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Home » Uncategorized » Unity of Rehoboth Beach, July 24, 2016 The 5 Principles – Principle 1

Unity of Rehoboth Beach, July 24, 2016 The 5 Principles – Principle 1

The 5 Unity Principles

 

How many of you have been active in other Unity Centers or Churches? Please stand if you are able.

Now how many of you remaining were aware of Unity at all, before coming to Unity of Rehoboth Beach?   Please stand if you are able.

SO we see that some of us know a lot about Unity, some a bit more than others and some of us not much of what Unity is about.

It’s one of the things that is exciting and difficult as a teacher…. trying to say things in a way that can reach all levels of knowing and understanding.

Today we are going to start a series of Lessons on the 5 Basic Principles that are the basis of what Unity believes.

These are not creeds or rules that one must follow.  WE do not require adhering to specific rules.

These Principles Are Spiritual Law.  They apply to everyone all the time, everywhere.  Like 2 + 2 = 4, always true. Like gravity.

Whether or not we believe in the law of gravity, gravity exists. It’s not like we can wake up in the morning and say, “Today, I’m going to ignore the law of gravity.” You might give it your best shot, but in the end, gravity will win.

Just as we’ve learned to work with gravity and math, we can also learn to work with spiritual principles… for as many of us have learned, they work when you work them!

We must become willing to practice them. “I am willing…” three of the most

powerful words in the Universe.  (let’s say them?)

Second, we observe the difference between a principle and a rule. According to Dr.

Maria Nemeth, “A principle is a guideline, an important underlying law or

assumption required in a system of thought. It shows us the basic way in which

something works. Spiritual principles are therefore basic underlying laws that show

us how to wake ourselves up to our true nature…”

As such principles cannot be broken… they simply are, whether we practice them or not. When we practice a spiritual principle, there is a sense of all is well, a sense of grace and of waking up.

A rule, on the other hand, is something we sense is being imposed from the outside, and hence can be broken.  An example would be speed limits; though I do not suggest that we break them.

Practicing these spiritual principles is the foundation for our works. They give meaning and purpose to our actions.

You were given a card with the 5 Principles for your reference and use.  I hope it is useful to you.  A gift from us. Let’s look at them:

The 5 Principles, then, are:

  1. There is only one Presence and one Power active as the universe and as my life, God the Good.
  2. Our essence is of God; therefore, we are inherently good.  This God essence, called the Christ, was fully expressed in Jesus.
  3. We are co-creators with God, creating reality through thoughts held in mind.
  4. Through prayer and meditation, we align our heart-mind with God.  Denials and affirmations are tools we use.
  5. Through thoughts, words and action, we live the Truth and we know.

These Principles have been written several different ways. You can see some on our website, Darla has posted some for us. There may be a version there that you may like better than what you see and hear today.  They each say our Truth in different ways so all can understand.

We will take the next weeks to explore each Principle.

So, the first; There is only one Presence and one Power active as the universe and as my life, God the Good.  God is Absolute Good, everywhere present. This is Unity’s foundational belief, upon which all our other teachings rest and are built.

 

In her book, The Five Principles, Rev. Ellen Debenport observes: “Principle One affirms that God is all there is. God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent – but not all-powerful but all power, not all-knowing but all knowledge, and present everywhere. God is the stars, the rocks, the animals, the people. God is the love, the creativity, the wisdom that human beings express. All that we are and have is

God, and we can never be separate from that universal power.”

 

And that means everything is Divine.

Think about that for a minute.

Everything, everyone is Divine.

 

Many traditions have taught this truth of our divinity.

Taoism teaches that the Tao, the flow of the Universe, is everywhere present.

From the Bhagavad Gita we read: By me is this entire universe pervaded.

All things are in Me, and I in them. Know that as the mighty wind blowing everywhere rests in the sky. All created beings rest in Me. I am the Father, the Mother, the Supporter and the Grandsire of the Universe.

And of course that wise teacher and Jedi master, Obi Wan Kenobi, taught, “The

Force is… an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates

  1. It binds the galaxy together. …The Force is with you. Always.”

 

Principle One maintains that we are one with God, or as St. Paul taught, that we live

and move and have our being in God.

So, we say God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere.

Often the next question is, what about evil, bad things happening?

Rev. Ed Townley answers that question this way:

Historically, the argument has looked like this: If God cannot prevent bad things from happening, then God is not all powerful. And if God will not prevent evil, God is not all good.

The problem is known as theodicy, and theologians have traditionally offered three types of solutions to this dilemma:

1)    God is not all powerful. God is limited in some ways, and there are some things He/She/It cannot do in an orderly universe.

2)    Evil is good for you. Bad things are not truly evil but a disguised form of good. For example, suffering can be a challenge to faith, a hidden growth experience, a spiritual test.

3)    Evil and suffering are a mystery. These matters cannot be understood by limited human minds. Resolutions to the problem of theodicy will wait until we receive what Catholics call the beatific vision in the afterlife.

 

None of these explanations are very satisfactory, especially for a parent who has just lost a child or any innocent bystander who has suffered the collateral damage which goes with living in a physical universe.

We all have examples of situations and events that happen to us and we wonder why.  I’ve mentioned my family situation and the lessons learned from what many would a consider terrible situation.  Those lessons teach empathy that can be expressed to others who are going through similar situations.

The same goes for being gay and the compassion I can show to others as they struggle with acceptance of themselves.

And we all have been cut off in traffic at one time or another, yet if we ‘stay on our card’ and be present, we can allow that the person in the other car may need to be someplace fast, a hospital to welcome their first child, a hospice to say good bye to a parent for the last time, and yes, even what they think is an important meeting.

Just let them go and keep your cool.

Rabbi Harold Kushner’s best-selling book When Bad Things Happen to Good People makes the following comment, which is the key to the problem:

All the responses to tragedy which we have considered have at least one thing in common. (Have you figured out what it is?)  They all assume that God is the cause of our suffering and they try to understand why God would want us to suffer … We were left either hating ourselves for deserving such a fate or hating God for sending it to us when we did not deserve it. There may be another approach. Maybe God does not cause our suffering.

The confusion begins with a misunderstanding of God’s nature. Instead of pulling strings like a puppeteer, perhaps God is not separate from the cosmos. What if God’s power in fact animates the very atoms of the universe, yet even the smallest molecule has a measure of free will? Suppose God wants all sentient beings to be happy, healthy and wise and has provided a cosmos in which individualized expressions of Divine Intelligence—you and I—must discover and apply the physical and spiritual principles necessary to produce such happiness, health and wisdom.

If people center themselves on the Truth of God’s absolute goodness, even in the face of apparent “evil” and unspeakable suffering; if they rely upon God while walking the valley of the shadow—for that is what evil and suffering are in eternity, mere shadows—then no calamity can overwhelm their sense of okay-ness about life, for they know God has issued a guarantee that everything will work out for the good. This does not mean I should glibly dismiss suffering as an “error in consciousness,” or feel superior to people who are in pain or feel guilty when I face a health challenge or some personal tragedy. Our human response to happenings will play out in one form or another.

Our Free Will allows the freedom necessary for spiritual growth.  That is why we are here.

Keep in mind, too, that good and bad are mere labels we use to attempt to understand situations as they happen.

And, events themselves do not have to be good in order for good to come about. Events are just events.

 

This 1st principle frees us from fear of a God that punishes. It frees us from the fear that there is a Satan who can and will overpower us, if we are not constantly vigilant. It frees us from the belief that any other person has authority over our spirit. This principle offers us the freedom to trust in a benevolent, loving Universe which has only our good in mind.

Trust is our personal characteristic of this Principle.  Trust in ourselves and the integrity we have and are developing.  Trust that inner voice that is the Divine.

 

So our next obvious question is what would it be like to actually live what Jesus taught… to live what we said we believed?

So what does it look like to live the First Principle? What would our thoughts, words and actions be if we lived this Truth; there is only one Presence and one Power active as the universe and as my life, God the Good? Time for responses

Well, we’d probably complain a lot less! I mean, if it’s all good, what do we have to complain about, right? Being gifted with hot weather so we can appreciate snow

Someone cuts me off in traffic, consider that they may really have an emergency.

We’d probably find ourselves judging a lot less, and being grateful for a lot more.

We would see good in everything.  No reactions.  See only love.

This then would mean we would remember that we are all one, and if there is a problem with one of the One, it may be a problem with you.  Didn’t Jesus say something about the log in your own eye, and to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile?

One of our core values is Community.  Fellowship.  And it came out as the best thing we were doing correctly here at Unity of Rehoboth Beach from our little survey. So where could you and I improve in our Community?

Where in my life have I not gone the extra mile?

I look at my week and most of it is spent on Unity things, prayer, writing, doing social media and out-reach.  Calls and emails.  Letters and reports. Reminders to people who may have missed a Sunday service that they were missed and that we hope to see them again soon. Thank you;s to new people.

Sundays’ arriving here early, helping some to set-up and seeing that all the set-up is organized.  Sometimes finding helpers where needed.  Trying to keep the service on schedule.  After the service, I try to speak even a little to as many people as possible to let them know they are honored in my heart and loved here at unity.

And then we have clean-up, unfortunately. And we must leave our Unity family for a time again.

And then the week starts all over again.

The extra mile for me is giving more. Even more to those who are reaching out, who ask for guidance, who hurt and betray and still, I am here for them, for you, all of you.

Talking about this 1st Principle has made me contemplate where I am with my faith and I know that I am doing what I am intended to do at this time. And I trust that I will always be guided to the right and perfect answer to each and every call, question, situation. I Trust in God.

Where has your extra mile taken you?

The 5 Unity Principles

How many of you have been active in other Unity Centers or Churches? Please stand if you are able.
Now how many of you remaining were aware of Unity at all, before coming to Unity of Rehoboth Beach? Please stand if you are able.
SO we see that some of us know a lot about Unity, some a bit more than others and some of us not much of what Unity is about.

It’s one of the things that is exciting and difficult as a teacher…. trying to say things in a way that can reach all levels of knowing and understanding.
Today we are going to start a series of Lessons on the 5 Basic Principles that are the basis of what Unity believes.
These are not creeds or rules that one must follow. WE do not require adhering to specific rules.
These Principles Are Spiritual Law. They apply to everyone all the time, everywhere. Like 2 + 2 = 4, always true. Like gravity.
Whether or not we believe in the law of gravity, gravity exists. It’s not like we can wake up in the morning and say, “Today, I’m going to ignore the law of gravity.” You might give it your best shot, but in the end, gravity will win.
Just as we’ve learned to work with gravity and math, we can also learn to work with spiritual principles… for as many of us have learned, they work when you work them!
We must become willing to practice them. “I am willing…” three of the most
powerful words in the Universe. (let’s say them?)
Second, we observe the difference between a principle and a rule. According to Dr.
Maria Nemeth, “A principle is a guideline, an important underlying law or
assumption required in a system of thought. It shows us the basic way in which
something works. Spiritual principles are therefore basic underlying laws that show
us how to wake ourselves up to our true nature…”
As such principles cannot be broken… they simply are, whether we practice them or not. When we practice a spiritual principle, there is a sense of all is well, a sense of grace and of waking up.
A rule, on the other hand, is something we sense is being imposed from the outside, and hence can be broken. An example would be speed limits; though I do not suggest that we break them.
Practicing these spiritual principles is the foundation for our works. They give meaning and purpose to our actions.
You were given a card with the 5 Principles for your reference and use. I hope it is useful to you. A gift from us. Let’s look at them:
The 5 Principles, then, are:
1. There is only one Presence and one Power active as the universe and as my life, God the Good.
2. Our essence is of God; therefore, we are inherently good. This God essence, called the Christ, was fully expressed in Jesus.
3. We are co-creators with God, creating reality through thoughts held in mind.
4. Through prayer and meditation, we align our heart-mind with God. Denials and affirmations are tools we use.
5. Through thoughts, words and action, we live the Truth and we know.
These Principles have been written several different ways. You can see some on our website, Darla has posted some for us. There may be a version there that you may like better than what you see and hear today. They each say our Truth in different ways so all can understand.
We will take the next weeks to explore each Principle.
So, the first; There is only one Presence and one Power active as the universe and as my life, God the Good. God is Absolute Good, everywhere present. This is Unity’s foundational belief, upon which all our other teachings rest and are built.

In her book, The Five Principles, Rev. Ellen Debenport observes: “Principle One affirms that God is all there is. God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent – but not all-powerful but all power, not all-knowing but all knowledge, and present everywhere. God is the stars, the rocks, the animals, the people. God is the love, the creativity, the wisdom that human beings express. All that we are and have is
God, and we can never be separate from that universal power.”

And that means everything is Divine.
Think about that for a minute.
Everything, everyone is Divine.

Many traditions have taught this truth of our divinity.
Taoism teaches that the Tao, the flow of the Universe, is everywhere present.
From the Bhagavad Gita we read: By me is this entire universe pervaded.
All things are in Me, and I in them. Know that as the mighty wind blowing everywhere rests in the sky. All created beings rest in Me. I am the Father, the Mother, the Supporter and the Grandsire of the Universe.
And of course that wise teacher and Jedi master, Obi Wan Kenobi, taught, “The
Force is… an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates
us. It binds the galaxy together. …The Force is with you. Always.”

Principle One maintains that we are one with God, or as St. Paul taught, that we live
and move and have our being in God.
So, we say God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere.
Often the next question is, what about evil, bad things happening?
Rev. Ed Townley answers that question this way:
Historically, the argument has looked like this: If God cannot prevent bad things from happening, then God is not all powerful. And if God will not prevent evil, God is not all good.
The problem is known as theodicy, and theologians have traditionally offered three types of solutions to this dilemma:
1) God is not all powerful. God is limited in some ways, and there are some things He/She/It cannot do in an orderly universe.
2) Evil is good for you. Bad things are not truly evil but a disguised form of good. For example, suffering can be a challenge to faith, a hidden growth experience, a spiritual test.
3) Evil and suffering are a mystery. These matters cannot be understood by limited human minds. Resolutions to the problem of theodicy will wait until we receive what Catholics call the beatific vision in the afterlife.

None of these explanations are very satisfactory, especially for a parent who has just lost a child or any innocent bystander who has suffered the collateral damage which goes with living in a physical universe.
We all have examples of situations and events that happen to us and we wonder why. I’ve mentioned my family situation and the lessons learned from what many would a consider terrible situation. Those lessons teach empathy that can be expressed to others who are going through similar situations.
The same goes for being gay and the compassion I can show to others as they struggle with acceptance of themselves.
And we all have been cut off in traffic at one time or another, yet if we ‘stay on our card’ and be present, we can allow that the person in the other car may need to be someplace fast, a hospital to welcome their first child, a hospice to say good bye to a parent for the last time, and yes, even what they think is an important meeting.
Just let them go and keep your cool.
Rabbi Harold Kushner’s best-selling book When Bad Things Happen to Good People makes the following comment, which is the key to the problem:
All the responses to tragedy which we have considered have at least one thing in common. (Have you figured out what it is?) They all assume that God is the cause of our suffering and they try to understand why God would want us to suffer … We were left either hating ourselves for deserving such a fate or hating God for sending it to us when we did not deserve it. There may be another approach. Maybe God does not cause our suffering.
The confusion begins with a misunderstanding of God’s nature. Instead of pulling strings like a puppeteer, perhaps God is not separate from the cosmos. What if God’s power in fact animates the very atoms of the universe, yet even the smallest molecule has a measure of free will? Suppose God wants all sentient beings to be happy, healthy and wise and has provided a cosmos in which individualized expressions of Divine Intelligence—you and I—must discover and apply the physical and spiritual principles necessary to produce such happiness, health and wisdom.
If people center themselves on the Truth of God’s absolute goodness, even in the face of apparent “evil” and unspeakable suffering; if they rely upon God while walking the valley of the shadow—for that is what evil and suffering are in eternity, mere shadows—then no calamity can overwhelm their sense of okay-ness about life, for they know God has issued a guarantee that everything will work out for the good. This does not mean I should glibly dismiss suffering as an “error in consciousness,” or feel superior to people who are in pain or feel guilty when I face a health challenge or some personal tragedy. Our human response to happenings will play out in one form or another.
Our Free Will allows the freedom necessary for spiritual growth. That is why we are here.
Keep in mind, too, that good and bad are mere labels we use to attempt to understand situations as they happen.
And, events themselves do not have to be good in order for good to come about. Events are just events.

This 1st principle frees us from fear of a God that punishes. It frees us from the fear that there is a Satan who can and will overpower us, if we are not constantly vigilant. It frees us from the belief that any other person has authority over our spirit. This principle offers us the freedom to trust in a benevolent, loving Universe which has only our good in mind.
Trust is our personal characteristic of this Principle. Trust in ourselves and the integrity we have and are developing. Trust that inner voice that is the Divine.

So our next obvious question is what would it be like to actually live what Jesus taught… to live what we said we believed?
So what does it look like to live the First Principle? What would our thoughts, words and actions be if we lived this Truth; there is only one Presence and one Power active as the universe and as my life, God the Good?
Well, we’d probably complain a lot less! I mean, if it’s all good, what do we have to complain about, right? Being gifted with hot weather so we can appreciate snow
Someone cuts me off in traffic, consider that they may really have an emergency.
We’d probably find ourselves judging a lot less, and being grateful for a lot more.
We would see good in everything. No reactions. See only love.
This then would mean we would remember that we are all one, and if there is a problem with one of the One, it may be a problem with you. Didn’t Jesus say something about the log in your own eye, and to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile?
One of our core values is Community. Fellowship. And it came out as the best thing we were doing correctly here at Unity of Rehoboth Beach from our little survey. So where could you and I improve in our Community?
Where in my life have I not gone the extra mile?
I look at my week and most of it is spent on Unity things, prayer, writing, doing social media and out-reach. Calls and emails. Letters and reports. Reminders to people who may have missed a Sunday service that they were missed and that we hope to see them again soon. Thank you’s to new people.
Sundays’ arriving here early, helping some to set-up and seeing that all the set-up is organized. Sometimes finding helpers where needed. Trying to keep the service on schedule. After the service, I try to speak even a little to as many people as possible to let them know they are honored in my heart and loved here at unity.
And then we have clean-up, unfortunately. And we must leave our Unity family for a time again.
And then the week starts all over again.
The extra mile for me is giving more. Even more to those who are reaching out, who ask for guidance, who hurt and betray and still, I am here for them, for you, all of you.
Talking about this 1st Principle has made me contemplate where I am with my faith and I know that I am doing what I am intended to do at this time. And I trust that I will always be guided to the right and perfect answer to each and every call, question, situation. I Trust in God.
Where has your extra mile taken you?


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