"Light at the Other End" by Rev. Christine Emmerling 5/15/22 (text)
“Light at the Other End” Sunday talk by Rev. Christine 5/15/2022
Today I’m talking on the “Light at the Other End.” We all go through challenges that have us in periods of fear and doubt, and may even have us questioning our faith. Then there is usually a period of time of going into recluse to meditate and pray. When ready we go out and re-enter the worldly scene, but not as the prior person, but as anew with a greater faith, and sense of direction and purpose. These are called our Dark Nights of the Soul.
The following Bible stories are examples of a dark night of the soul experience: the first is after Christ Jesus was baptized. He went into the desert for 40 days and nights to be alone to fast, pray and meditate in preparing himself and seeking guidance.
Metaphysically the desert is a place of spiritual seeking and renewal. Fasting is about clearing out our negative thoughts, doubts and fears. At the end of fasting Jesus went through a testing period known as the temptations. After successfully passing the temptations Christ Jesus came out of the desert prepared to begin his teaching and healing ministry.
The disciples of Christ Jesus had their dark night of the soul while Jesus was captured to the Day of Pentecost. Those first few days all the disciples scattered and hid in fear. Its hard to imagine the fear they must have felt knowing their lives, and the lives of their family were in danger.
Following the resurrection the disciples gathered together in an upper chamber waiting in prayer and meditation. During this time Jesus appeared to teach and prepare them to continue on the works. They stayed together gathering their spiritual knowledge and strength until the Holy Spirit came upon them. They were renewing their faith in what their teacher had told them “You too can do these works, and greater works than these shall you do.” Upon receiving the light of the Holy Spirit they courageously stepped out into the world to do their teaching and healing works.
Metaphysically when we are in an upper room this is our being in a state of Christ consciousness. In prayer and meditation we receive inspiration and many ideas. The Holy Spirit is the power of God expressing within us. Once this consciousness is realized, made part of us, we are ready to bring this new awareness into our life work.
In the Old Testament we have the prophet Moses. He was a prince of Egypt when exiled and sent into the desert. For 40 years Moses lived tending to sheep and raising a family. One day while on a mountain top in prayer Moses heard a voice from a burning bush that is not consumed. This voice directed him to go back to Egypt and free the Hebrew people, and be their leader. Moses questioned and doubted whether he was qualified to do the job God wanted. God assured Moses that he would not be alone. Now Moses was spiritually renewed with a calling and purpose.
Metaphysically being on a mountain top means a high plane of consciousness, a state of spiritual realization. The burning bush is the spiritual fire within us - some call it the kundalini energy. In this high state of consciousness a divine calling is heard. This calling is challenging us to step out of our comfort zone and help those enslaved to their limiting beliefs. Accepting the calling takes us out to the other side into the light.
Then there were the Hebrew people Moses helped to free from Egypt, and for 40 years wandered in the desert, as a period to unfold and grow in consciousness. When ready they entered their promised land and started anew. These 40 years, a dark night of the soul, were a testing period.
Now for the story of Job. Job was living a good life; he had a family, large flocks and herds, and great wealth. He followed the law of his religion, was wealthy and well respected. According to the story Satan came to test Job’s love of God. Once the test started Job’s life began to fall apart. Eventually Job lost everything; his family, flocks and herds, wealth and his health.
While mourning his loss, Job went through a period of questioning of what he had done wrong. His friends came giving well meaning advice, but he went deeper into depression. Regardless how bad his life got, he never gave up his love of God. Through his seeking and prayers Job gained a deeper faith. In time he had more children, and doubled his animals and wealth.
Metaphysically the children represent our emotions that become our creations, and the animals represent the quality of our thoughts. When following a law out of fear, we draw what we feared into our life. Our entire belief system had to be replaced for a new level of understanding of spiritual law. The new children represent an elevated state of emotions, and higher quality of creations. The double increase of animals are a multitude of spiritual thoughts. The dark night of the soul brought a new and better life.
Next is the story of Jonah. The Lord came to Jonah and told him to go to the city of Nineveh and forewarn the people about how their wicked ways had to change, or there will be impending destruction.
Now instead of obeying, Jonah ran away; his dark night of the soul. He boarded a ship, and went below deck to sleep. Shortly thereafter a great wind and mighty waves came upon them threatening to sink the ship. Then the captain woke Jonah to find out if he was the cause. The captain realized that Jonah had brought this on to them by his disobedience to God.
Jonah knowing he was guilty offered himself to be thrown into the sea. After Jonah sank deep into the sea. The Lord sent a large fish to swallow him up. There Jonah was in the belly of the fish. He prayed, and promised if saved to obey. After 3 days the fish spew him out onto dry land. Jonah went to the city of Nineveh as promised and warned the people to change or be destroyed. The whole city changed their ways, and they were saved.
But, now Jonah was not pleased that they were saved. He prayed to God complaining. God decided to give Jonah a lesson in compassion. God caused a plant to grow and become protective shade over Jonah’s head.
The very next day God made the plant wither allowing the sun to beat on Jonah’s head. Jonah grieved over the loss of the plant and wished to die. God said to Jonah that he showed more pity for a plant that he did not grow and only had for one day than for the people of Nineveh. And should not God have pity upon the people Nineveh?
This story is filled with symbolism. Seeing this as our soul. The name Jonah means a prophetic state of mind that believes in an unforgiving law of cause and effect. Nineveh represents the natural animal forces in man's body consciousness. We have allowed our undisciplined desires to rule our life. Our soul is guided to take action to prevent destruction, and chooses to ignore the message.
The ship represents our soul consciousness. Our conscious mind is unaware. The captain is that part of our consciousness that never sleeps, and oversees and awakens us. The turbulent sea is the fear and guilt the soul is experiencing. Being swallowed in the belling of a large fish is going within for a period of time to pray and receive new ideas. The 3 days in the fish’s belly and water represents being cleansed and transformed.
The return to land, means we are ready to take our next steps. The sun beating on our head, is compassion taking over the unforgiving law of cause and effect. We are now in the light at the other end
The next example is based on the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve called this the world’s great reset. It spread so quickly, and suddenly the world appeared to have shut down. All businesses closed except the most essential to life. People’s way of life changed in an instant.
A mask became part of our dress code. It was so quiet. People were walking in the street that once had non stop traffic. Employees were now working from home, or became unemployed. I remembered ordering food online to be delivered or picked up. People afraid to get too close, and holidays without family members or friends. The stay-in-shelter order was at first to be just a few weeks that lasted through 2020. 2021 showed restrictions lifting, and 2022 becomes the new normal; for some things will never go back to the way they were.
I saw many people taking stalk of their lives. Many happy to not be taking those long commutes to work, and having more time with their families. Their quality of life actually improved. Having less street and air traffic improved the quality of air for many big cities. Wearing masks helped to prevent the common cold and flue. Businesses learning to use online communications for meetings and work uses less of our earth’s resources.
Our value system is seeing a change for the better; bigger or more doesn’t mean a better quality of life. There is more compassion in our world for those who have suffered losses and in great need. We see nations working together to find more ways to help our planet’s eco system.
I believe our world is closer to the light on the other side. Although we will have more opportunities to re-evaluate our ways of living as we journey together in our awakening as one human planetary race.
Dark nights of the soul are not to be feared. They are showing us that we are on the right direction. We are ready for a testing period to put to practice all that we have learned. Unless we put to practice and integrate, we will experience what is called spiritual indigestion. There is no room for anything more. What we have been studying needs to be processed, digested, and lived to become part of us before more is given.
I’ve had students ask me when do I finish with my studies? Will I have all the knowledge when I’ve completed the basic courses, or become a minister? Its as if when they get that piece of paper they have arrived. What I tell students is that there is no arrival, it’s a way of life. And, if you become a minister, that is only the beginning of your studies. And, we all get our tests along the way.
So when a dark night of the soul shows up for us, we are to embrace it. Know its similar to when going through a dark tunnel there is light at the other end. Your faith will support you. Your prayers will strengthen you. And your meditations and studies will give you new insights and inner guidance to help you on your way. To assist during difficulties affirm “The Christ goes before me making the crooked roads straight” and watch the good unfold.