The Parable of the Lost Son
"A certain man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."
And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.
Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.'
But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, 'Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.'
And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'"
(Luke 15: 11-32, New King James Bible).
My husband grew up on a somewhat isolated farm in Northern Illinois, several miles away from the small 'home town' where his family shopped and he and his siblings went to school. In those days, automobiles were not so reliable; and in the cold winters, their car heater didn't always work. Also, roads were not plowed as quickly as they are today; so, trips home from town (and other places) could be quite treacherous to navigate. The family was often fearful that their car might break down along the way home; and, if a breakdown on the road did occur, there were no cell phones or much traffic on the country roads to rely upon for rescue.
But during these homeward-bound treks in bad weather, they would come to the turn off the 'hard road'. This turn led straight to their farm, about a mile and a half away. Whenever they came to that turn, my husband's mom would cheerfully say, "Well, we can walk from here!"
These cheery words reminded them that, even if the car broke down now, their link with home was clearly before them. Their deliverance was just at hand. The turn onto that road became something that sustained them throughout the years. It was the point at which their awareness shifted from danger to safety.
Their turning upon the road-going-home reminds me of the 'turning' in consciousness illustrated in the biblical story of the prodigal son (see top of this article). It is one of Jesus' most compelling parables. It conveys the message that, throughout time, our heavenly Father is always at Home, awaiting our return in consciousness from this earthly experience to the realm of Spirit, where we actually "live and move and have our being," (Acts 17: 28 to comma)
In the second paragraph of this parable, it says, 'But when he came to himself'... . These words illustrate the mental turning point, when the wayward son suddenly remembers who he really is, and where his true home remains: in the safety and security of his father's presence. This is the symbolic message of the realm of Spirit that awaits the 'return' of all of us who have left the conscious awareness of the Kingdom of God and the conscious awareness of our own spiritual identity. Wandering through the realm of materiality, accepting a false, mortal identity (and all the lacks, trials and tribulations that go with it) we need only make that turn in consciousness to become aware, again, of our true home, identity and everlasting safety in it.
God, the Creator, is Spirit—not a material super-creature. God's creation is an everlasting, spiritual realm that has no dualism of good and evil characteristics that would ultimately result in a self-destructed universe. The universe of Spirit is the result of God's Infinite Intelligence, which would never create an evil side to the everlasting good that characterizes true existence. God's everlasting creation is done…completed; and so is everything and everyone in it. God is the divine Parent (Source) of all that exists in reality, be it person, place, or thing.
When Christ Jesus was roaming the countryside of what we now call the middle-east, his teachings and speeches to the masses concentrated upon declaring that the everlasting Kingdom of God is always still at hand—despite its invisibility to the five, physical senses of humanity. This kingdom is sometimes called, Heaven, referring to the everlasting harmony that exists in God's spiritual creation. People hearing him were often perplexed by Jesus' words of this seemingly mystical place called heaven, expecting it to be a physical location.
On one occasion, when the Pharisees blatantly asked Jesus the location of this heavenly Kingdom of God, the biblical account says, "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17: 20-22, King James Bible).
Jesus was telling us that we weren't going to see or perceive the heavenly kingdom of God's eternal life and harmony with our physical eyes of detection. Heaven isn't in the material universe of form. Instead, he pointed to our own mental consciousness as the place to find our everlasting life and harmony, showing that heaven is a divine state of mind, or a spiritual state of mind—not a physical place on this level of material thought and manifestation.
Thus, finding the Kingdom of God, with all its health, abundance, and eternal life is within grasp of each one's own conscious awareness, here and now; and it can even be actually found within us before we leave this human experience of material form and the lacks-of-good we encounter in this false sense of life.
By all the healings of disease, and injury, as well as all the healings over other forms of lack that Jesus and his disciples performed, proof was given that the eternal good, which exists in the Kingdom of God, can be brought forth into manifested form to make our earthly experience less dangerous and unhappy. This is what Jesus meant when he said, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10 King James Bible).
Today in our earthly experience, the words above can seem nebulous to humanity. The abundant life that is promised doesn't really make much sense to us in the face of all the lacks that seem to be so powerful. We humanly lack good economic times, freedom from physical and mental diseases, and most of all, we can't seem to find PEACE anywhere on the planet.
Yet, the Kingdom of God's heavenly harmony was never said to be 'out there' in the outer world of material form. The outer world of form and civilization is what the carnal mentality has made of life, not what God's creation is about. The heavenly kingdom is said to reside in our innate spiritual consciousness, awaiting our awareness and realization of it.
To further our search for peace and all other forms of well-being, there are two, specific statements Christ Jesus made about finding and entering the Kingdom of God within: (I like to use the King James Version of the Bible when quoting the words of Jesus.)
Now, the general belief or world thought of these two statements is that Jesus is speaking only of his own identity. Yet, there is a distinction to be made here. In these two statements, the 'I' he is pointing to is the universal Christ, which is our spiritual identity—the Christ identity of us all. He is not speaking of the fleshly individual, Jesus. He is correcting the seeming dualism of identity: the physical, fleshly man versus the spiritual image and likeness of God.
During his ministry, when using the word 'I', Jesus was often speaking of the Christ of himself and all others. He was identifying the spiritual individuality of himself and all God's sons and daughters, right where a mortal, fleshly identity appears to be in a material form. He was giving up his Jesus identity for the Christ (spiritual reality) of his being. Jesus was showing us that the fleshly identity is our prodigal identity—the false, material-seeming identity that is asleep, mentally, in the Adam dream of physical form, where we seem separated from our spiritual Source.
In these two statements, Jesus is saying that by mentally putting on, or claiming our own Christ identity, our true spiritual Selfhood, we are able to heal the ills of the flesh and all the lacks that come to us out of the false beliefs of this materially-mental realm. That like the lost son in the prodigal parable, we must 'come to ourselves' and remember who we really are (God's own spiritual children) and where we are (in the invisible kingdom of God, still at One with the Source of our everlasting being).
It is only in our awakening to our true Self that we find the Christ Consciousness within, which speaks to us of all things spiritual and ever-lasting. This divine consciousness is within us all, to be heard and saved from all earthly ills and bad situations. We call it forth in our human consciousness when we REALIZE it is here, right within us. This is the turning that is so important—the turning to our Christ Consciousness within, since it is our very link to God.
Here's an illustration of what I mean:
While going through a terrifying situation several years ago, I couldn't handle the fear and dread that I felt. I knew, from experience, that God was with me, and that all was really well in God's creation. Yet, the fear of what was going on around me (out there) was so powerful for me that I couldn't even think of spiritual things, let alone feel God's presence.
Finally, after many days of this mental state, where I was completely mesmerized by the fear, I remembered the presence of the Christ Consciousness within. So, I turned my thoughts to this divine presence and asked it to tell me what I needed to know, or do, to defeat this debilitating fear I was feeling.
Within minutes, the thought came to me to remember that God upholds our true mind and body. God upholds the Christ Consciousness, and no fear of earthly happenings can enter this divine Consciousness within us, which is always at peace. The thoughts continued to guide me by telling me that I should not say, "I am afraid"; for the 'I' of my true being is really my spiritual (Christly) identity, and my real, spiritual identity is never afraid.
The quiet voice within told me that fear could never really belong to any of God's off-spring. So, we all have the power to deny that any fear can take hold of us, or ever be a part of us. The fear I was feeling was the fear resulting from the false, material sense of myself. My Christ Self had no fear because it knew too much spiritual truth to be afraid of anything in the human, material world of form and condition.
The thoughts within continued, by saying that God's invisible laws were taking place, protecting me, even when God seemed completely absent. The Kingdom of God is NEVER absent, and Its harmony and love for all is the only power in reality. Do not accept any physical power or law as real, I was 'told'. God alone governs you and everyone.
After these thoughts flowed into the forefront of my human thinking, they began to blot out the false sense of a power opposed to God. Peace washed over me, as it had many times before, and the fear was gone. Soon after, the human condition that was producing the earlier fear was resolved and vanished from my experience. I was free of both fear and the 'bad' itself.
Making that turn to our Christ-Mind within is really making the turn back to God. Like a sunbeam, still at one with its Sun-source, we emanate from God, our spiritual Source. Our God-connection has never been broken. Therefore, we are always protected by Spirit and Spirit's laws, when we rightly turn to God for deliverance from earthly discords, and powers, we erroneously believe in.
Every identity and thing that exists is still connected to God, Spirit. Christ Jesus came to re-establish our recognition of this forever link to God, and he pointed the way that takes us no further than within ourselves.
Jesus' Christ identity, not Jesus the material man, came to show us ourselves—our spiritual, ever-lasting selves. That identity exists within us on this side, and that side, of the physical death and grave experience. Nothing physical is real…not physical life, not physical death. Our only reality is in our spiritual existence, whatever lower level of consciousness we are mentally accepting and dwelling upon. And each one of us must, at some time or another in infinity, mentally awaken to find his true self and her true self, where it always was: safe in God's eternal Love and Life.