And so we come to the evening of Christmas Day, in the Year of Our Lord, One Thousand, Nine Hundred fifty-three, and to our meditation period on Sunrise Ranch. And as we are gathered here in the Chapel after a beautiful day, the manifestation of many, many blessings, including a most delightful dinner a little while ago. And then having listened to the music with which our programme began, I am reminded of a text in the 21st Chapter of the Gospel according to John, beginning with the Fifteenth Verse: “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?”
Now this was the occasion of the third time that the Master had appeared to His Disciples after the Resurrection, and they had dined, and Jesus asked the question, “Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith unto him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him. Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto Him, Lord thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
And as we note these three expressions, the questions and the answers, followed by the admonition in each case, we are reminded of the fact that Peter had denied our Lord three times—three times he had denied. Peter was supposed to understand something of the basic principles of being, and yet when he was asked the question the third time, he was grieved—he felt that the Lord was picking on him unjustly. If he had been aware of the basic principles of being, he would have recognized the opportunity to establish a clearing with respect to those three denials, and likewise to have that clearing established in all three planes of his own being. “Lovest thou Me?” Lovest thou Me more than these who are round about you? Do you love me more than you love them?
I know that a different interpretation has been put upon those words, and some have assumed that it meant, “Do you love Me more than these love me?”—and I suppose the way it is worded here, that could be read into the text. But His question was, “Lovest thou me more than these?” Do you love Me more than these others, which would include himself—and in view of later events we can see that our Lord was well justified in asking that question.
Each time Peter gave assurance, “Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” It has always seemed to me that Peter gave a very tame answer to a very vital question: “Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee”—almost offhand, almost suggesting that the question was obviously superfluous, it was really unnecessary; as much as to say, well you know that I love you, why do you ask the question?” Instead of recognizing the opportunity to give verbal assurance in a deep way to his love, it was a, more or less, offhand reply, containing a hint of rebuke to the Lord, for even having asked the question. “Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” What a wonderful opportunity that was for Peter to have said something about the depth of his love, to have given expression to something that would have given vital form to that love.
If our Master were to appear here tonight, at the close of this day on which the world celebrates His Birth, and if He were to ask that question of you, “Lovest Thou Me”—I wonder, what would your answer be? Would you say, “Why yes Lord, you know I love you”? If you answered that way I would be utterly ashamed of you. If you could not find some better way than that, to voice the depth of your love, I would feel that my years with you had been in vain. You might express it in a thousand different ways, but surely you would say something about the longing you have known, through the days of your years, to know Him and to know His Love more deeply. How there had been a longing in the hearts of men for so long, with respect to which they did not know how to act, and the precious joy of such a moment in His Presence, consciously to see and to hear, would surely inspire an expression—recognizing that words were inadequate—giving assurance, or establishing your position as the case night be, being thankful for the privilege of living life on earth, to the end that there might be evidence of the unspeakable love in one's heart, in your heart. But it is not the question here so much, in relationship to Peter's answer, about which we are concerned tonight, but the question to you, your answer, and the admonition.
First, “Feed My Lambs”, and then the following two times, “Feed My Sheep”—and if the Master asked you three times over, would you be grieved, and take the attitude that He was doubting you, that He was asking unnecessary questions, that He might better occupy Himself otherwise? If He asked you thirty times, would there be enough trust, enough centering, to be assured that He must have some reason, that He must be doing something of importance, to accept a cue, as it were, and to work with Him, to give the answer, no matter how many times the question might arise. And if the question was given twice, or thrice, or more times, would you repeat the same answer each time? The third time he changed it enough to say, “Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” There was an attitude of rebuke, to our Lord, that was wholly and completely out of place—to tell the Lord He knows all things, therefore He knows that you love Him. When you stop to think about it, wasn't that a very unresponsive attitude for him to take?
If he had said, “Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest whether I love Thee. I feel I do. I trust that my life shall reveal the fact that I do, but if Thou dost perceive in anything, a quality of lack in this, then pray help me, that it may be healed, and that I may love Thee fully.” Isn't that a different attitude? Instead of simply saying, “Lord, thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee, it goes without saying, you have asked a foolish question.” But in each instance He said feed. “Feed My Lambs. Feed My Sheep, Feed My Sheep.” There is not any purpose in life on earth, other than this, that has any real meaning. To the degree that we are feeding the lambs, and the sheep, feeding the Bread of Life, offering the Water of Truth, our lives have meaning.
It is in this connection that I would share with you something of what I feel, see, and experience, when I am working in the Field, seeking to Feed the Lambs and the Sheep. It must be that there are those who hear the question, even if I do not voice it in so many words, “Lovest Thou Me?”—the question sounding through the centuries from the lips of our Lord, and an answer that does not have the mediocre nature of the one which Peter gave so long ago, an answer that springs from the depths of a full heart.
I have here a letter from one of your number. Unless there is change and progress we stagnate and come to naught. This letter expresses some realizations, indicating progress along the way The first of these realizations, “that to love God, to let His Love move through all we think, say or do, is true salvation from all that besets us, whether from the world, from the pressures here, or from our own temporary un-wisdom, or mis-function—and it is also the avenue of our guidance into service. Also, service does not begin with accomplishing. It begins with Being. It is the Being that accomplishes when the Father does the works. When the human being tries so hard to accomplish, he invariably stirs things up, muddies the water, spoils the pattern. It is not just in doing, as important as doing in the outer sense may be, it is in Being—and it is Being that accomplishes when the Father does the works.”
There are other points here that might be worth our meditation, but those are the ones that particularly fit our pattern tonight. What are we doing? It is not the external bustle of doing, according to the worldly pattern, that accomplishes. First there must be Being, and then within the reality of Being, something is done. We need to do many, many things. We need to feed the Lambs, and the Sheep. In the doing of this, we have a great variety of action, many, many places to be filled, responsibility in many directions. Here we might raise the question of what has it been in relationship to myself, which was most effective in achieving the results that have been achieved in you, and through you? You might say the Services, or the Truth presented through the Services, and that would be fine. Has it been what you have seen me rushing about to do? Or has it been the constancy and the consistency of Being, that finally put it across in your heart? Just the words that I spoke? That had its place. The things that I did, those things had their place. But wasn't it the constancy, the consistency of Being?
At first, I think with most if not all of you, there were tendencies to expect that stability of Being to topple over now and again, to be a sort of humpty-dumpty thing—but while the words came, words went, and the deeds were done, the days passed, and you forgot the words, and you forgot the deeds, wasn't it the fact of Being? Didn't most of you try to upset that Being? And when you could not, you argued with yourself, struggled with the words that were spoken, looked for something to find fault about, the way things were run, or what somebody else did, or something? There have been, with most at least, various reactionary theories, and unless it got too severe I just ignored it and went on, and I let the waves of your own reactions come and go. They washed up on the rocks and made it splash, and were gone. You pushed and you shoved and you pulled and you struggled, trying to shape things around, but finally you began to come to a realization of Being. And either you had to share that Being, that Reality of Being, that state of Being, or find that what you did turned out to be of no avail. You began to find that that state of Being could not be pushed around, no matter what came or went—there it was. That constancy of Being is what finally drove home to you the fact that it was more than mere doing. You had to share a state of Being if you were to be a part of this that is Sunrise Ranch.
You cannot give what you do not have. People are not looking for works, as such, though works are necessary—people are looking for a revelation of Being. Until they begin to sense—see, feel, know that Reality of Being, they won't have any faith in what you try to feed them, will they now? You can offer it to them. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. What is it that makes the individual finally receive the food you offer, receive the cup of cold water that you extend? Not merely the fact that you have some food, or say you do, to offer. It's the persistent influence of your Being. At first there is not any faith in it, there are doubts, there is skepticism, and efforts to upset the Being, just to prove that it doesn't work, that it does not amount to anything. But as you hold steady, in Being, a part of the Central Being of the One Body, finally there begins to be enough faith in you to make people willing to accept the cup of water and taste it.
Of course, once they taste it and find out that it really is so, that there is something in the cup, then they begin to drink more freely. But they have been handed an empty cup so often that they still think that if you offer a cup that it is going to be empty. So they won't take it. They have been fooled too many times, so that it is not just a matter of extending the cup of cold water, or a piece of the Bread of Truth—that is not enough, not nearly enough. The convincing thing, the thing that turns the tide—against which no arguments can avail, no twistings and turnings of the mind, no judgments or resentments, no struggles—that consistent, constant state of Being, that remains unmoved by all the pushings and the pullings, the ups add the downs. And unless you share the state of Being, you cannot share in any true sense the work of Feeding the Lambs or Feeding the Sheep.
Our Gracious lord, and Holy King, we thank Thee for the privilege of Being the Body of Thy Being on Earth, that the evidence of Thy Presence may be revealed to the Children of Men. We realize that millions accept the idea that the evidence of Thy Presence was on Earth long ago, and that the evidence of Thy Presence will appear on earth some day, but few there are who are yet aware of the Way, the Truth and the Life, relating to the Second Coming of the evidence of Thy Presence on earth. We would do our part toward letting the evidence of Thy presence again appear on earth, and if we would let that evidence be made manifest, we realize that we must first be so centered in Thee, so centered in Thy Being, that the Reality of Thy Being in us may be made evident through us, in the processes of our living, that Thy Kingdom may come, and Thy Will be done in earth as it is in heaven, for Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory forever; and as this Christmas Day comes to a close, we would, in the seven days intervening until the beginning of a New Year, be filled with meditation upon these things, that we may ponder them in our hearts, and be prepared for a greater service than we have yet rendered.
O Lord, we would be honest in examination, facing the issue with respect to the evidence made manifest through us—evidence of the lack of the Kingdom, or of the Reality of the Kingdom; evidence of defiance of the King, or evidence of the Being of the King; evidence of our sharing a state of Being in Thee, or evidence that we are failing to share any true state of Being. What is the evidence as revealed through thought and word, and deed, through attitude, now and in the days to come. Gracious Lord, I thank Thee for the Love which Thou Dost bestow upon these here, and all who serve with me on Earth in Thy Name.
In the case
of Jesus we speak of Him as LORD of Lords. He is the One who provides the focus
of man's true identity. Man is not just one person but, rightly, the collective
body of mankind, however many that should be. That collective body has an
identity, just as our own individual bodies have an identity. We have referred
to the identity of the body that was conceived at the time of the birth of
Jesus as the Archangel. Now, we are thinking of this one cell, this one person—the
Archangel—providing the focus of spirit at that point so that conception would
take place. It is the same Archangel throughout the whole operation, just as
with respect to each one of us individually, from the point of conception on,
the same angel was present right to this present time. The incarnating
Archangel, who has been identified in human consciousness relative to Jesus, is
rightly to be revealed through His body. The Archangel is to come forth.
If we are
considering this now from the standpoint of the Archangel being present with
His focus of spirit at the point of conception within the body of mankind, then
we may recognize that the Archangel has been present all through the operation.
Everything that has transpired since has transpired because the Archangel was
present and in the process of incarnating—first of all in building the body of
incarnation and then experiencing the birth of that body and continuing on to
the point where the Archangel might come forth through His body. That would be
called “the second coming,” wouldn't it? It isn't really a second coming at
all, because that One has been present in the midst constantly ever since
conception took place. I'm sure you
can see that there has been the conception of this body of incarnation for the
Archangel, and following conception has come the continuing development of that
body by the spirit of the incarnating Archangel. This was a matter of building
a flesh body essential for the coming forth of the Archangel. The initial
coming forth was simply at the point of conception, but the ultimate intent is
that the Archangel should be revealed in expression on earth in all His glory.
Because the first point of initiation in this cycle has been looked upon as the
coming of the Christ, then the idea would be that this coming forth now would be
the second coming, but of course it's all the same thing. These are not
separate events—the Archangel has been present over the last 1,980 or so years
and something has been happening because of that within the body of mankind.
creative cycle in this light, then at Christmas we are indeed celebrating the
conception of the Archangel on earth which took place many centuries ago, and
without the presence of the Archangel all along nothing could have emerged as
it has emerged now within the range of our own experience, and the experience
of many other people. We are concerned with the coming forth of the Archangel.
The coming forth of individual angels is related to the coming forth of the
Archangel. If something of rather more cosmic proportions is viewed by human
consciousness there tends to be the idea that God establishes what is happening
on a more or less arbitrary basis, regardless of human beings. There is a
certain truth to this, because human beings have undertaken to go their own
not-so-sweet way, which cuts right across what is actually unfolding in the
cosmic sense—but God so loves the world, loves mankind, His creation, that He
takes them into account with respect to everything that is happening. His
coming forth relates, obviously, to people. There is a coordinated state of
affairs here. We ourselves have some experience of this, knowing our
relatedness to what it is that is happening. Whatever it is that is unfolding,
it takes us into account. Everything that is happening relates to what it is
that is unfolding.
There is the coming forth of the Archangel to occur. It is
occurring in fact.There is present a
new identity within the range of the consciousness of mankind. We ourselves
participate in allowing this new identity to be our experience and to be drawn
more and more to a point of focus. Ultimately that point of focus is in fact
the Archangel. (from The Continuing
Incarnation of the Archangel Martin
Cecil December 21, 1980)
Martin Cecil December 25, 1980
We all have the opportunity
of sharing this service this morning, bringing a gift to the Lord, and also a
gift to the children of men. It is well and fitting that we should take time in
this day to be together in oneness of spirit, aware of purpose and in position
to provide what is right and needful now.
This day has dawned
over the earth. Perhaps we here on the west coast of North America are about
the last to have come to that dawning. I am thinking particularly of those who
are consciously aware of true purpose and who share this day on that basis.
There may be a few present in Hawaii who are yet a little while behind us, but
most of those who are consciously aware of true purpose, the reality of being,
having a certain measure of experience in this regard, have awakened and are
present with us in these moments.
In oneness of spirit we
are assembled in the presence of the Lord to present the gift of ourselves in
manifest form to Him. We have awakened to an increased awareness of the reality
of the presence of the One whose birth is this day celebrated around the world.
We recognize that original birth as a point of conception. That One is present
in the body which He has been forming over the centuries. He is present in that
body in this hour. We share whatever awareness of this to the extent of our own
awakening. Certainly we do not look back, any more than as individuals we
particularly look back to the point of our conception. We know there was a
conception or we wouldn’t be here. But we are here; that would seem to be the
point. Exactly the same thing is true with respect to this larger body in which
the Lord, as we have known Him, is incarnate.
No one needs to look
for the day of His coming, because the fact of the matter is that He never
left. According to the story He was taken up into heaven, and this is assumed
to mean that He went someplace else. But we proclaim with our lips at times
that heaven and earth are one. His presence has been constant. As He said,
“There am I in the midst.” It has always been so, up to this very hour, and His
body forms in consequence. Because of the spirit that has been present individually
with us we are here. Because of the spirit which has been present in this
larger body He is here. We may have taken the attitude that He is here; we may
be inclined to take that attitude now; but if it is His body and we are a part
of that composition, both in form and in consciousness, then the word is
naturally spoken by reason of that body, “I am here.”
We share this awareness
to the extent that we are awake. Those who still slumber may say, “He is here,”
or perhaps, “He is at hand,” or “He may be here one day”—there are various
levels of understanding—but the truth is to be known, and the truth is that “I
am here," and each one of us can say that. Because we can say that, the
truth is proclaimed; the body is present of the One who brings peace, peace on
earth, goodwill to men. Most human beings are not awake; they slumber on.
are those on earth now who are awakening or are awake and who are in position
therefore to proclaim the truth. We rejoice this particular day because it is a
reminder for all people that conception did take place, that there has been
gestation and birth since, and there is One on earth incarnate in His body who
says, “I am here,” and so the gift is offered to the children of men. Because
there are those who have brought the gift of themselves to the point of
awakening, then the gift which the Lord would give is given to the world, and
we find this to be increasingly so. It is given that others also may awaken to
the truth. The Word is spoken on earth, in living, not merely in words, although
words are spoken.
We all speak words. Do
these words that we speak ring true always? What are our words day by day? Is
the Word present by reason of our words? What of our attitudes day by day? Is the
Word present by reason of our attitudes? What of all aspects of our living, in
every detail? Is the Word present because of this? If we are awake it is so. If
we are not awake then dreams persist, words are spoken, deeds are done, that do
not ring true. Today is the day when we may well rejoice to be aware of the
truth and to be very sure that all that finds release this day shall be true to
the truth, ring true, that it may be so henceforth forever. There are those who
have cried unto the Lord, “O Lord, how long, O Lord.” I would suggest that probably
the Lord’s word is, “O human beings, how long, human beings!” Why drag it out?
Why not let the truth be known? Why not let the reality of the power of love be
the expression of living? What better day is there to experience this in the
fulness of our oneness in the spirit of the Word? Let the Word be spoken this
day and in all the days to come because we, with many more, provide a body and
a consciousness, a facility, by which this may be so, to the glory of God, to
bring the experience of peace on earth and goodwill to men.
Our most gracious Lord,
it is our most thankful privilege to be together in these moments here in this
Chapel. While we are together in person we have a keen awareness of those who share
these moments with us in spirit the world around. We ourselves as human beings
have experienced rich blessing, but now Thy spirit comes forth. We no longer
stand merely as human beings on earth but as the angels of the Lord who proclaim
in their living the truth of Thy presence, that all things may be under Thine
hand, that Thy dominion may be restored to Thee, and that thereby all things
may work together to perfection as the newness of Thy kingdom is made known, to
Thy glory, in the Christ. Aum-en. Glory to God in the highest.