New Day Herald

Ready For Your Altar Call?

John Morton quote

Ready For Your Altar Call? Invoking the Christ Consciousness

When you send the light, when you extend it out to when you might next be disturbed, that is part of the alter call of the Christ. For some of you, you signed on for a whole series of altar calls — more like on the order of countless, like every day, several times a day — so the later call is ongoing in some ways. There may be an alter call for you to rise up in your Christ Consciousness from that place that would hold back your love, your charity, and your spirit.

When I was about five or six years old in the house where I grew up we were Sunday worshipers but not every Sunday. Some Sundays there was some reason or excuse why we couldn’t go to church. That was fine with me, because I really didn’t care for my relationship with church at that time. So I was rather glad when we didn’t go. I remember being at home on those Sundays, flipping television channels. Back in those days I think there were three. So it was pretty simple.  But I felt frustrated because I didn’t really like anything that was on. I kept flipping back of forth hoping that whatever was on would be going off soon so I could watch something I really wanted to watch.

One of the shows that was on back then was called the Billy Graham Crusade.  At some point I found myself watching the show. Even though I grew up in a family with an older brother and sister, what I remember is I was the only one watching the show. Everybody else in the house was doing something else or they were away.

At some point while watching Billy Graham, I felt moved by what I was watching. I remember a struggle started happening inside. Part of the moving that was going on was in my emotions, and I was uncomfortable with the experience. I didn’t want to cry. I didn’t want to feel whatever it was I was feeling. So I started fighting it by finding fault with it. I don’t remember exactly what I thought. I just remember the inner fight and the cynicism and sarcasm in my thoughts, even at that very early age.

There was always a point in the service where there was an altar call. Billy Graham would invite people to come down to the altar and let Jesus into their heart. What struck me was what I saw in the people as they came forward. I saw people that were so moved, more than I was, such that most of them were sobbing by the time they got close to the altar.  They were responding with their arms wide open.  Some people keeled over onto the ground from being so moved.

I didn’t understand because this sort of experience didn’t go on in the Lutheran church my family and I attended. In our church, we didn’t have an altar call. We had something similar leading up to it. The choir sang, and then the minister did his part. There was a passing of dona-tion plates, which was kind of fun because my father would give each of us a quarter, a dime or a nickel, so we could make some noise as the coins clinked in the brass plate that came by. It was a nice sound to hear — all those coins dropping in.

Back then, I wondered to myself when I saw Billy Graham what I would do if I was in the audience.  I wondered if I would come down and make the altar call.  It seemed like an embarrassing thing to do, especially on television. But there was something obviously very powerful about it that was going on, for those I watched as well as for me.

I’m looking at what the Christ might have in mind for us and how we would do an altar call. If there was an altar call through MSIA, and I said I’d like you to come up here now and open yourself to receive the Christ and claim the Christ in your heart, would you come?  Would you sit there? Would you run out the door?

The altar call that we’re all being called into is this —

Consider the next time you’re uncomfortable or faced with something you don’t like that disturbs or bothers you, or you’re tempted to get upset, react and be angry, or tell somebody off, or shut yourself down and be depressed and sad, or the next time you find yourself choosing not to participate anymore, feeling like you want to pick up your marbles and go home, etcetera.  The next time you have that temptation, that’s your altar call.  You can decide whether that’s just me making it up or that’s the Christ passing on a message to you. You can choose whether to see that moment as an altar call.

When you send the light, when you extend it out to when you might next be disturbed, that is part of the altar call of the Christ.   For some of you, you signed on for a whole series of altar calls — more like on the order of countless, like every day, several times a day — so the altar call is ongoing in some ways.  There may be an altar call for you to rise up in your Christ Consciousness from that place that would hold back your love, your charity, and your spirit.   The call may be for you to love whoever and whatever is in front of you as Christ has loved before and calls for now.

People sometimes focus on what a terrible sinner they are as if that is the key to the kingdom and the way to come to the altar. That does nothing but present the garbage of the universe as an offering to the altar of God. That is not what gets you there.  What gets you there is placing yourself in a surrender, in a humbleness of asking that you be reborn in this consciousness of the Christ.  That you are willing to be assigned to and accept the conditions in which you find yourself.

Surrender to the love of God.  Bring yourself into the loving of it all.  That’s your altar call.  You come to the place of the Lord, where the Lord is gathering those who want to lay claim in their heart to the Lord.  Consider that your altar call means your willingness to claim the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart, to activate and individuate the Christ Consciousness within you.

If you want to make the claim of an altar call, the way the Church of MSIA works is the altar goes within you as the consciousness of the Christ within. There’s an opportunity when you make the altar call to be born in the Christ, to have the experience of the light that comes upon the planet, like the Star of Bethlehem.  It touches down to you, within you. So maybe in your mind’s eye you could see something that represents the Star of Bethlehem bright in the sky.  It has this quality that extends vertically and horizontally.  There’s an extending of that light that represents the Christ in you, touching to you in those places in which you transform yourself from the law that would persecute, convict, condemn or judge into the grace that is the Christ. It is a blessing upon you.

Invoking The Christ Consciousness

One of the things we can do that works at any time is invoking the Christ, that spiritual consciousness within.  What it means to invoke the Christ is to pray, right there or right here, on the spot.  So if there is something right now that you would like to offer that is a way of extending what is inside of you as the spirit of the Christ, just touch in and take a moment inside.

When you go inside, if you feel a little tense, it’s good to breathe in. Then let out this breath so there is a greater calm. Ask for the presence of your Lord God however that resonates with you.

Maybe invoking the Christ isn’t familiar territory for you. Maybe it’s something that feels in some way new or awkward.  Regardless, just consider that you can call upon the Divine Presence now, extending it to any area that comes to mind that is not happening in the way you would like it to be. You can also extend your prayer to things that you’ve been wanting or wishing for.

Envision a nice white light extending from the highest levels to whoever and whatever comes to mind.  Breathe in and out and allow the peace from within to become present. If you haven’t done so already, extend this light and peace to others. It can be anyone of your choosing and as many as you would like.

Extend this Christ Consciousness to those who are close to you. That may be emotionally as in your loving relationships. It may be more about proximity, so you can extend this Christ Consciousness to those with whom you live or who live nearby. Extend it out to anybody in your neighborhood, in your community and your city, to your country and out into the world. See this process as an invitation to have a visit with the Christ at this time. And as personal as you can make it, do that.

The Christ Consciousness begins in the heart, in the soul of each of us. It is an extension of a spiritual consciousness that is love and forgiveness.  What I’d like to offer to you isn’t so much a definition of the Christ as it is an experience or an interpretation of the Christ Consciousness.  You could have your own. You might come up with a whole different meaning. So we don’t have to be caught up with the word or how we spell that term.

In my personal experience with the word Christ I see meaning in the name.   To me, the Christ Consciousness is first about charity. It is a consciousness that gives. Not out of obligation, but because there is a goodness and an extension of this goodness.

In the Bible, Jesus referred to the following as one of the greatest commandments:

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.   And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” [Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV]

One of the ways I register that passage today is in the importance of taking the commandment and extending it out.  Not just as something that we value or recognize, but as something that we look at as a reference with our children and all of God’s children. It’s about the importance of extending what we are as God’s beloveds to all of God’s beloveds.

As a father, that commandment resonates a lot to me.  But it also resonates because I am someone who is deeply devoted to doing something so that I make some level of contribution to the world.  I will be leaving this world at some point in time.  While I am here, I want to extend my loving and caring out into the world to make things better, not just for my children but for all children and all who come after me.

John Morton Leigh Taylor-Young

In the Christ Consciousness, there is something holy and sacred. There is something that transforms who we are so that we’re lifted. So that whatever our ills are, whatever is a disturbance, is healed in this Christ Consciousness.

Now there’s lots of stories in the Bible about healings, stories about people who were lame and walked, who were blind and then could see. Even someone who was dead was raised so that they were living. There’s great healing in the Christ Consciousness, and it takes quite a bit of trust on our part. At times, it may take all of our trust to make that leap to the highest level of healing. What level of trust would it take to heal whatever is your illness so you let go and release into the Christ whatever is your disturbance, sin or transgression?

One of the ways that I look at Jesus is somebody who was very close to the children. There was a time when the Disciples were asking him, “Who amongst us is the greatest?” As part of his explanation, Jesus talked about whoever among you is the greatest servant is the greatest amongst you.  Jesus also talked about being like a little child. He picked up a child in his arms and used the child as a reference point of the innocence that is part of who we are.  Yet, our innocence may often be forgotten as we move through our life experiences and grow up.

Innocence represents a purity of consciousness, a purity of intent. Someone that you know you could trust. Someone who you know in your heart will be there before you even know it. When the Christ comes into us as an awareness, as a state of being, as an awakening, and a real force in our heart, it comes as a consciousness that has innocence and trust.  Imagine having someone that you know that you could completely trust, and perhaps you do know somebody so you don’t need to imagine.  That’s someone who would not betray you, would not lie to you or deceive you.  That’s someone who would have your best interests in mind so that they come in a purity of consciousness and look upon you in that same purity.

When the Christ looks upon each of us, we’re seen in our innocence and our purity. We are trusted. In the story, Jesus talked about going to prepare a place. Going ahead of us, perhaps like an elder brother, as someone that knew the way and was showing the way to those who were interested.  Jesus said, “Come, follow me.”

It’s always important at any time to consider how would you recognize this one we call the Christ. How would you know that consciousness, that presence?  How would you know to follow the Christ Consciousness?

There are lots of ways you can interpret and refer to the Christ.  One of the obvious things that we have an opportunity to do every day is to open yourself up to the miracle that is Christ.  The Christ is a rising consciousness. Part of the story of the crucifixion and death of Jesus includes the raising up of the body after a few days. There was an empty tomb, a place where his body wasn’t anymore.  “He is not here: for he is risen.” [Matthew 28:6 KJV]  What I find is that it takes a little, or sometimes a lot, of our innocence and all of these qualities — our charity, our holiness, the consciousness of our soul and spirit.  It takes us to rise up and above what we would have as our doubts.  We’re called upon to raise up beyond our judgments and cynicism to know the Christ.

Sweetness of The Christ

When I first had what I knew consciously was a direct experience of Christ Jesus, it happened inside. I went away from that experience with a kind of matter-of-fact feeling as I was touched by the ordinariness and the humanness of knowing Christ Jesus. I sensed that he was like me. I realized that due to my conditioning, I was brought up not to know Christ Jesus in that way.  There was always a reference to him as being in a distant time. Since the time that Christ Jesus walked on this planet was so long ago, it made his life difficult to relate to.  It required trust, a leap of faith, to connect to a direct experience of the Christ within.

I was struck by another quality as I touched in to the Christ Jesus. This is the quality that stood out the most and still does to this moment. My word for it is sweetness, an absolute profound sweetness of the Christ Consciousness.  That sweetness was so powerful that I had a hard time picturing Jesus with the human, ordinary qualities like getting angry, sad, depressed, and all of those upsetting emotions. That sweetness seemed to me to be all of who Christ is.

I realize that when I’m not really active in the Christ, that sweetness isn’t really present. Something else is present such that I want to act according to what we refer to as the law. Man’s law keeps track of when did you do it, how did you do it, how much does it cost, how much do you owe me, when are you going to pay me, and on and on. Man’s law is about what we want for ourselves or for others, where we focus on expectations and demands for what we think we or others are supposed to do if we were really good Christians and loved and cared for one another.

How often have you participated in the exchange of presents at Christmas and not really enjoyed it so you weren’t thrilled by the process and you didn’t appreciate it?  I remember as a child complaining about getting Christmas presents like clothes and supplies for school and being upset because I wanted toys and things I could play with. That’s about man’s law, not about the genuine sweetness and caring of the Christ.

Sometimes when the Christ comes present, it isn’t necessarily something that registers inside as peace, harmony, or what you expected and wanted.  I find often at those times we’re measured in our Christhood.  Those are our altar calls.

You may need to ask yourself, “Do I have the openness to receive what is present?  Am I willing to trust that, whatever is the situation, there is something that can be a blessing through the Christ?”

Allow yourself to consider that whatever comes to mind, you send the light of Christ into what would disturb you. It would be good to send yourself the light right now, and to the next time, and as many times as you feel disturbed or faced with a difficulty. You can extend this light on out to infinity as you can manage it. Know that you can ask for the light to go to you and anything that would disturb you, any occurrence in which you would react, strike out, or go against another in some way.  The light can go to your judgements so you can move into forgiveness, forgetting and letting go. The Christ Consciousness extends out through your empathy and compassion. Through the Christ, you are the one who is transformed into the consciousness that has charity and forgiveness, understanding and compassion, who loves the other as you would be loved in the very best way.

Maybe some of you saw the movie Ben Hur. It’s a pretty good one if you’re interested. It takes place about the time of Jesus.  The main character gets enslaved, becomes part of slave ship, and goes to Rome. He then manages to become a chariot driver who the Romans bet on to win in races. So he kind of raises his lot in life as a chariot driver.

There’s a great scene in the movie about the chariots. But for me, an even more moving scene takes place when he comes back to the land of Israel still enslaved by the Romans.  What I remember is he notices that there’s excitement with the people. There are these gatherings out in the open, and people are very excited about whatever it is that’s happening.  He doesn’t know what’s going on, so he asks and learns it’s about this man, Jesus. His first response is disbelief and cynicism.  But then he gets exhausted and thirsty so that he’s kind of in a state of consciousness where he’s not in his mind, like he’s having a fever type of reaction.

Then there’s a presence that comes in with just a hand offering him a gourd full of water.  Even though it was somebody’s drama being portrayed, and who knows if Ben Hur was based on anybody real or not, what I remember is the impact of that charity, of that presence. Not knowing the face, not knowing the person, yet there was this presence — this presence of the Christ.

When that presence comes in, it can bring chills and stir us as something like a wind from heaven. Often it comes when we’re not really expecting it. We’re probably not even prepared. But it comes to those who wait and those who have the faith.

John the Baptist was somebody who came before Jesus, and he had a very clear message about preparing and making ourself straight so that we would have an opportunity to receive. I find that the cynicism that people have is the place that

bends or closes off that opening, that place of openness to receive.  So when that Divine Presence is in our midst, rather than feel the charity, the trust, the holiness, the spirit and the soul, we instead feel the judgment, the mockery, the cynicism.  If we’re participating in that kind of negative consciousness as a habitual form, if our way of relating to our world is through sarcasm, cynicism, finding fault, and criticizing, we’re really putting ourself into a bind that’s very difficult to loosen. We make it difficult to open ourselves up to the loving and healing of the Christ Consciousness.

I encourage you to be open to receive that one who is the Christ.  Be open to the sweetness that can come into your midst and touch you and make itself known in your heart. Be ready for your altar call with open loving arms as you embrace yourself as one who knows and claims the Christ within.

John Morton

3 thoughts on “Ready For Your Altar Call?”

  1. SHARON Trieste

    Thank you John, the Christ Consciousness is so beautifully expressed through your words and through your demonstration. Sweetness is so tender and Is thank you for the reminder.

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