The following is a message from Circle executive director, Emily Bennington, delivered each Friday to Course Companions members. Course Companions is our global community of students and teachers walking through the Course, section-by-section and lesson-by-lesson, together as friends. For access to any classes, handouts, and additional commentaries referenced in these posts, we invite you to join Course Companions by visiting CourseCompanions.com. Please note that partial and full scholarships are available and no one is turned away from Circle of Atonement programming for an inability to pay.
July 24, 2020
This was our second full week of expanded Course Companions programming and I continue to be amazed at the depth and breadth of content produced here at the Circle on a near-daily basis.
Our Monday Prayer Ministry Gatherings anchor the week in a time of shared silence, something we are pleased to offer given how powerful group prayer and meditation can be. The focus this week was on gratitude, inspired by Workbook Lessons 195 and 197. If you would like to watch past gatherings or join a future gathering, you can find the link on our new Prayer Ministry page here: https://circleofa.org/prayer-
Our Tuesday Workbook class focused on Review 6, the final review, where we saw all of the elements of Workbook practice (morning and evening quiet time, hourly remembrance, frequent reminders, and response to temptation) finally come together into a single whole. In this review, we are also taught a kind of meditation in which, rather than concentrating on particular words, “We merely close our eyes, and then forget all that we thought we knew and understood.” If you’re interested in learning more about Course-based meditation, we have a webinar hosted by Mary Anne and a podcast with Robert and I on the Circle’s website, in addition to articles on meditation in our online library.
Our Wednesday Text class centered on the theme of sacrifice, which is a big topic in Chapter 15. This was one of those classes that struck a chord because the content forced us to look at two ways in which we use sacrifice to manipulate the behavior of others. (1) We use our own “giving” in a relationship to say, in effect, “I sacrificed for you and now you owe me.” (2) We use our general sense that we have been victimized and deprived as justification to deprive others—induce them to sacrifice for us.
Our Walking the Path gathering with Mary Anne Buchowski picked up from last week’s “home back to home” journey and continued on a quest that is one of joy. “This quest is one of joy” appears in the “Lessons of the Holy Spirit,” (T-6.VII(C).12) and was offered as a means to heal our sense of separation from God and His Kingdom––of which we are “an essential part”––and to our resulting split mind and will. Mary Anne walked everyone through a beautiful prayer, inviting us to apply it to our own sense of progress on the path. Also on the topic of joy, I know I speak for many of you when I say how overjoyed we are to have Mary Anne teaching in Course Companions each week.
Our Song of Prayer class focused on the seeming contradiction that exists between asking for guidance on specific matters while also recognizing, as it says in the material we covered, that “there is only one problem and one answer.” Jesus addresses the tension between those two ideas with characteristic brilliance. I hope you’ll watch the replay below and, if you’d like to read Song of Prayer commentary or watch previous classes, you’re welcome to visit our Song of Prayer page in the Course Companions membership site here: https://coursecompanions.com/
I should mention that we are adding Song of Prayer and Walking the Path to our Course Companions home page so you’ll be able to find those more easily in the membership site soon.
Finally, I hope you’ll join Robert and me tomorrow for our Sunday Gathering at 11am Eastern. Neda Boin will be with us again and the theme is “Only the Open-Minded Can Be at Peace.” This is an extremely important topic, especially in these times of great division. Jesus must recognize our difficulty too, as the Manual cites open-mindedness as “perhaps the last of the attributes the teacher of God acquires.”
See you soon, Companion.