Our Gratitude to God
Excerpts from the Workshop held at the
Foundation for A Course in Miracles
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
"It can be but my gratitude I earn" (W-pI.197) (conclusion)
(W-pI.197.6:2-3) But learn to let forgiveness take away the sins you think you see outside yourself, and you can never think the gifts of God are lent but for a little while, before He snatches them away again in death. For death will have no meaning for you then.
When I allow my mind to be corrected for me by the Holy Spirit I realize that the sins are not outside me but inside. In other words, it is not you I crucify; it is myself I crucify (W-pI.196). But because I am the one who has done that, I can change my mind about it. That is what gets me from the left-hand chair to the middle chair. At that point I will no longer think that God is the One Who has done this to me. Once I realize that you have not done this to me, but I have done this to me, I will realize that God has not withdrawn His Love from me. I have withdrawn my love from me. He has not done that. I am the one who has moved away, not Him.
Death will no longer have meaning for me, because the meaning death has in this world is that it is God's punishment. God lends His gifts for a little while, which is the time I am alive in this body, and then He snatches them away again in death. There is a part of us that believes God is the author of life, and God is giving me this life. Then God, in "His greater wisdom," a euphemism for God in "His vengeful wrath," takes this life away from me-God has called me back to Him, something usually said in funeral services. That is a hell of a God! He gives you a gift of life for 30, 40, 50, 80 years, and then poof!-it is gone again. The ego's interpretation is that He takes life away because you stole it from Him, so now He is punishing you by taking it back.
When you realize all this is made up-that we are the ones who made up death, not God-then death will not have any meaning for us anymore, because the only meaning death has for us is that it is punishment.
(W-pI.197.7:1-2) And with the end of this belief [that God is going to punish us and kill us] is fear forever over. Thank your Self [the Christ in us.] for this, for He is grateful only unto God, and He gives thanks for you unto Himself.
The original perception of the ego was that my self is not grateful to God because God is dominating it-He is a dictator, a big boss. He is not a loving Creator or a loving Father. Therefore this self, the ego, is not grateful to God. My Self, however, is grateful to God, but it is not gratitude as we know it in the world, because the Christ Self is not separate from God and could not even know there is a God to Whom It should be grateful. This passage is meant more metaphorically.
(W-pI.197.7:3) To everyone who lives will Christ yet come, for everyone must live and move in Him.
That line is from St. Paul (Acts 17:28). The text says, "The outcome is as certain as God" (T-2.III.3:10). We will all awaken from the dream and return home.
(W-pI.197.7:4-5) His Being in His Father is secure, because Their Will is One. Their gratitude to all They have created [God and Christ] has no end, for gratitude remains a part of love.
The song of gratitude we sing in this world is still a song of illusion because it is being grateful to someone perceived as outside us. The song of gratitude between God and Christ is not an illusion because it is a soundless song sung within the One Mind.
(W-pI.197.8:1-2) Thanks be to you, the holy Son of God. For as you were created, you contain all things within your Self.
There are no things outside God; all things are within us, which means all loving thoughts are within us. This does not literally mean there is a thing within the Self, which is a state of perfect Oneness.
(W-pI.197.8:3-4) And you are still as God created you. Nor can you dim the light of your perfection.
That is the end of the ego's thought system, which tells us we have not only dimmed the light of our perfection as Christ, but we have put it out. It will never more be lit again.
(W-pI.197.8:5-7) In your heart the Heart of God is laid. He holds you dear, because you are Himself. All gratitude belongs to you, because of what you are.
(W-pI.197.9:1-2) Give thanks as you receive it. Be you free of all ingratitude to anyone who makes your Self complete.
The idea is that every seemingly fragmented thing outside me is part of myself because we are all thoughts. First, we reunite all the thoughts of the self because the mind of the ego is all one. At that point, we realize all of this is simply a defense against the one thought we all share as God's Self, as Christ, which is a thought of love. That is what this means. The only way I can awaken from this terrible dream of separation and fragmentation is to realize that none of us has separate interests. That is what the gratitude is for. It is a correction for the experience of ingratitude that says you have a gift and I want it. You took it from me, and I want to get it back. It is realizing that we all share the same gift.
(W-pI.197.9:2-8) Be you free of all ingratitude to anyone who makes your Self complete. And from this Self is no one left outside. Give thanks for all the countless channels which extend this Self. All that you do is given unto Him. All that you think can only be His Thoughts, sharing with Him the holy Thoughts of God. Earn now the gratitude you have denied yourself when you forgot the function God has given you. But never think that He has ever ceased to offer thanks to you.
The gratitude has been lifted to a much higher place. Gratitude at the end is really taken as a symbol of the Love of God and the Thought of Love that all of us share. But it is a Thought of Love that we believe we have denied, thrown away, and will never get back. The ultimate meaning of all gratitude we feel is the fact that we were wrong and God was right. What we thought has been forever lost has simply been held in safekeeping for us. It is the gratitude we feel toward each other, toward Jesus, and toward God that allows us to have that memory be returned to us.
Let me close by reading the very end of the teacher's manual. This is a wonderful expression of gratitude from Jesus to us. It is basically his blessing to us as we go out into the world to be his teachers.
And now in all your doings be you blessed.
God turns to you for help to save the world.
Teacher of God, His thanks He offers you,
And all the world stands silent in the grace
You bring from Him. You are the Son He loves,
And it is given you to be the means
Through which His Voice is heard around the world,
To close all things of time; to end the sight
Of all things visible; and to undo
All things that change. Through you is ushered in
A world unseen, unheard, yet truly there.
Holy are you, and in your light the world
Reflects your holiness, for you are not
Alone and friendless. I give thanks for you,
And join your efforts on behalf of God,
Knowing they are on my behalf as well,
And for all those who walk to God with me.