Season’s Greetings: Reflections on True Gifts from The Urantia Book

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Steve Shinall

By Steve Shinall, drummer, Celestial House Band, Georgia, United States

If you’re looking for a well-written paper that will further your understanding of The Urantia Book, this is not it. May I recommend study aids provided on the Urantia Foundation or Fellowship websites or anything written by Dr. Jeff Wattles.

What I offer today is more of an expression of gratitude in this holiday season of thanksgiving and sharing of gifts. I will try to keep it brief, for there is no way I—or any of us—could name all of those who have been part of our journey and have offered a helping hand or a word of encouragement, instruction, and good cheer. The Urantia Book puts it this way: “If you could only fathom the motives of your associates, how much better you would understand them. If you could only know your fellows, you would eventually fall in love with them.” 100:4.5 (1098.2)

As I arrived at the IC’17 conference in Denver in July, I couldn’t help but marvel at the diverse group of folks that were attending the event. This is not new. I’m always filled with wonder and delight when I attend one of these gatherings. People from all corners of the world coming together because of this amazing revelation, The Urantia Book, that has changed all of us in ways we could not have imagined before we found it. Though we differ in vocations, religious beliefs, church affiliations, politics, culture, and education, the love of truth, beauty, and goodness has beckoned us. We have left our homes, jobs, and family to meet again with others who share our love and belief in this fifth epochal revelation and the desire to help disseminate these teachings. It is rarely easy, convenient, or inexpensive (time and money) to do so. And yet we do. Yes, dear friends, we are, dare I say, spirit led. The Urantia Book speaks of spirit: “There is a direct attractiveness of a spirit nature between spiritually minded persons of like tastes and longings. The term kindred spirits is not wholly a figure of speech.” 7:1.6 (82.5)

Speaking of kindred spirits, I want to take a moment to thank Paula Thompson, her staff, and all the folks at the Fellowship for their steadfast support for the music programs and in helping so many musicians to be able to attend and participate in these events. Their generosity has enriched many a conferencegoer’s experience and changed lives in the process.

I look back on the many conferences I’ve attended. Most often I’ve been part of the music program. Musicians are, indeed, kindred spirits within a larger group of kindred spirits such as the conference attendees that gathered in Denver this summer. Our love of music is the common language we share, speak, and mold our lives around. The Urantia Book says that “melody has power a whole world to transform. Forever, music will remain the universal language of men, angels, and spirits. Harmony is the speech of Havona.” 44:1.15 (500.6)

We are a long way from Havona, but we’re having a fine time singing together as we journey in that direction, often with Richard Keeler leading the way while playing a banjo. And I found myself several times during rehearsals looking at this wildly divergent group of personalities, feeling an overflowing of affection for these kindred spirits. I have known Cristina Seaborn and Mike Wood for decades. Not only are they extremely talented at what they do, they are simply wonderful people whom I am privileged to call my friends. I have fallen in love with these folks and so many others through the many years we have come to know each other. It takes a long time to grow an old friend.

The Urantia Book instructs us to “train your memory to hold in sacred trust the strength-giving and worth-while episodes of life, which you can recall at will. . . . But the noblest of all memories are the treasured recollections of the great moments of a superb friendship.” 160:4.12 (1779.4)

It takes a long time to grow an old friend and it is never easy to lose a loved one. I miss those friends who have passed from this life to the next. I miss the kindness of their smiles, the sound of their voices, and the way their hearts touched mine. There will always be a place in my heart for Bert Cobb, Lee Farmer, Cathy Jones, Lynn Prentice, and Jan Bernard, just to name a few. Too many years have gone by to name them all, and so many loved ones have graduated.

And I want to thank you, dear friends, for all you do and have done to support Urantia Foundation and disseminate the revelation in your unique way. I look forward to meeting you soon, somewhere along the ascension pathway.

Here’s wishing you a joyous holiday season surrounded by family and loved ones.

May the coming year be filled with service opportunities and learning experiences to grow in God’s grace because, as The Urantia Book says, “man’s nearest and dearest approach to God is by and through love, for God is love.” 3:4.7 (50.5)

Now, get out there and spread the good news of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Fear not, lift up your voice, and make a damn joyful noise!

Steve Shinall
Steve Shinall

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