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Order of Worship July 22, 2018

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I Love to Tell the Story – #99

Children’s Message: Truth from a Perspective

Truth is a big thing, and what we perceive is a portion of the truth no matter how much of it we think we know about something. So when we disagree with each other, it’s many times not that someone else is completely wrong or that we are completely right.  Many times we are tempted to say that what we think is our portion of the truth is everything. But we can’t ever have the whole truth.  It’s just too big.  We just know a portion at best. 

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”

They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant. 

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.

“Oh, no! it is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.

“Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

“It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

“It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features what you all said.”

“Oh!” everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.

The moral of the story is that there may be some truth to what someone says. Sometimes we can see that truth and sometimes not because they may have different perspective which we may not agree too. So, rather than arguing like the blind men, we should say, “Maybe you have your reasons.” This way we don’t get in arguments. This allows us to live in harmony with the people of different thinking.

Scripture: John 18: 19 – 40

19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”

He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Offering and Sharing

Reading from don Miguel Ruiz on Emotional Integrity

When we are acting from our Integrity, what we could call our authentic self, we don’t try.  We don’t’ have a need to try.  We just take action.  We don’t concern ourselves with whether what we are doing is the right thing.  We also don’t have a need to justify or defend what we are doing to anybody.  This includes ourselves.  The action comes from the heart and is with love, that is how we know it is true. It also comes with humility because we are acting on behalf of love and not for ourselves or a sense of righteousness.  Emotional integrity  Words don’t corrupt this authenticity with chatter in the mind.  

There are not many men or women of integrity.  Most people second guess themselves.  When a person with emotional integrity makes a mistake, or fails in their endeavor, they don’t judge themselves.  They know  they did their best and the mind does not create an internal conflict with self judgment.  This mental conflict is a break from wholeness and love for one’s self.

The break in integrity is the division of the mind itself.  Our mind says one thing and our mind says another thing in contradiction with the first thing.  We look at something we did in the past and we think, “I shouldn’t have done that.”  Then we try to justify what we did because we don’t want to accept our own judgment.  We defend what we did to ourselves.  We say to ourselves, “We’ll it really was okay because I got (blank) out of it.”   We project a negative opinion to ourselves, and then we defend ourselves against our own opinion.  We can see that our mind is not in integrity.  When our mind is divided with conflicting thoughts then our emotions are split also.

Often in dreams the mind is represented as a house.  It is the structure of beliefs in which we live.  A mind that is not in Integrity is like a house divided against itself.  It cannot stand.  We find this to be true when we engage in the quest for truth.  It is frightening to face the truth because when we do, it feels like our house of beliefs will fall.  We misinterpret this to mean that we will fall because we identify and attach so closely with what we believe.

This is the time for the courage of a spiritual warrior.  A spiritual warrior must have the courage to face and accept the death of their beliefs.  It is with this attitude that we can let go of our house of false beliefs.  When the false beliefs break, we find that the truth is still standing, because it can stand on its own.  The truth does not need us to believe in it in order to survive.

After the fall of the false belief system, we can create a new dream, based in Love and Truth.  In the ancient mythologies this is the resurrection to a new life after death.  The death is metaphorical for the transformation of our mind and emotional state.  It is like the Phoenix that is formed from the ashes. In this process our physical body does not die.  The spiritual warrior does this process with their bodies intact.  We need our body in order for our mind to have a place to function, dream and create. 

It is the intent of the spiritual warrior to let go of their false beliefs in order to eliminate the conflicts in the mind.  She surrenders to death what is not the truth.  She let’s go of her attachments to mental concepts that trap her in a mind of conflict.  After a person lets go of their old beliefs, they can recover their Emotional Integrity.  When we recover our emotional integrity we create a new relationship with our heart, emotions, and our physical body.  It is based completely in love.  In this process we discover that we are not really what we believe we are.  We are the force that creates all the ideas, images, and emotions of love.  We are the force that creates.  We are Life.

When you realize that you are the force of Life that moves through all things, you exist everywhere without separation, then you have recovered your integrity.  This is a Spiritual Warriors quest.  It is the quest of any one seeking a life without conflict or suffering.

Holy spirit truth divine – 148

Message: The Word

The book of John has a small piece of papyrus found in the Essene caves near Jericho, one of the first pieces of the New Testament ever located. The date of the papyrus is in debate, but for the longest it was thought to be the oldest part of the original New Testament, and it was papyrus #52. It is from the area of John 18 – the section many of us refer to as “What is Truth?”  Delicately preserved against the elements of time for almost 1900 years.  To me, that says something about the importance of the document – and what it has to ask us.  Because truth is everything, it is powerful, it is transformative. 

This scripture comes out of the book of John and this verse comes from a statement made after a night of court shopping by a group of Jewish people and Romans working together, for once, on something.  They were seeking someone to tell them that they could execute Jesus.  And only Romans could do that, so who knows why we have them going through all of the lower courts except to make a point about the fact that no one really wanted to know the truth.

Jesus wanted to testify to the truth, but no court and no people wanted to hear it, and people still don’t.  That is totally human.  We aren’t logical or reasonable, and we are selfish and stubborn. We don’t want to hear or feel things that are counter to how we want life to work out.

Humans want to hear the lies that make us feel better and support our perspective of the world.  But truth is scary.  It is powerful.  It is also empowering, therefore it changes things, powerfully and completely.  So people avoid it. Who in their right mind wants to change, because when we change, we risk losing what we have now.

The book of John is set up from abstract to concrete in its development.  It begins with this amorphous Jesus as the word of God.  Now, let’s be clear. This word was Jesus, not the Bible or scriptures, not rituals, not someone else’s word – The word was this light that came into the world.

John 1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” 

John sums it up, but John goes on and uses the word truth 23 times – you might think that is normal for the Bible, but Matthew has one mention of truth, Mark has two, and Luke has one mention of the word truth.  John talks about it 23 times. 

All the miracles in John were witnessed by people who were not Jewish and could be verified. In John the verilys bring friends, so instead of verily, like the other gospels, Johns gospel has a lot of “verily, verily I say unto you like”

John 5:19

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verilyverily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

John 5:25

Verilyverily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

John 6:26

Jesus answered them and said, Verilyverily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

The book of John also tries to keep the court jargon going by using the word testify.  The book of Mark never uses the word testify.  Matthew and Luke use the word once each, but John, he uses the word testify 14 times, and how it uses it is very important.

Let’s look at how the word testify is used in John.

He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.

John 1:34

I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

John 3:11

Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.

John 3:28

You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’

John 5:31

 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.

John 5:36

“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me.

John 5:39

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,

John 7:7

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.

John 8:14

Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.

John 10:25

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me,

John 15:26

 When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.

John 15:27

And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

So you get that John was about moving from heaven to earth, from the abstract to the concrete, to what is not provable to what is proven, and making it about proving that God is here, loving us, transforming us, and allowing us to become different, whether we like it or not.

David Morse, Quaker writer, says, “Any great issue has transformative power, once we engage it. Slavery led John Woolman through a lifetime of spiritual transformation, of renewal in his own heart. Whether our own faith is centered on Christ or other core beliefs, our journey can be animated as Woolman’s was by compassion and a love of truth.’

How has truth changed your life?

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