Midweek Faith Lift
From Hope to Faith
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
The traditional path of Advent in the Christian story begins with Hope. It is the energy of waiting, of expectancy and it mirrors the process of pregnancy. When you are pregnant, you are described as “expecting” and you are waiting, because you have no other choice. Even in our instant world of on demand everything, it still takes 9 months for a baby to develop to the point of birth. During that 9 month waiting period, a lot can happen to you, to the baby, to your life, to the world and in the world. If we go back nine months from today, we are at March 2, 2018. What was happening in your world back in March? What has happened since that date in your life, in the life of this spiritual community? What have you been waiting for during these last 9 months?
If we really want to live this Advent story of birth, then let’s take a look deep inside to ask that question that Hope asks of us: “What are you waiting for?”
What are you expecting, and what has to happen for that to become real? If you are beginning to feel a stirring of discomfort, then you are getting in the groove of pregnancy. When something in you is asking to be born, a new life, then something has to shift to allow room and energy for that “new” something. And like pregnancy, it can cause a fair amount of discomfort and pain. Very few women go through the pregnancy, delivery and birthing process without considerable discomfort and pain. And the story of Advent is the story of birth.
They say that you forget the pain in the joy of birth. I personally found that to be an old wives tale. Labor and delivery became my new benchmark for pain. If it wasn’t that bad, then ok, I can take it! After Sarah was born, on Christmas Day, no less, I put all my maternity clothes in a sealed container in the farthest corner of the attic. I was not ready to go through the whole pregnancy/birthing process again very soon! However, like all of life, the Universe had a different plan and three months later, on my very first Mother’s Day as a mom, I learned, much to my surprise, that I was again pregnant! As my doctor musingly inquired, “You do know how that happens, don’t you?!?” For me, family planning was an oxymoron.
I had in fact said very clearly and frequently that I always wanted a family. I did not really have a functional family as a child, so my heart’s desire was to have a family as an adult. I wanted two children. I had said all of these things with the energy that calls forth the spiritual power of prayer that creates demonstration, like we talked about last week. I did not do this consciously or with spiritual intention or conviction. This all happened before I ever encountered Unity. In a very real way it was Truth using me as “demonstration,” as answered prayer, just like we talked about last week. Hope is a funny thing, because I had had three miscarriages with great expectations lost, all hope lost, before I birthed Sarah. I was about to give up hope on ever having children.
When I was at the Parliament of World Religions, I heard a speaker say that “hopelessness rejects quick fixes” and I have pondered the truth of that statement since I heard it. When you are about to “give up hope,” it is a powerful place in consciousness, because that is when you actually become the most revolutionary, the most open to a radical shift in consciousness. Hope shifts from a passive state of waiting to the active process of faith that invites a spiritual energy of growth. It makes the waiting fertile as the seeds of intention begin to move and grow in the ground of consciousness. It moves you out of the complacency of “quick fixes” into the active state of the power of Faith.
For me, that shift came during the last weekend of Gestalt Therapy training in March of 1985, that I had been doing over a two year period. On that last day, I had that “A HA Moment!” when I realized I had internalized my mother’s message, “Don’t get pregnant!” The family secret was that she had been conceived out of wedlock, which in 1927 was a disaster for my grandmother and the family scandal. That was not my story; I was married, I wanted to have a baby, it was ok and it was time! I could get pregnant, but I couldn’t stay pregnant. All that changed on that day, and nine months later, Sarah was born. And all through the time of expectancy, I was completely confident that the pregnancy would result in the birth of our first child. I had the spiritual power of Faith before I even knew what it was!
What is Faith? We have a definition of the meaning of Faith in the Christian Scriptures, in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews. It was a passage Charles Fillmore quoted frequently:
The Meaning of Faith
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.(NRSV)
This understanding of Faith undergirds the Power of Faith that says “Believing is Seeing.” With faith we have moved out of the passive state of consciousness, the state of hope, of expectancy into the energy of conviction! We believe it, we hold the hope and we have the conviction that we will see “it”, our heart’s desire, manifest. We will see our dream come true. The power of faith helps us put energy behind answering the question of hope: “What are you waiting for?” Faith tells us….GO FOR IT!!! When we are in alignment with the energy of Life and Love and we believe at the level of the Divine energy of the Universe, then, the message is “Go For It!”
As it says in the explanation of faith, “worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen is made from things that are not visible.” Out of the mystery of the Logos, the Word, the Invisible, comes that which is seen. That too, is the story of the birth of Jesus. Here is how it goes in the gospel of Luke:
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. (NRSV)
If we look at this metaphysically, which is about the only way to make any sense out of it, then we are first encountering an angel, which metaphysically represents a Divine Idea! And we are told it is the 6th month…now by the 6th month, a young woman would know she was either deathly ill or pregnant, so this can’t really be news to Mary. The number 6, metaphysically, represents the perfect intersection of the Divine and the Human. Think of the Star of David: two intersecting triangles in perfect balance of creation, both representing the creative process of Mind, Idea, Expression. It is the perfect symbol for Jesus, whose life was to show us how this human/divine intersection is meant to be. And even from that which is supposed to be barren, comes this same number 6 of creation, echoing the same Presence of the Divine/Human being that is John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus.
In us, as in Jesus, there is this birth of the Divine/Human being that is the birth of a new kingdom, a new consciousness that is meant to reign over the house of Jacob, or our human consciousness forever. The Divine Consciousness is meant to reign over the human consciousness forever. That is the message. And what does Mary respond? She who is yet to be married and who is only 16? Now, I know what I would have said…WHAT??? What a rip….I’ve never even had the fun of having sex with someone I like, and now this! Are you kidding me??? I am not ready to be a mother! My parents are going to freak out and they will be so mad at me and….and….and….All of which is practicing the Absence of God.
But no, Mary says, “ I am the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word!” That is a stellar example of the power of Faith in action. Our response to the Universe that asks to demonstrate the shift from Hope to Faith through us is to say yes! And that is what I eventually said when I came to a place of acceptance of my second pregnancy. It took awhile, but I said yes. It was not for any spiritual or lofty reasons, either. I just wanted to have all my children before I turned 35, and Bridget was born when I was 34. It turned out to be the best thing that could have happened for me and for my kids.
When we say “Yes!” to the birth of that which is our hope, what we have been waiting for, we say yes to so much more. What I did not realize is that the birth of my children was also the birth of a parent, someone I did not yet know and would come to meet as my children grew me into parenthood. This is the season of hope, of waiting and making the shift to the faith to make it happen. What are you waiting for?
Blessings on the Path,