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|This reading is courtesy of Grace de Rond.
She has put up a matching lecture on Paul Solomon - What is an
Source: Your coming together in this place, in this Fellowship, is for the purpose of establishing a true altar, a true temple, a true sanctuarywith true sacrifice before the Lord.
In coming together for that purpose, know that the tables you have set up with symbols are symbols of the real. Which is to say, one may well learn devotion before an altar, set up on a table with symbols, in a special place, with a quiet time. But your coming before the altar, your time of worship, even your gifts upon the altar, the flowers you offer, even the prayers, have no meaning unless the activities which follow in your relationships, in your discipline, in your harmony, your communications, your actions, your work, your investment of time and energy, become a living sacrifice.
It is written, "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. ...present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
The establishing of a true altar is seen in the life of one who, leaving the time of devotion, wastes not a word nor an action, but accomplishes the fulfillment of a dayso that each day becomes an investment in being a productive cell of the body of God. So will your holiness, your righteousness, be a cell in the body of God as you cause your life to reflect beauty, to reflect harmony, to express Godliness.
We do not suggest that you eliminate worship, or that you eliminate coming before the altar that is a symbol. We do not suggest that you neglect times of devotion, meditation, prayer. We do indicate that you find balance. If the room in which you live, whether kitchen, bedroom, or bath, does not reflect the order and the beauty of a true altar, then your symbolic altar and your sanctuary become a lie, an abomination before the Lord.
How would you dare to come before an altar and a sanctuary, which is the symbol of the real, knowing in your heart that the real is not in order, saying with your lips, "I give, I sacrifice, I desire attunement. I wish for balance. I look for harmony." How can you lie before the Lord?
Then what is the real purpose here within this Fellowship? The real purpose of the Fellowship is to be a place for presenting the self before God, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
You have a mind which is a gift of God. It is creative. It causes results, both in your body and in the environment about you. Now if that mind be turned to selfishness, you might accumulate about you a few scraps of things which satisfy appetites, to cause pleasure to the body and the personality. But if the mind be sacrificed, if it be given to the Lord, then, it becomes your responsibility to sharpen that mind as an instrument, to discover what it can do.
The sharpening of the mind, causing it to rise to its greatest ability, to discover, to discern, to understand, to perceive, to become wiseto offer the mind is a holy act. Education, in its highest sense, is an act of worship, of obedience before the Lord.
It is written, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Then, study with the mind. Read. Bring into your presence in that place those servants of God on earth who have mastered particular aspects. Bring one who has mastered an understanding of the body, and its structure, and functioning, and such. Another of gardening, another of music, one of writing, one of art, another of business and finance. And the others who will come will be attracted.
Let the one who would neglect to bring himself to the feet of these teachers, to learn what they have to sharelet such a one be thought a fool. For these who gather to this Fellowship are as the wise men who came offering their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh at the birth of the Child. They gather to the manger again in your day, as they gathered at the birth of the Babe. So they gather now at this Fellowship, bringing their gifts. Fools are those who do not recognize them, who do not appreciate the value of their gifts.
There are among you, even now, teachers. Some bear the label. Others not. Can you recognize that which they have to give, and receive of them? Some will be with you a fleeting moment. And when they are gone, how would you recover what you could have received at their feet?
Then, the Fellowship is a university, in its best and highest sensea gathering of teachers, respected by those who will come and listen. See that it be a gathering of teachers of such quality that they will be respected by the world.
Now, be not afraid to require of yourselves, each of you, long hours of giving, on this true altarto bring to the building, the grounds, the rooms, and even yourselves, the display of harmony which comes from cleanliness, decency, and order. And as you do, the disease will go out of this place, this earth. You will have healed the land. And you will establish on this earth a true altar, a real temple.
Come to clarity yourselves concerning what the purpose of the Fellowship is, the ideal that it should be, the description. Clearly set forth that description by the works of your hands, by the creation of images and words that convey the ideal, and by the sending out of those who will speak and share. As the understanding becomes clear, there will come the flow of money, energy, time, effort, and talent. First, you will need to become what you are commissioned to be.
Be careful in presenting that image, that the image does not become what you would prefer it to be. For some among you are in love with the fascination of the occult, the hidden, the psychic, the mysterious. And some among you are in love with what you think is spiritualmore often sentimental, emotional, religious, sometimes in its worst sense.
See the practicality, the directness of the worship of God in the real temple. Express in such a way that those peoplehowever irreligious, however non-spiritual in their words, those who have developed within themselves a great dissatisfaction with the disharmony of earth, of governments, of systems, of bureaucracieswill see in this a pure and directed attempt at balance, and will support it.
As to application of the principle of seed money, understand that as you begin to give of your abundance, be absolutely certain that you could not stop the return, even if you tried. Certainly, giving away all that you have will bring more than any other action toward abundance. If you give all the money you have, it will be returned to you ten-fold. And thinking you have divested yourself of it, you would find yourself ten times richer. How few can understand, and apply, this principle.
Please understand, in this moment, that even if you did not become ten times richer for the giving away, you still would have made your life greater by the giving, by causing another to receive. And even if it cost you that you have come to think preciouseven if giving your money away deprived you of the Fellowship itselfit could not deprive you of the giving.
The support will come. As there is harmony in the Fellowship, as there is order in the personal life, support will come. If there is disorder, confusion, misuse of that which does come, you will cut off the flow. And should you not?
As to the relationship with a teacher, the will, of course, dies hard. And when anything happens in the world, providing an excuse to say, "See, we must keep the will alive, we must keep the rational mind about us. We must keep our wits, lest we fall on such sad experiences as these," there is the excuse for one who needs it.
to give self, to set aside the will, to listen, to commit, to hear the teacher. There is, of course, the grasping of every opportunity, every excuse, to avoid making such a commitment. It is hardly worth the bother of reiterating here the need to set aside your knowing, that you might find outto give up resistance, that you might learn. Do you expect us to say:
"The only teacher is within you. You need not listen to these external teachers."
What did the Master say? "Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killed the prophets, and stoned them that are sent unto thee." Because you preferred your own way?
Concerning responsibility for the children, better begin seeing yourself as the children. Nothing could be more foolish or presumptuous than to think that you can establish a program for teaching the children. Rather, find that place for setting them apart to increase your consciousness of their beingand that they see in you. How many of you hesitate to show before the children your childishness? Do you speak in love or in selfishness? Do they see, in the way you live, harmony, balance, discipline? Do they hear in your words and your thoughts constant struggle for what will make you comfortable?
There is the tendency among you to say, "I have made a vow to this relationship, but I do not feel it. I do not feel excitement, entertainment, amusement in this relationship. Therefore, I am not happy. I will look for other relationships, other entertainment." And you feel you have a right to so entertain and fascinate yourself.
There are beliefs among you that there must be chemical reactions, and this and that, to keep relationships alive. And so you teach the children another liethat marriage and relationships are based on adventure and excitement, that love is a chemical reaction that can be kept alive through expressions of the appetites. The children see. And they learn to build wrong relationships. They learn to expect from marriage the titillation of the senses, rather than the honoring of the words spoken. You have come before an altar of God and made a vow to one another, "Till death do us part." And you entertain yourself by finding reasons to part sooner. You teach the children, "There is no sacredness in speaking words before the altar of God. If we cant get along, we just cant get along. Let us dissolve that we have spoken."
How do you speak of a program for children to teach them this and that? You can only teach them what you are, what you believe, the way you act.
Make of yourselves a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Make of your life a living altar, having given your consciousness, your mind, your thoughts, your words, your actions, your deeds, to the Lord.
If you want to teach the children, clean up your room, your relationships, your actions and thoughts. Let these little ones expect to live in a room that reflects harmony as if it were an altar, to eat food that reflects care, to maintain relationships that express the love of God.
Let the children grow up to expect that a time every day is given responsibly to work, to discipline. Children in your society are taught to play, play, playuntil suddenly, one day, they are thrust out and told, "Now, work." And confusion comes. You teach your children an unreal world. Every child among you, from very early, should be taught, should be required, should be disciplined to invest his time each day in being responsible for that he consumes, for that he takes and has.
Look at other cultures. Look at healthy cultures and see the family together in the fields. See children from a very early age working with the plants and the earth.
Let the children of this Fellowship have the opportunity to learn discipline, productiveness, harmony with the earth. Do not let anyone among you come before the children to teach them words of religion and spirituality. Rather, live before them a life of devotion and productivity. In this way, you cause them to have right a relationship with Spirit.
Concerning the preparation of those who will go out in service, your emphasis has been on their learning to speak the right words, in the right sequencethe message presented in an orderly fashion. And this is well and good. These things should be done.
But at the same time, see that none go forth without the living, in-dwelling Presence that will inspire, that will guide, that will fill the heart with that which is to be sharednot words, but the living Christ. Carry the Christ to the world. Let the commission of those who go out be that Great Commission given by the Christ to those He sent out:
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son , and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.
And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
© Paul Solomon Foundation 1994