The other day I spent time using the commentary paragraph in Lesson 222 (“God is with me. I live and move in Him.) as a prayer, by changing the words so that I said them directly to God (and put some extra sentence-breaks in). It’s something I’ve done many times before, but this time it clicked into place like never before. It felt so good that I wanted to share it with you.
You are with me.
God being “with” me is such a simple idea. Yet when we are talking about someone we love, “with” is the best idea there is. It is the opposite of separation, and therefore the opposite of loneliness.
You are my Source of life, the life within.
I take this to mean that the very essence of my being flows from God and is God’s Being. As a result, my very life, my vital principle, the light of my existence, is God’s. It is something I constantly receive from God. I am not a clay figure fashioned by His Hand, so that afterward I exist on my own. I am a stream flowing from His spring.
You are the air I breathe.
This does not mean that air is really God. It means that God is my real air. God is my oxygen. My real being breathes that oxygen all the time, and thus maintains itself. My current mind gets only little sips of this oxygen, which is why I am always gasping for air.
You are food by which I am sustained.
Again, this does not mean that physical food is really God. It means that God is my real food. Just as my body has a primal need for food, so my being has a primal need for God. Just as food is what sustains my body, so God is what sustains the real me. And in God, this “food” is a free, abundant, and never-ending feast. If I really let myself live in this feast, I would never need any other food again. God is only food I really need.
You are the water which renews and cleanses me.
This refers to two key functions of water in our experience. Water renews us when we are thirsty and water cleanses us when we are dirty. But water really only renews and cleanses our body. Imagine God as the water that really renews us. Imagine God as the water that really cleanses us. God is our true water, just as God is our true oxygen and our true food.
You are my home, wherein I live and move.
Air, food, and water are things that sustain us, in whatever environment we live in. In this line we find out that God is our true environment. Just as our body lives in a physical house, so our being lives in the house of God. Our real home is the sanctuary of God’s Heart. And there, as the Course points out many times, we feel truly at home, something we never manage to feel in any home in this world. There, we can endlessly relax.
You are the Spirit Which directs my actions, offers me Its Thoughts, and guarantees my safety from all pain.
God is also that parental presence who guides, illuminates, cares for, and protects us in this uncertain world. We normally think of that function as being the Holy Spirit’s, and it is. But in this line, God is the Holy Spirit. As an extension of God, the Holy Spirit, you could say, is just God in another form. Therefore, any gratitude we have toward the Holy Spirit, any trust in Him and reliance on Him, is simltaneously felt toward God. By relying on the Holy Spirit we are leaning on the Arm of God.
You cover me with kindness and with care,
I love this image. It’s a brief line buried in the middle of the paragraph, but it speaks volumes. Imagine God covering you with kindness and with care. Try to imagine that this is not just flowery metaphor but really is the case. Lesson 50 mentions “a blanket of surety and protection,” so you might imagine the covering as a blanket.
…and hold in love the Son you shine upon, who also shines on you.
The Course has many images of God embracing us. I think these are only partly metaphorical, for an embrace needn’t be physical. You can be embraced by someone’s mind, by someone’s love. Likewise, “shine” is not just a physical thing. A person can shine on another, by “beaming” approval onto that other. So imagine God holding us in His loving Arms, while shining His full approval on us. They say that infants are born able to see just far enough to see, from their mother’s arms, their mother’s looking down on them in love. For an infant, that loving gaze while being held by the mother is just as primal of a need as air, food, and water. Perhaps it is for us, too.
If you were really held in God’s Arms while He shines His love and approval on you, what could you possibly do but shine back? And what greater joy could there be than that mutual shining?
How still am I who know the truth of what You speak today!
If I really listen to God, I will hear the above picture in everything He tells me. His words will be what carries to me the food, air, and water of His presence. Therefore, when I hear His words and believe them, what can I feel but perfect contentment? And in that contentment, what can I be but absolutely still?