As I write this, our government has just announced a pause of the Trans-Tasman travel bubble for at least 8 weeks. This has caused quite some consternation and upheaval for thousands of New Zealanders who had gone to Australia to visit family and friends, reflecting the strong ties between our two countries. There will be some very difficult challenges ahead for those who cannot come back in time, but it is not the first time this has happened and will probably not be the last. We live in very uncertain times, but, according to The Urantia Book, part of our mission in life is to learn to:
…feast upon uncertainty, to fatten upon disappointment, to enthuse over apparent defeat, to invigorate in the presence of difficulties, to exhibit indomitable courage in the face of immensity, and to exercise unconquerable faith when confronted with the challenge of the inexplicable” [Paper 26:5.3, page 291.3].
From any perspective, the current global situation is presenting us with opportunities to do all of these things.
So we carry on. Our online study group meets fortnightly, and is continuing to have meaningful, thought-provoking discussions which expand our awareness and understanding of the truths in The Urantia Book, through sharing our thoughts and perspectives, and asking really good questions. We have been blessed with a new reader in this group, which is very enjoyable. In Auckland, the face-to-face study group meets monthly, and continues this process.
We began reading Paper 2, The Nature of God for the Study Day, and came across the recurrent theme of the challenge presented to the revelators by the “limitations of language” (2:0.3, 33.3). As a language teacher, I am very aware of how the words and phrases in a language reflect a culture and a way of life; people develop ‘word symbols’ to represent actions, objects, ideas and concepts that are present and important in their lives and that they wish to share with those they live with. The lack of words and phrases in the English language to represent advanced spiritual concepts that we, as finite beings, are incapable of understanding, is to be expected. As our understanding deepens, we will develop the words to represent those understandings, long before we go to the mansion worlds and are taught the local language of Nebadon.
It is a strong feature of languages that they grow and change as new objects and ideas develop; the tendency in the English language is to re-purpose words – ‘eyeball’ used to be a noun, and is now also a verb, just as one example. And consider the phrase at the beginning of this article: “pause the Trans-Tasman travel bubble” – in January 2020 this would have had no meaning whatsoever, but now it has a very distinct meaning which is understood by everyone in this part of the world.
Hopefully, in eight weeks the situation will have improved, the bubble will be re-opened, and we will once again be able to travel and spend precious face-to-face time with family and friends. There are of course, no guarantees, but in the face of all this uncertainty and change, The Urantia Book, as always, provides words of great comfort and encouragement:
In the midst of the confusions of a rapidly changing environment mortal man needs the sustenance of a far-flung cosmic perspective. [Paper 99:7. 2, page 1092.6]
Religion inspires man to live courageously and joyfully on the face of the earth; it joins patience with passion, insight to zeal, sympathy with power, and ideals with energy. [Paper 99:7.3, page 1092.7]