Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Story of Grace Part II

Continued from Part I, The Story of Grace.

By the time we got to Grace Cathedral we were electrified with excitement. This was the place Kathleen McGowan had talked about in her book The Source of Miracles. This is the place I had been led to in my wanderings in San Francisco, during the Attitudinal Healing International conference, based on the channelled teachings of Christ in A Course in Miracles.

And I was ready for more miracles…

Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, California.

Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, California.

We entered the Cathedral and experienced the requisite hush of authentically divine places. I could see the labyrinth on the stone floor clearly, just as I had expected, with a small altar in the centre where a female directress with red hair was standing lighting a candle and preparing the offering table for communion.

Labyrinths were known for their mystical and meditative properties, as an ancient tool to walk the path to God or enlightenment (the rose centre, based on the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France). We stood alongside the edge and waited patiently as she spoke in warm, resonate tones to welcome us.

Angelic music filled the air as Paul nudged me “there is an angel behind us.”  I turned and noticed a young woman seated at a grand piano singing while violinists accompanied her with bows gently strumming in sacred harmonies. We took our seats at the front of the church, and listened to a sermon given by the new minister, Justin, who had arrived just weeks ago from England. 

The sermon, ironically but not, was the story of Grace (Mathew 20:1-16), about the workers in the vineyard who were hired to work for a day’s wages; some who came first were paid the same amount as those who arrived last, and complained to the master. But the master’s decision to be generous was not about the worker’s judgement, but his. 

The lesson was that God as the master gives fairly and abundantly to all those who seek him. We do not have to suffer and toil to earn his grace. Not to be confused with material compensation, it is receiving more than you thought you were due, which could be the strength or motivation to go on, a friend calling when you least expected it, an unexpected opportunity or blessing bestowed. For me, it was this moment, the signs I was looking for to teach me I was on the right path.

Then I suddenly remembered… The word came into my consciousness and I nudged Linda and Paul and whispered urgently:

“Do you remember the baby at the conference?…. (they nodded). Grace…  And Scott who sang the songs? (Yes…) Scott Grace.”  Then Linda looked puzzled and reminded me of her Aunt who died and visited her in spirit: “Grace! And now here we are at this magnificent Cathedral known as… Grace.”  

We all looked at each other in amazement.

After the service and communion we stood at the labyrinth and waited to enter.  The directress then approached me and extended her hand and said, “Don’t I know you?”

I could not think how I could know her, but she reminded me of Kathleen’s book, The Source of Miracles and her Book of Love featuring Mary Magdalene, and the line of holy women with red hair. I smiled and said with a hint of possibility, “Maybe…”

Then I told her about our story of Grace, and how we came to be there. She shook her head in awe and asked us more about what we do and why we came. When we were finished talking, she invited us to walk the labyrinth, and hoped to see us again. 

It was getting late and we were the last to walk the labyrinth. The caretaker was growing anxious as we winded the ancient pathways to the centre of the rose. I stood at the rose and prayed. Each pedal a different line of the Lord’s Prayer. Paul extended his arms like wings as we found his way out and back to the beginning. I did not quite finish my walk and was asked to continue outside at the outdoor labyrinth.  Not bothered, we left and thanked him with kindness and left a token of our appreciation.

The outdoor labyrinth and a view of the street, cars still rushing by, and a great hotel.  I closed my eyes and enjoyed my last moments of the walk and thanked God for everything I had received. For moments of Grace, and hope for the future. 

Paul asked, “Well, what could possibly top this?!”

Then we spotted the tall elegant InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel Paul had entered earlier that day, the highest point in San Francisco. We decided, as we stood gleaming at each other, holding hands, to take the next step on our adventure and go, as Paul pronounced:

“To the Top of the Mark!”

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I had no idea what other unexplained miracles of healing and joy would await us there and when I would arrive home, as we continue our journey in the conclusion of:

Miracles of Grace – Part III

The Story of Grace

Your path is not at random nor by chance. When the mind is open and the heart longs for something more, signs appear along the way, and miracles show up at your door…

It was September. I had decided, quite last minute, to book a trip to San Fransisco to attend an unexpected international conference that my friend coaxed me into. It was the Attitudinal Healing International 40th Anniversary conference led by the beloved Dr. Gerald (Jerry) G. Jampolsky, author of “Love is Letting Go of Fear”, based on A Course in Miracles, which she knew I studied. And they were doing facilitator training, which I also felt drawn to. She had met Jerry and Diane the previous spring and felt a stirring that I should meet with them. And so, I flew to San Francisco (as I told Jerry the last night) “on a wing and a prayer”.

I met many new friends at the conference, and received my facilitator training at the same time. It was incredible. We practiced the power of love and forgiveness each day in small groups. It confirmed all I had learned in studying the Course. I found myself opening my heart to all, as the power of love permeated in the eyes of many, young and old, male and female, friend and stranger. This was God in action.

On my spare time, I walked the hills of San Fransisco, quietly reflecting on the beauty of the Precidio (an old army outpost now public recreation and conference centre) right by the Golden Gate bridge, including its majestic cypress and eucalyptus treed forests along my footpath (where monks used to walk), and the final lookout point for Alcatraz..

I kept wondering at the meaning of this trip and how it would impact my work when I returned. In truth, I wanted to have a spiritual experience that would be a definitive sign I was on the right path, so I prayed for one, or two, or three!

Just before the end of my trip, I got a text from my husband in Toronto:

“I picked up that book you were reading before you left, and it mentions a Grace cathedral in San Francisco. You should go see it.” My host at the bed and breakfast lit up and said, “Oh yes! there is a beautiful evening candlelit service tomorrow night and you can walk the labyrinth too. Definitely go!”

That was it!  The book was called The Source of Miracles by Kathleen McGowan about the Lord’s Prayer and how walking the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral led to the recovery of her dying infant son. The labyrinth is an ancient meditative device that brings the walker closer to God. Given I was all about miracles, I would walk it as well!

Then a series of events occurred which I could not have predicted. Nor did I even notice until after they coalesced at Grace cathedral…

On the last day of the conference I sat with a young man I will call Paul, as Jerry delivered his final speech to the crowd. Just then, a young baby, from one of the participants from Australia, began crawling beneath the chairs and causing a bit of a raucous for which we all laughed. Jerry, who was also celebrating his 90th and is a man of great patience and wisdom, called to have the baby brought up to the stage and began talking with her. Then he turned to the audience and said,

“When you can look see yourself in the eyes of this baby, you will have understood this work.”

The baby’s name was… Grace.

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Later that day one of the musicians, Scott came up to deliver a humorous rendition of how to live life with less angst and worry. He strummed his guitar and made us laugh and sing along with his silly song. As I stood in line to buy his CD, a woman beside me pointed out his name and then said she was thinking of changing her name also…

The musician’s name was… Scott Grace. 

As I was standing saying goodbye to people, the young man Paul asked if he could come along on my journey to Grace Cathedral. Then we noticed another woman I will call  Linda looked a little lost in the lobby and asked her if she’d like to join us for the evening. She had never been to church in such a long, long time, and felt a little wounded by past experiences. Surprisingly, she said yes. 

Back at the house, I gave Linda a tour and we got ready for our evening at Grace Cathedral. She told me how her mother died recently, and that she always felt closer to her Aunt. She had even received a sign once which she knew was from her Aunt. I felt a tingle as she spoke, and told her I felt her presence. She felt the same.   

It didn’t occur to me what her Aunt’s name was until later… 

Just then Paul pulled up smiling, ready to take us to Grace.

There is much More to this story in… 

The Story of Grace Cont’d