Stephen the martyr talks about the whole purpose of our life on Earth.
Posted on 06 February 2017, 13:37
I was one of a group of people in the 1970s ostensibly conversing with the spirit of Stephen the first Christian martyr, and in my book I present linguistic, historical and other reasons why we may not be mistaken in accepting his reality. Stephen is of special interest since he may provide a window into the teaching of early Christianity before it fell into the hands of successive generations of theologians. Stephen first spoke through a sleeping Thomas Ashman, never previously a medium. His wife, Olive, heard the words, Sic Ecclesia Spiritus Sanctus, “Thus in the Church is the Holy Spirit.”
When Stephen came to the end of his teaching, he cautioned that he was speaking from his own experience and from his likes and dislikes. He was modest, but for us it all felt straight from God. Stephen did speak from his own point of view, but it did not differ in general import from the simple love centred teaching of St Francis, and also modern Franciscans. It is very close to the teaching of the great mystics of all religions, and to that of the Perennial Philosophy. What Stephen says may be truth, but from a point of view, as it the case with most truth. Readers can discover whether they find him persuasive.
Here is what Stephen had to say about the whole purpose of life.
[Section 5] I think I can perhaps help mostly by talking a little tonight and you will ﬁnd that many of your questions will be answered. Shall we ﬁrst recapitulate? Remember, that in the beginning there was the coming away from the Source for the correction of many disorders. Acquiring a physical body is only one stage in the corrections. To be in the physical is not always the most enviable stage, as just lately you may have learnt, but this I tell you: in this span of creation, the time or times in the state are of short duration, and, though important, are at the most very temporary. It is not surprising then that whilst you should be in this state the importance of comfort or happiness seen from the physical point of view is generally foremost in the mind of each soul. And yet the message that you have all been given, and which you must learn to hear with greater clarity, is the message of our Lord Jesus Christ [namely that] your physical well-being, your possessions, or lack of them, so important to you, are immaterial to your development. As the Lord said, you should neither be judged whether you be rich or poor, for neither state will qualify you for acceptance back to the Source.
“Blessed are the poor”, you have read, words said by the Lord. Do not misunderstand these words, as often is done. The state of poverty in itself does not make them blessed. It is their own mentality and thoughts they have in the state of poverty. You will ﬁnd that the poor give as often as the rich do but because they have so little to give in material things they always give a larger percentage, more often than not all of what they have.
“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” For the same reason are they blessed, for they look down on no man and call him less, for they are meek. The gift of meekness is a gift indeed; therefore pray for the mighty, for they are not thus blessed. Each one elevated to the heights of government of kingdoms has always to accept and give the example of greatness. They may not be meek: therefore, to be rich in grace is doubly great. If we were to carry on and talk more and give more of these examples we could only come to one conclusion: that life in a physical body is from necessity diﬃcult and undesirable. For it would be very hard to accept that when you have the least comfort, when you have the least position, you are greatly blessed and that when you have the most comfort and the higher position then prayers are needed more. It seems a contradiction in itself unless you understand that it is for this reason each and every one of you is in the position that you are for the reason that you may develop and that disorder may be corrected. Each is in the situation where he must learn, develop and correct disorder.
Section 6. God seen as the Surgeon operating on us while we live our “unconscious” lives on earth.
Stephen: Then you say, “Would it not be easier if the Lord our God were to make it very clear to us what the purpose is and what the working of that purpose is, and why and how, and when and whom?” You have asked questions like this, Olive. But think how a surgeon would act if, when he had to operate, he had to keep the patient conscious, adjust mirrors so the patient could see the operation that would be beyond his understanding in any case. Should he perhaps have each patient undertake advanced studies before an operation? Or would it perhaps not be better only to operate on a surgeon?
In actual practice the patient is treated and bathed and is given what medication he may need. He is clothed in a gown most suitable for access, and he is put in a place most suitable for the operation. He is kept in a state so that no pain more than he can bear will be administered to him. When the operation is completed and the wound is healed and the disorder is corrected then the patient may arise and even discuss the disorder and sickness with the surgeon and learn from him. This must be the order of things, therefore, that the patient must trust his surgeon and carry out his instructions regarding what the patient must know or do or, rather, not do. Likewise the patient must love his Lord God with all his heart and all his soul; he must trust his God as he trusts his surgeon, for when he comes to the operating table he is by his own choice made unconscious of the things that are about to happen. Even if he were a surgeon himself he would still be unconscious at the time of the operation. Even though in consciousness he would know what has to be done and how it should be done by his own choice he would choose the unconsciousness, for he would know that without this the operation would not be possible. So, therefore, you must trust your surgeon, have faith in his skill, place yourself in his hands and love him.
Furthermore we must all love one another for we are part of the one body; there is no separateness. To hate someone, dislike someone, is to hate or dislike yourself and to hate and dislike your God. There is no one, no soul beneath your love; for there is not one soul that should not give you love and not one soul that you should not receive love from. Therefore, the second of your duties is to love yourselves, for you are a part of God and He of you. Love each other; give to each other, for in giving you are receiving. The physical is only temporary; providing you do these two things then no state of mind or physical welfare is material to your progress. Your true reward for loving each other is to receive the love of each other, and the love of God. Understand and give only this, and you will ﬁnd that each time that you do this the wound of your operation will heal a little more; each time that you do this, consciousness which you lack now will begin to return. This is the way that the answers will come to you, to heal the wound and return to the consciousness. Therefore love much.
When you are gone from this place, when you are done with these bodies, physical, mental, ethereal and all others, then you will be back with the Source, and it will be of no mind.
(Same session) You will forgive me for my serious talking this night for it is not often that I have the opportunity to discuss these things with you alone. Remember that mothers never tend to be less wise than their children are for, because of their development not in age but in experience, their wisdom grows and you will generally notice a calmness and an acceptance of life. Look upon the aged and those older than you and you will ﬁnd that you are looking upon yourself when a number of your own mis-arrangements have been corrected. Think of the acceptance, notice the calmness; this is a message. Do not expect the aged to be clever, for cleverness most times is a barrier to the healing. Cleverness often, as I have said, stops loving. Intelligence is a disability; this is why I am often amused when Tom accuses me of cleverness for I discarded cleverness many ages ago. I must depart now. Thomas is tired. God bless you all; pray for me and also for those in greater need of your prayers than yourselves or myself.
The above is a transcript of two conversations with Stephen.
The writer suggests that all readers should at least once investigate
The Stephen Home Page where they can hear Stephen speaking through Thomas Ashman.
They can learn about the dialect of Greek that Stephen once used, how it links him to a Celtic dominated country, to Joseph and Mary, in a Nazarene sect of Essemes.
They can read reviews from two Anglican bishops, and a number of scholars.
Some of this gives a preview of what can be learned in detail in the book.
Michael Cocks edits the journal, The Ground of Faith.
Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr by Michael Cocks is published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.