FRIDAY June 17, 2016
Salvation is Complete Equality
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47 You cannot love parts of reality and understand what love means. If you would love unlike to God, Who knows no special love, how can you understand it? To believe that special relationships, with special love, can offer you salvation is the belief that separation is salvation. For it is the complete equality of the Atonement in which salvation lies. How can you decide that special aspects of the Sonship can give you more than others? The past has taught you this. Yet the holy instant teaches you it is not so.
Son ship Video
L e s s o n 168
Your grace is given me. I claim it now.


Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

   God speaks to us. Shall we not speak to Him?
   He is not distant. He makes no attempt
   to hide from us. We try to hide from Him,
   and suffer from deception. He remains
   entirely accessible. He loves
   His Son. There is no certainty but this,
   yet this suffices. He will love His Son
   forever. While his mind remains asleep,
   He loves him still. And when his mind awakes,
   He loves him with a never-changing Love.
   If you but knew the meaning of His Love,
   hope and despair would be impossible,
   for hope would be forever satisfied;
   despair of any kind unthinkable.
   His grace His answer is to all despair,
   for in it lies remembrance of His Love.
   Would He not gladly give the means by which
   His Will is recognized? His grace is yours
   by your acknowledgment. And memory
   of Him awakens in the mind which asks
   the means of Him whereby its sleep is done.
   Today we ask of God the gift He has
   most carefully preserved within our hearts,
   waiting to be acknowledged. This the gift
   by which God leans to us and lifts us up,
   taking salvation's final step Himself.
   All steps but this we learn, instructed by
   His Voice. But finally He comes Himself
   and takes us in His arms, and sweeps away
   the cobwebs of our sleep. His gift of grace
   is more than just an answer. It restores
   all memories the sleeping mind forgot;
   all certainty of what love's meaning is.
   God loves His Son. Request Him now to give
   the means by which this world will disappear,
   and vision first will come, with knowledge but
   an instant later. For in grace you see
   a light that covers all the world in love,
   and watch fear disappear from every face
   as hearts rise up and claim the light as theirs.
   What now remains that Heaven be delayed
   an instant longer? What remains undone
   when your forgiveness rests on everything?
   It is a new and holy day today,
   for we receive what has been given us.
   Our faith lies in the Giver, not our own
   acceptance. We acknowledge our mistakes,
   but He to Whom all error is unknown
   is yet the One Who answers our mistakes
   by giving us the means to lay them down,
   and rise to Him in gratitude and love.
   And He descends to meet us as we come
   to Him, for what He has prepared for us
   He gives and we receive. Such is His Will
   because He loves His Son. To Him we pray
   today, returning but the words He gave
   to us through His Own Voice, His Word, His Love: 
   " Your grace is given me. I claim it now. 
    Father, I come to You. And You will come 
    To me who asks. I am the Son You love."
    ~ The Original Handscript Notes
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
Your grace is given me. I claim it now.

Sarah's Commentary: 
We are speaking to God directly in this Lesson as we affirm, "Your grace is given me. I claim it now." We are told, "God speaks to us," (W.168.1.1) so why would we not speak directly to Him? Of course, it is His presence in our right minds that is communicating with us all the time. "He is not distant." (W.168.1.3) His presence is with us in every moment. Grace is an aspect of God's Love, which can be recognized and received by us because it has already been given and is already in us and with us. All we need do is return to the place in our mind where He is. If ideas leave not their source, we have never left Him. We are in Him and He is in us.
This Lesson assures us, over and over, how much God loves us. Jesus assures us, again and again, God's Love is the only certainty there is. "There is no certainty but this, yet this suffices." (W.168.1.8) His love is forever and always accessible, always present, continually speaking to us, never changing, and never distant from us. No matter what we think we have done and how guilty or how lost we feel in this world of illusion, the truth is---God is always with us. There is no vengeance and no punishment possible from a loving God that knows only love and knows His Son. If we really knew how much we were loved, we could never despair. It is not a love from some impersonal, inattentive God. It is not a neutral force, a universal power, nor a void. "And He descends to meet us, as we come to Him." (W.168.6.1) When we experience love, it is the closest we come to Heaven on earth.
Sometimes we get discouraged on this path. We think we will never make it. We believe God is somewhere out there and distant from us. Yet here is our invitation to just say yes to God and to express the willingness to know Him and hear Him. "His grace is yours by your acknowledgement." (W.168.2.5) Jesus tells us the gifts of God's love and grace are in our hearts, preserved there always and just ". . . waiting to be acknowledged." (W.168.3.1) These come to us through forgiveness, which is learned. Grace is the result of forgiveness.
This Course provides us with the process in which we learn, step by step, to undo the makings of the ego so we can hear God's Voice. In the undoing of the ego thought system of sin, guilt and fear, we can find our way out of our despair, so the joy that is our natural state is restored. It is up to us. We are the commanders of this journey. Jesus is our big brother and our model and the Holy Spirit is our Guide, but only we can decide how much we will take in the message Jesus is teaching. It is up to us as to how much we will allow His guidance to be heard. We are in charge of the process. We are the ones who must take the steps along the way, being guided by the Holy Spirit, and then God takes the final step. "But finally He comes Himself, and takes us in His Arms and sweeps away the cobwebs of our sleep." (W.168.3.4) Only then is our memory restored to what our sleeping mind has forgotten and will not know until we are fully awake in God.
"Our faith lies in the Giver, not our own acceptance." (W.168.5.2) We don't need to worry about our limitations and our hesitation, but only focus on our faith in God's ability to give His gifts. How does this happen? It happens by acknowledging our mistakes and being willing to bring them for correction, so there is an open space where truth can enter uncluttered by our egoic thoughts.
Our acceptance is bounded by mistakes, but perfection is not being asked of us. Yes, we need to look honestly at our mistakes, but to God, mistakes are unknown, and forgiveness is the means we are given to lay them down. Over and over we are assured, in this Lesson, how much God loves and accepts us and does not see our mistakes. In fact, God only knows us to be safely at home, the home we never left. When we awaken from this dream, we will know this too. "Today we ask of God the gift He has most carefully preserved within our hearts, waiting to be acknowledged." (W.168.3.1) All we are required to do is to open to the gift that has always been there. Keeping it concealed is to continue to decide to do it all on our own, while the gift that would satisfy all our hopes is awaiting our acceptance. Our part is to claim the gift. We are entitled. There is no need for any kind of entreaty to God. We don't have to beg, or beseech God but only to accept. All that is needed is our consent. His gifts are freely given, awaiting our acceptance. It is about our willingness to say and mean, "Father, I come to you." (W.168.6.7)
At times, the complexity of this world, with all its seeming issues, choices, and problems, can feel overwhelming. As I sat in meditation today and turned my thoughts over as they came into my mind, I felt such deep gratitude for this path and for my mighty companions. The light of the Holy Spirit is in our minds, inviting us into His tenderness. Here we can rest in confidence of His love, in this beautiful silent place, where Jesus tells us the world cannot intrude. It is the sweet serenity of Heaven where we feel nothing but rest, in the Heart of God. It has been given us. It is only to be received. This message is given over and over in this Lesson.
David Hoffmeister writes: "The world of business ends in quiet. The world of distractions ends in single-pointed awareness. The world of sadness ends in joy, and the world of sorrow ends in happiness and laughter! What but the Heart of God offers eternal gifts such as these? Being aware of the silence offered freely without price or condition, why wait for circumstances to change before embracing It?"
Why indeed? There is no need to try to find ways to redeem ourselves. We need not try to make amends, make excuses, blame anyone, numb ourselves, nor hope for death as a release from guilt. "Forgetfulness and sleep and even death become the ego's best advice for dealing with the perceived and harsh intrusion of guilt on peace. Yet no one sees himself in conflict and ravaged by a cruel war unless he believes that both opponents in the war are real." (T.13.XI.1.1-2)(ACIM OE T.13.IV.35) All we need do is claim the grace that is given us now.
Later David says, "There is no true change in the world. It is a closed system of denial and the vain attempt to deny the Love of God. Yet anyone sincerely seeking truth cannot long be deceived about the unsubstantial nature of this world. Be glad the world is not real, for nothing of the world can ever offer the eternal Love of God. Be happy to lay the foolish business of the world aside in exchange for Inner Stillness. Sink deep into your mind and open to the experience that has been waiting for you all along. For Love waits on welcome, not on time and it is but your welcome that will bring love into awareness. There is no reason to wait for it, or read about it, or strive for it. It is here Now for the Asking. Ask and ye shall be Given."
All we need to do is return to the place in our minds where He is. We are the ones who made the choice to leave, and now we take the steps to return. We do so with willingness to look at the ego and keep bringing it to the light. We take time in silence to commune with God and to reflect on the importance of what we are doing on behalf of our happiness.
Let us make this a new and holy day. We open ourselves up to His Love and His embrace, as "He comes Himself, and takes us in His Arms and sweeps away the cobwebs of our sleep." (W.168.3.4) To allow this is to do the work of forgiveness by releasing all that stands in the way of our recognition of who we are. "Your grace is given me. I claim it now. Father, I come to You. And You will come to me who ask. I am the Son You Love." (W.168.6.5-9) It is a day of surrender. There is nothing to lose, nothing we are giving up in opening to grace and surrendering to love. It is our heart's desire and what we have always wanted. Nothing is lost except the illusory self we think we are, the one who suffers and feels despair and homelessness. It is not only for us, but for the world, because when our mind is healed, the Sonship is healed along with it. This is not a journey of my self alone, where only my healing is important. No, it is in concert with caring and compassion for all.
"Your home has called to you since time began, nor have you ever failed entirely to hear. You heard, but knew not how to look, nor where. And now you know. In you the knowledge lies, ready to be unveiled and freed from all the terror that kept it hidden. There is no fear in love. The song of Easter is the glad refrain the Son of God was never crucified. Let us lift up our eyes together, not in fear but faith. And there will be no fear in us, for in our vision will be no illusions; only a pathway to the open door of Heaven, the home we share in quietness and where we live in gentleness and peace, as one together." (T-20.II.8:5-12)(ACIM OE T.20.III.12)

Love and blessings, Sarah

VI. The Holy Instant and Special Relationships 
45 The holy instant is the Holy Spirit's most useful learning device for teaching you love's meaning. For its purpose is to suspend judgment entirely. Judgment always rests on the past, for past experience is the basis on which you judge. Judgment becomes impossible without the past, for without it you do not understand anything. You would make no attempt to judge because it would be quite apparent to you that you do not know what anything means. You are afraid of this because you believe that without the ego all would be chaos. Yet I assure you that without the ego all would be love.
46 The past is the ego's chief learning device, for it is in the past that you learned to define your own needs and acquired methods for meeting them on your own terms. We said before that to limit love to part of the Sonship is to bring guilt into your relationships and thus make them unreal. If you seek to separate out certain aspects of the totality and look to them to meet your imagined needs, you are attempting to use separation to save you. How, then, could guilt not enter? For separation is the source of guilt, and to appeal to it for salvation is to believe you are alone. To be alone is to be guilty. For to experience yourself as alone is to deny the oneness of the Father and his Son and thus to attack reality.
47 You cannot love parts of reality and understand what love means. If you would love unlike to God, Who knows no special love, how can you understand it? To believe that special relationships, with special love, can offer you salvation is the belief that separation is salvation. For it is the complete equality of the Atonement in which salvation lies. How can you decide that special aspects of the Sonship can give you more than others? The past has taught you this. Yet the holy instant teaches you it is not so.
48 Because of guilt, all special relationships have some elements of fear in them. And this is why they shift and change so frequently. They are not based on changeless love alone. And love where fear has entered cannot be depended on because it is not perfect. In His function as Interpreter of what you have made, the Holy Spirit uses special relationships, which you have chosen to support the ego, as a learning experience which points to truth. Under His teaching, every relationship becomes a lesson in love.
49 The Holy Spirit knows no one is special. Yet He also perceives that you have made special relationships, which He would purify and not let you destroy. However unholy the reason why you made them may be, He can translate them into holiness by removing as much fear as you will let Him. You can place any relationship under His care and be sure that it will not result in pain if you offer Him your willingness to have it serve no need but His. All the guilt in it arises from your use of it. All the love from His. Do not, then, be afraid to let go your imagined needs, which would destroy the relationship. Your only need is His.
50 Any relationship which you would substitute for another has not been offered to the Holy Spirit for His use. There is no substitute for love. If you would attempt to substitute one aspect of love for another, you have placed less value on one and more on the other. You have not only separated them, but you have also judged against both. Yet you had judged against yourself first, or you would never have imagined that you needed them as they were not. Unless you had seen yourself as without love, you could not have judged them so like you in lack.
51 The ego's use of relationships is so fragmented that it frequently goes even further-one part of one aspect suits its purposes, while it prefers different parts of another aspect. Thus does it assemble reality to its own capricious liking, offering for your seeking a picture whose likeness does not exist. For there is nothing in Heaven or earth that it resembles, and so however much you seek for its reality, you cannot find it because it is not real.
52 Everyone on earth has formed special relationships, and although this is not so in Heaven, the Holy Spirit knows how to bring a touch of Heaven to them here. In the holy instant no one is special, for your personal needs intrude on no one to make them different. Without the values from the past, you would see them all the same and like yourself. Nor would you see any separation between yourself and them. In the holy instant, you see in each relationship what it will be when you perceive only the present.
53 God knows you now. He remembers nothing, having always known you exactly as He knows you now. The holy instant parallels His knowing by bringing all perception out of the past, thus removing the frame of reference you have built by which to judge your brothers. Once this is gone, the Holy Spirit substitutes His frame of reference for it. His frame of reference is simply God. The Holy Spirit's timelessness lies only here. For in the holy instant, free of the past, you see that love is in you, and you have no need to look without and snatch it guiltily from where you thought it was.
54 All your relationships are blessed in the holy instant because the blessing is not limited. In the holy instant, the Sonship gains as one. And united in your blessing, it becomes one to you. The meaning of love is the meaning God gave to it. Give to it any meaning apart from His, and it is impossible to understand it. Every brother God loves as He loves you-neither less nor more. He needs them all equally, and so do you. In time you have been told to offer miracles as Christ directs and let the Holy Spirit bring to you those who are seeking you. Yet in the holy instant, you unite directly with God, and all your brothers join in Christ. Those who are joined in Christ are in no way separate. For Christ is the Self the Sonship shares, as God shares His Self with Christ.
55 Think you that you can judge the Self of God? God has created it beyond judgment out of His need to extend His Love. With love in you, you have no need except to extend it. In the holy instant, there is no conflict of needs, for there is only one. For the holy instant reaches to eternity and to the Mind of God. And it is only there love has meaning, and only there can it be understood.
56 It is impossible to use one relationship at the expense of another and not suffer guilt. And it is equally impossible to condemn part of a relationship and find peace within it. Under the Holy Spirit's teaching, all relationships are seen as total commitments, yet they do not conflict with one another in any way. Perfect faith in each one for its ability to satisfy you completely arises only from perfect faith in yourself. And this you cannot have while guilt remains. And there will be guilt as long as you accept the possibility, and cherish it, that you can make a brother what he is not because you would have him so.
57 You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you. And so you seek without for what you cannot find without. I offer you my perfect faith in you in place of all your doubt. But forget not that my faith must be as perfect in all your brothers as it is in you, or it would be a limited gift to you. In the holy instant, we share our faith in God's Son because we recognize together that he is wholly worthy of it, and in our appreciation of his worth, we cannot doubt his holiness. And so we love him.

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