Today, November 30, 2014, is the first Sunday in Advent, the season of waiting. For most, it simply means time to start getting ready for Christmas:shopping, baking, writing cards, decorating, and attending holiday parties and events.
This morning in church the pastor reminded us that Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. We listened to the Scripture passages, Mark 13: 24-37, where Jesus tells his followers to be alert for his second coming because “about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” So Advent also reminds us that we are waiting for the end of Earth’s tribulations and the beginning of the new era of peace. How much longer will we have to wait?
In Mark 13:7-8 Jesus says: “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places, there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.” (NRSV)
I have often wondered about this passage because there have always been wars and famines in the world. Or maybe it just seems that way because our history books skip over the peaceful eras when nothing “exciting” was happening. (Were there any such times?) As our pastor pointed out this morning, the world seems to be in an awful state these days with horrendous violent events occurring, especially in the Middle East and Africa. And then there’s the Ebola epidemic, widespread earthquakes and tornadoes, as well as famines. It’s not very comforting to read the Bible and learn that things could get a lot worse before they get better.
According to the Bible, when things have gotten so bad that the sun and moon have given up their light, and the stars have fallen from the sky, we will see “’the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.” I wonder how many Christians believe that Jesus will literally return to earth in the clouds? (What if Jesus returns on a clear day? Or, if there is no sun or moon, will we be able to tell if there are clouds or not?)
The metaphysical interpretation of clouds is: “The presence of the mind of God in spiritual visibility, which comes to us when we have dropped all formal religious exercises and are resting in the very consciousness of Deity.” So metaphysically speaking, the second coming might be the day when all of humanity attains divine consciousness and we all recognize our Oneness.
Over the past few years, the piece I wrote about Ruby Nelson’s book, The Door of Everything has remained the most popular post on my blog. The ongoing interest in this book has inspired me to pick it up again. Re-reading the first chapter today, I find the reminder that God is always within our consciousness: “Like an iceberg on the sea, nine-tenths of which is out of sight, I live within you in the form of mind with nine-tenths of me being submerged beneath your awareness.”
To continue: “This submerged mind is your center of divine wisdom, an area of mind that does not think in the normal sense of the word--it knows. The nature of it is pure and holy, it has never been touched by limited or negative belief; it is a living part of me. When you have learned to elevate this submerged mind and integrate it with your surface consciousness, your entire being will take on its holy nature and you will come to find that, as Jesus taught, it is indeed not robbery to be equal with God.” (pp. 17-18)
It makes sense to me that we can only be saved from the ugliness of this world when we recognize our own divinity and act like the divine beings we are. Most of us have heard, probably many times, that we can’t change someone else unless he or she wants to change. Jesus was not able to change the world when he came two thousand years ago. How would it be different if he was to return today? All he can do is demonstrate that the way to salvation is to recognize the hidden treasures within our consciousness– and he has already done that.
Ruby Nelson’s book shows us the way through “the door of everything.” Jesus said “I stand at the door and knock.” He, the embodiment of Love and Light is waiting for us to open the door. In Mark 13 Jesus says that the second coming is like a man going on a journey and commanding the doorkeeper to be on watch. Jesus went on a journey when he left this world. He left a doorkeeper at the door to divine consciousness that lies within each one of us. The doorkeeper will unlock the door and open it when we are ready to “rest in the very consciousness of Deity.”