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Watch and Pray (Rabel)

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This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Lectures given on May 28 and June 1, 1976

Mark 13:31-37, pp. 280-283 of transcript.

13:31Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

13:32But of that day or that hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 13:33Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 13:34It is as when a man, sojourning in another country, having left his house, and given authority to his servants, to each one his work, commanded also the porter to watch. 13:35Watch therefore: for ye know not when the lord of the house cometh, whether at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning; 13:36lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 13:37And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

Beginning on Page 173 in our “Harmonies of the Gospels” in the section called "in the shadow with Jesus", a series of discourses and lessons which constitute what are called the eschatological discourse, which means the doctrine of the end. It is in these sections where Jesus' words are most negative. He says many, many things in these discourses which do not read well, do not sound well because much of it is very negative in tone.

It is very similar to the negative parts of the books of the prophets, and you know how popular they are. This section of the Gospels are the least popular sections, except in negative-oriented religious movements. They love it, because it gives them, of course, much ammunition for their type of doctrine. The so-called restrictive and alarmists, religious zealots, love this part of the Gospel, but metaphysical understanding views these discourses, these sections of the Gospels, as parts, really, of the whole Truth of Jesus Christ and are to be kept in context with the remainder of His teachings. You see it is not fair to extract a certain isolated viewpoint that He expressed, and people are doing this to Charles Fillmore all the time, too. People call this one extract typical of the man's teachings, and this is not fair. If these teachings are put back into the body of the word or the teachings of these people, you see that they fit a certain point of validity in the whole structure or fabric of what was being taught. Do not think it is strange that I use Charles Fillmore's name in the same breath as Jesus Christ. There is not that much discrepancy as far as teaching material goes, because Mr. Fillmore's teachings are so astoundingly based on Jesus' teachings that they must have been tuned in from the same source somewhere along the path.

Now, Jesus is not doing what the literal approach to His words sound as though He is doing, which is negative fortune telling’ you know, negative crystal ball gazing. He is not doing this. He is describing factors that go into patterns of evolutions, that are, in a sense, inescapable; and especially this is typical of what we call in Unity, the final time period of a dispensation, of a world dispensation. Another term that can be used for that is an evolutionary life wave or a dispensation in more religious terms. When the final stages of these are entered into, there is always, there always have been and probably always will be, what is called tumult; a kind of chaos and confusion and things of a rather drastic and spectacular nature occur with more frequency and affect more and more people. Some of this, to those without understanding, and to those who still have the habit of negative reaction, to everything strange or unexpected, these can be very trying times; and people can be made very unhappy and fearful unnecessarily if they do not know the Truth, if they do not understand the principles behind all evolutionary activity. So Jesus is not trying to alarm us but only trying to alert us, and if we are alert with an understanding of His teachings, with at least some background of experience in practicing His teachings, then these vivid occurrences, which are typical of the end periods of dispensations, will not harm us; will not add to any burden of useless, unnecessary suffering.

Now, rather than go over all His eschatological sayings, I am going to zero in on one, which is really does typify and represent all the rest of them. You see there is a lot of repetition in this.

On Page 181 in “Harmonies of the Gospels”, Mark 13:31-37 and in another place in the Gospels in John 16, Jesus makes a statement which has intrigued His followers ever since He spoke it: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." Of course the average intelligent person immediately wonders what those things are, what they are about. Even though Jesus said this 2,000 years ago, we wonder if He would say them to us now, today, could we bear them? This has been a subject of much conjecture. The fact remains that we really do not know what Jesus had in mind; however, right after He said that, He continued with these words: "Howbelt, when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He shall guide you into all the Truth." So, I think all of us here can safely say that the Spirit of Truth has come to us, and that we are being guided at this time; but, how much Truth is all the Truth"? Is there a quantity to it? Surely not. Jesus must have been referring to quality, not quantity; in other words, more facts. He didn't mean that I am sure.

All the Truth must be all that we are able to comprehend at any given moment, so if that is all we are able to comprehend, then for us, we could call it all. The fact that there is yet more does not invalidate the fact that we have all, all we can comprehend at any given moment. So we next ask ourselves, How much of Truth do I now comprehend?" The answer always is, "As much as I am now able to bear, no more, no less." When we are able to bear more, we know more, you see. It is as simple as that. There is one area of human life, I should say existence, in which it seems that many, many of us have terrible difficulty in knowing what the Truth is and how much we can bear of that Truth.

The area I am referring to is what I call one of the great mysteries of life, specifically that mysterious factor in life called "unexpected events". This is a mystery of life. This is an area of life in which many, many persons still feel they cannot bear. They do not know the Truth.

Q. Would you call that a crisis?

A. It can constitute a crisis, yes; but stick with the term itself. I think that is simple enough, unexpected events, especially unwanted, unexpected events. Folks, this aspect of life has baffled people ever since the dawn of human consciousness, and it is doing it as much today. People think that if they come into Truth, unexpected events should not have the impact on them that they did before; but strangely enough, they do because in reaction to the impact of an unexpected, or especially an unwanted, unexpected event, we find that what almost inevitably happens, no matter how grounded a person is in Truth, the happening itself completely dominates his attention.

The fact that this has happened and "it wasn't supposed to happen" or "I didn't want it to happen, why should it happen?" This kind of reaction just clamors for and gets total priority of attention instead of what we are in training to learn to do. The priority for our attention should always be on the truth as we know it. Since so many unexpected events seem to be totally disconnected from the Truth as we teach it, there is a shock, often; then we forget and let go and our attention is grabbed by the event, and there we go. Now, unexpected events are always happening, always; so you might think that we should all have gotten used to their happening, but such is not the case. For most persons, each new unexpected event seems to catch him totally off balance. I have been in Truth for thirty years, and here comes an unexpected event, and ka-boom, I am thrown off balance once more. This is not criticism. This is quite normal. Generally speaking, there are two categories of unexpected events: good fortune and misfortune, fortunate or unfortunate, unexpected blessings or unexpected problems. You get something you did not expect or something you did not expect to be taken away from you, is taken away, a husband, for instance.

Now, in this lesson, we are not going to deal with unexpected good events, simply because for most people, they are no problem; but unexpected misfortune, a difficulty, is another matter. This can be a big, big problem; so concerning this kind of happening in life, we need to know a great deal more of the truth than we usually do in such cases.

Now, when an unexpected problem does occur in one's life, the first reaction in many person's mind is often "Why?"; “Why did it happen to me?" The why of the happening and the why me is surely one of the main mysteries of life. Why does anything happen? Everything that happens in life, in existence, is always the result of a secondary cause, of course. Every occurrence has to have a cause, or else it could not happen. You cannot have a happening without a cause, you see. Going back to basic basics, folks, what causes things to happen in human existence? We are going back to even pre-“Lessons In Truth” here. Every happening in human existence has its cause. There is only one answer to what causes things to happen in human existence: man’s consciousness. This may be hard for some persons to comprehend at first but it is true, nevertheless.

Somewhere, somehow, consciously or subconsciously or even what sometimes we call unconsciously man's mind is the underlying cause of every event that happens in this dimension of existence. Now, whether one cares to believe it or not, admit it or not, this is so. Man's consciousness is the mental projector which outpictures the energies which become manifestation in existence. This includes all events, expected and unexpected; now, all that I have said so far in this lesson is really just preparatory groundwork leading up for us to contemplate some of these words spoken by Jesus, which are directly connected with the dilemma of unexpected events, which I have read.

You notice Jesus is emphasizing "watch and pray". Nobody on the dimension of human existence has the power to foretell every manifestation of consciousness. The unexpected, the unlooked-for is a valid factor of human existence. Jesus says, "No man" (meaning no inhabitants of human existence) "knoweth when the time is." You do not really know for sure exactly what is going to happen next, you see. We do not have that omniscience yet developed in our human perceptive faculties. He also says, "For ye know not when the Lord of the house cometh", when you will meet the results for your former choices of your decisions, either singly or collectively or intermingled. You just really are not ever totally positive of what is next on the movie picture screen of manifestation, three-dimensionally, not two.

So Jesus emphasizes “watch and pray"; however, I think it would be wise not to take His words so much in the sense of "watch out", but rather of the sense of watch within, not beware, but rather observe. Most of Jesus' teachings, as you know, are emphasizing the inner life, the inner world. So observe your inner states, your inner world, and keep prayers going, pray without ceasing, "watch and pray". Never cease your prayer activities. Watch, look within, observe your states, take an inward look. Try to comprehend what you see.

Now, a person might ask, "I do not understand what connection you are making. What about the unexpected? What if an accident occurs? What if sickness strikes out of the blue? What if someone I love changes his feelings toward me without warning? Doesn't Jesus mean that I must watch out for these sorts of happenings?" Well, suppose that is what He meant, be on guard, watch. Would that change anything? Would that help anything? So I am watching, and it happens. So what? That is really not a solution. He is talking about solutions to dilemmas, spiritual logic; so He must mean "watch within yourself, be aware of what you are thinking, how you are feeling, of your attitude."

Q. Even the opposite of that, Ed, to watch and to be imaging. The problem would actually be believing it, wouldn't it?

A. It could very well. You know, "the thing that I feared ...”, or "Thou shalt decree a thing ..." And He doesn't go further than that. He doesn't tell you what to do about what you find when you watch, except one thing: pray. So I watch, I look within myself, and I see that I am building up an attitude of resentment toward my fellow faculty members because they are not agreeing with my point of view on something. All right. I have watched: pray. There are probably a thousand different ways to pray; using my personal example on that bus, my way of praying there was to open my mind to one idea of appreciation, the divine idea of appreciation. I appreciated being on that bus before five o'clock, and that one divine idea led, in my case, to a solution to the whole problem.

So, He says, "Watch and pray". What does that have to do with unexpected events? "You are only telling us to watch and pray. Will this stop unexpected problems? Will this cause unexpected events to always be pleasant?" No. Pray about what you see. That is a process that begins a God-centered consciousness. When you have built a God-centered consciousness, you can face creatively anything that can happen.

How human beings can cope with the mystery of life that is called "unexpected events" is very important and is certainly among the most useful and valid of Jesus' teachings, because it is a dilemma that we are all facing; and it is a dilemma that can happen and can throw a person completely off balance if he is not prepared to meet the experience with what we call Truth. Jesus is, indeed, in this discourse, giving at least an approach to the Truth of how humanity can handle this dilemma. He does not try to solve the dilemma. He just says in effect that the dilemma is there, like He does not try to solve the problem of evil in His ministry. All He does is call attention to the fact that it is there. He said, "In the world we have tribulation." Never anywhere does He try to explain why you have tribulation. He only says that we all have them, and here is the Truth that can help you cope with tribulations. He does not ever diagnose sin. He just calls attention to the fact of sin and then the Truth-way to handle it. By the way, what is the Truth-way to handle sin? Forgive it and do a better job.

Now He is dealing with the unexpected of life-events and particularly of the unwanted, unexpected. I say that He is dealing with the unwanted unexpected events, because the other kind are not problems. They are delights. They are surprises. They are "what I have coming to me." Serendipities. So He did not have to give teachings about that, because it is not a problem, a reward of sorts; but He is helping us to see the dilemma of the problem, of the unexpected.

We have already started into the lesson of interpretation, and I will add a little bit to Page 183 in “Harmonies of the Gospels”, Mark 13:1-37. Now, this coming of the Lord at any time could be equated to the coming into manifestation of the result of one of your former choices or decisions, the outworking of a cycle of manifestation regarding one of your choices or decisions, which you may have entirely forgotten about, but you will still encounter the results somewhere along the line. We do not know when or exactly under what circumstances, so He says "Watch". Jesus often uses the word sleep or asleep as a sort of synonym for forgetfulness or neglect. You forget the Truth. You forget the center upon which your life is based, you see; you forget who you are. You are sleeping.

Text of the original transcript at the 3rd paragraph of p.280 through the next to last paragraph of p.283.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-12-2014