John 4:7-8, 16
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God -- for God is love. 16We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that may are new or beyond our comfort zone, situations that seem like they are opening a way to something revolutionary and important in our lives. Perhaps we meet someone who is influential in some way for our betterment, success, or development. Maybe we stumble across a book or an article that opens our eyes, or an opportunity that arises out of nowhere. Or perhaps we recognize a subtle desire for something, or a lifelong passion.
At some point in our lives this has happened. We feel like things are accumulating behind us and are pushing us on to our highest good, that one experience after another is leading us toward a destination. Rather than being pushed, it has been suggested that this experience is really Spirit pulling us, drawing us forward toward our good, the good that we have already chosen at our soul-level; the good that we are being invited by Spirit to participate in and that we are being drawn inexorably toward. It is God that is drawing us forward through Love, surrounding us in Love, calling to us through Love, and unfolding through us as Love.
It is hard to find the words to describe God’s Love. It is the attitude, the beingness, of desiring and striving only for the benefit and highest development of something or someone. Love wants the best and does what is best without wanting or expecting anything in return. It is the most important power in all of Creation, and is the Power that continues Creation.
God is Love, and Love is all that matters.
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
In dramatic contrariety, there is this idea floating around in our collective unconscious that God is arranging circumstances for our demise. The concept of God as described in the Old Testament at times seems sinister to me, as if the writers of the day wanted to control people by terrorizing them. So they painted a concept of God on some occasions as almost wicked, demonic, vicious, retaliatory, jealous, paranoid, unstable, antagonistic and insecure.
This disturbing perception of God is then eradicated by Jesus as he describes God as loving and forgiving. But some of the old attitudes of God leak through in our interpretations of Revelations and other books that refer to the return of the Christ. For some reason, when the Christ returns there is a mix of the sinister again. Some interpretations have the world coming to an end, and only a select few being rescued and the rest obliterated.
Every year there are predictions of the Rapture – when believing Christians will be lifted up to the Heavens. In 2011, there was a prediction by a minister named Rev. Harold Camping, that over the weekend of May 22nd at 6:00pm the Rapture would occur. Now obviously if it happened, I was not among those who were raptured, and neither were any of you.
But the prediction was inaccurate. Rev. Ronald Weinland predicted the Rapture to happen on May 27th, the following week. Also, wrong. These sorts of predictions have been ongoing for centuries now. Camping and Weinland both readjusted their prophecies to point to 2014 or a bit beyond as the time the Rapture is going to happen. Also wrong.
Most recently, I read of a prediction of the Rapture based upon visions, voices, Biblical interpretations, and software that had the Rapture occurring on September 29th. Another miss. Human kind is not privy to the inner workings of God. We are not even invited to understand the meaning of the “Second Coming”, and it doesn’t matter. I say that because God is Love, and Love is all that matters. It doesn’t matter what or who is coming; it only matters who and what is here right now. If we focus on something that might happen some time in the future based upon the visionary book of Revelations, we miss the Love of this moment.
There are several ways scholars are interpreting the Book of Revelations. These people are much smarter than me. One way is through a broad view of history. Another is as an overview of the events at the time John wrote the book, around the first century. A third way is as a futuristic view, as presented by books, movies, and preachers. A fourth way is symbolically: it is an allegory of the spiritual journey in awakening to Spirit. This is the one that makes the most sense to me.
Is it possible, and in my mind likely, that the interpretations of Revelations and the entire Second Coming are not physical descriptions at all, but spiritual descriptions? St. John obviously had a dream or spiritual reverie. Although I have not had that kind of experience, I have had a spiritual experience that is very difficult to wrap words around. In the cases of other people having such experiences it has always been difficult to describe with the limitations of words.
Each such experience can only be interpreted by the individual based upon their current state of consciousness. You and I could have the same spiritual experience and we would describe it completely differently. What John was trying to describe in Revelations was a profound experience…but what did it really mean?
We have no way of knowing. We can interpret and spin it, and make it into nearly anything we want it to say. But from my perspective, if it violates the basic tenet that God is Love, then I have doubts. For me, the idea of a Second Coming of Christ is going to be a personal inner transformation; a deeply dramatic awakening and new awareness beyond anything we currently have experienced.
Parmahansa Yogananda wrote in his “Autobiography of a Yogi” that John’s experience in Revelations was a yogic vision. When we read descriptions of such experience from deep meditation and contemplation they say that such experiences are almost indescribable.
It is my belief that at every moment of our lives we are being drawn by the Love of Spirit toward our highest good, toward all that Spirit wants us to be. And maybe we are being asked only one thing: to love all of life, all of Creation and every aspect of Creation, every expression of life in all of its forms, because love is all that matters.
I will finish with four simple principles regarding Love.
1. We choose – we may be drawn toward it and immersed constantly in it, but still, we choose it. It is our choice to embrace the Love of God that surrounds us.
2. Get into action – Although we choose to express that Love, we must apply this Love, put that Love into action through our words, thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, our perspective, how we interpret what we experience in our lives, and how we respond to those experiences.
3. Through faith, we act as if we knew what we were doing. There will be times when we are struggling to feel love, and it is at times like these that we can choose to act as if the Love of Christ was fully present and perceived. We act on our intentions as if they were in clear focus. Psychologists have learned that if we act a certain way, we will generate those feelings. Act loving, speak lovingly, and love will flow. We express Love through Faith.
4. We are to remain ever grateful for Spirit moving through us, for God’s Love and Presence. We maintain a cheerful heart as we surrender everything to God in thanksgiving. So, despite what we see in the world, we know that the Love of God is here, there, within us, and around us.
It is my prayer, that no matter what our personal interpretation of the Second Coming, or any verses of the Bible, we will know that God loves us. We can trust that whatever hell we are seeing and experiencing at this moment is not God’s design or intent. Yet God, out of Infinite Love, is working in the background to ensure that all things are working together to serve our highest good.
God is Love, and Love is all that matters.