What Is In the Hidden Parables of Jesus?

Midweek Faith Lift

March 2, 2022

What is Hidden in the Parables of Jesus?

Rev. Deb Hill-Davis


Spiritual Passages

February 22, 2022

Figure skaters spin at such unbelievably fast speeds that it can make even spectators feel a little woozy, which begs the question, “How do they not get dizzy?” Biomedical specialist Kathleen Cullen says spinning without stumbling is an art perfected over time. “Some athletes, like ballet dancers, will fix their eyes on a specific spot on the wall to provide a fixed reference."


“If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” – Matthew 6:22


Affirmative prayer: Today, as the world of effects swirls about me, I keep my attention fixed on the constant and true reality: that Spirit is present in, through, and as everything. I look at chaos and see Divine Order. I look through the distractions of pessimism and dysfunction and see God’s wholeness re-presenting itself in the midst of the condition. In the demands and hurriedness of the day, I keep my eye on the ball: the love and power of God. Amen.


Last week we talked about Rebecca Shinas’ acronym for CHANGE as a “Chance to Have A New God Experience.”  As we explore what is hidden in the parables of Jesus, we are offered the opportunity for this kind of change, a new God Experience.   Dr. Michael notes in his Preface and Introduction to The Hidden Parables that fully one-third of what is recorded as the message of Jesus in the Christian Scripture is in the form of the 30 parables or stories.  My CEP teacher at Unity Village, Rev. Laura Barrett Bennett taught us that parables are “earthly stories with a heavenly meaning.”  She indicated that Jesus taught in story to help his listeners grasp the deeper meaning of what he was teaching, which is why they often sound mysterious and paradoxical.  Not everyone was going to “get it.”


So, if this full body of work, of teachings in the 30 parables is of a single piece, with a single purpose, what is that purpose, and how does it unfold?  How do we begin to understand it and even more actually apply these teaching to our own lives?  Jesus along with many, who came before him in the Eastern traditions of the Upanishads, and the mystical Jewish traditions of the Kabbalah and the Essenes, are part of a mystical tradition that attempts to explore the unexplainable.  Jesus is best understood as a Wisdom teacher and was called by his followers, Rabbi, which means teacher.  What is it that Jesus is trying to teach us both in how he lived, what he did in the miracles and in what he said in the parables? 


One point that Dr. Michael makes that is also true of Unity’s metaphysical perspective on the Scriptures is that each story is about us, each one of us.  We are all the characters in each story, certainly in each parable.  Another significant point that Jesus makes repeatedly is that everything he does, we also are able to do.  He says in John 14:12

12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. (NRSV)

This reference is to the God within, the Higher Self, the energy of God, of Good from which all that manifests flows. All that Jesus manifested happened directly from his relationship with God, the Father. That was the point of the miracles.


Remember from the message last week that we too are in relationship within ourselves which is the “holy trinity” of our humanity, our divinity, and our observer self.  It is from this opening of trinity that all our heart’s desires manifest, just as it happens with the most elemental form of energy, which manifests into matter in the presence of an observer.   We, like Jesus, can learn to “create” our reality, to manifest what our Higher Self is calling forth in us.  In that way, in our healing, learning, and evolving process, we contribute to the healing of all, the birthing of a Greater Reality for all.  That is a lofty statement and the ups and downs; the ins and outs of the actual process are a lot more complex and challenging, painful and difficult even as they are simple.


What is the essence of the process we are describing here?  Well, it is being with what is, and then seeing and allowing and learning from the dissolution of what we think “is” real so that something new and better can emerge.  The philosopher, Hegel, describes this as the process of Thesis, what we believe is true right now à Antithesis, the opposite of what we call true is revealed and then à a New Synthesis emerges which incorporates the old “truism” and its opposite into a new reality or understanding.  Hegel called this pattern a “dialectic” and it describes the process of how the “new” emerges from the unmaking of the old into something new and more expansive and of a higher energy and form. 


We love the program All Creatures Great and Small on public TV.  It is about a veterinarian in a small village in England in the 1930s. In the last episode of this season, James, the main character is engaged to Helen and she expects him to have Christmas dinner with her family.  The people where James lives and works expect them to be at Skeldale House for Christmas dinner.  And thus a conflict arises: think antithesis!  It takes the presence of financially wealthy but lonely Mrs. Pumfrey, who observes wistfully that people are with family on Christmas and she has none but her pooch who has been quite ill to serve as a catalyst for change.  When James brings the dog back to her on Christmas morning and sees how truly lonely Mrs. Pumfrey is, a new idea emerges, a synthesis whereby they all gather at Mrs. P’s house and create Christmas together with everyone included.  The willingness to be about love on the part of all parties is what creates the new, inclusive Christmas celebration. 


Now that is a rather simple plot line of circumstances, but many a family has had brooding conflicts over where the members spend Christmas!   My observation of our country is that we are going through just this process right now, especially with regard to the truth about the issue of race and supposed “racial superiority.”  We are going through the Antithesis part of the process, which is never easy and takes time and a lot of learning and growth and willingness.  The antithesis generally arises from conflict, which is finally articulated and expressed because it cannot be ignored any longer. That is what we hear about constantly right now, how divided we are as a nation, as a people. 


So let’s pause a moment and take stock of what is really happening as all these conflicts are exposed and articulated so clearly.  We serve as the observer who holds space in prayer for the new synthesis to emerge. Pause and realize that we are in the middle of this growth process and it is messy and unpleasant, quite difficult and challenging but necessary.  That was the message of Jesus.  Wherever you find yourself, if it is painful and messy, it is just part of the process of manifesting your growth or your higher good, if it is from a place of love.  Finding our way to that place of Love is how we include “the Father” in this dialectic from which a higher good emerges.  That is the essence of the message of the parables, which highlight all the steps along the way.


Now we can get mired down in the heavy details of how to work all these things out that are defined as “unsolvable conflicts.”  However, that is a very old Newtonian mindset, which is fairly limited in solutions.  Inviting the expansion of a new synthesis really calls us higher to an understanding that there are many layers of “reality” that we cannot yet even grasp.  Dr. Michael calls this the  “Multiverse” which expands beyond the Universe as we usually know or think about it.  Atomic physics and Chaos Theory illustrate that “how things work” is far more nuanced and complex than we usually imagine.  It is far beyond my pay grade and education, but what my intuition tells me is that there are infinite possibilities available to us in every dilemma could we but see them! 


What is true is that this process of change, of growth, of dialectic evolution, is a creative process and there are many theories or stories of how creation happens.  It happens so often as a result of splitting, such as cells splitting so the organism can grow.  Children grow up, separate from their parents, and create new families, which is not an easy process.  There is in Quantum Physics the Many Worlds Hypothesis which says that a new universe splits from the parent universe each time a conscious being makes a decision, when a conscious being alters personal intent,” as Dr. Michael writes on p. xxxii of The Hidden Parables.

That means that our thoughts, our change of intent has the power to create a new universe!  Do we really understand how powerful our ability to think really is?  Not so much!


What does it mean to alter personal intent? I don’t know, but I believe that is what we are truly going to explore in our journey through the parables of Jesus.  The power of Love, the energy of God within us is an energy, which Jesus understood, acknowledged, and activated throughout his time on earth in human form.  Jesus wanted us to know what he knew so that we could take action to manifest our highest good and the highest good for all, even when we don’t know how that might look.  Jesus had the intention to create changes in the world around him and how humans understood themselves.  He wanted us to “do even greater things.”  He wanted us to understand and work with the energy of creation, expansion, and infinite possibility!


When we begin to really grasp the first “secret of the ages” that our attitudes, imaginings, and intentions have the power to shape and change reality we will make real our true spiritual capacity and power.  We may then come to know what Dr. Michael calls o, p. 9 of The Hidden Parables:


           The second great “secret of the ages that arises naturally along with the first is that of all the attitudes and intentions available to a human being, the attitude of kindness and generosity, the mind-set of love, is the most potent form of thought possible.  This is the greatest and most profound paradox of abundant living- that love- and selflessness in general-is the most powerful way to help the self.


What a journey we are on together….what opens my heart opens yours.

May we journey together in joy, single-minded in our intent and full of light!


Blessings on the Path,

Rev. Deb