In the beginning there was this perfect relationship between God and Man.
Our mammalian bodies were well developed through hundreds of generations. From squiggly salamanders finding their legs on dry land, evolution has been relentlessly patient and progressive.
As we reached a time of reason and wonder, we were imbued with an indwelling spirit of God, to guide us in the ways of higher mind and fruitful living. We learned.
And there was God, our Creator, all around us. The stirring, invisible wind that gives us life to breathe. Glorious forests, mountains, seashores, oceans teeming with a great variety of life.
Miraculously, tiny seeds interacted with soil and became bountiful, growing plants.
Miraculously, a brilliant ball of fire and light emerged on one side each morning, blessed the world with its presence as it passed over and disappeared into the night darkness, carpeting us then with a panorama of sparkling stars and a mysterious moon.
The fire served us with a powerful presence that warmed the cold air and drew us into fascination.
The water that fills massive oceans, flows in wide rivers and narrow streams and adorns our land with lakes is also the gift that we cherish in our biological presence.
All these glorious gifts were all man needed to see God, to feel God, to know God. We were given material eyes and here are our gifts to recognize and use in creating a quality of life.
With inner spirit guidance, we are urged to care for one another, each of us a biological presence here under one God, who can prosper by cooperation and community. There is indeed one God, most often called the First Source and Center among the planets of the time and space worlds.
It is our challenge to overcome animus — the remnants of an animal mind not entirely expunged by evolution. These are our tendencies to fear and doubt, fight, steal, dominate, and find acrimony against those of different colors and cultures.
But in its purest, most perfect form, the practice of worship and adoration of God for these gifts of our garden planet and the conscious lives we share on it is a matter of relating our Universal Father with the fruits of his creation. This natural world is spiritually energizing, even today, as we come into contact with the most dynamic and direct fruits of the spirit — the elements themselves and a feeling of our Oneness with them.
Humans can still worship God personally, celebrate a time of quiet stillness that cuts through the cacophony of noises that command our physical beings. We can learn to turn a slap on the cheek into an opportunity for retaliatory service, and that service is always integral to the spreading of love and community with all siblings, with all of God’s creation. I turn the other cheek and offer you friendship.
Beyond our walls of noise and labyrinthian twists of ever-busy mind, there is a solace in silence and the spiritual voice within you will come through.
This perfect storm of dynamic worship has been with us all along. Primitive people experienced God directly because there was not yet any dogma.
And then it came — written tomes that put mankind’s stories above God’s present realities. Self-anointed people speaking for God with printed documents that proclaim themselves completely true and well worth your financial support to keep their organization going. Your tithe is little enough payment for these holy scriptures we have for you, a family of friends in the organization, and eternal personal salvation. Resurrection from death is the big attraction.
The fatal flaw of all evolutionary religions is their arrogant intolerance of other paths. Dogma divides the human family, makes it dysfunctional and has led to generations of wars and genocides, even over modicums of scriptural difference. Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Protestants all remain fragmented and even at war with one another. Military conflicts take massive amounts of money in the name of killing people and destroying property. This prevailing animus that inflicts humankind must surely stop sometime.
Institutions that get between man and God have prevailed too long because they have this fatal flaw. And they are unnecessary for our salvation. Our Universal Father would not leave us beholden to them to tell us how to think and feel the presence of God.
They have built many large architectural monuments to God that are impressive and displays their spiritual commitment. But none will match the beauty of a mountain stream, a rocky seashore or trees covered with fresh snow.
We purify our worship by making it personal with our Father. We make it special in that it supersedes everything else in the mortal world for time alone with our Creator. It becomes spiritually energizing, for the rest of the day and the rest of our lives. We become centered in an inner nucleus that lightens our step and stands ready for any opportunity of service that emerges for us.
Every step of faith that we take — into the stillness or into the lives of our friends in service — is rewarded by Spirit. As we serve daily we are blessed with incremental additions of truth, beauty and goodness in our lives.
As dogmas pull at us today, we should recognize that, despite their historic corruptions, they have maintained a thread that leads toward disdaining the animal nature of selfishness and developing a spiritual nature.
They certainly haven’t lived up to their ideals, but that is the case with most human institutions. They have a higher vision than they can reach due to internal corruptions.
When Constantine adopted the Christian faith, he put it on a flag that led his armies to butcher their foes. The Roman Jesus, a fabrication, led genocides that literally destroyed the pagan cultures in Greece. In time, Popes became evil tyrants, with inquisition tortures, murder and the outright selling of God’s favors among their blasphemies.
But the Protestants proved no more honorable when they rose up in war. They destroyed monasteries, tortured priests, raped and murdered nuns, much as had the Viking invaders who raided them on the British Isles.
The Jewish people may have found their ‘promised land’ under Moses, but they had to battle and kill the residents of Canaan to actually take it over. One wonders what chosen people wander aimlessly and fruitlessly in the desert for forty years. One wonders about their supposed special pact with God that delegates them as ‘chosen’ over others when they have been the victims of history most of the time. Today, they have a nuclear-powered modern army to face off against their dogma-driven enemies across the Middle East. An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.
Muslims continue to disdain other spiritual paths and even kill themselves over dogma at an alarming rate. Who cares about the differences in Sunni and Shi’a doctrine? It’s inconsequential. Murder is consequential, no matter the reason. It has all evolved now into a bloody plethora of revenge killings.
So many militants can’t tolerate other faiths and can’t even tolerate sects within their own religion. And God does not justify killing on any terms, given that God does not subscribe and adhere to the various infantile dogmas that permeates the world.
Would there be greater hope for humankind if there were no dogma at all? Perhaps we should all just agree to the Golden Rule, simple enough, and treat others as we wish to be treated. Apparently, that’s too simple for humans, who persist in fighting over wealth and territory.
God is simple; mankind complicates.
God creates humans; they create societies and are responsible for them. God does not micromanage.
God’s basic gifts are all you need to invigorate and sustain worship. Your life and your soul mates. Earth, wind, fire and water and spirit. What’s not to Love?
Dogma divides — by intent. It retards critical thinking. It instills error as unquestionable truth. And its promoters invariably ask for money. Over history, they have killed vast numbers of people who have opposed them.
Take them with a grain of salt. God is the sweet sugar you need to guide you in your life, and that voice lives right inside you — an inner pilot to spiritual peace.
Religions have helped humankind evolve beyond its basest animal nature but stands bogged-down today by stagnated scripture — stuck in an us vs. them mentality. Much of the world is in the same shape.
Love One Another still hasn’t taken hold. And it’s really the centerpiece of Jesus’s teachings, and every other spiritual prophet of which I’m familiar. The truth is always there, but often deviated by man putting himself on top of it, with his abiding determination to divide and dominate.
Inner wisdom will increasingly encourage humans to rise higher in mind and spirit, and forsake the paths of divide and conquer that have never proved fruitful at all. In the quiet times, God’s spirit can speak, and show you that your path is clear.
THE DECLINE OF PERFECT WORSHIP
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© Jim Cleveland 2017