EASTER and PENTECOST

In Unity we always look for a deeper or a metaphysical meaning of events, texts, and celebrations.

When we look at Easter we see the upliftment of our consciousness to a higher level as a result of fasting or withdrawing from the worldly to the spiritual.

On Easter Monday, we celebrate a kind of renewal and a clearer and deeper understanding of our spiritual journey through release and forgiveness. We are joyful and merry. We feel lighter because we released faulty ideas, misconceptions of who we truly are and who God is for us. (read about how I see God here CLICK)

During the  days between today (Easter Monday) and Pentecost there will many spiritual observances from different traditions that we can use for our spiritual upliftment and growth. We can observe these  50 days by making the time to meditate or pray daily, focusing into the Divine Presence, reading uplifting spiritual material, and acting kindly towards ourselves and other.

Lets’ see if as a result of our efforts what happens on the day of Pentecost!

What is Pentecost and what does it have to do with Easter?

The name comes from the Greek word pentekoste which means fiftieth. Pentecost (also called Whit Sunday, Whitsunday or Whitsun) is a major festival in the Christian church, celebrated on the Sunday that falls on the 50th day of Easter. It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles – while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles – and other disciples following the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2), and it marks the beginning of the Christian church’s mission to the world.

The events of Acts Chapter 2 are set against the backdrop of the celebration of Pentecost in Jerusalem. There are several major features to the Pentecost narrative presented in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. The author begins by noting that the disciples of Jesus “were all together in one place” on the “day of Pentecost” (ἡμέρα τῆς Πεντηκοστῆς).[27] The verb used in Acts 2:1 to indicate the arrival of the day of Pentecost carries a connotation of fulfillment.

There is a “mighty rushing wind” (wind is a common symbol for the Holy Spirit) and “tongues as of fire” appear. The gathered disciples were “filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance”. Some scholars have interpreted the passage as a reference to the multitude of languages spoken by the gathered disciples, while others have taken the reference to “tongues” (γλῶσσαι) to signify ecstatic speech.

Source Wikipedia and Britannica

Relationship with God

In Unity we do not suggest an understanding of God. We strive to support everyone to seek out their personal meaning of God and to create a personal relationship with the Divine that serve their upliftment and growth.

INTRODUCTION

They say that ‘all roads lead to Rome’. The same way, there are as many approaches to God as many people there are on the Earth. In my understanding, everyone is attempting to move back to Oneness with God or the Divine Presence that I call ’being in the Loving’ whether they know it or not.

In my observation, every person tries to create a relationship with whatever they believe God is depending on what they were taught and how they see themselves.

I learnt distinctively different ideas from different people. As a result, I first became an atheist and then as a result of that, I started to look for ‘my version of God’.

God is not a separate being, or an old guy looking down on us from Heaven judging our decisions in life. As a result of my journey ‘looking for God’, I realized that God is simply a loving being, an energy source that keeps on lifting us up and out of the drama and madness we, humanity, have been creating for ourselves through our collective thinking for ions of time.

In my experience, as we meditate or commune with this loving energy source we start peeking out of the fear-driven craze and start seeing the greatness and the goodness that is ‘beyond’.

DIFFERENT INFLUENCES

The Banned God

The utopistic socialist regime that I grew up in created a rather odd predicament with regards to God. Though religious acts were discouraged and if still practised punished with ostracism, churches were kept intact and Catholic religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas were held. We were nevertheless dissuaded to attend any of these events or suffer the consequences.

We, as children, were taught that there was no such God that the churches talked about – they were liars – and we should worship our political leaders – flesh and blood perfect specimen of a human being – especially the main leader of the socialistic party that we called ‘Big Brother’.

 

God as a Father Figure

My grandmother needed a father figure because she never had one.  What I gathered from observing her, her relationship with God was ambivalent. After having lost her second husband, she lost her relationship with God with him.

I think the Bible made her assume that God was a male character, and that he was like a good Father to all his children. Through her words, God was a loving father whom children can run to for shelter when hurt. He was protective and fair.

Because what my Grandmother communicated to me about the God she knew, when I first went to the church I went there to beg God to protect me from the abuse, I was experiencing at the time. I was looking for a father figure.

It was disappointing to learn that God does not show up in your school to tell the abusive teacher off. I understood there and then that God is not a substitute for an absent father.

 

God as a Prosecutor

My great-aunt, my grandmother’s cousin, was a bigot Catholic and was on a mission for a while to turn me into a Roman Catholic, except my grandma would not have it. She was a Calvinist.

My great aunt’s God was a Prosecutor.  We were to fear God who was always angry because we were misbehaving. God had a ‘whip’ called the Devil who, we were told, would come and take us to Hell if we were naughty.

My great aunt in her dread of her righteous God was a goodie-two-shoes who condemned everyone who did not believe or behaved as she thought was right. She wasn’t a nice person. Nevertheless, she believed that her God approved of her behaviour because she was doing the right thing.

In her relationship with God, she lived in fear of an entity that would punish her if she wasn’t a good girl. She was convinced that she was one of God’s messengers whose job was to ensure that others also follow God’s orders and were on the right path. As a psychologist it was her mission to bring all lost souls that landed on her ‘couch’ to the God of the Roman Catholic Church. She was in some ways a prosecutor herself because she believed that those who did not see things the same way she did were all sinners. She taught me that we should be grateful for our suffering because in our suffering we are closer to God.

My great aunt’s idea of God made me scared of God and wanted nothing to do with a vengeful God.

 

The Buddhist no-God

There was a moment when I thought that I had enough of the confusion around God and looked for a path with no God. Though Buddhists have many deities they do not actually have a God concept. Buddhists strive to attain Nirvana, which is a level of consciousness, total freedom of desire but it is not an alternative to God.

At first, I was relieved that I did not deal with others’ idea of God, anymore. I loved the meditation sessions on ‘nothing’, the focus on striving for ‘thoughtlessness’. I found a sense of freedom in that.

Soon, however, as I progressed in my meditation, I started to face a sense of ‘lack’.  I felt a sense of being and connectedness in my meditation but I could not place the sensation anywhere.

In a way, the Buddhist no-God-ness helped me to look for and find ‘my God’ and create the kind of relationship I wanted with God.

 

The Sufi God of Fire

After my Buddhist adventure, a friend who in my experience had a deep and personal relationship with God, introduced me to Sufism. I started to read poems by Rumi, learnt about Shams de Tabrizi, Rumi’s teacher. Then I ran into a book called ‘Love is a Fire’. The writer of this book talked about a kind of meditation that I had never heard of before: looking for fire and passion in meditation. She talked about an intimate and personal relationships with God that was new to me. So far, I had only met people who had a concept of God rather than an experience. As I was reading the book and practising the Sufi type of meditation, I started to feel a movement of ‘unexplainable’ energy that was strong and lively, with a burning sensation as it showed up within my consciousness.

I loved it! The first time God was not someone else’s concept but my own experience.

 

MY KIND OF GOD

I prefer calling God ‘Divine Presence’ or ‘the Source’ because the word ‘God’ is corrupted by different religious ideas that I cannot relate to.

 

God as Loving

This experience I mentioned above and that I still have today, is passionate and fiery. I understood later that my ‘burning like’ sensation in meditation was not the result of reading the book but because of the essence of who I am. I am fiery and passionate.

 

My relationship with God

And so is my relationship with God. I talk to the Divine Presence, but I still do not see God as a person. For me God is an energy field of pure Loving that is alive and is in constant movement.

As I step into this field, into Oneness, and connect with this Divine Presence, my Essence gets energized which becomes the foundation for my connection with God.

God is a vibrant presence in my Life, not only in my meditations but in my day-to-day living. I sense God all the time.

Interestingly I do experience the Divine Presence as the ‘Father’ and also as the ‘Prosecutor’ but very differently from that of my family members. God as ‘a Father’ to me means that God cares about me, I am important, if I listen, I can hear ‘him’ guiding me through the wilderness of life. God is also ‘a prosecutor’ means that I am held responsible for my experiences through my free will. My thinking, my emotions and my actions create my reality. If I want to have different experiences in life, it is not the Divine who would bring it forth, I am to think, feel, and act differently. How to bring that change about is a whole other story.  God in his Goodness, however, wants me to learn my lessons and free myself from my limitations. I call it ‘tough love’.

Most of all, however, my relationship with God is like the relationship between a sport team/person and its cheering squad. God is always on my side cheering me on! Similarly to Rumi, in my inner experiences, God sometimes shows up like a goof-ball dancing and singing to make sure I don’t lose faith when time gets rough. Our relationship is constantly evolving as I am evolving, opening, and becoming into my True Being.

In Unity we do not suggest an understanding of God. We strive to support everyone to seek out their personal meaning of God and to create a personal relationship with the Divine that serve their upliftment and growth.