Journey of the Magi
Rev. Jan Chase
(Based on the book Birthing a Greater Reality by Robert Brumet)
Matthew 1: 18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us." 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Matthew 2: 1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
Let us explore the part of this story about the wise men metaphysically.
Let us look beyond the surface of the story to see what the characters and events have to do with our own lives.
The Christ child was born, and the scripture says “they will call him- Immanuel which means ‘God with us.’”
That God with us, that Immanuel, has been born within each of us! It is our Christ within.
What the Jews call our spark of divinity within.
What the Hindus call Brahman, the Cosmic Spirit within.
One of their scriptures, the Upanishads reads:
“That in whom reside all beings and who resides in all beings, who is the giver of grace to all, the Supreme Soul of the universe, the limitless being- I am that.”
It is in you and it is in me.
How do we find that eternal, unlimited core of our Self?
How did the wise men find the Christ Child?
They saw his star in the east and they came to worship him.
The wise men were astrologers, who studied the stars and understood the interconnectedness of the universe. When they saw the star, they intuitively knew that a wondrous event was occurring and they followed the Light to experience this Holy One.
Like the Wise Men, we can study the signs of our lives, we can follow the LIGHT within us to find the Christ Child, the Sacred that is at the core of our essence.
Charles Fillmore, co-founder of our Unity Movement wrote:
wisdom--Intuitive knowing; spiritual intuition; the voice of God within as the source of our understanding; mental action based on the Christ Truth within. Wisdom includes judgment, discrimination, intuition, and all the departments of mind that come under the head of knowing. This "knowing" capacity transcends intellectual knowledge. Spiritual discernment always places wisdom above the other faculties of the mind and reveals that knowledge and intelligence are auxiliary to understanding.
We have been built to know. However, there is work to do to find that Divine within us. As much and as important it is for us to come together for Church on Sunday Morning, it is important to journey beyond that. The Wise Men stopped what they were doing and took a journey. To find the prize within our selves, we must do the work of Spiritual Study, Meditation and Prayer, in a spiritual supportive environment. As we surround ourselves with like-minded people who share our values we continue to be guided by our inner star.
Fillmore says: wisdom and divine understanding--These attributes come from the Spirit of Christ within us. The price that we must pay for the conscious attainment of divine wisdom and understanding is the letting go of the personal self with its limited beliefs.
This letting go of the personal self is a journey within to bring clarity to what is real and to release those things that cause suffering in our lives.
Unity Author, Counselor and Teacher at Unity Institute Robert Brumet writes in his book Birthing a Greater Reality: “…our happiness or our suffering does not depend upon the conditions of our life; it depends only upon how we respond to the conditions of our life…. It is possible to experience unconditional happiness, but only if we see deeply into the cause of our suffering. This leads us to seek a spiritual practice that facilitates this deep seeing.”
Robert explains that our ego comes from a sense of self which develops from a “strategy designed to get what we need and to avoid pain and anxiety.”
The ego is who we think we are, but it is not who we truly are. “Our essential nature, our true self, is, was and always will be free of craving, aversion, delusion and suffering. Our true self is an expression of the One.” - (Brumet)
Can our ego be satisfied? NO! It lives in fear and dissatisfaction that covers up our amazing spiritual essence.
Maya is the veil, the illusion of a dualistic universe in which we appear to exist as separate beings in time and space.
The Buddha identified 3 characteristics of maya, the conditioned world.”
1. Dukka (unsatisfying)
2. Annica (Impermanance)
3. Anatta (Having no inherent self or reality)
That which is wise in us can see beyond this conditioned world.
That which is wise in us can move beyond that which causes us to suffer.
What causes us to suffer?
Christians may call it sin, and many religions list things not to do to keep from sinning, moral codes such as the 10 Commandments.
In New Thought we talk about listening to the “Still Small Voice” within for Guidance. But most of us have many voices within. There are many parts of our personalities within us. So how are we to distinguish which to listen to.
The Buddhists list 3 causes of suffering.
1. Aversion: Trying to avoid something, especially trying to avoid feeling something. Which doesn’t work at all but feeds the ego about the idea of separation and unworthiness.
2. Grasping: Trying to attach to something and get it or keep it. I will be happy if or when I do this or have this or when this happens. We keep putting off happiness. If we look at the statistics for happiness in the world today, we can see that richest country in the world has some of the most unhappy people. Stuff doesn’t do it. Desire is not the cause of our suffering, but attachment to the object of our desire is.
3. Delusion is the third cause of suffering. Robert defines Delusions as “unconsciously projecting the cause of our suffering onto the external world rather than seeing that suffering is caused by the mind.
In Unity we hear that our Mind has great power.
How we use our mind affects everything in our lives. When we believe that the external world is causing our suffering, then we also look to the external world to relieve our suffering and ADDICTIONS come into play, because although they do not relieve our suffering, they often give us an experience of pleasure, which we become attached to. Sometimes we suffer while we experience pleasure, because we are thinking about the pleasure coming to an end!!!
I have 3 suggestions for how to use our minds in a positive way.
1. Keep your attention on the Present. The EGO lives in the past and the future. The ego does not know how to live in the presence where the Christ in you resides!!!! When your mind wanders into what happened before or what might happen, just consider the shoes on your feet or the clothes on your skin and you come back into gift of the present where you will find many presents.
2. Feel your feelings. Good, Bad or Ugly. Don’t stuff them into your body, where they will create dis-ease. Learn to develop skill to feel them and let them go.
3. Find ways to give of your self. Bring your gifts to the Christ Child within.
The wise men brought gifts to the Christ Child. The gold, frankincense, and myrrh that the Wise Men brought when Jesus was born are symbolic of the inner resources open to the Christ child.
gifts, of the Magi are Offerings of love to the Christ; inner resources open to the Christ Mind.
Our gifts are from God. From Fillmore's Revealing Word: gift--"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17). God's greatest gift to man is the power of thought, through which he can incorporate into his consciousness the Mind of God.
Charles Fillmore writes on gift, spiritual--The manifestation of Spirit in each of the members of the Christ body according to each man's receptivity; giving to each member a particular work in the redemption of the individual.
We have each been given different gifts to share. And when we come together in a spiritual community we can be amazed at the diversity of our gifts and the ways they go together.
Fillmore writes on Wise Men--The Wise Men of the East who came to visit the baby Jesus may be likened to the stored-up resources of the soul that rise to the surface when its depths are stirred by a great spiritual revelation. In scriptural symbolically East always means the within.
Our work is out of the East for it is inner work. But we need a supportive Spiritual community to help us do that work. We need people who will assist us in remembering the truth of our being and the gifts that we are and have.
Concerning Waking up to who we are.
Life has a way of challenging us to wake up. The push and pull of change, the challenges we find ourselves in, call us to travel to the Christ Child within to know the truth of the situation and the truth of our ability to deal with whatever comes our way!
This week our dear Emma fell and found herself first in the hospital and then in a nursing home. I can tell you that was not what she wanted. But Emma turned within and found the wisdom and strength to deal with her situation. She turned her mind to the healing of her body, instead of dwelling on what was happening that she did not want. Let us join her and Jack in knowing that her healing is swift and than the Christ within Emma is guiding her every step of the way.
In the meantime Jack is without Emma for maybe the first time in his life. Yet that Christ within Jack, knows that he has power over his thoughts which have power over how he deals with all these changes. And the Universe has stepped forward to assist Jack. A neighbor has been bringing him to Emma and has invited him to all their family meals!
Jack and Emma are using Truth to not only help them through this challenge but to help them know at deeper and deeper levels the power and the presence that resides within them and connects them to all.
Concerning Following the Star
We all have gifts and it is up to us to listen to what and when to share our gifts with the world.
When I visited Emma, it was a gift to me to be with her and with Jack. But I wanted to honor her in some new way and it came to me to buy Emma some new clothes to work out in as she journeys back to health. I felt like Santa as I shopped for Jammies and work out clothes for her. I was following my bliss.
Another way I was led this week to follow the star leading to my inner Christ was through a hearing in San Bernardino. The group Progressive Christians Uniting was asked to help a mosque in the Montclair/Chino area to get a permit to build a mosque that they have been working with the planning commission on for 26 months. Every time it is almost approved, neighbors come forward with new complaints or concerns.
I attended this hearing for 6 hours on Thursday. As I awaited my turn to speak, listening to so many other pro and con statements, a lightbulb went off in my head. Instead of for and against, what if God is drawing these people together to work on issues that have been plaguing this community for over 40 years: that of water run off.
So when my turn came as next to the last, I found myself asking the commissioners to find a way to bring this two groups together and work with them to solve the challenge that the neighbors were complaining about, therefore allowing them to work together, get to know each other and find common ground.
I believe that the commissioners heard me for they said virtually the same thing as they approved the conditional use permit.
Spirit guided me there and guided me in what to say that was useful. I was able to be a part of a civil rights proceeding, that brings our country out of the latest fear into justice and democracy for all.
We may not even know the gifts we are bringing to a situation. But if we listen deeply and open to what is ours to do, I believe we will be astounded by the wisdom that pours through us.
Concerning Bringing Gifts
We had our semiannual Christmas Party and Auction last Sunday afternoon and it was an amazing success.
Many people brought their gifts from the center of their being to share to make this party a success.
Rosie not only collected many of the items for sale, but organized the door prizes and the money collection. Something not many could or would do! And she did it all masterfully.
A team including Jacqi, Lisa, Irene and Michelle decorated both upstairs and down making it look and feel a lot like Christmas.
Stephen was the Auctioneer’s assistant helping us raise almost $1000.
Many of you came and brought friends and relatives as well as items to sell and treats to eat.
Many of you bought items, some for Christmas, some for yourselves, and some for each other!
Some of you stayed to clean up.
Together it was perfect. Without each unique gift from you, it would not have been the same.
Not only did you bring your gifts, you were the gift!
For you brought the Christ Child within you to share with us all!
What is going on in your life that is calling you to journey to find the Christ within YOU?
What tools are you planning to use to get to this Sacred Space within?
What Support are you building around you to encourage you on your journey?
What gifts is spirit within you calling you to give to the world? One way to tell is to see what needs you notice in the world. What would be better if someone would only step up and ________do something? That may be your gift to bring to the world right now.
I encourage you to seek the Christ within through spiritual study, meditation and compassionate service in a spiritual community. Hopefully this one!
As you allow yourself to be present in the Now Moment, Feelings Feelings, rather than stuffing them, you will find yourself opening and your gifts will pour out to a world that is ready and grateful to receive them.
You will find personal Happiness and the Satisfaction of helping co-create a World that Works for All.