1. Articles of Incorporation Secretary of State of State of California Feb. 9, 1987 (Shows Church intended purpose)
2. Recognition Letter Franchise Tax Board State of California Jun. 17, 1987 (Shows legal Church status)
3. Recognition Letter Internal Revenue Service U.S.A. Jan. 8, 1988 (Shows 501[c]3 Public Charity status)
4. Amendment to Articles Secretary of State of State of California Jan. 14, 1998 (Shows name change)
Let's start with a quote from the A Course In Miracles. "The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons, and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is." (OrEd.Tx.29.39) I thought that was one of the most inclusive paragraphs I've ever seen. It starts with the stars, the tides, the oceans, and the people. Everything that comes and goes is not eternal. For me, a huge portion of the beginning of my life, was focused on those things that were not eternal. I had the first thirteen years when I didn't have much spiritual consciousness. I think you can have some, and I had a little.
I did have more spiritual consciousness later, especially when I look at the time during which I went into the church. I have been asking myself, "What I was trying to get from that? What did I want from that? What was life showing me during that time?" I thought I was looking to get validated – for someone to say I was good enough, that I was moral enough. Actually, my goal was to get the church to accept me as an ordained minister. The church I was in never would have done that. Women with – I'll say it – boobs and butt, were not supposed to be ministers. That was what I was really seeking. I wanted people to validate me because I wasn't feeling validated at home. My parents were very loving, but my sister was a distraction because there were a lot of issues with her. So I sought my validation from the church. I'll put a note here, "I was living under the church laws." I was trying to get people to say I was good because of the external things I did.
Here's another quote. "What you must understand . . ." I always like it when A Course in Miracles uses terms like "must." That means we must understand what it is going to say next. It is English after all. So what it says is, "What you must understand is that when you do not share a thought system, you are weakening it. Those who believe in it therefore perceive this as an attack on them." (OrEd.Tx.6.71) If we don't share the thought system that we are bodies and that the world is real – if we don't share the thought system that we have a limited life – and we are trying to teach a thought system that life is unlimited, that we are spirits and that we are not actually bodies then all those who believe firmly in body and world – which is still a vast majority of people – are going to perceive that we are attaching them. And so, we we'll get into conflict if we are doing what A Course in Miracles is telling us to do. Our message is not necessarily going to be welcome.
That took me a very long time to understand. I thought our message would be the "good news," because to me it seems like good news, but it is difficult for a lot of people to accept these ideas. They are fully entrenched in the idea of a limited physical reality life. So, we're telling people – or we're telling ourselves since the people we encounter are just a reflection of ourselves – that we are eternal and infinite. But a lot of people just plain don't want to hear that. Even a lot of A Course in Miracles students still don't really want to hear that. A lot of A Course in Miracles students, a lot of spiritual students, I think are just looking for something that will help them feel a little bit better as they walk steadily on to disintegration and death. (laughter) They just do. A lot of people study A Course in Miracles so they can be a little bit happier in the world as they go along, age, and do the things they think that bodies do. Eventually they die, and isn't there a way to feel a little better about that whole process?
Now the title of this talk is "Why We Gather on Sundays." I want to get into that a little bit. We gather on Sundays because countless millions of other spiritual people, religious people, gather on Sunday. They are probably not our faith. Maybe their beliefs are very different from ours, but they are aspiring to their highest mind, the highest mind that they can aspire to. Maybe they are of the Jewish faith; maybe they are of the Muslim faith. Maybe they are Christian; maybe they are Buddhist. It doesn't really matter. There are countless people all around the world right now, or maybe a few hours before because of the circling of the globe, but right at this time, millions are connecting to their highest thought.
All of those people connecting to that high, high thought cracks the cosmic egg that we look at. It cracks, and this allows more light to come in than would normally come in at other times. You cannot deny the power of countless millions of people gathering on Sunday right now. So that crack is wider now than it is at other times. So that's why we gather on Sundays, to experience the light and the love that is coming in through that wide crack. I love that analogy of the crack.
I first heard about this crack many, many years ago with a book that was written in 1971 by Joseph Chilton Pearce named The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, a very seminal book. I read it. It was very influential in my life. I found out that he just made his transition this year. He was 90 years old. Joseph Chilton Pearce, in that book, talks about how we each are a consciousness that is surrounded by this egg like thing. The interior of the egg shell is a mirror. It's only a mirror. Sound familiar? So we look at it, we look out, and we see only ourselves. We just see ourselves. We don't understand that there is this whole other reality outside of the egg. But there is a part of our mind, at times, that does understand this. That part of our mind puts little cracks here and there in the surrounding egg at different times. You have got to start looking for the cracks. That is what you've got to do. You start looking for the cracks, and then you expand them. You let more light in. That is what I believe. I read this book a long time ago, but I believe that is the major teaching of that book.
This made me take a moment and reflect on how things are now in 2016. I realized how much things have changed, how they have progressed. Yet as we are aware, there is still hatred that exists in our country and in our society. For me, I’m trying to figure out how I can recognize the hatred and yet be in a place of gratitude, to take a moment and see what are the lessons that I am supposed to learn in these situations. Each and every one of us has challenging things in our lives. I’ve continually had challenges in my life.
I had to deal with my own feelings about police officers killing African-Americans and blacks. What was that like for me? (Rev. Vincent is African American) I had to deal with my own feelings and thoughts post-election. All these things come up in our minds, but what is it that we can do to look at them differently? How can we go about shifting and changing our minds on how to see these things? Can we not see these as bad things but see them as opportunities for us to find the goodness in the things that are happening? That is something I am trying to get better at. I am trying to learn how to be able to deal with things better. Don’t get me wrong. I definitely have my doubts. I have my feelings about everything that has taken place, but I know that it’s important for me to take a step back and really, examine what I can do. What is my part? How can I make sure that I extend nothing but love and gratefulness no matter what the situation is that is happening.