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Living the Religion of Jesus: The Creation of Destiny

by Paul Snider6/26/76

In his Alexandrian appearance following the Crucifixion, Jesus said that we are to proclaim this gospel of love and truth by the lives which we live in the flesh. He said: "You shall love one another with a new and startling affection, even as I have loved you. You will serve mankind with a new and amazing devotion, even as I have served you. And when men see you so love them, and when they behold how fervently you serve them, they will perceive that you have become faith-fellows of the kingdom of heaven, and they will follow after the Spirit of Truth which they see in your lives, to the finding of eternal salvation." (2044:3)

Jesus was not talking about unity in this statement; he was telling us how to become really effective as believers and teachers. But there is something in what he said which seems to hold the secret of unity for all of us in the Urantia movement, and eventually for mankind as a whole. The clues are in the adjectives. Do we know what it means to love with "startling" affection? Do we know how to reach "amazing" levels of devotion? Wasn't Jesus asking us to love not in the mere ordinary sense, but rather to attain a very special quality of love? Like none the earth had ever seen?

In a spiritual sense we already have unity. All of us are seeking to find the Father in Heaven, to become more and more like him. All of us desire above all else to do the Father's will, to share our inner life with him, to seek our greatest sense of personal fulfillment in a life of service. We are united in our spiritual purpose. But there is a tremendous difference between having unity and experiencing unity. Experiencing unity means living in an ever-enlarging family relationship with our fellow man. And there is no other way to do this, no way at all, except through those extraordinary levels of love Jesus called us to achieve, and which in other teachings he described as fatherly love.

Jesus expects us, as his followers, to strive to be like God, to begin to look upon our fellow man as God looks upon his creatures, and therefore to begin to love men as God loves them, to show forth the beginnings of fatherly affection. He expects us to love each other even as he loves us.

Fatherly love is relaxed. It's a comfortable, friendly love. It always looks for the best in the other person, just as a true father always looks for the best in his child. Fatherly love means we are willing to accept other people where they are, where they're coming from, without reservations or qualifications or hidden agendas for their lives. This kind of love never insists that other people follow our will for them, only that they follow God's will according to their highest comprehension, living ever more fully as the sons and daughters of God, which they are.

And when our brothers and sisters stumble into error, as all of us do from time to time, fatherly love means we take delight in returning good for the evil that is done to us. Jesus asked us, and expects us, to reach heights of compassion, mercy, peace, and loving-kindness far beyond the range even of brotherly love. A father's love can attain levels of devotion that immeasurably transcend a brother's affection.

What Jesus wants us to do is very clear, but his message has been lost for almost 2,000 years. The Urantia revelation has brought it back to us. And I think the time has come to begin the quest, with each other, for these startling and amazing levels of love and devotion. "The time has come to affirm the transforming power of the living God who dwells within us. I think the time has come to show the world -- through the lives we live -- what mankind will look like in the golden ages to come. We are the new disciples of Jesus, the torchbearers of the Fifth Epochal Revelation. And we know with certainty that unity is our destiny.

We can help create that destiny. To the extent to which we actually live the religion of Jesus, we are assisting in the creation of the most powerful unifying influence the world has ever known.

But its unifying influence must begin with us. It must begin with the unification of believers into a true and living fellowship of the divine spirit. Before we can begin the transformation of the world, we ourselves must be transformed. We have to spend a lot of time with God.

Only twice in the entire Urantia Book are we given the words of Jesus' personal prayers. And I believe it is significant that one of those prayers included a prayer for the unity of his followers.

It was in the hours just preceding the betrayal and his arrest. A little before midnight. They had finished the last supper and returned to their camp at Gethsemane. And Jesus led the Apostles up on Olivet, a short distance above their camp. And in full view of Jerusalem, he asked them to kneel on a large flat rock in a circle about him as they had done on the day of their ordination. And then, as he stood there in the midst of them, glorified in the mellow moonlight, he lifted up his eyes toward heaven and he prayed. And part of his prayer was this (1964:4):

"And now, my Father, I would pray not only for these eleven men, but also for all others who now believe, or who may hereafter believe the gospel of the kingdom through the word of their future ministry. I want them all to be as one, even as you and I are one. You are in me and I am in you, and I desire that these believers likewise be in us; that both of our spirits indwell them. If my children are as one as we are one, and if they love one another as I have loved them, all men will then believe that I came forth from you and be willing to receive the revelation of truth and glory which I have made."

Paul Snider (6/26/76)

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