221 — I Behold The Christ In You
This Sunday and each Sunday, in most of our Unity churches, we often bless children and others by saying "I behold the Christ in you." Sometimes we sing the well-known song I Behold The Christ In You, written by Frank B. Whitney, the words and music shown to the left (click on the image to open a larger picture).
Have you thought about what that really means? Would you like to have that penetrate deep into your heart each and every day? Would you like to be able to say that in the quiet of your heart when you are with friends and family? When you encounter people who are busy and people who are stressed? Would you like to be able to reflect back to them the Christ they are? Would you like to have the loving consiousness of Mr. Rogers, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa and Cesar Chavez?
If so, here is something you will like ...
Rev. Tom Thorpe, minister at Unity of Independence, and so well-known to many students at Unity, has developed a beautiful method to help us behold the Christ in each person we meet. Is there any greater work we have before us this week?
Second, would you like to have links here to some audio files of Unity singers and musicians sharing their voice and heart though this song? I know I do. So, this is my appeal to those of you who are singers and musicians: if you are moved by the words of this song or by Tom's reflection below, record and send to me at firstname.lastname@example.org an MP3 of you playing or singing I Behold The Christ In You. I'll put your recording up here in a playlist. It will be your Christmas gift to the Unity community who gather here to know Spirit.
May the words of Frank B. Whitney, the spiritual direction of Tom Thorpe and the spirit that flows through the hearts of Unity singers, songwriters and musicians bless, and bless and bless!
A Message From Tom Thorpe About I Behold The Christ In You
With this unit, we bring our study of The Christ in the Bible to a close. I pray affirming, however, that, for all of us, the conclusion of this formal study will mark not an end to your dialogue with the Christ idea but rather the beginning of a new depth of interest in and engagement of the Christ and all that the Christ means in your life. You'll remember from our study of the first chapter of the Gospel of John that, "without the Christ, nothing was made."
Perhaps, also, this study will mark the beginning of a more positive, powerful, and helpful awareness of Jesus Christ and his teachings.
This course feels like one of my spiritual children. I've been working with it for several years. It continues to evolve, with at least minor changes every time I repeat it. I encourage you, as you continue to study the Scriptures and to work with the ideas we've explored here, to let me know about any new and helpful insights you develop along your path.
The final prayer treatment we'll use in this course comes from Unity's hymnal Wings of Song. You'll see it as #64 and #65 in Wings of Song. Frank B. Whitney wrote I Behold The Christ In You.
I behold the Christ in you,
Here the life of God I see;
I can see a great peace, too,
I can see you whole and free.
I behold the Christ in you,
I can see this as you walk;
I see this in all you do,
I can see this as you talk.
I behold God's love expressed,
I can see you filled with power;
I can see you ever blessed,
See Christ in you hour by hour.
I behold the Christ in you,
I can see that perfect One;
Led by God in all you do,
I can see God's work is done.
I encourage you to memorize this prayer, as I did years ago. Use it as an affirmation for yourself, to celebrate yourself when your energy is high, when you truly know your Christ nature. Use it to remind yourself of the Truth when you are feeling less than "Christlike."
Use it as an affirmation for those you love, speaking their name before you say the prayer. Prayed in faith and love, I Behold the Christ in You has been known to lift the spirits and the vision of those for whom it is prayed.
Finally, I Behold the Christ in You is a very effective first step in learning to love those people you find it difficult to love. When, for example, you feel hurt because of what another person has said or not said, done or not done, responding to that hurt by praying every verse of the prayer with as much positive energy as you can muster is guaranteed to help you lift your own spirits and consciousness. It may very well, also, lift the spirits of the one for whom you pray it.
One Unity teacher taught her students to write the entire prayer — by hand, not on a typewriter or computer — every time they held an unloving or unforgiving thought toward anyone. She taught them to concentrate on each word as they wrote, doing their best to hold the thoughts the prayer expresses in both their minds and hearts — and mean them. If, after writing the complete prayer, the student noticed any lingering negative thoughts or feelings, s/he was to write the prayer again — and again until s/he could really feel the power of the words.
If it's true that the Christ, the image and likeness of God, is the true essence of every person, and if it's true that our path to the next step in humankind's spiritual evolution is through accepting, engaging, and expressing our own Christ nature, then our prayer practice of repeating this prayer, I Behold the Christ in You, is worth much more than the effort required to learn and use it.
I pray, beholding the ongoing awareness and expression of Christ in all of you who share this journey with me.