Posted March 18, 2013
The following was the message that Rev. Deb Phelps delivered at our recent Ordination Ceremony of our 4 new ministers, Rev. Gayle Bartlett, Rev. Georgette Fass, Rev. Sherri Rothenberger and Rev. Lenore Schaefer.
Our Ordination Ceremony Audio from March 16, 2013 is located here.
Martin Luther King said, “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Jesus in A Course in Miracles says similarly to Dr. King. We are all the ministers of God and here to serve our brothers and to do so with love, compassion, nonjudgment and forgiveness. So if indeed we, that is, each and every one of us, are all the ministers of God, why does MiraclesOne need to have a ministerial program to ordain ministers? And why a church for Heaven’s sake?
Let me start with the idea of “church” first. In Chapter 6 in A Course in Miracles, Jesus says,
I am sorry when my brothers do not share my decision to hear only one Voice, because it weakens them as teachers and as learners. … it is still on them that I must build my church. …. only you can be the foundation of God’s church. A church is where an altar is, and the presence of the altar is what makes the church holy. A church that does not inspire love has a hidden altar that is not serving the purpose for which God intended it. I must found His church on you, because those who accept me as a model are literally my disciples. …. T-6.I.8.
Jesus uses the word “church” in this passage. Our problem has been that we have placed such judgment on the word “church” from our own past spiritual experiences that anything similarly sounding strikes fear in our heart. And what? To ordain ministers in A Course in Miracles church sounds even more repugnant. Yet, Jesus shows us that words are but symbols and teaches us to not make hasty judgments. Anytime that we are disturbed that we place that disturbance on the altar of the Holy Spirit. He needs us to do so, so that we can forgive, heal and then inspire love.
A “church” simply is a group of people or you could say a community of brothers, or a Sonship. So we as MiraclesOne are a community of people who have come together to study, support and practically apply this profound spiritual text. If you gather together in a study, prayer or meditation group somewhere in person or even online, you are a “church”, that is a group of like minds gathering together.
As I said “church” has had a bad rap. It comes from our past experiences that we thrust on the present moment without forethought and judge it all according with the ego mind. But we are called to reinterpret the meaning with the Holy Spirit’s Love and Wisdom.
Rev. Paul and I created a non-traditional and unconventional church. It is non-traditional yet with the tradition of service in the Spirit of Love to others. We bring our wealth of experience, in Rev. Paul’s case 18 years of service in the National Guard and my over 20 years of ministry and social service experience, to help others practically apply the Course principles to family matters, relationships, career, life choices, and everyday situations. Our dedication and devotion to living A Course in Miracles, versus intellectual gymnastics, is what inspired and attracted you to be here, and for you Gayle, Georgette, Sherri and Lenore to take a leap of faith and to do so accordingly by entering into our ministerial program.
But why “Ministers”?
If we look at it this way, here in the world we seem to need doctors and nurses, police and fire personnel, school teachers, store clerks, attorneys, politicians, movie and rock stars, etc. These all have their roles and functions in the world, so why not legally ordained ministers who believe in spiritual truths as you do?
But what does it mean to minister?
To minister is to attend to the wants and needs of others. In Latin, minister means servant.
In this world, we use ministers to attend to our needs and serve in times of: joyful celebrations and legal ceremonies; grief and sadness; despair and hope; direction and guidance.
Ministry of Love by Paul Ferrini
A minister of love does not proselytize
or aggressively spread the message.
S/he just loves and accepts people
and they keep coming back.
That is the way the teaching is extended.
A minister of love is not afraid
to admit her mistakes or to confess her fears.
She does not seek power or control,
but equality and mutual respect.
That is why people continue to hold her
ever more deeply in their hearts.
We need to have people who will assume the role to minister to us, to join with us, and to hold the Light for us when we cannot see It for ourselves. And you my dear friends have felt this calling from deep within to simply be of service to others or you would not be here today to take your vow of ordination and accept your role.
We serve in many ways: Be it in our employment positions; volunteer work; family and friends, and in our community; inspirational teaching messages; joining of hearts in marriage ceremonies; the support in times of confusion or grief; or a simply giving attitude. We approach everything that we do with the premise, “I am here only to be truly helpful.”
Our approach to ministry is also influenced by the premise of Servant-Leadership as termed by Robert Greenleaf.
The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types.
The servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The Test is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants??
…Awareness is not the giver of solace – it is just the opposite. It is a disturber and an awakener. Able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed. They are not seekers after solace. They have their own inner serenity.
A leader must have confidence in facing the unknown – more than those who accept his leadership. … it is also a very firm belief that in the stress of real life situations one can compose oneself in a way that permits the creative process to operate.
This is told dramatically … the story of Jesus when confronted with the woman taken in adultery. In this story Jesus has a Goal – to bring more compassion into the lives of people.
In this scene the woman is cast down before him by the mob that is challenging Jesus’ leadership. They cry, “The law says she shall be stoned, what do you say?” Jesus must make a decision, he must give the right answer, right in the situation, and one that sustains his leadership toward his goal. The situation is deliberately stressed by his challengers. What does he do?
He sits there writing in the sand – a withdrawal device. In the pressure of the moment, having assessed the situation rationally, he assumes the attitude of withdrawal that will allow creative insight to function.
He could have taken another course; he could have regaled the mob with rational arguments about the superiority of compassion over torture. A good logical argument can be made for it. What would the result have been had he taken that course?
He did not choose to do that. He chose instead to withdraw and cut the stress – right in the event itself – in order to open his awareness to creative insight. And a great one came, one that has kept the story of the incident alive for 2,000 years -”Let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone.”
And so too you have learned together to access the Quiet Wisdom of the Holy Spirit within by listening in the silence.
True Authority by Paul Ferrini
True authority is rock-solid and self-nurtured.
It does not need to gain the approval of others,
nor does it desire to please self at the expense of others.
It is not drawn outward into other people’s dramas,
nor is it drawn inward into the attempt to satisfy personal wants and needs.
True authority sees no lack in others or in self,
so it does need to fix or be fixed, save or be saved.
In this way, it skillfully avoids trespass.
Our ministry work is as similar to this familiar quote:
“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” – Author unknown
So go forth and tell everyone that they possess the Holy Spirit within. Show them, teach them, listen to them… and learn from them, but don’t do it for them. Help them to know that together, we are indeed Equal and One.
“Ask Him very specifically:
What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?” ~Lesson 71
I honor you and bless you this day, our new Ministers and Teachers of God ….
Through our forgiveness, we awaken.
Through our listening, we are guided.
Through our demonstration, we remind.
Through our sharing, we walk with our brothers and sisters on the journey Home.
If you are interested in our MiraclesOne Ministerial Program or studying the Text or Workbook with MiraclesOne, click here.
Our Ordination Ceremony Audio from March 16, 2013 is located here.