On Sunday January 8, 2023 Rev. Vincent Fuqua gave a talk for the Community Miracles Center's Sunday Gathering. A lightly edited transcription of the talk is presented here.
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. It all depends on where you actually are at. As I always say, it's great to be able to have this opportunity to speak and share my thoughts as they relate to A Course in Miracles.
It is also very interesting to be able to speak again. I tried speaking last week for my annual Kwanzaa talk, but as some folks know I had internet issues because I was in a different location. It made speaking a bit challenging. Rev. Tony reached out to me this week and asked if I would like to do a talk again this week since my talk last week was cut short. He also had a lot going on this weekend as well. He wanted to be able to have someone speak so that would allow him to do what he needed to do. That's one of the beauties about the Community Miracles Center that I love. We are always here to help support each other in any way that we possibly can. I'm just very grateful regarding that aspect of it.
So I decided to just continue on the theme of faith, because I didn't get a chance to finish everything last week. I just was guided, when Rev. Tony asked me, to still talk about faith, specifically the leap of faith. When I think about the leap of faith, it's just an opportunity where we allow ourselves to trust in something greater than ourselves. That greater than ourselves can be whatever it is for you. It can be the Spirit; it can be God. It can be whatever you feel that resonates with you regarding that aspect of it.
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I was thinking about that. "Wow," to rely on something greater than ourselves, which, for me, can be somewhat challenging. I'm someone who has a little issue with control, who likes to be in control of everything. Yet, learning how to just turn things over to the universe and have faith, whatever challenges, whatever decisions, whatever choices, whatever it is going on. Just to believe that it will work out the way that it's actually supposed to work out, to be able to trust that aspect of it. Definitely, for me studying A Course in Miracles, over the many years that I've been studying it, has helped me to be able to get in that faith space. I'm not perfect at it. I'm still continuing to grow. I continue to evolve regarding it, but I'm able to really recognize faith a lot more, and to really pay attention to it.
I decided to go on the internet and do a search and just find out what others on the internet say about faith? How do they look at it? How do they perceive it themselves? These are some of the things that I found when I did a search for "faith." "Faith is the substance, or insurance, of things we hope for but have not yet received." Think about that, things that we hope for, but we have not received them yet. Then it also said, "Faith, it's about our confidence. It's about belief. It's about trust." Think about that. Having the confidence, knowing whatever it is, that it's part of what faith is. And trusting, trusting in ourselves, trusting in our fellow individuals, trusting in our communities, trusting in so many different thing. In my mind, it's all part of faith.
Then it goes on and also says, "It is also our evidence of that which is not seen, the invisible spiritual things." "Invisible spiritual things ..." wow, that is just so deep right there. Things that are just not there in our face. We can't see Spirit in reality, but yet we know Spirit is there, to be able to have faith in that, and believe in that aspect of it.
Then it also says, "Faith comes from before a prayer is answered, or before an individual has received what he or she has requested from God." Then it goes again, it says, "Complete trust or confidence in someone or something." The word "complete" is important, complete trust — not a little trust, but complete trust. In my mind, that's really turning it over, and really trusting and believing. That's what faith is about. It's so beautiful just to be able to hear that.
Then it also goes on and says, "Strong belief in God or in the direction of a religion, based on spiritual apprehensions rather than proof." So those are things that I found by just doing some internet searching, just to get a sense of what the internet thought of how to perceive faith. I was, "Wow, this is just such an incredible, amazing thing that we have access to in this world, when it comes to thinking about faith."
This made me think and reflect. I want to honor something that happened this week. As a lot of you are aware of, some know me very well, I'm a huge sports fanatic. I play sports, and I also watch sports. This past week, the NFL (National Football League) and the people who are sports fans experienced something that was very tragic on a Monday night game when one of the players from the Buffalo Bills tackled someone else. Then, I was there watching the game, the player who made the tackle collapsed right there on the field. It was just an experience I've never experienced while watching on TV. Then just seeing the expressions of all the players around him, because they had to do CPR on him right there on the field to save this young man's life. This made me think more and more about faith, of trusting and believing that something higher than us will ensure that this individual, who collapsed in front of thousands of fans in the stadium, millions of people watching that game, and all the other players, that things would work themselves out.
Seeing the outpouring of prayers from all over the place, towards this individual, sending out that healing, loving energy to this individual, to the teams, to the family members — that's seeing something that we don't see often. That is faith. Being able to put that energy forward and out there is faith. The individual, towards the end of the week, was finally able to get off of the breathing tube so he can breathe on his own, that's the power of faith. That's the power of trusting and leaping — taking it to a level that is absolutely remarkable. What's something that we always knew from the Course. This was not about a separate person. It was everyone coming together as one, as a collective. What a huge strength and powerfulness that exists because of that.
That is, in my mind, an example of faith — just taking that stance, letting go of control, and trusting in something beyond us. A Course in Miracles tells us this. "Do not question him and do not confound him, for your faith in him is your faith in yourself. If you would know God and His Answer, believe in me whose faith in you cannot be shaken." (OrEd.Tx.8.110) The thing that stood out for me in this particular quote from the Course, which I appreciate and love, is the whole idea of faith in God is your faith in yourself. When we're able to allow ourselves to have faith in something beyond us, then guess what? We will be able to have faith in ourselves. I know our ego minds so many times wants to interfere, wants us to have those doubts, wants us to not believe. But if we take a moment, and allow ourselves just to put our faith in God, when we do that we are able, in my mind, to get through whatever comes our way.
I experienced that in that myself, just recently, when I went on my trip back to Phoenix, Arizona for Christmas. I had to deal with flight cancellations, and I had to deal with not knowing when I was going to get back home to San Francisco. I was supposed to come home back on Christmas night, and yet, I didn't get back until December 29th. And it would've been longer than that if I was not guided and listening to the Voice of the Spirit. I said to Spirit, "Okay, what else can I do to get myself back home?" It was just to look at a different airline. So that's what I did.
I was fortunate, because I had traveling credit, I was able to get back. I know a lot of individuals were not in that situation. I was also fortunate because I was in Phoenix visiting my brother and his family. So I had somewhere to stay. That is trusting that Spirit and God would look out for you no matter what situation is happening. I could have been freaking out, but I kept turning it over to the Holy Spirit and trusting, having the faith, and believing that things would work out the way it's supposed to work out.
I realize, as I reflect upon that whole experience, it was an opportunity for me to learn how to be patient, how to stop trying to feel like I need to control every little thing, and being able to say to myself, "You know what? That's the experience. Just go with it. Let it happen the way it's supposed to happen." And it did. I made it back safely. I had the opportunity to spend more time with my brother and his family. Plus for me, someone who doesn't cook, I had a home-cooked meal every "freaking" night that I was there. You can't go wrong with experiences like that, and it was such a beautiful thing.
Also when I think about faith, taking a leap of faith, I think about my career. I think about where I'm going and where I want to go, and thinking about how to turn it over and to not allow my fears to continue to get into my way, to block me. A Course in Miracles reminds us of this, "Believe his words are true because of the truth which is in him. You will unite with the truth in him, and his words will be true." (OrEd.Tx.8.110) Believe in his words. Trust in what the Spirit is guiding us to do.
The Spirit has guided me. As I mentioned a couple of months ago in one of my talks, I decided to apply for a higher division job within my section with the San Francisco Health Department, within my branch as a Deputy Director, which would be a very high position. It would be an opportunity for me to be, in essence, the second in-charge of a whole San Francisco Health Department branch.
I kept hearing the Spirit guiding me to go and apply for this position. It came in the form of several people in my office saying, "Vincent, you need to apply for this." "Okay." It was the writing on the card that they wanted me to be able to do that. Yet me, with my own ego, my own fears, and my own doubts was too ... I was feeling afraid to take that leap, to trust, to listen to the truth and the words that Spirit was trying to guide me with. "Listen, this is an opportunity for you to just take that chance. Recognize ‘yes,' going through this whole process is going to be hard, especially with the city of San Francisco, because the city process to get through anything is never easy. You have to learn a sense of patience. You have to learn a sense of trust, which is hard for you to be able to do."
For me, going through this whole process was challenging. The first thing I had to do was submit the resume. You had to meet their minimum qualification before you can even go to the next step. I was fortunate that I met the minimum qualification. Then, after that, they said, "Okay, now you have met the minimum for qualification. Now you have to take an exam." I thought, "Are you serious? My resume proved that I already meet the qualification, and now I've got to take the exam to be able to move forward?"
This was just another moment and another opportunity for me to turn it all over and to ask Spirit to help me shift my perception that I am not good enough, to go ahead and continue with this process. My imposter self didn't want to. It was telling me, "Okay, Vincent, this barrier was there for a reason, so you should not go ahead and take the exam." All those thoughts were coming up in my mind. Then I had to trust in the true word of what the Spirit was guiding me. It was telling me to do this for a reason, and so I did. I signed up, and then I got scheduled to take the exam.
A Course in Miracles goes on to say this, "Listening to truth is the only way you can hear it now and finally know it." (OrEd.Tx.8.110) I had to listen to it. I had to listen to the truth of what the Spirit was telling me. Knowing that Spirit had faith in me, it became more about me having faith in myself, of me believing and knowing that it's okay to take this leap that I was so afraid of being able to do.
I was scheduled to take the exam on a Friday morning. They scheduled me on Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. I was thinking, "Are you people kidding me? 8:00 a.m. on a Friday?" It was over 200 and something multiple-choice questions. Over 200! I was like, "Oh my God! Spirit, are you sure you want me to be here to do this?" I'm someone who has attention deficit disorder. I cannot sit for that long, or focus for that amount of time, for that many questions. I was thinking, "Wow, is this what you really want? Is this the path that you are actually trying to get me to go to?"
Sitting there, doing that exam, I had to take numerous, deep slow breaths, and ask Spirit to help me get through it, to get through all those questions. I had to trust, trust that I understood and knew the responses to the questions that they were asking. Several of those multiple choice questions ... usually there's like 3 or 4 choices to a question. However several of these questions had 8 or 9 choices. This is the process the way the city of San Francisco does things. It just baffles me.
Yet I was listening to the truth, listening to my truth. That truth said, "Vincent, this is just in an exam. Just take your time. Do the best that you can." Spirit believed in me. I trusted, and I had the faith to just keep going on and do it, and I finished the exam. As soon as I got done and submitted, I didn't know this part was going to happen, it tells you what your result was, and I passed. I passed the exam. What a huge relief. It's amazing the process that you go through in your own mind when you are there in that moment of trying to get your ego self out of the way, trusting to be able to go ahead and finish it.
Then, of course with the city, that was not the final step. Then they sent me these eight essay questions that I had to fill out. I'm continuing to ask myself, "Wow! Is this really the path the Spirit wants me to do? Am I supposed to take this leap of faith to go for a higher position, even when they continue to add more or more things to it?"
The Spirit says, "Your decision about him determines the message you receive. Remember that the Holy Spirit is in him, and His Voice speaks to you through him." (OrEd.Tx.8.111) So the Spirit is in me. The Spirit is in all of us. The thing is, "yes," they had eight questions, but the bottom line is, those eight questions are things that I knew about. It was a lot around equity stuff that, as all you know, I've been doing for years. I already had the skillset and knew it. I was nervous because I'm not the best writer. That's just not my strength. But, Spirit made sure that I did not use this as an excuse, because a couple of people came up to me and said, "Write it up. I will edit it for you and make sure that it is written clearly." So I did.
I took that chance. I answered the questions. I turned it over to my friends to edit it. I submitted it. At this time I don't know what the outcome is going to be. The bottom line that I'm learning, that I'm starting to understand, regardless whether I get the position or not, regardless whether I even get interviewed or not, I took the leap of faith for applying for something higher than I ever thought possible. To trust and to listen to those true words about what the Spirit has been guiding me to do. If it's meant for me to be in this position of Deputy Director, I will be.
The bottom line for me is, I had to trust and I had to have faith that the Spirit put me in this position for a reason, to allow me to go through that process. I realized it allowed me to go through that process also because Spirit is reminding me there's one other thing that I have not done yet, because of my own fears, and that was to take my license exam as a therapist. This is just another way of Spirit speaking to me and saying, "Vincent, stop it. Let go of all your fears. Let go of all your doubts, and do what is was meant for me to do." Spirit knows, already knows, what is it I'm supposed to do. It's just me. I have to believe. I have to have the confidence. I have to trust. I have to have the faith that what I'm supposed to do is going to happen, and to stop allowing in my ego mind those negative thoughts to come my way.
Challenges would always come up for us. Decisions will always come up for us. The thing is to remember to allow yourself to take that leap of faith, no matter what it is, and to trust. When we're coming from the right place, when we're coming from the Spirit guidance, we doing exactly what we're supposed to do be doing. Those are the lessons that I learned.
And as I close, I just want each and every one of us to remember the beauty, the love, the Spirit, the healing, the faith, that each of us continue to manifest in each and every moment. That's who we are. And that is my talk. ♥
Rev. Vincent Fuqua is CMC's 51st minister. He was ordained by the CMC on October 4, 2004. He is a member of the CMC Board of Directors. (03.13.23)
c/o Community Miracles Center
San Francisco, CA 94147
This article appeared in the January 2023 (Vol. 36 No. 11) issue of Miracles Monthly. Miracles Monthly is published by Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA. CMC is supported solely by people just like you who: become CMC Supporting Members, Give Donations and Purchase Books and Products through us.