GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
The White Stone Ceremony & Letter to God
Last week we participated in a sacred fire ceremony of clearing…clearing out those thoughts, habits, situations and even people that no longer serve us.
And that action brings us to this week’s White Stone Ceremony.
This time of year, where one ends and another begins, is a special time. Many of us are more open now to let go of the old and look forward to the new. It’s a time of endings and beginnings.
The monthly theme from Big Unity for January is Mystery – and the affirmation for the month is “I allow space for the unknown and the unknowable.”
That’s perfect for our next step into the New Year.
I invite you to remember the Burning Bowl ceremony, in which many of us participated, when we wrote down that which we wish to release, and we literally burned these concepts: we let them go and set an intention to rid ourselves of them. This ceremony is a profoundly impactful experience. It helps us release, which is very freeing. And when we release, we create an empty space, which will be filled with something! This morning, I invite you to consider what will fill that empty space.
Many Unity churches do a second ritual along with the Burning Bowl. It is called the White Stone Ceremony, and it is typically done as a follow-up to the Burning Bowl, as a symbol of starting anew. It can help us at the beginning of the year to claim our good for the coming year. I will invite you to do this very personal ritual in a few minutes. You have been given small white stones when you came in. We will use these in the ceremony to identify our “new name.”
Let’s put this in context. You may recall, the ceremony is inspired by a quote from the Book of Revelation: chapter 2, verse 17. Consider these thoughts: “Let anyone who has an ear listen: ….To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
As you can see, this passage refers to a couple of actions and promises:
The first activity is listening: otherwise known as Meditation
An ear to hear is not an outer ear, but the ear of the soul; the ear that hears the “still, small voice”. We develop this inner listening quality by getting out of our intellect and into our hearts, through meditation. It is a tool to help us quiet our busy mind and listen to the Divine Voice of Wisdom. We open our minds and hearts to a deep intuitive “knowing.”
Another activity or tool is surrender:
The passage says: “To everyone who conquers…” The conquering is not an outer war, but an inner one. To everyone who takes the time to listen to the still, small voice; to everyone who practices release and affirms inner spiritual qualities…. We realize it requires surrendering personal will to Divine Will, and the paradox is that in that surrender of the egoic self is Victory. It is a birthing of the Essential Self just as Jesus taught and demonstrated.
In this passage there are also 3 Promises:
It said, “To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
The first promise is “Hidden Manna:
In the days of wandering in the wilderness with Moses, the manna was sent by God. The people only had to go and collect it each day; they did not have to do anything to earn it. If they tried to save it, it spoiled.
When we are in “the wilderness” of our spiritual searching, we receive “hidden manna,” not visible to the world. We are given spiritual energy and nourishment that sustains us. Grace. It nourishes the soul and the body. It benefits the whole being.
The 2nd promise is a White Stone
Back in the time when Jesus was teaching and someone served time in prison or in bondage of any kind, they were given a white stone when they were released. It served as a symbol that they had done their time and they had been given passage to live with all the rights of a free man.
Each of us comes from the bondage of past nonsense – false limitations, old beliefs, error thinking that have been a prison. With a release from bondage, comes a sense of worthiness: we are beloved of God, one with the Divine, free and unlimited!
The 3rd promise is a New Name
In the Bible, we read of many name changes. For example, Saul – which means personal will – was struck to his knees. He was blind for three days and had to look within. He was given a new name at the time of his awakening. Saul (personal will) was transformed to Paul, which means enlightened will. He is a symbol of human will that surrenders to Divine will, and in that surrender, he claimed Divine Power.
Not just Paul, but Abram, as he grew in spiritual awareness became Abraham. Sarai became Sarah. Jacob was re-named Israel. Simon was renamed Peter.
So, when we awaken to inner Spirit, we take on a new identity, a new name so to speak. This refers to the new, higher realization of the I AM, a new awareness of our God Self. And this is where the Ceremony called White Stone” comes in. In the passage, we are told “I will give a white stone and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
So, I invite you to meditate on what you’re being called to in the new year and claim that as your new name.
Now hold the stone in your hand. As you hold it, open your mind to “hearing” your new name. At any time in the next few minutes as I am speaking, if the new name comes to your awareness, you will have an opportunity to write it on the stone. If nothing comes to you during this ceremony, bring the stone home with you and continue to ask. Whenever we ask there is an answer.
Allow yourself to ask a question: Who am I or what am I called to be in this coming year? As I let go of my old habits, those I released during the burning bowl ceremony, what is it that I am called to be known as? This new character Identity that you intend to cultivate in the coming year might be connected to that which you released at the Burning Bowl ceremony.
Let your awareness drop from your head down into your heart and gut: from your intellect and into your deep inner knowing, an awareness of Divine Love and Wisdom. Listen for a moment to your still small voice.
Open your imagination, allow Wisdom to speak. give your ego a few minutes off and let that divine holy Voice in you come through.
Perhaps there is a new career, a new title, or a new quality that Spirit is pressing out through you.
Give yourself permission to know that as you release that which no longer serves your highest good, you can claim a new quality, a new name.
And so, as you are guided by Spirit, I invite you to trust in this moment, ….as Spirit gives to you …an insight into your divine purpose… an insight into your holy essence, and so in that secret place of the most high, I invite you to allow yourself to hear the new name that is speaking within you.
It may be a title; it may be something like clean and sober…or grateful…whatever.
Sometimes people who write the word peace, love, or presence, take on a new essence of who you are becoming.
If a name has come to you, remain quiet and allow yourself to ask for a deeper understanding, to ask if there are any steps to take. In this moment allow yourself to simply open to Spirit, to say, “God in me reveals my true essence. God in me reveals my next step. God as me, lives a joyous, peaceful, fulfilling life.”
As you are ready, quietly, write your new name on your stone. Please remain quiet as others receive their name or word.
Anytime you look at your white stone realize that you have the gift of choice; the gift to live differently, to live a more fulfilling life, to begin again, to connect with God and create with God.
Jesus said, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you this kingdom. “Accept this consciousness of ever increasing good in your life. I invite you to carry this white stone as a reminder of that promise.
A thankfulness flows over us as we receive our new name. Along with it comes the power and guidance to achieve all that we desire. This is our new name. We see it. We decree it. We are on the path to gaining greater insights and awareness and a new beginning.
We come before You, Divine Spirit, hearts open, minds receptive to the gifts of this New Year. We still our thoughts that we may hear Your thoughts speaking to us and through us now.
Open us to the vision of Your Divine Will at work in all we do. Let us perceive the potential of this day and every day to create for us the goodness of Your purposes.
Still the noise of our cluttered minds, as we rest into the depths of meditation and prayer, responsive to new understandings of Truth.
On the sheet of paper given to you, write your letter to the God within yourself, affirming the good we wish to see manifest in our lives between now and the end of the year.
Use this quiet time to write your intentions for this New Year. Begin to communicate your dreams in writing. Look at them in the stillness of your own being.
Ideas that are as yet dormant will awaken to the promise of this New Year.
Poems that are as yet unwritten will flow through us to touch the hearts of others.
Books that are still embryos in my mind will mature into the inspiring revelation of Your Light in the months ahead.
Friendships will strengthen in this year of transforming power. The synergy of caring enfolds me in the willingness to reach out and touch my fellow travelers along life’s pathway.
We all, each and every one of us, have a choice as to how we will live each day. We can choose peace, love, joy, compassion, gratitude. We can choose to feel Blessed for we are Blessed.
So, write your letter to yourself as if you are the God of your understanding, because you are.
When you are finished, reread your letter. Reflect on Spirit’s Truth revealed to you and be at peace with it. Place it in your envelope and address to yourself. We will collect them, and they will be mailed back to you around June.
Great things can be accomplished when we continue the work as Jesus, our Wayshower directed, when we pray believing that our prayers are answered, and live our lives in alignment with the answer we desire.
Let us prepare now for a time of meditation, followed by a period of silence and quiet reflection before we begin our writing.