On union with God.

All beings can fully hear from God except humankind. We were created without the ability to automatically hear and do the will of God. All other beings (animals and plants included) do the will of God without thought or question. Yet we are different.

Some people can hear God better than others, but no one can fully hear from God like the rest of creation can. Is this a blessing for us, or a handicap?

It means we have to work harder than dogs to be complete.
It means we are dumber than rocks.
It means we are not as clever as cats.

It means God is beyond pleased when…
We are able to push through and overcome our innate obstacles and reconnect.
When we are able to use our gifts for good.
When we are able to join together and act as one to improve the world.

Obstacles make our souls stronger, just like exercise and resistance training makes our muscles and bones stronger.

God needed to create humans to prove to God how good a Creator God is. We are the height of God’s ability. God does not want blind obedience. That is easy to create. If we knowingly and willingly rise above our nature and act in a civilized manner then we are a delight to God.

We are hampered, and yet we can not only endure but thrive. Yet to do that we must intentionally choose to connect with God. God is our missing link. When we reconnect we are complete and whole.

We do not have to die to reunite with God. In fact, reunion with God at death is automatic and easy. The barrier and hindrance that is our bodies is removed. Rejoining with God while in the body is the greatest accomplishment.

Notice how we cheer for someone who has lost a leg and runs a race with a prosthesis. Just having the chutzpah to enter, to even try, is a big deal. To make it to the end at all is huge. To win? Amazing. This is how God feels every single time any one of us unites with God.

Communion isn’t just a ritual or a sacrament. It isn’t just something done on Sunday morning. It means “union-with” and it isn’t limited to a denomination or a practice.

The secret? Look at what Jesus did at the Last Supper, when he initiated what is now the Communion service. He took the simple foodstuffs that were served at every supper table, every day. He didn’t choose something unusual that would be difficult for people to get. He took the everyday, so that we’d be able to do this every day. Then he gave thanks to God for it, and shared it.

Give thanks for and bless everything you are about to receive. Not after, before. We are used to saying thanks only after we get what we want. Do that too, and before. See how your perspective changes. Give thanks for whatever you are going to get, or experience, or be able to do. This applies to everything – food, experiences, material things. Be always thankful. No matter what it is, trust that it is coming from God, as God has created and is within everything.

Human / Animal

The first test for humans was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We were told “Don’t eat this, it is bad for you.” We failed that test. God gave us our minds for reason and wants us to exercise self-control. This is what God was testing – were we humans or were we animals.

Self-control is the mark of a human versus an animal. Delayed gratification and restraint are the hallmarks of a human being – not just someone who is in the shape of the human but someone who actually is able to act like one. Saving versus spending, planning ahead – these are hallmarks of a mature human.

Yet God didn’t abandon us there when we failed that test. God stuck with us. God keeps giving us chances. God says “I set before you a blessing and a curse.” We have a choice about how we spend our time, our money, and our energy. We can use them for ourselves or for others. We can waste or use wisely.

Sure we have free will. But we also will experience the consequences of our choices too. If we choose to go against God’s commands, we will suffer. God doesn’t punish us because of our bad actions, we do.

It is like being told “Don’t touch the stove – it is hot.” When a child touches it anyway and burns her fingers, it isn’t the parent who his punishing her with her burned fingers. She did it to herself. The parent knows better, knows that this otherwise safe item, usually cool to touch, isn’t safe right now and warns the child. The child has a choice. She isn’t being forced to obey. If she chooses well then she has proven she is mature. God gives us these same kinds of choices.

People blame God for their heart disease and diabetes when they are the result of their unhealthy life choices such as eating salty fried processed food and not exercising. The problem is that they blame God for their own bad choices. They don’t take personal responsibility for their actions. They are acting like animals and not like humans.

Humans and animals

“Humans — who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals — have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and ‘animals’ is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them — without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us.”
From “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” (1992) by Carl Sagan and co-written Dr. Ann Druyan

If we can do this to animals, then how do we treat humans? If we can separate and de-personalize animals, to separate them into “things”, then do we also do that to humans?

Is it how we are able to enslave humans?
No living wage, no health care.
Treating people as if “They deserve it”
Women being treated like things and objects.
Human trafficking.

In many ways we don’t seem to have made humans above animals. We don’t eat them, but we don’t let them live either, not really. We create laws so people can’t make their own choices about their lives and then experience the consequences – thus depriving them of valuable learning opportunities. Our laws treat people like children.