Burning Bowl Ceremony
Rev. Kelly Isola tells this story:
One friend told me that the purpose of life was to have fun & think only positive and therefore she replaced all other possibilities that could have been, with the pursuit of fun and wishful thinking and thus expended her time.
Another friend proclaimed that power money and success was the purpose of life and therefore he excluded all other potential richness of life for the pursuit of his goal and thus expended his time.
Yet a third friend calmly admitted that he did not know what the purpose of life was and that he was not sure that such a construct even existed.
Ironically it was this third friend who came to enjoy the fruits of an abundant lifestyle, a joyful attitude, and a confident courageous demeanor, while the first two are still busy proving themselves to their pretense.
Why? The third friend was empty, and therefore ready to be filled; Humbled, so ready to be exalted; uncertain, and so commanded wisdom and confident strength.
When we think we know what’s best for us, we get the limit of our crystalized idea.
When we know that what is best for us is the working of the heart and not the mind, we experience the fruit of our courage.
Just some thoughts prior to our Service….
Ceremonies or rituals are, and have been, used in every society, religion and political process. The value of ceremony is to make an occasion solemn and important and aim at preserving the result from doubt and opposition.
Thus, through our ritual this morning please stay with me as best as you are able so you receive the fullness of the rituals.
The purpose of the Burning Bowl Ceremony is to release old patterns, beliefs, emotions, resentments, feelings of victimhood and injury or anything that impedes you from realizing your true self. By releasing the old unwanted conditions, you clear the way for beginnings. Then you focus your attention on what you would like to create in your life
Let us this day remove some of our blocks to our Christ Consciousness and let our Light and Love shine out more brightly.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” -Maulana Jelaluddin Rumi
“This is a time in which we release the past and lay hold of our good in the now and for the future. We shall achieve this release by denying any error thoughts and behavior patterns we wish to eliminate, and we shall lay hold of our good by affirming – by making firm – the patterns of True thoughts that will bring the good we desire into manifestation.”
“The process of releasing begins with forgiveness of all injury, both real and imagined. We recall the Truth that we are spirit, perfect, holy, and harmonious, and that nothing can hurt us or make us sick or afraid for spirit is God, and God can never be sick, or hurt, or afraid.”
“We take a time of quiet now to call to mind all those persons or incidents in our lives, which we need to forgive.”
“We recognize the intensity of the emotions these memories generate in us, and we do not condemn ourselves for the way we feel. We choose, however, to change our injured feelings to feelings of harmony, love, and peace.”
“We know we have the power to change our emotions because our emotions are the result of our thoughts, because God gave us that power when the Divine gave us dominion over the earth and all things in it. We know that we must learn forgiveness, and we begin this learning process by becoming willing to forgive.”
Matthew 5:22-24 “But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say ‘You fool’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So, when you are offering your gift at the alter, if you remember something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”
HAND OUT papers & pens
Silently ask what is ready to be lifted from you now. Allow people, places, things, feelings, addictions or patterns of behavior to arise in your conscious mind and as you recognize them, begin to write them down on your paper. As you agree to release them, trust that they are being treated perfectly by God as you release them from your human concern, anxiety, fear or resentment. Your Highest Good is intimately connected to the Highest Good of all who are in your life – as you release them from your worry they are released into God’s care at once. With each name, thought, feeling or internal pattern you release, peacefulness grows within you. Allow this process to continue for the next couple of minutes, writing down what you are given to release.
When you feel so moved, set you denial afire in the flame of one of the candles and drop the denial into our burning bowl, releasing the energy and power you have previously given that condition back to the potential for good from which it came.”
“As the fire transforms the energy contained in the paper into heat energy, so your denial releases the seeming power this condition has had in your life, and transforms that power into the purging fire of the Spirit
As you drop your denial into the burning bowl, repeat silently: This condition is no longer a part of my life. The forgiving love of God, the Truth of Jesus Christ now makes me free.’
Silently return to your seat and continue your time of reflection until all have finished.”
May what you have released here be forever gone from your spirit and cease to trouble you. May you be relieved and renewed, ever mindful that love is always more powerful than fear, and that compassion is the key to freedom from resentment. Visualize this all dissolving and leaving your life.
We can focus on the ending and just feel gratitude that it is over or we can truly feel gratitude for the blessings and growth the years has blessed us with.
Now, let us affirm together, “I empty myself, so that I can accept the good that awaits me.” Let’s say that three times together to impress it upon our sub-consciousness.
Letter to God
Jesus, our Way-Shower, understood the power of vision coupled with intention. He cast a vision every time he talked about the kingdom of heaven. He had the unique capacity to live fully in the moment while envisioning the dream of what was possible. His life-affirming vision formed his thoughts, words and actions. He held the vision of an awakened life not just for himself but for each one of us as well.
Visioning is exciting and fun. We become exhilarated about the upcoming year as we see new possibilities. The challenge begins when we endeavor to manifest our dreams. We intend to live congruently with our dream, then life gets in the way. Old paradigms try to pull us back. Outer conditions overwhelm our newfound enthusiasm, and before we know it, we are repeating the same old self-defeating patterns.
This is why the spiritual practice of faith is vital. Jesus demonstrated the power of faith with his laser-beam focus on the presence of Divine Spirit regardless of any outer condition. He taught us how to look beyond perceived limitations to see only the evidence of good and the infinite flow of abundance.
We are reminded that everything is created twice—first in mind, then in the physical realm. We are the channel through which Creative Mind expresses. When we anchor our being in this Truth, we are no longer bystanders, we are active participants. We understand that our dreams and desires are the way Spirit expresses and expands Its presence in us and in our world.
Take time to create a vision for yourself for the next 365 days. Imagine it is December 31, 2018, and you are reviewing the past year. What successes did you experience? How have you grown in your relationships and what are the highlights of your year? What new wonder unfolded for us? Allow your imagination to roam.
Write a brief letter to your indwelling Christ, describing the good you wish to see manifest in your life in the months ahead. “How will you create this New Year? What are your goals, your dreams, your plans?”
When you have finished writing, seal the letter and have a time of blessing. You may leave your letters in the basket at the door at the end of our service. No one but you will ever see the letter unless you show it to another person. It will be mailed back to you early summer.
Here’s my to-do list for each one of us for the new year so that we might co-create a world that works for all and see our great expectations transform our world.
· Recognize that you are a sparkling present from the cosmos and it is time to unwrap yourself and share yourself with the entire world.
· Sing love songs to your soul. It’s not about carrying a tune; it’s about playing the symphony that is you.
· Treasure your loved ones, even when they seem unlovable. It is in those toughest moments they are saying most loudly, “Somebody, please love me.”
· Look each day in the mirror knowing what you are—love made visible.
· Know you are an angel and an ancestor with this planet. Your presence here now makes a difference, while at the same time leaving an echo of perfection for those who are yet to be born.
· Find adventure in every day and notice how your courage to do new things, big and small, inspires others to unwrap themselves for the world too.
· Realize that with every sadness you are blessed to have your heart cracked wide open. One of the great mysteries in life is that by feeling our suffering we also invite in the possibility of feeling great joy. Suffering and joy are your partners in wholeness.
· Delight in the knowing that your light has already illuminated darkened paths, your gaze has already lifted broken spirits, and your gentle life has changed the destiny of all you have touched.
· Keep the awareness alive that you carry the peace of the world within yourself.
Remember that the force moving the stars is the same force that moves the human heart. Embrace this cosmic view, and you will know that this force is alive in all things. So, open yourself to the movement of the stars and the movement of your heart, realizing you are a necessary part of the interconnectedness of all life.
You are a soul in evolution, not perfected, but perfect in your unfoldment. Just as the rose discloses its perfection at every stage of its development, from seed, to shoot, to stalk, to bud, to flowering blossom, to dormant winter plant—so you are perfect in your every level of expression. You uniquely shine forth the perfection of the whole of you in each step of your soul evolution.
Your soul is always in process. This means your soul is not a noun, but a verb. It is, in a sense, the conjugation of the verb “to be”—the process of the unfoldment of your inner being.
You are evolving, you are growing—you aren’t supposed to have it all together! You must embrace your soul, accepting and loving yourself just as you are and grow forward from there.
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
What’s in a name? We talked about this a bit several times, looking at the creation story in Genesis, where ‘Adam” is given the task of naming all the creatures of the earth, thus having ‘dominion’ over them, metaphysically. That mean we are to have dominion over our thoughts.
So how important is a name? If we know our name, will we have dominion over ourselves? Interesting thought.
My name, or the story revolving around my name, could be considered interesting. I grew up believing my ‘official’ name was Sundra, some joke of my fathers to curse me for the rest of my life. No one has the name Sundra.
So, one day after I was on my own, my Mother choose to gift me with all my ‘important papers’, birth certificate, baptism certificate, certificate of vaccination.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my name was not Sundra, but Sondra. All these years wrong. All my official papers, wrong!
In fact, a former neighbor said my nickname should be Sonny, not Sandy!
Spiritually, a name means the character, or nature of that which is named.
SO, I wonder if not using my ‘real’ name all these years has led to my feelings of not fitting in ….? Not knowing my true name? Hummm…But that’s another days’ lesson.
What it does is lead us to our Children’s Christmas story for this week, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Have you watched the 1970 movie? It’s based upon a song written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie and was first sung on Eddie Cantor’s radio show in November 1934. It became an instant hit.
Again, something from our past to brighten our days.
The song and film tells the story of how Santa Claus and several Claus-related Christmas traditions came to be and it’s the story of Saint Nicholas.
And, as our previous two stories, it is a perennial favorite, it continues to air every year
Our story has a Grinch-like person in Burgermeister Meisterburger
Talk about having a name issue!
After being asked to raise an orphan baby, Burgermeister sends the baby to the “Orphan Asylum”. Due to a storm, the Baby never makes it there, but instead, ends up with the Elves- the Kringle Family in Rainbow River Valley…catch that name?
Tanta Kringle , the elf queen, and the five Kringle elf brothers Ringle, Dingle, Zingle, Tingle and Wingle, adopt the baby and name him “Kris”. As Kris grows up, he hopes to restore the Kringle family as “The First Toymakers to the King”.
When Kris is old enough, he volunteers to deliver the elves’ toys to nearby Sombertown; again a name issue!
Unfortunately, Mayor. Meisterburger falls because of a toy and so outlaws all toys in the town of Sombertown.
In the town, he offers toys to two children washing their stockings by a water fountain. He is stopped by Miss Jessica, their schoolteacher, but she softens toward Kris when he offers her a china doll as a “peace offering”.
As Kris gives more toys, the Burgermeister arrives to arrest the children, but Kris gives him a yo-yo. He at first happily plays with it, but Grimsley, his assistant, reminds him he’s breaking his own law, leading to Burgermeister ordering Kris’ capture.
As Kris returns to the Kringles, the Winter Warlock captures them. But when Kris gives him a toy train as a present, the Warlock befriends Kris. To repay him, he re-unites Kris with Jessica who informs him that the Burgermeister has destroyed all the toys and the children now want new ones.
Kris promises to do so if the children behave themselves, promising to watch them through his magic snowball. When the Burgermeister hears that Kris means to bring more toys, he orders all doors and windows to be locked as their houses are searched. But Kris enters by the chimneys where the children hung their stockings to dry by the fire and where Kris hides the toys.
So. Burgermeister sets a trap, and captures the Kringles and Winter. Jessica pleads to release her friends, but he refuses. Jessica then asks Winter to break everyone out, but he has no magic left except some magic feed corn that make reindeer fly. With the reindeer’s help, they all escape.
Kris is now an outlaw, so he grows a beard as a disguise. After Elf Queen Tanta suggests that he return to his birth name “Claus” for safety, Kris marries Jessica and the group travels to the North Pole to build their own castle and workshop.
As the years pass, Kris still has to travel by night because he’s still an outlaw. Eventually, the Meisterburgers die off and fell out of power and their laws were abolished.
The townspeople then look to Kris who becomes Santa Claus and Jessica becomes Mrs. Claus. Santa then decides to limit his journeys to one night a year and chooses the right night. Christmas Eve, the night of love.
Just as Santa is getting ready to leave, Winter tells him that he has his magic powers back to guarantee the world a white Christmas.
Did you catch all the Santa traditions that supposedly were started because of this tale? Santa’s beard, stockings by the chimney, flying reindeer, Kris Kringle, white Christmas, watching for good children…
Remember, this is suppose to be the story of Saint Nicholas, the 4th century Christian monk from Asia Minor.
What Lessons do we have here to learn, if we so choose?
Anything that brings joy to others brings joy & meaning to us
Being kind overpowers the not so kind intentions of others
Once again, we see that Love conquers all
Being true to ourselves is our answer to any question…what I call INTEGRITY.
Kris chose Christmas Eve to deliver his toys because it is “the night of profound love. “So you can see, why I chose “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” as the example of the Advent theme of Love. Kris and his friends found ways to express Love to Sombertown and to the world.
Advent is a time to contemplate the true nature of love, and allow its creative energy to direct our thoughts and actions.
We bring more love into our lives by letting love express through us. To get more one must give more….that works for many things…love, money, good will….
As William Shakespeare said regarding love; “The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.”
And it again is an example of Jesus’ directive:
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV)
The only examples of anything not love were expressed by others…
Burgermeister Meisterburger & his assistant, Grimsley, rather Scrooge like…and that name. I suggest we be careful what we name our children and even our pets!
The Winter Warlock, until he receives a toy train from Kris, which only goes to prove if you give a train to someone, you have made a friend!