendships we must nurture it. Building a relationship with God is much like courting. First we must prepare our self, then pay attention, we diligently listen, share our gifts, and we praise often. Then we commit our self for the relationship to flourish. I translate this to:
We begin our preparation by being kind to our self in how we care for our mind, body and soul. To cultivate self kindness we must first be honest with our self by acknowledging those areas that need refining and healing. Self kindness is to forgive our self and others for past mistakes, to learn from them, and be grateful for the opportunity to heal.
Self love is caring about the quality of thoughts we hold in our mind for our self and others. It is about taking care of this body - our holy temple, and praising it often. Our cells love to hear truth. The Body Song is perfect, and it goes like this to the tune of My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean:
1. “I love every cell in my body. I love every muscle and bone; I love every cell in my body. I’m glad I have one of my own! Praise God, Praise God! I have a wonderful body now! Praise God, Praise God! I’m glad I have one of my own!
2. I love every facet of myself. I love all the parts of my bod! Why shouldn’t I love all of myself? I’m made in the image of God! Praise God, Praise God! I love every part of my body now! Praise God, Praise God! I’m made in the image of God!
3. I love all the beauty I’m seeing. I love all the sounds that I hear. I’m thankful for tasting and smelling. I’m thankful for eyes, nose and ears. Praise God, Praise God! I have a wonderful body now! Praise God, Praise God! I’m glad I have one of my own!
4. I’m thankful for arms I can hug with! I’m thankful for smiles I can give. I’m thankful for legs I can walk with. I’m a blessing each day that I live. Praise God, Praise God! I have a wonderful body now. Praise God, Praise God! I’m a blessing each day that I live.” And, so it is!
Next is to pay attention by seeing God everywhere. Beginning with our self we see God in our body, mind, heartbeat, each and every breath we breathe – God within and as our holy temple. Then we extend our attention to seeing God in the flowers, trees, as the air, the life and substance of everything all around us. We continue to see God in our family, co-workers, even in those we don’t like or fear.
Listening requires learning to quiet our inner mind chatter – making space for the small still inner voice to come forth. We find in relationships it is rude to speak when another person is speaking to us – actually we can’t even hear what the other person is saying while our mind or mouth is making noise.
Listening to someone is how we learn about them, and so this is the necessary step to learning about God. We receive inner guidance, knowledge and wisdom of the universe and truth. This is the beginning of communion; an inner union with our Christ Self.
We share our gifts by doing things together – the giving of our time to being in the presence of God. We take time to be with our self, quiet time, walks, go to the beach or mountains. Even when we are at work, or doing routine tasks we know God is with us. We have joy in the little things. This is a true appreciation for a life in God. It is “The Father and I are One.” And, “The Father within does the works.” We then share our gifts of the spirit with the world; knowing “All things are possible in God.”
We praise often by being thankful, having a heart of gratitude, being joyous. Seeing the good everywhere – keeping our eye on the prize. Being thankful for the blessings already received as well as for those yet to come. We can never praise too much. “How Great Thou Art!”
We make a commitment to live a God inspired life. Every new day we can begin our morning by asking God: “What would You have me do today?” Then listen for an impulse, idea or directive. God will direct us to settle a dispute, call a friend in need, articulate your heart’s desire – some action to align us with our divine nature, which is love.
Look for opportunities for God to show up. As we practice seeing God in every person we encounter, we may also begin to notice that flowers in bloom have turned more vibrant, that the leaves in the trees are a richer shade of green, that the stars appear closer and have a brighter sparkle. Opening to God’s presence is like emerging from a dark closet into daylight. Our whole world is more expansive and beautiful.
Communicate with God in a new way. Choose a time free of interruptions, when you can relax and savor the silence. Our minds all contain sediment that prevents us from seeing and hearing clearly. As we take a few minutes each day to sit in silence, we can let the unwanted static settle. We can clarify our thoughts. We find God in the silence.
The absence of silence prevents authentic listening. Silence is part of the way we carve a deeper place in ourselves where the roots of awareness can grow, so that when we’re nudged we say, “Yes! That’s a great idea”, and we can choose to give room for it in the soil of our life. We can let that idea grow so its roots have some depth. Then, when the winds come or change occurs, we remain strong, and a precious new idea has a chance to grow.
As Confucius said, “Those who would cultivate an entire empire must first cultivate themselves by finding that still space that opens the door to all knowledge.”
Ask for insight. Instead of praying that God make someone else change or an unpleasant circumstance be fixed, ask that we be the one who is changed. Ask to see a person or situation from a higher perspective. Then be willing to try on a new way of seeing. Throughout the day be ready to receive signs, signals, and nudges from God. And, then be open and receptive to follow – take that step to the unknown, and be pleasantly surprised.
Apostle Paul said, “Pray unceasingly” – he meant, stay connected by practicing the presence of God, in reminding ourselves of the One Presence and Power that is always with us and for us. Nona Brooks said, “The whole of Divine Science is the practice of the presence of God”; this is another way of saying, to pray unceasingly.
Experiencing God in a personal relationship is moment to moment; in our thoughts, in the silence between thoughts, and in all we do. As our relationship deepens, we find a growing trust in God. We find that whenever we call on any attribute of this presence of God; love, peace, joy, knowledge, understanding, power, life or wholeness is here now.
As we learn to connect consciously with God, we begin to experience a relationship that includes comfort and a deep sense of well-being, a feeling of companionship, guidance, protection and provision. We look to God as a partner in the most precious and profound relationship in our life.
We find that we love our selves in deep appreciation for this life; our mind, body and soul. This love radiates out into our world. We love all of life. We are guided to people we can share and experience this love, and in wondrous ways co-creating heaven on earth.
I’ll close with this prayer treatment by Malinda Cramer from “Divine Science and Healing” in the chapter “Truth’s Practice.”
“I am not a creature of circumstances that I should serve them. I am Life; it is, therefore, mine to live and experience the peace of eternal being.
I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
I love people because they are like him.
I love people because they are one with me.
I love them because I see my own life in them.
I love people regardless of what they do.
I love them separate from their opinions.
I love them irrespective of thought, word and deed.
I love people not in a worldly way, but as God, who is love, loves them.
Not as the world gives, give I unto you; but as God gives, give I.
“The gift of God is Eternal Life.” You are it. I am it.
I am always self-centered, and poised in Truth, and am Divine Concentration.
I practice what I am.”