"I am among the ministers of God."
Purpose: To give what you have received, and so recognize that it is yours. To give the Holy Spirit your voice, hands and feet.
Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes - at least; 10 - better; 15 even better; 30 or more - best
* Say: "I am among the ministers of God, and I am grateful that I have the means by which to recognize that I am free."
* Let the world recede from your mind, as your mind lights up with the realization that these holy words are true. Thus will the gifts of God spring to your awareness, so you can give them.
Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)
Sit quietly and wait on God. Thank Him for His gifts in the previous hour. And let His Voice tell you what He wants you to do in the coming hour.
Remarks: At times the business of the world will allow you only a minute or less, or no time at all. At other times you will forget. Yet whenever you can, do your hourly remembrance.
Frequent Reminder: Say: "I am among the ministers of God, and I am grateful that I have the means by which to recognize that I am free."
Remarks: In time you will never cease to think of God, not even for a moment, not even while busy giving salvation to the world.
Response To Temptation: Use the day's thought.
Overall Remarks: Your practice will begin to be infused with the earnestness of love, keeping your mind from wandering. Do not be afraid, you will reach your goal. God's Love and strength will make sure of it, for you are His minister.
As I see it, this lesson has two main things to say to me:
1) My function on earth is to be a minister (or messenger) of God, and the specific form that function takes is determined, not by me, but by the Holy Spirit.
2) As a messenger, my function is to receive God's messages for myself, and then to give them away, as directed by the Holy Spirit. By giving away the messages I will recognize and understand the messages I have received.
The Holy Spirit knows me to the core. He knows my individual strengths and weaknesses; He knows the "larger plan" I cannot possibly know (1:5); He knows how best to use my particular strengths, "where they can best be applied, for what, to whom, and when" (2:2). Therefore, it is unwise to try to evaluate myself or to direct my own functioning in this world, and far wiser to place myself in His hands. Because of this, I will "choose no roles that are not given [me] by His authority" (7:3). He chooses my function for me, tells me what it is, gives me strength to do it and to succeed in everything related to it (3:2).
A major part of the training program in the Workbook is learning to hear His Voice and to submit to Its authority. Learning to hear His Voice isn't something that comes without any effort. Indeed, it takes effort and great willingness (T-5.II.3:9, 10). I may feel at first that I don't know how to hear His Voice, but that is exactly why I need this practice. I don't know, as I begin, how to tell the Voice of the Holy Spirit apart from my own ego's voice; I need training in that discernment, and some of it will be trial and error. But if I will follow the instructions in this book, I will learn.
The second point is really an encouragement to take up the function given me by God, which in a generic sense is to be His messenger. "He needs our voice that He may speak through us. He needs our hands to hold His messages, and carry them to those whom He appoints. He needs our feet to bring us where He wills, that those who wait in misery may be at last delivered. And He needs our will united with His Own, that we may be the true receivers of the gifts He gives" (11:2-5). Clearly, He directs me very specifically, choosing where I go physically, whom I speak to, and what I say. Yet the main thing is that I accept this overall function of "messenger" for my life; if I accept that, the specifics will follow.
There is a three step process clearly delineated in this lesson:
* Receive - Give - Recognize
First, I receive the message for myself, accept it and apply it to my own life. I accept the Atonement for myself, seeing that the appearance of guilt within me is an illusion, and recognizing the innocence it hides. I accept my acceptance with God. I let go of my false and guilty self-concept.
Second, I give this message to those to whom the Holy Spirit sends me. This can be with words, with actions, or simply with the attitude of mercy and acceptance I show to those I meet. I give the message I have received. I show them the mercy God has shown to me. I see in them what I have begun to see in myself.
Third, as a result of giving, I recognize the reality of what I have received. "No one can receive and understand he has received until he gives" (8:6). Giving away the message cements it and validates it in my own mind. "We will not recognize what we receive until we give it" (12:1).
The second step is an essential part of the whole process. Without giving away the message, the cycle cannot be completed; my own recognition of salvation cannot become complete. It is not enough simply to receive the messages of God. "Yet another part of your appointed task is yet to be accomplished" (9:4). The messages must be given away, shared, in order to be fully received. I must take up my function as the messenger of God if I am to understand what I have been given.
Notice that the practice instructions are adapted from Lesson 153, where we were told "we practice in a form we will maintain for quite a while" (W-pI.153.15:1). These instructions will be followed until new ones are given in Lesson 171 (Review V).
Copyright © 1996, The Circle of Atonement, Sedona,
All rights reserved.