When I was growing up the terms mission and vision would not have been part of my vocabulary. What term would have been important was belief. I was taught to believe I was a sinner and God required a punishment for my sins. If I didn’t believe this, I was to endure eternal punishment. The Good News (Gospel) was that Jesus had done this for me and what I had to do was believe. If, at that time I would have known the terms, my mission statement might have been this:
My mission is to believe that Jesus died for my sins and to accept him as my savior.
I was also taught that Jesus would come back again to take me to heaven if I had believed and accepted, but that he would not come back until every tribe and nation had heard the Gospel so my vision might have been something like:
My vision is that the Gospel will be preached to every tribe and nation so Jesus can come back to take me to heaven.
Believing I was a sinner had me fearful of life and in conflict with others who did not believe as I did. I accepted that sickness and poverty was the will of God. Along the way I became disillusioned with the angry God who demanded punishment, spending many years not consciously considering what I believed.
A Different God Requires a Different Mission/Vision
The time came when I was introduced to a belief system that included a different kind of God, one that was not angry, but loving, that I was not a condemned sinner but a being with divinity within me. This new belief led me to accept that life could be more joyous and productive, that I could experience health, harmony and prosperity as the will of that God.
David Roth sings a song with the beautiful words: “the unseen hand that guides us and the miracle that caused us to believe.” I now fervently believe that I have been guided by an unseen hand and experienced many miracles as my belief system has continued to evolve and thus my mission and vision has evolved as well.
My new mission statement, initially might have been:
My mission is to become more aware of the ever-present, loving God within me.
My new vision would have been:
A future world where all people become aware of a loving God and embrace their own divinity.
The most significant part of my ministerial training was the examination of my belief system (credo). I had embraced the teachings of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore and other New Thought writers and had proved them in my life. But my challenge was how to reconcile Emily Cady’s, “I am Spirit, wholly perfect and harmonious,” with the fact that I didn’t always live up to that affirmation.
Then I discovered the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.* Charles Fillmore had made it clear that our beliefs change as we continue to evolve. Teilhard, the Jesuit priest and paleontologist, told of his belief in evolution, calling it the magic word that haunted his thoughts like a tune with a promise held out and a summons to answer. His thoughts became a central part of my belief system. I, too, have heard that summons.
I now believe that I am the result of, integral part of, and co-creator of, the unfolding creative, loving intelligent Universe. My mission and vision is about living and sharing that information.
My present mission statement is:
To embody, live and teach creation spirituality and the evolution of spiritual consciousness.
My present vision statement is:
I see more and more people creating a world where we are continually guided toward a more loving and enlightened future.
How My Mission/Vision Has Guided My Life
I hold to and teach, in everything I teach, that we are on an upward, forward progression of Spirit. When I encountered a challenge in ministerial school, the message I received was, “I did not bring you this far to leave you now.” Over the years I have made that message a reminder that we are on a never ending journey with evolving missions and visions along the way.
My continued exploration has led me to understand that we have continued to evolve through levels of consciousness, each one bringing us to different beliefs about the nature of God and of humankind, and who we are and why we are here. By looking back over our long history we can see that every time we begin to move to a new level of consciousness there has been huge chaos and disorder as the old consciousness tries to hold on. There is little doubt that we are experiencing that phenomenon today.
Paradoxical as it may seem, this is something for which we can be positive and thankful. It is expressed by Christopher Frye in his poem A Sleep of Prisoners: “Thank God our time is now when wrong jumps to meet us everywhere.” It is a sign that we are ready to move to our next higher level.
I recently came across Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of Our Nature where he makes the statement, “Today we may be living in the most peaceful era in our species existence.” He goes on to say, “The claim that we are living in an unusually peaceful time may strike you as somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene,” but he provides huge amounts of data and statistical analysis to support his conclusions.
Because I believe, with Teilhard, that the world is always growing, always unfinished, and always ahead of us and that “we are engaged in a limitless conquest of the universe and ourselves,” examining and continuing to explore and change my mission and vision continues to make a difference in my life and I remain hopeful that the best is yet to be.
“Just trust life,” Teilhard said. “Life will bring you high, if only you are selecting, in the maze of events, those influences or those paths which can bring us, each time, a little more upward.”
When I find myself anxious or overly concerned about the result of the distortion of reality we especially see around us today, I remind myself that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and are in an upward forward movement of life, each level more positive and more loving. Then I remind myself that chaos and disorder are signs that I am, and our world is, moving into a new level of consciousness.
*Quotations of Teilhard taken from Blanche Gallagher’s book Meditations with Teilhard de Chardin.