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Stephen as a Spiritual Director

Posted on 30 November 2011, 0:41

Let’s consider Stephen’s Prayer:  “Father, let me forget that I am me, Let me remember that I am with thee.  Let me not separate myself from thee, because I am me.” (#29, page 43)
 
This is in the spirit of Paul’s words in Athens, “[God]  is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”  Acts 17.27-28 [NIV]

cocks4
Let me not separate myself from thee, because I am me

The starting point in Stephen’s spirituality is The Present Moment.  Stephen says, “The place where we are, is the place we have received (from the Father).  This is the direct communication.  For it only can be the truth.  You hear, touch, see and feel, direct. For what you see, what you hear, and what you touch is the direct communication, and is the language of the Father… What the Father is, is not separate from All that is, but is what is. [p.178]

We can be reminded of the Process Theology influenced by the philosopher A.N. Whitehead: We encounter God in the present moment, in all that we are aware of in this present moment.  Stephen: “This moment we share is the most important moment that each of us will ever experience. And it always was, and it always will be.” He jests, yet in earnest. In all that we hear, touch, see, and feel, we are spoken to by the Father.  It is a relationship rather than a scientific statement that is being communicated. Every present moment can be seen as Holy ground. This is how the Father speaks to us. Each moment as we react, we reply.

#60 Stephen: “We must never allow ourselves to think in terms of truth and falsehood, for that would be to judge. Let us rather believe what we learn, hear and see and take from it all whatever we can, and let us understand that what we do not understand as being the truth, should not be condemned as falsehood, misguided or lies.” [p 106]  If we communicate in terms of actual experience, we are more likely to be at one with each other. It is often the case that people who seem to us to be weird or even crazy in their beliefs are loving and giving people. And it is the love, not the ideas, that counts.

The strength of the work of my fellow blog writers, Michael Tymn and Stafford Betty is that they give examples of powerful experience to do with afterlife and the psychic and paranormal.. Other people’s experiences of these things are described; and we may have experienced these things ourselves.  All this tells us that the Present Moment can be infinitely more than what physically presents itself to our eyes, ears, and sense of touch.

All these phenomena of course belong to the universe of which Stephen is a centre of awareness, just as we all are centres of awareness. “Consciousness.. is for the bodies”  [#62 p.107]  We are the Father’s organs of experience, we are the way that the Father acts.  Psychic research helps to show how this is the case.

Stephen’s definition of a Christian is interesting: “To be a Christian, is to be conscious not of separateness but to be conscious as part of the Whole.” [#48 p.74]

“Consciousness as part of the Whole”  is fostered by the central act in most Christian churches: the act of Communion. But Stephen’s understanding of Communion extends to Communion with All that is.

Look at our illustration of the jigsaw pieces. (One picture is worth a thousand words.)  It is worth meditating on. The jigsaw pieces of course are us. Some of us we can see in the light, knit together with the bonds of love, helping to make the picture envisaged by the Father. Other puzzle pieces, other selves are awaiting the time when they have learned sufficient about love to truly fit into the Father’s picture.

But pictures can also mislead, because part of ourselves IS of the Father, and always has been so, and always will. 

[There is more to be said about this. See #62 “The Seven Bodies” ]

Stephen helps us by reminding us of the Beatitudes of   Jesus, “Blessed are the pure of heart, Blessed are the humble, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.. those that mourn”;  “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18.17)

His help is not in assisting us to become cleverer, more advanced, more knowledgeable, to unlock the secrets of spiritual realms. Those expecting this will be disappointed.  Although our true home and our true being lies in the realm of the Eternal, while we are living in the physical realm, our task is to respond as best we can to each successive present moment; our task is to grow and mature in wisdom, love and service of others.
“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and the glad in it.”
Psalm 118.24

NOTE TO PEOPLE OF OTHER FAITHS:

If we were to read the Bhagavad Gītā of the Hindus, or The Tripitaka [Sanskrit] [Pali: Tipitaka] the Canon of the Buddhists, both Theravada and Mahayana, the Quran of Islam, the Tao Ti Ching of the Taoists or Daoists, we might well find many parallels with the teaching of Stephen.  When Stephen defines a “Christian” as “ to be conscious not of separateness but to be conscious as part of the Whole”, many people of other faiths might acknowledge that they were “Christian” in that sense.

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Michael’s revised edition , Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr is published by White Crow books and available from Amazon and all good online book stores.

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Next blog December 13-14


Comments

A very interesting post.  I wonder how John Marcon interprets John 16: 12-14, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

Or 1 Corintians 12: 7-10,
1 Thessalonians 5:21
Joel 2:28-29 or
1 Peter 1-5

I suspect that one can give a self-serving interpretation to all of them, but my interpretation is that they sanction continuing revelation through mediums.  Of course, we have to “test the spirits whether they are of God,” as well as “discern” the messages, and therein a challenge remains

Michael Tymn, Thu 1 Dec, 07:37

Thank you John for your words. I have been visiting your site at < http://www.stpaulsmilford.co.nz/ > which has been beautifully produced, and I commend it. I have been preaching from the Scriptures for almost sixty years, and from the testimony there of our spiritual ancestors I have the inspiration that I need as a Christian.
But the Scriptures don’t say that God has quite deliberately closed us off from the wonders of the life to come. On the contrary, the risen Jesus showed himself to many, Paul had visions, and so have the Christian mystics down the ages. People do have Near Death Experiences where they glimpse the wonders you hint at, people sometimes tell me that they have been visited by a deceased loved one, and how their lives have been changed. People pray for guidance and often by strange synchronicities they get it, people pray for healing, and healing occurs. God is revealed in the Communion of the Saints, living and departed.
If you read the Stephen book, you will find him teaching in the spirit of the Gospel of John, or the Sermon on the Mount. There is also much hard to deny evidence that it is genuinely from Stephen that we hear. We hear the Gospel from his point of view. You will find evidence for the working of the Body of Christ.
Thinking more especially in terms of the New Testament, I would take the view that As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.. with the wonders of how God chooses to reveal himself. And I think you, plainly of strong faith, will at least partly agree.
Many people will strongly agree with what you have written. But I do think I have a case, here.

Michael Cocks, Wed 30 Nov, 15:24

The whole concept of ‘afterlife teaching is founded here on some highly challengeable assumptions - the first is that we need to know or can know anything of the afterlife at all beyond Jesus’ word to the thief on the cross. ‘Today you will be with me’ surely that is all we can and need to know?
All other details must not only be speculative but reduced to the limits of our current human comprehension. Who wants an eternity circumsribed by human boundaries?
The second assumption is that ‘messages’ from those who have pre-deceased us are both genuine and desirable. To be possible we again need to assume that human communication is occuring between those who have died and those who live now.
My understanding is that God has communicated all we need to know already and/or continues to do so directly by the Holy Spirit who has no need to disturb the tranquility of the dead to get messages to us.
As the parable notes ‘they have Moses and the Prophets -let them hear them!If we add Jesus and the Spirit is it not blasphemous to assume that these collectively - Scripture, the Spirit, God, Creator and Jesus, Redeemer together with our reason and the heritage of life the church and our reflections are inadequate to deliver the truth to us?

The fact that we can hear from others information they might not be expected to know is not proof of clairvoyance, medium ability, or insights from beyond the grave. It is a well-proven psycological phenomina used effectively by a variety of entertainers and sometimes to exploit the vulnerable. The messages are invariably heart-warming and affirming. You don’t hear of any telling some distraught mother that her son is in torment or that he still hates her -that would drive the audience away and possibly bring - at least in the USA a lawsuit.

Has not God quite deliberately closed us off from the wonders of life to come because it is of such a nature that is wildly, magnificently beyond our comprehension except for its values of love in all its forms and also so that we focus on realising with God’s grace Jesus words in the Lord’s Prayer ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’
John Marcon
Milford NZ

John Marcon, Wed 30 Nov, 10:41


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Proof of Survival by Lord Dowding – I think that "Raymond" is a very important book because its main purpose appears to be to convey to the world proof of human survival after death. This proof is conveyed by the publication of a series of messages from Raymond Lodge, the son of Sir Oliver Lodge, the famous scientist and author of the book. Read here
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