This house of God is open for you; the Lord has been waiting to see you come home.
A place to leave behind the past, to have the
fullness of the present,
and to look forward to the bright future.
If you've ever been to New York City, you've probably seen the Statue of Liberty. The concept called liberty is so effectively represented in that magnificent copper clad figure, that people around the world recognize this symbol of victory over oppression. The combination of copper and steel isn't liberty itself, of course. Clearly, this beautiful statue is a symbol for an important idea. Sometimes, though, the borders between ideas and symbols can become muddied. In fact, it can be quite easy to mix up a physical symbol with a spiritual concept.
For instance, as little children, we may have occasionally mistaken an everyday, material thing called food for the spiritual concept called love. Love is a nonphysical concept. Food obviously isn't. Food isn't a bad thing, but it certainly isn't love. As children, many of us received food as either a big reward or as solace when we didn't feel well: As a result, as adults we might still be searching for that approval, comfort, and love in symbols – foods – and gulp down everything on overflowing plates.
Another blurred border between the spiritual and material relates to the desire to buy things – things that may not be needed. Shopping is a necessity, yet buying something simply because we think we deserve it might indicate looking for love by being on the receiving end of things. It's not hard to understand that we could make that kind of a mix-up and then mistakenly associate gifts with love.
It feels good to be thought of enough to be given a present. That feeling is spiritual, though, and isn't synonymous with the item in the box. And it can work the other way around, too. Gifts we give others can be mixed up with our perception of what love itself is. Gifts are great, but it's important that a gift for someone isn't the only language used to say, "I really love you."
In substantive spiritual understanding, we're not interested in dispensing or consuming more and more objects symbolizing love. We're hungering to feel the love of true Love itself. God is one. Love is one. Therefore, there is only one Love. One Love to desire and reflect as Love's children; and one Love to nourish and protect us.
It's worth it to allow yourself time each day to feel yourself being fed by divine Love. Sometimes it's good to sit still and feel the power and love of God just flowing through you. At any point in your day, you can sit down at a "meal" of God's love, or "open a gift" by basking in that love. Through your spiritual sense, you can feel deeply the real, satisfying substance of being utterly loved by our Father.
Many good, wholesome, and healthy benefits come from approaching life by looking to God, who is Goodness and Infinite Intelligence, for contentment and wholeness. Jesus said that "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
As we hold to the fact that we are one with God, good things start to happen. A deep awareness of true goodness and of God's love sticks with us and satisfies us. After drinking in God's love for a while, in as little as just a matter of days, you're not the same person. You're a better one – and you know it.
Only the ideas from the Mind that is God truly satisfy us. Material things can't, and substituting them in place of spiritual goodness and love is simply fraudulent. Food, gifts, and matter itself, are all mortal, limited conceptions – symbols or characterizations – of divine ideas and qualities of God. Let's go right to the source of love instead of searching for it in the symbols. "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him" (Ps. 34:8).
In His Light,
Bishop Raymond Contois