Unity of Rehoboth Beach – The Lost Parables May 22, 2016
GOOD MORNING BELOVED!
A new business was opening and one of the owner’s friends wanted to send him flowers for the occasion.
They arrived at the new business site and the owner read the card, “Rest in Peace.”
The owner was angry and called the florist to complain.
After he had told the florist of the obvious mistake and how angry he was, the florist replied, “Sir, I’m really sorry for the mistake, but rather than getting angry you should imagine this. Somewhere there is a funeral taking place today, and they have flowers with a note saying, ‘Congratulations on your new location!
Parables Pt. 2 The Lost Parables
When I was younger, much younger, about 13-14 years old, maybe, my family along with several Aunts and Uncles and their families were at the beach, North Wildwood is where we went several times as a group. You know, rented a house a few blocks from the beach, each family had a couple of turns at cooking dinner for the whole gang, we’d spend the day by the water and a few evenings on the Boardwalk, riding rides, eating treats and exploring the shops. Our family was very grateful for an Aunt & Uncle who were pretty well to do.
Well, my youngest brother, Frank, was about 2 or 3 and just getting around on his own, but usually in a stroller. As my Mother and the others, would venture in a shop someone was in charge of the little ones.
One time it was my Father, he was to keep an eye on Frank who was out of the stroller at the time, but always close by someone in the large group of people.
Well, you guessed it, somehow he wandered off without being noticed and was ‘lost’.
Of course we were all frantic looking for him and finally, after some time had passed, I recalled a playground we had pasted by and went there, and there he was. I’m not sure if HE thought he was lost…
After all, not all who are searching are lost. He may have just been searching for that one more time on the swing!
Why tell a story of my wandering little brother…because today we look at some of the “Lost Parables”…parables about losing something of value and then finding it.
Most parables, there is only one point, just one ‘central lesson’ by traditional standards. But when we add metaphysics to it, it becomes something much more. And I always like to remind you, that what it means to YOU is the most important thing.
The word parable comes from Greek, meaning ‘to place beside or side by side for the purpose of comparison’. This was the method of teaching Jesus used most often.
The ‘Lost Parables’ are The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Lost Son, or the Prodigal Son, as most refer it.
We will look at the Lost Coin and The Lost Sheep today. The Lost Son has much to be shared and needs its own lesson.
The Parable of ‘The Lost Sheep’ is the first member of this trilogy about redemption that Jesus tells after the Pharisees and religious leaders accuse him of welcoming and eating with “sinners.”
Here’s what it says:
Read Luke 15:1-7
So we can readily see that the story is saying how important even one of us is to God. And traditionally, that is how we have been brought up to understand this story.
Metaphysically, though, we are to look beyond the story for even more, deeper meanings.
In his Metaphysical Bible Dictionary Charles Fillmore writes that sheep represent harmless and innocent animals; they represent the natural life that flows into our consciousness from Spirit. It is pure, innocent, guileless, and when we open our mind to this realization of Spirit life we open the gate by the sheep market. This is where sheep and goats are separated.
The separation of goats from sheep is a mental process wherein the good, obedient, and profitable thoughts (sheep) are retained (placed on the right hand, considered good in the Near East). The stubborn, selfish, useless thoughts (goats) are put away (placed on the left hand, considered evil in the Near East).
According to Rev. Ed Townley, “In this passage Jesus has just told his disciples that they must “become like children” to enter the new consciousness he describes as the kingdom of heaven. That’s not the final step into kingdom consciousness; it’s the first. In becoming like children we release any accumulation of fear-based thought energy; we let go of “knowing what we know”; we return to the spiritually empowered thoughts with which we enter into these human experiences.”
“Those childlike thoughts may become scattered and lost through the dramas and challenges of our human lives. But the shepherd within us—the Christ Presence—will always be able to patiently gather them and bring them together, so that the creative Power we are here to express can become the only energy in which we live our lives.”
Now the Lost Coin….
Read Luke 15:8-10
Traditionally, the lost sheep or coin represents a lost human being. Again, that’s Traditionally. Let’s look at this parable a bit more.
Joel B. Green, New Testament scholar and Dean of the School of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, notes that the woman described is likely, a poor peasant, and the ten silver coins, corresponding to ten days’ wages, “likely represent the family savings.” The coins may also have been the woman’s dowry, worn as an ornament. Both theories may be true, and either one explains the urgency of the woman’s search, and the extent of her joy when the missing coin is found.
this woman was desperate! She turned over her whole house, in the hope of finding her lost coin: it was very important to her! The woman does not take a lax attitude towards her lost possession.
We can imagine the heart of this woman skipping a beat and her gasping with shock when she learns the coin is missing. Has she mislaid it or dropped it? Has someone taken it? This was enough to send a person into a panic. Where could it be?
A typical house of that time had a few small slits for windows or no windows at all, so that there was little light. To search for the lost coin requires more light. Oil for a lamp is not cheap, and she normally saves it for the night. But she must find that coin.
The search is on. Out comes her broom, and carefully she begins a systematic and thorough search. Across the packed-earth floor and under mats and pottery vessels she searches. Nothing shows up. Again she goes back over the same area but from a different angle, the light from the lamp casting different shadows this time.
Just as she is about to end the second sweep without any success she sees a small glimmer. There it is! The coin is found! Quickly she picks it up and blows away the dust. Yes, she exclaims: “There you are! I thought you were gone, never to be found!”
She rushes out of her house calling to her neighbors: “Come, rejoice and celebrate with me! The coin I lost has been found!” Life is once again normal and peaceful.
SO we have a parable of a man losing one sheep out of a hundred and goes to find it, leaving the 99 to fend for themselves.
And we have a woman losing a coin and searching until she finds it throughout her home, using precious oil to search.
In each instance, God or the Christ is represented by the person who lost something.
Jesus is comparing this woman to God and the coin to the one who has ‘missed the mark.’ A fairly brave thing to do back in the day, comparing God to a woman.
The shepherd celebrates with his friends and family but she celebrates with the other women. Women again mentioned in relationship to God, Spirit, importance.
These are parables that Jesus gives as He tries to defend Himself against the Pharisees and their condemnation of His interest in the tax collectors and “sinners”. Jesus was seeking out these sinful people and was making a difference in their lives. The Pharisees saw this and were offended and condemned Jesus for even eating with these type of people. Jesus wants the religious leaders to understand God’s attitude about those who have missed the mark and those that are lost.
To the Pharisees, Jesus was actually rebuking them, saying: “How dare you say that I can’t mix with tax collectors and sinners. These people know that they have not led a good life: these are the ones that need to be brought back to the flock. They are the one lost sheep of the one hundred. They are the lost coin of the ten. How dare you judge me? I am here for them.”
The Pharisees of all people should have been rejoicing with Jesus! The disenchanted wanderers are finding home again. Instead, they griped and complained. They were sheep that had never left the fold, but their heart was far from the shepherd. They were like a lost coin, still at home, but nevertheless lost and out of spiritual circulation. It forces upon us the question, “Do I have something lost at home, something out of spiritual circulation?”
Perhaps better, “Is someone lost at home or in my extended family?” Is someone lost in your home through inattentiveness and neglect? Is someone lost in your home — that you have taken for granted?
Being lost in these parables means being away from safety and in a place of danger; it means being uninformed about a better way to live; it means not serving God for all the wrong reasons.
I think here I would add lost is being Spiritually Immature, as we mentioned last week.
“Lost” is also being where you’re not supposed to be. “Lost” does not really know where you belong, or how to get there. “Lost” is having no valid point of reference outside of “self.”
“Lost” is waking up one day and realizing that among your most valuable treasures on earth, among your family members, there is one who is lost and out of spiritual circulation.
So we see, the Pharisees did not complain that Jesus is teaching ‘sinners’. Since the Pharisees thought themselves to be righteous teachers of the law and all others to be wicked, they could not condemn His preaching to “sinners,” but they thought it was inconsistent with the dignity of someone so knowledgeable in the Scriptures to “eat with them.” The presupposition behind the statement of the Pharisees, “this man welcomes sinners,” is what Jesus addresses in both parables.
Maybe this is another reason we like our Fellowship so well? We do not mind ‘eating with sinners’ since we all miss the mark at one time or another.
The picture we get from Jesus is that each and every person is very important to Divine Spirit, our Creator. Every relationship with God is important. YOU are important.
And these parables are about the restoration of lost relationships—ultimately God seeking out human beings who were lost and bringing them back into a loving relationship.
But we should also recognize that our Creator desires us to see the importance of relationships with other people and striving to reconcile and restore fellowship with them.
Maybe it’s time to reach out and mend a relationship. Maybe it’s time to heal.
What’s your 1 coin? Who is your ‘lost sheep’?
Living ON (or Off) Your Card -Unity of Rehoboth Beach -May 15, 2016
Good Morning Beloved!
Once upon a time, a woman died and went to heaven. When she reached the Pearly Gates she was met by St. Peter. She said, “Am I in heaven?”
He said, “Yes, you are at the Pearly Gates.”
“Do I get to come in?”
“Yes, if you can spell a word.”
She said, “Okay, I’ll spell love.” She did and was allowed to enter.
A few minutes later, St. Peter approached her and said, “I have to leave for a minute. Would you watch the gate?”
She was astonished and said, “You want me to watch the gate?”
“What do I do if someone comes up?”
“Just what I did. Ask them to spell a word.”
As she stood looking around at all the beautiful sights in heaven, she saw a man walking toward the gates. As he drew closer, the woman recognized him. It was her husband. She was shocked!
“What happened?” the wife asked.
“Well,” he replied, “I was drinking and I had an accident and died. Am I in heaven?”
“You are at the Pearly Gates.”
“Do I get to come in?”
“Yes, but you have to spell a word”
Living off your card (or ON it!)
Many of you participated in the Visioning Weekend with Rev. Stephanie Seigh and you may recall one of the exercises she led us through called the Hero’s process, where we determined the characteristics or ‘values’ that we each individually, considered important in our lives.
We did that by looking at those people, living or past, real or imaginary, who we look up to…who are our hero’s and heroine’s?
Think about that for a minute. ————–
DO you have your list?
For me Jesus and the Buddha, but also Yoda! My mentors. And Eleanor Roosevelt. And Jodi Foster! And some writers like JK Rowling….
Now, look at the characteristics that draws you to that person….what are they?
Those characteristics that you find in those hero’s are also in you. If you can see them in another, you have, at the very least, the potential to have that same characteristic.
And that is what you list on your CARD…your Standards of Integrity.
And this is what we did during the Visioning Weekend. We looked at what OUR Standards of Integrity were and then we applied them to Unity of Rehoboth Beach. Because we ARE Unity of Rehoboth Beach!
We then worked further to weed them down and established what 5 values were most often found at Unity of Rehoboth Beach…and they are: Community, Spiritual, Shining Light, Love, Inclusive.
From there we worked on Vision and Mission Statements. We are still refining these and should have something for you to vote on next week.
We each have values that we consider important. Sometimes we don’t realize them. Especially if we haven’t taken the time to get to know ourselves. Often we are ‘too busy’ to take the time, that is often why we hear of “mid-life crisis” or why it is later in life that we find people making changes in their lifestyles, changing jobs for a lifelong dream, or buying that sports car!
That may be why some of you are here, sitting in those chairs, at Unity of Rehoboth Beach. You were looking for a deeper connection, maybe more meaning to your life. Maybe you finally listened to that still small voice. That is, in part, what got me here.
Remember, one of Unity’s 5 Principles is self-responsibility. It is YOUR responsibility to live ON YOUR CARD. Or I like to think of it as within my INTEGRITY. It’s at the heart of what each of us controls—ourselves. Nothing else.
A sign of maturity is acknowledging that we are responsible for our own needs. It is also a sign of Spiritual Maturity. We can be Spiritually awake, meaning we are learning the TRUTHS, but applying them takes Spiritual Maturity.
That’s Living On Your Card.
The way we choose to think, feel and act directly comes from one of two places—our egos or our higher self. If ego or personality is at the root of our thinking, feeling and acting, our choices may be based on lack, survival,….which all stem from fear. None of these would come from our higher self.
Rather, our higher self shows up as possibility thinking, gratitude and inquisitiveness.
When we listen to our higher self; choices, thoughts, feelings and actions take on a whole new realm of possibility. Our perceptions are more objective, our thoughts are more compassionate, our feelings are more loving and our actions are in integrity.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “If you are called to be a street sweeper, sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Dr. King’s quote is one that is steeped in choice, intention and right action and that power is ever-present with each breath we take. Isn’t choice something we would all say yes to each and every moment?
Of course, and yet we often unconsciously say no to choice because we rely on that automatic pilot—our habits, our ego-self—that we have relied on for many years.
We don’t even think about it. Many of us manage hourly, daily, weekly and yearly with our habits and ego guiding our thoughts, feelings and actions.
To be unconscious to our own light and power could be due to many things: our lack of awareness of who we really are, our lack of discipline, our lack of a plan, our willingness to play small.
We don’t have to hold a management or executive title to lead and show up in ways that move an organization or a household, (or a Spiritual Community!), forward toward its mission and vision. We just need to clearly remember and recognize who we are at the core of our being and act from that place of love and strength.
How do we so that? How do we stay Living On Our Card? How do we live our integrity? How do we walk our talk?
Here’s one way that might help:
- Identify your intention.
Maria Nemeth, author of Mastering Life’s Energies and owner of the Academy of Coaching Excellence teaches her students to start each day by asking: “Who am I willing to be in order to produce an extraordinary result out of this day?”
- Become a self-observer.
We have to be able to observe our thoughts and the stories we are telling ourselves about our encounters. Ego loves drama, fear and power, and many of the stories we make up are great tragedies.
It’s important to quickly observe the stories and stresses we are experiencing … and to be able to redirect our reactions in ways that will be helpful to ourselves and others.
- Take authentic action.
“Authentic” in this context means to act from our higher source—our intention—not from the ego, but from that spark of divinity that is in all of us. When we act from that place, we know we are being true to ourselves. We are expressing energy that is coming from our soul. We are spirit in action. We are living our truth being in alignment with who we truly are.
Choice is the only freedom we really have. As we go about our work, whatever form that might take, let’s all remember to say yes to what really matters in our life; to say yes to choice; to take time to pause, reflect and choose our intentions carefully; to self-observe our thoughts and feelings; and to act authentically from that sacred place of love and strength.
Consider these statements:
If I live my life to perfection, doing what is right and good on behalf of others, but act with compulsion and without love, then I am nothing at all.
If I take care of the needs of everybody in the world, especially the poor, because of my own need to help, but am without love even for myself, then I am nothing at all.
If I am efficient and successful in all that I do for the sake of justice, but act out of drivenness and without love, then I am nothing at all.
If I am cultured and refined, and in touch with the pain of existence, but am absent from the pain of persons in the present moment who need my empathy; and if I act without love and compassion, then I am nothing at all.
If I have the gifts of wisdom, insight, and understanding, but am not engaged with those around me in the present moment and am without a spirit of compassion and love, then I am nothing at all.
If I am faithful, loyal, and obedient, and never deviate from the law, but am judgmental and blaming, and am without love, then I am nothing at all.
If I live in a pain-free world of dreams and plans, enjoying optimism and pleasurable options, but am not addressing present problems and am avoiding people in actual distress and am without love, then I am nothing at all.
If I am strong and powerful, but lose my best self in a spirit of resentment, retaliation, and vindictiveness, and know nothing of the vulnerability of love, then I am nothing at all.
If I am settled and accommodating, holding onto a sense of distance and calm, but am not journeying inward to know and appreciate my weaknesses and gifts, and am neglecting my own legitimate calling to love myself, then I am nothing at all.
Each statement can be another way to question if we are being Spiritually mature.
My Take on Mothers Day – May 8, 2016 Unity of Rehoboth Beach
Good Morning Beloved!
When Bob found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed a woman to enjoy it with. So one evening he went to a singles bar where he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
Her natural beauty took his breath away. “I may look like just an ordinary man,” he said as he walked up to her, “but in just a week or two my father will die, and I’ll inherit 20 million dollars.”
Impressed, the woman went home with him that evening.
Three days later, she became his stepmother.
For some of us, Mother’s Day is a beautiful and joyful event to be spent with our Mother or to remember them if they have passed.
But for many of us, Mother’s Day is filled with emotional complication and mixed feelings.
Some had beloved mothers, who have now passed away, and this loss fills you with grief.
Some desperately wanted to be mothers yourselves, but destiny did not allow it.
Some had mothers who were unavailable in one way or another.
Some of you have lost a child.
Some of you — like me — are not mothers in the usual sense of the word.
Some of you are not even female, but men who have stepped in to the role of nurturing as a Mother would.
There’s a Jewish Proverb that says, “God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.”
Could possibly be true….
I would alter that a bit and simple say God made those of us who nurture. God is after all, LOVE.
We often hear about how a Mother’s love is so profound, that nothing and no one can stand in the way of a Mother and her child. We only need look at nature to see the overwhelming steps a Mother takes to ensure their offspring, whether animal, bird or human; is safe.
But, most Mothers also take the steps necessary to show their off spring that there is a time to ‘leave the nest’, so to speak. I think for most of us, we weren’t pushed out of the nest, and left to find our wings before hitting the ground as some fledglings are.
But even for those of us who were pushed out the nest and left to find our wings on our own, we did! And we found our way, sometimes close to ground, and sometimes we came close to ground several times before truly finding our wings.
Our Mothers may have been secretly hovering beneath us, trying their best to make sure we don’t hit ground. I know mine did, in her own way.
And I think that is where we need to see our Mother’s, when they didn’t fit the picture we saw on TV…the Mrs. Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver and Mrs. Anderson from Father Knows Best, or Harriet Nelson in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
My Mother and I have a very nice relationship. We didn’t always though. I bet a lot of you have similar stories, where there were times of contention between the two of you. But there is also a point in your life when you said to yourself that the time is right for a good relationship with the woman who brought you into the world.
Or, for the woman or man, who watched you grow and helped as best they could.
And that is where the misunderstanding between each other can be replaced, at least a bit, with at least acceptance and maybe even understanding.
That’s the answer, you know…. understanding that they did the best they could do with what they knew at the time. When I realized that, I could come to grips with how my childhood was and then, at least attempt to let it go.
It’s a choice to take a different perspective, to look at the situation a different way.
SO they did the best they could with what they knew at the time. Maya Angelou said it better: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Think about that. When my Mother had me, she was almost 20 years old. What do you know about the world and life at 20? Now go back to 1949, my birth year, when things weren’t easily available. And add another baby just about a year and a half old, my older brother and a husband who was alcoholic and not responsible as far as holding a job.
And though she is an intelligent woman, her education didn’t go past elementary years. It was out to the fields and work for her and her siblings. She had a rough life as a child.
I’m proud of my Mother and the growth she has made. Most times she does not revert to her victim mentality, though it would be well understood if she did. She and I both have traveled that road several times.
No, she has moved along nicely, coming into her own.
What have you seen in your Mother’s journey as you look back through your years together? Think about that journey, what have and can you learn from it?
I asked some folks to say a few words about their Mother….
Our Mother’s hold a special place in our lives…whether they were the best Mother or akin to Bette Davis…. there is always something that connects us to them.
Here’s a story…
Lionel phones his mother living in Springfield, MA USA.
‘Mum, how are you?’ he asks.
‘Not too good,’ answers Lionel’s mother, ‘I’ve been very weak.’
Lionel, concerned asks, ‘Why are you so weak, mother?’
She says, ‘Because I haven’t eaten in 23 days’
Lionel stammers, ‘That’s terrible. Why haven’t you eaten in 23 days?’
His mother replies, ‘Because I didn’t want my mouth to be filled with food if you should phone.’
Unfortunately, this is true for many Mothers and their families. Have you called home lately?
I found this little reminder that fits in many places, especially here…
Have you checked your love walk?