SPIRITUAL MATTERS: Awaken to God in face of disasters

As I write this, Hurricane Irma is threatening Florida after already devastating much of the Caribbean. It is being called the largest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic. Our prayers and well wishes go out to all the people affected by this natural disaster as well as to all the other recent extreme weather events.
Hurricane Harvey brought record amounts of rainfall causing death and destruction in southeast Texas. Katia struck northeast Mexico, just south of Harvey, causing at least two deaths. Jose is following behind Irma. Wildfires in eight western states are affecting air quality for millions of Americans.Droughts and other extreme weather events seem to be the new norm.
Earthquakes off southern Mexico caused massive destruction and more than 60 deaths. Flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal have killed over 1,300 people, more than one third are children. Over 40 million people were affected. And, scientists say we are in the midst of the sixth great extinction event which may greatly affect our ability to survive as a species.If I didn’t know better I’d say Mother Nature is pissed.
I can already hear our more literal minded religionists calling these natural disasters “God’s Wrath” upon our evil nation for whatever sin it is that they are promoting. Others are decrying the “End Times” and they may be right, but not for the reasons they believe.
A teacher of mine once wrote that “we are not punished for our sins but by our sins.” We reap the consequences of our actions. When we make mistakes we have a choice, we can learn and grow from them or we can blame someone or something else.
This is the original sin of Adam and Eve: the failure to take personal responsibility for their actions. Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed not only Eve but also God for his mistake of eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The law of cause and effect, “the measure you give will be the measure you get”(Matthew 7:2,) is an underlying principle for life. It goes by many names: reciprocity, karma, giving and receiving, chain reactions, the domino effect to name a few. When we wake up, become enlightened and take responsibility for our own actions, then we can choose to co-create our world with God love and order as our guide.
We are made in the image and after the likeness of God (Genesis 1:26.) God is Spirit (John 4:24,) therefore we are inherently spiritual beings. My friend Wayne Dwyer used to say that “we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” And, I would add that we are also human beings learning to express our spirituality.
The problem comes when we think that since we are the image of God that he must look like us. We have created an anthropomorphic god, having human characteristics; in our childish stage of life we seem to require a god with skin on. “When I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.” (1 Corinthians 13:11.) God is not physical but is that which makes the physical possible. Our opportunity is to awaken to the spirit of God expressing through us; the Christ within, our “hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)
The word Christ comes from the Greek word Christos which is an interpretation of the Hebrew word Mashiach or Messiah. It literally means “the anointed one” who would establish a new kingdom. Jesus was called Christ because he was anointed (John 12:3) to establish a new kingdom “not from this world” (John 18:36.)
When we awaken to the Christ within we allow our light to shine (Matthew 5:16) on that which is anointed in us to lead us into the new kingdom of heaven in and on earth. This awakening is my hope for you and yours; it is our greatest hope.
Blessings of peace, joy & love. Rev. Matthew E. Long, Peace Unity Community

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