(from Fear Not: Messages of Assurance by Martha Smock)
New. What a good word! We may tell ourselves that everything is going to be different, that we are done with the past, that we are embarking on the new. But we may soon be caught up in the same old thoughts and feelings and reactions. We may find ourselves singing the same old song.
In Isaiah 42:10 it says: Sing to the Lord a new song. And the Psalmist says what we need to say to ourselves: I will sing a new song to thee, O God (Psalms 144:9).
Our song is our consciousness. Our song is the thoughts we think, the words we speak, the feelings to which we give expression. We may have been singing a sad song, we may have been singing the blues, we may have been singing a song of woe. Now it is time to sing a new song a song with new words, new music, new tempo.
As we listen in prayer and silence, God gives us new words.
"From this time forth I make you hear new things, hidden things which you have not known. " (Isa. 48:6)
Sometimes when we are unhappy with ourselves and our lives, we think that the way to change is to work with what is wrong. We are not singing a new song but we are thinking about the old song and asking ourselves, "Where did I go wrong?" "Where have I failed?" "What is it in me that draws difficult experiences to me?" "Why me, God?"
The new song that is trying to sing itself through us is barely heard in the clamor of negation that may arise in us as we concentrate on all that seems to be wrong.
The past is past. The new song is there, waiting to be sung through us. We are at a point of beginning again. Old thoughts and old conditions are as waters that have passed away.
A song has words, and the new song we are singing has words words of life, words of love, words of strength, words of power, words of peace, words of faith, words of wisdom. A song begins with an idea. The new song we are singing begins with the idea of our true nature as children of God. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come (II Cor. 5:17). We change our song, we change our lives, as we let Christ be the basis for our thinking and living.
Be renewed in the spirit of your minds (Eph. 4:23). We sing a new song as we are renewed in the spirit of our minds, as we no longer let negative thoughts and feelings dominate us, as we no longer accept the belief that it is impossible for us to change, that we are bound to old ways, to old limitations.
This is the time to sing a new song, a song of health and life and wholeness. This is the time to know that old conditions can be healed, that we are new in every atom and cell of our being. This is the time to let God sing a song of life and health through us.
This is the time to sing a song of joy and peace and harmony. This is the time to release old hurts, old memories of mistakes, to release any trace of unforgiveness or bitterness. The new song of love we sing swells in majestic harmony within us. God sings a beautiful new song through us.
This is the time to sing a new song, a song of faith faith in God, faith in Jesus Christ, faith in ourselves as children of God and joint heirs with Christ. This is the time to sing a song of confidence and courage, a song that marks us as destined for greatness and high places greatness of spirit, high places in consciousness.
This is the time for a new song. God is giving us the words. Let us sing it!
It wasn't a letter, and it wasn't a greeting card. It was just a piece of notepaper sent to me at Easter time from a friend. It contained one line, but that one line told the whole story: "The stone has been rolled away!"
That one-line message told the story of this friend's resurrection out of old and fearful ways of thinking; it told the story of his resurrection out of belief in lack and ill health; it told the story of his newfound freedom of spirit; it told the story of his emergence from the tomb of darkness into the light of Truth.
We may feel that it is impossible to change some condition that has become our "stone," which keeps us imprisoned, as it were. Physical effort does not move this stone; mental effort moves it. The stone is rolled away by spiritual power, the power that overcomes every obstacle, every limitation. As we let God work through us, as we trust God to show us the way of freedom and light, we are imbued with this power.
Jesus' message is a message of life, of overcoming power, of faith and answered prayer. "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).
"With God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26).
"If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you" (Matt. 17:20, 21).
Jesus did not talk about impossibilities. He did not talk about obstructions. He did not talk about immovable stones.
What have we allowed to become a stone in our consciousness? What have we allowed to shut us off from feeling vitally alive, from being radiant, free, joyous, from living life effectively, successfully?
Is the appearance of disease or ill health our stone? The stone can be rolled away! Life and healing are God's will for us, and there is nothing that can obstruct the free flow of God-life within us. Easter is a good time to affirm life and healing, to know as Jesus knew that we are meant to have life and to have it abundantly.
Let us affirm words like the following: The glorious infusion of the more abundant life of Jesus Christ vitalizes me and I am lifted up and healed. And let us add, The stone has been rolled away! Thank you, Mother/Father.
Is the stone that blocks our way the inability to assume authority over our thoughts and feelings, and subsequently, over our lives? Do we feel unable to make decisions, to turn away from thoughts that drag us down, to release habits that lessen our self-esteem?
The stone can be rolled away! "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit" (Zech. 4:6). It is that Spirit in us that overcomes the doubts and fears that have kept us in bondage. The Spirit of God is in us, and when we call upon it we receive spiritual power and authority. Our minds are illumined; we are filled with light.
Jesus said: "You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:32). The truth we are to know in order to make spiritual breakthrough is that through the Spirit in us we have dominion and authority. We take this dominion and authority in the inner realm of thought. The more we pray and affirm our oneness with God, the easier it is to take control of our thoughts, to take control of our feelings, our actions, our lives.
The resurrecting Spirit in us sets us free from limitations, free from negation, and we embark upon a whole new way of life. If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.
Let us affirm: The resurrecting Spirit in me wipes out all darkness. Christ in me gives me dominion and authority over my inner world, and my whole being is filled with light. The stone has been rolled away! Thank you, Mother/Father.
Perhaps the stone blocking our way is a feeling of being unworthy. We cannot seem to shake off the belief that we are under condemnation for mistakes of the past. We cannot accept forgiveness. The stone can be rolled away! We can be resurrected out of any feeling of being unforgiven.
Whenever we find ourselves thinking along depressing lines, let us remind ourselves that God loves us, that God sees us as growing, learning, unfolding. God does not count our mistakes but sees our good efforts, sees us with eyes of love. God loves us.
A wonderful affirmation to hold that will help us to accept forgiveness is: The forgiving love of Jesus Christ reaches to the depths of my being. I am forgiven the mistakes of the past and the results of the mistakes of the past. Then let us follow this affirmation with the realization: The stone has been rolled away! Thank you, Mother/Father.
Is our grief over the lack of love in our lives the stone that is blocking off our happiness? Do we feel lost because someone whom we had come to depend upon is no longer a part of our lives? Do we feel that we can never be happy again? The stone can be rolled away! We can find peace of mind; our hearts can be comforted.
We can be happy, though relationships change, though we can no longer continue in a way of life that seemed so right and satisfying.
Always there is new good to be experienced, new challenges to be met that call forth the best in us. Always there are new ways of sharing our lives with others and of adding to their happiness. New joy is at hand. We do not want to, nor should we, stay in an unhappy or sad state of mind. We can begin again. We can be resurrected out of hurts and unhappiness into a beautiful way of life.
Let us affirm: I welcome the good that life has to offer. I give thanks for all that has gone before, for all those who have been a lovely part of my life, and for all those who now wait to enter the circle of my love. The stone has been rolled away! Thank you, Mother/Father.
Martha Smock, Fear Not: Messages of Assurance (Unity Village, MO: Unity Books, 1986), pp. 107-110 and pp. 111-116.
See Unity World Headquarters Web site at http://www.silentunity.org/. Or visit Unity Center Austin.
Unity is the church I joined long after my Methodist upbringing and spiritual shopping around.
Martha Smock was long part of Unity's Daily Word publication.
In the second, Easter piece, I replaced Father with Mother/Father.