ACIM Text Reading for August 22
Chapter 26 ~ The Transition
IX. For They Have Come
Think but how holy you must be from whom the Voice for God calls lovingly unto your brother, that you may awake in him the Voice that answers to your call! And think how holy he must be when in him sleeps your own salvation, with his freedom joined! However much you wish he be condemned, God is in him. And never will you know He is in you as well while you attack His chosen home, and battle with His host. Regard him gently. Look with loving eyes on him who carries Christ within him, that you may behold his glory and rejoice that Heaven is not separate from you.
Is it too much to ask a little trust for him who carries Christ to you, that you may be forgiven all your sins, and left without a single one you cherish still? Forget not that a shadow held between your brother and yourself obscures the face of Christ and memory of God. And would you trade Them for an ancient hate? The ground whereon you stand is holy ground because of Them Who, standing there with you, have blessed it with Their innocence and peace.
The blood of hatred fades to let the grass grow green again, and let the flowers be all white and sparkling in the summer sun. What was a place of death has now become a living temple in a world of light. Because of Them. It is Their Presence which has lifted holiness again to take its ancient place upon an ancient throne. Because of Them have miracles sprung up as grass and flowers on the barren ground that hate had scorched and rendered desolate. What hate has wrought have They undone. And now you stand on ground so holy Heaven leans to join with it, and make it like itself. The shadow of an ancient hate has gone, and all the blight and withering have passed forever from the land where They have come.
What is a hundred or a thousand years to Them, or tens of thousands? When They come, time’s purpose is fulfilled. What never was passes to nothingness when They have come. What hatred claimed is given up to love, and freedom lights up every living thing and lifts it into Heaven, where the lights grow ever brighter as each one comes home. The incomplete is made complete again, and Heaven’s joy has been increased because what is its own has been restored to it. The bloodied earth is cleansed, and the insane have shed their garments of insanity to join Them on the ground whereon you stand.
Heaven is grateful for this gift of what has been withheld so long. For They have come to gather in Their Own. What has been locked is opened; what was held apart from light is given up, that light may shine on it and leave no space nor distance lingering between the light of Heaven and the world.
The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love. And They come quickly to the living temple, where a home for Them has been set up. There is no place in Heaven holier. And They have come to dwell within the temple offered Them, to be Their resting place as well as yours. What hatred has released to love becomes the brightest light in Heaven’s radiance. And all the lights in Heaven brighter grow, in gratitude for what has been restored.
Around you angels hover lovingly, to keep away all darkened thoughts of sin, and keep the light where it has entered in. Your footprints lighten up the world, for where you walk forgiveness gladly goes with you. No one on earth but offers thanks to one who has restored his home, and sheltered him from bitter winter and the freezing cold. And shall the Lord of Heaven and His Son give less in gratitude for so much more?
Now is the temple of the living God rebuilt as host again to Him by Whom it was created. Where He dwells, His Son dwells with Him, never separate. And They give thanks that They are welcome made at last. Where stood a cross stands now the risen Christ, and ancient scars are healed within His sight. An ancient miracle has come to bless and to replace an ancient enmity that came to kill. In gentle gratitude do God the Father and the Son return to what is Theirs, and will forever be. Now is the Holy Spirit’s purpose done. For They have come! For They have come at last!
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 22
Father, today I am Your Son again.
Today we will anticipate the time when dreams of sin and guilt are gone, and we have reached the holy peace we never left. Merely a tiny instant has elapsed between eternity and timelessness. So brief the interval there was no lapse in continuity, nor break in thoughts which are forever unified as one. Nothing has ever happened to disturb the peace of God the Father and the Son. This we accept as wholly true today.
We thank You, Father, that we cannot lose the memory of You and of Your Love. We recognize our safety, and give thanks for all the gifts You have bestowed on us, for all the loving help we have received, for Your eternal patience, and the Word which You have given us that we are saved.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1064: There is a lot of media coverage about alleviating world poverty. Also many people seem to be on a mission to change this world. Dr. Wapnick often points out in his tapes and text that this is a mistake, as we can’t change the world. Whilst I know that this is true on the level of truth, when I pray about it and ask Jesus what to make of it, I find myself reading parts of the text like “For They Have Come” and I get the impression that Jesus is ecstatic about it (collaboration). Jesus didn’t not heal the sick or raise the dead just because sickness and death are part of the illusion (and I like to think he did do these things). On a practical level, I’d like to think if I were starving to death, someone was desperate to help me. Has this got something to do with true empathy? I almost feel guilty writing this, as I know people die of poverty as we speak.
A: Let’s begin by clarifying what you think you heard Dr. Wapnick say, and what the Course is saying, about changing the world. It’s not that we can’t change the world — at this level people do it all the time. The point is, the world is not the real problem and to focus on it is to attempt to change effects rather than getting to the root cause of our unhappiness, which is in the mind (T.21.in.1) . The world, from the perspective of the Course, is nothing more than a projection of the thought of separation in the mind and, in the end, we will come to realize that neither of them is real. To seek to change the world outside is to avoid solving the real problem within.
This kind of admonition is directed to students of the Course and has meaning only from the perspective of the Course’s metaphysical principles. For someone who resonates to a different spiritual path, it most likely will make little or no sense. And so it would certainly be a mistake to use the Course’s teachings to judge others who are seeking to bring about what they perceive as meaningful change in the world, such as alleviating suffering. We simply have no way of knowing what will be most helpful for others on their Atonement paths.
It’s important to understand that the Course is never speaking about behavior, but only about the thoughts in the mind and, in particular, what purpose those thoughts are giving to whatever we seem to find ourselves doing in the world. The Course would never say don’t help others in need, or don’t try to eliminate world hunger, for example. But it would say pay attention to whatever thoughts are behind your actions. And if, for example, you are seeing the poor and the helpless at the mercy of unscrupulous governments and corporations or impersonal forces of nature, you are reinforcing your belief in victims and victimizers, as well as in differences, separation and loss. And that kind of false empathy, which makes distinctions between the innocent and the guilty, truly helps no one for it denies the power of each mind to have chosen its external circumstances as a way to protect its decision for individuality and specialness, and therefore to make a different choice for healing and wholeness (T.16.I.1,2) . And this is what we all continue to do until we are at last willing to ask for another way, which has nothing to do with changing the world and everything to do with changing our own mind.
Following up on this third point, it is a misunderstanding of Jesus’ meaning in “For They Have Come” (T.26.IX) to interpret it as if he were speaking about what bodies do with each other. He is referring to a change in perception, which happens in the mind, which may or may not then be expressed in actions. Yes, he does speak of how “no one on earth but offers thanks to one who has restored his home, and sheltered him from bitter winter and the freezing cold” (T.26.IX.7:3) , but only to make the point of how much more grateful we will be to have our true Home restored to us.
As for whether Jesus performed the miracles reported in the gospels, it is important to remember that the gospel writers, whom many biblical scholars believe were not eyewitnesses to his life, were writing their accounts to demonstrate that Jesus was special, different from everyone else, divine. If persons experienced healings in the presence of Jesus’ love, it seems very unlikely that it would have happened in the magical ways described in the gospel stories. Rather, being reminded of the love that was within them, they would have released the guilt in their minds and no longer have needed to maintain its projection in the form of their symptoms (M.5.II.2) .
Jesus’ compassion was not for the suffering and crippled bodies the eyes see, but for the suffering and crippled minds that were choosing to believe that illness and pain were somehow necessary for salvation. That those who witnessed his compassion two thousands years ago misunderstood his message and interpreted it in terms of expressing care and concern for those less fortunate than oneself — reinforcing a belief in real differences and separation — is not surprising. For just look at how Jesus’ students today continue to misunderstand his message in the Course, even though it is presented in much more direct and unambiguous language.