ACIM Text Reading for September 1
Chapter 29 ~ The Awakening
II. The Coming of the Guest
Why would you not perceive it as release from suffering to learn that you are free? Why would you not acclaim the truth instead of looking on it as an enemy? Why does an easy path, so clearly marked it is impossible to lose the way, seem thorny, rough and far too difficult for you to follow? Is it not because you see it as the road to hell instead of looking on it as a simple way, without a sacrifice or any loss, to find yourself in Heaven and in God? Until you realise you give up nothing, until you understand there is no loss, you will have some regrets about the way that you have chosen. And you will not see the many gains your choice has offered you. Yet though you do not see them, they are there. Their cause has been effected, and they must be present where their cause has entered in.
You have accepted healing’s cause, and so it must be you are healed. And being healed, the power to heal must also now be yours. The miracle is not a separate thing that happens suddenly, as an effect without a cause. Nor is it, in itself, a cause. But where its cause is must it be. Now is it caused, though not as yet perceived. And its effects are there, though not yet seen. Look inward now, and you will not behold a reason for regret, but cause indeed for glad rejoicing and for hope of peace.
It has been hopeless to attempt to find the hope of peace upon a battleground. It has been futile to demand escape from sin and pain of what was made to serve the function of retaining sin and pain. For pain and sin are one illusion, as are hate and fear, attack and guilt but one. Where they are causeless their effects are gone, and love must come wherever they are not. Why are you not rejoicing? You are free of pain and sickness, misery and loss, and all effects of hatred and attack. No more is pain your friend and guilt your god, and you should welcome the effects of love.
Your Guest has come. You asked Him, and He came. You did not hear Him enter, for you did not wholly welcome Him. And yet His gifts came with Him. He has laid them at your feet, and asks you now that you will look on them and take them for your own. He needs your help in giving them to all who walk apart, believing they are separate and alone. They will be healed when you accept your gifts, because your Guest will welcome everyone whose feet have touched the holy ground whereon you stand, and where His gifts for them are laid.
You do not see how much you now can give, because of everything you have received. Yet He Who entered in but waits for you to come where you invited Him to be. There is no other place where He can find His host, nor where His host can meet with Him. And nowhere else His gifts of peace and joy, and all the happiness His Presence brings, can be obtained. For they are where He is Who brought them with Him, that they might be yours. You cannot see your Guest, but you can see the gifts He brought. And when you look on them, you will believe His Presence must be there. For what you now can do could not be done without the love and grace His Presence holds.
Such is the promise of the living God; His Son have life and every living thing be part of him, and nothing else have life. What you have given ‘life’ is not alive, and symbolises but your wish to be alive apart from life, alive in death, with death perceived as life, and living, death. Confusion follows on confusion here, for on confusion has this world been based, and there is nothing else it rests upon. Its basis does not change, although it seems to be in constant change. Yet what is that except the state confusion really means? Stability to those who are confused is meaningless, and shift and change become the law on which they predicate their lives.
The body does not change. It represents the larger dream that change is possible. To change is to attain a state unlike the one in which you found yourself before. There is no change in immortality, and Heaven knows it not. Yet here on earth it has a double purpose, for it can be made to teach opposing things. And they reflect the teacher who is teaching them. The body can appear to change with time, with sickness or with health, and with events that seem to alter it. Yet this but means the mind remains unchanged in its belief of what the purpose of the body is.
Sickness is a demand the body be a thing that it is not. Its nothingness is guarantee that it can not be sick. In your demand that it be more than this lies the idea of sickness. For it asks that God be less than all He really is. What, then, becomes of you, for it is you of whom the sacrifice is asked? For He is told that part of Him belongs to Him no longer. He must sacrifice your self, and in His sacrifice are you made more and He is lessened by the loss of you. And what is gone from Him becomes your god, protecting you from being part of Him.
The body that is asked to be a god will be attacked, because its nothingness has not been recognised. And so it seems to be a thing with power in itself. As something, it can be perceived and thought to feel and act, and hold you in its grasp as prisoner to itself. And it can fail to be what you demanded that it be. And you will hate it for its littleness, unmindful that the failure does not lie in that it is not more than it should be, but only in your failure to perceive that it is nothing. Yet its nothingness is your salvation, from which you would flee.
As ‘something’ is the body asked to be God’s enemy, replacing what He is with littleness and limit and despair. It is His loss you celebrate when you behold the body as a thing you love, or look upon it as a thing you hate. For if He be the Sum of everything, then what is not in Him does not exist, and His completion is its nothingness. Your saviour is not dead, nor does he dwell in what was built as a temple unto death. He lives in God, and it is this that makes him saviour unto you, and only this. His body’s nothingness releases yours from sickness and from death. For what is yours cannot be more or less than what is his.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 1
I am in danger nowhere in the world.
Your Son is safe wherever he may be, for You are there with him. He need but call upon Your Name, and he will recollect his safety and Your Love, for they are one. How can he fear or doubt or fail to know he cannot suffer, be endangered, or experience unhappiness, when he belongs to You, beloved and loving, in the safety of Your Fatherly embrace?
And there we are in truth. No storms can come into the hallowed haven of our home. In God we are secure. For what can come to threaten God Himself, or make afraid what will forever be a part of Him?
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #29: When Jesus turned over the table in the Temple, it seemed to reinforce the ego thought system. He was angry, and ultimately was punished, by being crucified. I keep repeating in my mind, there must be a different way of looking at this, to speed up the healing I submitted this question to the Foundation.
A: In “Forgiveness and Jesus: The Meeting Place of A Course in Miracles and Christianity” and “A Talk Given on A Course in Miracles; An Introduction” (by Kenneth Wapnick, published by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles) this Gospel passage is discussed at length. The full explanation presented in these books is summarized here.
As you may know the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ sayings and actions are not necessarily historical fact. It is likely that the incident in the Temple did not happen in the way that it is depicted in the Gospel. This view is accepted even by many Christian Scripture scholars. It is also important to note that the Gospel account does not say that Jesus was angry, although in the movies of Jesus’ life he has been portrayed as angry. If something of this nature did occur in which Jesus appears to be angry, without truly feeling any anger, he would have been using this outburst as a teaching tool to make a point for the large crowd of people present in the Temple at the time of the Passover. In this case the point would have been that the “chosen people” had distorted the Old Testament teaching by using the Temple for purposes other than as a “house of prayer.” This is close to the traditional interpretation of this incident by Christian scholars. As a good teacher Jesus acted in a dramatic way to more effectively draw attention to his message. One could also consider a final option; that Jesus was actually angry, having an “ego attack.” If this were the case there are at least three conditions that would have to be present; Jesus would not be at peace, God would not be his in his awareness, he would perceive the money lenders as his enemy. It is inconceivable that Jesus, whose message and presence were filled only with love and peace, would have “lost it” in this way. It is also possible to believe that Jesus did have an ego attack, but if one chose to believe that, why would one then choose to identify with his ego, rather than with the love and forgiveness he teaches us in A Course in Miracles? Moreover, even if it were possible for Jesus to have such an ego attack, the Course tells us he would certainly not be punished for his “sin” by being crucified. “There is no sin.” (T.26.VII.10:5) The central teaching of the Course is that God’s Son is innocent; “You are still My holy Son, forever innocent, forever loving and forever loved, as limitless as your Creator, and completely changeless and forever pure” (WpII.10:5). Since there is no sin there can be no punishment. The Course’s teaching on the crucifixion, therefore, is from a very different perspective. In Jesus’ words “The crucifixion is nothing more than an extreme example” (T.6I.2:1), much like the example of the Temple incident, if it did in fact occur. Jesus says later: “The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible, and are therefore regarding yourself insanely” (T.6.I.4:6). Jesus would not regard himself insanely, and since he knew he was not a body he remained at peace during the crucifixion, fully aware that nothing was happening.
As we learn our true identity as God’s innocent Son, we also learn that we too can be at peace in the midst of seeming persecution. We, like Jesus, cannot be harmed in any way. This true identity is not to be confused with the ego identities we choose as bodies which do die. Since there is no real life here in the body, there is also no real death. This is what Jesus knew when his body was crucified. This is what he is teaching us.
ACIM Q & A for Today