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Easter at Unity of Rehoboth Beach, March 27, 2016

Good Morning Beloved!

A couple had two little mischievous boys, ages 8 and 10. They were always getting into trouble, and their parents knew that if any mischief occurred in their town, their sons would get the blame.

The boys’ mother heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The clergyman agreed and asked to see them individually.

So, the mother sent her 8-year-old first, in the morning, with the older boy to see the clergyman in the afternoon.

The clergyman, a huge man with a booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, “Where is God?”

The boy’s mouth dropped, but he made no response, sitting there with his mouth hanging open.

The clergyman repeated the question. “Where is God?”

Again, the boy made no attempt to answer.

So, the clergyman raised his voice some more and shook his finger in the boy’s face and bellowed, “Where is God!?”

The boy screamed and bolted from the room. He ran directly home and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him.

When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, “What happened?”

The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied: “We are in real BIG trouble this time! God is missing, and they think we did it!”

 

Easter Sunday

 

Last week we took a look at the metaphysics of the Holy Week from the raising of Lazarus the Saturday before Palm Sunday to the Dark Night of the Soul in the tomb on the Saturday, after the crucifixion.

You were presented with more than a few questions regarding the events that occurred throughout the week and what they could possibly mean to your life as it unfolds Spiritually.

So, how did you do with those questions?  Did anything resonate with you? I do not hold it against you if you didn’t contemplate any of them or if you didn’t go and read the additional questions that were posted; we all must travel this journey on our own time. So, maybe something will come up and prompt you to look at the questions again.  It’s all in Divine Order.  We are just glad that you are on the journey with us.

 

So, today we look at the Resurrection.  What does THAT mean to us, to you?

You all know that Unity does not follow the traditional Christian belief that ‘Jesus died for our sins.’  We do not believe we are sinners.  Not born in original sin.  Nope.

We believe we were born with Original Blessing.  Big difference there.

So, no sin.  Mistakes, yes.  Error thinking.  Yes.  Not sin, but missing the mark.  With the opportunity to choose again.  And again. And again, if necessary.

What DID Jesus die for then?  What is the whole thing about the crucifixion and resurrection?

Well, part of it is what the Prophets proclaimed in the Hebrew Bible, a Savior would come to free the people; would ride, humbly, into Jerusalem to the song, Hosanna in the highest, a Son of king David no less.  And then there is the predictions from Jesus himself that the Temple would be destroyed and built back in three days.

But you know that much of the story of Jesus parallels that of other “GODS”…for example the Egyptian god Horus or the Greek god Dionysus. {dahy-uh-nahy-suh s] Their histories are similar and the writers of the Gospels may have thought they needed to ‘build Jesus up’ for whatever reason.

In the long run, is it important? No.  One has FAITH in the teachings, not the person.  You do not worship me, but you follow the teachings.  See the important difference? Jesus is our Way-shower, just as many other Masters have wisdom that they have given to us through the ages.

And all of us are teachers in our own ways, showing the way to who we truly are.

SO, what does the crucifixion, resurrection and transformation have to teach us?

We ALL have these moments in our lives, do we not?   Times when we felt abandoned, alone, getting hit from all sides.  Look back through your life…those times when you felt as if you were being crucified for whatever reason.  Did you recover?  Are you recovering?  THAT is your resurrection.

 

I can recall a situation when I was working for the State of PA, my Big Boss had put me in a group of co-workers with the direction to look for ways to improve communication among our Division.  When we came with suggestions at our Division meeting, I was presenting our ideas to the larger group.  And I was left alone and hit from every side from the people in the Division, reacting from fear of change. I received no support from anyone, not even the other people in the group assigned to make these same suggestions.  Not from the Boss who place me in the position in the first place.

When I walked out of the meeting, I felt like I was crucified…and I said so.

 

But we are defined more by our resurrections than our crucifixions, are we not?

 

Though it doesn’t feel comfortable at the time, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable, what Jesus meant by “you must lose yourself to find yourself” in Mark 8:35, that vulnerability allows for change, growth, and transformation to happen.

This was just one example of a ‘growth opportunity’ that strengthened me.

 

In his book Keep a True Lent, Charles Fillmore explained, “The resurrection takes place in us every time we rise to Jesus’ realization of the perpetual indwelling life that is connecting us to the Father. A new flood of life comes to all who open their minds and their bodies to the living word of God.”

So, we experience EASTER every time we are open to the Christ Presence within each of us.  It happens every day.

The Easter story is about an old way being crucified so something new can be born. This is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. When someone experiences a divorce, the death of a partner, loses a job, or experiences a shift in external circumstances, an old identity dies so a new one can be born.

Think about the different times you ‘re-make’ yourself.  Old becomes new.

“Metaphysically, the resurrection is our power to overcome, to restore, to renew with health, peace, love, prosperity, and joy, whatever it is that we are trying to revive,” this according to Rev. Gaylon McDowell, senior assistant minister at Christ Universal Temple in Chicago.  “For those in poor health, regaining health is resurrection. People experience resurrection when their relationship or financial problems are resolved through the realization that God is the source of their supply. Anytime we explore new ideas or new possibilities, we are experiencing a resurrection.”

 

The Easter story demonstrates that there is something within us that was here before we incarnated and remains after seeming death. Death is not the end of life, rather the continuation of the life process. Jesus proved this in the great demonstrations known as the resurrection and the ascension. Jesus’ essence was so spiritualized that he was able to say “the Father and I are one.” He was serving as a reminder that there is no separation between us and Spirit. It is the recognition that there is only Divine Spirit; all else is just an illusion.

Interesting enough, in Aramaic the word for death also means “not present, but somewhere”.  Think about that….

 

We look to Jesus as a model for how to resurrect from our own crucifixion experiences. The Easter story is a reminder that no matter what seems to happen to us, it does not have the final word. Everything is not as it seems. We can look beyond appearances and recognize that there is a divine plan unfolding. Our task is to hold on to that vision until our life bears witness to truth that liberates us and sets us free.

 

Any resurrection is built on the consciousness of forgiveness. Only then can we see the gift in the seeming betrayals in life. When people or situations betray the pictures that we have in our mind of how things should be, that is when we must invoke the consciousness of forgiveness.

And not just forgiveness of the other, but also of ourselves.  Byron Katie would have us ask, Is it true?  Is it still true that the situation is happening?  NO, we are in a different present moment now.  It was a picture we had in our mind of what was or should be.

What are you holding onto as if it is happening now but is a past experience?  This is where your forgiveness work begins.

 

We can see the statement of “forgive them for they know not what they do” from a different perspective. Our critics or so-called enemies are really our best friends in disguise. Such people push us to new levels of being and make us do things we wouldn’t likely do without their assistance. Such people make us pray when we don’t want to or when we don’t have the spiritual discipline to do it on our own. They make us see our part in the fray.  They make us realize we are ready for a change.

They make us look at things and situations from a different perspective; at least they do if we are willing to go there….

 

Those people who seem to be against us don’t know what they’re doing. They’re actually making us access dimensions of our being that we would not be able to touch without their help. So we forgive them, for they didn’t really know what they were doing. They are supporting our own resurrection process and helping our life become fully supported by Spirit. We realize there is only God, only good, and we don’t need anything else.

In other words, we can say this situation is an opportunity to go beyond our self-imposed boundaries. This opportunity is calling for the highest and best within us to shine as never before.

We are reminded of our workshop with Rev. Stephanie, “No one and nothing is Against you,” From the book, “The I of the Storm.”

 

Jesus has been giving us clues all along on how to access this eternal dimension and spiritualize all aspects of our life. We would ask ourselves: What did he do? What was his way of being in the world?

Well, he prayed all the time. He often stole away from the masses to keep his communion with Spirit high. He did this as a way of life and not just in an emergency. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say, “There was an emergency and Jesus went to the mountain and prayed.” No. He prayed all the time and, as a result, when the big moments came, was “prayed up.”

I can remember when I was at Unity Village, hearing that phrase a lot.  Being ‘prayed up” meant you were ready for what came.  Every breath is a prayer.  What are you breathing into your prayers?

So, when the seeming betrayal in the form of Judas took place, Jesus was ready. We are reminded: it was a seeming betrayal. Judas is often unjustly maligned. But without Judas sacrificing himself, Jesus would not be remembered today. Sacrifice means to make sacred. Judas is often condemned as the one who loved Jesus the least. In fact, he may have been one who loved him more than anyone. He served as the catalyst for the resurrection to take place.

So we see the seeming betrayals in our life from that vantage point and begin to practice a new way of being in the world. We no longer see ourselves as victims but as vehicles of pure Spirit.

 

The entire universe is asking that we be our true selves.

 

St. Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Within everyone is a sacred gift, our divine purpose.

It was for this purpose we were born. Spirit transforms our world a little at a time by means of us. WE are needed to shine our light to make this world a better place. When we let our light shine, we will rise above any crucifixion experience and the entire world will celebrate the Easter of our hearts and we will rise.

“I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.”

Easter is not merely the celebration of the life of Jesus. He reminds us that we are capable of doing even greater things than he did. We love and celebrate the master teacher by practicing his principles, living his teachings, and following his example.  Let God be God through you.

 

 

 

 

 

Palm Sunday – The Metaphysics of Holy Week

Good Morning Beloved!

 

Now that they are retired, a longtime married are discussing all aspects of their future.

“What will you do if I die before you do?” The husband asks the wife.  After some thought, she said that she’d probably look for a house-sharing situation with three other single or widowed women who might be a little younger than herself since she is quite active for her age.

Then the wife turned to her husband and asked, “What will you do if I die first?”

He replied, “Probably the same thing.”

 

Holy Week Metaphysics

I thought we’d take a look at the week leading up to Easter from a metaphysical point of view this Sunday.  We all know what the Bible and some histories say about these special days.  But there are underlining meanings to each step our Way-shower takes toward this part of His journey.

And please remember, when we look at anything metaphysically, we appreciate the suggestions given by some of our leaders and founders, and myself, even, but we are to each of us, individually, look at what it means to us.  What something means to me, ultimately, can and probably truly is, different than what it means to you.

So take the word or story and let it sink in.  Where does it take YOU?

 

Holy Week has many messages for us to look at as we get closer to the crucifixion and the resurrection.

LAZARUS SATURDAY:

Let’s start with the Saturday before Palm Sunday.  Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead!  Did you know that? That took place in Bethany which metaphysically means wailing, lamentation and signifies the demonstration over these conditions, and explains what happened during that time of Lazaras’ Illness, death and being ‘awakened’.

Jesus is told of Lazarus’s illness yet waits 2 days before walking to Bethany.  When he arrives. Lazarus has been dead 4 days and has been laid in the tomb.

John 11:14-15: “Then Jesus said to them plainly, Lazar is dead; And I am glad I was not there, for your sakes, so that you may believe;”

When he arrives, he meets Martha. John 11:21-27 “Then Martha said to Jesus, My Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, he will give you. 

Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise up.

Martha said to him, I know he will rise up in the resurrection of the last day.

Jesus told her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, even though he dies, he shall live. And whoever is alive and believes in me shall never die.”

Then Jesus went to the tomb, he was in tears.

John 11: 39-43 “Jesus said, Take away this stone….did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?

So they took away the stone.  And Jesus lifted his eyes upwards and said, O Father; I thank thee for thou hast heard me.  And I know that thou always hearest me; but I say these things just because of this people who stand around, so that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

…he cried out with a loud voice, Lazar, come out.”

So, some thoughts on what this first day on the Holy Week could mean to us:

  1. Bring out what is buried in our subconscious: roll the stone from the tomb – remove any blocks to that which we have neglected or allowed to die within us (Some quality or activity we are not allowing to be manifest in our material world.)

 

  1. Jesus’ prayer “Arise” “Come out” restoring the idea which is asleep in our subconscious, trapped in the “tomb” of our body. E.g. an old talent (musical instrument, pottery, writing), relationship improvement; health commitment etc.

 

  1. When Jesus saw Mary weeping, He too wept: our spiritual self needs to be integrated with our human self with love and compassion.

 

That’s day 1.

 

PALM SUNDAY:

He and His disciples then walk on Sunday from Bethany to Bethphage, just outside Bethany at the Mount of Olives.  Bethphage means a place in consciousness where grace is realized.  That makes sense to me, Grace was certainly realized at the Mount of Olives.

He sends two Apostles to find a colt, a donkey for him to arrive in Jerusalem.  The donkey represents meekness, stubbornness, persistency and endurance. Do these characteristic sound like Jesus’ personality traits?

Of course they do.  He has done as much as possible to fulfill the prophet Zechariah’s declaration, found in the Hebrew Bible.

To ride a donkey and make them obedient represents control over will. Remember, in Genesis and the creation story, we all were given dominion over all the animals, fish and birds, meaning over every kind of thought.

So Jesus is again taking dominion over thoughts by riding the donkey.  Our Christ consciousness ruling our “animal” or physical self.

Laying the Palms on the road signifies unlimited resource of strength.  The road is paved with strength.

One would need strength to move forward to the confrontation ahead.

And the people shouted and praised Him, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Even the praise bestowed onto Jesus means something, hosanna, means ‘save now’.

In today’s metaphysical terms; ‘This is the supreme I AM (Jesus) stating the law of Spirit in the development of life action.’

Or over coming every day troubles and entering Jerusalem, a place of peace by controlling our thoughts.

 

And do you recall that at the other end of the city, Pontius Pilate was entering from the west while Jesus entered from the east.  And Pilate had his armored troops and his fine horse.  Everyone complete with their armor and swords.  A show of force in preparation for Passover celebrations.

Compared to Jesus’ humble entry at the other end, Pilate was like a King of the material world.  Showing force in place of love, wisdom, and compassion.

Metaphysically—what Jesus “acts out” in his own entry to the city—is that great spiritual power does not need tangible physical expression, no fine horses or clothes, no strength in legions of troops.

Like Jesus, our own spiritual power is not of this world. It lies in—and expresses through—a quiet grace, a loving Presence. If we are truly centered in our Christ energy, the world around us will recognize its gentle power, and respond.

 

What do you think the significance is of entering East vs. West?

 

HOLY MONDAY: Jesus and His followers arrive in Jerusalem again, and he goes to the temple.

Then Jesus goes to the Temple:  After Jesus rode into Jerusalem, he entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying there, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.  He said to them, “It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of thieves.”  Once the temple was cleared, the blind and the lame came to him, and he cured them.

The cleansing of the temple represents Jesus cleansing the temple of his consciousness and then was free to heal; free to express the power of the divine within.  This Palm Sunday as preparation for expressing our divine nature, I invite you to clean the temple of your mind.  Deny the erroneous thinking.

Rumi said, “God is saying… “Be careful, my servants, and purify, attune, and expand your thoughts about Me, for they are My House.”

One of the questions that my Tuesday group was asked while discussing the book, “Ask Yourself This” is “How safe is it for someone to walk through your mind?”

 

The message here: Stop the cheating and short changing ourselves. Be authentic with ourselves and our core values.

Questioning Jesus’ authority Matthew 21:23 “When Jesus came to the temple, the high priests and the elders came up to him, while he was teaching and said, By what authority do you do these things?  And Who gave you this authority?”

The message: Inner authority is not accountable to anything or anyone outside of us.

Remember, you are one with God.  You are gods, children of the Most High and the story of Jesus is your story; your awakening.   As you grow in your understanding of the way of God, you become ready to show the full depth of your true power.  You become ready to give life to who you really are.

 

HOLY TUESDAY:  On Tuesday, Jesus is again teaching using parables of the Kingdom of Heaven.  He has been teaching in parables for some time now to his disciples and to the masses.  “For those who have eyes, that they may see and those who have ears that they may hear.”

If you look around you at the many ways that the message of love is presented, you can see that it is given in every which way possible so that ALL may hear and see, if they are only ready.

We will be discussing parables throughout the year.

 

SPY WEDNESDAY: Judas Betrayal: On Wednesday, Judas is offering the betrayal of Jesus to the High Priests.  The agreement is made and Judas just waits for the opportunity to turn Jesus over to the authorities.

Judas represents the unredeemed life forces. He also typifies that in humanity which, though it has caught the higher vision of life, still resorts to underhanded methods in order to meet its obligations. Judas carried the money bag, and he betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

30 – symbolize dedication to a particular task or calling the age when a person reached both physical and mental maturity and could therefore handle major responsibilities, John the Baptist, Jesus began ministries at age 30, buy potter’s field for same price of a slave, indicating Jesus was for ALL people, silver & 30 associated with redemption

Here we ask ourselves: Are you selling out to the material world? Or settling for less because of lack of faith that Spirit can and will work through you?

And I ask that you keep in mind that all is in Divine Order, for the betrayal and what follows, so do not be so harsh on Judas….

 

MAUNDY THURSDAY: Luke 22:7-23;  The Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane

Maundy means Commandment. This is the commandment I give to you, to love one another as I have loved you.  We need to love all parts of our self in the transformative process – the finished and unfinished parts, the working and the broken parts. It is all part of the whole and we can’t be authentic unless we accept all parts.

There are parts of me that I face and must acknowledge if I wish to be authentic.  So, acknowledge your shadow side as well as the light.  And then we can bring light to shadow and heal, realize our wholeness, our Divine self.

To Charles Fillmore, bread has always represented substance and the wine represents energy of the Divine.

Pontius Pilate,

In the Easter story, Jesus and his experience with Pontius Pilate has a very symbolic meaning for us.

Pontius Pilate symbolizes the external circumstances that at times seem to be overwhelming. Pilate thinks he has power over Jesus and asks him several questions. However, Jesus’ response is essentially that the power does not lie with Pontius Pilate, but with God. It didn’t matter what Pontius Pilate did, and ultimately he decided he didn’t want to be bothered, so washed his hands of the whole deal.

Jesus in that moment was demonstrating that no situation, circumstance, or external authority figures had any power over him.

 

In your own life, you may be facing some kind of Pontius Pilate. There may be someone in your life who thinks they can control or manipulate you. It may even be your own EGO manipulating yourself.  You may have a boss who thinks he or she has the final say-so about your prosperity or happiness. People think that if they are in or out of your life, your joy is dependent upon them. You may have allowed them to think that. There may be all kinds of Pontius Pilates running around thinking that they have the final word on your life.

Pilate is judgement, our inner critic, and the fear of Love, our projections and stories is expressed by the mob calling for crucifixion.

Some questions you might begin asking yourself: “Where and in what ways, do I allow myself or others to judge, ridicule, and kill my own goodness?

What ways do I excuse or rationalize things that I know no longer serve me?

Where and how do I take “the safe road”, point at others as the problem, and stick to justifiable reasons why I can’t do what my heart longs for?

“How are the ways that I betray my heart’s wisdom?

I have more thought provoking questions, and you can look them over and ask yourself when we post this lesson on the webpage.

What do I use or do as distractions to stay in denial, distracted, and disconnected from my heart or “asleep” spiritually?

Where are my intentions good, but my “spiritual muscle” to remain present, weak?

What are “all my good” rational excuses for not being able to enter into this quest right now (i.e. how familiar are you with these reasons, and how do they negate what you say you want in your life?)

What, in your heart of hearts, longs for comfort (and is asking you to stay beside, pray and keep awake with it)?

 

GOOD FRIDAY:     Crucifixion and 2 thieves Luke 23:32-43

To further augment our own resurrection and ascension process, there are things Jesus said on the cross. The two thieves on either side of him represent the past and the future, the relative world and the 2 sides of us – one concerned with human power and one concerned with the spiritual.  One thief is living in the past when he says to Jesus, “I know I deserve what I’m getting because I know I’ve done a lot of negative things. However, you don’t deserve this, Jesus.” He identified with all the negative things he had done in the past. The other thief said to Jesus, “What’s going to happen to us after this experience?” This thief was lost in the future

 

Jesus being between the two thieves represents the vortex of creativity where heaven is revealed on earth. It represents the here and now. Jesus said “Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.”

Paradise is in our own minds and hearts.

The cross represents to “cross out” error thoughts, we will experience the two viewpoints, but the now moment is what counts.  That is our choice moment.

 

For this purpose, I was born

The King James Version of the Bible quotes Jesus as saying during the crucifixion experience, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” However, the Lamsa Bible translation suggests that the original Aramaic language does not say that. In the Lamsa Bible, Jesus says “It is for this purpose that I was born.” This suggests that Jesus was fully aware that this was his great moment. It was the moment he was waiting and preparing for all his life.

 

It’s like an Olympic champion who has prepared and trained for years to reach the final race and, just before the event, is asked, “How does it feel to be getting ready to perform before thousands of people in the stadium and millions watching on television?” And the athlete responds by saying, “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I was doing all the things I needed to do to prepare for this moment—waking up and going to bed early, eating nutritious foods, practicing, lifting weights. All of that was for this moment.”

 

This was the case for Jesus and is the case in every moment of our life, when we realize that whatever we’re going through, we are not to shirk from any situation or circumstance that seems to overwhelm us. It is in such moments we are to remember who we are spiritually—we are spiritually made in the image and likeness and out of God. When we see from this vantage point, we will stand and say “For this purpose we were born.”

 

In other words, we can say this situation is an opportunity to go beyond our self-imposed boundaries. This opportunity is calling for the highest and best within us to shine as never before.

 

So we see the seeming betrayals in life from that vantage point and begin to practice a new way of being in the world. We no longer see ourselves as victims but as the vehicles of pure Spirit.

 

 

EASTER SATURDAY – THE EASTER VIGIL

Jesus’ body is laid in the tomb.

The dark night of the soul – a time for introspection. This is a time when you give yourself permission to move from the formed to the un-formed to reform in a transformative experience.  Not unlike a caterpillar transfiguring into a butterfly. At one point in the cocoon, the chrysalis becomes entirely liquid and then breaks through as a beautiful butterfly.

We are prepared for the Resurrection next Sunday.

Charles Fillmore wrote, “The three days Jesus was in the tomb represent the three steps in overcoming error. First, nonresistance; second, the taking on of divine activity, or receiving the will of God; third, the assimilation and fulfillment of the divine will.” I overcome resistance and step forward to claim the Christ in me.

Over this next week, look at yourself.  Ask the questions I’ve asked you today and check out the ones that will be included when this is posted.

They will encourage us to look at ourselves from a different perspective.  Let me know how you make out.

 

 

More Questions for your contemplation:

“Am I riding the ass …or is the ass riding me in my life? (Ass is in case = the instinctive or conditioned beast aspect of the human mind.)

A few following questions to contemplate this week could include these: “Who is reining the conditioned impulse parts of me? Do I have a centered authority …or do my thoughts and feelings run – willy-nilly – leading my experience of life according to each impulse or conditioned response it comes its way?”

Another way of entering Palm Sunday as Metaphor for inner self questioning could be asking one or more of these questions of yourself: “By what authority is my life being lived right now? i.e., What am I making my God, by way of my values? What am I feeding in my life: love or fear? What am I RIDING my life upon? …How and where do I set up bi-polar opposites (i.e. inner confusion or split directions)… And how is this fragmenting, polarizing and paralyzing me between fear and Love?”

Prayer Your Superpower – Marcvh 13, 2016 Unity of Rehoboth Beach

PRAYER – YOUR SUPERPOWER

Eric Butterworth, author of many Unity books, says in THE UNIVERSE IS CALLING, that “Prayer is our natural state. It is a natural function of life, and not something superimposed on our life.” He further says, “Prayer is indigenous to every person.” Imagine, “natural, indigenous” – that means part of our integral inner culture; organic to our fullest functioning. From the Buddhist fingering prayer beads to an American farmer nailing a horseshoe over the barn door; we are a ‘praying animal.’

David Foster Wallace, who keeps a blog called “The Spirituality of Dog-Walking” puts it this way:

In other words, we are the fish, and God is the water. And just as fish have no idea what it would be like to live without water, we also have no experience of what it would be like to live without God.

We are often oblivious to the presence of God. Blindness like this is not the result of unfamiliarity, but of over-familiarity.

When we wake up to the reality of God’s presence all around us – when we notice the water – we become able to pray. Prayer does not magically bring God to us, but centers our attention on the fact that God is eternally present. Prayer puts us in relationship with the one in whom “we live and move and have our being.”

This means that God knows us in every life aspect. God knows us as the air we breathe for God is that. God knows us as the grass we walk on, the tree we touch, for God is also that aspect of us walking on the grass, touching the tree. Think on it – a poet once said, “I envied the water’s ability to touch her totally.” God touches us totally.

Now THIS is what I learned about prayer in my childhood. If I said five our fathers & five hail Mary’s, I could clear the account. (I wish the IRS felt the same way!)

In my child-mind, the “Our Father” said something about bread & trespassing (which was what Mrs. Canon hollered at me when I cut thru her yard.) And “Hail Mary?” Even I knew that telling my mom she looked like a million bucks only resulted in a narrow stare, the rise of an index finger & a strong suggestion that I go outside to play.

Prayer, then, for me, was walking a theological balance beam. And, frankly, Scarlett, I flunked balance beam.

If someone had tried to tell me the life of God is all around me, above & below me, inside & outside me, totally & integral to my being, I would have shaken my head and headed outside to play.

But pray is only one letter off of play. So I was doing the right thing. The organic thing for a child is to play, right? Without knowing, I was leading a life of prayer.

When I asked about becoming a Prayer Chaplain for URB, I didn’t really know many details on what that involved. When I attended First Church Unity in Nashville, I thought it ultra-cool that I could have someone pray with me when my life felt out of control. After all, as a Unitic, I wasn’t supposed to have anything but positive thoughts, right? It seemed a betrayal of sorts to feel awful about something.

But there were times when my life was hanging about me in shreds & I could barely speak. There were also times I was so delirious with joy I was unable to speak. Our prayer chaplains provided a beautiful extension of love & uplift & sharing. Nothing weighed the same in my heart after our Amen.

You’ve heard before that Unity started as a prayer-based ministry. Myrtle Fillmore, tells how she feels about prayer:

“The light of God revealed to us – the Thought came to me first – that life was of God, that we were inseparably one with the Source, and that we inherited from the divine & perfect Father. What that revelation did to me at first was not apparent to the senses. But it held my mind above negation, & I began to claim my birthright & to act as though I believed myself the child of God, filled with His life.”

What a rush to climb out from under what weighs on us. How fantastic to see the light streaming into our heart again, where there is just enough space to fit it! How soothing to step away from this intensity into relief. And all because someone chose to pray with me.

When I first attended Unity, I really couldn’t stand hearing I was a good person. Expected to be good, yes. I understood that! But after a couple of sessions in the sanctuary face to face with our minister, then invited to do hugs and handshakes with smiling strangers who were genuinely glad to see me… I retreated to the kitchen, where I could be appreciated for making a good cup of coffee. Then I helped out in the school where the kids kept me happy. I migrated to the bookstore where I never got the register to balance but I could read all I wanted about the life I was supposed to have.

I was way more comfortable doing something than being told something. I had no frame of reference for being intrinsically good. Nothing in my life prepared me for being told I was a perfect child of God, let alone beloved. Telling me I could pray my heart into alignment with the God within to achieve my fullest life? Yeah, riiight!

After five years of hearing the message every Sunday, I was still stubbornly clinging to my old ideas. Take a guess at what I did after five years of faithful attendance. Anybody?

I left. Sundays passed & I missed every one. I was a pretty grim customer! Would you like to know why I left? Because I couldn’t reconcile my inner self with what I was being told. But prayer was still working on me. My life was like living in a rock tumbler, but prayer was still at work smoothing out my edges.

So much so that when it came time to make a life-change, I was able to summon up my praying self to sit in meditation every morning. I pushed myself to walk outside & do qigong to re-learn how to breathe. And while I didn’t go back to church, I dreamed of tie-dyed angels carrying suitcases & I knew my path led out of where I was living, away from what I had done for almost forty years. I put my prayer life on the line in one huge gamble & I’m here to tell you I won a bigger score than ever before. I got happy.

I know my prayers to be a powerful reality. I know that now I am comfortable with the God-self within which I live & move & have my being.

Prayer can lift you above denial for to pray is to invite in. And you need to specific as to what you invite in. Here’s a story for you about how my prayer life can go sometimes: I’ve started a new business & clients seem few & far between. So I prayed for people to come to my studio door b/c I’m down a little corridor next to the storage closet. I even had to put up a sign that said I was not in the closet. Of course in my mind, I was praying for people to come by to book a treatment. But that’s not what I prayed. I simply asked for people to come to my door. I looked up one day to see a really tall man standing there, hesitating about coming in. I effusively invited him, only mildly surprised when he asked, “What do you do here?” I replied, “Have you ever had a massage?” He said, “No,”, then he leaned forward, looked deeply into my eyes & said, “Young lady, you’re only forty years old!” I looked back, wondering if I could keep this man around, when he leaned in again to say, “Young lady, you look twenty years old!” at which point I figured it might take some rope, but I definitely was keeping him around…

One of the gym trainers came in to ask if Ryan was bothering me, but I was busy massaging Ryan’s hands just so I could hang onto this wonderfully uncomplicated spirit. Gary, the trainer, waited by patiently, saying “Ryan goes to my church where his job is to light the candles.” After all was said & done, I realized I’d been sent a prayer re-vision notice. Not just to come to my door, but to want a massage. Never let it be said Spirit has no sense of humor.

I love the story about how our co-founder, Myrtle Fillmore, renovated the cubbyhole under her stairs into a prayer space. She took literally that Matthew 6:6 quoted Jesus advising “go into your closet to pray.”

With three boisterous boys, probably shouting, and running around slamming doors… with Charles clomping up & down the steps or through the house, that little space must have been a sanctuary where her jangled nerves could smooth out, where her aching body could rest in the comfort of dim light. A place where turning pages of her own Bible was the loudest sound and where she could hear heaven whispering back to her. Answers to all her questions, ideas for all her worries. She was determined to succeed in this do-over of her life as she knew it. Her success is out-pictured here each time we meet.

I think Jesus talked about “going into the closet” because in the Aramaic, “closet” could translate as “shed.” So He actually said, “Get out of the house & go the shed.” Why there? Well, let’s go on an imaginary trip to Nazareth, tho the woodshop. How good it all smells when we walk in. All the tools to make a life are in here…implements hanging from the pegs, lined up on the tables; unfinished projects just waiting for our hands.

Outside there would have been sheep baaa-ing, horses & tack making noise, cows mooing, dogs barking, children playing, women calling to one another, men greeting friends… going into the shed would have been entering a quiet out of the ordinary, one where you could gather your thoughts in the heat, put your hands on the works-in-progress & take a measurement of where you are in that singular moment.

Do you ever forget to pray? Do you forget that prayer is the go-to, not when all else fails, but in the very beginning? Don’t shake your heads out there, of course you do. Ever had someone call to tell you, “I have had this headache for three days!” and you say, “How many aspirin are you taking?” and they say, “Aspirin? Oh yeah, I can take aspirin.”

My favorite story about forgetting is the one about the husband who, upon discovering his wife had changed the computer logon called out, “Hey honey, what’d you change the password to?” She sweetly replied, “I used our anniversary date, dear.”

Prayer Chaplains can provide the words to remind you who you really are, how to lift yourself into that space where what you want to happen potentiates. In the moments when our impulse is to say: “Oh, I can’t”, you need to double up with another, someone who believes in you in a way you can’t quite muster up in the moment. You put yourself into that place where two or more are gathered in Jesus’ name. It’s really a lot more comfortable there than standing out of the crowd alone wondering how to get back to the “I can.”

So it is with prayer. You quiet and focus your thoughts. You think of just what it is you want to accomplish in the holy space of communicating with One Who can change your life in a blink. Whether you are upset & seeking comfort, or elated & wanting to hoot out your joy…this is a listening place where you hear & are heard always. We Prayer Chaplains are here to hear you.

I want you to remember that even Jesus didn’t always perform a miracle on the first go! Sometimes we need to adjust to healing, appreciate each aspect of it, change into what we will become.

The butterfly doesn’t pop out of the chrysalis. Rather it slowly disentangles itself from that holy place where it was safe to grow wings. And once free, it tests those wings, feels the sunlight opening them to fullest measure & only when the wings are infused with Light does it fly. Are we any less of a miracle brought about by God? For indeed, the universe prayed out each & every one of us, pushed & pulled on Prime Creator until the thought of who we are took shape in human form, stepping down from the divine into flesh. Now we build the bridge to divinity with our words & feelings.

Sometimes we just need some wind beneath our wings, no?

Unity is a medium of prayer. Unity sets intention into the field of all possibility; you remember who you want to be, who you already & really are: a beloved child of God.

Let’s explore this child of God bit as it relates to prayer. Max Lucado, author of “Before the Amen,” says he did a study. He goes on for some time about our relationship with our Maker being that of loving parent & child. He relates that he drove to a local playground to do a field check. He mentions that when the kids saw their dads, not one of them said, “Oh Father! Thou hast blessed me by thy presence here upon the ballfield. Grant that I make the winning homerun for the team, for thine is all glory & power.” Max says the kids reacted to Dad pulling up in the car with, “Hey! Can we get ice cream on the way home?” or “You shoulda seen me when I was up to bat!” Or even just a heartfelt, “Oh, Daddy!”

I believe when we pray we need to relate to the divine Parental Units in this way. In the familiar, with our real thoughts, stating our true wishes. Like any parent knows what their child really needs, Mother/Father God knows. We pray as an asking, but as Marianne Williamson says, “We have to get over the idea that God is an errand boy.” So I know I’m understood when I change my prayer from someone coming to the door to someone coming to receive what I have to offer in exchange for living wage.

Unity Prayer explores that separate peace, the one where a resolution (re-solution) becomes possible. Unity prayer discerns YOU are not the problem, & in that separation there is room to review (re-view) it in the Light. Unity Prayer escorts you from the valley of negation into the reality of possibility. For if all things are possible, what profit is it to think you can’t get there from here?

Myrtle Fillmore started it all rolling when she believed that in being a child of God, she didn’t have to suffer. Let’s believe that too. Let’s light the match to that candle instead when the world seems to demand we suffer in darkness. I think Myrtle was the first prayer chaplain – she received letters every day in which people, having heard about her healing, asked her to pray for them. Her response was to teach them they each had the power to pray for themselves after her example by praying with them. And she made it understood she was standing by to lend her strength of belief if they faltered.

The Prayer Chaplain Program Sandy & the Board of Directors are introducing today is the beautiful way Unity of Rehoboth Beach is standing up with you.

Today we honor our new Prayer Chaplain Team who step forward in loving service of prayer.

When you’re ready to step into your Superpower, we’ll help you tie on the cape & stand beside you in the wind. Thank you!