"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
A Course in Miracles
TEXT

CHAPTER 15
The Purpose of Time

XI. The End of Sacrifice

101 Fear not to recognize the whole idea of sacrifice as solely of your making. And seek not safety by attempting to protect yourself from where it is not. Your brothers and your Father have become very fearful to you. And you would bargain with them for a few special relationships in which you think you see some scraps of safety. Do not try longer to keep apart your thoughts and the Thought that has been given you. When they are brought together and perceived where they are , the choice between them is nothing more than a gentle awakening and as simple as opening your eyes to daylight when you have no more need of sleep.

102 The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself but shining in the Heaven within and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing . No sacrifice of any kind of anyone is asked by Him. In His Presence, the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For He is Host to God. And you need but invite Him in Who is there already, by recognizing that His Host is One, and no thought alien to His Oneness can abide with Him there. Love must be total to give Him welcome, for the Presence of Holiness creates the holiness which surrounds it. No fear can touch the host who cradles God in the time of Christ, for the Host is as holy as the Perfect Innocence which He protects and Whose power protects Him.

103 This Christmas, give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you. Let yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing, and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us. Leave nothing behind, for release is total, and when you have accepted it with me, you will give it with me. All pain and sacrifice and littleness will disappear in our relationship, which is as innocent as our relationship with our Father, and as powerful. Pain will be brought to us and disappear in our presence, and without pain there can be no sacrifice. And without sacrifice, there love must be.

104 You who believe that sacrifice is love must learn that sacrifice is separation from love. For sacrifice brings guilt as surely as love brings peace. Guilt is the condition of sacrifice, as peace is the condition for the awareness of your relationship with God. Through guilt you exclude your Father and your brothers from yourself. Through peace you invite them back and realize that they are where your invitation bids them be. What you excluded from yourself seems fearful, for you endowed it with fear and tried to cast it out though it was part of you. Who can perceive part of himself as loathsome and live within himself in peace? And who can try to resolve the perceived conflict of Heaven and hell in him by casting Heaven out and giving it the attributes of hell without experiencing himself as incomplete and lonely?

105 As long as you perceive the body as your reality, so long will you perceive yourself as lonely and deprived. And so long will you also perceive yourself as a victim of sacrifice, justified in sacrificing others. For who could thrust Heaven and its Creator aside without a sense of sacrifice and loss? And who can suffer sacrifice and loss without attempting to restore himself? Yet how could you accomplish this yourselves when the basis of your attempts is the belief in the reality of the deprivation? For deprivation breeds attack, being the belief that attack is justified. And as long as you would retain the deprivation, attack becomes salvation, and sacrifice becomes love.

106 So is it that in all your seeking for love, you seek for sacrifice and find it. Yet you find not love. It is impossible to deny what love is and still recognize it. The meaning of love lies in what you have cast outside yourself, and it has no meaning at all apart from you. It is what you preferred to keep that has no meaning, while all that you would keep away holds all the meaning of the universe and holds the universe together in its meaning. For unless the universe were joined in you, it would be apart from God, and to be without Him is to be without meaning.

107 In the holy instant, the condition of love is met, for minds are joined without the body's interference, and where there is communication, there is peace. The Prince of Peace was born to reestablish the condition of love by teaching that communication remains unbroken, even if the body is destroyed, provided that you see not the body as the necessary means of communication. And if you understand this lesson, you will realize that to sacrifice the body is to sacrifice nothing , and communication, which must be of the mind, cannot be sacrificed. Where, then, is sacrifice?

108 The lesson I was born to teach and still would teach to all my brothers is that sacrifice is nowhere and love is everywhere. For communication embraces everything , and in the peace it re-establishes, love comes of itself. Let no despair darken the joy of Christmas, for the time of Christ is meaningless apart from joy. Let us join in celebrating peace by demanding no sacrifice of anyone, for so will you offer me the love I offer you. What can be more joyous than to perceive we are deprived of nothing ? Such is the message of the time of Christ, which I give you that you may give it and return it to the Father, Who gave it to me. For in the time of Christ, communication is restored, and He joins us in the celebration of His Son's creation.

109 God offers thanks to the holy host who would receive Him and let Him enter and abide where He would be. And by your welcome does He welcome you into Himself, for what is contained in you who welcome Him is returned to Him. And we but celebrate His Wholeness as we welcome Him into ourselves. Those who receive the Father are one with Him, being host to Him Who created them. And by allowing Him to enter, the remembrance of the Father enters with Him, and with Him they remember the only relationship they ever had and ever want to have .

110 This is the weekend in which a new year will be born from the time of Christ. I have perfect faith in you to do all that you would accomplish. Nothing will be lacking, and you will make complete and not destroy. Say and understand this:

111 I give you to the Holy Spirit as part of myself. I know that you will be released, unless I want to use you to imprison myself. In the name of my freedom I will your release, because I recognize that we will be released together.

112 So will the year begin in joy and freedom. There is much to do, and we have been long delayed. Accept the holy instant as this year is born and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening. Make this year different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you. This is our will. Amen.

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Part I
Review V

1 We now review again. This time we are ready to give more effort and more time to what we undertake. We recognize we are preparing for another phase of understanding. We would take this step completely, that we may go on again more certain, more sincere, with faith upheld more surely. Our footsteps have not been unwavering, and doubts have made us walk uncertainly and slowly on the road this course sets forth. But now we hasten on, for we approach a greater certainty, a firmer purpose and a surer goal.

2 Steady our feet, our Father; let our doubts be quiet and our holy minds be still, and speak to us. We have no words to give to You. We would but listen to Your Word and make it ours. Lead our practicing as does a father lead a little child along a way he does not understand. Yet does he follow, sure that he is safe because his father leads the way for him.

3 So do we bring our practicing to You. And if we stumble, You will raise us up. If we forget the way, we count upon Your sure remembering. We wander off, but You will not forget to call us back. Quicken our footsteps now, that we may walk more certainly and quickly unto You. And we accept the Word You offer us to unify our practicing, as we review the thoughts that You have given us.

4 This is the thought which should precede the thoughts that we review. Each one but clarifies some aspect of this thought or helps it be more meaningful, more personal and true, and more descriptive of the holy Self we share and now prepare to know again:

5 God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

6 This Self alone knows love. This Self alone is perfectly consistent in Its thoughts, knows Its Creator, understands Itself, is perfect in Its knowledge and Its love, and never changes from Its constant state of union with Its Father and Itself.

7 And it is This that waits to meet us at the journey's ending. Every step we take brings us a little nearer. This review will shorten time immeasurably if we keep in mind that This remains our goal, and as we practice, it is This to which we are approaching. Let us raise our hearts from dust to life as we remember This is promised us, and that this course was sent to open up the path of light to us, and teach us, step by step, how to return to the eternal Self we thought we lost.

8 I take the journey with you. For I share your doubts and fears a little while, that you may come to me who recognize the road by which all fears and doubts are overcome. We walk together. I must understand uncertainty and pain, although I know they have no meaning. Yet a savior must remain with those he teaches, seeing what they see, but still retaining in his mind the way that led him out and now will lead you out with him. God's Son is crucified until you walk along the road with me.

9 My resurrection comes again each time I lead a brother safely to the place at which the journey ends and is forgot. I am renewed each time a brother learns there is a way from misery and pain. I am reborn each time a brother's mind turns to the light in him and looks for me. I have forgotten no one. Help me now to lead you back to where the journey was begun, to make another choice with me.

10 Release me as you practice once again the thoughts I brought to you from Him Who sees your bitter need and knows the answer God has given Him. Together we review these thoughts. Together we devote our time and effort to them. And together we will teach them to our brothers. God would not have Heaven incomplete. It waits for you as I do. I am incomplete without your part in me. And as I am made whole, we go together to our ancient home, prepared for us before time was and kept unchanged by time, immaculate and safe, as it will be at last, when time is done.

11 Let this review be then your gift to me. For this alone I need—that you will hear the words I speak and give them to the world. You are my voice, my eyes, my feet, my hands, through which I save the world. The Self from Which I call to you is but your own. To Him we go together. Take your brother's hand, for this is not a way we walk alone. In him I walk with you and you with me. Our Father wills His Son be one with Him. What lives but must not then be one with you?

12 Let this review become a time in which we share a new experience for you, yet one as old as time, and older still. Hallowed your name. Your glory undefiled forever. And your wholeness now complete, as God established it. You are His Son, completing His extension in your own. We practice but an ancient truth we knew before illusion seemed to claim the world. And we remind the world that it is free of all illusions every time we say,

13 God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

14 With this we start each day of our review. With this we start and end each period of practice time. And with this thought we sleep, to waken once again with these same words upon our lips to greet another day. No thought that we review but we surround with it and use the thoughts to hold it up before our minds and keep it clear in our remembrance throughout the day. And thus when we have finished this review, we will have recognized the words we speak are true.

15 Yet are the words but aids and to be used, except at the beginning and the end of practice periods, but to recall the mind as needed to its purpose. We place faith in the experience that comes from practice, not the means we use. We wait for the experience and recognize that it is only here conviction lies. We use the words, and try and try again to go beyond them to their meaning, which is far beyond their sound. The sound grows dim and disappears as we approach the Source of meaning. It is here that we find rest.

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Lesson 177

God is but Love,
and therefore so am I.

[163] There is no death. The Son of God is free.

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

[164] Now are we one with Him Who is our Source.

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 177
Review V ~ Lesson 163 and Lesson 164

Sarah's Commentary:
 
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

[163] There is no death. The Son of God is free.
[164] Now are we one with Him Who is our Source.
 
We are on our final week of the Review, and therefore it is helpful to go back to the introduction and remind ourselves of the practice instructions. Jesus is speaking lovingly to us throughout this introduction, reminding us to "Let this review be then your gift to me." (W.RV.9.1) He asks us to hear the words he speaks so we, in turn, can be his eyes, hands, and feet needed to help save the world. In other words, we are to become a clear channel for his message, with the body now serving its purpose as a communication device. What was made by the ego for attack is now being used by the Spirit to extend a blessing. We commit to being a light in the world. By allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us, we become a conduit for His healing; however, we must clear the way by continuing to bring our dark thoughts forward to be healed as they come up. It is our dark thoughts that block our connection to the truth of who we are.
 
"If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen. That you do listen to the voice of your ego is demonstrated by your attitudes, your feelings and your behavior. Yet this is what you want. This is what you are fighting to keep, and what you are vigilant to save." (T.4.IV.1-4) (ACIM OE T.4.V.56) It is important to see our resistance because it is what keeps us from the awareness of the Christ Self we are. We still want to hold onto our separate existence, which can only be maintained by investment in our own thoughts. Jesus reminds us that whatever we are experiencing, this need not be. In every case, where our mood is less than joyous, he says it is because we have made a judgment we refuse to let go of; but we can be as vigilant against the ego's dictates as for them. It is up to us.
 
This journey to the truth may feel like a new experience for us, yet it is ". . . as old as time and older still." (W.RV.10.1) In other words, it is a journey we already know and have already experienced but have forgotten. "We practice but an ancient truth we knew before illusion seemed to claim the world." (W.RV.10.6) What is that ancient truth? It is that "God is but Love, and therefore so am I." (W.RV.4.3)
 
We cannot leave our Source. We are always a part of God, which is why there can be no death. The eternal cannot die. Yes, we do leave the body in what we call death, but Jesus reminds us that there is no life outside of Heaven. There is only one death, which is our final release when we have given up all investment in illusions and have returned to Oneness. That death is not of our Self but of the ego identity. It is not even a death because the ego is nothing. When we awaken to the truth of who we have always been, we realize that there has always only been only life. Yes, we seem to have had many dream sequences in that one life. These dream sequences seem to have unfolded over billions of years with a variety of characters in our dream, yet the reality is that there is only one life. Our Oneness with our Source is certain and cannot be altered by anything we do or anything we currently believe. It is a certainty to which we are called to awaken.
 
We experience glimpses of the truth when we choose to release a judgment and respond to someone's attack with forgiveness. We experience it when we make the decision not to react in anger and choose peace instead. We experience the love when we give up our need to be right and choose stillness instead. We experience it when we feel no sense of deprivation or lack. We experience it when we let go of expectations of how things should be, and "Let all things be exactly as they are." (W.268) We experience it when we release our striving and simply rest in God. We experience it deeply when we have a holy instant of connecting with the peace, joy, and love we are. With each of these experiences comes a rebirth in which we no longer react as we have always done, but we recognize a new-found freedom. We are now open to new possibilities, we increasingly trust the process, and we recognize how all things are perfectly orchestrated for our healing. With a willingness to release our misperceptions come conviction and enhanced motivation.
 
For me, the Course was a leap of faith when I started with the Lessons. I was unhappy in my life and had tried everything in the world of self-help and healing that I could think of. When the Course came into my life through the Director of the Institute for Noetic Sciences, Willis Harmon, I somehow trusted the answer was given, yet the Christian terminology initially put me off. I obviously had a lot of healing to do of the judgments I had about my religious upbringing. At the time, I was experiencing deep unhappiness and feeling desperate about my life, so when Willis Harmon showed up, I was ready for a new direction. Dr. Harmon, a physicist now deceased, was the perfect person to speak to me about the Course because he had a certain credibility as a scientist that I trusted. Thus, he seemed the perfect person to open up this path for me, and I continue to be grateful that he was brought into my life at the perfect time.
 
Interestingly enough, in spite of my immediate enthusiasm, it took several months before I actually started the Course. Clearly, something in me recognized its power to change my life. Initially, I had resistance to it, although I was not conscious of my fear nor where it would take me. Something in me kept me from what I had really wanted. As things were falling apart in my life, the motivation to do something about it became more compelling, and I finally took the plunge. I started with the Workbook, as the Text seemed too daunting. By doing the practices called for in each Lesson, my life started to change without my trying to change it. Something miraculous was happening and working in my life that I did not understand. I felt a power beyond my limited self and experienced changes that were quite miraculous. With these experiences, my trust and conviction grew. Since then, my commitment to this path has never wavered.
 
I also learned that life, as the ego evaluates it, does not necessarily get better in this classroom. This Course does not guarantee a better illusion but only a more peaceful response to whatever seems to be happening. It provides us with more opportunities to forgive. I found I had more peace in my life, and I had more faith and trust that it was all showing up for my good. Relationships were healed, and I felt more prepared for the challenges in my life. Life became softer and sweeter, although not always easier because the ego will find ways to resist. After all, the challenge is ultimately about letting go of the ego. Without divine assistance, the ego could not be undone, but with spiritual intention and devotion, the dominance of the ego in our lives can be significantly lessened. That dominance is what keeps us suffering. As David Hawkins says, the ego likes to suffer. We get juice out of our experiences and out of our stories. That juice is about being a victim, which allows us to refuse responsibility for anything that seems to be happening in our lives. The ego provides us with the reasons for all our complaints, putting responsibility for what we have called into our lives onto others, whom we can blame with impunity.
 
When we set our focus on God, we recognize that there is nothing outside of our own minds. We see that we are supported on every step of the way. Our investment in the experiences of this world begins to change over time. What we once valued starts to subside and fall away on its own until, eventually, we experience that "Now are we one with Him Who is our Source." (W.177 [164]) Now we know that there is no death. That which is created by God cannot end, and love is for all eternity.
 
For five to thirty minutes or more, morning and evening, start with the central thought, "God is but [only ] Love, and therefore so am I." (W.RV.4.3) Review the two Lessons for the day that support the central idea, and reflect on how they connect and tie together. Use the prayers in paragraphs two and three, if you find it helpful, to dedicate the review time to God, and ask God to lead you in your practicing. (W.RV.2.1-6) (W.RV.3.1-6)
 
Take some time in silent meditation. If your mind wanders, use the central thought to bring the mind back into focus, releasing any thoughts that show up in the meditation time. Whenever you are tempted to be upset about anything during the day, remind yourself that, "This need not be." (T.4.IV.2.2) (ACIM OE T.4.V.57)
 
We can do this practice as we fall into our nighttime sleep, reminding ourselves of the truth, and again as we awake until the thoughts become a part of a continuing practice. "And thus, when we have finished this review, we will have recognized the words we speak are true."  (W.RV.11.5)

Love and blessings, Sarah

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