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29.1 To attend is to be present and to be of service. This is the meaning of which we speak when we ask for a commitment to life that requires your attention. It is both a request for focus and readiness and a request for service that can only be given in the present by a mind and heart available to the requirements of the present. It is the appropriate attitude for the time of tenderness, as it is an attitude of ministry.
29.2 Your function cannot be known to you while you shy away from the idea of service. Whether you realize it or not, you associate service with subjugation, particularly the idea of service to a higher Will or higher Cause. Some of you associate it with a lack of free will, a lack of choice, a course that will lead you to a subservient stature. Others think of it in terms of charity, and continue to see a difference between those who would serve and those who would be served. Few of you have as yet integrated this Course’s definition of service into your lives. But now you shall. For you cannot bring the learning you have done here into an engagement with life and not realize the true meaning of service, or in contrast, the true meaning of use.
29.3 You who have so worried over what to do have both welcomed and feared the idea of some kind of service being required of you. There is no mystery to this, as the idea of service in your society is one of enforced duty, as exemplified by your military service. You have no notion, as did people of the past, of being of service to God. This is a symptom of the reign of the ego and its ability to both aggrandize your notion of yourself, and to minimize it. To be of service to God is not to be a slave to God but to attend to God. To give God your attention and your care. You who would cry, God make use of me, only need to give to God your devotion and your willingness to serve instead of use.
29.4 Further, you need to let the universe be of service to you rather than trying to use the universe to accomplish your goals. These adjustments in your attitude toward service will bring about the completion of the cycle of giving and receiving, and the beginning of wholeness.
29.5 This is as true for your own goal of wholeheartedness as it is for any wider goal of unity, for they are the same goal. Wholeheartedness is unity regained. Your return to unity is your return to your full power and your ability to be of quite literal service to God and your brothers and sisters.
29.6 If God were to speak to you Himself and tell you of what means your service would be to Him, He would but tell you this: My child, return to me. God has no Will apart from yours. Your return to unity is all God seeks for you, for Himself, and for all His children. The return to unity was my accomplishment, and all that is meant by what I have often repeated here: Only you can be accomplished. Your service is but dedication to this goal.
29.7 My return to unity accomplished this goal for all, for all are one in me and one in unity. This is why you have no need to concern yourself with anything other than this goal. Your realization of this goal’s accomplishment is your realization of your divinity, a state unaltered and yet in need of your recognition and return.
29.8 While this goal may at first appear to be one of selfish intent and individual gain, it is not. A return to unity is a return to unity. From within the center, the core of unity, your accomplishment goes out to the world, as mine once did.
29.9 The time of tenderness is the time of your approach to unity. The atonement that is accomplished here is the means of opening the gate to your approach. No one has closed this gate to you, but you by your own hand pulled it shut as you departed your heavenly home, and you do not remember that your own hand can open it once again. It is a gate of illusion, of mist, of clouds before the sun. Your hand is outstretched now and your light is clearing away the mist. The gateway to unity stands before you, an arch of golden light beneath a rainbow vibrant with the colors of life. Life, not death, assures your approach. God Himself will guide your entry.
29.10 Many of you have noticed the consistency with which you have glorified falsely that which you would imitate from creation. In work too you will find an example of this. For you all know that work and service somehow go together. In many cultures has work thus been glorified and made to seem as if it is the proper use of a life. And yet, as your Father’s child, your work is as His. Your work is that of creation. Your creation is your service to the world as your Father’s work is His service to you. As you cannot imagine God toiling, so you should cease to imagine your Self doing thus.
29.11 Many of you think of life itself as toil. There is much you need to do just to stay alive, and if a thing is required, expected, necessary, your tendency is to rebel against it and to seek for ease in getting it done or ways to avoid doing it at all. Thus have your paper plates and dishwashers taken the ritual from a meal, your mass-manufacturing the satisfaction of the hand-made. While this is neither good nor bad, this attitude of life as toil is part of your rebellion against ideas of service. You have no time for more than you do now, and you think of service, if you think of it at all, as something to be fit in here or there where it is convenient in your busy schedule.
29.12 It is extremely important for you to realize that God’s work takes place outside of time, as do all acts of true service or creation. This is not a readily understandable concept, but one that is necessary for you to have faith in. It is essential to your release of the concept of toil and your acceptance of your function here.
29.13 No matter how busy your schedule, it is only a schedule in terms of your perception of it. Your schedule is just another way of saying your life, and an alternative view of how you look at your life, when seen thus, is absolutely necessary.
29.14 No wholeness will be possible for you while you look at life in terms of schedules, plans, time-tables, or things to get done. No wholeness will be possible for you while you compartmentalize your life into designated pieces giving yourself time for work and time for leisure and seeing them not as the same thing. Life is life. Life is. As love is.
29.15 Life is service to God. God is service to life. You are God in life. Thus you are both life and service to life, both God and service to God. All of the vast universe was created the same: to live and to serve life, to be of God and be of service to God. To be served and to serve. To be provided for and to provide. To have needs met and to meet needs. This circular nature of the universe leaves no one unattended. Yet you realize this not.
29.16 The separation but accentuated this manner of functioning and made of it something difficult and challenging, something to be changed. The separation accentuated this manner of functioning and made of it, as of the rest of creation, something that it is not. The separation accentuated this manner of functioning, but it did not create it. Life exists in service to itself. This could also be stated thus: Life exists in relationship. Relationship is the interaction within which service occurs. The replacement of the idea of service with the idea of use made for the existence of special relationships. The idea of use created all ideas of toil as the only means of having needs met. The idea of use created all notions of distrust, starting with—as we have stated before—your ideas of using the very body you call your home rather than allowing it to serve you.
29.17 The universe exists in reciprocal relationship or holy relationship, rather than special relationship. This is the nature of existence, as unity is the nature of existence and cannot be changed and has not changed, although you believe it not. It is a joyful relationship, as the nature of relationship is joy. Once you have given up your belief in separation this will be known to you.
29.18 The choice to change your belief is before you. Are you not ready to make it?
29.19 As you once chose separation you can now choose unity. Not knowing that unity was a choice prevented you from making this choice before now. Now I tell you clearly, the choice is yours. Choose once again.
29.20 As you make your choice, remember your choice must be wholehearted, for it is in wholeheartedness that the power of choice exists. A split mind and heart can prevent you from utilizing the power of choice, but it cannot prevent you from claiming this choice as your own. Choose anew and let the power of heaven come together to seal the rift between your mind and heart, and make you whole once again.
29.21 Claiming your identity and your power to make choices is an act that comes from an entirely different place than decision-making. Claiming is akin to prayer and is but an asking, an asking for your true inheritance. You have felt that you need to know for what it is you ask. And yet you cannot know until you inherit. Can you have faith that your true inheritance is what you truly desire, even knowing not exactly what that inheritance is? Can you not follow me in my choice and accept it as your own?
29.22 You who have so long been afraid to claim your smallest gifts, look again at claiming with the definition I have provided. Claiming is also contrary to how you have perceived of it in terms of claiming something for your own: You claim not to own or to separate what you have from what another has and then to call it special. You claim in order to reclaim your Self.
29.23 How can one’s talent cause another to be less talented? How can one’s service deprive anyone else of the right to serve? No two are alike. Only in God are all the same.
29.24 This is the great divide, the separation, between the visible and the invisible, the indivisible and the divisible. Only those reunited with God achieve the state of unity. Only the state of unity exists.
29.25 Your gifts, your talents, your uniqueness, are your service. Can you not look at them thus? And can you not come to understand the reciprocal nature of giftedness? That what God has given only needs to be received? That what you have received only needs to be given? The indivisibleness of God is simply this: an unbroken chain of giving and receiving. Thus is this a definition of unity as well.
29.26 Service is but another way of stating this law of creation, this unbroken chain of giving and receiving. All your worry over the future and the past is but a worry about the return of gifts given. What gift of opportunity did you not accept in the past, might you not recognize in the future? What gift of fortune, what chance encounter, what decision might have changed your life? What should you have done that you didn’t? What might you do in the future if not for your fear of where the direction you choose might take you? What peace might you know if you realized, truly realized, that all gifts come but once and are forever? The past nor the future matter not. All is available in the here and now where giving and receiving occur.
29.27 No chance to learn or grow is ever missed. Each still exists, though not in time. Each still exists, but in the present. Can you replace your attention to the past and future with an attention to the present?
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