WORK as it relates to WORSHIP
I am prepared to speak on the subject of work again, but this time work and worship. If there are any particular requests for subjects to be included in our lesson, as we did last week, I will hear them now.
S: I'm curious to see how this develops.
R: One comment from me. Heightened curiosity is yet another element of the subtle change in your mind-thought that occurs when you take a spiritual step forward in your own personal development. But let us start our lesson now.
It has been my sense over these days since our last encounter that all of you who were present at that time have thought much on the subject of work, as we discussed. Is it so? (S: Yes) And is it not also correct that you may have been somewhat perplexed because the Urantia Book describes the time of light and life as a period during which very little work would be done with much leisure remaining. Is that so?
S: I assume that there will be time left to worship after work, and then we really may have time to enjoy eternal life a little bit. But I can't say that perplexed is the right word.
R: Yes, well I was chided by my own instructors for having not clarified this matter, so I have composed the present lesson to do so.
Understand, my friends, that at the time the Urantia Book information was handed down and transcribed, there were many difficult decisions to be made regarding syntax and other linguistic details. For the animal mind outworking of intellect is fastidious in its highest development when linguistic considerations arise. That is to say, the masters who oversaw the project wished to have as little ambiguity as possible in the language used in the body of the papers themselves. And yet it was understood that these papers would stand for many generations as reference material, and language does indeed change through time. So the decision was taken to use the language that was the most formal for the very time period during which the book was indicted, because formal usage is less susceptible to change, particularly frivolous idiomatic change, than is casual usage. And so when the matter of work was discussed, the linguistic value assigned to the word work was that of the earlier period of this century of your time. That is, labor of the body, primarily physical with relatively little spiritual content, somewhat more intellectual content, what you presently would call toil. And it is indeed true that at the time of light and life relatively little time in the life of a given Urantia individual will be spent in toil, physical labor.
Again, the word leisure, at the time of the indictment of the papers, included those activities in which energy is expended toward spiritual growth. And thus the leisure time of light and life, using that linguistic value of the word leisure will be worship.
Now we have discussed worship in past lessons. Numerous lessons have been devoted wholly or partially to this most interesting and important subject. And yet, who can ever truly grasp the full meaning of worship, but Father Himself? Even those who have journeyed to Paradise state that in some ways their knowledge of worship is less than they ever thought. And it is at that point, of course, that one fully grasps the necessity for an eternity of time to learn to worship Father properly.
At your stage of development, my friends, worship is at its beginning. You are taking the first cautious steps of the baby from the crawling posture to the upright in terms of your worship activities, moving from the animal considerations of self, the intellectual considerations of ego, to the spiritual considerations of the cosmos. This is indeed hard work, as all of you know, and yet so critical. And you must walk before you can run.
So too must your spiritual growth stumble and fall and falter in the basic concepts of right and wrong before you will be able to walk with confidence toward your destinies. This is hard work, very hard work, and it does not end with this life. You might say that to extend our analogy, you barely learn to walk spiritually by the end of a full term of human Urantian life. You learn to run while on the mansion worlds if you work very, very hard and spend many thousands of years in intense effort. And the delightful part is yet beyond that where you learn to fly, steps beyond. And all of this work, my dear friends, is worship: the doing of the will of Father, moving through the darkness, the uncertainty of imperfect creation, groping, despairing, crying out.
This is what Michael came to your beloved planet to experience for Himself. Can you imagine how it must have been for Him to descend from a state of physical existence that is not even imaginable to you, far beyond light, continuous communication with Paradise, to descend from that down to the level of a helpless babe of imperfect creation? Humbling indeed, and much, much hard work for Him, as it is for you.
As I told you in our last session, the work never ends. But as you become more skilled at the craft of worship, and progress from crawling to walking to running and beyond, you will be intensely gratified. The sense of wonder that one experiences with the increasing pace of growth that attends spirit striving, spirit work, and spirit growth, is far beyond any pleasurable sensation imaginable to an animal. Some have mused about mating activity in the animal state, and its possible correlate at existences beyond the earthbound level. Do you not see that the intense - to you - pleasure that you receive from your mating instinct and its gratification is quite small in comparison to the true joy of spirit experience? You may say, But how can I call such work with such reward anything but 'play' or 'leisure'? Why work? Because, my friends, it is more consuming of effort than anything else you have ever experienced or shall ever experience. The reward of joy, of peace, of wisdom, you might liken to those instincts which have been planted in you as an animal descendant. Your instincts on this planet, to eat, to sleep, to reproduce, not only work for your survival, but also enable you to experience pleasure, do they not?
So too it is with the worship urge. Hard, hard, work it is to walk toward Father, intense hard work. And yet once you have firmly committed yourself on this road without question, without doubt, that spirit instinct to work and worship and grow toward Paradise will become stronger and stronger, and its gratification will yield the spirit correlate of what you call pleasure.
I am forbidden to discuss many of the details of mansion world life, and life beyond. This is, in part, because it is desired that the focus of this particular teaching mission be upon your activities here and now. Remember the analogy of the tadpole and the frog. But is it not helpful to a tadpole in his ascendancy toward froghood to have a light shining through the water? That is my role and the role of all those from above who are so honored to be part of this teaching mission.
I shall close this part of the lesson now and receive questions and comments.
S: I would like to hear you comment for just a few moments on the application of mental effort to a problem, whether or not that is work, and whether those who don't do manual labor but who work with ideas and correspondence and things of that nature are actually working. I know the answer's yes, but I would like to hear you explain what it is about this that has now encroached upon the definition of work.
R: Yes, certainly. You may recall that the mindal components of animal brain function are dual on this planet, the physical out-workings and the intellectual out-workings, and as this planet and its cultures evolve, work which is done and the definition of work will evolve also. The most rudimentary form of work which occurs in the most primitive of human cultures encompasses those efforts which are required to barely survive, which, of course, is food gathering, protection of the young, procreation and mating, and shelter from elements and other threatening environmental factors. The next step involves the development of tools and other technological adjuncts through the first use of intellect. But at this stage still work is primarily physical.
As the culture evolves there is more and more of intellectual work and less and less of physical work. And then in a normal planet of imperfect creation there will be that wonderful time at which the first of the spirit work begins to show on a cultural level. On this planet - because of interference with the plan - the period of time that has elapsed since that first bit of spirit work in the life of the average Urantia mortal showed and now has been so long. And the advancement has been so small by the accepted standards of the universes.
Nonetheless that fragment of spirit work is there, but it is quite small now. During this last century of your time, the proportion of intellectual work to physical work has widened greatly for many, many persons in your culture and, indeed, over the planet at large. And just recently we have been most gratified to see a definite increase in the proportion of spiritual work undertaken by the great mass of Urantia mortals.
This may seem like a long-winded answer to your question, but the short answer is that yes, of course, intellectual effort is very much work. As time passes on your planet, in future times, physical work will become more or less extinct, and the notion of toil will be applied increasingly to intellectual effort, and the notion of leisure to pure spirit development. But there will come the day that there will be widespread realization that spiritual effort is indeed work. Does that answer?
S: Yes, I enjoyed every word of your long-winded answer. And I liked your summary with the short answer. The Master, when He was here, had a group of apostles who did what we would call work and there were time - at least once a week, maybe twice a week - when, they said in the Urantia Book, to have ceased work and enjoyed leisure. I would expect that even during their leisure they worked at least a little, but I would like a comment on the relationship between work and leisure.
R: Yes. Well, at the time that the Urantia Book was indited, the formal understanding of the word work included mainly physical toil, but also an element of the intellectual toil to which you alluded just now, and the syntax use of the word leisure included rest activities such as sleep, nourishment activities such as eating, and worship activities, so leisure did not primarily refer to worship. But worship was considered to be leisure, definitely.
S: How about play, or - as the apostles went - fishing? I'm looking for a good excuse to go fishing.
R: It is during what you call play that very much spiritual work is accomplished. That is why the reversion directors play such an important role in later activities in your existences. In a sense you could say that they guide your play. But, my friends, do you not see that worship is indeed play?
S: I hadn't thought of it that way.
R: What you call fun now is just a glimmer of what you will feel about worship increasingly as you progress in your spiritual growth. Do you think that Father in Paradise does not enjoy Himself?
S: I certainly hope He does. I think it's rather interesting that the word recreation means recreation.
R: But re-creation of what?
S: Yes, re-creation of energies to work is what I would think. Re-creation, a new beginning.
R: And perhaps re-creation of the perfect from the imperfect. Have you not had at least one acquaintance in your life whom you enjoyed because they were so playful? (Yes, yes.) Then imagine how Jesus must have been perceived. Think of children shortly after the arrival of the Thought Adjuster. Is there not a marked increase in the desire to play?
S: I hadn't observed it, but now that you called it to my attention I know that it exists.
R: To work at play, rather than passively allowing play to occur - if you view it in those terms - you may begin to remember in your life and the lives of your progeny. And yet so many allow the playful spirit to drain away, and be replaced by rage, fear, greed and pride. The extirpation of those qualities from your mindal activity will create space in a recreational way for the playful spirit of worship to enter. And you will leap forward in your worship skills when you undertake that housecleaning within.
S: There was a saying when I was growing up: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Of course, that was twisted after a while to say that All work and no play makes jack and plenty of it. I think that your lesson would confirm the first of those instead of the latter.
Q: I'd like to know what you do personally for recreation.
A: At my stage of education, I guess you would call it; I spend a proportion of my time under tutelage of experienced reversion directors. Their company is most refreshing and... [turn over tape] The reversion directors with whom I work are most gracious in guiding me in my play. We have a lot of what you would call fun together. And it is, for this time in my existence, very much like the play of a human child, in the sense that I expend large quantities of energy in a seemingly effortless fashion. I always leave these encounters feeling replenished.
Additionally, I am assigned periods of time for contemplation, meditation, visitation to what for my level you might consider to be a garden, a place of peace. You may recall that Jesus engaged in such activity while on your planet. These periods of time are also part of my education and like all my activities are closely monitored and recorded so that I shall not ascend to the next administrative level until I have accomplished all of those growth tasks which are appropriate for this phase of my being. Does that answer? (S: Yes.)
Q: You say that you are under the tutelage of reversion directors. They are teaching you the most enjoyable ways to relax and refresh yourself?
A: I would say that they are teaching me the most efficient ways to improve my worship skills and by improving my efficiency in that manner, I achieve what you call relaxation. Not exactly the concept of beings in white garments cavorting on clouds with harps. [Laughter]
S: Don't forget the wings.
R: Yes, they would get in the way. (11/21/93)
© 11:11 Progress Group.
"Michael est toujours au Volant."
(Michael is always at the Steering Wheel.)