{ Editor's Note 1: This sermon was first published as an article on September 19, 1998 in the Gnostic Newsletter written by Archbishop John F. Gilbert. Ph.D., D.D. and edited by Bishop Rita Baker M.S.Th. It is presented here with the permission of the author and Editor Rita Baker. }

All true spiritual travelers eventually reach a point in their studies and meditation where they realize all scripture and all ritual and all prayer books are the opinion of the respective authors. True, that opinion may be held in very high esteem for a number of reasons and by a number of people. But, it still remains nothing more than an educated guess, an opinion of a single person or a group of people.

We begin to develop and follow our own spiritual path as we edit, change and revise what is already written to match our own understanding of the Divine. Change is evolution. To change is to grow in understanding, knowledge and wisdom. Thus each of us continues to mature spiritually as we change scripture, ritual and prayer to match how we see, feel and think about the Divine. We are creating our own opinion about what these things should be.

Eventually, we learn to write our own rituals and prayers if not holy books. In the Gnostic viewpoint, the words thus created are every bit as Divinely inspired as any other revelation throughout history. We grow not by forcing the past upon the present, but by taking the present into the future. This is how we develop our own spiritual path.

At some point in our spiritual development, we take the time to go inside ourselves and contemplate the Divine. When we do this, we attain state of peacefulness within ourselves we've never felt before. This peaceful state truly is beyond our understanding. It's the peace that passeth all understanding. In this state, we feel deeply loved.

This feeling of love expands within us and completely encompasses us. This is our first experience of Divine Love. When we experience it, we know in our hearts, minds and spirits that this is truly Unconditional Divine Love beyond our comprehension. We do not even try to understand it. All we can do is experience it with profound gratefulness. This is the Wine of Divine Communion. It is the Water of Divine Communion.

Just as an aside in our discussion this morning, please remember that the Aramaic word for Water is exactly the same word as used for Wine. During the first four centuries as the New Testament was being translated, the authors needed to decide if they would use the word Wine or the word Water for the Last Supper and for the Marriage at Canaan. Alchemists and Spiritual Alchemists prefer to use the word water because of the triple meaning it has as water, wine and Elemental Water.

Christian communion traditionally requires bread and water or wine. Gnostic communion, as we practice it, requires a representative for the Elements of Water and Fire. Water, being feminine in nature, represents Divine Love and Compassion in our communion. Fire, being masculine, represents Divine Wisdom and Law. There are usually represented by a cup of non-alcoholic drink and a loaf of bread since bread is the symbol of knowledge and wisdom.

The Water of Divine Communion is accepting and being completely immersed in Divine Love. The Fire, or the bread, of Divine Communion is receiving the Word of the Divine. This Word of the Divine is the answer to all of our prayers throughout all of time. This is walking and talking with the Divine. When we're in this state of Divine Communion all of our questions are answered.

But here's the secret: We all receive the answer that best serves us at this time. We all receive a different truth, as it were, depending upon who and what we are right now. We receive that unique truth that serves us.

Think about it for a moment. We're all unique Children of the Divine. Each and every one of us is different from everybody else. We each see, hear, sense, think, speak, feel, and live our life as only we uniquely can. Doesn't it make logical sense that each of us sees, hears, senses, thinks, speaks, feels and communes differently with the Divine? It's our birthright to be different. Thus each of us has a Divine right to pray with the Divine in our own way, celebrate rituals with the Divine in our own way, live our lives under the umbrella of the Divine in our own way; and we have the Divine right to commune with the Divine in our own way. This is our unique spiritual path.

You develop your own unique spiritual path by first learning how to commune with the Divine in your own unique way. Once this communication is open between you and the Divine, you'll never be the same person again that you are now. You will be forever changed and you will be traveling your own unique spiritual path. My prayer for you is that you find and follow your own unique spiritual path.

Let us pray.

Dear Divine Father, Mother, Creator of all that is, help each of us to find You within ourselves, to open our communion with You and with your help to learn how to travel our own unique spiritual path. We pray also that You use us as an instrument of Your Peace to improve the condition of this world to the extent of our ability. Thank You for helping us understand and know You better through communion with You. Amen.

{ Editor's Note 2: You may discover one of the following techniques a blessing to assist you in attaining a contemplative state of communion with the Divine: 1) The Essene Healing Breath Meditation, 2) The Power Meditation, 3) Intentional Prayer both using the Intentional Prayer Network and the Intentional Prayer Project, and 4) Gnostic Contemplative Prayer. }

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