Creating Sacred Space; The Return to Paradise

From a Sermon given at the Spring Equinox Worship Service on March 26, 2023.

In this community we’ve been talking a lot lately about time, about the importance of taking time into consideration to respect the body’s needs, about the importance of remembering that time as an illusion as far as spirit goes, and about the need to learn how to work with those seemingly contradictory perspectives.

I remind you that they are not in Truth, contradictory. They just appear to be so when viewed by the human brain. As human beings struggle to negotiate current events with the unfolding landscape changing far in excess for which many are prepared, what is required is a leap of faith, a commitment to not only growing beyond the glass ceiling imposed by the human central nervous system and its brain; but taking huge steps into territory previously left primarily to artists, prophets, saints, indigenous populations and others who have had the courage and/or permission to explore beyond what can be known through the five senses of the physical body.  

I have been (largely) amused by all the individuals in our society who actually think they can stem the tide of these waves of new levels of spirit-driven human consciousness. Political and religious leaders in particular seem to be convinced that they can maintain their power and prestige by blocking those who are trying to unearth—i.e., bring up from the hidden caverns of the Earth—our collective history so we can reexamine and expand it to include others who have been marginalized or misrepresented.

But this expansion of perspective that society is undergoing, this debate about whether we are going to allow larger and more truthful representations of who we are as a collective entity is not really about our history. It is about our future, our future as a species on Planet Earth.

Let us get right to the point of how we go about further growing human consciousness, and what a leap of faith will require of us as individuals and a collection of individuals.  

Leap of Faith by Lucy Campbell, Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

I want to talk about two key aspects of this subject. First of all, I want to talk about the unchangeable aspect of that leap that will continue into the future irrespective of whatever else takes place. Second of all, I want to talk about the part we CAN and must change as we recast human history in a way that will help us make the transition into an unknown future.

So first of all, what is the existing part of the game plan here that is NOT subject to change over time? By the way, we have prepared ourselves for accepting that there is an unchangeable and a changeable aspect of reality as the path to serenity, a commitment to peace, through a widely-shared mantra. You have all heard the words: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.    

What can’t we change? Simply put: God.

In our arrogance human beings have been very confused about God. We get lost to our lack of understanding of what is God and what is not God. Most or all of the evil done on the Planet has been in large part because we struggle with this question. Wars have been fought and genocide or enslavement of whole populations have been carried out by defining outside groups as “other”—the ones that are not of God or blessed by God by virtue of belonging to whatever group to which we belong. This is the “tribal thinking” human animals have done since day one. Horrific acts of injustice and other forms of persecution have occurred when policy-makers think they are speaking for or doing the will of God, when really, they are only speaking for themselves and those immediately around them.

To add insult to injury, those who have been victimized then often go through enormous further suffering as a result of their belief that if God is not “on their side,” they have been abandoned by God. Many who have witnessed these outbursts of evil played out in the world turn their back on the Creator-of-Us-All, choosing instead the desperate emptiness of atheism or harsh adherence to the misery of determinism. God is on everyone’s side, in a manner that often confounds our physical brain.  

At the heart of all of these problems is a misguided dependency on the human brain as the decision-maker about our reality. Don’t get me wrong:  the human brain is a magnificent miracle of the highest order. But it only processes what is brought to it by the body’s sensory systems. Compared to human consciousness, compared to that capacity that human beings have to access all the information in the entire universe, the brain is a tiny cog. A mere speck of dust in an endless ocean of energy.   

God does not change. So, how do we make sense of a rapidly changing world that comes from a Creator that is everything and everywhere and everyone and is unchangeable?  We don’t. Not, at least, with our brains.

When I am struggling to conceptualize everyday problems from a spiritual perspective, and I run into this perceptual dilemma, this conflict that my brain has with the world being both unchangeable and changing, I find a certain allegory useful.  I like to think of God as the frame. And I like to think of human animals as the painters of the picture within that frame.

We can’t change the frame. We can, however, pick out whatever colors we want for the picture being created in the framework. We can leave the canvas white, infuse it with rainbow hues or paint the whole damn thing black if we want. We can use acrylics or watercolors or glue weird objects to the canvas. We can use delicate brushstrokes or splash colors on willy-nilly. We can paint in the nude, or totally encased in a suit of armor. We can share our resulting masterpiece with thousands of people on social media, sell it to a museum, or destroy it on the spot. All of that is up to us.   

We can’t change the frame, though. That is why we don’t need to be much concerned most of the time with creating sacred space, not really. It’s already created. The framework that we know as Mother Earth is already sacred, every inch of it. Every person, every creature, every plant, every rock, every molecule. The Creator-of-Us-All is all and is in all in some form or another.

Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

We can’t change the frame. That is also why Mother Earth will survive, whether or not human beings remain on it. Personally I believe it is in the framework, or you might say the destiny of the very planet itself that it will eventually be returned to its original state of Paradise. Whether or not human animals are a part of that renewed state, that remains to be seen. I may be wrong.

So, second of all, what can be changed? Pretty much the whole picture of life on Mother Earth. Human beings have been changing it in destructive, unaware ways for many centuries. Many fear that it is too late for human beings to be a part of the picture of life on Earth in the future. From a scientific perspective that relies almost exclusively on that which our brain can process, that may be true. From a spiritual perspective, though my truth says otherwise. It may be and very likely is quite late in the game for human animals to “come to our senses” and we may have only just begun to look at the possibilities for restoring the Earth to its natural state as a paradise, but it’s not too late. How do we create that sacred space, that return to an everyday Paradise?   

To discuss this topic let us look a how human beings as a collective temporarily lost our sacred space. I would like to dive into our “origin story” as the cultural anthropologists call it. In anthropology each culture has a narrative of how it came to be. I want to read you the origin story that pretty much all of us in today’s service were raised on, irrespective of whatever religious tradition or lack thereof your family followed.  This is from Genesis, Chapter 2, Verses 8,9, 15-17.

            And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

            And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; the Tree of

Life also in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

            And the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and to keep it.

            And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat.

            But the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

This is what we believe, or have been told to accept as the starting point for human civilization. Most of us have been HEAVILY programmed to see this starting point in pejorative terms. In other words, there is this stupid person who is given everything beautiful, nourishing and wonderful; along with one simple instruction. That same human willfully disregards the one and only suggestion; and brings death to people forever after. BAD human! Or, as you have probably been programmed to believe—SINFUL human, worthy of disdain, guilt and shame, all of which automatically gets passed along to all descendants.  

One problem here. . .but it is a doozy. God never judges us. That is not a part of the frame. Only love is a part of the frame. Where there is judgment, there are only humans who have lost their way due to foreign energy and other forms of programming. 

I am going to read you Genesis once more. This time, though I invite you to use that simple but profound meditation technique that we teach here at the Church of the Harvest. I invite you to seek out the center of your head. . .and see if you can hear another message this time, one that is not based on condemnation. One in which God simply gives us a choice.

And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

            And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

            And the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and to keep it.

            And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat.

            But the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

What I hear in this passage is the Creator-of-Us-All very lovingly and with detachment asking the human species essentially—do you want to do it the easy way. . .or do you want to do it the hard way? I personally do not hear judgment. To me, humans as a species were simply asked which trajectory we wanted to experience–one that was easy-peasy; and the other, more difficult. Each presented different kinds of challenges but also different levels of rewards. The hard way involves repeated death, as in death of the body, not the soul. The hard way also involves dealing with something called the knowledge of good and evil. 

I don’t hear God saying humans are evil, or good for that matter, only that what we wanted to experience was going to result in the frame being set up in such a way to support that experience. Essentially, God was inviting us to cocreate with him/her/it, bless its soul. And for us mere human animals, for those of his/her/its creations most closely made in his/her/its image, what choice did we make? We decided to go for broke, so to speak.

The divine takes great joy in cocreation with that which it has created. But we have to bring our full selves to the table in order for the partnership to work out well.

I could easily do a whole sermon on what the full ramifications are of this version of Paradise as our origin story. Obviously there are a lot of interesting questions about why we chose the hard way, what we stand to gain. Perhaps we’ll talk about that another day. For now, we are running out of time this morning so I need to cut to the chase somewhat.

If we want to meet those advanced challenges to which we have agreed, and continue to agree by our very presence on Planet Earth, what do humans need to do?

Face death head-on squarely, with as much compassion and as little fear as we can muster. Realize more death is coming for many, but death of the body is not real death. It is a temporary transition, a shift in consciousness.

Let Your Heart Shine Even in Death by Myron Dyal. Image used by permission of the artist.

And finally, as individuals and as cultures, we need to fully explore that thing called the Knowledge of Good and Evilfrom within the framework of Love.  Recognize that dichotomies are what we signed up for. As a society we are just beginning to understand the importance of dichotomies. You can see this every day as the flurry of social media postings and mainstream media stories increasingly focus both on our “dark side” as a species; and the ability of everyday people to choose the path of light that takes us towards the loving framework around us.

Play jump rope with the dichotomies that show up in your life. Having fun with them deenergizes them. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

In the past, as a society we tended to try to hang out on one side of the dichotomy pretending everything was fine, unless the pretense was so ludicrous that we could no longer maintain it. Endorsing positions on an extreme end of a dichotomy is alluring, almost addictive. In part this is because one of the great dichotomies human animals face when they decide to incarnate on this planet is that we have to learn to give up expectations, aka perfect pictures, those deceptive thoughts and feelings that tell us the world is supposed to be a certain way.

As you have heard me say many times, the road to hell is paved with perfect pictures. Truly we cannot experience Heaven-on-Earth until we clear those pesky pictures, those expectations of self or others upon which we operate in a socially-accepted fashion. You know the ones. The rules about how we and others should live. Perfect pictures create anger, fear, disillusionment and confusion. They put us at odds with each other as we battle over the best way to judge each other. In short they cut us off from “the frame” where there is only peace and love.

A soul working to be a part of Mother Earth and thus embodied can strive for perfection or it can strive to be real. Generally it cannot do both in the long run. The latter requires experience and periodic failure. Image with words by Anna Quindlen used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

How do we clear perfect pictures? One set at a time. Any way you can. Noticing them is often the first step, (but not always). Stop being fooled by them, and start disengaging from them by ceasing foolish arguments

By partaking from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, our perspective shifted from the natural neutrality of the spirit world to a consciousness that can involve neutrality but can also exclude it. With our free will we now get to choose what we want to experience. We also opened up a universe of societal expectations with which we grapple on a daily basis. (Apologies to legal professional viewers). Comic by Dan Piaro used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

Suspect perfect pictures when you find yourself in judgement. Work on the energy behind them diligently, knowing they are what is between you and your personal sacred space. Find, that place of peace, the place of balance in-between. This is the part humans can change.

The return to Paradise awaits us in ways our brains cannot yet imagine, with the full blessing of Mother Earth.

You could say that humans are hardwired to divide the world and everything we see therein into “good” or “evil.” Our brains automatically does that for us. Finding the sweet spot in the middle of that dichotomy requires spiritual maturity, awareness and persistent choice. We are being called upon in the present time period to learn to see the bigger picture. In the eye of the divine all are important and sacred. Cartoon used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

And finally, I want to get back to that leap of faith that is possible and needed if we are going to be a part of the journey back to sacred space.

Other life created by the divine is capable of great leaps into the unknown, consistent with its evolution. So too are human animals. Do not be afraid. Take stock of where you are, set your intention for the new space, and leap my friends! Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

I want to finish today by rereading part of our invocation and adding a couple lines that were not previously included. This conversation by visionary Perdita Finn is about what Mother Earth wants to tell us right now. For now, while we wait to see how many individual humans are going to find sacred space within themselves, thereby making themselves a part of a new healthier Planet Earth as it returns to its mission of Heaven-on-Earth, keep this in the back of your mind:


The tapestry of the world is dyed with colors only a fraction of which you can see. There are designs you know nothing of.

So hold fast to that body and know it by the single name that I have written in your heart.  Be neither fearful or fearless,

but rather keep yourself still within and simple without. And listen for the moment when I say, “NOW!”

Copyright by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

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