A Sermon, A Prayer, A Homecoming

Made my way to the house and arrived shortly after 8am. Karaj opened the door and soon the other men arrived. First it was Dev and Kuldip, followed shortly afterwards by Sunil and Robert. Another Super Sunday could begin. We all had things to do and I made sure we got on with them. I took charge of my office, my space and the men with a quiet authority I have been reluctant to display in the past. I oversaw the work which was being done and made sure each person had something to do. I felt comfortable with it and it proved very effective with the men.

Karaj returned from the local church with the recorded sermon for the day. He then took Kuldip with him to a business seminar, but not before we had challenged Kuldip about the space he was in and the fact that he clearly cannot or does not hear us. Once again, this was a demonstration of the power of the group and the support we provide for each other. While the other two were away, the rest of us listened to the sermon and it was here that my question from yesterday was answered. The preacher talked of a multitude sharing one vision. We can all share one vision.

The sermon continued with words on faith and belief. To him who believes, nothing is impossible. However, I must prepare myself with the understanding that when I have faith, 95% of circumstances will conspire against me. This is what Karaj tells us all the time. When we make the decision to follow the path of truth, all hell will break loose. Furthermore, it is not enough to sit and pray and wait for miracles to happen. I have to get off my arse and do something. In making the first move I initiate the miracle and things will happen. Again, this is an echo of what Karaj is constantly reminding us.

After lunch, every one else went into the garden to work on the latest raised beds. I used the opportunity to rest, but I kept in touch with the others with regular visits, cups of tea and, at the end, as the darkness descended, I brought light to their work.

In the evening Sunil led us in prayer, and it was the most moving prayers I have ever experienced. From the start I felt appreciation for where I am on my journey and the company I was in. I felt the love in the room and it was beautiful. I joined in and I felt a surge of energy every time I uttered the Punjabi word Waheguru. I felt released from the boy who had argued so vehemently against the church and against religion. Robert contributed with a moving passage by Martin Luther followed by the Lord’s Prayer. Again I joined in – something I never thought I would ever do.

The whole experience introduced me to a person I have never seen before and never thought existed. My true self. It felt like a homecoming. I felt calm, relaxed and comfortable with who I am, and I felt a closer connection with the other men too. If only the people who know me could have seen me, they would have stood open-mouthed at the person before them. I have changed, and the change is irreversible I am not going to shout it from the roof tops because it has been a very private experience, and it was a pleasure and a privilege to share it with the other men. Homecoming is an apt description because I have also come home in a physical sense with my return to the house, my space and the group.

Karaj closed the prayer with an appeal to God on behalf of each one of us present. He said that I am trying very hard to overcome my illness and asked God to grant me the courage to face my challenge. I cried, but for a very different reason to last time. I feel part of the group again and more so than ever. There is a clarity about me. I have re-asserted myself in my office and within the group in a way which I have never done. I am calm, encouraging and effective without being overbearing or arrogant. Karaj told me that my assessment of what I have achieved today, with the influence I have had, should set the minimum standard for myself and that I should strive to meet and surpass that standard all the time.

Karaj’s continued with his feedback saying that I had showed faith in the prayers over and above the ritual. I felt comfortable, and released from the person I used to be, the one who was always so angrily dismissive of prayer or devotion or faith. This is me severing ties with my past, leaving behind the person I used to be.

It transpired that the welcome I gave Dev on Friday had a bigger impact than I had imagined. On Saturday when he and Robert were busy getting things ready for the women’s group, Dev made sure that he was around to extend a warm welcome to Priya. He knew how important it is to be welcomed into this house and the effect it can have on a person. It touched me once again to know that my impact had made such a powerful impression on Dev.

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