As we are gathered here in the Chapel on Sunrise Ranch this evening of the 25th day of February, 1954, I am constrained to question within myself: “What shall I say in this hour that shall have the greatest possible meaning to you and to all who receive in Spirit?” As you have, by the indications of your love response which has been given many forms, acknowledged my coming into the world forty-seven years ago, I am reminded of Another who came into the world over nineteen centuries ago. Man, by reason of reaction, did not permit Him to live on the earth nearly as long as I have lived, and yet His imprint upon the body and face of humanity still remains visible, and it is in His Honor and to His Glory that we are gathered here, and it is to the end that His Kingdom may come into all the earth that we are dedicated to His Service.
I have been reminded many times, especially in the past few years, that I have been privileged to receive more responsive understanding in relationship to my Ministry on earth than He was privileged to receive. I have more steadfast, dependable followers in this Ministry, in this hour, than He was ever privileged to know on earth. I have received more richly of the gifts of love response than He was privileged to receive while He walked among men. He said, “The birds of the air have nests, the foxes have holes, but the son of man hath not where to lay his head.” In my Ministry, I have a place to call home, not merely a geographical location, for that is not what He was speaking about, but a place where my Spirit can come to rest.
The form which He began to bring forth into visible pattern was small indeed. He undertook special training of only twelve men, and in the final crisis which marked the close of His earthly Ministry only one dared to stand at the foot of the cross. The pattern did not hold. We recognize that those were especially difficult tests. We, in this Ministry, have faced tests from time to time. Some have failed, but others have held steadfast. Today there are many who are with us in spirit, and the influence of this Ministry extends into many lands. There is a world need. Opportunities are opening before us more rapidly than we can take advantage of them. They are important opportunities, and we do not have the personnel or the financial resources to take advantage of them as rapidly as they are appearing. This is not in any sense a complaint, but simply a statement to emphasize the fact that it is vitally important that we remember, always, to be about our Father's business.
When I meditate upon the wealth of response which I am privileged to receive in the Name of our KING and to bring to point before His Throne, I feel that we have made some very real progress. And yet, even though I see and acknowledge and appreciate the reality of that progress, I cannot forget the untold tens of thousands of those who are hungry and thirsty, awaiting only the opportunity to come to know the wonder and the beauty and the glory of the Divine Plan. I thank God for you who walk in the vanguard of those who are beginning to come, company upon company, into the sphere of this Service. In time past, for instance if my memory turns back twenty years to the early part of my ordained Ministry, there were those who were responding, and considering the circumstances it was good response. Yet, to such a high degree I was alone. There was so little comprehension of that great undertaking to which the responding ones of the world were being, and are being, called.
As you look back along the way by which you have come, no doubt you, too, can recall those places and times when you were very conscious of being alone. As we come into the Body of many members which finds its centering in the Spirit of the Living Christ, we begin to know a pattern of relationship, of support one of another. In that aloneness of bygone times there developed a realization that we cannot, individually, accomplish any great thing, any worthwhile thing, alone. The very fact that there was that aloneness was a sign unto us, in the depth of our souls, that we needed a pattern of relationship with others, that we needed to share the expression of life and Ministry if we were to find meaning in ourselves or in the expression of our lives. To whatever degree there yet remains a feeling of aloneness, or, to put it another way, of an incompleteness in the pattern of life expression, we have the evidence that there are still others who are coming, whom we do not yet know perhaps, into the cycles of the Lord's Service in the earth—that the body of its formation is as yet but a tiny embryo in relationship to that which is yet to be. We cannot, any of us, know absolute completeness in the experience of life, in this present time, in this present cycle. Any of us can find void places round about if we seek them, aspects of the Kingdom and the citizenry of the Kingdom which have not yet appeared. If there is a tendency to react and be troubled by such things we defeat ourselves. But if we will remember that this tiny embryo which gives promise of the birth of the fully formed body in season is that of which we are part, we will not be inclined to have attitudes which make the mind tend to assume that there should now be in form and manifestation that which is not yet in the pattern.
Twenty years ago I was working, Serving, and waiting patiently for you to come to me out of the East. Most of you here tonight were living at that time, but some of you were not adult in your pattern of life expression. And I was waiting patiently for you to appear out of the East, for you to come into the pattern, for you to share the labor and the joy, the heartache and the satisfaction which come to those whose lives are dedicated to the Service of our KING in the earth as the world situation now is. In the intervening years, step by step, one here and one there, sometimes by remarkably unique events, you began to come into the pattern which brought you to this time and place, that I might share this hour with you. As I waited for you then, working and Serving the while, we now wait, working and Serving the while, for others who are yet to come. There are those things which we can now do, and we must not be slack in the performance of those tasks which can now be performed, but there is that which we cannot do until others have come to share the pattern with us. Sometimes it may seem that our undertaking is small, and compared to some organizations it is small in its appearance, in its form. But the greatness of anything is not determined by its physical size, but by its nature, its design and its potential, the spirit which can manifest in it, that which can yet be achieved. Greatness is not measured by what has been achieved, although that may indicate something of potential, but greatness is measured by our individual and collective vision of potential, that which is yet to appear. It is written, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” There must, then, be a great vision if we are to permit the development of a great manifestation of life in the cycles of restoration.
Human beings, perhaps even you, find that there is a tendency to measure the personal concept or estimate of the value of one's self on the basis of what has been done, or to measure the extent of the self-accepted degree of failure on the basis of what has not been done. If I were to function, personally, tonight, on the basis of either of these two unreal attitudes, I could not, looking at the pattern of present achievements, feel that very much had been done, for in a world where there are upwards of two thousand millions of people, there are very few who are conscious of my presence in the world. So, I could not evaluate greatness on the basis of what has been achieved, and if I looked only at what has not been achieved I would certainly conceive myself to be a failure. I do not consider myself to be a failure, and I am thankful to God for that which has been accomplished. In the greatness that I see when I look at you, or at the others whom I have visited in the past few months, scattered from coast-to-coast, I see, not a great present achievement but a great promise taking form.
Human beings have for centuries given thought to God's promises. People have repeatedly stated that they were relying on God's promises. And yet, how many actually permitted one of God's promises to take form? They expected the promise to be fulfilled by some fantastic means. They did not realize that if a promise is to have meaning it must take form, and it cannot take form in a moment. There must be the point of conception, the period of gestation, the point of birth—birth from one womb to another.
In relationship to anything which may appear, in relationship to the manifestation of God's promise, if, by openness of heart, by reality of response, by yielding ourselves individually or collectively to the Word of one of God's promises, we accept the spirit of that promise into ourselves, it is the moment of conception. Then there is a deep satisfaction, a sense of assurance that in season something shall surely be born by reason of our lives. Sometimes the human being becomes impatient and he tries to make it appear, in which case he produces an abortion. But if there is patience, the promise begins to take form in the womb of our own Being, and finally when it begins to appear, when it is born, it is always born as a baby is born.
With a physical babe that comes into the earth through birth, that moment of birth, the moment you have been celebrating or remembering in relationship to myself today, is birth from one womb to another; for if there had not been someone to care for that babe that was born forty-seven years ago I would not have had the vehicle essential to my presence with you tonight. There had to be parental care, something of home, for the home is the second womb of the babe. We are born from the womb of the physical mother into the womb which is provided by both parents, the home, as it is usually called.
What is the home but a womb in which something may be conceived, in which something may gestate and finally be born? And when the child reaches the age of twelve, or thereabouts, there is another birth, a birth into the womb of the community. An emergence out of the womb of the home definitely begins. The child may not actually leave the home for another few years in the sense of becoming physically and geographically segregated, but there is a birth out of the home into the womb of the community. Sometimes the individual is never born out of the home into the next womb, and then we have a retarded pattern. Sometimes (and this is very frequent) the child that is born out of the womb of the home into the womb of the community never takes the next step in birth, because the community does not provide a womb in which the cycles of gestation may be adequately carried out to permit a birth into citizenship in a true sense, not only citizenship in relationship to our Country, the United States, or in Canada, but a citizen of the world. If we consider a birth that begins to move into the pattern of citizenship in relationship to the world it is obvious that that birth is as a babe, not as a full-grown being, but as a babe.
What is essential to that citizenship? There is the birth of the form, the man or the woman who has the capacity, inherently at least, of being a world citizen. But if he or she is a world citizen there is likewise the capacity to be a Citizen of the Kingdom of God on earth. That which emerges in that cycle of birth is but a babe. And there must be the developments of all the factors, the aspects of Being by which a fully restored, fully developed individual or person may appear in season, one Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and functionally mature, one who is living. That period from birth, at that level of citizenship, to maturity is something which will vary according to the individual. And all too often human beings die young, which is to say, under one hundred and twenty. I mean by that that it is impossible, in the world as it now is, for anyone to get old.
I have moved about on the face of the earth for quite a while, searched in many places, and I have never seen an old person anywhere, at any time. I have never contacted one. I have seen people who became decrepit while they were still young, young in years, because from the standpoint of the pattern of growth and development a man or a woman cannot begin to function on a basis of true maturity, even if he had ideal conditions, under one hundred and twenty years of age. You do not begin to live, in the sense I am talking about it, until you are past one hundred and twenty, and anyone who leaves this sphere of things under one hundred and twenty—well—he is just a young person. He is still just a child.
I am not saying that to try to make you feel that it is impossible for us to attain anything really worthwhile. I have accomplished a little, with your help and the help of many others, in forty-seven years. It is not too much but something, not alone but with your help and the help of many others. But it is only a tiny beginning. Sometimes I hear people talk about age, and it irks my soul. I have never seen an old person yet in this life, and any person who starts to talk to me about being old, under, say, five or six hundred years of age, will have no sympathy from me. And if you live to be five or six hundred years old you will find that you have just begun to live. I am not promising that for any of you, of course. This is outlining a principle, so that you may have a larger vision, so that you may not let your vision become so narrow, so shortsighted, that you defeat yourself before you really begin.
Here is a pattern by which you may see something of the cycles of rebirth, by which you begin to know your development as a Citizen of the Kingdom; for birth, any birth, is from one womb to another, from glory unto glory, from one womb to another. When anyone has what I call rebirth in the cycle of Spiritual experience, that means that the individual has emerged out of an old pattern, an old womb pattern, into a new; not as an adult, but as a babe; not as one who is fully mature, but as a babe. Over and over again I have seen the cycle work out in relationship to someone who had a positive experience of rebirth, and I would perhaps mention it within a limited sphere, and forthwith everyone started looking at this person, saying, “We are supposed to see the mature manifestation.” If it is a man, “He is supposed to be absolutely the manifestation of perfect man,” or if a woman, “She is supposed to be a full-grown woman. And look at that. I see this fault, I do not think that is... Rebirth? I wonder what that is.” I wonder. I never saw anyone born mature, and I have been present at a few births.
I have never seen any human being come out of his mother's womb six feet tall, fully proportioned, ready to assume his place in the field of human beings. I never saw it. I never saw any man or woman go through what I call rebirth, and emerge a full-grown man or woman. He or she emerged as a baby. And then, of course, the baby is not supposed to have full comprehension of everything that is yet to be learned, but the self-active mind of the individual tends to make the person assume that he is supposed to know everything, now that he has been reborn—just like the baby—my little toddler perhaps. She assumes that she knows about all that she needs to know. She is busy learning every day but she thinks she is pretty smart. For her age she does not do too badly. But my point is that the one who has the experience of rebirth, emerges as a babe, to go through a cycle of growing.
There is a situation where there is a need for care, as there is for any baby. There is a need for care, for the provision of the womb of the home in which the babe may develop and be born into a larger sphere, another step in rebirth, for no rebirth takes you all the way through. Rebirth will give you one step, but you do not start judging yourself and saying, “I guess that was rebirth, so I am supposed to be a full-grown man or woman in the Kingdom of God, I ought to be able to do this; I ought to be able to do that; I should comprehend the other thing. If I do not understand this, there is something wrong with me.”
What is rebirth? It is the birth of a babe, the coming of a little child into the pattern of a new womb, a new home, where there may be another cycle of gestation, of growth and development in form and stature until there shall be birth again, birth into another cycle, Spiritually speaking, movement toward citizenship in the Christ Kingdom. Here, in this little Valley, we have undertaken to establish a home where babies, Spiritually speaking, those who are willing to move into a cycle of rebirth, may have an opportunity to come to the point of another birth into a still larger sphere. A home. In your presence here you have a share with me in the responsibility of providing the home atmosphere, a place where others may come and enter into that home atmosphere, for a short time or a longer period, a place where there may be the gestation essential to the birth of the man or the woman in Christ.
I pointed out to you in our meditation the other evening that we should not be concerned about our own fulfilment but about God's fulfilment. If you remember that in relationship to our meditation tonight you will see what an opportunity you have in letting God's fulfilment manifest through you to each other here, in making manifest the reality of the womb of the home where the atmosphere and the conditions are right for the development of the child, the Spiritual child, moving toward maturity. The Master was twelve years old when He said, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?” I have seen people who have lived on earth, physically speaking, for much more than twelve years—fifty years, sixty or more—who are not yet twelve years of age. They have not reached the point of having an awareness of Spiritual responsibility in our Father's business.
I have had many disappointments here on Sunrise Ranch, in which you have participated in various ways because you sometimes have failed to remember, some of you at least, your responsibility in providing or helping to provide the atmosphere in which others could grow. There has been a tendency at times to judge and condemn because someone was not what someone else thought he or she should be. I never made any of you a judge over the others, but the point I am making tonight is that you should be able to see, at this stage in the outworking cycle, that if you can actually see a limitation in someone else, if there actually is a need for someone else to grow, instead of judging, instead of condemning, instead of criticizing, instead of fault-finding, because so-and-so has not grown more, you can be one of the instruments of God on earth through which the fulfilment of God may appear, because you help hold the pattern, you help provide the atmosphere and the conditions which will permit each to grow; for in your growing it is not your fulfilment about which we are concerned but God's fulfilment in you and through you on earth.
It is only as you move, without too much delay, through the cycles of rebirth that you can do your part and have your share in these things. There has been a tendency on the part of some to remain too long in the womb. I do not mean, by that, movement away from Sunrise Ranch. I mean movement out of the pattern of the past into a new level of Being right here. And if any delay too long, if any remain too long in the womb, it brings trouble. God so designed us that He allowed nine months from conception to birth for the physical child. Sometimes there is a delay of a month, or even two, but if there is a delay too long there is trouble. Whatever the cycle in relationship to yourself, do not remain in any womb too long. All of you are in some womb now. What is the nature of the womb in which you find yourself? If it is not altogether pleasing, why not move forth in another birth, rebirth, a movement into a larger sphere where you may grow? If any of you feel that you are somehow hemmed in or contained in a pattern of limitation, it is a sign unto you that you have remained too long in the old womb. You need to be born again.