Lesson 174 • June 23

(157) Into His Presence would I enter now.
(158) Today I learn to give as I receive.


Practice Instructions

See Practice Instructions Review V

Commentary

Paragraph 6 of the review introduction:

In this paragraph, Jesus speaks in the first person: "I take the journey with you" (6:1). One aspect of the Course that seems to get less attention than many others is the personal presence of the author in our lives. No doubt many of us, feeling we have "escaped" from what we perceived as restrictive Christian backgrounds, many of which emphasized a "personal Savior" and the actual worship of Jesus as God's only Son, find ourselves uncomfortable with the notion of having Jesus by our side as we make this journey. It is too much like what we left behind.

In the Clarification of Terms section in the Manual for Teachers, we are reminded that "some bitter idols have been made of him who would be only brother to the world" (C-5.5:7). One relationship that may need healing is our relationship with him; we may carry with us many "shadow figures" from the past that distort our perceptions of him. We are asked, here in the Manual, to "forgive him your illusions, and behold how dear a brother he would be to you" (C-5.5:8). Yet the Course takes this issue, as it does all such issues, gently. "It is possible to read his words and benefit from them without accepting him into your life. Yet he would help you yet a little more if you will share your pains and joys with him" (C-5.6:6-7). So if you find this idea of relating with him a little unsettling or even distasteful, be at peace; it's okay.

Jesus offers to share our doubts and fears in order to make himself accessible to us. We can know he understands what we go through because he has been this way before. Even though he has reached a place where uncertainty and pain have no meaning, he understands them when we experience them. We don't have to feel that we are approaching some remote figure, high and mighty, who will dismiss our uncertainty as irrelevant with a wave of his hand. He sees what we see. He is aware of all the illusions that terrify us, and the reality they seem to have to us. But he holds in his mind "the way that led him out, and now will lead you out with him" (6:5). He is like an elder brother who has finished the journey, but has come back now to lead us home with him. He knows that the Sonship is not complete until we have walked the same way he walked. He is with us now, leading the way for us.

In my quiet time today, then, let me be aware of his presence. As I enter into God's Presence, let me be conscious of one who is at my side, perhaps holding my hand if I feel fearful. Let me be willing to bring my uncertainty and pain to him, so that he can help me overcome them. As I receive the grace from him enabling me to set aside my fears and doubts, let me learn to give as I receive. Let me come forth from this time with him to share what I have received with those around me. Let me act as God's representative in the world, to forgive the "sins" of those around me, ease their minds, and offer them the peace that has been given me.

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