November 14th, 1986, Serial No. 00612

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I think it begins this chapter with this instruction about suffering, and then it goes on to some other deep symbolism, which is not so easy to understand at first. It begins, Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourself with the same thought, whether the suffered in the flesh has ceased from sins or has spent the rest of the time in the flesh for longer. Who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? Even if you suffer for righteousness, you will be blessed. But reverence the Lord Christ in your heart. A couple of phrases he has here. We had yesterday the hidden person of the heart. He said, reverence the Lord Christ in the heart. And the heart, of course, is the center of the person. It's that inner work of mystery which we call.


There's no name for it properly, but the Bible always gives it the name for heart. And that is meditation, is discovering this presence of Christ in the heart, or if you like, the inner person of the heart. That's the great mystery. And always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls to account. Do it with gentleness and reverence. Very interesting. Again, remember yesterday he spoke of this, how would he put it, a tender heart and a humble mind. And here he speaks of this gentleness and reverence. You see, all these are ways of relating to other people. Extremely important. Gentleness is not easy, you see. When people are easily irritated, you get angry and you shout at people and so on. And then gentleness and reverence, you see, respect for others. Again, it's very easy. These things are just lost. And it's not common today, really, you know. That's reverence for other people, respect for God in them.


And when we say namaste to somebody, we're recognizing God in them. It's a very important aspect of the Indian culture. Then keep your conscience clear, so that when you're abused, or if it will bind you, your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. Again, it's meeting opposition by this clear conscience, you see, this inner truth to oneself. Again and again one comes and sits, finding Christ in the heart, being true to oneself, discovering the inner person. And that's what we all have to do. It's so easy to get from the outer person and then relate to other people from their outer person. And then we get all these conflicts. And then we discover the inner person and relate to the inner person and the other. And then we get a deep relationship. And then we overcome conflict. And then it's better to suffer for doing right if it would be God's will that we're doing wrong. Christ died for sins once for all. Now it is better to suffer doing right if it should be God's will.


There's a tendency later on to sort of overestimate suffering, as though you have to suffer if you want to be holy. And it's a question of God's will. If God gives you suffering, then surely you have to learn to bear it. But if God does not give suffering, it's better for you to go after it. So doing the will of God is the only way to be with Him. And then, of course, he gives the example of Christ, who died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous. He might bring us to God, be put to death in the flesh, but may we die in the spirit. The idea, of course, is that Jesus is the righteous person. And he offers his life. He takes on himself the sin of the world. And so as to bring us to God. And then it goes on. As I said, it's a rather difficult passage. He made a lying in the spirit, to which he went and preached to the spirits in prison who formerly did not obey God in the days of Noah.


And the idea is, of course, that Christ, by his death, redeemed mankind, humanity, and redeemed all the past as well as the present and the future. And that's very important, you see, that we live in this time-space universe. We see everything past is gone, and we look to the future as not yet arrived. But in reality, in eternity, past, present, and future are always present. And Jesus, on the cross, went beyond this time-space world into the transcendent world and became as open to the whole past of humanity. Like we say, the unconscious. You see, we all of us actually bear the past of humanity in our unconscious. We're all descended from the earliest people, and their experiences has come down to us. I remember a Jungian psychologist was saying that he thought that just as the embryo in


the womb recapitulates all the stages of evolution, from photoplasm to fish and monkey flight to man, so every human being recapitulates the history of humanity, the first men and women to the whole stage. So we all bear the past in ourselves. But, of course, it's unconscious. And in Jesus, because he reached transcendent consciousness, the past of humanity was conscious. He knew the whole of humanity. And when we go beyond this world, we also learn the whole past of the future. We're taken up beyond time, you see. So that is the meaning of this. He went and preached to the spirits in prison. That's to the past humanity. And then he goes on, who formerly did not obey when God's patience waited through the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, which appeared that his eight persons were saved through water. And you see, Noah and the ark is one of these great symbols.


And what exactly happened, we don't know. There probably was a historical flood, and there have been some people saved. But it's essentially a symbol, you see, that the ark is this way of salvation. And the water, he compares it to the water of baptism, which both destroys and saves. You see, the idea of baptism is that you go under the water, and your sins are destroyed. The water has destroyed the sinful nature. And then you're reborn. You come up from the water, renewed. And that is what we understand by this flood of Noah, that it destroyed sinful humanity and raised up renewed humanity. And the eight persons represent renewed humanity. And eight is a symbol of the resurrection. You see, in seven days, the days of the week, ending with the Saturday, and on Sunday,


the day of the resurrection. That was put on the eighth day, or the first day. It was also the eighth day. So it became a symbol of the resurrection. So those who were saved from the flood symbolize redeemed humanity. So from all the waters of destruction, humanity is redeemed and opened up to God, to the world. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you. Not to be moved with death from the body, but to appeal to God with a pure conscience for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You see, in baptism, we go under the water, we die, and we're raised up in the resurrection to Christ. And that's the Christian mystery, this death and resurrection, applying the sin to this world, and we're raised up to a new life in Christ, and to the fullness of life. And then it ends with Christ who has gone into heaven, and with the right hand of God,


with angel authorities, and Christ suddenly took it. And again, this is language which people today find very difficult, or else just take it without consideration. But heaven, you see, it's a symbol, or with a transcendent consciousness, the earthly consciousness, and then there's the higher consciousness, at the air, and then there is the heavenly consciousness, the divine consciousness, which is God, the West, Baha. Those are the three worlds. God is the earth, West is the atmosphere, the intermediate world, is Baha in heaven, the heavenly world. So, Jesus goes beyond the earth and the middle world to heaven, to the right hand of God, that's participating in the divine consciousness, the divine being itself, and beyond angels, authorities, and powers, they belong to the middle world.


See, that's the physical world, the earth, then there's this whole psychic world, which includes human beings, but also all the power, the angels, the spirits, they belong to this intermediate world, and then God himself, the transcendent, is beyond. And Jesus goes beyond the earth, beyond the air, beyond the spirits, the angels, to the transcendent, which is above him. So, these are all symbols, you see, and people today don't understand them at all, they don't see it like a fairy tale, without much meaning, angels and things. But when you go deep into it, you realize there are these tremendous realities, you see. People have lost sight of anything beyond the earth. The whole middle region they've lost sight of, that's beyond Godhead, that's beyond comprehension altogether. So, we have to recover this wisdom, you see, beyond the earth, to that whole psychic world, the spirits and many powers in that world. In India, we speak of these siddhis, these powers which Sai Baba has,


the siddhis in and out, which is Sai Baba as a person in contact with these spiritual powers, and that's why he has all these miracles and so on. But it's not spiritual, it's psychic, the psychic powers and psychic beings, and then beyond this is the spirit of God, the Holy Spirit of himself, and that is what Christ is in Godhead. So, we have to all try to interpret these siddhis in real meaning. Questioner asks a question inaudible A very striking reaction to that is to insist on the necessity of working and earning one's bread and living a useful life. One might expect this, it's emphatic to some people, it did have that effect, and to give up everything and to prepare themselves for the end.


But to the tradition of the Church, beginning with this letter, has always been that the end is at hand, but then there's a reason for living so well, and working properly, earning one's living in this world. So one has to keep in balance those two things. Nearly always, you know, conduct has to unite two opposites. On the one hand, we expect to return to the Kingdom of God, to return wholly towards God, and on the other hand, to be earning one's living and doing one's duty in the world. We all tend to one extreme or the other, but to balance them is the real secret. So he says, you know how to auto-imitate us, we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat anyone's bread without pain, but in toil and labour we worked night and day, we might not burn any of you. So you know, he was a tent maker, apparently. Certainly in his early stages, wherever he went, he went on with his work and earned his living. He admits he needn't have done, it was not because we had not the right,


but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. Because he maintained that the Apostle was preaching the Gospel, he was giving good news to others, and he had a right for the support. But still, he wanted to support himself, not to burden anybody else. It's a very remarkable example, and of course, in the present world, it's not easy to earn one's living simply like that, but it's a great blessing if one can. And actually, I think Jewish rabbis, I don't know how far it remains today, but their custom, tradition was, they would marry people and they earned their living, their labour. And then they taught after that. So it's a very important example. And we gave you this command, if anyone will not work, let him not eat. And in the monastic tradition, that's been equally strong. You see, the people went out in the Egyptian desert to pray, to meditate, to seek God. But very soon, the rule grew up that you had to work while you prayed.


They used to weave baskets, it's a main thing, any simple work like that. So always they earned their living, and they sewed their baskets in Alexandria or somewhere, and supported themselves, and others would cultivate some little garden or something like that. So this tradition has always been there, and it's very strong in the rules of Benedict. But I think it's important that we keep it always in mind that to earn one's own living is a duty. In the modern world, of course, it's so vast, our economic system, we all take it into the system, but if you're living simply, you can still earn your living by some simple work. And to hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work, we command them in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness, earn their own living. See, it's also in the Lord Jesus Christ. This wasn't just a worldly satisfaction, something to satisfy your worldly duty, it was part of your Christian calling. It's very important, isn't it, you see?


Work was part of the Christian calling. And we always tend to separate religion from daily life and work, and yet to bring them together, we see our whole life as one. The work we do and the relations we have with others, our family, our friends, our whole life, is all related to trial, to spiritual life, to union with God. It's a truth of fondness that we have to seek. The end of all things is at hand. And as you know, this theme of the end of the world is very prominent in the New Testament, especially at this end of the Church's year. We have many counts in the Gospels that are coming in. And it's something we all have to keep in mind, that the end of all things is at hand. The end of the world is always at hand. As we've often reflected today, we feel it more than ever with nuclear weapons and so on.


But there's also another aspect of it, and that is this, that in the Hebrew, they had no sense of eternity as beyond time. Eternity was for them an extension in time. It went on forever and ever. But of course, eternity properly is not in time at all. Eternity transcends all time. And so another way of looking at this is to say that we live in a world of time and space. And at the same time, we have to be aware that this temporal, spatial world is passing away, and we're living in eternity. The eternal reality is always there. And we have to realize that eternity in time, that infinity in space, so that in a sense, you see, we're living in eternity now, but we only have a partial vision of it. We're still living mainly in the temporal world. We have to learn how to see eternity in time. That is, the kingdom of God is in your midst. He's among you, you see. It's this eternal reality. It's always there.


So that's another way of looking at it. And then he goes on. Therefore, keep sane and sober for your prayers above all, hold unfailing love for one another. See, it's very interesting. The sense of the end of the world didn't make people despair or give up the present world. On the contrary, it made them face the present world more really, more sanely. So you keep sane and sober for your prayers, because your prayer is always supporting you. Above all, hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. The famous saying, a very deep saying really, love covers a multitude of sins. And we all know, you see, there's always that problem that we tend to judge one another. See, if somebody's doing wrong, and we say, this person is bad, that thing is wrong, and so on. Always judging other people. But when you have love, you learn how to go beyond those judgments.


You learn how to go beyond the sin in people. You learn how to discover the deeper reality. And that's why you can never condemn anybody. It's behind all people's external actions. There's an inner reality. No one knows the heart except God, you see. That's why you can't judge anybody. You can say that actions are bad for others, and so on. You can make certain judgments. But the final judgment always belongs to God. We always have to remember that. That's why love covers a multitude of sins. And then practice hospitality, ungrudgingly to one another. That's very important. It was very strong in the early church, a very deep sense of community. Every Christian community practiced hospitality, especially to the poor, the widows, orphans, people suffering. And then the community shared with one another. As you know, Paul was always making a collection for the community of Jerusalem when they were in need, and so on. So this whole idea of hospitality has been very deep.


It was very strong in the Benedictine traditions. Benedict says, every guest should be received as Christ himself. That's always been the tradition. And of course, in India, it's something very sacred, too. For a Hindu, especially, a guest, a visitor, it's as if God comes into your house. It's very important to them. God comes to you as a stranger. And many Hindu households, they put a portion of rice aside every day, a time when they cook, for the stranger who may come. Because many times you thank God and the stranger. So these are the laws of hospitality. Then as each is received a gift, employ it for one another as good stewards of God's varied grace. Another very important principle that, see, we all have certain gifts, and we have to employ them for one another as stewards. You know, Gandhiji had this idea that all wealth was a question of stewardship.


It's still very important, I think. He never said the rich people should give up all they had, but they were stewards. There's something entrusted to you by God, and you have to use it in the service of God and of others. And surely that's the basic principle. It's foolish to expect everybody to give up what they have. But you can ask people to use all they have in the service of others. And that's really the Christian ideal. And then he says, Whoever speaks is one who utters oracles of God. Whoever renders service is one who renders it by the strength which God supplies. Know that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. And this is another principle that we try to act not merely from our natural habits and attitudes of mind, but being aware of the presence of God in everybody and everything. And that, again, is very deep also in Hinduism. In Bhagavad Gita, it's a great principle, you know.


The whole Gita really focuses on how to live your daily life aware of the God of the eternal reality there present among you. And the law is detachment. You act in a detached way, aware that you are in the presence of God. I always remember I visited the Ramakrishna Hospital in Ponnaris. There was a Ramakrishna monk who showed me around. And he told me that whenever they received a patient, they called him Narayana. Narayana is the name for God. And we're expected to treat each patient as God. And who was it? Swami Sri Sivananda was a doctor, you know, at his ashram in Rishikesh. And they had a hospital there. And once he saw one of the brothers there massaging a patient, he said, Do you realize you're massaging Vishnu? Massaging God, you see.


And today we had in Rumi the Muslim poet, Persian poet, how God rebukes Moses because he didn't care for him when he was sick. Vishnu, he didn't care for a sick man, and God was in that sick man. So this is very interesting. You see, in each tradition, just as Jesus said, And you do it to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Each one has seen that God is in your labor. So that's what he's trying to say. That whatever we do, we do it in relation to God or to eternity, if you like. Not to be satisfied with the external, temporal, spatial reality around us, but realize that God, the infinite, the eternal, is present in every situation, in every person, in everything. And that is really Christian life. And that is how God is glorified through Jesus Christ. So, I think it's a tremendously important lesson, which we all seek to learn, how to live that in the presence of God, whatever you do. That's the real secret.


This letter of St. Peter speaks of this fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove your... And probably speaking of the persecution of the Nero, which, remember, was very severe, when Peter and Paul were supposed to have been martyred. And Paul the Clergy Church always lived in this context of martyrdom, which was Nero and later Domitian at the end of the century, and then Jesus and Diocletian, and it went on through. There were times of peace, but you always lived in that fear, in a sense, that awareness that persecution might arise and you might be both martyred. So, he said, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening, but rejoice in the parish who share Christ's sufferings. And that was the principle, the mind of the early church, that to be persecuted, to suffer in that way, was to suffer with Christ.


And there's a beautiful story of Perpetua. She was a martyr in Africa, and she was imprisoned, and she bore a child in prison. And she was in labor, and she cried out, and her companion said, if you cry out like this when you're having a child, what will it be when you're thrown to the bull? She was being thrown to a bull to be tossed. And she said, now I suffer in myself, but then another will suffer in me. And always have that sense of suffering in Christ who is present with you. So, that's, again, this inner strength, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. That's it, the suffering is passing, and the glory is to be revealed. There's always the death and the resurrection, and we'll never lose sight of the resurrection. That's the real meaning of death. Then it says, if you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.


It's a very poetic letter, this, extraordinary language. The spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. Glory, of course, is the splendor of God. The manifestation of... Sorry. The spirit of glory is the manifestation of God, and the resurrection is the revelation of the glory. And, you know, it says in the letter of the Apostle of St. John, we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten Son. The glory of God is God's manifestation in Christ. But it comes also to the disciples of Christ.


We share in that glory, you see. It will rest upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or a wrongdoer or a mischief maker. And if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, and under that name let him glorify God. And, of course, this capacity to accept suffering is one of the great challenges of life. And I think it's very important not to imagine that we have, as I say, to suffer ourselves. Most of us are not capable of much suffering. But when you realize that when you are tested in that way, then there's another who suffers in you. This capacity to go beyond yourself when you find Christ in you. Then the whole thing changes, and you have this power, and you're carried through. And so many, of course, have experienced that in a marvelous way. Many simple, ordinary people have found that when they're suffering disease, cancer it may be, or whatever. You get this support. And then it says,


The time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God, begins with us, but with the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God. Again, it's thinking of this time of trial. And the belief was, you know, there would be a time of great trial before the end. That's why the interpretation today of the need us not into temptation, it put us not to the test. And they think it was this test, this trial, which was to come at the end, which comes to everybody in a sense. So, that is this, time has come for judgment, you see. And then it says, it's come for the household of God, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel. If the righteous man is scarcely saved, where will the impious and sinner appear? And that is a quotation from the Old Testament. And there are two views about salvation. One is that very few are saved,


who have to struggle to be saved. But Jesus was asked, he refused to answer it. He said, strive to enter in. If you do your part, don't worry about how many are going to be. And the other way of looking at it, which I think is much more profound really, is that no one is saved by himself, by his own virtues or anything. We're all saved by the grace of Christ. And Christ died for all men and all women and all humanity. And therefore, salvation is offered and is present to all. And I think you really have to resist salvation to lose it. It isn't something you have to get with great effort. It's something which is given free. And only when you really totally withdraw yourself from it, refuse the gift of love and grace, then you can lose your life, no doubt. But I think we should have this optimistic view that Jesus died for all and all are open to that grace of salvation. No one is excluded. So we should perhaps look at it more in that light.


Therefore, let those who suffer according to God's will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful creator. Again, a beautiful phrase, trust their souls to a faithful creator, in the sense that we are created by God and he cares for us and we can trust ourselves to him. I think day by day, one has to trust oneself to God. You know, you read in the papers, all these terrible accidents and tragedies are happening around, all over the world, Sri Lanka, of course, or anywhere. People are being killed and buses are having accidents. Some people in Kashmir yesterday, well, 37 people were killed in a snowfall. So day after day, people are being killed and losing their lives, getting disease and so on. We live in this and only the protection of God saves us day by day. We have to trust ourselves to a faithful creator day by day. So I think there's a great blessing there for all of us.


Secretary Peter turns here to the organization of the Church. We have to remind ourselves that the ministry in the early Church was very different from what it is now. There were no bishops, as we understand it, nor any priests, as we understand it. There were these elders. And it seemed fairly clear it was based on the Jewish synagogue, who had the elders of the synagogue, who were responsible for the organization of the worship. And so the early Church had these elders who were responsible for Christian worship and the whole Christian community. And interestingly, Peter casts himself among these elders. And so the elders among us, he was a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ. And the apostle was a roving witness. They went from church to church. And they didn't belong to any particular church. But the churches were organized by these elders,


who are sometimes called presbyters, sometimes bishops, overseers. But they weren't bishops in our sense. It's a little important because this idea has grown up that bishops were there from the beginning. There's really no evidence for it. In the New Testament, there are these presbyter bishops, these elders. And it does seem largely a matter of age. Because you see, he says, First of all, I thought the elders among you. And then he goes on to say later, Likewise, you that are younger are subject to the elders. So it was a very... It wasn't a strict ministry in the way we understand it today. It was a much more fluid organization. I think it's important because today we want to get out of the very rather rigid system which has developed over the centuries and come nearer to the New Testament understanding of the organization of the church, which was much more, as I say, much more fluid. There were many ministries, both of men and of women.


So we have a model there which is very meaningful today. And then he goes on to say, As a witness of the sufferings of Christ, let us all partake in the glory that is to be revealed. And every Christian, you see, particularly at that time, which remains valid, is a witness of the suffering. Well, no, that's not true. I mean, the people of the early church were witnesses of that suffering. We ourselves simply accept the reality of the suffering of Christ to be partakers in the glory. See, we share in the suffering in order to share in the glory. And that is Christian life, death and resurrection. There's no mystery on it all the time. And then he says, Tend the clock of God which is your charge, not by constraint, but willingly, not to shameful gain, but eagerly, not as domineering over those who are charged, being exalted to the clock. This, again, is extremely important because in the history of the church, all these things have developed.


You see, you have not by constraint, but willingly. Very often there's been a very strong constraint on the part of the authorities in the church. And often for shameful gain, God did know that one of the great crimes of the Middle Ages was simony. They were always fighting against it because to be a bishop was something very profitable. So people tried to get it by paying for it. And it was a very common thing all over the church. So these are realities, you see, which have to be faced. And then it's not domineering over those who are charged, but being exalted to the clock. That, again, is a big problem, you see. It's very easy for a bishop or a priest or anybody in charge who is a little superior to dominate over others. It's a temptation for everybody in power. You should know, Lord Acton said, Power always corrupts. I think it's always true. It's very dangerous. And certainly in the church, this domineering has been a principle. It's been everywhere, I think, in all the churches.


And so we have to be aware of these things. You see, I think this was put for our guidance, this. The way authority should be exercised in the church. That's the big problem today, really. And in the Gospel, of course, Jesus is very clear. He says the Gentiles exercise authority over them. Those who have power domineer over them. But you, it shall not be so. You, as first man, you shall be your servant. He's the greatest, you shall be your slave. It's a totally different attitude. And that's what we're trying to rediscover in the church today, how to exercise authority as servants. That is really the goal. So all this is very, very relevant to the church today. Then he said, likewise, you, the younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility towards one another. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. And this humility is not a virtue which people are attracted to today. And yet it is extremely important.


And it's also important to realize humility is not primarily being humble to other people. It's being humble before God. When we realize our own place before God, then we're able to recognize others. We're all in the same position. We don't dominate over others. When we don't realize our situation before God, then, of course, we easily dominate others. So to learn humility is based on the word humus, which means the earth. It's being down to earth, being sort of basic in one's understanding of oneself, one's relation to God and one's relation to others. And it's something we'll have to work at all the time because everybody is egoistic in some way, and we all tend to assert ourselves over others. And that's caused all the conflicts in the world. And only when we realize our emptiness before God, when we're totally empty before Him, then we're able to relate to others. And so one has to ask for that grace, and it is a grace to be very empty before God.


That is poverty of spirit, you see. As it are, the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God. Thank you so much for asking. And Hannah is leaving us today, this evening. Thank you very much. I should be going to the end of the live show. So this Peter is a very fond expression of Christian faith in its early stages. It's still very meaningful today. And he says, Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, as in due time He may exalt you. And this means accepting the world as it is. We're all faced with disasters, tragedies, problems on every side. And in a sense, all these come from God. He's the Lord of this universe


and allowed all these powers of evil to be present, but has also given the power to go beyond them. And to humble oneself is to recognize this presence of God in all the mysteries of the world around us. And when we acknowledge that and see the hand of God in tragedies and in disasters and so on, then we get transformed by it. We get a new sort of vision of life. So humble yourself in due course He may exalt you. It's again this death and resurrection. You bow to yourself, to your ego, to the lower nature, and you awaken to the deeper reality. You see behind the world with all its tragedies there is this mysterious presence of grace and love and truth. And to become aware of that in faith, you see, to go beyond. And then one of my favorite sayings in all the New Testament is cast all your care on Him, all your anxieties on Him,


for He has care for you. And I think this is a wonderful practice, you know. You see, we have many anxieties and troubles. Most people are besieged with problems, many of which have no solution. And the only way is to cast them on God. God is there. Reality is there. And when we surrender it, we get an answer. We may not see it immediately, obviously. Nothing may seem to happen. But you get an assurance, you get an awareness that there is something or somebody who is moving in your life and is directing it. Then you'll be secret, you see. As long as we keep well managing our life, we've got to solve all these problems, we get more and more anxious, nothing happens. But when we realize that God is present in the midst of it all and we make that surrender, surrender of the ego, really, of our self, our lives in His hand, then things begin to happen. I know many people have experienced it.


Once you make the surrender, things simply happen. You meet people, things change, even miracles take place. But you have to let go. It's this letting go of all our anxieties and our judgments and our human understanding and be open to this grace of God. I think there's a tremendous lesson in this story if one can learn it. And then he says, When sober we watch for your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Well, what do we make of the devil and the roaring lion? And I think the answer, you know, is the whole understanding of the unconscious. You see, today we're aware of the consciousness, which is a limited horizon in which we live, and those forces of the unconscious which are working in us, both the individual personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. And that is where the whole work of the devil, the diabolos, is the divider, the slanderer, it's the negative force in life, you see.


And these negative forces are working in the unconscious, particularly the collective unconscious. You see, when people get involved in all this violence in South Africa, for instance, or in Sri Lanka or in Punjab, the collective forces are at work there. The great example is Hitler, of course, the supreme example. And he was undoubtedly under the influence of these demonic forces. So they're there, you see, in the unconscious, and we have to become aware of them. And they're terribly powerful, you see. Again and again, we see nations almost destroyed. Take the Lebanon. I visited it once, about 20 years ago. The most peaceful and beautiful place, very wealthy, there were big banks there where people put their money. It was the center of the Arab world. Very beautiful situation. You know, in these last 10 years, it's been torn to pieces. And if we're not, they don't cease to be. They merely work unconsciously, you see.


And people are surprised when these terrible disasters happen because they've not been aware of the forces of their unconscious, which are working in them. When we become conscious, then we can gain control. And Christ came to overcome these forces, these demonic forces, you see, of the unconscious, and bring them into transcendence. So he said, resist him, firm in your faith, during the same experience of suffering, which were part of your brotherhood throughout the world. They're all exposed to the same forces. And faith, you see, is that power which recognizes these forces and also recognizes that there's a power beyond them. Jesus, all through the gospel, you see, people came. They think it's all mythology, all these evil spirits he was casting out. But he was fully aware, you see, of these forces. And he overcame them. In him, the power to overcome these demonic forces was always present. And it is present. When we rely on faith, we can overcome those forces


in ourselves and in the world around. Then after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace has called you to his eternal glory in Christ and himself to restore his traditional strength in you. The beautiful phrases he uses in this letter, the God of all grace, you see, and we can never overcome these forces ourselves, you see. We must be subject to them. But the grace of God, the angelic powers and the spiritual powers are able to overcome them and to take us to this eternal glory in Christ. You see, the demonic forces work in the temporal and spatial world. And as long as we're here, we're exposed to them. But when you go beyond as Jesus who entered the resurrection, then you enter into the eternal glory. You transcend all these dualities, you see, these paltry forces and you're open to the eternal truth and divine glory. So may he restore, establish, and strengthen you. Give me the dominion forever and ever.


And that dominion is over all these negative forces, you see. It's always there, the power to go beyond and to realize that the kingdom of God, here and now, is present, you see. But we don't realize it because we're subject to all these contrary forces. When we open ourselves to it, then we discover this inner reality. So that's really the core of the gospel. And to the conclusion of this first letter of Peter, it's always a little revealing, these opening words, and then these final greetings. They show the, you know, the mind of the church, not the ordinary way people related to one another at that time. I think it's very meaningful to us. So he says, By Silvanus, a faithful brother, as I regard him, I've written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.


See, this conviction that they received this unique grace from God, it stemmed from Pentecost really, that they were aware of this presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. And that really is what's the basis of all Christian faith, this experience of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Some may accept this simply by faith, they believe it is there, but we try to have more than a belief in it, but an experience of it. I think the day people look for experience in religion, you see, they're not content simply believing something. They want to know by experience, and this Holy Spirit is something we can experience. You know, we always say, I can actually repeat it, man is body, soul, and spirit. And we have a bodily experience, which we all share, and we have a psychological experience, for all its ranges, which we share. Then beyond the body, beyond the soul, we have the spirit. And there is spiritual experience. You can learn, particularly in meditation,


calm your body, calm your mind. Then become aware of the indwelling spirit. And that is what was experienced in the early church, and all through the church, people have had this experience of the indwelling spirit. And that is the true grace of God, you see. You realize that you are in contact with God himself. It's mysterious, beyond comprehension, yet it's very real, it's an experience of God. And that's really what we seek, and what people today are looking for, you see. They're not satisfied, say, with faith, or with common worship. They want to know God experientially. That's why people come to India, in search of that experience of God. And we should be able to share it with others, you see. There should be, an ashram should be a place where God is experienced. Possibly believed in, but known, experienced. So that's really, and they lived in this experience, these churches, no doubt. Then it says, she was at Babylon,


with likewise chosen spiritual greetings. And the letter is supposed to be written from Rome, and this is a good evidence of it, because Rome was known as Babylon, at the apocalypse, as you know, you see. Rome was seen as the center of the war of Babylon, of all the great power of evil, which was persecuting the church. And so, Rome came to be seen as Babylon, the city of this world, which persecutes the church. And on the other hand, she who is likewise chosen, so that in Babylon itself, in Rome, this group of Christians was there, and aware of themselves, and experiencing this grace of God, sharing this gift of the Spirit. And you can't deny, you see, the two are always pressed, but you get people, and communities, and places, where people experience God in the Spirit. And equally, you get people and places where you experience this,


as I was mentioning, yes, these demonic powers. See, there are the opposite forces, and they're very violent throughout the world. Wherever you see all these murders taking place, and terrorism, and so on, there you have these demonic forces at work. And that is what it meant by Babylon, one side, and the grace of God on the other. And then he says, so does my son Mark. And this has led to the general belief that the Gospel of Mark was written by this disciple of Peter, the earliest tradition in the church. And I think there's a great deal to be said for it, Mark's Gospel is much more vivid, more personal than any of the others, and it does seem to have come from Peter, who had this direct experience of Jesus and his teaching. I believe some critics today question whether it's the same Mark and so on, but the tradition is certainly very strong, and I think very reasonable.


So, as I say, the idea is that, in fact, one of the early fathers says that Peter, in his old age, communicated this Gospel to Mark, because he and Mark represents the teaching of Peter. It may not be as simple as that, or it isn't, but there is the teaching of Peter behind the Gospel of Mark. And then greet one another with a kiss of love. We don't give kisses of love so much today, especially in India. People don't like kissing. We do this namaste with reference to one another. But it's a beautiful example, you see, of the very intimate relation of love. You see, this Holy Spirit is love, and the people felt this shared love with one another, and expressed it in this very natural way, of the kiss of love. So we ought to keep that in mind also. Perhaps not exactly that, but there should be a shared love, you see. The Holy Spirit is love of God coming into the heart,


and when that comes then, we share it with one another, with the shared experience of love. And that's what a Christian community is, nothing else, you see, but a community of love, that is the goal of it. So we all have to ask, and it's a grace, of course, that comes from God, we produce it ourselves, peace to all of you that are in Christ. Again, to be in Christ, it's something very positive, you see. You're sharing this gift of the Holy Spirit that comes to us in and through Christ, and it's a shared experience, and that brings peace, brings this shanty, you see. And we're all looking for peace all over the world, and it comes through the presence of the Spirit. You'll never get real peace as long as you remain simply on the human level, the psychic level, you see, of the psyche. You'll always have conflict there. When you go beyond the psyche, into the Spirit, the pneuma, then you can experience the presence of God, and then you can have peace. So that's really the goal,


to get beyond the ego, the psyche, the limited self, and open to the Spirit, the eternal self. That's really our calling. Then, I'll rest. God knows it's evening tomorrow, and we should be stopping watching some paintings, perhaps considerable importance, it's very good, it's somewhat late, but it's a very good impression of the development of the faith, perhaps towards the latter part of the second century, and it's one very striking phrase which we come to in a minute. It begins in the usual way, Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, those who obtained a faith of equal standing with ours in the righteousness of our God. Always these invocations are important, because they give the whole setting of the mind of the church in Britain at that time.


And this, they obtained a faith of equal standing with ours, presumably speaking as an apostle, he means the ordinary Christian shares the faith of the apostles. It's very important. Faith is not something which is told out in different ways, faith is something which we all share alike, and the simplest Christian can have a little deeper faith than the people high up in the church and so on. Faith is a gift of God, it's something which we've all received in abundance. And then it says, grace and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. Notice this knowledge, this gnosis, it's always very important, it comes and falls very often, we're in all wisdom and knowledge. Let's hear a gnosis from the great principles, the same as the Sanskrit jnana, this knowledge of God, not a theoretical knowledge, but experiential knowledge. Notice what it means, that knowledge of God is experience of God. Then he says,


his divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness, to the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. You see this knowledge, this gnosis, isn't merely theoretical, it pertains to life and godliness. It's a knowledge which gives understanding, of course, but also opens the heart to God and gives this life, this divine life. So it's a knowledge which is also life and which calls us to his glory and excellence. It makes us share in the divine life and glory. And that's the thing which he comes to now, this very striking phrase, he's granted us his precious and very great promises that through these we escape from corruption in the world and become partakers of the divine nature. It's one of the most striking phrases in the New Testament and really it's a note which is not struck elsewhere. There are many ways of expressing it, you see, the Holy Spirit, of course,


it's all implied. It's the only time in the New Testament that the Christian has said to partake of the divine nature. It's extremely important in India because, of course, here we always think of how we can share the life of God. That is the whole aim of the Hindu tradition, to experience God and to share in the very life, the being of God. And this is, we partake of the divine nature. It doesn't mean we are divine by nature. We receive it as a gift, it's a gift of grace. But by that gift, by that grace, we actually share in the divine nature or we could put it another way, we share in the sonship of Jesus. Jesus shares that divine life with the Father and he communicates it to us and we also share with him the divine life. And that is really the Christian calling. In this very reason, make every effort to supplement. Now, he gives a whole list of virtues and these all lead up to this experience of God. And they're always interesting


because they show the sort of ascetic life, the discipline which the Christian normally underwent. It speaks, you see, first of all, faith should come through virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with steadfastness and steadfastness with godliness. And then, this is interesting, godliness with brotherly affection and brotherly affection with love. So it takes you really through all these stages, you see, of virtue and knowledge, self-control, which in India we call tapas. Tapas is that discipline of self-control. And then this steadfastness and godliness, which is kind of piety. But then all this is associated with brotherly affection and with love. And so this love of God and the knowledge of God and all these gifts of God are always related and inseparable from brotherly affection and love. And this is very important. We keep them all together.


This gnosis can take people right out of ordinary humanity and make them a very elite type of person. And the real gnosis should unite you with others in love. That is the great gift of it. For these things are yours and abound. They keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. See, this knowledge can be ineffective and unfruitful unless it's combined with love. That's why we always say mystical knowledge is knowledge of love. And Christian faith grows into love knowledge. Knowledge is also love. And then it says, whoever lacks these things is blind and short-sighted and forgotten to his kinship, his own sin. So it's a wonderful introduction to Christian life and to Christian mysticism. It really takes us to the supreme participation in the divine nature. And that is the only end of Christian life,


as it's the end of all religious life, actually, in some people. In this letter, Peter is portrayed as bearing for his own end and seeking to preserve the church, the community which he belongs, in their faith. He says, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election. If you do this, you will never fail. And I think it's addressed to us all, you know. We all receive a call and an election, and it's something that has always to be confirmed. It's never static. It's always dynamic. And the call comes, and it can, you know, fade away to some extent, and then it can be renewed. And so one has constantly to seek that renewal, calling and the election, because it's something very real. Each person has their own unique gift


from God, and it's always a living. Like the story of the Talmud, there's a man who hid the Talmud. There's a man who didn't allow that gift to grow. And so we all have to ask that this gift of grace given us may be growing day by day. But if you do this, you will never fail. There will be richly provided to your entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And this kingdom, it's always got two or three different aspects. One aspect, of course, is that it's already present. We've already entered into the kingdom. And another is, of course, that it's still beyond. We're waiting, as you see, already and not yet. We've entered into the kingdom by grace, by baptism, by our present time. At the same time, we're waiting to enter into the final state. And we're in pilgrimage, as part of Moshe Ulama's book, Reading in the Evening, to be a pilgrimage. Our whole life is a pilgrimage, this moving towards the goal, to an end. Therefore, I intend always


to remind you of these things so you know them and are established in the truth that you have. So you need to be reminded. It's quite true that most of us have been established in that truth. And we know the faith and so on. But yet, one has to be reminded of it continually. One has to bring it to mind, to be awakened to it. I mean, it's very important, you see. It's almost a deposit of faith, something you receive and you just keep it. Exactly like the talent, you see, which the man had and he kept in a napkin. But it's the opposite. It's like the grain of mustard seed or like the... In the bread, it's something growing and living and transforming all the time. So that's the need to be reminded all the time of this great grace. Then he says, I think it right as long as I am in the body to arouse you by way of reminder since I know the putting off of my body will be soon


as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. This matter purports to be from St. Peter. Many critics question whether it is actually. He wrote, I don't think it matters very much. And all these things, if they come from a school, you see, an apostle has a community and he talks, he lives with that community, shares with them. He may write something and then they will often publish it in his name and it comes from him in a very real sense that he needn't actually have written it down. So we can take it as it stands that he's preparing for this final end. And I will see to it that after my departure, you may be able at any time to recall these things. And that was the purpose, you see, to create a community in which this mystery of faith would be living and would be constantly recalled. And that really is the aim all the time, you see, that the community has to grow and to be constantly reminded of its faith,


to grow in it and to be transformed. And the moment you try to sit still and remain, then you begin to go back or you become simply stagnant, you see. And it's perhaps the church as a whole. The church has to grow day by day and year by year. And the Holy Spirit is always new. And our danger is to think it through or to reify it, to make it into some solid object which we can just hold on to. So we ask for that place to be renewed day by day with faith. This letter of Peter contrasts the Hebrewly devised myths with this coming of Jesus Christ in power. And myths are symbolic stories and they all have a very deep meaning. Today we recognize the great value of myths


and all Hinduism has been built upon these profound myths which are symbolic stories. The meaning of cosmic order and one of the primary ways of speaking about God is in the form of symbol, of myth. So they have their value but the specific character of the Christian revelation is this historic character. Jesus is not a mythological figure but a historical. And so they always emphasize that in his person they'd seen on the earth and talked to and he speaks here of this vision they had. We did not follow Hebrewly devised myths we made known to the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. The gospel really was derived from these witnesses to the resurrection primarily after the race of secondary. But the resurrection was the witnesses to the resurrection. That was a sign of his transformation


of humanity and that they had seen and heard and touched Jesus after his death after his resurrection. That was their witness. But when he received honor and glory from God the Father the voice was born to him by the majestic glory. And it recalls the scene of the transfiguration. And of course it's the one scene in the gospels where Jesus' glory shines out. And you see Jesus is in every human being you have the three levels of consciousness. You have the body the mind, the soul and the spirit. And Jesus physically appeared as a Jew not much different from others. And psychologically he was also a Jew and he spoke Aramaic and talked to people in their own language. But in his spirit he was present to God and the Holy Spirit was always present in him in fullness. And that could radiate


his being. It happens also in the saints you know particularly in the Eastern Church this night of tabor they call it when you meditate very deeply and live from the depth of the spirit and it often shines out in the body. The most famous example is some Seraphim of Sarov and you will know a famous Russian mystic of the last century and when his disciple went to see him he was living in a little hut in the woods in the far north in the snow and he was talking with this disciple and he asked him to put his hands on his shoulder and when he looked in his face he couldn't look at it it was like the sun it was radiating like the sun. So that's an example of this inner light which can transfigure the human body. And in Jesus this took place and they were witnesses of it. And of course much more than the physical sign was the spiritual sign this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.


And so you always get the two same as the baptism you see you've got the spirit descending like a diamond and you've got the voice from heaven. And again the voice of course is an appearance in a sense it's a phenomenon an appearance because it comes from the source of truth and life. So then he goes on and we heard his voice born from heaven for we were with him on the holy mountain and we had the prophetic word made more sure. So they they saw and heard had this vision at the same time they had the prophetic word and you see the resurrection by itself couldn't have been very meaningful he could appear after his death and so on. It was only because those appearances were the sign of his messianic glory that he was the one who was revealing God and was manifesting this fullness of the divine life. That is the real meaning of resurrection. And so


the prophetic word gives meaning and the prophetic word is this insight into reality. See the again you have ordinary human knowledge which is part of the psyche of the mind and then you have spiritual wisdom which is insight into the front center of reality and that is what the apostles were given to have that insight into the supreme. And this is what he means by this prophetic word. We ought to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Some of you may have listened to the reading at midday where St. Augustine is commenting on this and he makes a very interesting point you see that the apostles and the scriptures were all like lamps shining in a dark place but were waiting for the dawn for the sun and then all these lamps would disappear. It's very important you see the church as a visible institution is a lamp


shining in the dark place but when the sun arises then the visible church disappears and the apostles and the whole thing we no longer leave them, the lamps we are in the light of the sun when the presence of God Himself. So that's the meaning of this one the day dawn and the morning star rises in your heart and you go beyond your mind and your body and you enter into that divine truth of divine light itself. First of all you must understand there's no prophecy of scripture as a matter of one's own interpretation no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoken from God. It's the same principle you see the prophets all said they had their body they had their mind which was ordinary activity and they spoke Hebrew or they taught in Semitic terms but the inspiration came from the spirit and the human spirit is the point where the human and divine meet at that point of the spirit they're open


to the Holy Spirit and the prophet is one in whom the spirit is open and he receives this light and this grace and this word from above and so men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God and it doesn't apply only to the Hebrew prophets of course anyone who really lives from the depth of the spirit can receive that guidance from the Holy Spirit can receive a word or the word of insight and prophecy so it's very real you see the gospel comes from a unique experience don't forget that you see it was a unique experience in the spirit Jesus himself lived in the spirit and resurrection he the body and soul were transformed by the spirit and then communicates the spirit to his disciples they also have this insight into truth into reality into God and they share it with us communicate it and the scriptures are this communication in human words and very imperfect words but revealing


something of that transcendent mystery that's so valuable to us I'm going to turn to forum of consideration but perhaps this evening we might pay attention to another aspect of it this um um voice coming from heaven this is my beloved son and the um transformation of Jesus clothing and so on which is recorded in the gospels and I think it's important to make a distinction between the psychic and the spiritual it's becoming more common today to recognize this difference there are vast number of psychic phenomena which shouldn't be confused with spiritual and um it includes all what we now call parapsychological phenomena and any kind of visions and voices belong to the psychic and


um by of itself it's not it's neither good nor evil and neither true nor false it can be good it can be evil it can be true it can be false it belongs to the world of phenomena and um the spirit can use such phenomena and of course in the case of Jesus the Holy Spirit uses this these voices these appearances to reveal himself through those phenomena but the phenomena themselves are not spiritual necessary and there's a great deal of confusion on that you see in India these psychic powers are extremely common the Sai Baba many of you know Purupadi has these powers in abundance and he performs miracles every day producing ashes and watches and crucifixes anything you like and we have a neighbor in Trichy his name is Premalanda


he's visited us here and many from here have visited him and he has these similar powers he came once and we had a meeting in the Dhyanamandir and I was sitting next to him and I asked him if he could show us some of his powers he doesn't like to show them off but I should offer them so he just waved his hand in the air like that and a stream of sandal powder poured into my hand with sweet smells he just waved his hand like that and Sai Baba just goes like this and ashes or a hot toilet would suddenly appear you see matter has these two levels there's gross matter which obeys the laws we all expect of matter then in India we have subtle matter subtle senses subtle mind and on that level that's the psychics it's the subtle and matter obeys different laws on that level it's quite clear and I'm sure many of you know many examples all over the world today these are phenomena appearing


and it's important to distinguish between the psychic and the spiritual because these things can be quite indifferent to produce ashes or anything has no real value but it can and Sai Baba himself says he uses these things to draw people to something more he wants to give them some insights some love some and I think he's genuine in this way and other people use them for evil you see all over India there are sorcerers who have these powers and they use them for evil it's very remarkable in Madras in Catholic families it's not at all uncommon for this kind of witchcraft they bury something in your garden or put it somewhere about and they begin to exercise an evil power and it's extraordinary I knew one young man was a bank clerk doing quite well and somebody witched him for about 2 or 3 years he was practically incapacitated and I've known people killed by it


so these are definitely powers you see psychic powers which we would say can be used by the power of evil the devil can use these powers and it can be used by the Holy Spirit or else it can be quite neutral many people simply find they have these powers telling the Bible we should make that distinction you see many in the Old Testament thought this morning about this cloud of glory which appeared on the tabernacle and the temple well that was a psychic phenomenon or the burning bush which Moses saw but God himself could reveal himself through that phenomenon but we mustn't confuse the phenomenon with the spirit of God you see so it's a surprise to all such phenomena visions of Our Lady the saints whatever they all have a psychic element which was distinguished which can be deceptive and they can


have a genuine and that is why when take Bernadette you see she had these visions of Our Lady and they examined her very cruel to her really to make sure that she was genuine that she was humble and charitable and understanding and when she showed it then they knew the phenomena were real but there are many visions of Our Lady which are not necessarily true you see so we have to keep distinguishing this psychic realm it's a very deceptive world but it can be good and it can be evil and it can be deceptive and it can be true and that is where spiritual discernment is needed so as earlier a comment on the transliberation of this example where the Holy Spirit thought himself uses that psychic phenomena to manifest the glory of Jesus as reality and it was total reality but we shouldn't confuse the psychic manifestation glory like that with the reality the resurrection you see Jesus passes beyond altogether there are no phenomena after he appears


to his disciples and those are phenomena his appearances but then at the ascension he goes beyond all phenomena and now he's present to us in the spirit not in the what phenomena in the sacrament you have the bread and the wine and Jesus is really present in the spirit not phenomena you don't see anything or hear anything but the reality is there but it can't be discerned by the senses or the mind or any normal human path the spirit transcends matter and mind altogether that is the reality you see so this is where we have to make peace Peter comes at a rather critical time as you know Jesus left his disciples with the expectation that he would return in their own lifetime and that expectation continued for about two generations and then people began to question and this


letter puts this into perspective it says um Jesus I have written to your beloved to arouse your sincere mind you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandments of the lord and saviour to your apostles uh these predictions you see which the prophets probably means also the old testament you see right through the history of Israel there would be this expectation of the end of the world God would intervene and restore Israel and overcome its enemies and bring everything to final end and that was a great expectation it was very strong in the time of Christ and the apostles and the disciples all shared it and in a sense Jesus himself shared it but um it goes on you must understand this that scoffers would come in the last day with scoffing following their own passions and saying where is the promise of his coming ever


ever since the fathers all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation and that is a problem you see people have faith in God and his manifestation and everything seems to go on just the same the same problem today in a sense where is God we say where is why does all these things these disasters happen where is God in the midst of all this and so at the time of this letter the same feeling was there all these promises had been made and everything went on just the same and then he goes on to say they ignore the fact that by the word of father heaven existence existed long ago the earth formed out of water by means of water through which the world then exists with deluge with water and perish referring of course to the flood and what he is saying is that there have been calamities of this kind from the beginning and I think we


have been many disasters like that and the flood of Noah is one example of that flood I don't know how far it extended but all that world was deluged and it's a sign you see that this world is perishing the world that we live in is not the final world it's going to perish the world perished once and then the new but the same world the heavens and the earth that now exist have been stored up for far been kept from the day of judgment destruction of ungodly men been stored up for far and the various views about the end of this universe but far is obviously the element by which things would be destroyed and if we think of course of a nuclear holocaust if in fact what happens we have a tremendous flash and everything disappears like what to Hiroshima and so this is a prophecy this world is going to pass away maybe


in our own lifetime maybe in a thousand years but careful about it Paul again again says you must earn your living and work properly and do everything as you should and so when you live in the context of eternity you're more concerned about time you try to live more meaningfully in this world and I believe we do now has an


eternal value one has to learn to live one's life in the context of eternity and in that way as I say I don't think we should be afraid of the end of the world something is going to come someday we don't know when and we live in this expectation but we also live in the sense of the value of the present time we're given this time and how long it will be for a meaningful life to make our life worthwhile and then we wait for the coming of the Lord that final day which is coming to all of us through this life of the end of the world these days we're reflecting on from different angles this is one of the most remarkable in the New Testament really it says first of all


this very important statement do not do not ignore this fact that that the Lord one day is a thousand years and a thousand years is one day and this relativizes this whole question of time it's not a question of when exactly because the whole time sequence is different in our estimate and what is in reality as I was saying this morning we have to see time always in this context of eternity and then he says the Lord is not slow about his promise the sun comes slowly but is forbearing towards you wishing that not any should perish but all should reach repentance that's a very common theme this idea that God sort of is delaying the final state until all shall have the power to repent and to change and again when I take it in a concrete way that in all our lives we have been timidly called and challenged to open our hearts to open to God to rediscover


this meaning in our lives it's an ongoing process all the time then he says the day of the Lord will come like a thief and the heavens will pass away with a loud noise the elements will be dissolved with fire the earth and the works that are upon it will be burnt up of course when you try to indulge the end of the world there are different ways of doing so and none of them are really adequate we have to remind ourselves that today we would say that the scientific view of the universe is largely symbolic we never see the universe as it is we do it through mathematical symbols and through our observations but they're all symbolic we don't really know the reality and therefore we have to use symbolic language and this is as good as any really the elements will be dissolved with fire the earth and the works will be burnt up suppose if we imagine the end of the world in terms of a nuclear holocaust


obviously it will all go up in fire and so it's a perfectly reasonable view and we all know that this universe is going to come to an end and it's a temple universe which is destined to pass away and then it's very striking you see once you realize that everything is passing away you get a very positive view of life since all these things have thus to be dissolved what sort of persons ought to to be in lives of holiness and godliness always the same you see it doesn't mean that you just find life meaningless on the contrary you realize there's something beyond this world which is worth living for and you live for this life of holiness and godliness and then the whole world gathers meaning and everything in time also gathers a meaning because it's seen in the concept of eternity and not in itself you see time in itself it's passing away and it's ultimately meaningless


but time seen in the context of eternity is full of meaning and purpose that's the whole difference lies in that and then he says waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of the Lord interesting you see waiting for and hastening that is you want this end to come so that the fulfillment may come and that is a very Christian idea you know so Paul says I would be dissolved and be with Christ there's always that sense of desire for passing beyond and I think we can take it in a quite concrete way in meditation you see in meditation you try to go beyond the present you are always in a situation where you are to go beyond that and to see your life in the context of eternity so continually you're hastening the day of the Lord and to go beyond the Mary temple and discover the eternal then he says the heavens will be kindled and dissolved the elements will melt with fire but according to his


promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells and this is the great promise you see which goes through the whole of the Bible that in the beginning you have God created the heaven and the earth and then in the prophets you get this expectation of a new heaven and a new earth and finally in the revelation of Saint John I saw a new heaven and a new earth from heaven to Jerusalem descending so that is the biblical view of creation you see there is creation and destruction and new creation and incidentally you know in the Hindu view of Shiva Shiva is the God who creates and dissolves the world continually he creates dissolves and recreates so it's deep intuition you see that is the world in which we live everything is continuously being created continuously being dissolved and is always destined for this new creation and in which righteousness dwells and that is the new paradise you see you have


the old heaven and the old earth giving way to a new earth then you have the old paradise from which man was driven out and we're waiting for the new paradise which is humanity living in righteousness you see and righteousness being the right order between human beings with one another with the world of nature around them and with God it's the three-fold unity and that is what was lost in paradise in the fall and what is to be restored is human harmony with creation human beings in harmony with one another and nature and humanity in harmony with God that's the new paradise and that's what we're looking for