“Where no one has gone before”, Unity of Rehoboth Beach, June 24, 2018
“Where no one has gone before”
AS most of you know, I am a big fan of fantasy and science fiction stories, movies and TV shows. I know some of you are fans also, and others of you think, here we go again…
Science Fiction and Fantasy books, movies, and stories not only take our imaginations where the impossible, it seems, goes; but we also learn many spiritual and self-awareness lessons from these glimpses into our future.
Any Trekkie will tell you that the communicator on the first episode of Star Trek back in 1966 was the idea inspiration just six short years later when Martin Cooper made the first public cell phone call from a handheld device. He acknowledged that Star Trek had inspired him to develop the technology.
Many other science and technology advancements were first thought of in stories that date as far back as to “True History” by Lucian of Samosata written sometime in the 100’s AD/CE. In this very early book, travels to the Moon, the Sun, and the Morning Star (Venus) were described. It also includes encounters of life forms from these different worlds, advanced human technology, interplanetary warfare and imperialism.
Can you imagine?? In 100 CE, someone was imagining travel to the moon and stars, to other planets. That is amazing to me.
And where does it all start? Where do these writers and inventors begin?
Our imagination. Imagine that! One of our 12 Powers is the start of so many hours of entertainment, and encouragement and innovation. Charles was on to something.
But even more than all that, Science fiction is an existential metaphor that allows us to tell stories about the human condition.
OUR human condition!
Star Trek and shows like it allowed us to take a peek at situations that were not available for us to look at in society for years.
Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, said, “Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. […] If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.”
There is a Unity song, “Amazing Things”, we have sung in Sunday Services before, the main line in the song is “We will do amazing things.” Jesus has told us we will do ‘even greater things than he has done.
Yet, we too often believe that we are not powerful enough to make a difference in much of life. We often feel as if we can barely take care of our day-to-day activities.
Yet we are told again and again that we are made in the image and likeness of the Divine, the Creator of all that is.
Well, science fiction gives us a glimpse of what we can be. What holds us back? Maybe this will help us understand what holds some of us back.
These is a story about renowned statistician George Dantzig. He wanted to complete his doctorate under Jerzy Neyman, one of great founders of modern statistics.
This is in1939, Dantzig asked if there was any possibility he could obtain a teaching assistantship at Berkeley. Neyman agreed and Dantzig began to undertake graduate studies. Danzig relates the following story:
“During my first year at Berkeley I arrived late one day to one of Neyman’s classes. On the blackboard were two problems which I assumed had been assigned for homework. I copied them down. A few days later I apologized to Neyman for taking so long to do the homework – the problems seemed to be a little harder to do than usual. I asked him if he still wanted the work. He told me to throw it on his desk. I did so reluctantly because his desk was covered with such a heap of papers that I feared my homework would be lost there forever.
About six weeks later, one Sunday morning I was awakened by someone banging on our front door. It was Neyman. He rushed in with papers in hand, all excited: “I’ve just written an introduction to one of your papers. Read it so I can send it out right away for publication.” For a minute I had no idea what he was talking about. To make a long story short, the problems on the blackboard which I had solved thinking they were homework were in fact two famous unsolved problems in statistics. That was the first inkling I had that there was anything special about them.”
Danzig later shared that if he had known that these problems were considered unsolvable, he never would have tried to solve them. In other words, he was able to solve the problems because he didn’t see them as unsolvable. He believed it was possible, because he didn’t know otherwise.
He believed it was possible, because he didn’t know otherwise. Have you ever felt that? So sure of what you were doing you didn’t think twice about it?
It’s a great feeling…isn’t it?
Yet we question ourselves about so many things so often, we stop ourselves. We short-change ourselves.
It’s time to move forward…to stop short-changing ourselves.
That’s what these sci-fi prophets, these leaders in insights do …what we as humans can really be, can accomplish if we just believe in the possible.
I believe writers like Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, many more like them envisioned a world very different from the one we live in.
They all encountered opportunities to show how humanity does interact poorly and then how wonderfully we are able to interact with the ‘other’, the one who looks different, talks different, maybe thinks differently about things.
They did all these things in their writing.
Again, Gene Roddenberry tells us:
“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.”
Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek was a police officer turned screenwriter, He saw Star Trek as a Wagon Train to the stars. He created a Universe where prejudice, poverty and hunger were things of the past. And just as Maslow had predicted in his hierarchy of needs, once our survival needs had been met, we took to the stars, to explore beyond our bounds… to go where no one had gone before.
Roddenberry symbolized the progress we had made by the diversity of the crew of the Enterprise. The bridge crew alone was comprised of an African American woman, a Russian, a Scott, an Asian, and a bonafide alien, the Vulcan science officer, Mr. Spock.
Interestingly, the original pilot had a woman first officer, which was canned. The producers of the series said no one would ever believe that a woman could be in a position of such power, and authority over men. That was 1966.
Times slowly change.
Eventually, that idea was scrapped with Star Trek, Voyager, which had a female captain, Capt. Janeway
Looking at the political and social climate of today, sometimes I feel as if we are slipping backwards….
Classic Trek was only on TV for 3 years, but it spawned many other versions of Star Trek -movies, other Trek series: Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise and now Discovery.
There are hundreds of Star Trek novels on the shelves today, written by some of the best and most prolific sci-fi writers. There was even a Star Trek cartoon.
So what is the appeal of Star Trek?
I believe, in reaching to the stars and introducing us to countless alien species, Gene Roddenberry actually introduced us to ourselves. Roddenberry was trying to show us that for all our differences, we have just as much in common. We dream, we love, we fear, we laugh, we cry, we have children and families and in-laws. We are born and we die. Star Trek is about the journey in between.
By placing us and our journey on distant planets, Roddenberry was able to explore subjects heretofore taboo on network television. He wrote about prejudice, the futility of war, misuse of power, women’s lib, drug abuse, honor, good and evil – all within scripts about aliens and flying bugs and exploding space ships.
Star Trek: The Next Generation addressed the issues of their decade: gay rights, cloning, medical ethics and genocide.
The writers of Star Trek, and there were many, wrote about our need to believe in a better way, a world without hunger or poverty or prejudice, a world where we are not judged by the color of our skin or the shape of our ears. A world where disagreement was dealt with by discussion and compromise, not by guns and tanks.
Star Trek also explored spirituality. From the prophets of Bajor on Deep Space Nine to the “Q” and their belief in their omnipresence.
Star Trek’s vision of our future inspired countless NASA astronauts and scientists who watched Star Trek growing up.
From rocket ships that take us to the moon, to deep sea submarines, to the space elevator envisioned by Arthur C. Clarke, what these men imagined has been created, or is in the process of being created.
The imagination of these writers sometimes astounds me.
Charles Fillmore understood the importance of Imagination, making it one of his Twelve Powers of Man. In his book THE TWELVE POWERS: “It is through the imagination that the formless takes form.”
Quoting Fillmore: “With my imagination I lay hold of perfect ideas and clothe them with substance. My body is the product of my mind. In my communication with God, the imagining power of my mind is playing an important part. It receives divine ideas, and in dreams and visions reflects their character in the consciousness.”
“Imagination is the ability to conceive, to draw together, to inspire the mind with a sense of newness. It is the mind’s exercise in foreseeing results in material form.” Power of the Soul , Ella Pomeroy.
“….and in dreams and visions reflects their character in the consciousness.”
Like the prophets of our Judeo-Christian tradition, the prophets of sci-fi had a dream and a vision of what the future would hold. And much of what they’ve envisioned has now been brought into the physical realm.
Star Trek is perhaps the most well-known and most obvious example of this phenomenon. Communicators, talking computers, laptops, phasers and transporters are just a few examples of the imaginings of Star Trek writers that have come to pass.
What’s interesting about these relatively recent inventions is how they would appear to our ancestors, or heck, even our great-grandparents! If Ben Franklin, who was an
inventor himself, would come back today and see all the modern conveniences and gadgets that we take for granted, he would probably think we were using magic.
There’s a wonderful Star Trek: TNG episode called “Who Watches the Watchers?” that addresses this phenomenon….
A team of Federation anthropologists, working in a camouflaged outpost on Mintaka III, have been observing the Mintakans — a race of Vulcan-like humanoids whose development is at the equivalent of earth’s Bronze Age. But when an explosion rips through the post, the expedition’s leader and his assistant, are seriously injured. A third team member, a young man named Palmer, is blasted away from the site.
While attempting to assist the injured, the Away Team from the Enterprise is unaware that they have been spotted by a Mintakan, Liko. Stunned by the sight of the injured being beamed up to the U.S.S. Enterprise, Liko accidentally slips and is critically injured in a fall.
To save his life, Dr. Crusher beams Liko up to the ship, although it violates the Federation’s Prime Directive, which states that members are not to interfere with other cultures.
Regaining consciousness in Sickbay, Liko overhears Picard promising to find Palmer. Despite the fact that Crusher performs a procedure to remove his short-term memory, it doesn’t work and Liko returns to the planet describing “the Picard” to other Mintakans as a god, capable of healing wounds and reversing death
To find Palmer and minimize any further cultural contamination, Riker and Troi beam down to the planet disguised as Mintakans. They overhear Liko telling his friends about “the Picard’s” powers and are surprised when three Mintakan hunters walk in carrying Palmer. Liko immediately assumes that Palmer is a servant of “the Picard” and it would please the god if they presented Palmer to him.
While Troi diverts the Mintakans, Riker beams himself and Palmer up to the Enterprise. When Liko and the group realize what Riker has done, they fear that “the Picard” will be angry with them for losing Palmer. To redeem themselves, they seize Troi with the intention of killing her to prove their loyalty to “the Picard.”
Fearing for Troi’s life, Picard has the Mintakan leader, beamed aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, hoping that if she is convinced that he is not a god, she will be able to persuade her people of that fact.
Despite all his efforts, Picard is unable to convince her that he is a mere mortal. They return to Mintaka to try to convince the people that “the Picard” is mortal.
Liko, still believing that Picard is a god, attempts to prove Picard’s omnipotence by firing a crossbow at him.
Troi asks Liko, “Are you sure this is what he (Picard) wants? That’s the problem with believing in a supreme being: trying to determine what he wants.”
Only when he sees Picard suffering from his wound is Liko convinced of his mistake.
Troi is freed and after Picard is healed, he bids farewell to the Mintakans, who are left to progress on their own.
This episode beautifully illustrates an interesting paradox: We are told we are created in God’s image…But, We create God in our image. We do it all the time!
Liko wants to believe that Picard is the Overseer of ancient times, because he lost his wife in a flood the previous spring and wishes her returned to him. He has created a God based on old stories and his personal need. This episode challenges us to ask ourselves: What God have we created?
Isaac Asimov once said, “Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinded critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence, has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all.” – Stargate SG-1
And at the core of science fiction is our belief that through the power of our imagination, our vision of a better tomorrow that works for all, we are able to believe in impossible things…
“There is no use trying, said Alice; one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice, said the Queen. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
— Lewis Carroll
The prophets of sci-fi believed that the seemingly impossible was very possible. Are we willing to believe in six impossible things before breakfast?
“The Prodigal Son’s Father” – Unity of rehboth Beach, June 17, 2018
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!
The Father in the Prodigal Son?
As I was looking at Father’s Day looming in the future, I was attempting to think of a different way to look at it.
We’ve all heard the traditional Father’s Day Lessons…so I wanted a different angle, if you will. And I came up with looking at the Father figure in the parable, “The Prodigal Son.”
We may know the story, but let me remind you….Luke 15:11-32.
Rev. Ed Townley states: “I think the parable of the Prodigal Son may be the greatest short story every written—and perhaps the clearest and deepest description of Jesus’ unique understanding of our purpose in life, and our relationship to our spiritual Source.”
Do you get that from the parable? What could be our purpose in life? And what about our relationship to our Spiritual Source?
Well, let’s see….
We have a spiritually bankrupted young son who finds his way home after suffering physically and emotionally. Could that be our relationship to our source?
After all, he took his inheritance, wandered far from his home, (to the far country, metaphysically he was in “material consciousness”) squandered the money on life experiences and finds himself alone, impoverished and forced to work at the most debasing job imaginable for a good Jewish boy—feeding pigs! He assumes that his Father must be furious at him—that by leaving home he has separated himself from his Father’s love.
Yet, what does the father do?
When his father sees him in the distance, he goes running to greet him. He never really hears the carefully rehearsed speech, but orders that he be robed and jeweled and shod and declares a celebration to honor his son, who “was lost and is found.”
So, a little background information: a Middle Eastern man never — ever — ran. If he were to run, he would have to hitch up his tunic so he would not trip. If he did this, it would show his bare legs. In that culture, it was humiliating and shameful for a man to show his bare legs.
If it was shameful for a man to run in that culture, why did the father run when his son returned to him? What motivated him to shame himself? Before we answer that question, we have to understand an important first-century Jewish custom.
Kenneth Bailey, author of The Cross HYPERLINK “http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Prodigal-Through-Eastern-Peasants/dp/0830832815″& HYPERLINK “http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Prodigal-Through-Eastern-Peasants/dp/0830832815” the Prodigal, explains that if a Jewish son lost his inheritance among the Gentiles, and then returned home, the community would perform a ceremony, called the kezazah. They would break a large pot in front of him and yell, “You are now cut off from your people!” The community would totally reject him.
He would be dead to them…
So, why did the father run? Maybe he ran in order to get to his son before he entered the village. The father runs — and shames himself — in an effort to get to his son before the community gets to him, sees him; so that his son does not experience the shame and humiliation of their taunting and rejection.
The village would have followed the running father, would have witnessed what took place at the edge of the village between father and son. After this emotional reunion of the son with his father, it was clear that there would be no rejecting this son — despite what he has done. The son had returned to the father. The father had taken the full shame that should have fallen upon his son and clearly shown to the entire community that his son was welcome back
WOW. What does that say about the father?
What happened then is “restorative justice.” The aim of restorative justice is to return the person to a useful position in the community. Thus, there can be healing on both sides. Such justice is a mystery that only makes sense to the soul.
Here are some of the virtues I see in the Father:
The father is patient:
His son had been gone a long time, long enough for a famine to ravish the land, yet the father waited patiently. We need to learn to be patient with not just our children, but in all relationships, knowing that we all have much to learn. And some lessons must be learned the hard way. We cannot learn the lessons for anyone, we can try to teach them. This son had to learn some hard lessons, and the father allowed it. The father allowed him to go off even though he most likely knew the perils of doing so.
And in this parable, the father simply waits for his son to return. The boy knows how to get home, yet does not want to, at least not until he reaped the consequences of his actions.
The father is a seeing father:
He saw his son struggling with restlessness. He saw his son longing to be free, and independent. He saw his son leave home on a personal quest for happiness. And then, he saw his son a great way off, coming back home.
The father is loving:
When he saw his son coming, while he was still a long way off, the father ran to him and hugged and kissed him. Imagine how the father felt after such a long time, to see his son again! He doesn’t ask him where he had been or what he had been doing, though he could probably take a few good guesses at the condition the boy was in.
There is no lecture saying, “I told you so” or “You should have known better.” There is no “I hope you’ve learned your lesson” speech. There is simply the love of a father and the joy that his son has returned. Love precedes all else.
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins,’ (1 Peter 4:8
The father is compassionate:
It only took a discerning look at his son to assess the trouble the boy was in. And after seeing his son, He had compassion, and it made a difference.
The father is forgiving:
His actions demonstrated it. The boy was ready to ask to be made like one of his fathers hired servants. Once the son had returned he was restored to his original place. Not only that, but they have a party to celebrate his return!
We need to learn to be forgiving. We should focus not on the wrong that was done (that’s a judgment) but on the joy that they have returned. So much sorrow could be avoided if we will simply learn to do this. And be kind to one another, forgiving one another.
The father has his priorities in the right place:
This father let his son find his way…not just back, but back into the family. Family is important in the Near East, as it is to many of us.
The most important thing was not that his son had left, nor that he had wasted his inheritance, or that he’d caused his father untold grief. The most important thing was that his son was home.
Material things can be replaced, sorrows can be forgotten, and missing the mark can be forgiven. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? (Mk. 8:36).
Where are your priorities in your life?
Where is the justice, we may ask, as if we are the older son? It is not difficult to see that from the older brother’s point of view, all this was injustice for the younger brother after having rejected the father, practically spitting in his face, he turned his back to the one who gave him life, demanded his inheritance while the father was still alive, squandering his father’s living in reckless living and when all was gone and he had no way to go but having reached the bottom of misery, by his own rebellious living, he would return home and instead of receiving just punishment for his reckless doings, he receives a sumptuous reward.
All this would seem to make a mockery of righteous and obedient living, flying against all standards of fairness. Surely this must have been what saddened and embittered the older brother. It just did not seem to be right.
The older brother should have been gladdened by the return of his young brother, but technically the situation seems a little unfair.
We see that the father, quite fairly, is prepared to do for the older son what he is prepared to do for the other. He saw the prodigal son from afar and understood the mental and physical state he was in, and even though he had done wrong the father went out of his way to meet him to provide consolation.
The same with the older brother, the father understood the turmoil inside him and even though his attitude was not good he went to him, listened attentively to his grievances, did not rebuke him, reassured and affirmed his position and patiently instructed this son.
The father assures him that he will always be with him and all that the father has belongs to him.
The important thing is the father goes on in explaining why the return of the prodigal had to be celebrated for after all, the prodigal was lost and dead, but now was found and alive and this was a great miracle.
Fr. Richard Rohr defines “justice as giving everything its full due.”
Each son received what was due him.
Each son could represent different aspects of the human heart, but their actions were equally damaging and hurtful to the father. In this parable Jesus thus depicts and exposes two patterns in us humans as we live in this dualistic world:
The wanton, selfish, pleasure-seeking of the younger son
The self-righteous, prideful legalism of the older son.
Looking back at our lives we realize that our attitude is very much like that of these two sons, most likely that of the older son. This parable uncovers our selfishness and haughtiness and should make us realize that each and every one of us is truly a prodigal or his brother
It is important to note that nothing is said about forgiveness, though it is often interpreted as a parable of divine forgiveness. The emphasis is entirely on the fact that the son has been restored to the family.
Actually, both sons were restored to the family. The worst part of this story is that neither son ever developed a relationship with his father. If the younger son had, he would never have left home. He never understood how much his father loved him. He never figured out that what was available to him at home was more than all the pleasure and money in the world. He would not believe that his father wanted the best for him and had great plans for him. He had lived with him all those years and never knew him!
And the older son, the father understood the turmoil inside him and even though his attitude was not good he went to him, listened attentively to his grievances, did not rebuke him, reassured and affirmed his position since the prodigal had already received and squandered his part, and afterward patiently instructed this son
He didn’t understand that it was not about who had been good and who had been bad, it was about who was dead and was now alive. It was not a matter of who was deserving, it was about who was in desperate need. In the older brother’s concern for justice, he overlooked his father’s concern for grace!
Both reject the love of the Father, but the Father comes to both of them to show them how much they are loved. The Father does not care what the sons have done, he only cares that they are there with him and he desires to give them all that he has.
Neither never developed a relationship with their father! (isn’t that what the song CATS in the Cradle is about?)
Whether you relate to the younger son or the elder son, you have to realize that, eventually you are called to become the father.
Let’s take a moment to think…we all have a prodigal in our lives…maybe yourself, maybe a sibling. What comes to mind for me is my one middle brother, Mike.
We let him go his way, brought him back as often as he would allow it, tried being patient, gave him help as much as possible, then the tough love thing…and nothing helped him. He was on God’s time as many prodigals are. And eventually we lost him.
We must not despair if our prodigal does not return.
Sometimes all the prayers will not necessarily bring them back. And then, we must let go of any shame we feel, ask forgiveness for anything we have done wrong, and be willing to be authentic with others and ourselves.
Forgiveness does not mean that we condone that which is not good, but it means that we do not add to it by our condemnation or bitter feelings.
“Fathers are human. Sometimes they get it right and leave great memories and bless their families. And sometimes they get it wrong, just as the rest of us do. May I suggest that you appreciate your dad for what he did right and forgive him for what he failed to get right. Surely, you will want your children to do that with you.
Let’s close with this:
I’ll Be Like You
To get his goodnight kiss he stood
Beside my chair one night
And raised an eager face to me,
A face with love alight.
And as I gathered in my arms
The son God gave to me,
I thanked the lad for being good,
And hoped he’d always be.
His little arms crept round my neck
And then I heard him say
Four simple words I can’t forget
Four words that made me pray.
They turned a mirror in my soul,
On secrets no one knew.
They startled me; I hear them yet,
He said, “I’ll be like you.”
Happy Father’s Day!
Our Mission/Vision/Values…Do you know them?
Great Morning Beloved!
Do you know who you are, in this physical presence? Do you have a plan as to where you wish to go? To be?
We were asking these same questions on Tuesday during our class, traveling through the Quest.
And we at Unity did ask those questions and a few others, a few years ago at a Visioning workshop, led by Rev. Stephanie Seigh. She first asked those in attendance that weekend and then during the Sunday Service those very questions, or something similar.
How we all answered them, led to our Vision, Mission and Value statements for Unity of Rehoboth Beach. They are on the poster above the Fellowship table.
And they are on copies available to you on the information table every time you step into this space. (show cards)
Do you know what each statement means to Unity? To you?
Let’s take a look and as we do so, see how they fit, and what can we do to BE that, to be what the Statement is saying we are.
We started off with our vision:
We are a vibrant and inclusive spiritual community, dedicated to growth and transformation through the exploration of universal Truth.
A vision is the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be.
A vision statement is a declaration of an organization’s objectives, intended to guide its internal decision-making. A vision statement is not limited to business organizations and may also be used by non-profit or governmental entities and even PEOPLE.
A vision statement answers – WHAT do we aim to achieve?
Vision is perhaps the most fundamental of the elements in strategic planning. Vision is future oriented. It includes the basic concept of what the organization is all about—its purpose for being. Using vision, the organization is able to know where it is heading. Vision infuses the organization with a definite sense of purpose. In a sense, vision states a direction and describes the destination.
An ideal Vision Statement is one that concisely depicts a desired result that motivates, energizes and helps an organization describe its destination.
Vision is inherently future-oriented. Think about the vision painted by Martin Luther King, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. Another example is the vision from the U.S. space program in the 1960’s, “landing a man on the moon”. In both of these cases, their vision drove the development of a mission, strategy, and tactics. It represented a very clear view of a desired future.
Here are more examples:
Become a $125 billion company by the year 2000. – Wal-Mart, 1990
Crush Adidas. – Nike, 1960s
Become the Harvard of the West. – Stanford University, 1940s
Once that vision is defined and articulated, you can begin to build the other dimensions of the planning process that will become the foundation for engaging and inspiring all team members.
So, look at OUR Vision Statement….
Our Vision states we ARE a vibrant & inclusive spiritual community. We ARE dedicated to growth & transformation. We EXPLORE universal Truth.
Are we BEING that? How is it showing up for each other, for our Community? For the Community at large?
All good questions…Let’s see how our Mission planned to express our Vision…
Unity of Rehoboth Beach is a shining light…strengthened through support and fellowship; celebrating diversity by honoring our individual Divine connection. We recognize the One Source that is Love, as who we are and what we express.
This is what the dictionary says a Mission is:
The business with which a group is charged, any important task or duty that is assigned or self-imposed.
A mission statement answers – HOW do we plan to achieve this vision?
A Mission statement makes clear the reasons for the organization’s existence as they flow downward toward specifics from the vision. Mission, then, flows directly from the vision and begins the crystallization of detail.
In a mission statement, the organization would state why it exists. It would also include purpose and describe the basic services provided. Generally, the mission can be viewed as a statement, which, if realized, can help ensure success.
How do we meet our Mission Statement? What things do we do as a community to be a shining light, to support our Unity Community and the Greater Community?
Are we “celebrating diversity by honoring our individual Divine connection”?
Are we expressing as love?
And do these things meet our Vision?
Unity of Rehoboth Beach exists to be a Shining Light, providing opportunities for Spiritual growth and transformation.
Our Community is strengthened through support and fellowship.
We recognize the One Source that is Love, it is who we are and what we express.
We encourage Spirit guided exploration of our individual Divine connections.
We are Inclusive, celebrating diversity unconditionally as an expression of Spirit.
The values guide the perspective of the organization as well as its actions. Writing down a set of commonly-held values can help an organization define its culture and beliefs. When members of the organization subscribe to a common set of values, the organization appears united when it deals with various issues.
Our Values are tied directly to our Mission, did you notice? Shinning Light, Community, Love, Spirit & Divine Connections, Inclusive…
So, what do you think? Are we following what we said we were a few years ago? What we said we wanted to be and do?
And how can we be and do more to follow the Vision, Mission and Values?
(ask someone to Write down)
Now let’s look at YOUR Vision, Mission and Values….
My prayer is that they all are Spirit inspired.
Have you done that lately? Ever? Do you have a personal Vision, Mission and set of values? If you were at that workshop with Rev. Stephanie’s, you were guided to your “Standard of Integrity” …a set of values that can and do guide your life.
If you weren’t attending Unity at the time or don’t know where your card is, maybe that is something we can do sometime as a workshop.
When we started Unity, we had some idea of what we wanted to form, to bring forth really, because the energy was here just not known to each other. So, we had a vision. And we got together and step by step figured out, mostly, what we needed to do. We had lots of help and we still do have people we can go to for answer and guidance.
This is my vision…this and something even better.
What is yours? Where do you wish to be in 3 years? 5? Close your eyes and envision your personal vision. Dream a bit…be a visionary for you.
Embrace an expanded view of your life and your world. Awaken to your divine potential, and be aware of the abundance of good in your life. See yourself as a child of God, supported and guided, sustained and whole, vibrant and enthusiastic
Now, your mission then is how? How can you get there? What needs to be done? What are the steps needed? Who do you need to turn to for help? Guidance? Support?
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. —Dr. Howard Thurman (1899-1981), theologian and civil rights leader
This is YOU we are talking about now…you who help to make up Unity here in Lower Sussex County, DE.
It’s you because who and what you are makes us who and what we are. So, answer those questions. Look to your vision and mission. List your values…list your points of integrity if you don’t have a CARD. I often think they are more truthful of who you are than the card.
Part of what may come up in your vision may have to do with your gifts.
You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place. Discovering your unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge. The offering of that gift—your true self—is the most you can do to love and serve the world. And it is all the world needs. —Bill Plotkin
We each arrive to this wonderful world with unique gifts, our own sacred soul. . . . Thomas Merton calls it true self. Quakers call it the inner light, or “that of God” in every person. The humanist tradition calls it identity and integrity. No matter what you call it, it is a pearl of great price
The deepest vocational question is not “What ought I to do with my life?” It is the more elemental and demanding “Who am I? What is my nature?” .
Fr. Richard Rohr states., “Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks—we will also find our path of authentic service in the world. True vocation joins self and service”
How do we discover what is ours to do?
We use Discernment, which is about listening and responding to that place within us where our deepest desires align with God’s desire. As discerning people, we sift through our impulses, motives, and options to discover which ones lead us closer to divine love and compassion for ourselves and other people and which ones lead us further away.
Discernment reveals new priorities, directions, and gifts from God. We come to realize that what previously seemed so important for our lives loses its power over us. Our desire to be successful, well liked and influential becomes increasingly less important as we move closer to God’s heart. To our surprise, we even may experience a strange inner freedom to follow a new call or direction as previous concerns move into the background of our consciousness. We begin to see the beauty of the small and hidden life that Jesus lived in Nazareth. Most rewarding of all is the discovery that as we pray more each day, God’s will—that is, God’s concrete ways of loving us and our world—gradually is made known to us. 
Our values reflect integrity, honor, and respect for all. Be true to yourself and to others in word and deed.
“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. There is no “someday. There is only today and how we choose to use the resource of time at our disposal.”