Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Can Hear The Marching

In my life I have been a weigher of ideas, a considerer, a philosophical wrestler. And from this wrestling I have come to feel that for me, reading the scriptures is not simply about hearing and considering ideas about God anymore. It is about drinking them in with the intention of letting God's ideas rule me.

The ideas of the Word are the Army of the Lord. To the degree that we open the door, these ideas come and quarter themselves in our homes, doing exactly as they please. And they are better than we are. They leave it cleaner than we do. After a visit from the Army of God the plumbing works better, the windows are clean, the table and cupboard are gorgeously stocked, and the art on the walls is more beautiful. In fact, opening the door wide, we welcome their beautiful service of Love.

They do things we have no idea of. These ideas transform us and grow gardens and orchards in closets we had locked and forgotten about.

Reading the Word we are not meant to be the master. The Word is the master to us and turns our homes, our thoughts, into living gold.

I have come to trust that God knows more than me. I know that often some good thing that is coming to me straight from the fountain of Mind, I don’t recognize immediately. In fact, sometimes I fight it tooth and nail. These days, when I read the scriptures, when I listen for the Word of God to be spoken in my life, I am thinking of opening my door wide, and laying quietly by while His brightly dressed soldiers come in the door and do their work.

Below is a new song, about the above ideas. You can listen to it here

I Can Hear The Marching
Alex Cook

Open up the doors and the windows of the house
For the army of the Lord is coming
His legions fill the hills and they do just as he wills
I can hear the awful glory of their drumming

Open up the doors and the windows of the house
For the angel of the Lord does now approach
He will let not one thing stand that was not made by God's own hand
All flesh feels the fire of His reproach

And I can hear the marching of the army of the Lord
He is coming, He is coming, feel no fright
Only render up your lives, trusting ever in His grace
Which will come like a thief in the night

Open up the doors and the windows of the house
For his sentinels are presently arriving
They fill the sky with light, burning everything in sight
While the creatures of his hand are gently thriving

Open up your windows for the Lord is at the door
He will enter this your house, which he owns
Open up your hands and reveal all that you have
Because nothing will be left of these old stones

And I can hear the marching of the army of the Lord
He is coming, He is coming, feel no fright
Only render up your lives, trusting ever in His grace
Which will come like a thief in the night

The Lord comes to destroy without mercy on the wrong
Like a hunter with his eye upon the quarry
And as we stand and gape, we learn to love is to escape
And always for our good and to his glory

And I can hear the marching of the army of the Lord
He is coming, He is coming, feel no fright
Only render up your lives, trusting ever in His grace
Which has come like a thief in the night

Come O Glory, to this, my house, burning from the south unto the north
You are my savior and by your fire, you cause me to come forth
I am saved by fire, I kiss the holy cross
God's glory is revealed, it fills the mountains and the fields
Light is all around, my savior came and found me
And nothing but his love can I feel.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Like a freshman at the high school dance

One of the things I found most moving about the presentation at the Museum of Science planetarium (see my last post) was information about what astronomers these days are working on.

They are looking at solar systems light years away, which can barely be seen with our best telescopes. But, by following the line of scientific exploration they have been able to translate the tiny amount of information we are able to obtain into facts about the planets there. From those facts they are able to intelligently speculate as to the nature of those planets and the possibility of their ability to sustain life as we know it.

The depth of intelligence in this field is staggering. The very idea that people have had the audacity to imagine that from tiny sparkling pinpoints in the night sky we would be able to intelligently speculate on the nature of the distant universe, is deeply humbling.

Then, to observe that what we are doing with that information is seeking to know if there is life out there. Perhaps it is the obvious thing to wonder. But as I watched this computer-generated illusion of stars whirling around in the dome above me, learning about the tenacity, patience of scientists seeking to learn about such impossibly distant places – I began to have a feeling of how much we want to find someone else out there.

In fact, in a way, we are like a freshman at the high school dance, surrounded by the great unknown, the whirling lights, feeling alone (sound familiar anyone?) and just longing for someone to connect with. We, here on earth, are longing, deeply, to find that we are not alone in the universe. Our scientist are searching, year after year, against impossible intellectual odds, like a needle in a million haystacks, for signs of life beyond ourselves. And they are finding enough to interest them that they continue. What else is there to explain it? We want to find someone to relate to!

I am convinced that as each of us seeks further into our worlds, we are allying ourselves with the great human longing to grow and connect. As we break through our own fears, our boundaries, our small thoughts, we are helping the whole human family do the same. And each time we do, we find more and more to love, to connect with, outside of ourselves.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Life on Other Planets. Is God Just For Earth?

Tonight I attended a preview of the grand opening of the brand new planetarium at Boston's Museum of Science.

In addition to the gorgeous show of new technology, animation, and sound, and the interesting new information about the search for life on other planets in the universe, it gave me a great opportunity to think about the spiritual ramifications of life on other planets.

When I was in high school I had a bit of a breakdown one night when I first wondered if the laws of God applied to life on other planets! For some reason, I found it difficult to imagine that God would know anything of them. The words and teachings of Jesus seemed so tailor-made for the people of earth.

But tonight, as we soared through the amazing reaches of space, learning about the distances, the possibilities, the ever-crumbling limitations I felt entirely differently. It dawned on me what a glorious thing it is that in the event that there is other life out there in the universe, the laws of God apply as much to them as they do to us.

Love your neighbor as yourself. Is it actually universal? It must be.

A God who is infinite love, not only loves creatures we don’t know about yet, but made them!

We think we have a difficult time resolving conflicts that arise out of cultural differences? Hah! What about a culture that comes from 100 light years away? Possibly unfamiliar with basic things that are the most obvious to us? With an entirely different way of approaching the whole phenomenon of life? And yet infinite love is so infinite that even cultural differences like that can be worked out through its practice - recognizing the God-created nature of every being. If God created all that was made, then the spirit of Love is resident with every creature.

Can you imagine the butterflies in the stomachs of people around the world when and if we first interact with other creations?

How important it will be to approach that new, uncharted relationship, armed with our understanding of God's goodness – the inherent goodness of every one of Love's creations.

God bless the human striving for understanding! - reaching out longingly into the stars, yearning and hoping, scanning the heavens for more…


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An idea whose time has come

I love the idea that you can't stop an idea whose time has come. We often talk about it when we see some grand thing, like the end of slavery in the US, or the end of Apartheid in South Africa. The list is long and wonderful.

To my understanding those things happen when the people involved are finally ready to accept a universal, holy truth such as the spiritual equality of creation.

But, if God is bringing out these ideas in the immense things of the human experience, is he just holding back at the other times? Shouldn’t there always be some idea or another whose time is coming right now?

I believe the answer is yes! And if we look at the grand examples, we see that, of course, in every case, it was decades, even centuries of battling, pushing, arguing, and brought clarity to the right idea, the right way to proceed.

We can all speed along this process by watching intently for those ideas whose time has come now. What ideas are coming to the forefront of your thoughts? What ideas are pushing you to change? To grow?

We are sometimes inclined to hate ideas that make us change or grow. It feels uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and insulting. But that is the best way to be caught on the side of an argument that posterity will not smile upon.

The implication in the phrase, "an idea whose time has come" is that behind the idea is an acting force causing the idea to dawn in our lives. There is a sense that the idea is in some way independent of human opinion. The implication is that it is simply a right idea, which has finally been seen for what it is.

I want to be involved in real progress. I want to see the ideas whose time has come, come! I want to see what they are and watch them transform and improve me and the rest of the world.

So I am striving to be better at seeing what is out there, watching my thoughts and the thoughts of those around me. I want to be ready for the new thoughts that the Almighty is bringing forth in human experience. I want to see and feel the greater freedom and purity that moral struggle brings out in us.

Here's an idea whose time has come: Watch and stay agile.

Matt. 24:42-43
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched…"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Eyes to see and ears to hear

In my life as an artist I have felt rich with ideas. As I have learned that God is the source of all my inspiration it has become simple and easy to remain inspired, delighted, and motivated. Really.

In fact, in the past years I have come to feel this way, best expressed in an image: I am standing on a huge pile of riches – gold, silver, gems and jewels piled so high I can see all around the city from the top of the pile. I am delighted to have these treasures, and all in the world I want to do is share them. I want to give them away. I want others to see them and feel them and be blessed by them as I have been. And that is the work of being an artist.

One of the greatest blessings to me is people who ARE blessed by the art that I bring out. And this is true of any artist. We are all deeply indebted to the ones who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear and the hearts to be touched.

This is true in art and it is true in every other facet of life. When you have something to give, you need someone to give it to. We are all in that position. Our lives are to share our treasures. We spend a lot of our lives learning what our treasures are, and the rest of our lives laboring to give those treasures to others.

We all NEED people who are interested in these riches! Folks who are searching for the true riches of life – the spiritual ideas, the inspirations and heart-ideas that God is bringing forth through his children.

Infinite Mind has put all kinds of beautiful thoughts and dreams in each of our hearts. It seems the world, with its negative opinions and bored outlook, mostly would like to kill those dreams and see them never come to fruition. Every heart needs supporters, listeners, hearers who want to see and know the good thing that God is bringing out in them.

One of the best ways to give is to be committed to receiving. Be willing to accept that we are surrounded by geniuses – geniuses of God's creating. All around us are the riches – the hearts that are filled with dreams and good ideas. This is how the human race is, and will be, knit together – with the expectation of good things from those around us. Each one of us has the great soulful opportunity to bring out wonderful things, and to see, appreciate, adore, and drink in the good being brought out by those around us.

A huge, heart-felt thank you to all of you, for your open eyes and ears.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Van Gogh sold only 1 painting in his lifetime

Where were the millions of people who now adore his works?

Van Gogh's vision of beauty was so new, so individual, and so different from what had come before that most people didn't have the eyes to see it. For that reason his work was ignored.

Until! Over time people began to see the innocence, the purity, and vibrancy that are the substance of Van Gogh's paintings. Little by little people began to realize the courage, and beauty that he fought to unveil.

In the decades after his death the art world wondered to itself "How can we make sure we don’t miss the NEXT Van Gogh?"

It's a good question! How can we make sure we see the glorious, surprising things that exist and are coming newly into the world?

The world has it's eyes set on doing. Personal achievement. Making a name for one's self. But one of the most deeply needed things in the world is people who can appreciate what is there. Appreciators. People whose eyes and ears are open to see and explore the wondrous things of creation. Surely Van Gogh was one of those people when he saw in his heart what came out on his canvases.

In fact, there are countless ideas and visions coming into the world through the eyes and ears of people all the time. There are amazing artists sewn among us like invisible gems. In fact, everyone is bringing forth something amazing. Who has the eyes to see it and the ears to hear it? I wish I were better at this!

It is entirely in the interests of the seer and hearer to make their eyes and ears broader and deeper. The more good we can see, the more deeply we feel love, adoration, admiration, worth and value in our lives. Seeing beauty in the world around me is what first taught me, beyond a doubt, that God exists.

There are countless wonders in our world, hidden in plain sight. Let's open our eyes and ears and drink in the riches…

Matt. 13:9
"Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."