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Unity of Rehoboth Beach November 29, 2015 Faith & Hope

Good Morning Beloved!

 

A newly married man asked his wife, “Would you have married me if my father hadn’t left me a fortune?” “Honey,” the woman replied sweetly, “I’d have married you, no matter who left you a fortune.”

 

The First Sunday of Advent – Faith or Hope

 

The season of Advent is a time HISTORICALLY marked for remembering the years of preparation and consecration prior to the coming of the Messiah.

 

For many centuries, the Christian Church has identified the beginning of the Christmas celebration with a time of reflection and expectation called Advent.

 

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival” and, when used in conjunction with Christmas, reminds us of the anticipation and expectation held over hundreds of years by the people of Israel for their Messiah and promised King.

 

For centuries before Christ, Hebrew rabbis methodically and passionately taught the Jewish people that Messiah was coming. They taught that the people should be ready when he appeared. They emphasized the need for holy living and obedience to God’s law.

 

This explains how the lowliest shepherds and fishermen of that day were acquainted with the promises of a Messiah. This season of preparation was all by God’s design.

 

Metaphysically, what do you think advent means? Keep in mind, when we look at something metaphysically, it’s what it means to you…the underlying message of the word.

 

Here’s some more information on the word as you are thinking of it’s meaning to you…the further definition states ‘coming into being or use’…

Any thoughts?

 

Today, we mark Advent with the display of a wreath – its circle reminds us of Divine Spirit, some call God, some Goddess, others Buddha, and still others Universe—whichever; eternal and endlessly merciful. It is evergreen – reminding us of hope. Our Advent wreath is round, without beginning or end, to represent the completeness that we have in Christ, the Divine in us.

 

The four outer candles incorporated into the display represent the time of waiting and preparation for the Messiah during the four Sundays of Advent (thought by many theologians to represent the four hundred years of prophetic silence between Malachi and the angelic visitations of the Gospels).

 

The light of the candles reminds us of the Light of world, and the prophetic promise of the coming…our becoming.

 

Our first candle represents Faith or HOPE.

 

We are told that faith can move mountains, and perhaps you have even experienced a metaphorical mountain move in our life. Did you ever hold onto a hope, against all odds and have it prevail?   There’s your mountain!

 

Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity wrote “When we believe [in the possibilities of things not seen], putting aside all doubt and whatever suggests failure, the thoughts of faith begin to accumulate substance and fulfillment follows.” This is how powerful we are, when we maintain a sense of positive expectancy, the very universe responds!

 

As it says in Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Here’s an example of Faith in action:

 

“A farming community suffered during a protracted drought. The parched earth produced little of the life and wealth-sustaining crop every family depended upon. A local minister called the community together to pray for rain. The town square became crowded with citizens from all faith traditions. The minister greeted everyone, scanning the crowd for familiar faces. The minister’s eyes landed on a young girl approaching from the dry fields. The crowd parted as she neared. She was the only one carrying an umbrella.”

 

 

A king had a disturbing dream that all his teeth had fallen out. As was the custom of his time, he sent for a soothsayer to interpret the dream. “Your Highness,” the man said after reflecting a few moments, “The dream means that all your relatives will die and you will be left alone.”

 

This troubled the king even further, so he sent the soothsayer away and sought a second opinion.   Hearing the king’s dream, the second interpreter began to smile and dance about: “Rejoice, O King!” he said. “The dream means that you will live many more years. In fact, you will out-live all your relatives!”

 

Think about it….

 

Both seers told the king essentially the same thing, but the second gave the interpretation from a significantly different perspective. Our feelings about events are determined not by “the facts,” but by our interpretations of what those facts mean.

Dale Carnegie said, “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy.

It is what you think about.”

 

Which version of the dream’s meaning would you accept?

 

Shakespeare wrote, “There is nothing in this world either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Our foundation statement in Unity, the rock upon which our faith rests, is that God is the only presence and power in the Universe. Good is the only presence. Apparent “bad” is temporary, and it functions to provide opportunity for expanded good.

What experiences can you think of that were ‘opportunities for expanded good’ in your life? (Selling my house)

 

“The wind blows where it wills,” Jesus said. Life happens! And we don’t always have a choice about which way the wind blows. But we do have the ability to adjust the sails of our thinking. Jesus taught, “According to your faith, be it done to you.” Where do you choose to place your faith?

 

Jesus also said, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” When we practice applying the highest and best truth we know, we make a positive difference in our world.

 

What do you think that means?

 

For me, it refers to Unity’s 5th Principle –         “Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must also live the truth that he/she knows.”

SO, it’s great to say and think we have faith, hope, in the things that we envision to manifest in our world, BUT….and it’s a nice sized BUT (1 T), if we do not put any action to the thought, the so called belief…the things we have HOPE for, that we are placing our FAITH on, if we do not put action behind that faith, all the HOPE in the world will not make it so.

Remember this from last Sunday? Action precedes internal transformation.

 

There’s a big difference between knowing the PATH and walking it.

 

Paulo Coelho, the Brazilian Author said, “When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are [some of the] tools God uses to show us the way.”

 

And Karen Wright, Inspirational Author and Speaker said, “What exactly does it take to live the life of your dreams? Perfect timing? Fortunate opportunities? A million dollars in the bank? Not even close. It takes a decision; a simple decision that will ultimately test the strength of your commitment and the depth of your faith.”

I like to use the word CHOICE….because you always can make another choice……

 

 

Good Morning Beloved!

A man goes to the doctor and says “Doc, all my friends say that my leg talks.”

So the doctor puts his stethoscope to the man’s thigh and he hears the leg say “I need money.”

Then the doctor moves the stethoscope to the man’s knee and, again, the leg says “I need money.”

Finally he moves the stethoscope to the ankle and the ankle says “I need money.”

“I know what’s wrong with you,” the doctor said.

“Your leg is broke in three places.”

 

Remembrance Service

As we prepare to enter the sacred season of Christmas – of rebirth and new beginnings, we do so with an expanded awareness.

Anchored in the Truth that God is LOVE & knowing that Spirit is within each one of us, this morning helps us all be more accepting with ourselves and each other – to honor the changes and transitions that have happened in our lives – so that we can be awake to what is emerging in and through us & into our world.

Change/growth is the ‘consistent constant’…Energy/spirit never dies nor stops moving, it simply changes form, it transfers.

We honor those changes today.

 

By remembering – by honoring our past – we open the way for deeper awareness in the present – for the true peace that passes understanding so that the Prince of Peace, our authentic Essence can be born anew in us – and keep in mind that this authentic essence can be born anew every moment. We honor that rebirth every year and will do so again through this Advent Season.

 

Remembrance – is also about being REAL – about acknowledging our humanness –

We acknowledge and remember losses in our physical form, associated with (1) changes in our lives; (2) loss of relationship; (3) loss of loved ones through physical death; and (4) the other unspoken losses that we are carrying with us.

Despite all of the hype and pressures of the world for us to be happy & excited about celebrating Christmas, for many of us this is a most challenging time of year. There can even be a tendency to withdraw – not go to the gatherings & celebration or to see the lights & reminders that we are supposed to be having a happy holiday.

 

Yet, if we acknowledge the challenges that the season can bring up in our lives, it is a wonderful opportunity for healing and for deeper understanding and new beginnings – for bringing real peace into our lives; the “peace that passes understanding.”

  • For some of us, Christmas time reminds us of the anniversary of a loss of someone dear to us;
  • Some of us have other losses- a job loss, financial loss, friends & family who have moved or drifted away, children who won’t be home to share the holiday for the1st time;
  • Loss of health- our own or our loved ones;
  • Concerns about the state of our world, hunger, disease, war, terrorists;
  • Some of us may have loved ones who will not be home for Christmas because they are serving in the military somewhere around the world – and we pray daily for their safekeeping and the end of conflict. We pray for peace.
  • And our 1st responders and those who work in hospitals, etc. and miss some holiday celebrations and we miss them during these festivities.

These changes and real life situations can bring us down.

We must keep in mind that changes is often the catalyst for growth.  As we come to terms with understanding loss and ‘growth opportunities,’ we can see it has potential and value.

Michael A. Singer, author of “The Untethered Soul,” writes “When your mind starts telling you what you have to do to make everything okay, don’t buy into what it’s telling you. And that’s the only time everything will be okay.”

When will you ‘be ok’ with there changes?  When will you see them as opportunities/

A long ago tale tells of twin sons born to a king who never knew which of his sons came into the world first.  Knowing that he must appoint a crown prince, he had to choose fairly which would be his heir.

He told his sons that being king was a very heavy burden. He said, “To discover which of my sons is able to more cheerfully carry that weight, they are to go to the farthest corner of the empire and bring back a burden that my counselors will place of equal weight on your shoulders. The crown will go to whomever returns bearing the burden as it should be borne.”

He told his sons that being king was a very heavy burden. He said, “To discover which of my sons is able to more cheerfully carry that weight, they are to go to the farthest corner of the empire and bring back a burden that my counselors will place of equal weight on your shoulders. The crown will go to whomever returns bearing the burden as it should be borne.”

So the sons left, and on the way they encountered an elderly lady with a weak body unable to carry her bags. One son stopped to help while the other objected and continued with his search for his own burden to carry. The one who stopped continued to find people who needed his help. Eventually he reached the farthest corner of the empire where the king’s counselor put a burden on his shoulders equal to all he had experience in his travels, and it was so heavy he could barely manage it.

When he arrived home, the other brother was shocked as to how his brother could manage so heavy a load since he, himself, was unable to. The future king said that each time he stopped to help another with their burdens he developed the strength to carry his own.

We may not see the strength at the time, but if we learn from each ‘growth opportunity’, we grow an inner strength to help us through our lives.

Wangari Maathai said, “There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.”

What could these ‘opportunities’ bring to us?

Change and transitions teach us what matters; to treasure the smallest of blessings.

As we remember the names of friends and family who have transitioned and their stories, we smile and carry them in our hearts and cherish them even more.  Some we remember and smile, some bring tears; some bring both!

And we learn from them, from those stories – each one has a lesson for us. It may be to take better care of ourselves and those we love.

One of the things we may learn is acceptance of the inevitable.

Death is part of the future for everyone. It is the last post of this life and the reveille of the next. Death, like birth, is only a transformation, another birth. When we die we shall change our state – that is all.

Another thing we may learn is to think safety when we are doing things around the house, or driving somewhere, whether near or far. The accident I had last year has made me even more safety conscious than I was prior to it. And experiencing breast cancer has allowed me to share my experience, encouraging others to take the steps necessary to take care of themselves.

And sometimes there is an understanding and an awakening that comes with the change. It may bring with it a different direction in our lives that we never thought would be ours.

Even 10-15 years ago, I really would not have imagined I would REALLY be here, doing what I am doing today.

And back in high school, I was planning to marry after school…until the death of the guy who would have been my husband. That changed those plans.

Then the realization that I was gay changed things again.

A change in career several times brought new and different opportunities.

And here I am! Amazing what change can do. And the steps were not large steps, they were one at a time, small steps.

How about you? What changes in your life have been the catalyst for a different direction?

Action precedes internal transformation.

Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did. It’s time to let it go.

Byron Katie would ask, “Is it true?” Is it still true that Fred died? Or that this body has cancer? NO! That was then, this is NOW.

Annoyances and interruptions are confrontations to your self-esteem, your ego; not your soul’s purpose. What’s in front of you will lead you to what’s next for you. Step-by-step you are raised to the next level with all that is necessary to encounter your soul’s assignment. It’s not a matter of your being the chosen of God but rather, are you choosing God’s expression with your actions?

How do you choose to act today?  Tomorrow?

Let us turn within in a time of meditation:

As we are aware of all of these things we have talked about for ourselves & for others in this room, let us TAKE A DEEP BREATH & release it and let it go as we open to the awareness of the Presence of Spirit and the support and reassurance of community.

I invite you to take some more nice deep breaths and gently move your focus of attention to heart.

As you follow your breath inward, move to that place where your heart and you soul merge, where your wisdom lies.

Take another deep breath and as you let it go, take a moment to just gently be aware of everyone else letting go with you and supporting you on this journey as we relax and join our hearts with Spirit in this time of remembrance.

We come together today to honor all of the phases of our lives. The times of joy and the times of loss, the times of celebration and the times of grief, the times of companionship and the times of loneliness.

Today we acknowledge that which weighs heavily upon us as we enter this Christmas season.

There are times in each of our lives when we must say goodbye to love. We release a loved one into his or her eternal journey, while we stay in life. Yet our beloved remains in our hearts. We are reminded of them in many ways, especially during this special time of year. We take this moment to remember loved ones who have made their transitions this past year & in preceding years.

Other losses may have occurred, and these, too, need to be brought into the healing light of remembrance. We may have experienced the loss of love through divorce or separation. We may have experienced a loss in our role as child, parent or spouse.

We may have experienced the loss of our identity as it was defined by those roles.   We take this moment to honor the old roles, so that we may realize the new roles.

 

We sometimes grieve other changes in our own lives; changes in employment, a move to a different home, loved ones or ourselves finishing and moving on from school.

In each of these changes, there is a letting go, a letting go of one stage in life and the acceptance of another. Let us now bring into consciousness the ways that we have changed in this past year – and let go.

As we bring this time of meditation to a close, we wrap our memories in love and acceptance. Our memories weigh lighter upon us, while at the same time adding color and texture to our lives. We are open to the ways we have been shaped by them. And we are open to shaping a holiday celebration that honors all of our experiences – all of our memories including our losses and our new beginnings.

We open to the inner space of God’s healing PEACE

We open to God’s unconditional LOVE

 

We are guided by our Faith in all that is good.

Let us use these words from the Quran as a guide for the Christmas Season and all year: “Humans are one family. So make peace with your family” Quran 49:10

And as you are ready, gently bring our focus of attention back into this room – staying connected to our Inner Peace.

After the service everybody pays respect to those items on the altar and then of course you take your memory item(s) home.

Unity of Rehoboth Beach, November 1, 2015 – “Unfoldment” by Carol Borsello

UNFOLDMENT

‘A time will come when your innermost voice will speak to you, saying ‘This is my path, here I shall find peace, I will pursue this path, come what may’ If you will persist and are patient, and above all never lose faith, your path will lead you unerringly to your goal’
White Eagle
Well, here we are. Would you like to know just where “here” is? Earth is located in the universe in the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies. A supercluster is a group of galaxies held together by gravity. Within this supercluster we are in a smaller group of galaxies called the Local Group. Earth is in the second largest galaxy of the Local Group – a galaxy called the Milky Way. The Milky Way is a large spiral galaxy. Earth is located on a small spur of one of the two Orion Arms of the Milky Way. Here we are part of the Solar System – a group of eight planets which orbit the Sun. We are the third planet from the Sun in the Solar System. I figure you know the rest of the data: northern hemisphere, USA, eastern seaboard, state of Delaware, township of Milton, on Coastal Highway, between the cornfield & the red barn…How does that make you feel? More expanded, right? That’s unfoldment in space. There’s definitely a divine plan to our placement, a divine order to our being here, in THIS place, at THIS time. Welcome to the place of your divinity!

When I mentioned to a couple of you that the name of my talk today is “unfoldment”, I got a few oohs & ahs. These sounded so wise & & understanding, I wondered what YOU knew that I needed to talk about.

We are all here on earth to unfold. As everything is! An acorn will never be an oak tree if it doesn’t unfold. We’ve spent a year next to this cornfield, and we watched it gather up energy from the earth to sprout, grow, bear a harvest, and then release all of that energy after this cycle. Just so do we gather up energy from any number of sources, sprout, grow, bear fruit & return to the energetic universe. Another name for this cycle is “unfoldment”

While life calls us to grow & change, we Humans have free will. We can stop at anytime & dig in our heels & settle down in the place where we are. We can refuse to make a change. What happens when we do this? Seems to me life doesn’t stop & settle in with us for long. Oh, it’ll allow us a little reciprocity, but overall Life expects so much more of us. God expects more of us. WE expect more of us. From a galaxy to a cornfield, we always start from the tiniest place. The Talmud proclaims over every blade of grass there is an angel whispering: “grow, grow, grow!”

Life is always tapping us on the shoulder. Sometimes it’s a love tap, but if we shake off the interruption too many times, sometimes Life heads out the back of the barn & brings back a 2×4 to use for the next tap. Ever had that happen?

Fortunately, our spiritual selves don’t need Mapquest. We get our downloads through grace & express uploads through prayer. Our energetic bodies have this built-in growth app, called the Chakra System. It’s the equivalent of that angel whispering, “grow, grow, grow!” Our unfolding is built-in, authentic, automatic. It’s a surety that is meant to shoehorn us into spiritual growth.

Neil Kramer, a contemporary mystic, philosopher & author says, we live in a “hit & run world.” He says there are fail-safes to keep us from “spiritual stagnation.” I love that phrase: Spiritual Stagnation. But none of us want that to be a description of any part of our lives. He describes unfoldment as continuing to learn, as not giving away our power or burrowing into the sand – or the television – as we do grow.

I believe the only reason we are here is to find the way to God. The simplest path to God is within, so let’s start by taking a peek at the seven chakras. The western world has only started paying attention to the chakra system recently. They are more they are commonly part of the Eastern body of knowledge.

Each chakra has a color, a symbol and its very own sound. Each has a physical body area it helps activate, balance, energize & heal. Chakras are spinning wheels in our energy bodies, our “aura” if you will. I’ve brought along a Kirlian photograph of my aura, which also shows chakras. It shows my energy egg which fortunately is round, like me! That photos can be taken of these lends a lot to their credibility. So come with me as I describe the seven chakras. So pass it along, if you would.

I feel quite safe saying the existence of a human body is to provide habitation for a soul. Our ideal growth pattern is evolution into wise, loving, compassionate extensions of Source. Here’s how the chakras set us up to do exactly that:

The root chakra, Muladhara, is at the base of our torso. (Its symbol is the four-leaf lotus.)

Each chakra takes about seven years to open fully. You know that old saw that every seven years your life changes? This dovetails with that. In some religions, seven is the “age of reason” & when the indicators that we are more than physical beings begin to manifest. In times past, when a child reached seven years, statistical chances of survival rose exponentially. Till then, they were simply too fragile for the world. So during the first seven years of life, the root chakra is all about your being physical being in the world. It’s concerned with issues related to survival, like food, shelter, sleep, protection, & the practicalities of survival. If we don’t remember our first seven years here, we’ve all experienced how powerfully children are connected to survival. Threats are met with some powerful resistance, even if that threat to a child’s survival is not having that ice cream cone right now!

From 7 to 14, the second chakra, Savadhisthana, begins to develop. (Its symbol is the six-leaf lotus.) Second chakra is located about two finger-widths below the navel.

Once called the sexual chakra, now called the “polarity” chakra, Savadhistana is associated with creativity. From 7 to 14, our physical characteristics develop. In the beginning of this developmental cycle, girls & boys separate from each other – like repelling magnets. Life can be all about the body as it radically changes from child to young adult.

From 14 to 21, third chakra is defined: Manipura (with a symbol of the ten-leaf lotus.) Manipura is where we locate the solar plexus in the physical body. Literally, our light begins to shine on the world as we develop social relationships. Our roots are grounded; we have a good idea about our male/female growth patterns. We now relate to others independently. Usually teens relate better to outsiders from the family while family members get short shrift.

21 to 27 brings Anahata or heart chakra (the twelve-leaf lotus) online. After reaching out to society in general, finding our place in the pecking order, we move from general relationships to specific relationships. Often this is the time when a relationship gets “serious.” This is when we relate on a heart-to-heart basis with one other & make decisions about our lives within that loving context. We narrow the broad beam from the solar plexus to the more specific tight beam of the heart. For a long time, this was the time when society expected us to connect romantically, to refine our territory to a one to one.

Around 27, Vishuddha, the 16-leaf lotus, lights up. During 27 to 35, we may change our minds about that one to one relationship. Or that the satisfactions of life cannot be found in the job we have held since graduation. This is where we consolidate our power, refine our definition, state our identity more powerfully. By this time, we stand or fall when it comes to speaking our personal truth. Now the throat isn’t just a voicebox. Remember the chakras are not specific, like stage spotlights; they are general energy centers. What’s in or around your throat? The Thymus (T-cells, immune system) or maybe what are we allergic to in our life? The thyroid is here & that’s about brain development (we are defined by what we say about our thoughts.) Here also are the glands producing digestive enzymes for saliva. So Vishuddha additionally can participate in our tastes of life – food & otherwise, how we break life down into bites to assimilate it and so on. 27 to 35 establishes our power in the world. If our children were born in our twenties, by 35 they are old enough to be on their own pretty much & we are freer to move about in the world, to do our own thing.

35 to 42 is the age span that empowers Ajna, or the third-eye chakra. Our spiritual eye awakens. We rely on subtle perceptions more. The front of the brain is more about perception than reaction. Physically, behind the third eye is the frontal lobe which is about the ability to project future consequences of current actions, it helps us choose between good/bad or better/best actions. We can decide to override or suppress what doesn’t really fit anymore. We determine what’s alike & what’s different between events or things. Frontal lobe remembers emotional memories.

Last, we come to the crown chakra, Sahasrara, right here where the bones join – called “the place of 1,000 meetings” with a thousand-petal lotus. Some will tell you it floats just above the head. Crown chakra is the location where Heaven speaks to us and from which we speak to Heaven in return. Seems only fitting that crown chakra wakes at 42 – the kids are mostly grown, our place in life is mostly established. Remember, not too long ago in history 42 would have been old age. What better time to open communications with what comes next? With our divinity? This is where a monk’s tonsure was shaved – to bare his scalp to a more direct divine contact.

The seven chakras are supposed to open sequentially. But Life is not logical. And our body chemistry isn’t always sequential, especially when stimulated by additives & hormones in the general food supply. Emotional events impact us heavily: a death, a broken heart, or an epiphany can all blow a chakra wide open or dim it down, or even close it off. If you’ve been told you can’t sing, throat chakra may shrink. If you feel like you’re a “loser,” solar plexus may not have enough energy to relate to others well or at all.

In India, when someone has an ecstatic experience & discovers God, they are said to be “God-struck.”, and there are shelters to help take care of them since they may not know how to take care of themselves. Remember, if the lower chakras didn’t open or were ignored in favor of talking to Heaven, those life-skills got skipped over. These people may see God in every cloud, but this can mean they don’t know enough to come in out of the rain.

There are exercises to clear or clean your chakras, to re-open them or rebalance them. Energy healers can also help. You can measure your own levels of energy coming from each by focusing your attention on them mentally or even with your hands. Give yourself a chance with this, we are dealing with very subtle energy here.

If you watch an infant sleep, you’ll see that they expand with every breath. They unfold when you simply hold their gaze with love in your eyes. We do the same in the light of a loving Creator who looks deeply, expressively, into our eyes each time we see someone we love, a friend, a pet, or even a leaf opening on our favorite plant or tree. Daily, we drive past unfolding fields. Our magnificent ocean is always unfolding, in the form of waves when the water unfolds into surrender on the beach.

So we, too, rise on currents of lovingkindness to bathe another in our sheer-light beauty – one human unfolding to another. We keep ourselves from spiritual stagnation when we do that which is ours to do.

Unfolding is seen as a guerrilla tactic by the ego which wants everything to stay just the same so it can tell you you’re boring, unbeautiful and ten thousand other untrue things. Ego likes to run in place. Spirit wants to explore, discover, Spirit asks you always to participate more with God & creation.

Ego too serves a holy purpose, but “serves” is the keyword in that sentence. Ego is the servant of your spirit. If we can keep our ego out of the driver’s seat, we hold the space for our heart to steer the way.

Think about ways to encourage your heart and soul to unfold. What can you do to make it so? Instead of picking up the remote, pick up your journey-staff and walk out to the road to meet your world for it was created only for you. While you’re at it, breathe in & feel your soul expand all the way out to that Orion Arm.

Thank you.