The Beginnings of Religion

An Address from Brother Bernard

Given in the Carterton Church, Oxfordshire

Good evening friends.

It gives us great pleasure to come into your midst once again and we would explain that the medium is not giving the address, it is we from Spirit who are speaking through the instrument.

Tonight we would say a few words about the gift of mediumship because it is a gift, but it is a gift that belongs to every human being in some form or another. What does the word medium mean? It is something in between, something that is a link between the Spirit world and the world of matter. There are many problems that face human beings when they try to link up with Spirit.

When a child is born on the earth plane many of them see Spirit, they retain memories, very vague, very faint, and yet distinct, memories of their life on the other side. Remember, because you are immortal, it implies that you were before you came to the Earth to inhabit a body of matter, even as you are still alive when you leave your body and your spirit goes on into another phase of existence. When you come to the earth plane as a baby you forget your life on the Spirit side, apart from vague memories, and often little children will see the spirit forms and will still be in contact with those whom they loved on the spirit side of life. As they begin to grow in the world of matter, as the things of the world begin to crowd in upon them so these memories fade until, in the majority of cases, by the time they go to school they have severed their links with Spirit for the time being.

Your purpose in coming to the earth plane is to learn certain lessons, to acquire certain attributes that you yourself have chosen, things that you had decided, when you were in a Spirit body, that you needed to learn, you needed to experience. The whole of your life on the earth plane involves tackling the problems and the difficulties that arise, involves making links with other people, involves making adjustments right the way through. There are some fortunate in that they retain their links with Spirit right the way through life but in the majority of cases, from the time they start school until their twenties usually, thirties , even later, they ignore any thoughts about the Spirit world. Then something awakens their interest, something stirs within them and perhaps for the first time in their lives they begin to look at life as a whole. They begin to realise that there is more to life than that which they can see, feel, hear and touch. There is a groping towards Spirit, towards God.

Religion plays some part in it, psychic phenomenon plays some part too, but whatever it is, something awakens within the hearts of men and they begin to look for something outside of themselves. This is nothing new. From the time that man first began to be a man, from the time when his brains started to develop, when he had time to spare from hunting and getting sufficient to live, so man has become aware of a power outside of himself. On the earth plane you can go back thousands and thousands of years and you will find that early man had something that he worshipped and had a realisation that there was something outside of himself, something which today you term "God", the "Great Power", the "Infinite Love", whatever It is. It doesn't matter whatever name you give It, but there is that force, that power, that is more than human.

As we were saying, early man looked around him and because he couldn't understand the things of nature he began to think that it was God, that it was that unseen power that was manifesting in the hills, in the trees, in the rivers, in the thunder and the lightning, in the stars and the sun. Whatever nation you go to you will find that there was some form of worship. Down through the ages, as man's brain developed so he began to understand more about his own world, so he began to put into words the feeling of God, the feeling of power, the feeling that there was more to life than that which he could see. There have been many religions in the history of mankind, there are still many different religions upon your earth plane, but in all of them man is seeking knowledge of the Infinite. Man is beginning to reach out to try to understand what it is that makes him as he is.

Over the centuries religion has taken many different forms. Again and again you find that there have been priests of one sort or another who have risen to eminence in their own particular church and in doing so they have allowed the physical to take possession of them. So you find over and over again that the church, whether it be the church of Christianity, of Islam, of Buddhism, Confucianism or whatever, you find that it begins to think more about material things than about things of the Spirit.

Today you live in a country that allows you to worship as you will. You have begun to realise the power of Spirit, the power of God. You have got to understand that that power is within you, it is not something that is outside of yourselves, it is not some wonderful old man sitting on a throne surrounded by angels, it is a force, a power and that power lies within each one of you.

You can look upon life as a journey, a journey that takes you from Spirit, where you were before you came to the earth plane, the few short years that you are upon the Earth and then you leave your body behind when it has finished its job. Then your spirit will go on. It will still go on working, it will still go on making progress. We cannot see the end of it even though we are in the Spirit World, and have been for a number of years. All that we can do, and all that you can do, is to do the best that you can with the circumstances with which you are surrounded.

In functioning in a body of matter you have taken upon yourselves the responsibilities of Earth and those responsibilities must be foremost in your lives here. We do not want you to forget the Spirit world, we do not want you to ignore God, we do not want you to concentrate all your efforts, all your abilities, all your thoughts upon the material world. We do want you to face your responsibilities on Earth. If you have families then you have a duty to those families. If you take up positions in your village, in your town, in your city or in your country, then you have a duty to carry those responsibilities through to the best of your ability. If you can give love to the people around you, if you can give healing thoughts to those who are suffering, if you can help your fellow men and women in any way at all then you are fulfilling your destiny upon Earth, then you are developing your character, building bricks with which you can furnish your house in the next world.

It is not easy we know, but life on the earth plane is not intended to be easy; if it were there would be no point in your coming back here and living upon the earth plane. It is because it is a difficult place for you, it is because you have a difficult row to hoe, because you have obstacles to overcome, that you are not only upon the earth plane but have come into a Spiritualist church to listen to the voice of Spirit. Do not flinch from the difficulties of Earth, do not think that you can turn your back upon them. Face them. Rejoice if you do have a difficult path to travel. It is because you need it, because you have the strength to travel it, because you are able to overcome the obstacles, you are able to deal with the crises that you are given on the earth plane.

You Spiritualists have a great opportunity, an opportunity in showing what it means to be a Spiritualist, to understand about Spirit return, to understand about the continuity of life; and the chief way that you can show what being a Spiritualist means is to be able to give love towards the people that you meet.

It is easy for you to love people in a far off country. The devastation that is taking place in various parts of the world bring out in you your thoughts of love and help and prayer. It is much more difficult to deal with the people that you live with, it is more difficult to deal with a neighbour who offends, it is more difficult to love someone who is a mugger, more difficult to love people who are vandals, whether it be on a football field or in the streets of your towns. Remember that the more trouble there is in your world then the more your world is privileged to have troubles to overcome.

There will never be a perfect Earth because Earth is a school that you have to pass through and in passing through you have to learn the lessons that Earth can give you.

Our message to you is very simple: to ask you to send out thoughts of love, thoughts of happiness, thoughts of hope and not to despair because things seem to be black.

As we have said on so many occasions, and will probably say many times more, news in your world is always bad, but when you look around you, you can see the good.]

We want you to be messengers of that good, we want you to take note of things that make you rejoice, of the things that people do for others, of the love that is given so freely on so many occasions. Make a note of it; speak of it. Remember good news is not sale-worthy in your world; it has to be bad before it makes the headlines. Yet there is as much, possibly more, good in your world than there is bad.

At times, when we come to the earth plane, we pick up your thoughts and we find that you are very despondent; you are very pessimistic about the future. But understand that even your lives upon Earth, although they seem to be so long to you, are just a breath of time.

When you leave your body behind and pass on into the Spirit world you will look back and see what you have done in your lives. Then you will realise that, although while you were on the earth plane time seemed never ending, when you have left your body behind and passed on into Spirit the time that you were on the earth plane will be but a breath.

We come back to speak to you now and then to give you what we can of a message that may be of help to you. We do not ask you to agree with us; in fact if we say something with which you disagree we rejoice because it means that you are beginning to think for yourselves.

You are parts of God. God manifests within you as he manifests within us and as He manifests in everything that has life. Every spark of life upon Earth is a spark of God and is on a journey; a journey that will lead, sometime, to union with God. We cannot tell you when that will be because we just see a little bit further ahead along the road in front of you.

Sometimes we can see events that are coming because "they cast their shadows before" as one of your poets said. We cannot influence the events upon Earth, but we can try. We can send our love from Spirit, particularly to those who are in charge: to the leaders of the nations, the ministers, the presidents and the prime ministers, to the bishops and the archbishops and the leaders of the various churches. We do what we can to influence them but we cannot dictate their lives for them; we cannot tell them what they should do and what they should not.

All on the earth plane have the gift of free will. You can choose whether you continue in the darkness of ignorance or whether you become learned in the Spirit realms. Whether you begin to understand Spirit truths or whether you want to remain in the kindergarten class and carry on playing.

We send you our love as we send it out to the whole of your earth plane, we send our love to those who are suffering at this time through the various plagues that are occurring in your world. We would just remind you that there have always been devastations, there have always been plagues, there have always been earthquakes and floods. Earth is a school, a difficult school at times, but a school that is worthwhile, a school that will give you what you need in order that you may progress in the Spirit world.

Goodnight and God bless you all.

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