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Motown Series – “Holy Ground”

GREAT MORNING!  

Welcome back to Unity Spiritual Center!

Happy Anniversary to you all. And thank you for supporting Unity Spiritual Center
of Coastal Delaware.

You helped to make a dream of mine come true. I pray you will continue your support in all ways.

This week we are swerving away a bit from Motown because I love the song I choose and because it fits our celebration. And it is a reminder, that we are always standing on Holy Ground

Those words could be what we all thought in our hearts as we entered a Unity Center or Church for the first time. That is what I often think about…standing in a Holy Presence. That overwhelming swell of love and acceptance as one walks into the positive energy on Unity.

When I walked Through the doors
I sensed his presence
And I knew This was a place
Where love abounds

The first time a I walked into Unity, I was overwhelmed. It was a small space but filled with folks. The minister actually was leaving to work at Unity Village, so I barely got to know her, but the new minister was a mentor and guide for me as I pursued becoming a Licensed Unity Teacher.

But more important, it was a step into a spiritual journey of self-discovery and an opening to my Higher Self. Finding Unity was and is probably the most important event in my life. I thank Darla and O’Neal for that

What was it like, the first time you walked into Unity? (SHARE)  pic

The words to this song can be so profound.

Here we can find Sweet peace of mind, Can still be found


If we are following the guidance of our Way-shower, we do and will find peace of mind when we give our hearts over to that still small voice that will guide us as we travel through each day.

And yes, there is joy beyond all measure…

We must do our part if we wish to live a life filled with joy. Oh yes, there will be opportunities for our growth, but our mis-step is dwelling in what seems hours and hours of turmoil when in the reality of our life, it is only a moment.

We too often dwell in the Valley of the Shadow, when in reality, if we pick up the tent instead of setting it up and continue through to the other side, we find friends and family there to help us. We sense the support that comes from the prayers from our Prayer tram and Silent Unity. And we feel the arms as they circle us in the warmth of a hug.

We need to do our part when it comes to our spiritual growth. As the message from our first songs in this Motown Series reminded us, we must Reach Out. And as today’s song is telling us we must reach out and claim it.

It is our responsibility to claim what we have a desire for. And we must do all the work to prepare for that gift from the Divine.  Remember, the Universe is always for you. Nothing and no one is against you.

It is us who place the barriers in front of us. And it is US who must push them away.

No, we don’t have to do it alone. That is one of the reasons we have Unity Spiritual Center. And the Men’s Group. And the Women’s Circle. And classes. And Meditations.

And leaders within this community.

But we must all do our part.

I ask you to ask yourself time and again…”What is mine to do?”

How do you answer that now? (SHARE)

Motown Series #5 Higher Ground

GREAT MORNING!  

Welcome back to Unity Spiritual Center!

Our journey through some of Motown’s great music has been fun and enlightening.

We started with ‘Reach Out, I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops and ‘I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5. Both songs spoke to the reality that God, our Creator, is always there for us. God does not move from us, too often, we do. We just have to remember that that Divine Energy is always with us, in us…we just need to be willing and open to connect.

Next, we let the Temptations take our “Imagination” and let it float away.  Imagination is one of our 12 Powers. And we were reminded that all we see before us is brought to manifestation through IMAGINATION.

Marvin Gaye’s “I heard it Through the Grapevine” was a reminder of the perils of gossip. I can imagine that each of us has had an experience of gossip and the damage and hurt can cause. So, we should all put that type of behavior behind us and walk away. Even better, ask the person attempting to engage you, to stop.

Today, we are listening to “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder.

People, keep on learnin’
Soldiers, keep on warrin’
World, keep on turnin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long

Powers, keep on lyin’
While your people keep on dyin’
World, keep on turnin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long

I’m so darn glad He let me try it again
‘Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
‘Til I reach my highest ground

Teachers, keep on teachin’ 

Preachers, keep on preachin’

World, keep on turning

Cause it won’t be too long

Lovers, keep on lovin’
Believers, keep on believin’
Sleepers, just stop sleepin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long
Oh no

I’m so glad that He let me try it again
‘Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
‘Til I reach my highest ground, whoo


Til I reach my highest ground

Oh no
No one’s gonna bring me down
Oh no
‘Til I reach my highest ground
Don’t you let nobody bring you down (they’ll sho ’nuff try)

If you listen to the words, and relate to what he is saying, it’s very interesting. At least for me. I believe he is talking about how frustrating life can be when it seems that we never get past the sameness of every day.

Learning, warring, turning, lying, dying…

And then “it won’t be too long…”

It won’t be too long for what? Lots of negativity there.

Well, surprise! He gets another chance at life through reincarnation and changes his life, his outlook on life, and sees things from a Higher Ground—a different perspective.

The thing is…. We don’t have to wait for reincarnation to have a better life. We can start right now.

Haven’t we spoken about this time and again? To ‘REPENT’ which means, Metaphysically, to look at things differently. When our perspective changes, everything changes. That’s what “Change your thoughts, change your life” is all about.

If you look at the New Testament, there are 15 references to our Way-Shower, Jesus, going up a mountain, or Higher Ground and sitting in prayer and meditation, or coming down from a mountain and healing.

The Revealing Word tells us “Mountains are symbolic of an exalted state of mind,” or a state of spiritual realization may be perceived and unfolded, making real in our lives the peace and love of God.

So, how do we achieve this Higher Ground, this higher consciousness?

Through prayer and meditation, quiet contemplation.

Speaking of prayer, Unity’s World Day of Prayer is September 8th. Check out the plans from Big Unity at Unity World Day of Prayer 2022

And remember, we pray for our benefit, not the divine Spirit that we are one with. We are the ones that moved away from God in our hearts and sometimes actions.

As we pray and meditate, we not only shift our perspective, but we lift the collective consciousness of the world too. As we heal, we heal the world.

This makes our personal work even more important.

Meditation is a type of mind-body medicine. It has been practiced for thousands of years. During meditation, you develop intentional focus and minimize random thoughts about the past or future.

The purpose of meditation is to expand the consciousness toward the Christ of your authentic self, to bring into realization divine Truth, to be transformed in spirit and body by the renewing of your mind.

Unity author May Roland tells us: “The silence is not something mysterious. It is that inner place of stillness where you feel and know your oneness with God.”

Meditation may offer many benefits, such as helping with: Concentration; Relaxation; Inner peace; Stress reduction; Fatigue; & Emotional well-being

Research has found that meditation may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. When combined with conventional medicine, meditation may improve physical health. For example, some research suggests meditation can help manage symptoms of conditions such as: Chronic pain; Asthma; Cancer; Heart disease; High blood pressure; Sleep problems & Digestive problems.

There are several ways to meditate. Traditionally, we think of someone who is meditating as sitting quietly, often with their legs crossed, and fingers touching. (Pic)

But many people can meditate while walking on the beach, or taking steps through a garden, even doing the dishes.

The important point is quieting your mind.

So, when you are practicing meditation, find a comfortable place to sit, away from others so you will not be disturbed. Give yourself time to go deep. If a thought comes by in your mind, watch it go, not holding on to it but seeing it travel out of your thoughts.

As I hope you know, Unity is here to aid you in your prayer and meditation practices. I mentioned earlier, World Day of Prayer is coming up next month.

And we have Karen’s meditation group on Monday evenings. Talk with her if you wish to get on that ZOOM call.

If you check out our FB page, https://www.facebook.com/www.unityspiritualcenterofcoastalde.org, I often post other meditations from Big Unity and other Unity’s as well. 

This is the reading I selected for today’s Message:

Reading

Higher Ground

Divine Spirit, as I seek a deep and real closeness to your presence, I realize that only when I am lifted up in consciousness and stabilized in a loving and faith-filled approach to life will I have perfect answers to my prayers.

I know now that my good comes through me – through my ability to meet all things in a constructive way. I bring myself to You to be lifted up.

Lift me into the thought of perfect life, that my body may show forth health and wholeness. Place me on the higher ground of perpetual renewal and restoration. Lift me into the feeling of universal love, that my heart-range may expand, and a flow of happiness may be expressed through me. Place me on the higher ground of harmony with all people and a realization of the goodness of life that never ends.

Lift me up and place me on higher ground, that I may always abide in Your presence and be one with perfect life and love.

Lift up your eyes to the higher plane that we know is there to remind us all that Spirit is always with us, to guide, love and protect us.

If we consider the beginning of Stevie Wonders song, we can relate to the business and frustrations we all could experience each day.

But we are reminded again, that that does not have to be our reality. We have been given dominion over our thoughts, we just have to take that responsibility on and think good thoughts, be present in our lives and do what is our to do to make this a better world.

Motown Music – “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”

GREAT MORNING!  

Welcome back to Unity Spiritual Center!

I do hope you are enjoying our trip into the wonderful music of Motown. I have been enjoying researching it and listening to the songs we will be discussing.

This week, we listen to and explore the sound of Marvin Gaye and “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”

This song is a simple but still powerful example of gossip.

It was the first of Gaye’s songs to hit #1.

What is gossip? It is casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true

To hear something through the grapevine is to learn of something informally and unofficially by means of gossip and rumor. The usual implication is that the information was passed person to person by word of mouth, perhaps in a confidential manner among friends or colleagues.

When I was young, (very young!), our families often vacationed together, a couple of my dad’s brothers and sisters. All the families often went to Cowen’s State Park, in western PA. One of the games we played when we all gathered together was called Telephone. Did you ever play it?

We made a big circle in one of the cabins all sitting on chairs and benches. We’re talking 30-40 people. One person would start by whispering some word or phrase into the ear of the person next to them and it would be whispered around the circle.

By the time it got all the way around, it usually was nothing near what it started out as.

My Dad was usually the guy who came up with some weird phrase that usually ended up with the most laughter.

But gossip is usually not a funny thing.

And this is a good example of the dangers of gossip. What may, and that is a huge may, have started out as an innocent comment, most often turn out much more damaging.

When we talk about other people, we may end up ruining another person’s reputation. A reputation is very fragile. When you gossip, you are helping to destroy something extremely valuable.

There’s a story about a man who lived in a small town. He was new there, so most didn’t know much about him.

One person started to gossip, saying some unaccounted things and it quickly spread through the town. The man was deeply hurt, and finally confronted the gossip. After explaining how wrong the information was and how hurt he was, the gossiper asked how they could repair the harm they had done.

After thinking a bit, the man said to take a feather pillow, go to the top floor of their home, rip the pillow open and send the feathers out an open window.

Then, go out and try to gather all the feathers up.

Impossible, right?

This is the harm of gossip. Once the words are out, you can’t take them back. Those words can ruin friendships, marriages, word relations, lives.

Gossip and rumors can destroy a person’s self-confidence and affect their self-esteem. It also can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, anxiety, and a host of other issues.

Too often we have seen the affects of gossip leading to a child taking their own life.

Words are powerful. Just ask any child who is being bullied.

Or as Professor Dumbledore stated: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”

If we search the Bible, there are many references to gossip, in both the Hebrew and New Testaments. There are many references in Proverbs:

Proverbs 20:19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so, avoid anyone who talks too much.

Proverbs 26:20 Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.

Proverbs 16:28 A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.

Proverbs 11:13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.

And the Book of James is filled with such references: James 3:1-4:12

This section of James’ Epistle is so clearly written that very little comment is necessary. Careless talk and idle gossip caused dissensions and disturbances in many of the Christian groups, and James felt it necessary to admonish the offenders. “The tongue is a little member and boasts of great things,” he wrote, but see “How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!” (James 3:5). James thus indicates that offenses of this sort could endanger the entire church and should be immediately checked.

Gossiping often carries an element of malicious criticism and judgment of others, and so it also strengthens the ego through the implied but imagined moral superiority that is there whenever you apply a negative judgment to anyone.

Metaphysically, we could ask ourselves why can we become so jealous and manipulative at the thought of hearing through the grapevine that our lover was leaving us?

The Course in Miracles tells us: the ego lives in comparisons; the ego attempts to always feel special and melodramatic.

As we move away from fear-based ego & onto our spiritual journey, our relationships may turn to fear, our partners want us to change back. This is ego, asking us to go back to what we were.

It is up to us to stand strong and see this as an attempt to keep us from moving forward.

Here is a response to the question: “How can I stop gossiping?” from G. Leroy Dale, Unity Minister—


All of us were given freedom of thought when God created us, but few of us have realized our personal responsibility involved in using thought. All that we think, say, and do registers in our subconscious nature and comes forth again by the law of attraction, to bless or to injure us or others.

A Truth student who realizes his personal responsibility for thinking discovers that what he thinks frees or binds him. So, he studies Truth to learn better ways of thinking, and thereby frees himself from many unhappy experiences.

If caught in a gossipy “talkfest,” simply keep thinking thoughts similar to the following:

What is being said here is of no consequence to me. The perfect action of God is taking place here through all concerned and only Divine Mind ideas are being contacted and expressed. Kindness, love, generosity, and understanding manifest through and for all, myself included.

The result will be that your own soul will not be contaminated, the so-called “gossips” will soon stop gossiping, no one’s reputation will suffer, and peace for all will prevail.

And I conclude with this message from Eckhart Tolle:

Here’s why you should not GOSSIP:

In Ancient Greece, Socrates had a great reputation of wisdom. One day, someone came to find the great philosopher and said to him:

– Do you know what I just heard about your friend?

– A moment, replied Socrates. Before you tell me, I would like to test you the three sieves.

– The three sieves?

– Yes, continued Socrates. Before telling anything about the others, it’s good to take the time to filter what you mean. I call it the test of the three sieves.

The first sieve is the TRUTH. Have you checked if what you’re going to tell me is true?

– No, I just heard it.

– Very good! So, you don’t know if it’s true.

We continue with the second sieve, that of KINDNESS. What you want to tell me about my friend, is it good?

– Oh, no! On the contrary.

– So, questioned Socrates, you want to tell me bad things about him and you’re not even sure they’re true?

Maybe you can still pass the test of the third sieve, that of UTILITY. Is it useful that I know what you’re going to tell me about this friend?

– No, really.

– So, concluded Socrates, what you were going to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor useful. Why, then, did you want to tell me this?

“Gossip is a bad thing. In the beginning it may seem enjoyable and fun, but in the end, it fills our hearts with bitterness and poisons us, too!”

Motown Part 2 – “It’s Just My Imagination”

GREAT MORNING!  

Welcome back to Unity Spiritual Center!

Back for our second week on Motown Music…Motown Magic!

This week we are taking a listen to the Temptations, “It’s Just My Imagination.”

We know a lot about imagination in Unity. Imagination is one of the 12 Powers that we all have within us.

Cora Fillmore stated, “Imagination is an attribute of God. It is the formative power of thought, the molding power of the mind. It is that which gives shape, tone, color, to thinking. In Truth, every word, every combination of words, has back of it an image, a thought picture. These images, these combinations of shapes working in omnipresent substance, mold our lives.”

Charles would call it the nerve center between the eyes. Through this, the formless takes form.

Without our imagination, there would be nothing. We need to imagine it to make it manifest. Remember, we are co-creators.

Just take a moment, take yourself back to when you were thinking about something you wanted to do, say paint the living room, or plant a garden. You let your imagination flow, devising different colors on the walls or in the garden. If you actually put feet to the thought, you ended up with a different color in the living room or a beautiful garden to enjoy through the days of spring, summer and fall.

We all use our imagination all the time. Sometimes it for a specific purpose. The imagination of a handful of people manifested Unity Spiritual Center. Your imagination can help to maintain it and see it grow and prosper.

Your imagination is the first step to manifestation. Feeling it, holding it, living it leads to the full manifestation.

Listen to the words of this weeks Motown Song

“Just My Imagination” by the Temptations

This song is an example of someone using their thoughts to imagine a relationship with another. Principle 3 “Since we are children of God, made in God’s image, we are co-creators with God. We create reality through our thoughts and beliefs.”

Or, as we often hear: Thoughts held in mind, produce after their kind.”

We have all daydreamed about one thing or another throughout our lives.

But what is the difference between a daydream and using our imagination to manifest some desire into form?

In a daydream, do we hold it in mind?  No. It is short lived and we move on, often suddenly awakened by someone nudging us back to reality!

In a daydream, do we put energy behind the thought to bring manifestation forward? No. Our energy is not grounded in the daydream.

In a daydream, do we put feet to the prayer? Not usually. We usually get busy doing what we are supposed to be doing, like listening to the teacher, or doing the dishes, or back to work before the boss comes by.

It’s No to all these questions. In a daydream, we let our thought wander to wherever they wish to go, there is no intent behind them.

But, when we bring an idea from Divine Mind and have desire behind it, we hold that in mind. We put desire behind it. We give it some detail, not too much, to imagine it in form.

It is the desire, the energy behind the idea that helps to bring it forth.

Emily Cady tells us, Desire is an expression of the inmost being of man; the onward impulse of an ever-evolving man.

However, she says, all the desires we have ever had, have now, or will have in the future, are part of the one desire- to truly know God, not merely to know about our Creator

Cady continues, “Even one who has strong desires never gets beyond mere “daydreaming,” unless their desires are backed up by an understanding faith. Desire is related to vision of some hoped-for good, but faith measures one’s capacity to receive that good; faith has been called the “measuring cup” that sets the time and quantity.

Because imagination is the faculty that actually molds and shapes substance, we may sometimes overlook the fact that it takes desire to determine the shape that imagination will work with. Our desire, the yearning for some good, comes alive under the action of faith and sets the imagination to work.

Just to hold a thought of some good in our intellect does not stir the soul to desire, for feeling is part of desire. We awaken feeling when faith is brought into conscious expression. An idea must go into the feeling nature, to become a desire that can “shape” the good we long for. We may be aware of many things in our conscious thinking, but until what we are thinking becomes impregnated with feeling in the (the heart, we will have only unfulfilled desires. When faith is linked with, understanding and imagination, we have added the feeling or conviction that can bring the good we desire into visible form.”

AND, we have no preconceived idea when or how it will manifest. It is all on God time, not ours.

I can imagine that if the gentleman in the song sang it daily with deep feelings, he may manifest his desire.

Look at the times in your life when you had a thought or idea that you wished to become real.  Did you hold it in mind with feeling and desire? Did you put your energy behind it as well as your action?

If not, maybe you can see why it did not manifest. Your thoughts must be aligned with your body, the desire must run true throughout your being.

Think of elite athletes. Part of their training is using the imagination as a desire, to see and feel themselves moving through the skill. The muscles memorize what is needed to perform the act.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Einstein

And why would he say that? Here are some thoughts:

  1. Imagination ignites passion. As adults we have been forced into a world of responsibility and practicality where money, bills, and jobs (many of which we hate) dictate how we live, breathe, and experience the world. Dreaming of what can be allows us to tap into our imaginations again, reminding us what it feels like to be passionate about something. Somewhere along the lines we have lost that connection to passion and purpose in life and replaced it with survival and responsibility. Who says you can’t be passionate and responsible?
  • Our imagination and thoughts create our future. It’s long been said that ‘thoughts become things’ and our imaginative muscle is the very thing that helps make that possible. When we stay immersed in what is directly in front of us at all times (i.e. our current reality, in the NOW), we continually create the same challenges, problems, and experiences over and over again. But, when we venture into our imagination to focus on the reality that we want to experience, the energy is set in motion and magnificent change can occur.

And as Albert Einstein so eloquently stated:

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview for life’s coming attractions.”

  • Imagination stimulates creativity and innovation. Some of the most influential and innovative creations have come from the simple act of imagining something bigger, easier, or more beautiful. Scientists and creative artists have an amazing gift for thinking outside the box and allowing their imaginations the freedom to grow and evolve their thoughts, many of which have created products that have changed the way we live entirely. Without this creative power we may never have had the internet, smartphones, airplanes, and other amazing technology we rely on every day. Simply put, imagination is the key ingredient to expansion and the advancement of our world.
  • Imagination is magical. Take a moment to watch a young child play alone and you will experience first-hand the magic that comes from imagination. Creative thought turns the mundane into a magical experience. It is what turns a simple box into a powerful rocket, a laundry basket into a pirate ship, and a simple bathtub into the deep blue sea. Taking a moment to view the world through a child’s eyes is enough to bring back the joy and wonder that imagination brings. How amazing would our world be if we all experienced that same joy and wonder on a day-to-day basis?
  • Sometimes reality just sucks. Watching the news and hearing about the violence, crime, sickness, and sadness in the world is enough to make anyone believe that things are falling apart. By falling into the trap of ‘what is’ and believing that this is just the way the world works, we become a victim and relinquish our true creative power. Choosing to use our imaginative muscle as a means of creation provides hope. And where there is hope there is ultimately an opportunity for transformation and change. Two things that are necessary for us to create a better world for generations to come.

Albert Einstein had it right when he said:

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

Reality is merely an outward expression of what we have chosen to accept and focus on in the world. But when we turn our thoughts to that which we want to create in our lives, the possibilities are endless. With that kind of imaginative power, why would we waste it focusing on the mundane only to perpetuate a reality that is less than optimum? We have the power to create so much more and it is up to us to use our imaginations to change our lives and our world for the better.

How to imagine your future

The mind’s ability to turn imagination into reality is truly very powerful. If you want to have a creative mind, just follow these steps:

  • Describe or draw your desired image, seeing yourself successfully, as you’d like.
  • Breathe deeply and relax. This way you’ll be more responsive and able to create a more detailed picture, since what you imagine must be as close to the real experience as possible. Pay special attention to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and any other details of the scene.
  • Imagine your desired results. Imagine that they’re really happening, and imagine yourself in the present tense with phrases like “I am,” and forget the “I hope” or “I’ll try.”
  • Create positive emotions such as joy, happiness and relaxation in the scene and smile while you’re imagining.
  • Spend five minutes mentally visualizing the image you want realized, a minimum of twice per week. Try it first thing in the morning before getting out of bed, and again at night just before bedtime. Free yourself of tensions, and imagine yourself in a calm and relaxed place. By Lamisha Serf-Walls, Contributor, Transformational Coach

I’ll close with the Reading I chose for today’s Message: Imagination

I use the power of imagination to shape and form my thoughts into positive, constructive action.

If I have dismissed the activity of imagination as unproductive, wishful thinking, I need to recognize that imagination is a gift from God. How I use the power of imagination determines the productiveness of it. When I put my imagination to good use, I realize good results.

Imagination is a direct inheritance from God. As I use the power of imaging, I accept divine ideas from God and form them into an appropriate plan of action in my life.

The powerful process of imaging helps link divine ideas in mind to their manifestation in reality. I use my imagination to plan for success. I am led to think positively and constructively, and also to act in positive and constructive ways. I follow the plan of good that my use of the power of imagination has already established in my mind.

We have a lot to think about this week.  Let’s start with meditation.

Motown Series Part 1 – “I’ll Be There” & “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”

GREAT MORNING!  

Welcome back to Unity Spiritual Center!

And welcome to our Summer Series based upon the music of Motown!

As we meet each week and listen to and discuss the music and the message it brings, I hope you will pay more attention to the music you hear as you drive, the songs that pop into your mind as you go through the day, and maybe even the music that enters your dreams.

What I’d like for you to do is tell me what those songs were. I plan to use some of your ideas for the last lesson in this series. SO, send me a text or email with the songs that are playing in your head, and I’ll take a look at what you have been hearing or playing.

There can be much to learn in the music that is part of our lives.

Here at Unity, we often think of the Positive Music that the many musicians bring to us, including our own Greg. But messages can be found in many, many places.

Over the years we have looked at some interesting and fun things over the summer months: The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, Children’s Books, the Beatles just to name a few.

So I thank Rev. Sandy Boyer for sharing her idea of using Motown music as our muse for this summer.

We are going to start with two songs with the same general message:

“Reach Out, I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops and “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5.

Both have similar messages, that we are not alone, that we have support when we are open and willing to receive it.

GREG

And here are the words to the Four Top’s song, “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”

Now if you feel that you can’t go on (can’t go on)
Because all of your hope is gone (all your hope is gone)
And your life is filled with much confusion (much confusion)
Until happiness is just an illusion (happiness is just an illusion)
And your world around is crumbling down, darling


Reach out come on girl reach on out for me

Reach out reach out for me


I’ll be there with a love that will shelter you
I’ll be there with a love that will see you through

When you feel lost and about to give up (to give up)
Cause your life just ain’t good enough (just ain’t good enough)
And your feel the world has grown cold (has grown cold)
And your drifting out all on your own (drifting out on your own)
And you need a hand to hold, darling


Reach out come on girl reach out for me
Reach out reach out for me
I’ll be there to love and comfort you
And I’ll be there to cherish and care for you

I’ll be there to always see you through
I’ll be there to love and comfort you

I can tell the way you hang your head (hang your head)
Your not in love now, now your afraid (you’re afraid)
And through the tears you look around (look around)
But there’s no piece of mind to be found (no piece of mind to be found)
I know what your thinking,
You’re alone now, no love of your own, but darling

Reach out come on girl reach out for me
Reach out reach out… just look over your shoulder

I’ll be there to give you all the love you need
And I’ll be there you can always depend on me

Just take a moment. It really isn’t hard to see & feel the connection to our Spiritual selves in these songs. As we relate the words to the God of our understanding, we know that God is always THERE—always HERE.

It is not God who has moved, but us. As we go through our lives in this human form, we often step away from what our hearts are telling us…that we are not alone, that Spirit is always with us.

We grew past the God of our childhood, that angry God, even vengeful at times. The Hebrew Bible tells many stories of our spiritual growth, through the trials of being a spirit in human form. At that time, we were babies in the growth of our soul. We turned away from Divine Spirit, thinking we could do life on our own, like the folks did with the Tower of Babel.

That journey through the Hebrew Books, The Old Testament, was the first lesson on what it means to be a soul having a human experience. We were given tools to help us learn how to get along, how to live in peace, but mostly, how to trust God.

When we grew enough, Jesus came along in the New Testament and taught us the truth of Gods laws, that we just need to love.

Then we recall that God is available within each and every one of us. We remember that God brings us peace because God IS peace.  God is Love and we are a part of that love, as we express ourselves as God through-out our day.

Here’s the Reading I selected for today…

God comforts me and fills me with peace.

Whenever you need me, I’ll be there with you. You don’t need to look for me, for I am the joy that lives in your heart. You don’t need to seek me in places or circumstances, for I am the love that continually vibrates in and through everyone and everything.

Whenever you call, I will answer. Even before you ask, I know what your need is and I will answer your need in a way that will help you grow through whatever it is that you are experiencing.

Let my strength carry you through every circumstance of your life. Trust in me with all your heart, and I will transform your life with great joy and peace.

God is LIFE. And if we just reach out to that life, we can & will experience the love and support of that Divine Spirit that binds us all together.

Reach out in thought. Instead of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” how about adding “Think unto others and you would have them think onto you.”

Remember, our thoughts create our world, Principle 3. So it only makes sense to not only treat others well but think of them well also. Reach out to others in mind and action and attitude.

Everyone is important in this thing called life. Let’s treat each of us as such. Reach out and BE the person we can be, or as we often see, I pray I can be the person my dogs think I am!

These two songs also remind us to reach out and express more love, more joy, more enthusiasm…more LIFE!

Reach out to others. Maybe it’s time to be more of a friend than you have been. Maybe it’s time to be of service to your family, your community, your world.

We are so grateful for those of you who are in Service to Unity Spiritual Center. Don’t shy away from being a part of this wonderful, loving Community. We have so much to give and share.

I’ve mentioned many times about one of my mentors who would remind me that “God is in the yearning.”

Sometimes your thoughts are so consumed with your souls yearning to be closer to God, it can almost hurt. We are being pushed forward to know ourselves more and to be more.

That Christ Presence within us all is our connection to our authentic self. We can only be as close to Divine Spirit as we are willing to be true to ourselves, to being authentic.

Are you willing to be you? Are you ready to reach out to the higher being that resides in each and every cell of your body?

I’ve said time and again, to get closer to God, to Divine Spirit, we must know ourselves. We must be willing to not just reach out to the God of our understanding, but to also reach in. Willing to truly know who we are and what we are…we are of the Divine, our Creator. And we are creating our lives. So, if you are not satisfied with this life of yours, reach out to Spirit, to yourself and to others and make the change you need to be the person you wish to be.

It’s never too late.

Freedom

Welcome back to Unity Spiritual Center!

And Great Independence Day to you all!

Did you know that July 4th has only been a Federal holiday since 1941? Officially, anyway, as a paid Federal Holiday. It was declared a Federal Holiday in 1870. Of course, it has been celebrated since the American Revolution.

Back then, some colonists celebrated the day by holding mock funerals for England’s King George III, as a way of reinforcing America’s victory over the British monarchy.

Some folks think it should be celebrated on July 2nd, since independence from England was voted on then, but the delegates didn’t adopt the Declaration of Independence until the 4th.

Now, of course, it is celebrated on the Monday closest to the 4th…longer weekends and more sufficient work weeks!

From a political or social point of view, all people are ‘supposed’ to be free. Our Bill of Rights state that. We know, in reality, that that does not exactly present itself as true. Unfortunately, many are challenged too often by inequality, prejudice, and threats on person and property by those who see themselves as superior, better than.

And this is one of the reasons we ask each week, “What is mine to do?” Because only each of us individually can answer that.

But let’s chat about another type of freedom.

The freedom we have with Spirit.

We lay hold of our freedom when we grasp the truth of freedom and give up all belief in bondage. Bondage, that favorite word of Emilie Cady, famous New Thought Author of “Lessons in Truth.” We are free when we realize that Christ within us has set us free from every enslaving belief or habit. Our freedom becomes a reality when we accept it as true for us. Our belief in bondage disappears when the truth of freedom is established in mind.

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.“

We set ourselves free from any belief that would bind us. Our freedom becomes clearer to us as we meditate upon the spirit of freedom within us. In order to be free, we set others free too.

“I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me.”

― Nelson Mandela

BECAUSE FREEDOM is the right of every human, it is natural for us to rebel to first realize the true source of freedom, that source of freedom is the triumphant Spirit of God dwelling in us all. A realization of our inherent power over everything in our life is necessary to the attainment of a consciousness of freedom. Even as our heart cries out for freedom, so can we assert our freedom through unifying ourselves with omnipotence. Then can we rise up in faith and claim our birthright of freedom. By knowing ourselves to be a child of God we become the master of habit, circumstance, condition, & environment. Then is freedom ours in manifestation as well as in Spirit and in Truth.

I HAVE freedom of spirit. We all do. Nothing can hinder or obstruct our spiritual growth and unfoldment. Let us now let go any thought of ourselves as separated from source, God. Centered in Divine Spirit, we are poised, free, and happy.

I have freedom of thought. AFFIRM We are free to think the thoughts of our own choosing. This is what Genesis tells us, we have dominion over all the Life on earth that represents our thoughts, on every level. What a challenge this can be, and what a privilege! Because God has blessed all of us with divine intelligence so we can sort out, evaluate, accept, or refuse the thoughts that come into our mind.

I have freedom of self-expression. AFFIRM We are free from past mistakes or shortcomings, free to make a new beginning, free to press forward into the satisfying, fulfilling life that we have been created to experience. I am free to be the kind of individual that I want to be, and so are you. I am free to express the self that God created—wise, loving, productive, & capable, and so are you.

As we prepare to celebrate July 4th, let us celebrate our freedom! We give thanks for our individual freedom, for freedom wherever it is expressed in the world, and for all freedom -loving people everywhere.

We give thanks for the freedom to express our true nature as children of God, inheritors of health and wholeness. We are not bound by past mistakes, imperfect images, or another’s’ negative opinions.

We are free to express and experience all the good that God has created for us. We are free to govern our own thoughts and activities. We are free to live up to the best that is in us.

We abolish attitudes that would bind us to unwanted habits. We are capable of making right decisions. We are free to live by the divine principles of freedom.

IT HAS been said that true freedom is not freedom from something but freedom for something, freedom to do or to be something. Turn yourself in the direction you wish to go.

In your divine self, your Christ self, you are not bound or limited. You are free to grow and unfold; you are free to express the talents and abilities within you. You are free to live healthily and happily, free to go forward day by day in peace and joy.

We acknowledge the individual freedom of people to be the best that they can be.

Freedom, true freedom, is of the spirit and is not limited by circumstances or conditions. Freedom can never be taken from us by other persons nor given to us by anyone else. The source of true freedom is found in the Spirit of God, which is within us. We are meant for freedom.

When we know that we are free because we have the source of true freedom within us, we have a sense of freedom, no matter what we are doing, no matter in what place we find ourselves.

Freedom is gained through prayer and meditation. It is gained through spiritual development experienced in communion with God in the silence.

Affirm: From my times of prayer and meditation I attain a spiritual power that enables me to rise above every limitation or restriction in my life.

Whatever your beliefs on personal freedoms, pray that our country can come to a place of equality, compassion, and freedom for all.

Our Values

GREAT MORNING!

Our Values

This morning we conclude our review of our Mission, Vision and Values Statements.

This has been an important reminder of who we are, what we stand for and what we hope to mean in our Unity Family, our Community and our world.

Several years ago, we held a workshop to determine our Mission, Vision and Values. As I recall, we had great participation & feedback on developing the statements we chose.

Our values are principles or standards of belief that motivates us to act in certain ways.

They are:

Inclusive– We celebrate diversity unconditionally as an expression of Spirit.

Not excluding any particular groups of people: Two weeks ago, I spoke to you about Pride Month, celebrating the acceptance, and achievements of those people who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

We also got to review the Unity Statement of Diversity and Inclusion:

Together we embrace our individuality. We celebrate our uniqueness with full acceptance of all people, including every expression of the Divine. We come together with love and compassion to be a light for all. We stand together in Unity.

It is not only the LGBTQ+ community that we include in our Ministry here at Unity Spiritual Center of Coastal Delaware; it is everyone. Gay, straight, bi, non-binary, different cultures, different abilities, different folks. We strongly and truly believe we are all One.

Spiritual– We honor all people and their paths to Divine Source.

Relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things; things of a spiritual, ecclesiastical, or religious nature

It’s about non-religious experiences that help them get in touch with their spiritual selves through quiet reflection, time in nature, private prayer, yoga, or meditation.

It’s correlated with better physical and mental health, including better sleep, lower blood pressure, and an overall lower rate of mortality. Higher levels of spirituality have also been linked to increased compassion, strengthened relationships, and improved self-esteem.

Galen Watts–An instinct toward spirituality appears to be deeply ingrained in humans.

first, that they believe there is more to the world than meets the eye, that is to say, more than the mere material. Second, that they try to attend to their inner life — to their mental and emotional states — in the hopes of gaining a certain kind of self-knowledge. Third, that they value the following virtues: being compassionate, empathetic and open-hearted.

Accepting– We are open and receptive to new ways of thinking, doing and being.

It means to Believe or come to recognize (an opinion, explanation, etc.) as valid or correct;

I like the word acceptance rather than tolerance. I stated at the beginning of the month that I do not care for the word tolerance.  And I do not believe anyone would if they looked carefully at the two words.

One of the accepted definitions for tolerance is the allowable deviation from a standard.

I am NOT a deviation. And neither are you. I am a child of God, a divine being, a spiritual being having this human experience. I do not want to be tolerated, I wish to be accepted. Everyone’s desire is to be accepted for who they are.

So we at Unity are willing to listen to new ideas, to read new books and have conversations with others about different ideas. We seek to understand.

Supportive– We care for the community by giving of our time, talents and treasures.

This means providing encouragement or emotional help to our Unity family and the greater community. We agree to be a support in time, talent and treasure so Unity can continue to be a presence & support here in Delaware.

We at Unity wish to be a supportive family to our friends and Unity congregants.  We also wish to be supportive to our community through our out-reach programs and our support through our tithes to community and to greater Unity.

Please know that we as a Unity Family are here for you. Reach out to us and let other shear from you as we all go through human experiences.

Please also understand that to be supportive means to support Unity Spiritual Center of Coastal Delaware in every way…time, talent, & treasure. All of you have been made aware of the rent increase here at this Center. That means that, to maintain a presence, we all must step up to aid in maintaining it.

It also means to show up in every way that calls to you. I would love to see you all here in person at the Center. And on those days when you cannot make it, let us know that you are there on FB, joining in with us as we sing and here comforting words in the Message of the day.

Let us know you are there to support us.

Safe– With love in our hearts, we are free to be our authentic selves.

Safe means to be protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed or lost. This goes along with being accepted and supported in our Unity Family. We wish to be accepted for who we are, not matter how we express ourselves as long as we are respectful of others.

It also means that we maintain a safe space for us to gather, to discuss different ideas, to sing and to support each other.

Loving– With open hearts, we embrace the best in each person.

To be loving means to feel or show love or great care.

This too, goes along with the other Values. If we are being true to who we truly are, then we are loving, we are accepting; we are supportive.

My mantra throughout most of my life has been, love is the answer. I changed that to loving is the answer, because I came to believe that love must be an action word. Our 5th Principle, we must put action to what we believe.

I am wondering if this discussion of the values we have chosen for Unity Spiritual Center of Coastal Delaware has prompted you to consider what your own personal values are.

Sometimes our personal values are what we have grown up with. However, we often will question those when they go against what we learn as we step away from our families and make a life separate from them.

My values, my integrity is much different than my family. I have lived a very different life than most of my brothers and my sister. And not only because I identify differently from them but also because I have been exposed to many different cultures and lifestyles.

It’s important to know your values, to know what determines your ethical choices.

Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work.

They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.

When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good – you’re satisfied and content. But when these don’t align with your personal values, that’s when things feel… wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness.

This is why making a conscious effort to identify your values is so important.

Values are guides to human behavior. 

Abraham Maslow, the groundbreaking psychologist responsible for the hierarchy of needs, also noted that they’re an integral part of self-actualization. 

Values reside within. Rather than being created, they’re discovered.

Values are usually fairly stable, yet they don’t have strict limits or boundaries. Also, as you move through life, your values may change. For example, when you start your career, success – measured by money and status – might be a top priority. But after you have a family, work-life balance may be what you value more.

As your definition of success changes, so do your personal values. This is why keeping in touch with your values is a lifelong exercise. You should continuously revisit this, especially if you start to feel unbalanced… and you can’t quite figure out why.

When you define your personal values, you discover what’s truly important to you. A good way of starting to do this is to look back on your life – to identify when you felt really good, and really confident that you were making good choices.

Step 1: Identify the times when you were happiest

Find examples from both your career and personal life. This will ensure some balance in your answers.

  • What were you doing?
  • Were you with other people? Who?
  • What other factors contributed to your happiness?

Step 2: Identify the times when you were most proud

Use examples from your career and personal life.

  • Why were you proud?
  • Did other people share your pride? Who?
  • What other factors contributed to your feelings of pride?

Step 3: Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied

Again, use both work and personal examples.

  • What need or desire was fulfilled?
  • How and why did the experience give your life meaning?
  • What other factors contributed to your feelings of fulfillment?

Step 4: Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment

Why is each experience truly important and memorable? You can check out Core Values List: Over 50 Common Personal Values (jamesclear.com) to aid your search.

Step 5: Prioritize your top values

This step is probably the most difficult, because you’ll have to look deep inside yourself. It’s also the most important step, because, when making a decision, you’ll have to choose between solutions that may satisfy different values. This is when you must know which value is more important to you.

  • Write down your top values, not in any particular order.
  • Look at the first two values and ask yourself, “If I could satisfy only one of these, which would I choose?” It might help to visualize a situation in which you would have to make that choice. For example, if you compare the values of service and stability, imagine that you must decide whether to sell your house and move to another country to do valuable foreign aid work, or keep your house and volunteer to do charity work closer to home.
  • Keep working through the list, by comparing each value with each other value, until your list is in the correct order.

Step 6: Reaffirm your values

Check your top-priority values, and make sure that they fit with your life and your vision for yourself.

  • Do these values make you feel good about yourself?
  • Are you proud of your top three values?
  • Would you be comfortable and proud to tell your values to people you respect and admire?
  • Do these values represent things you would support, even if your choice isn’t popular, and it puts you in the minority?

When you consider your values in decision making, you can be sure to keep your sense of integrity and what you know is right, and approach decisions with confidence and clarity. You’ll also know that what you’re doing is best for your current and future happiness and satisfaction.

Making value-based choices may not always be easy. However, making a choice that you know is right is a lot less difficult in the long run.

Core values are those that are most meaningful, residing at the core of being. Core is defined as “the part of something that is central to its existence or characters,” The image of a seed sprouting is a useful metaphor for growth and self-actualization: there is a place within where the truth of our core values resides.

Not only that, but core originates from the Latin cor, which means heart. Bringing this terminology together gives us “qualities that reside in the heart, shaping who it is you are here to become.”

Due to their significance, core values play a big role in motivation. Why do you do the things you do? It’s likely there are core values that act as intrinsic motivation, below the surface. For example, having a dream to become a millionaire might be less about cold hard cash, more about a core value of freedom and independence.

Take some time to at least ponder your values, your integrity.  It is very important, and once you do, you will find that making choices along the way become easier because you KNOW yourself and what is important to your heart.

Let’s Talk about Mission & Vision

GREAT MORNING!  

Let’s Talk about Mission & Vision

So, today and in two weeks, I thought we should review what we stand for…our Mission and Vision this week and our Values next.

We’ve been repeating them for that last month or so, during our Service, for two reasons, at least.

One is to remind us of what they are and two, to remind us of WHO we are.


Some of you were present when we had a Visioning workshop, to determine what our Mission, Vision and Values would be. And now, as we remind ourselves of what we determined they should be, we also review them to make sure they still fit.

Our Mission: We explore spiritual consciousness in a loving, accepting community through teaching and living universal spiritual principles.

What does that mean to you?  Not to our physical space, but to YOU?

Think about it for a moment…..

(RESPONSES)

Now let’s look at each part of the statement:

‘explore spiritual consciousness’

I would guess that we can all agree what ‘explore’ means: inquire into or discuss (a subject or issue) in detail,to examine or evaluate (an option or possibility)

We have all explored many times in our lives, and many different things. When talking about exploring here, we are attempting to discover who we are, what we identify with, what we believe.  And not to just BE that, but to actually see if it fits.

Consciousness is an Awareness to feel the presence of this physical existence and beyond. It’s an Awakening to a non-dualism. It is a dimension beyond the mind and physical body. It is a light within you nor any object as the light that shines within you. Light itself is a consciousness, which means there is no dualism, it is One. Consciousness is an Openness.

‘loving’; feeling or showing love or great care. Our Unity Community certainly does show great love for each other, for our greater community and our world. We do this by welcoming others into our Service and Community as they choose to check Unity out, to see what we are all about.

We do this by reaching out to our Unity family and, in turn to the greater family and community by helping each other, by holding space as we each encounter our personal ‘growth opportunities,’ and by our outreach to the greater community by our tithes, and collection of needed products, by our Clean-up crew caring for our environment outside as well as doing our part for the environment as much as possible inside our space.

‘accepting community’: tending to regard different types of people and ways of life with tolerance and acceptance:  the act of accepting something or someone

What does this mean to you?

Personally, I’m not wild about the word tolerance, I don’t wish to be tolerated. I don’t mean that everyone need meet me with open arms either, but know me as I am, not as others wish I was.

We in Unity try our hardest to be very accepting of all races and cultures, and orientations. That does not mean we do it all the time, but we sure do try our hardest AND we forgive ourselves and ask forgiveness of others when we miss the mark.

Unity traditionally, hasn’t done the best in this regard, historically, but they are making amends and I certainly try my hardest to follow through with this part of our Mission.

‘through teaching’: and how do we do this? By our Sunday Services, and our classes. By the books we promote and the messages we share online and in conversations.

  • ‘living’: and by living our Truth, our 5th Principle It is not enough to understand spiritual teachings. We must apply our learning in all areas of life, incorporating them into our thoughts, words, and actions.
  • We show the world who we are, sometimes a moment at a time through our actions, toward ourselves and others, and the whole of the world.

‘universal’ of, affecting, or done by all people or things in the world or in a particular group; applicable to all cases. Universal Laws are all encompassing. They are not physical laws that we discover as we learn more, like finding out about Black Holes.

They are Spiritual and govern everything and everyone.

‘spiritual principles’; Spiritual principles are timeless Truths, not tied to any specific religious, philosophical, or spiritual tradition. Spiritual practices reflect how we live them and vary based on the specific religious and spiritual traditions we adhere to.

Our Spiritual Principles are:

God is everywhere and always present in every circumstance. This divine energy underlies and animates all of existence. 

  • Human beings are innately good because they are connected to and an expression of Spirit. 
  •  
  • Our thoughts have creative power to influence events and determine our experiences. 
  •  
  • Prayer and meditation connect and align us to our own spiritual nature and to God. 
  •  
  • It is not enough to understand spiritual teachings. We must apply our learning in all areas of life, incorporating them into our thoughts, words, and actions. 

 

Here is the reading I choose for today…

My Mission

I give expression to the Christ Spirit within me in thought, word, and deed.

My mission, my calling in life, is to give expression to the Christ Spirit within me. Then whatever I do will be done from the wisdom of my soul, from divine love and understanding.

No matter what may be ahead this day, I will go about doing what I am called to do by the Christ of my being. Then I know the pure satisfaction of letting the divine within me become a part of my thoughts, conversations, and actions.

The Christ Spirit within me is unlimited wisdom, love, and life. As I open myself fully to giving expression to divine qualities, I relate well with those I know and those I am just getting to know. In answering the call of the Christ, I am also honoring the Christ

Next, let’s review our Vision Statement:  We embrace a positive path for spiritual living to create a kinder, more compassionate world.

As you read the statement are you following it?

Do you embrace a positive path for spiritual living?  Are you creating a kinder, more compassionate world?

In other words, are you doing your part to be part of the solution or have you missed the mark some, and are creating part of the problem?


We all miss the mark from time to time. We get caught up in our stories, our history. We forget that we only have NOW. No past, no future.

Oh, there is history. We all have memories. But are our memories dictating our lives or are they just reminiscences of some past day or person, and we can smile at the love we shared with them or recall the lesson we’ve learned from the past situation so we do not repeat it again and again.

And our future is not something we need to focus on, only prepare as needed, but live each day. Be present.

What happens if we are not in the NOW? WE may miss important happenings. May miss important lessons. May miss the beauty of each moment, each flower, each smile.

PRIDE

GREAT MORNING!  

Welcome back to Unity Spiritual Center!

It’s great to be back with you. I had a nice break, got to visit folks in PA. And I never get done what I hope to when I take a break, whether it’s a sabbatical or a day.

First, I ask that you take a moment and refer back to our Opening Statement…what is mine to do? That question I ask you to contemplate each week and pray that you do. And then, when you realize what is yours to do, put feet to your prayers, because prayer without action is nothing but idle words.

Only you can determine what is yours to do, whatever the question…whether gun violence or the environment or how much money to spend on your grandkids! Contemplation and prayer followed by steps forward.

Did you know, according to science…we on average have 4000 weeks in our lives. At this point, many of us have way fever that that, myself included. So, figure out if you are doing what is yours to do. And if not, then search your soul to find that magic thing that makes your heart & soul sing. Then, Principle 5…put feet to that prayer.

Thank you.

You may be aware that June is Pride Month. Much like Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and many other minorities, the United States has honored many different minorities to shed light on the achievements these groups have made in a country where they often faced discrimination.

I can imagine that many of you have had or know someone who has experienced discrimination, often based upon stereotypes. I have experienced many instances, myself. It can be unpleasant.


And so I would like to bring some awareness to this month and the minority group we honor, the many folks who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual, Non-binary, and all the forms that, as humans, our sexuality and gender identity expresses.

These different months, honoring the cultures and contributions of the different peoples is an important reminder that we all have something to offer to our communities and our country and our world.

There are many things our world would be without or at least farther behind in development if it were not for members of the LGBT+ community and their scientific and industrial contributions. Our computers, IPhones, even helicopters! People like Alan Turing, Tim Cook, and of course many actors and scientists and athletes.

The point being, in every culture, we have received many helpful and, in some instances, life-saving cures, due to the many contributions made by this group of folks.

But that recognition is only part of the reason we celebrate Pride.

The 1950s and 1960s the United States was an extremely repressive legal and social period for LGBT people. And I can imagine, decades prior to that also.

I can recall my experiences as I realized that I was, at the very least, bi-sexual. The things authorities used to harass members even suspected of being gay were frightening, and in some instances, life threatening.

There are many documentaries and films about the lives of LGBT+ folks. Some include “Paris is Burning”, “The Boys in the Band”, “Moonlight”, and “But I’m a Cheerleader” which talks about conversion therapy which was often pushed on teenagers by their parent and Religious communities.

Another good documentary, if interested, is “The Bible Tells Me So”, about homosexuality and its perceived conflict with Christianity, as well as various interpretations of what the Bible says about sexual orientation.

Most people understand that the Bible does not mention homosexuality and, in fact, if the verses that are promoted against it were truly understood in their historic and cultural significance, there is no statement against it.

We often forget that our Way-Shower, Jesus, was all about Love…not hate or prejudice.

So, this month we celebrate Gay Pride to promote self-affirming, equality, individual dignity and the increased visibility and therefore understanding of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters.

This is to counter the shame and social stigma that have been a part of our lives for too long. And, unfortunately, it is still. And sometimes it seems as if it is going again, against all the forward progress we have made.

If we have to continue to fight for equality, no matter the minority, then this is not the United States that our constitution claims it to be.

What started out in 1969, as riots that broke out after a raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City and continues to today, Pride marches on a much larger public scale.

Although there were signs of protest prior to Stonewall, the movement became more focused and public after that riot. The LGBT community began to organize and to fight back. Interestingly, LGBT and Women’s movements used the Black Community for equality as a starting point and reference.

Three presidents of the United States have officially declared a pride month. First, President Bill Clinton declared June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” in 1999 and 2000. Then from 2009 to 2016, each year he was in office, President Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month. Later, President Joe Biden declared June LGBTQ+ Pride Month in 2021. Donald Trump became the first Republican president to acknowledge LGBT Pride Month in 2019, but he did so through tweeting rather than an official proclamation.

“I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists.–Proclamation by U.S President Barack Obama, May 28, 2010

Obama designated the Stonewall Inn a national monument, too. “Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights,” he said in a statement. “I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us.”

Although the belief system behind LGBT+ Pride is to promote love and acceptance for everyone, no matter what their gender identity or sexuality is, not everyone sees it that way. Pride events are frequently met with the question, “Why isn’t there are a straight pride month?”

LGBT+ Pride is meant to celebrate the new attitude America, as well as the rest of the world, has about gender and sexuality. People in the LGBT community have been shunned and ostracized for years and years, and finally are at a point in our culture where we can accept and celebrate other sexualities. It’s not that we shouldn’t be celebrating heterosexuality, it’s that we’ve never lived in an America where doing so was unacceptable. LGBT+ pride is a triumph for America to see how far we’ve come as a country, and a way for us to honor people who have risked their safety and their lives to make the world a more loving and acceptable place for people of all sexualities. Although we’ve come a long way, we still have quite a bit of work to do to ensure that everyone can safely and happily celebrate their identities, not just during June, but all the time.

Why is being able to be ourselves important? I believe to be able to connect with our higher self, we must know ourselves and accept who we are. Even if we acknowledge that there may be something we would rather change, we must know and accept ourselves first. That is how we become authentic.

We want to live authentic lives as much as possible.

My struggle for acceptance of myself and by others was long and is still something I work on. I have come to accept myself on many levels, but understand that, as long as I am in physical body, there is work to do.

When I realized my sexuality, some people supported me and others did not. It took my family a long time to, at the very least, tolerate me. I really dislike that word. I wanted to be accepted!

I was kicked out of the house by my father. Separated from my siblings, the youngest two who I considered MY kids because I had raised them until I went off to college.

That was hard.

But in that separation, I got to accept more and more of me. I had to be careful, because it was still illegal to teach and be gay.

I did find acceptance from friends and eventually had some reconciliation with my family. I worked hard to be a part of that family, even though I was never really completely a part of them.

My Mother finally came around and we had a wonderful relationship when she passed. Something we both worked on. It’s that 5th principle!

They were grateful for my becoming more honest with them. But some friendships ended. They weren’t built on truth but on a false self I had projected.

The important people in my life, and I would suspect, most LGBT+ folks, are happy to know the real me.

AS Rev. Michael Gott has stated:

The other thing that saved me was Unity. I wasn’t necessarily the most understandable person when I was younger. I had a lot of anger and hurt by my family and the religion that I tried and tried again to find some solace.

It took a bit of time, but finally a friend told me about Unity. I started attending and soon was taking classes to eventually become licensed and to be able to spread the word here.

In Unity, we believe God is absolute good. And because all people exist within and as part of this divine energy, each of us is also inherently good.

I am also incredibly grateful to be a part of a spiritual community that recognizes my uniqueness as a gift from God.

This path to authenticity has been so healing for me. I believe it is universal.

Unity Leaves No One Out

Unity extends an explicit invitation to members of the LGBTQ+ community, who we know have often been rejected by spiritual communities because of who they are or who they love. Through prayer, publishing, and community outreach, we are committed to respecting the dignity of every human being—and that includes their gender identity/expression.

The Unity movement is open and welcoming of all individuals regardless of race, color, gender, age, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical disability, or sexual orientation. We invite you to read our formal (yet ever-evolving) statement of diversity and inclusion.

Together we embrace our individuality. We celebrate our uniqueness with full acceptance of all people, including every expression of the Divine. We come together with love and compassion to be a light for all. We stand together in Unity.

We see many symbols for Pride, the most prominent is the Flag:

Original flag and is representations

Hot Pink symbolizes sex

Red equals life

Orange symbolizes healing

Yellow stands for sunlight

Green represents nature

Turquoise equals magic & art

Indigo stands for serenity

Violet represents the spirit of LGBTQ people

We all might want to keep in mind that someone you love could be a member of the LGBTQ+ Community.

No Strangers

THERE ARE NO STRANGERS. I AM CONSTANTLY AWARE OF THE LOVING CHRIST IN ALL PEOPLE.

Ye are no more strangers . . . but ye are fellow-citizens . . . of the household of God. EPH. 2:19.

WE NEED never feel timid or hesitant, for there are no strangers. The Christ is the same in each of us. He looks on us lovingly through the eyes of other persons, just as He looks lovingly on other persons through our eyes.

In the heart of every person with whom we are not yet well acquainted, there abides the divine friend, the Christ. He is waiting for us to behold Him, to recognize Him. He is waiting for us to express good will to Him.

It is as though He were saying: “These persons are not strangers. I, the Christ, am coming to you in a new guise. You know Me. Look for Me. Silently let My Spirit in you speak to My Spirit in all whom you have thought of as strangers. My Spirit, the Spirit you share, is a friendly Spirit, an understanding Spirit. As you depend on my Spirit, you will find there are no more strangers, there are only new friends, blessed friends.”

Watch your thoughts, watch your words, watch your actions.

“Give Yourself Away”

GREAT MORNING!  

Happy Easter!

Welcome back to the conclusion of our Lenten Series, “Thou Shall Not Suffer; 7 Steps to a Life of Joy” by Rev. Mark Anthony Lord.

I really enjoyed this book and I really hope you have also. And just maybe, something resonated with you through these 7 weeks.

I think this chapter titled, “Give Yourself Away” is very appropriate for this Easter Sunday.

The Buddha tells us, “A generous heart, kind speech and a life of service and compassion are the things that renew humanity.”

And really, isn’t that what these 7 steps were about? Steps to bring out the humanity in ourselves by getting to know ourselves and by being better humans to those that we share this world with, all life.

Winston Churchill has stated: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Rev. Lord suggests that we are here on this physical plane to master unconditional love for ourselves and others. It is ours to do, to completely accept ourselves as one with the God of our understanding, and to accept all we are so we can continue our growth to wholeness on earth and connecting to our true spiritual being.

Mark tells us that we must grow to see that every person is the beloved, an expression of God, and it is our duty to help others in any way we can.

He tells us it is our responsibility to remove the suffering of another when we have that opportunity.

Rumi has said, “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

This river is the life of God. God, as life, gave and will give fully and freely forever.

And we, being One with this Divine Energy, can and will only know ourselves when we too, do what that Divine Power has done, give of ourselves.

We feel alive when we make someone else’s life better.

Think about that…when was the last time you helped someone? Pg. 109

Gather that feeling within you and let it grow and expand through your being.

Now, turn to your neighbor and share that feeling that love.

We don’t need big, sweeping acts of heroism and generosity.  Simple acts making one person’s life better is just as beautiful and important.

Pg.109 story

Rev. Lord tells us about karma…that belief that what you put out into the world returns to you.

But he dissects it even further. Physical Karma is when we help others through our words and actions. Right words are words that do not minimize or hurt others. A good intent must be matched by right words.

Right actions are sacred and help others in the simplest ways. Opening a door for another, carrying a package, letting the car ahead in the lane of traffic all make others feel good and you get the benefit of a calm heart.

Psychological karma is earned through right thoughts and emotions. It’s not just “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you” but “think about others as you would have them think about you!”

A negative thought is about another but it is happening in your mind and body…therefor YOU suffer the effect. Remember, every thought is energy in motion…it extends to and affects those around you.

The realm of thought is powerful and creative—thoughts create our world.

Spiritual karma is about helping others to grow spiritually…doing spiritual practices, praying, volunteering at your Center and in your community.  All these and more help to move us along our spiritual plane.

The more you give, the more you have and the less you need. We are to be a vessel through life energy flows. Be grateful for all you have….personally and as a member of humanity. It’s so much more than we even imagine.

Our feelings of scarcity are ego based. When we share our gifts with others, no matter how small it seems, your contribution expands into more.  That is what BLESSING is all about.

Giving and Receiving

THE DIVINE LAW OF GIVING AND RECEIVING IS ACTIVE IN ME AND MY AFFAIRS. I GIVE FREELY AND RECEIVE BOUNTIFULLY.

THERE IS a definite law of giving and receiving. This law is based upon a consciousness of the Truth that God is the eternal substance in which all things take form. When we invoke love in our giving, we give divinely and we receive richly and abundantly. When we share our good in the spirit of love we are not anxious about receiving; we simply work in accord with the divine law, knowing that there is plenty to supply the demand. Giving in the Spirit we may be assured of having plenty from which to give, for Spirit substance is unlimited and inexhaustible. Enlarging the channel for giving also increases the capacity to receive. The good giver is also a good receiver, for he must give in order to receive. Let us keep the channel of our mind open to receive our blessings from God’s unlimited storehouse of good.

Luke 6:38 (NIV) says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”