Nothing speaks so loudly about your autonomy, safety and independence as the spirituality of your being. Spirit is the key feature of Good, Spirit is substance and power and action - it is gently expressed in integrity, a sense of compassion and mercy, vitality, resilience, strength, unselfishness, consecration to good, patience, an adventurous spirit, an attitude which values flexibility over old routines.
I feel that the way we progress from a restricted and harsh sense of life to an enlarged and kind view of Life being inclusive and whole entirely, a parable from the Bible helps. I find this parable so encouraging because it invites to take care of ourselves and others and accept the glorious independence and freedom which God grants to each one of us. How many people have a sense that their lives are somehow not free and independent? How many people have the feeling that their experience is determined by others? Here is the parable for all of us:
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming;go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’
But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'"
(from Matthew 25. NKJV)
This parable encourages me to be ready. It tells me to feel the immediacy of spiritual understanding - as represented by the bridegroom - and to be as ready as a virgin would be, who had been asked beforehand to participate in a wedding celebration, who had been included and entrusted with an important task and who had been hired to light the bridegroom the way to the wedding.
The parable is also about ownership: There is a difference between what you truly own - what you hold dear, what you possess - or what you simply just "buy", there is a difference between knowing the matters of the Spirit firsthand yourself or trying to link your own destiny to someone else. You could say: There is a difference between putting spirituality into practice and putting the word "spirituality" into Google.
The wider implications of this parable were proven to be true by Zoë and me last weekend. I had the great honor to speak at the Charton Manor Open House. Zoë was invited, too, and we travelled together from Berlin to London to Kent and back. There was probably not one obstacle that wasn't thrown in our way, from blocked roads to delayed to cancelled trains, from diverted routes to chaotic traffic jams. Only Charton Manor and its commitment to good were a haven of light, mental wellness and peace.
Weeks before Zoë had alerted me to include in our mental preparation the atmosphere in London - a city that seems to be having a little bit of a fever right now. Terrorism, Post-Brexit effects, small world thinking - all this so foreign to a country which stood for centuries as a beacon of reason, learning, invention and inclusion. We relied on Principle, good, to encourage integrity and honesty, to create an atmosphere of reason and wisdom. We let Principle coordinate our travel plan and every individual other plan, let Principle help us focus on what is right, maintain safety and order everywhere, all the time, and be present for everyone. Principle surely unites everyone to a common cause and to good motives. Principle links us to every resource we might need. It correlates, relating one idea to another in perfect authority. The stabilizing effect of Principle is the basis for every action going on in the realm of the real - our true world. There is no way a nervous surrounding can rob your peace which is truly divine. Principle rules.
You could say: Here were two virgins on the go with their lamps filled with oil. We shared the light (knowing that is not possible, even if you want to, to share your oil) abundantly, and the result was astonishing: Not only a sense of peace and love enveloping us, but everyone else. Prayers are universal. We had beautiful encounters and support at every turn. When we finally reached the airport for our flight home and were informed about another three hour delay with the possibility of staying at the airport all together, Principle brought us a sense of peace and clarity. Not heeding the announcement of the airline to stick around and stay tuned, we heeded the announcement of Principle. We found ourselves in an elegant restaurant with a view of the runway - and a pilot joining us eventually. A pilot from our airline. He volunteered to inform us about our flight, showed us on his phone where our plane was at any given moment, shared insights into the art of flying, and finally pointed to the sky saying: Here is your airplane coming.
We spent the waiting hours with fresh Japanese soups and vegetables, a glorious sunset, and a true gentleman fluent in German and English, who walked us finally to the gateway with a shortcut, before the official announcement came. When we finally fell asleep around 3:30 am, we fell asleep grateful and with joy in our hearts. We keep our lamps trimmed and the light burning. We continue to increase our oil supply. For it is only "... in Thy light shall we see light." (Psalm 36: 9)
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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