What We Believe

Rev. James Stewart Ehrhart, NST,  Golden Gate Spiritualist Church,  San Francisco, CA

Delivered March 15, 2009, Morning Service
Memorial Spiritualist Church, Norfolk, Virginia

I believe that when you die your life goes on
It doesn’t end here when you’re gone
Every soul is filled with light
It never ends and—if I’m right
Our love can even reach across eternity
I believe, I believe

What do we believe? Is believe the right word? “Believe” in Latin-derived European languages is “credo” or creed. Is there a more suitable word that means going beyond belief?

The nine Principles that we recite at every service include three with the words “We believe.”

We are often asked as Spiritualists if we believe in God?

If asked, I give them a copy of the nine Declaration of Principles and point out number one: We believe in Infinite Intelligence. The children’s lyceum version: I believe in God.

Many new to Spiritualism are unfamiliar with the words Infinite Intelligence…until they take some time to think about it and then often come back to me and say I understand—Infinite Intelligence does define/mean God…without beginning or end.

Of course, we don’t believe that God is that gray-bearded father/grandfather as often portrayed in religious paintings. This Infinite Intelligence does not sit around all day on a golden throne, in a place “up there” which we also call “heaven.”

Many of us for many, many years, especially since we were little children “believed” this. But most of us as we grow up into adulthood find our “belief” system changes. Sometimes with an epiphany—a great awakening—…sometimes gradually as we learn to study, meditate, and really think for ourselves. As we learn how to attune to our guides and teachers both here and in the Spirit World.

We learn and progress beyond doubt, fear, and anger into a person who feels safe, loved, and blessed.

What we believe is that there is an intelligence that has no beginning, no end, just like life itself. This God and/or Infinite Intelligence is greater that anything we will ever be able to comprehend—that passes all understanding—even if we progress to the highest realms of heaven/world of Spirit. God is always greater, embracing more…

We believe that Infinite Intelligence has no particular form because the phenomena (everything we observe spiritually and physically) are all a part of God.

We believe that we have within us that spark, that burning ember of God. We believe that each one of us is what we call a triune being: we have a physical body—the instrument through which—here on the earth plane—our spirit and soul find expression. Spirit is the God spark—soul is the spiritual body, the connecting link between spirit and the material.

Let us for a moment think of this triune being as described by John Holland, author of Power of the Soul: “Imagine a car. The car is your physical body, the driver is your soul steering the vehicle to different destinations, and the fuel is your spirit. The spiritual force of spirit is what infuses your soul, ever pushing you to your highest potential.”

We believe that we are part of all creation…the milky way, the stars that shine on a clear night, the sun that brings us warmth, and with the rain and nurturing earth makes a flower grow, makes plants grow, so that we too can feed our physical selves and grow strong in body and be of service to others.

We believe that God/Infinite Intelligence is the creative force throughout the universe…we believe that God is the Spirit of Spirits, God is love, love is God, God is harmony, God/Infinite Intelligence is the one perfect law, the harbinger of all the hundreds of natural laws, that great “spiritual”engine that causes all to function, governing all in the eternal progression as everything evolves both in the physical and Spirit worlds.

And that’s just about as far as we go as Spiritualists in basic beliefs. Everything else proceeds from these basic beliefs.

We say we have no dogma nor creed—no principles of absolute truth—even our Declaration of Principles or understanding is not “etched in stone.”

The wonderful thing about our religion is that we are flexible…and as we progress, as we evolve, there may be something new in the way we view things. Something new that God has given us to look at, examine, try out…Bringing about some new understanding…when we thought all was said and done.

It is a time when we progress—when we are open to new understandings.

Understanding—knowing…that’s where we move beyond using the word BELIEVE and move up to the next step. KNOWING.

Knowing—it may take some of us time to ponder and work this out for ourselves…but when we arrive at a point where we KNOW. What a gift…what enlightenment!

If this knowing has been hidden from us…it can be uncovered and revealed, as we are elevated to a higher consciousness.

Sometimes it is just a simple revelation…or an overpowering one, such as my first real experience of a demonstration of Spirit, which occurred a few years ago during my first séance. A group of seven of us sat in a comfortable living room in a home just outside London. The medium was noted for her demonstrations of transfiguration. After two others sat before the medium and saw family and friends transfigured upon the medium’s face, it was my turn. My mother and father came first, and then the “Face” changed dramatically to reveal a native American. I recognized him at once as my “playmate” from long, long ago, when I would spend summers at my grandparents and would sit in the warm afternoons under a grape arbor and he would be present to me. His face transfigured upon the medium was the turning point for me from belief into knowing…From then on I was able to say: This is beyond belief—Now I KNOW.

The Wallis’ in their book Mediumship Explained, written nearly 100 years ago say:

The intense Joy which results from the complete realization of the actual presence and identity of the so-called dead; of their independent activity; of their unchanged nature and affection—that they are truly alive, thinking, remembering, loving and happy—that they are just themselves—must be experienced to be understood.

Yes. One believes this… and each one of us will come to KNOW this if we haven’t already!

The Wallis’ continue: When once this conviction (this knowing) has been driven home, and the truth of spirit ministry has been realized, nothing can destroy it.

We then stand on very solid ground, we are rock-bound in our belief—we KNOW.

For those of us who are platform mediums—isn’t it just one great joyful moment when we are able to demonstrate, through our Spirit Greetings, that someone in Spirit is working through us to bring a message of love and comfort to someone sitting in the congregation?

Those of us who believe—who realize—who know that the message is good, true and evidential…strengthens our own belief, our knowing.

My message to you this morning is to look within once again and re-dedicate yourself to what you believe…to strive toward that moment and all those further ongoing, revelatory moments of being enlightened—to KNOWING.

We believe in Infinite Intelligence
We believe the phenomena of nature both physical and spiritual are the expression of Infinite Intelligence

We understand that life is continuous…that when we leave our body, we continue in the world of Spirit. We understand that we can communicate with those we have left in the physical world. Perhaps left is not the word…let us say we have become separated physically from them—That when you die your life goes on—it doesn’t end here when you’re gone.

Let me concluded with these words from a country western song written by Skip Ewing and Donny Knees that was a popular song when it was recorded by the group Diamond Rio in 2002. I think these words echo what we believe.

And may I suggest that, as Spiritualists, we encourage each other and everyone who has been separated by death from a loved one to help in understanding that everyone can communicate with them.

I Believe

Every now and then soft as breath upon my skin
I feel you come back again
And it’s like you haven’t been gone a moment from my side
Like the tears were never cried
Like the hands of time are holding you and me
And with all my heart I’m sure we’re closer than we ever were
I don’t have to hear or see, I’ve got all the proof I need
There are more than angels watching over me
I believe,

I believe
That when you die your life goes on
It doesn’t end here when you’re gone
Every soul is filled with light
It never ends and if I’m right
Our love can even reach across eternity
I believe,

I believe,
Forever, you’re a part of me
Forever, in the heart of me
And I’ll hold you even longer if I can

The people who don’t see the most
Say that I believe in ghosts
And if that makes me crazy, then I am
cause I believe…There are more than angels watching over me
I believe, I believe.