“Though I speak with the tongue of man and of angels, and have not charity, I am like sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal “. 1 Corinthians, chapter 13.
These words written to the Corinthians are perhaps the best known of all Paul’s writings and must surely prove the operative message to all peoples, whether they be Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew or Spiritualist – they personify love. Why then are we constantly faced with the old argument ? What is the difference between Christian Spiritualism and Pure Spiritualism, or indeed the relationship?
Let us start with Jesus, the Saviour God of the Christians, born of a woman two thousand years ago. He was born a Jew, lived the life of a Jew and practiced the teachings laid down by the Jewish faith. But his inner awareness and understanding took him further for it was not love that he taught. That has been with man since he first took breath. He taught and illustrated compassion. In other words he tried to teach man about his true relationship, not only with himself, but to his brother man irrespective of colour or creed.
The word Christian comes from the word ‘christos’ meaning ‘anointed’, but even so it is just a word to take it further – a label, and one that over the ages has taken on many connotations. I would say that the ‘inner’ teachings of Jesus have been lost in a fog of man’s interpretations, so that we have offshoots in Christianity with Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Quakers, Unitarians etc. furthermore each country constituting a leader for it’s particular worship. In Scotland you have the moderator of the Church of England, and so too in Wales and N. Ireland. Even at this time seminars are held to try to unite all these offshoots of the Christian faith.
One of the most significant features of today’s world is the marked decline of organised religion. Facts prove that one hundred years ago, 40% of the population of Great Britain attended church regularly, whereas less than 8% attend now in spite of the fact that Christian teachings are broadcast daily and Christian services can be seen regularly on TV. Yet the position of the Church continues to grow steadily worse. While men and women have experimented and increased their knowledge, and evolved, the Christian religion has remained static, remained within the worship of form hemmed in by creed, based upon superstition and misunderstanding. They follow the letter rather than the spirit of their teaching. Now only a small minority of British people regard religion as a Spiritual necessity.
This is the age of the Thinkers. The time when doctrines and time honored systems will crumble is when ignorance of God is no longer a stepping stone to faith. I would say that Jesus of Nazareth had a mission in life to teach the oneness of God and that life is eternal. There is no death. Are these not the principles of Spiritualism? They should be – we should be a further link that forms a spiritual chain to bind all peoples together in love.
What we do not sufficiently realise is that Truth is in all religions, not only in the religion of the West, for God is the Father of Spirits. Spiritualist knowledge helps to bring out the Spiritual truths upon which each religion is founded to reveal to all people the one continuous life behind the many changes. No one faith or person holds all the truths.
John J. Delaney wrote the following words “When we look at the world as a great wagon wheel of which we are the spokes and God is the hub, it becomes clear that our first task is to remain anchored to the hub. There in the centre we find ourselves most closely connected with each other. From that centre in which we are all rooted the force comes forth to make that wheel turn.”
Our first duty therefore is to be more concerned with God. Not a man-made God, a Saviour God, but a God who is ‘Spirit’ who lies deep within our being. I feel we have failed miserably if we have to wrap this wonderful truth with paraphernalia.
Have we forgotten the vision of a humble man preaching to the multitude? The man who took the hand of a prostitute, the man who spent his time among the poor? While the Old World is crashing about our ears, Spiritualists should be working together for a better world. A united world and world peace.
Our understanding of God’s Divine Law must surely be that Jesus the prophet like other ‘Spiritual Greats’ who have walked the earth, first in one country and then another taught us not only humility and compassion, but most of all the ever present love of Spirit.
Spiritualism is the greatest religion ever-bestowed on mankind. Under such blessings, every Spiritualist should aim to become knowledgeable of our teachings, intuitive, charitable, just and progressive in all directions. Spiritual Growth is the central law of our being and the object and result of all experience. Through Spiritual growth we shall overcome evil with good, and straighten the crooked ways of error and injustice.
True Spiritualism liberates mankind from slavery to creeds and gives the individual wholly to himself. There is only one path open to Spiritualists and that is to harken to the inner voice of the real self and raise one’s consciousness to higher levels of Spirit Power. Let the wisdom of Spirit be our guide, and serve.
Ernest Thompson one of Spiritualism’s great pioneers wrote these words, “A spiritual revolution will sweep the earth, and man will enter a ‘Spiritual Age’. Instead of material survival, spiritual survival will become the great incentive to progress”.
Indeed few of us realize the greatness of what we teach or preach. We mistake our words for wisdom, our mouthy frothings for divine inspiration. We prate that we are freed from creed and dogma and straightaway we formulate others in their place. We claim the right to express our ideas and deny it to those who differ from us.
We mistake the sunlight for the sun, and at even, wander in the dusk of our vain imaginings, thinking we know all.
As I understand Spiritualism after a lifetime’s study and service, its functions include the spreading of the truth and seeking for still further knowledge and understanding. We cannot stand still for to do so would be stagnation, which must lead to eclipse.
We have traveled far since the days of the early pioneers who suffered sorely for their beliefs, and while we offer to them our gratitude and our admiration for all they did, we know that it would be far from their desire that there should be no further progress.
We seek to lead the world to a state of real brotherhood in which disharmony and self-seeking shall no longer exist. To us the way is clear, for it was laid down so emphatically by Jesus of Nazareth whose teachings still remain a guide for right living. Indeed, Jesus as we Spiritualists understand, was a trance medium and under the highest spirit guidance, but the road became obscure by faulty teachings that lead to the varied creeds and beliefs that characterize the Christian Church as we know it today.
It is our aim as true Spiritualists to clear away these faulty teachings and to present a ‘Way of Life’ that shall bring the world to a peace and brotherhood it has never experienced. We cannot hasten the process, which must necessarily be slow, but we are sure that no good end could be achieved by laying violent hands on the beliefs of others. Rather must they be won by example and truth.
Spiritualism has certainly led to the discovery that what I believed to be a rare gift of the Saints, Lords and Masters was actually open to those who were ready to make the pilgrimage to the inner sanctuary where spiritual illumination can be found.
Our researches, as true Spiritualists have taught us that we are all Spirit, and as such all can approach the absolute, can attune and commune without calling on a particular Spirit that lived 2,000 years ago to intercede or redeem us for any failings in our evolutionary part of life.
Jesus the Prophet was constantly teaching that accordingly to how we sow so shall we reap, which is contrary to the idea of him dying to save the sins of others. Should we not be emphasizing to our fellow men and women the importance of finding first the Kingdom of Heaven within?
Presidential Address by Gordon Higginson
Spiritualists National Union
Annual General Meeting 1986