During the afternoon I was reading a book at a friend's house and felt impressed that the text was a reading for church. I was not surprised when I was asked to give the reading that evening. J.H.H. (Organist)
The Reading is an extract from 'The Highlands of Heaven', the second volume of 'Life Beyond The Veil' by The Rev. G. Vale Owen.
Light and darkness are states of the spirit, as you know. When those dwelling in the darkness cry for light, that means they are becoming out of touch with their environment. So we send them the help that is needed; and that is usually direction by which they find their way - not into regions of light, where they would be in torture and utterly blinded, - but into a region less dark and tinctured by just so much light as they may bear until they outgrow that state and cry in their longing for more.
When a spirit leaves a dark region for one less dark he experiences an immediate sense of relief and comfort by comparison with his former state for now his environment is in harmony with his own inner state of development. But, as he continues to develop in aspiration after good, he gradually becomes out of harmony with his surroundings, and then, in ratio to his progress, so his discomfort increases until it becomes not less than agony. Then in his helplessness, and approaching near to despair, having come to that pass when his own endeavours can go no further, he cries for help to those who are able to give it in God's Name, and they enable him one stage onward nearer to the region where dimness, rather than darkness, reigns. And so he at last comes to the place where light is seen to be light; and his onward way is henceforth not through pain and anguish, but from joy to greater joy, and hence to glory and glory greater still.
But oh, the long, long ages some do take until they come into that light. Ages of anguish and bitterness; and know all the time that they may not come to their friends who wait for them until their own unfitness is done away; and that those great regions of darkness and lovelessness must first be trod.
But do not mistake my words of their meaning. There is no vengeance of an angry God. GOD IS OUR FATHER; AND HE IS LOVE. All this sorrow is of necessity, and is ordered by those laws which govern the sowing, and the reaping of that which is sown. Even here, in my own place (in Spirit), where many things both wonderful and lovely we have learned, not yet have we attained to plumb and sound this mystery to its lowest depth. We do understand, as we were unable when in the earth life, that it is of love that these things are ordained. I say we are able to understand where formerly we were only able to say we trusted and believed. Yet little more of this awful mystery do we know; and are content to wait until it is made more plain to us. For we know enough to be able to believe that all is wise and good; as those in those dark hells will know one day. And this is our comfort that they will and must be drawn onward and upward into this great and beautiful universe of light, and that then they will confess, not only that what is, is just, but that it is of love and wisdom too, and be content.
The Address by Mr Peter King
I wonder if we had lived two thousand years ago when Jesus was on earth how we would have acted and what we would have said. I wonder if we would have been one of those who said "Well, of course, this man is a charlatan and doesn't know what he is talking about". I wonder if we would have been one of those who said "Ah, this man is to be feared; he carries the crowds with him and it won't be very long before people are demanding change in the church". I wonder if we would have been one of the people who would have denied him, as Peter did. I wonder if we would have been one of the people who would have betrayed him because, perhaps, not so much for the money but that we were frightened of the "other side". Well, it's an interesting thought isn't it? It's worth sitting down and looking at present day situations and putting those situations into past situations when Jesus was here seeing the similarity and the way in which we drift into one situation or another.
There isn't any doubt that the two greatest things that will affect our lives on earth are love and fear. One you may say born by the dark places and the other from the light.
One thing is certain; if we love enough then we will do anything for that person; for that situation. If we fear for ourselves then we will back off; keep quite; not do what we should do and not stand up and be counted and because of that a century later the same situation will exist.
There isn't any doubt at all that we only get rid of fear by facing it squarely; by realising what we are, who we are, where we are and what we are entitled to be.
We have to realise, I think, first of all that we are all children of God and you may say "What are children of God?" and I say children of God are those who have God within them.
We are all part of God just as is every brick, every blade of grass, every animal, every insect, every grain of sand in our earth and in every planet in the universe. Because without this pattern, that is God, there would be nothing and this pattern is working its way towards a conclusion, or a solution; each one of us playing our part in the great scheme of things. When you think of the vastness of the universe and you think of the insignificance and frailty of the physical body you can see the sort of situation that we fill in our life upon earth.
Our life is very short: our life is very simple; it doesn't have to be complicated and if filled with love can bring a great and all abiding richness.
The thing is this: what are we going to do with our lives? Are we going to try to forge forward as we heard in that reading; are we going to try to keep pace with what we understand; to try and learn something better so that we may advance into a greater depth of understanding; a brighter light if you want to think of it as such. Or are we going to do those things which are easy and will bring us physical comfort, physical well being, and sink gradually backwards into the mists and the darkness which, at the time of doing these things, will bring us benefit in a physical way but will bring us no feeling of elation; no feeling of achievement and eventually, as we have been told in the Bible, when there is no love it is as a tinkling cymbal; something that is empty; something that is hollow; something that has no substance or body to it at all.
Two thousand years ago if we had been in the Middle East we would have heard Jesus talking about Heaven upon Earth. I wonder what he meant? I am sure that the people in that day and age thought that suddenly milk and honey was going to spring from the very ground; that where there was desert there would be water, there would be green trees and all would be well. They wouldn't have to work or do anything and they could lounge around all day and it would be wonderful. That to those people was probably heaven. But, surely, today we realise that Jesus was really talking about was that if each and every one of us worked in the right way; developed ourselves within; our inner self; that part of us which is close to God - I am not going to say is God because we are God - but that part within us which is closest to God; that part within us that we talk to, which we seek comfort from, which we seek to learn from in the still hours of the morning when we may lay awake. Surely Jesus was talking about this part of us and the fact that if we train this part of us to do what is right; if we train this part of us to give love where there was none; to bring compassion where there was only hate; to bring work and service for others where others were not looked after at all then we would begin to realise that by doing these things we were achieving a state of being which was more Godly, more complete, and bring to us a feeling of achievement; a feeling of having done something with our lives.
This would be Heaven for me. I don't know if it would be for you. To be able to look back and say "I have done everything right" and I cannot say that. Can you? To say there was no time when I could talk to somebody else and not say a bad word; that there was no time, no matter how I was pushed, into being antagonistic or replying in a harmful way to somebody. I hope as I go on and as I look within myself and try to find the God that is within me; that I can come closer to that. Because at the time when I can see that in front of me as a symbol standing there to be reached then I will know that I am starting to achieve something which to me will be near to Heaven on Earth.
I come out and I preach these sort of things in church then I go back home and do exactly the opposite and I know I do it. I only hope that by knowing that I do it that at least I am making some progress. But is it enough to know that we can do it; how may people have you heard say "I know that I am bad tempered but I cannot do anything about it". What a load of rubbish friends! If we know that we are wrong we can do something about it. We have reached the stage where we have knowledge; knowledge of ourselves and let us be honest about it, if we know ourselves we know the person next to us; we know the lady down the road; we know all of the things that they want because we want them as well. We want people to like us; we want people to love us and I'm not talking about physical love, I'm talking about Divine Love. We want to stand in the Bright Light and not feel pain when we look at it.
I've made a lot of friends in my lifetime. I have made friends of people who had previously been enemies also enemies that had been my friends; but I have made friends over the past years with many people in the World of Spirit; people who I would never have spoken to in this physical life. That has to be advancement, doesn't it? That has to show us what there is to come that is better than what we have got here.
I talked to one gentleman who is a great friend of mine now. When he comes from the World of Spirit I feel that friendship with him; I feel that closeness with him; I feel I know what he is seeking for and it is what I am seeking for.
One day he said that a person came from a Higher Realm to talk to him and some others and when he had finished talking this gentleman approached him and said "I suppose you will be going soon" and the person said "Yes". The gentleman said "And where will you be going to?". "Back to the realms where I came from" he replied. "I want to come with you" said the gentleman. The man who had been speaking said "You cannot come with me; you are not able to go where I go". The gentleman said "Look, if you can go there than so can I" because this was the sort of person he is.
He is the kind of person who, when he was in this world, when he said he was going to do something he did it.
They argued over the matter for some little time and at last the visitor said "All right, when I go you come with me" and when he went the man went with him. They walked and they talked and gradually it got brighter. Eventually he said it was getting so bright that he didn't quite know where he was going and finally it was so bright that he was almost in physical pain trying to put up with the brilliance of the light around him. Finally he stopped and said to his companion "I can't go any further". "Well, I did say to you that you would not be able to come with me and now you know; you have had a try and now you know that you can't. But, one day, when you are ready you will be able to walk into the brightness as I am going to do now." And with that he walked on and vanished into the brightness.
My friend said to me "I am going there one day; nothing is going to stop me. I am going to work towards going to where that man has gone."
Now that is what we were talking about in our reading, wasn't it? Because you know the only place that you can make a change from one situation to another; from one life to another - lets call it being re-born again - the only place that you can go from one world to another and not be ready is from this life to the next.
Everybody goes from this life. Murderers who have been hung go to the most terrible state in the World of Spirit and are probably not able to cope with the brightness that is there. People who have gone to Spirit with great weights on their shoulders, on their minds, will arrive in the World of Spirit not able to cope with they find there. People go to the World of Spirit full of physical thoughts and physical things and when they get to the World of Spirit there is no physical world there for their work and their deeds to be seen in.
I know that recently a gentleman said to me when I asked him how he was getting on in Spirit said "Well, I don't think much of it" I asked him why not and he said "Look, I was a master welder on earth. What can I weld in this world?" I said "Nothing" and he said "No; you're right. All that I have learnt while I was on earth is a waste of time".
I was talking to a man the other day who said he was a civil engineer on earth. He said to me "I can't build any buildings or bridges in this world. All the time that I have spent on earth has been a waste of time" Are you beginning to get the picture friends?
Now I would suggest that it's not been a waste of time for these people because both of those gentlemen have learnt skills and in the learning of those skills they have used their knowledge, their thoughts and their very being; and those skills of thought, of being and understanding can be used to learn other skills. Perhaps the skills that they will learn in the next world will be the skills of love; the skills of happiness and attention to others: the skills of helping others who need help and not worrying about the fact that they are unable to do what they used to do on earth.
When you think that we are going to advance from a miserable place like the world that we live in - we have made it a miserable place for many people - to a world where nobody can be hurt; nobody can be aggravated or antagonised by anybody else; a world where there are beautiful colours, beautiful flowers and beautiful scenery, with beautiful people to help you when you ask for help. What can we say; how can we be bored; how can we be upset? But the fact remains that we have to gear ourselves; we have to condition ourselves towards this sort of life and if we don't then we must accept that we are going to get to the Spirit a "welder with nothing to weld": "a ship builder with nothing to build": "a civil engineer with no bridges to build and no materials to do anything with".
What a sad thing because when it comes to being re-born again into the next stage in life, as my friend in Spirit tried to do, we will find that we cannot go there until we are ready. And so, perhaps as the book has said, we will spend many, many years of earth time in the World of Spirit trying to seek to understand ourselves, and to understand others, and to realise why God made us with a mind, with an intellect, that could be used to help others.
The extract from 'Life Beyond the Veil' is published here by kind permission of The Greater World who own the copyright and sell the Vale Owen Books.