Preparation for the Reappearance of the Christ
WHEN men feel that they have exhausted all their own resources and have come to an end of all their own innate possibilities, and that the problems and conditions confronting them are beyond their solving or handling, they are apt to look for a divine Intermediary and for the Mediator Who will plead their cause with God and bring about a rescue. They look for a Saviour. This doctrine of Mediators, of Messiahs, of Christs and of Avatars can be found running like a golden thread through all the world faiths and Scriptures and, relating these world Scriptures to some central source of emanation, they are found in rich abundance everywhere. Even the human soul is regarded as an intermediary between man and God; Christ is believed by countless millions to act as the divine mediator between humanity and divinity.
An Avatar, or a Christ, comes forth for two reasons: one, the inscrutable and unknown Cause prompts Him so to do, and the other is the demand or the invocation of humanity itself. An Avatar is consequently a spiritual event, coming to us to bring about great changes or major restorations, to inaugurate a new civilisation or to restore the "ancient landmarks" and lead men nearer to the divine. They have been defined as "extraordinary men who from time to time appear to change the face of the world and inaugurate a new era in the destinies of humanity." They come in times of crisis; They frequently create crises in order to bring to an end the old and undesirable and make way for new and more suitable forms for the evolving life of God immanent in Nature. They come when evil is rampant. For this reason, if for no other, an Avatar may be looked for today. The necessary stage is set for the reappearance of the Christ.
We are confronted with the choice of acceptance and consequent responsibility, or with rejection of the idea and the consequent realisation that we are not concerned. What we decide, however, in this time and period, will definitely affect the remainder of our life activity, for we shall either throw what weight or aid we can on the side of the invocation of the Christ and in preparation for His return, or we shall join the ranks of those who regard the whole proposition as an appeal to the gullible and the credulous, and possibly work to prevent men being deceived and taken in by at we have decided is a fraud. Herein lies our challenge. It will take all that we have of a sense of values and all that we can give to a specialised intuitive research to meet it. We may then realise that this promised reappearance is in line with general religious belief and the major hope left in the minds of men which can bring true relief to suffering humanity.
To those who accept the possibility of His reappearance and who are willing to admit that history can again repeat itself, there are three questions which can be asked--the answers to which are strictly individual. These are:
- How can I personally meet this challenge?
- What can I specifically do?
- What are the steps which I should take and where are those who will take them with me?
What is written here and in the following pages is essentially for those who accept the fact of Christ, recognise the continuity of revelation and are willing to admit the possibility of His return.
The complexities and the difficulties of this period are very great. The closer a man may be to the source of spiritual light and power, the more difficult is his problem, for human affairs at this time seem so far away from this divine possibility. He will need all that he has of patience, understanding and goodwill. At the same time, the clearer will be his recognition of the facts. There are inner and outer problems which must be solved; there are inner and outer possibilities which can be made factual. As the spiritually-minded man faces both these inner and outer possibilities and events, it is easy to register a sense of complete frustration; he longs to help but knows not what to do; his grasp of the menacing difficulties, his analysis of his resources and of those with whom he will have to work, and his clarity of perception as to the forces ranged against him (and on a much larger scale against the Christ) will make him inclined to ask: What is the use of any effort which I can make? Why not let the forces of good and evil fight it out alone? Why not permit the pressure
of the evolutionary current--eventually and at long last--to bring cessation to the world fight and usher in the triumph of the good? Why attempt anything now? These are natural and wholesome reactions. The problem seems too big, too terrible, and he himself seems too small and helpless.
Nevertheless, the mass of straight goodness and vision in the world is enormous and the amount of clear, humanitarian thinking is unbounded; it is in the hands of the masses of good, little men and the millions of right thinking people in every land that the salvation of the world lies and by them the preparatory work for the coming of the Christ will be done. Numerically, they are adequate to the task and need only re-assurance and wise coordination to prepare them for the service required, before the reappearance of the Christ becomes possible. The problems confronting us should be faced with courage, with truth and understanding; as well as with the willingness to speak factually, with simplicity and with love in the effort to expose the truth and clarify the problems which must be solved. The opposing forces of entrenched evil must be routed before He for Whom all men wait, the Christ, can come.
The knowledge that He is ready and anxious publicly to appear to his loved humanity only adds to the sense of general frustration, and another very vital question arises: For what period of time must we endure, struggle and fight? The reply comes with clarity: He will come unfailingly when a measure of peace has been restored, when the principle of sharing is at least in process of controlling economic affairs, and when churches and political groups have begun to clean house. Then He can and will come; then the Kingdom of God will be publicly recognised and will no longer be a thing of dreams and of wishful thinking and orthodox hope.
People are prone to ask the question as to why the Christ does not come--in the pomp and ceremony which the churches ascribe to the event --and, by His coming, demonstrate His divine power, prove convincingly the authority and the potency of God, and thus end the cycle of agony and distress. The answers to this are many. It must be remembered that the main objective of the Christ will not be to demonstrate power but to make public the already existent Kingdom Of God. Again, when He came before He was unrecognised, and is there any guarantee that this time it would be different? You may ask why He would not be recognised? Because men's eyes are blinded with the tears of self-pity and not of contrition; because the hearts of men are still corroded with a selfishness which the agony of war has not cured; because the standards of value are the same as in the corrupt Roman Empire which saw His first appearance, only then these standards were localised and not universal as they are today; because those who could recognise Him and who hope and long for His coming are not willing to make the needed sacrifices, and thus ensure the success of His advent.
Nevertheless the advanced thinking, the success of the many spiritual and esoteric movements and above all, the marvels of science and the wonder of the many humanitarian movements, indicate no divine frustration but growth of spiritual understanding; the forces of the spirit are unconquered. These aspects of human behaviour indicate the wonder of the divinity which is in man and the success of the divine plan for humanity. Divinity, however, awaits the expression of man's free will; his intelligence and his growth in goodwill are already being expressed.
The Christ and the spiritual Hierarchy never--no matter how great the need or important the incentive--infringe upon the divine right of men to make their own decisions, to exert their own free will and to achieve freedom by fighting for freedom--individually, nationally and internationally.
When true freedom covers the earth, we shall see the end of tyranny--political, religious and economic. I am not here referring to modern democracy as a condition which meets the need, for democracy is at present a philosophy of wishful thinking and an un-achieved ideal. I refer to that period which will surely come in which an enlightened people will rule; these people will not tolerate authoritarianism in any church or totalitarianism in any political system; they will not accept or permit the rule of any body of men who undertake to tell them what they must believe in order to be saved or what government they must accept. When the people are told the truth and when they can freely judge and decide for themselves, we shall then see a much better world.
It is not essential or necessary that all these desirable objectives should be accomplished facts upon earth before Christ again moves amongst us. It is, however, necessary that this attitude to religion and politics be generally regarded as desirable, and that steps have been successfully taken in the direction of right human relations. It is along these lines that the new group of world servers and all men of goodwill are working, and their first effort must be to offset the widespread sense of frustration and individual futility.
That which will offset the sense of frustration and futility and provide likewise the needed incentive towards the building of the new world will be the belief in the essential divinity of humanity, in the evolutionary proof (which a little study quickly provides) that mankind has steadily moved onward in wisdom and knowledge and a wide inclusiveness, plus the development of that state of mind which will base itself upon belief in the veracity of the historical records which bear witness to the many advents at crucial times in human affairs, and to the many world Saviour--of Whom the Christ was the greatest. A right and constructive attitude must also be based on an innate recognition of the existence of the Christ and of His Presence with us at all times; it must be grounded on the knowledge that the World War (1914-45)--with all its unspeakable horrors, its cruelties and its cataclysmic disasters--was the broom of the Father of all, sweeping away all obstructions in the path of His returning Son.
It would have been well nigh impossible to prepare for the coming in the face of the pre-war conditions. Upon these facts the new group of world servers must, today, take their stand. They must recognise the obstructing factors, but must also refuse to be frustrated by them; they must be aware of the hindrances (many of them financial and based on material greed, on ancient tradition and national prejudices). They must then employ such skill in action and such business acumen that these hindrances will be overcome; they must walk clear-eyed thorough world difficulties and pass unscathed and successful through the midst of all frustrating factors.
There are two major factors which condition the present opportunity; these can be regarded as so completely hindering that unless they are removed, there will be a long delay before Christ can return. They are:
- The inertia of the average religious or spiritually-minded man in every country--Eastern or Western.
- The lack of money for the work of preparation.
We will keep these themes simple and down on the level at which most people work and think today. Let us be intensely practical and force ourselves to look at conditions as they are, thus arriving at a better knowledge of ourselves and of our motives.
1. The Inertia of the Average Spiritually-Minded Man.
The average spiritually-minded person, man of goodwill, or disciple is constantly aware of the challenge of the times and the opportunity which spiritual events may offer. The desire to do good and to accomplish spiritual ends is ceaselessly gnawing away within his consciousness. Every one who loves his fellow men, who has a dream of seeing the Kingdom of God materialise on earth, or who is conscious of the awakening of the masses to the higher spiritual values, is throughly dissatisfied. He realises that what he contributes of help to these desirable objectives is little indeed.
He knows that his spiritual life is a side issue; it is something which he keeps carefully to himself and which he is frequently afraid to mention to his nearest and his dearest; he tries to dovetail his spiritual efforts into his ordinary, outer life, struggling to find time and opportunity for it in a gentle, futile and innocuous manner. He finds himself helpless before the task of organising and rearranging his affairs so that the spiritual way of living may dominate; he searches for alibis for himself and eventually rationalises so successfully that he ends by deciding that he is doing the best he can in the given circumstances. The truth is that he is doing so little that probably one hour out of the twenty-four (or perhaps two) would cover the time given to the Master's work; he hides behind the alibi that his home obligations prevent his doing more and does not realise that--given tact and loving understanding--his home environment can and must be the field in which he triumphs; he forgets that there exist no circumstances in which the spirit of man can be defeated or in which the aspirant cannot meditate, think, talk and prepare the way for the coming of the Christ, provided he cares enough and knows the meaning of sacrifice and silence. Circumstances and environment offer no true obstacle to the spiritual life.
Perhaps he hides behind the alibi of poor health and frequently behind that of imaginary ills. He gives so much time to the care of himself that the hours which could be given to the Master's work are directly and seriously curtailed; he is so preoccupied with feeling tired, or tending a cold, or with fancied heart difficulties that his "body consciousness" steadily develops until it eventually dominates his life; it is then too late to do anything. This is particularly the case with people who have reached their fiftieth year or over. It is an alibi which it is hard not to use, for many feel tired and ailing and this, as the years go by, is apt to get worse.
The only cure for this creeping inertia is to ignore the body and take joy in the livingness of service. I speak here not of definite disease or of serious physical liabilities; to these right care and attention must be duly given; I speak to the thousands of ailing men and women who are pre-occupied with taking care of themselves, and so waste hours of the time which could be given to the service of humanity. Those who are seeking to prepare the way for the Christ should release those many hours spent in needless self-care into the service of the Hierarchy.
Still another alibi, leading to inertia, is the fear people have of speaking about the things of the Kingdom of God to others; they are afraid of being rebuffed, or of being thought peculiar, or of intruding. They, therefore, preserve silence, lose opportunity and never discover how ready people are for the discussion of realities, for the comfort and hope which the thought of Christ's return can bring, or for the sharing of spiritual light. This is essentially a form of spiritual cowardice but is so widespread that it is responsible for the loss of millions of hours of world service.
There are other alibis, but those above noted are the most common; the release of the majority of people from these hindering conditions would bring to the service of the Christ so many hours and so much overtime endeavour that the task of those who admit no alibis would be greatly lightened and the coming of the Christ would be much nearer than it is today. It is essential that all spiritual people recognise that in the place where they now are, among the people who are their associates and with the psychological and physical equipment with which they are endowed, they can and must work. There is no possible coercion or undue pressure exerted in the service of the Hierarchy. The situation is clear and simple.
There are, at the present time, three great activities going on:
First, the activity to be felt in the "centre where the will of God is known," that will-to-good which has carried all creation on toward a greater glory and a steadily deepening, intelligent responsiveness. This today is creatively endeavouring to bring in the new world order, the order of the Kingdom of God under the physical supervision of the Christ. This might be regarded as the externalisation of the spiritual Hierarchy of our planet. Of this, the return of the Christ to visible activity will be the sign and the symbol.
Secondly, the critical activity which is conditioning the spiritual Hierarchy, from the Christ Himself down to the lowest aspirant to be found on the periphery of that "centre where the love of God" has full play. There, it is fully realised that (in the words of St Paul) "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God" (Romans VIII:22). It is for that manifestation they now prepare, these "Sons of God Who are the Sons of Men;" it is for this coming forth to outer active service that they are already--one by one--entering into outer activity upon the physical plane. They are not recognised for what they are, but they go about the Father's business, demonstrating goodwill, seeking to enlarge the horizon of humanity, and thus prepare the way for the One Whom they serve, the Christ, the Master of all the Masters and the Teacher alike of angels and of men.
Thirdly, there is humanity itself, "the centre which we call the race of men"--a centre at present full of chaos, turmoil and confusion, a humanity hill of pain, bewilderment, disturbance, yet mentally aware of infinite possibilities, emotionally fighting for that plan which seems to them to be the best, but with no sense of coherency or any realisation that it must be the "one world for the one humanity." They desire simply emotional peace, security in which to live and work, and a vision of a future which will satisfy some inchoate sense of divine persistence. They are physically ill, deprived for the most part of the essentials of normal wholesome living, wrecked with the sense of financial insecurity and--consciously or unconsciously--invoking the Father of all on behalf of themselves and of the rest of the world.
The solution is to be found in the reappearance of the Christ. This is the ascertained will of God, and to it the Scriptures of the world testify; it is the desire of Christ Himself and of His disciples, the Masters of the Wisdom; it is the unrealised demand of peoples in all lands. Where there is this unification of purpose, this uniformity of spiritual intention and of realised demand, then there is only one thing which can arrest His reappearance and that is the failure of mankind to prepare the world stage for that stupendous event, to "prepare the Way of the Lord, make His paths straight" (Matthew 111:2), to familiarise the people everywhere with the idea of His coming, and bring about the required measure of peace on earth--a peace based upon right human relations.
Today the motive shifts from the concept of personal salvation (which is assumed or taken for granted), and the preparation required is that of working, with strength and understanding, to bring about right human relations--a broader objective. There we have a motive which is not self-centred but which ranges each individual worker and humanitarian on the side of the spiritual Hierarchy, putting him in touch with all men of goodwill. We come now to the second of the major hindrances.
2. Lack of Financial Support for the Work of the Christ.
This is perhaps the major difficulty, and it appears to many at times to be an insuperable one. It involves the problem of true financial trustee-ship and the deflection of adequate sums of money into channels which will definitely aid in the work of preparation for the return of the Christ. It is closely tied up with the problem of right human relations.
The problem is, therefore, a peculiarly hard one, for the spiritual workers of the world have not only to train people to give (according to their means) but, in many cases, they have--first of all--to provide them with a motive so magnetic in its appeal that they must perforce give. They have also to provide the trust, foundation or organisation through which the given money may be administered. This presents them with a most impressively difficult task. The impasse which at present exists is not based only upon the novelty of raising funds in preparation for the return of the Christ, but it is based also upon the trained selfishness of the majority who own the world's wealth and who--even if they do give--do so because it fosters prestige and indicates financial success. Necessarily, there are exceptions to this but they are relatively few.
Generalising, therefore, and over-simplifying the subject, we can assume that money finds its way into four main channels of expenditure:
- Into the myriad homes in the world in the form of wages, salaries or inherited wealth. All this is at present most unevenly balanced, producing extreme riches or extreme poverty.
- Into great capitalistic systems and monopolies which are found as towering structures in most lands. Whether this capital is owned by the government, or by a municipality, or by a handful of wealthy men or by the great labour unions matters not. Little of it is spent in the betterment of human living or for the inculcation of those values which lead to right human relations.
- Into the churches and religious groups throughout the world. Here (again speaking in general terms and at the same time recognising the existence of a spiritually-minded minority) the money is deflected into the material aspects of the work, into the multiplying and preservation of ecclesiastical structures, into salaries and general overhead, and only a percentage of it really goes into the teaching of the people, into a living demonstration of the simplicity "as it is in Christ," and into the spreading of the fact of His return--for centuries a definite doctrine of the churches. That return has been anticipated down the ages, and might have occurred ere now had the churches and religious organisations everywhere done their duty.
- Into philanthropic, educational and medical work. All of this has been exceedingly good and greatly needed and the debt of the world to the public-spirited men who have made these institutions possible is great indeed. All of this has been a step in the right direction and an expression of the divine will-to-good. It is, however, frequently money misused and misdirected and the values developed have been largely institutional and concrete. They have been limited by the separative tenets of the donors, or the religious prejudices of those who control the disbursement of the funds. In the quarrelling over ideas, religious theories and ideologies, the true assistance of the One Humanity is over-looked.
The fact remains that had the directing agencies (through whose hands the money of the world is channelled) any true vision of the spiritual realities, of the one humanity and the one world, and had their objective been the stimulation of right human relations, the mass of men everywhere would be responding to a future possibility very different from the present one; we would not be faced as we are today with the expenditures--running into countless billions--necessitated by the need to restore physically, not only the physical bodies of countless millions of men, but entire cities, transportation systems and centres responsible for the reorganisation of human living.
Equally, it can be said that if the spiritual values and the spiritual responsibilities attached to money (in large quantities or in small) had been properly appreciated and taught in homes and schools, we would not have the appalling statistics of the money spent in every country in the world on candy, liquor, cigarettes, recreation, unnecessary clothes and luxuries. These statistics run into hundreds of millions of dollars every year. A fraction of this money, necessitating the minimum of sacrifice, would enable the disciples of the Christ and the new group of world servers to prepare the way for His coming and to educate the minds and hearts of men in every land in right human relations.
Money--as with all else in human living--has been tainted by selfishness and grabbed for selfish individual or national ends. Of this, the world war (1914-1945) was the proof, for, although there was much talk of "saving the world for democracy" and "fighting a war to end war," the main motive was self protection and self preservation, the hope of gain and the satisfaction of ancient hatreds, and the regaining of territory. The years which have elapsed since the war have proved this to be so. The United Nations is unfortunately perforce occupied with rapacious demands from all sides, with the angling of the nations for position and power, and for the possession of the natural resources of the earth--coal, oil, etc., and also with the underground activities of the great powers and of the capitalists which they all create.
Yet all the time, the one humanity--no matter what the place of residence, what the colour of the skin, or what the religious belief--is clamouring for peace, justice and a sense of security. This, the right use of money and a realisation on the part of many of their financial responsibility (a responsibility based on the spiritual values) would rapidly give them. With the exception of a few great farsighted philanthropists and of a mere handful of enlightened statesmen, churchmen and educators, this sense of financial responsibility is not noticeably evident.
The time has now come when money must be revaluated and its usefulness channelled into new directions. The voice of the people must prevail, but it must be a people educated in the true values, in the significances of a right culture and in the need for right human relations. It is, therefore, essentially a question of right education and correct training in world citizenship--a thing that has not yet been undertaken. In the meantime, humanity starves, and is brought up on false values and the wrong use of money. Until these things are in process of being righted, the return of the Christ is not possible.
In the face of this disturbing financial situation--what is the answer to the problem? There are men and women to be found in every land, every government, every church and religion, and every educational foundation who have the answer. What hope is there for them and for the work with which they have been entrusted? How can the people of the world, the men of goodwill and of spiritual vision help? Is there anything they can do to change the thinking of the world in regard to money, thus deflecting it into channels where it will be more correctly used? The answer must be found.
There are two groups who can do much: those already using the financial resources of the world, if they will catch the new vision and also see the handwriting on the wall which is bringing the old order down in destruction, and, secondly, the mass of the good, kindly people in all classes and spheres of influence.
Men of goodwill and of spiritual inclination must reject the thought of their relative uselessness, insignificance and futility, and realise that now (in the critical and crucial moment that has come) they can work potently. The Forces of Evil are defeated, though not yet "sealed" behind the door where humanity can put them and which The New Testament foretold would happen. Evil is seeking every avenue available for a new approach but--and this we can say with confidence and insistence--the little people of the world, enlightened and selfless in their viewpoint, exist in sufficient numbers to make their power felt--if they will. There are millions of spiritually-minded men and women in every country who, when they come to the point of approaching in mass formation this question of money, can permanently rechannel it. There are writers and thinkers in all lands who can add their powerful help, and who will, if correctly approached. There are esoteric students and devoted church people to whom appeal can be made for aid in preparing the way for the return of Christ, particularly if the aid required is the expenditure of money and time for the establishing of right human relations and the growth and spread of goodwill.
A great campaign to raise money is not demanded, but the selfless work of thousands of apparently unimportant people is required. I would say that the most needed quality is courage; it takes courage to put aside diffidence, shyness and the dislike of presenting a point of view, particularly a point of view connected with money. It is here that the majority fail. It is relatively easy today to raise money for the Red Cross, for hospitals and for educational institutions. It is exceedingly difficult to raise money for the spread of goodwill, or to secure the right use of money for forward looking ideas, such as the return of the Christ. Therefore, I say that the first prerequisite is courage.
The second requirement for the workers of the Christ is to make those sacrifices and arrangements which will enable them to give to the limit of their capacity; there must not be simply a trained ability to present the subject, but each worker must practice what he preaches. If, for instance, the millions of people who love the Christ and seek to serve His cause gave at least a tiny sum of money each year, there would be adequate funds for His work; the needed trusts and spiritually-minded trustees would then automatically appear. The difficulty is not with the organising of the money and work; it lies with the seeming inability of people to give. For one reason or another, they give little or nothing, even when interested in such a cause as that of the return of Christ; fear of the future or the love of purchasing, or the desire to give presents, or failure to realise that many small sums mount up into very large sums--all these things militate against financial generosity and the reason always seems adequate. Therefore, the second prerequisite is for every one to give as he can.
Thirdly, the metaphysical schools and the esoteric groups have given much thought to this business of directing money into channels which appeal to them. The question is often asked: Why do certain religious groups always manage to accumulate the required funds whilst other groups, and particularly the esoteric groups, do not? Why do truly spiritual workers seem unable to materialise what they need? The answer is a simple one. Those groups and workers who are the closest to the spiritual ideal are as a house divided against itself. Their main interest is on abstract, spiritual levels and they have not apparently grasped the fact that the physical plane, when motivated from the spiritual levels, is of equal importance. The large metaphysical schools are focussed on making a material demonstration, and so great is their emphasis and so one-pointed is their approach that they get what they demand; they have to learn that the demand and its answer must be the result of spiritual purpose, and that that which is demanded must not be for the use of the separated sell or for a separative organisation or church. In the new age which is upon us, prior to the return of the Christ, the demand for financial support must be for the bringing about of right human relations and goodwill, and not for the growth of any particular organisation. The organisations so demanding must work with the minimum of overhead and central plant, and the workers for the minimum yet reasonable salary. Not many such organisations exist today, but the few now functioning can set an example which will be rapidly followed, as the desire for the return of Christ grows. Therefore the third prerequisite is the service of the one humanity.
The fourth prerequisite must be the careful presentation of the cause for which the financial support is required. People may have the courage to speak, but an intelligent presentation is of equal importance. The major point to be emphasised in the preparatory work for the return of Christ is the establishing of right human relations. This has already been started by men of goodwill all over the world, under their many names.
We come now to the fifth prerequisite: a vital and sure belief in humanity as a whole. There must be no pessimism as to the future of mankind or distress over the disappearance of the old order.
"The good, the true and the beautiful" is on its way, and for it mankind is responsible, and not some outer divine intervention. Humanity is sound and rapidly awakening. We are passing through the stage where everything is being proclaimed from the housetops--as Christ stated would be the case--and as we listen to or read of the flood of filth, crime, and sensual pleasure or luxury buying, we are apt to be discouraged; it is wise to remember that it is wholesome for all this to come to the surface and for us all to know about it. It is like the psychological cleansing of the subconscious to which individuals submit themselves; it presages the inauguration of a new and better day.
There is work to do and the men of goodwill, of spiritual instinct, and of truly Christian training must do it. They can inaugurate the era of the use of money for the spiritual Hierarchy, and carry that need into the realms of invocation. Invocation is the highest type of prayer there is, and a new form of divine appeal which a knowledge of meditation has now made possible.