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GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
It’s nice to be back with you again. I do hope you enjoyed last weeks’ Message from Rev. Pamela Whitman. She always enjoys returning to Unity Spiritual Center. Maybe next time around she can be with us live and in person!
Well, I also hope many of you took advantage of our FUNraiser flower sale. The spring part is over in a few weeks and then later this summer the fall sale will begin. I have most of my purchases in the ground or growing seeds. Just need to get the bulbs planted.
With that thought in mind, maybe a little Lesson from the Garden would be good for our topic today.
Have you ever thought of what the gardens teach us as we move from spring through summer to fall and then winter? There is much to teach us. Let’s look at that today.
And keep in mind that gardens go through all the seasons, yes, all four.
Have you ever thought what your gardens would look like through all the seasons? It’s something to consider…especially taking into consideration what plants and flowers have color or striking seed pods, or dry leaf colors and formations. Many serious gardeners plan for color and variety through the entire year.
For instance, how striking red-twig dogwoods look in the winter landscape…with or without snow.
Anyway, it’s something to consider beyond spring, summer, and fall. If I had space, I would definitely have one. I’ll have to consider my landscape and see if there can be a space for one or two.
So, consider the gardens, no matter what form they would take, what could/would be the lessons we could learn from them?
We can easily think of some lessons… patience, being a huge one; flexibility and perseverance too, to name a few. These are the easy lessons we can recall from our experiences from our gardens.
Here are some things I found as I researched this topic:
Plan Ahead: Planning in life, planning in the garden – both pretty critical if you want to succeed. You must know what your goals are, so you make a plan to achieve them. In a garden you don’t just scatter seeds about willy nilly…not usually anyway if you want to have any real results. You make some sort of plan out for where each seed will be planted, at what depth and how far apart…if we only gave our lives such detailed thought. What would that entail, do you think?
Beauty Isn’t Everything: Beauty is to be appreciated, sure; but some beautiful stuff is down-right deadly. In life we must learn to appreciate beauty but know it isn’t everything. Ask a vegetable gardener about gorgeous butterflies and birds…they are a wonder to see but can wreak havoc in your garden. And that mis-shaped tomato usually tastes just as sweet as the perfectly round one.
Learn from Your Mistakes: If you haven’t made a mistake in your garden, you must not have been gardening long. Every garden will have pests, underwhelming harvests, and death. But I know I’ve learned something from every mistake I’ve made, in the garden or out. I have also learned to reach out to other gardeners (as we should reach for wisdom in life) and ask for help. I’m not saying I’ve never repeated a mistake but I’m getting better all the time. And not just gardeners. I have reached out to my mentors and guides as well as you. And of course, the God of my understanding.
A Good Foundation is Key: The bible talks about building your house on a rock for a strong foundation. A garden’s foundation is good soil. Without a healthy foundation it won’t matter if you have organic, non-gmo seeds; you can’t throw those babies in sand and hope they’ll grow. In life, as in the garden, we need a strong foundation to grow and achieve our goals. Many of us didn’t get that growing up but we can bring in some healthy people, faith, books, classes, and such to “fertilize” our foundation until it is ready to support life.
You Reap What You Sow: Cliche of all cliches but it is a cliche because it rings true! If you sow good organic seeds in that healthy foundation you are going to grow amazingly healthy food to nourish you and your loved ones. In life we need to sow the sort of goodness we want to grow (love, respect, charity, goodwill). Plant those seeds in your heart.
Timing is Everything: Some people can’t grow, say lettuce in the spring as we can (or at least try to). They must wait till the weather is cooler in their area. In the same vein, if I based my garden (aka my life) on everyone else’s timing, my garden and efforts could possibly fail, if based on say the weather in Phoenix. Those tender greens would literally burn up in the scorching 110 (+) degrees and nothing, but frustration would be grown. In the garden, as in life, we need to know the timing for our pursuits may not be the same as someone else’s. Like they say, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’.
Variety is the Spice of Life: Diversity is key to a healthy and vibrant life. And a healthy and vibrant world. In the garden if we continue to plant only one or two things in the same space, year after year, it will cause disease and pests to become rampant. Variety in vegetables, fruits and herbs brings vibrant life to the garden by feeding in what the last crop took out. Life gets boring in black and white – add some color and diversity to spice it up!
Location, Location, Location: Location isn’t just important in real estate – it is everything in gardening. Some plants crave all day sun, while others need a little shade to grow properly. We need to be in the right location in life to grow and succeed just like our vegetable gardens. Sometimes you must play around with the perfect place to put that raised bed; but once it is right you just know it. The same goes for your life, sometimes you must look for where you fit in…and when you find it, you know.
Stop and Smell the Roses Dang It! Sit on your porch, sip your coffee or tea, and admire the beautiful flowers of your zucchini, chives and tomatoes. Sure, they might not smell as good as the roses, but they should be admired for the stunning displays they make. Even a purple cabbage can be ornamental. Life is short, don’t be so busy that you miss the stunning awesomeness all around you!
Crap Isn’t the End: Garbage will come and go. But if you know how to compost it, well crap can make some pretty awesome soil full of rich microbes to feed your garden. Life will hand you some crap; that’s a given. But handle your crap with grace and you never know what amazing thing will come out of it in time. Remember: respond, not react! Just know what to toss in your compost and what to shovel in the garbage while holding your breath.
Generosity: My garden has given me many lessons in sharing my abundance. There is nothing like sharing tomatoes, zucchini, beans or other garden deliciousness with friends and neighbors. Sure, I worked hard for that harvest but sharing it with someone who is blessed to enjoy it gives me a lot of joy.
The same goes with the lessons we learn about life, whatever we learn brings others up too, in knowledge and vibration. So, keep working on understanding yourself and that will help you understand others.
Think about those weeds as you pull them: each weed could represent those areas in our lives that must not be allowed to “take root” and, for example, like bitterness, should not be allowed to grow unchecked.
Each labor of love in the garden has a spiritual counterpart…a lesson…
Consider the parable of the sower…
13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.
3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Then he continued….
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.
23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
So, think, where do you fit into the parable of the sower?
Was your heart snatched away by the negative thoughts found in the seeds of knowledge found along the path?
Are yours the seeds that fell among rocky ground, with no roots because of the lack of fertile soil, of a strong foundation? Was your heart easily given away when trouble came around?
Maybe you fell into ‘the wrong crowd’ and lost your footing in the brambles and thorns. Negativity can do that. So can participating in many of the negatives of our lives in the realm of the physical.
But joyful is the soul who has heard the word and brought it into their heart for it to grow in abundance. They heard the word and understood it. And therefore, they have prospered a hundred, sixty or thirty times.
“Every problem contains in it the seeds of its own solution.” Norman Vincent Peale.
And we can sow things that will build up our spirit, and this is like sowing good seed into the soil of our hearts. Sometimes thinking of what we can plant as good seed is so simple; it merely takes a friendly reminder to start doing it, things like:
Daily reading and meditation, teaching out to help others, sharing resources, time, and to be a blessing wherever there are needs,
Praising and thanking God, Thanking others for their kindness to us,
Listening to uplifting music, Taking time to pray for others,
Sending a card, a note, or a letter to someone who needs our love,
Making a phone call to a friend, loving those who are your enemy, or who demonstrate hatred towards you,
Forgiving others when they wrong you; never holding a grudge against someone,
These are some of the things we can do to help keep us on the path.
I like gardening — it’s a place where I find myself
when I need to lose myself. ~Alice Sebold
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
GREAT Morning my friends. And welcome to another Sunday Service at Unity Spiritual Center here in Long Neck, Delaware.
And a Happy Mother’s Day to you all, Mothers, and all of us who wore the Mothering hats in our lives….fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, teachers, friends, mentors…many, many people who never bore a child but still had the Mothering instinct for others as needed.
It’s tradition that I read the book, “Love you forever” by Robert Munsch to celebrate Mother’s Day and really lead us to Father’s Day in June. Normally, I read the book at the end of the Service, but I thought I’d start our Message this year with the book.
Why, you may ask? Well, it has been a very different time this year not just for Mothers but for all. And so, what a better way to celebrate our new normal than to change things around a bit.
So, this is for you MOM ….I hope I don’t cry:
Mother’s Day is so iconic, isn’t it? Who doesn’t know what it’s supposed to represent?
Wait, you may not know what it started out as…
One of the earliest Mother’s Day celebrations was in Ancient Greece.
The Greek would have spring celebrations in honor of Rhea, the goddess of fertility, motherhood, and generation.
According to Wikipedia, the history of American Mother’s Day starts with peacemaker Ann Jarvis.
During and following the Civil War, Ann Jarvis made a concerted effort to foster friendship and community between the mothers on both sides of the war. She started a committee in 1868 which established the first glimmer of today’s holiday: “Mother’s Friendship Day.”
Ann’s daughter Anna continued her legacy by creating the official holiday. Anna Reeves Jarvis sought to honor her own mother by establishing an intimate day of observance that is very obviously the basis of today’s holiday. The very first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908. Woodrow Wilson signed Mother’s Day into law in 1914.
Anna Jarvis would later try to stop what Mother’s Day became. The holiday quickly became a commercialized opportunity for producers to sell flowers, candies, and cards. Anna Reeves Jarvis felt this was detracting from the personal and intimate aspects of the holiday and defied this by starting boycotts, walkouts, and even condemned first lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using the day as a means of fundraising. Jarvis would eventually use all her money in this fight and died at the age of 84 in a sanatorium.
Mother’s Day was, in part, about peace and community in the beginning. And even though Anna Jarvis’ attempt to reverse the success she had by making Mother’s Day a National Holiday was unsuccessful, I’m guessing many of us have had some of the same thoughts about the commercialism of this and many of the holidays that we celebrate in this country and often around the world.
For instance, more calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year, Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants, and it is the third highest selling holiday for flowers and plants. All those things are a good thing!
Carnations have a special meaning on Mother’s Day. Anna Reeves Jarvis used the carnation on Mother’s Day to symbolize whether your mother was living. A red carnation meant she was living, and a white meant she had passed.
The first thing a baby can vocalize is the ‘ma’ sound, which is why in almost every language the word for mother begins with the letter ‘M’ or is some iteration of the ‘ma’ sound. Ma, Mom, Mother…all from that first baby sound.
This past year, with the onset of the pandemic, many Mothers have had to face a new reality. Not only with the often-real possibility of losing a loved one to the COVID-19 virus and its many iterations, but many Mothers have had to be the teacher to their children while still trying to maintain their responsibilities at their jobs. Some even stepped away from their jobs to spend all their time with the children, especially since childcare was not available in most instances.
It became a new reality that mothers faced – moms are either super-overworked or super-lonely from being sheltered.
Even though Mother’s Day is celebrated every year on the second Sunday of May, we could probably agree that we should be celebrating Mother’s and those who take care of us as our Mothers do/did many more days than just one.
Call your Mother and/or those folks who cared for you when you needed a Mother.
“The Seven Living Words…Transform your life with this illuminating perspective on the Seven Last Words of Jesus”, ‘Oneness’ and ‘Truth’.
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
Great to be back with you again. I do hope you are enjoying our Lenten Series based upon Rev. Mark Anthony Lord’s book, “The Seven Living Words…Transform your life with this illuminating perspective on the Seven Last Words of Jesus”.
Last week our words were ‘forgiveness & NOW. If you missed it, go to FB – Unity Spiritual Center of Coastal Delaware or the webpage – www.unityspiritualcenterofcoastalde.org to review the message.
Here is a wonderful ‘review from Alan Watts I just found on FB: “We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between a causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, or will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore, out of touch with reality.”
NICE. Right? Or maybe not, if that is where you presently are…
This week we will look at two new words, ‘Oneness’ and ‘truth’.
Let’s start with Oneness.
I know many of you may think of the Oneness movement popular throughout the country and the world. This is a bit different. We are looking at Oneness with God, with everyone and everything; but also, oneness with each other. We are emphasizing that we are all ONE with the Spirit and energy that is God, Divine Mind, our Creator.
Let’s look at this week’s verse: “Woman, behold your son! Behold your mother!” from John 19:26-27
What comes to your mind when you see or hear or read this verse? It would be wonderful to hear your responses. Send me a text or email…I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Rev. Lord ‘s ‘take’ on this verse is pointing us in a different direction. I would suspect a very different direction than what you or I may have originally gone.
He sees this as a ‘spiritual direction’ for us to look at. He wants us to look at the possibility that Oneness is the direction that verse is leading us to.
Oneness and right relationship.
Lord tells us we can only awaken to our spiritual power and evolution when we go deeper in the roles of those around us. We take all those in—–family, friends, neighbors, Black, white, rich, poor, all faiths, all cultures, all colors…they are all our family, all our friends, and we hold them all in right relationship.
We see everyone as One, as part of the whole. No separation. Only togetherness.
A Course in Miracles tells us, “Heaven is not a place or condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect oneness.”
What a wonderful realization…heaven is an awareness, an awareness of perfect oneness. Perfect togetherness. Perfect connection.
To get to that perfect awareness, we must crucify the illusion of separation, fear, and suffering when we focus our attention and prayers on the Wholeness of God, here and now, and always present.
The illusion needs our belief in it to survive! Kind of like the ego.
When we take that belief away, we open our closed eyes and experience perfect relationships…with Divine Mind, God, with all.
Lord tells us we do not need the ego – another word for false reality. It is not of God…it is of the dualistic world. None of us need the ego because God always provides. Divine Spirit is our safety, our sustenance, our all.”
The Lilies of the field do not need an ego to know the love and care of God.
“The only reason we do not know God as our complete, perfect, and constant support is because we don’t believe it.”
And that, my friends, is what holds us back from experiencing Gods total love. Our needs are met exactly to the extent that we allow them to be met. And we are responsible for what we allow…simple.
You don’t like that? Only you can change it. I love that Unity reminds us of OUR responsibility in this life.
“When you no longer fear, resent, or perceive your brother or sister as separate, you no longer live and move in fear. There is no way to transform into the full power and presence of the Light of God within and be afraid of your brother or sister at the same time.
A choice must be made.”
Try this, as you move throughout your day, whenever you pass or interact with other folks, say in your heart, “You are my sister/brother. We are One and you are loved.”
Centered in our Love of God, we find that we love others even more. We realize our true relationship to every other human being in the human family. In Spirit, we are each others’ mother, brother, sister. We feel our closeness to others as we reach inwardly to Spirit. Being one with God, we are close to all that is.
When we collectively say “YES” to Oneness, the Kingdom of Heaven will appear right before our eyes. First the collective ego of humanity must be diffused and released. We can do this, one person at a time, you and me.
We all must recognize that all paths lead to God. No matter where you are on this journey…every journey leads to God, by whatever name.
Now let’s look at this week’s second word, Truth and the verse, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
For many years I believed Jesus was saying that God left him alone to die a terrible death. As I grew, I began to search my beliefs, trying to find where I fit. Things just didn’t seem right to me. I and my brothers attended a United Methodist church with my Uncle and Aunt & their family for several years.
We learned all about Jesus loving the little children in Sunday School and then as we sat through church, we learned about God’s anger and wrath.
A bit confusing.
It got even more so when I attended Mass with my Mother, she was Catholic and yearned to return to Mass. Looking back, I wonder if she felt she needed one of us kids to want to attend Mass before she thought she could safely attend also, because of my father.
When the Catholic teachings didn’t fit, I was a seeker without a church for many years.
My search for understanding and meaning took me finally, to Unity. It was there that I could see the story of the crucifixion differently…metaphysically, metaphorically. When we are challenged spiritually, we often feel as if God has forsaken us. We get into that dark night of the soul and feel so very alone. But we must recall that Jesus passed through similar challenges. We are to persevere.
When we do so, we then re-connect with our consciousness and KNOW that we are not alone.
If we take a look at this verse and all of the words from Jesus, we see that everything was done for our awakening, and to support us in our own crucifixions and resurrections. Jesus was a Master Teacher. He knew what he was doing!
This Fourth Living Word is a gift that says, “Now is the time for a final, deep cleansing of the consciousness…are you ready?”
If you think you are finished cleansing, forgiving…think again. I saw something the other day, if you are still alive, you still have forgiveness work to do.
We have done some powerful forgiveness work thus far, and so, we may hit a wall of despair. When we embrace this part of the journey, whether we despair or not, we celebrate it … it is a sign that we are moving in the right direction.
If you feel fearful or abandoned, these are not wrong feelings. They are to be moved through with perseverance and faith in all that is Good-God. Embrace the word TRUTH and go deep to uncover any fears or betrayals lingering there. Past betrayals by people we have loved or needed, we may have thought we dealt with them, but often remnants of fear, despair, and anger linger.
Going into the Truth, we can gain new insights.
Master Yoda: “Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”
We need to find our fears and confront them, to remove them from consciousness and subconsciousness.
There is that part of our consciousness that still clings to the belief that there is something outside us that has power over us. By giving expression to this universal sense of aloneness in times of trial, Jesus released it for himself and for us. He speaks what is often in our own hearts when we embark on the spiritual path.
Experiencing crucifixion, spiritually – erasing sense thought, error thinking, letting go – may be difficult. Sometimes we may feel that God has left us, forsaken us. When these periods of darkness and doubt come, we too question. We ask, “Why?”
Our emotions can have a voice; we don’t need to hide them but may speak them aloud and bring them to the light of prayer, to be transformed by the light of love. Our spirit knows, “My God – for this purpose was I born” and allow ourselves to pass through our self-imposed boundaries. It is through this experience we find new life. We have come to this hour for a purpose. We no longer see ourselves as victims but as the vehicles of pure Spirit.
All this is true for grief. Truth is being willing to face the reality of our grief. “When grief is hidden and unexpressed, it blocks our growth. Any grief is to be expressed…
Mark Anthony Lord states that we all have a coating of grief around our false beliefs about ourselves and the world. Our false beliefs separate us from our true source of love and the joyous, peaceful feeling of knowing we are One with the goodness of life.
Acknowledging and moving through this grief is part of the healing process. When appropriately used and moved through, grief will return us to the experience of our inherent wholeness.
Our word Truth…the truth is none of us have ever been forsaken. None have been abandoned.
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
Great Morning my friends. It is wonderful to be with you again. I pray all is well with you and that you are taking care of yourselves and your loved ones.
I hope you enjoyed the Black History Month presenters, Diane Mitchell, Leroy White, Jr., Carolyn Showell and Angela Taylor. They did a great job, and I am putting it out there now hoping that they will continue the special presentations for Black History Month next year. If you haven’t seen these presentations, they are available on our FB and web pages.
Today we start our new Series for the reminder of Lent. This year, Big Unity’s Lent Series is based upon Rev. Mark Anthony Lord’s book, “The Seven Living Words” and their own booklet based on that book for the Lenten Season, “Release and Renew.”
This booklet has ‘release’ affirmations and ‘renew’ affirmations for Lent. There are also excerpts from Rev. Lord’s book and daily readings for Lent.
I’m reading the book and using this booklet for our Services, as well as whatever I find in my heart and online, to add to the Message.
This week we are looking at the words, “forgiveness” and “NOW”.
So, what were the Seven Last Words of Jesus? They were, “…for they know not what they do.”
Jesus, our Way-Shower, gets right into it, doesn’t he? No messing around. We are to forgive because sometimes we, everyone, do not know, not understand, what we do.
How many times are we going to talk about forgiveness? Well, as many times as we need to get to the point where we are forgiving? Where there is no question whether forgiveness is even needed or required.
70 x 7?
YES! And even more, if necessary.
If we are all one, then when we forgive others, we are forgiving ourselves, and vice-verse.
Forgiveness is the mightiest of spiritual acts. Without it, we are blocked in our spiritual journey. Forgiveness resurrects our peace of mind from the perils of victimhood and releases our negative judgments.
SO why do we have to discuss forgiveness still? Because we are human, living in a dualistic world. And our error thinking gets going and before we know it, we do something that we need to ask forgiveness, of others…of ourselves.
Or someone does something to us that we think requires forgiveness from them.
We forget. ‘…forgive them for they no not what they do.’ To err is human.
We recognize the destructiveness of unforgiveness and remember that it arises from a lack of understanding.
Fred Luskin, Ph.D., has been studying forgiveness for many years. He said forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past.
Thinking that forgiveness is needed is error thinking, which causes fear-driven choices. If we are in fear, then we truly do not know what we do.
Rev. Lord tells us, “seeing so much bad in the world is not an indication that what you see is correct; it is, instead, a sign that you are stuck in the illusion of duality and seeing incorrectly.”
Our collective belief system has come up with some horrific manifestations…Hitler is one most people question right away. And we have witnessed some pretty extreme examples of fear-based manifestations in the last year, right here in our country.
All based upon fear and the belief of separation.
Well, we are not separate. We are One. There are no lines of separation if we are practicing forgiveness.
If we do not accept the process of forgiveness, then, as Rev. Nirvana Gayle states: “If we’re unwilling to heal, we only condemn ourselves as species to reenact and repeat whatever is unhealed.”
Haven’t we seen this already, throughout our country’s short existence?
The racial divide is enough in itself to maintain the unhealed if we do not take a stand and move forward with the healing process.
Forgiveness is the act of releasing ourselves from the bondage of an ongoing negative connection. Forgiveness resurrects our peace of mind from the perils of victimhood and releases our negative judgments.
Let’s reach out as our Way-Shower has shown us with the simple but powerful words: “Father forgive them…” Jesus is “calling upon the divinity, the wholeness, and the unconditional love of God to do the forgiving.”
John 14:10 tells us, “It is the Father within that doeth the work.”
The Father within Is the consciousness of all that is good, perfect, and pure.
Research tells us we are wired for revenge and forgiveness, and we have the capacity to choose either response. Researchers are specific about how they define forgiveness when studying its effects on our well-being and happiness. Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky calls forgiveness “a shift in thinking” toward someone who has harmed you. It has nothing to do with reconciliation, forgetting, excusing or justice. When you are ready, forgiveness is a powerful choice you can make that can lead to greater well-being and relationships. This choice carries with it an intention to heal yourself.
So then, How Do We Forgive? Mary-Alice and Richard Jafolla in “The Quest, A Journey of Spiritual Rediscovery” tell us:
We make up our minds and our hearts to let go, knowing that carrying around anger and judgment toward others or ourselves is a burden we no longer wish to bear.
To understand forgiveness, we need to understand what it is not. It is not about condoning bad behavior or saying we must trust those who have mistreated us. It does not mean that there will be no justice for bad acts.
Consider this from H. Emilie Cady’s Lessons in Truth, written more than 100 years ago:
“To forgive does not simply mean to arrive at a place of indifference to those who do personal injury to us; it means far more than this. To forgive is to give for—to give some kind of actual definite good in return for evil given.”
This may seem like a tall order but when done, we can see the results straightaway. Rather than be consumed with anger and bitterness, we forgive. Forgiveness is the answer.
Those who we believe have been unjust to us, “know not what they do”…perhaps they have pushed us to new levels of being, enlarging our hearts and minds.
I forgive myself for my mistakes, and I forgive others for their mistakes, knowing none of us is perfect.
The Second Living Word for this week fits in perfectly…it is Now.
Mark Anthony Lord looks to the crucifixion scene and sees Jesus representing the Now. The two men crucified with him represent the Past and the Future.
The past and the future play a big part when we are in the midst of transformation.
Jesus’ said, “Today you shall be with me in paradise.”
Paradise. The Kingdom of Heaven.
It is available to us here, now and always.
But paradise can only be experienced in the now-present moment.
It is not so much the past that determines our current experience but our thoughts aboutthe past. We do not allow the past to rob us. We give thanks for how it has shaped us.
Anxiety, worry and doubt about the future rob us and so we bring our attention to the present moment. Spiritual awareness gives us strength and protection. Today we are with Spirit. And only today – in the present moment – can we experience paradise. Paradise – our oneness with God. It is here, it is now, it is forever. Experience it in this moment now.
Nothing else exists except the eternal now. God and all good things are present in your life NOW.
A Course in Miracles tells us; “Look lovingly upon the present, for it holds the only things that are forever true.”
In what areas are you “walking backwards” through life? To what extent are you using the past as a blueprint for the present?
In what way are your thoughts and feelings about the future affecting your present happiness?
These questions when answered may help you release what is holding you from experiencing NOW moments.
The saying, “One day at a time” could be ‘one moment at a time. We need to learn how to be present in our lives one moment at a time.
That is when change takes place. Where learning to grow into the people we want to be…who we need to be to truly live a blessed life.
It’s not wrong to have desires. Neither is it wrong to expect fair treatment. But our flights into our past or future leave us wanting for the peace that can only be found in the Now moment.
And we will have disappointments when our dreams to not come to fruition. When we spend too much time lamenting the unrealized dream, we miss opportunities in the here and now.
Disappointment can be a joy destroyer. We all need to process our disappointments.
But we also need to realize that God is our Source. What we were hoping for may not be what is ours to have or experience.
And if we are really in touch with ourselves and the Universe, then we know not to have expectations…that’s hard though, isn’t it? Disappointments come from having expectations.
In the “Creative Mind.” Ernest Holmes tells us:
Life is for us today. There will be no change for tomorrow unless we do the changing today. Today we are setting into motion the power of tomorrow. Today is God’s day, and we must extract from it what of life we are to live. Tomorrow in the divine course of events will care for itself. The soul that learns to live in the great gladness of today will never weary of life but will find that he is living in an eternal here and now.”
The Now moment is where paradise resides. The Now moment is the only space and time where we can change, grow, and feel real joy…that is where God resides.
Two wonderful words to start our series for Lent. The other words for future Sundays are: Oneness, Truth, Vision, Completion, Surrender.
I hope you will continue to tune in to our Sunday messages. I am sure much wisdom and compassion will be part of Rev. Lord’s thoughts. I met him years ago at Unity Village, a wonderful man with great, positive energy.
Season of Nonviolence
We’ve certainly have witnessed a good reason to encourage us all to delve into the Season for Nonviolence. Almost all last year, and into this year, violence seemed to spring forth from peaceful demonstration, from family violence, from police brutality, from Capital insurgents.
Every year, those of us seeking peace and nonviolence, set aside 64 days to remind us of what a nonviolent society would look like. We are given ways and examples of how we can change our life and the lives of those around us by simply changing our inside and outside behavior to peace.
Nonviolence is defined as: the absence or lack of violence; state or condition of avoiding violence; the policy, practice, or technique of refraining from the use of violence, especially when reacting to or protesting against oppression, injustice, discrimination, or the like.
There is a difference between ending conflict and starting peace. Peace is far more than merely the absence of conflict. All conflicts eventually end, one way or the other, but new conflicts arise.
Peace is the condition in which conflicts are dealt with and resolved in respectful, life-affirming ways. Peace is not the absence of conflict. Given the complexity of the world, that is an impossibility. Peace is the situation in which people have tools for resolving conflict in nondestructive, productive ways.
“We learn to practice nonviolence one step at a time, one choice at a time, one day at a time. This is how each of us, in our own way, move the world in the direction of peace.
I found an article relating peace to body movement. It was extremely interesting to me because as a junior at West Chester University, taking my practicum in Elementary Physical Education, I was introduced to Body Awareness activities for the Physical Education classes.
So, finding the article by Dr. Paul Linden about relating body awareness to peace making brought a smile to my face.
Dr. Linden states, “Peace must be based on peacefulness, which is a body state. Our bodies are designed to function in a loving, empowered way. Fear and anger are weakening to the body and the whole self. Actions that are built on the feelings of fear and anger will create, escalate, and perpetuate conflict.”
Dr. Linden further stated; “I would say that peacefulness is the essence of moral behavior. Morality is not some abstraction imposed from without. Morality is built into the very structure of the body. Morality comes from an integrated body state of power and love. Embodied peacemaking is an expression of the fundamental moral structure of the body. The method of peacemaking …is not based on philosophy and beliefs but simply on how the human body works. Embodied peacemaking is perhaps the most important application of the body. Paul Linden, Ph.D REACH OUT Body Awareness Training For Peacemaking— Five Easy Lessons
The essence of conflict is physical contraction, and the essence of embodied peacemaking is the deliberate replacement of contraction with expansion. Fear, anger, distrust, egotism, jealousy, greed, deceitfulness, and other negative feelings involve compression of the breath, muscles and posture. Compression creates physical weakness and instability. It creates narrow perception and narrow thinking.
Kindness, sensitivity, generosity, truthfulness, assertiveness and other positive feelings involve openness and freedom in the breath, muscles and posture. Openness creates sensitivity, power, and compassion. It creates open perception and open thinking.
The Season for Nonviolence is a perfect opening for Dr. Linden’s concepts. The
Season’ is all about kindness, generosity, truthfulness and other positive emotions.
A Season for Nonviolence is a global grassroots campaign dedicated to raising awareness about the healing and transforming power of nonviolence.
Nonviolence begins by learning how to be less violent and more compassionate with ourselves.
We learn by building the courage to speak and act with a respect, honor and reverence for our own being.
The Season for Nonviolence tells us “We learn to practice nonviolence one step at a time, one choice at a time, one day at a time. Through our daily nonviolent choices and action, the noble and courageous spirit within each of us expresses itself as the skills, wisdom and character of a nonviolent human being. This is how we each, in our own way, move the world in a direction of peace.”
Ask yourself: In the midst of conflict or challenge, how do we “be peace”? How do we DO peace? How do my actions contribute to peace?
The good thing, no, the GREAT thing is as we grow in consciousness, we create a more loving and peaceful world…our own and the Universe. We are working for more awareness of our consciousness.
This might help…
Picture of incomplete circle…
Anyone of you feel an urge to complete the circle?
In the Unity booklet, “The Way to Inner Peace” there are many stories and helpful ideas regarding ways to inner peace.
One is by Rev. Don Lansky. He tells of a Psychology experiment where a partial circle is drawn on the board.
When students look at the circle, rather than seeing a nearly complete circle, their eyes naturally go to the missing piece—the incompleteness.
Human beings are wired to both recognize the possibility of completing the circle and to experience the tension when it’s incomplete. In the classes, someone (who can’t stand it for a second longer) almost always goes up to the blackboard before the class is over to fill in the missing piece.
(Anyone here feel that urge?)
We can apply this lesson to our own lives. Are we choosing to see wholeness and perfection, or are we fixated on what is missing, what is awry?
What if we see our challenging behaviors, experiences, attitudes, thoughts, relationships, finances, health, and even spiritual development as a validation of who we are, rather than a shortcoming or failure?
What if our discomfort is our deep-seated urge to realize the wholeness that we innately know we already are?
We may sometimes feel that the universe is conspiring to rob us of our peace and wholeness. It happened to Jesus when he was tempted during his 40 days in the wilderness. And Rev. Lanksey says it happened repeatedly to one of his most respected heroes—Bugs Bunny.
I think most of us can recall Bugs Bunny cartoons…
All Bugs ever wanted was to live in peace. He would be taking in the sun on his chaise lounge at the top of his rabbit hole, wearing his sunglasses, sipping a tall glass of carrot juice, and singing a song — happy as could be.
Suddenly, Elmer Fudd would be shooting at him and trying to bag him for dinner. Bugs was incredulous at first. Elmer would throw Bugs into a basting pan and Bugs thought he was just getting a hot bath. But, finally, he would get it! Elmer was trying to cook him.
Then the chase would begin. Bugs Bunny was like a great aikido master. He never lost his cool or his sense of humor, and he always used his opponent’s energy to outsmart them. Because of his equanimity, Bugs was victorious and able to return to his own peace and privacy—which was all he ever wanted anyway.
When we feel like external circumstances are threatening our internal and external peace, we can learn a lot from Jesus, Buddha, the great masters and sages throughout history, and even Bugs Bunny. The truth is, we are already whole and complete. Nothing is missing. There is nothing to find because nothing was ever lost.
Author Mark Twain said this another way: “I am an old man and I’ve lived through many trials and tribulations, most of which never really happened.”
At this time in human history, we are called to a boldness of faith through prayer, meditation, the practices of gratitude and forgiveness, listening and following our inner guidance, and practicing the presence of God in every moment.
Several years ago, on one of the space shuttle voyages, Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud, one of the astronauts who was part of an international crew, said that during the first few days in orbit, everyone tried to find their own countries. By the third day they were just identifying continents, and after five days, all they saw was earth.
Like the astronauts, we all have a deep yearning within to see wholeness—to see and experience peace. That peace is already within you—right here, right now. The truth is, we are already whole and complete. Nothing is missing.
If you are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.
Why did you spill the coffee?
“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.
Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.
“Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.”
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.
*So we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”
When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?
Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?
Nonviolence means not only avoiding external physical violence of the spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, you refuse to hate him
“Our goal is to create a beloved community.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
10 Commandments of Nonviolence
- Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
- Remember that the nonviolence movement seeks justice and reconciliation – not victory.
- Walk and Talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
- Pray daily to be used by God in order that all people might be free.
- Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all people might be free.
- Observe with both friend and for the ordinary rules of courtesy.
- Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
- Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
- Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
- Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.
If you search Season for Nonviolence, you will find many other suggestions for peace and nonviolence.
I encourage you to take a look. Or you can visit our FB page, and each day I will post the reading and suggestion for the day.
Connie Mohn is also holding a daily call discussing these topics in a little more depth. If you are interested in participating in the call, please let me know.
These activities started yesterday, January 30th.
And please tune in next month as we celebrate Black History Month with our gang, Leroy, Diane, Angela and Carolyn each have a gift of message for us.
DO ONE THING for a Better World
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
Today we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was a man who believed in peace and worked hard for equality for all. His civil rights movement began one summer in 1935 when he was 6 years old. Two of his friends did not show up to play ball with him and he choose to go look for them. When he went to one boys’ house, their mother met him at the door and told him, rudely, that her son would not be coming out to play with him that day or any day …her son was white.
Of course, that was not the last time King experienced discrimination. Because of his intelligence and his determination to excel, King was able to skip the 9th and 12th grades. He excelled in public speaking, surprise!
One evening after taking top prize in a debate tournament, he and his teacher were riding home on the bus discussing the event when the driver ordered them to give up their seats for two white passengers who had just boarded.
King was infuriated and wanted to remain seated in protest, but his teacher convinced him to obey the law and they stood for the remainder of the 90-mile trip.
King later recalled, “That night will never leave my memory as long as I live. It was the angriest I had ever been in my life. Never before or afterward, can I remember myself being so angry.”
And, later, we know he helped with the bus boycott that Rosa Parks instigated when she refused to give up her seat in 1955.
We all know most of Dr. King’s life story. How he went from Baptist minister and activist to become the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.
So, educated minds want to know, what do you think Dr. King would think of the happenings on Wednesday, a week ago, when our Capital was sieged by followers of President Trump?
King was a man of peace. He encountered violence during some protests, but not started by the ‘peaceful’ marchers themselves. We can recall the late Rep. Lewis’ encounter with police on a peaceful march where he was struck in the head and thus experienced a serious concussion.
Obviously, I would venture to say that Dr. King would speak adamantly against the violence and the insurgency of the rioters.
I suspect he would agree with Rosemary Fillmore Rheas’ ideas on angry people: “The world has been changed for the better by men and women who have been angry, angry about life conditions, prejudices, bigotries, the seeming inequalities of life. They turned their anger into creative energy and vaccines were discovered. Laws were passed, philosophies were born, schools and charities were established, books were written, and symphonies were composed.”
The key point being “they turned their anger”, not that they brought their anger with them into those fields of creativity but that they turned it into creativity.
Unfortunately, the anger and frustration on that fateful Wednesday was only encouraged into rage instead of peaceful creativity.
One of Dr. King’s books is entitled, “Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community”. One of the central themes is hope.
We spoke of hope last week. The Metaphysical meaning of hope from the Revealing Word-Hope is the expectation of good in the future. It is a quality (good as far as it goes) of sense mind because it is subject to time.
Just as we were seeing hope for the pandemic, we must face that the division in our country is even deeper and possibly, wider.
If our country wishes to move forward from what has recently been a series of challenges to our health, our welfare and our democracy, we need hope, and so much more. We need to ask the citizens of our great country to “turn their anger” to creative ways for all people to be free and equal in all ways.
The very principle of One Presence and One Power is premised on equality and social justice. Spirituality cannot be separated from politics.
If we believe in our Principles and LIVE THEM, then we must…we MUST find what is ours to do’ and then step out and up and do it.
Our country needs people with vision on ALL levels to take their gifts and place them as the hands and feet of the God of their understanding and walk it.
Dr. Gary Simmons tells us, “Your soul is a force within you that seeks to push you toward ever-increasing levels of spiritual growth and personal integrity.
Resistance to this pressure produces discomfort, stress, and ultimately the storms of your life.”
I’m guessing some of the storms we are seeing, and feeling are from that resistance.
But if we recall the words of 7 or 9 from Star Trek, “Resistance is futile.”
Or from our Unity history, “What you resist, persists.”
Much better to get into the flow of our Source, connect with the Higher Self within you and when you do, you will know what is yours to do.
People, it does not have to be on the level of the President or Governor. It starts here, in our homes, in our communities.
Look at the ways you can, first, connect with YOUR higher self…prayer, meditation, contemplation, connection with people of your same ideals.
Then look to your household…. how can you aid in the peace within your home, more togetherness, more understanding, more compassion…brings more peace.
Then take that to your communities. Where can you aid in bringing peace to your community? We have outreach. We have our quarterly roadside clean-up. We have Sunday Services with music and Message. We have weekly Meditations on Mondays at 6:30 PM.
We have classes scheduled, both Unity Basics and Lessons in Truth. We have a weekly email send to you with information and inspiration, thank you Connie.
Our Prayer Chaplains and Board members are reaching out to you, staying connected, letting you know that Unity of Coastal Delaware is still here, and we are strong.
And in this Pandemic, we are a community that is doing our part to stop it by following guidelines…wearing a mask when required, keeping distance when necessary, washing our hands and using sanitizer as needed and now…getting the vaccine.
We all do our part, in a nonviolent way. Dr. King would be proud of our community.
One last mention of Rev. Dr. King…his birthday didn’t become a federal holiday until 1986, nearly 20 years after it was introduced to Congress, per the King Center. Even then, it faced an upward battle for all states to recognize the holiday, only getting nationally recognized in 2000.
To this day, it collides in Alabama and Mississippi with Robert E. Lee Day, which honors the Confederate general.
This was the first holiday around a national figure who is not a president, and who is African American. Many in Congress did not want to recognize an African American that was thought of as a troublemaker by some in his day.”
Nov. 3, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill marking the third Monday of January, as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, according to the center. The holiday was to begin in 1986.
In January 1986, the first national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was observed. It took a while, but we honor this great man today.
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
Before I move forward with the Message for this morning, I feel I need to say something about what happened Wednesday in our Nation’s Capital.
I am certain that most of us were and maybe still are shocked and dismayed at the actions of those fellow Americans who choose to attack our Capital and place in danger those people who were and are there to do the business of our Government, as well as in-danger democracy itself.
I ask you all to remember the Unity Principles as you connect with your Higher Self and work through your feelings and find the answer to our question: “What is mine to do?”
Remember, the power of God is greater than any human circumstances.
I will be talking more about this next week when we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Daily Quarantine Questions
Hello, my friends, and it’s great to be with you this morning. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we are finally into year 2021. Our hopes are all wrapped up in this year…
But what is hope?
Dictionary says: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; a particular instance of this feeling.
Metaphysical meaning of hope from the Revealing Word-Hope is the expectation of good in the future. It is a quality (good as far as it goes) of sense mind because it is subject to time.
But isn’t this quote from Barack Obama wonderfully full of what hope most likely means to many of us:
“Hope is not blind optimism. It is not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shrinking from a fight.
Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.
Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”
I just thought that was too wonderful not to share. And it is a good introduction to today’s Message…Daily Quarantine Questions.
We are into our 11th month of the pandemic if we start with February. Ten months of various forms of quarantine. We have adjusted somewhat to the demands a pandemic makes on our lives. We have prayed for those who have been infected by the virus, rejoiced for those who have recovered. And cried and prayed for those who have not recovered.
We have learned to have respect and even caring for those on every front line, from First Responders to grocery clerks to trach collectors to restaurant workers to childcare teachers and schoolteachers and cafeteria workers.
We never thought twice for many of the people who worked during the pandemic while others were safe within their homes. The Service workers still worked as best as they could. The Funeral Directors still tried to treat each death as a person with loved ones. The Ministers still tried to keep in touch with their congregations. The police still tried to have compassion as they interacted with many of their people.
We all did our best…most of the time. Every once and again, the frustration got to us, before we remembered that when we did something that was without the COVID precautions, we were not just potentially harming ourselves, but ANYONE we were near.
SO, we wore our mask, and stayed apart and washed our hands.
And we continue to do that.
But now, we have a light at the end of the tunnel…a slightly long tunnel, but the end just the same.
So, don’t lose hope. Don’t lose the twinkle in your eye and the strength in your heart.
Continue to chat with your contact person. Reach out to the people you know and even maybe someone you don’t. Get in touch with your inner Christ.
Spend some time connecting to our Monday Meditation. All you must do is contact me or Karen Laughman to get linked in.
Read some good books…I can recommend a few good Unity books. I’ll send some suggestions to be placed on the Wednesday email.
Chat with you housemate or friends about what you are thinking about the books you are reading, or even me and these weekly Messages!
Daily Quarantine Questions pic
And here are some more things for you to ponder…
What am I grateful for today?
We talk a lot about how important gratitude is for our spiritual growth.
Gratitude is the heart’s response to life’s infinite blessings.
“Being grateful does not mean that everything is necessarily good. It just means that you can accept it as a gift.”
― Roy T. Bennett
“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder, Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder: On Wisdom and Virtues
“Gratitude is one of the most powerful human emotions. Once expressed, it changes attitude, brightens outlook, and broadens our perspective.”
― Germany Kent
Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
It’s so easy to check in with a friend, relative, even neighbor. Maybe you were thinking of a time when we were all together at the Unity Spiritual Center and you smiled as you thought of a friend you met there.
It’s so important to keep in touch with people we know. This is the reason I’ve asked the Board and the Prayer Chaplains to take a few of our people and stay in touch with them.
An email or text is ok, but a call is even better because then you, at the other end of the tin can and string get to hear a voice and exchange what is happening with you and your world.
Give it a try. And next time your contact person calls or emails, get back with them…they need interaction with others too.
Here’s a list of ‘ice-breakers – ideas to help you connect with your friends, neighbors and anyone you wish to connect with.
What expectations of “normal” am I letting go of today?
Let’s face it, we are in for a new normal. Yes, the vaccines are becoming available. And I’m hearing different time frames, but we see an end, either way – spring, summer or fall.
But what will that new normal look like? Some of that is up to you.
Have you looked at what you REALLY need to live? Have you considered what changes to our lives are being done that will affect you?
Already, plastic bags will not be available, so our reusables are required. And we pack them ourselves. That’s a safety change.
We all will probably use hand sanitizer more frequently. And be more aware of sanitizing our surfaces at home and work.
Some people may choose to continue wearing masks, like we would see often in Japan and China.
Think about what your ‘new normal’ will be. What have you determined that you no longer need in your life? Being at home for so much of these last months, we may have discovered a different way to live.
I would love to know what you have discovered.
How am I getting outside today?
This might be easy…take a walk yourself, or with your dog, step out on your porch or deck. Look over that garden and let your mind wonder about spring and flowers. Take a ride in the car with the window open a bit, depending on the weather…run some errands while you are at it!
We are doing so much at home virtually, we might ‘see’ people via ZOOM, but sharing lunch at one end of the table and your friend at the other is so much better. Each bring a lunch, or have it delivered.
You could visit me during office hours too.
Just get out if only to take a deep breath of fresh air!
How am I moving my body today?
I know this is sometimes a difficult thing to do. My joints don’t necessarily want to do what I am asking them to do when I try to move from one place or position to another.
But we also know that moving more is what is needed to keep the ability to move effective.
So, try to get up and move around, even if it’s during TV commercials.
Better still, take a walk, doesn’t matter how far you go. Plan to do some type of movement at least 3-5 times a week.
I walk my dogs as I am able, but also walk on the treadmill.
Let’s all do what we can so when it’s time to get back together at the Center, we all will be there with a big smile.
What beauty am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting today?
This is a great question.
With Christmas come and gone, many of us have removed our colorful decorations. It looks kind of bare, doesn’t it?
What are you going to put in place of all that color?
I have some winter items that I can place around, nowhere near the amount for Christmas, but it fills in a bit of the places where I had some decorations.
And I must admit, I still have my Mothers little Christmas Tree in the dining room. Just can’t feel like putting it away.
But another way to add color is to have plants and flowers in the house. I have a friend, who, every time she visits, it seems, she buys flowers if she goes to Giant for food or coffee.
And I do have plants to add at least green, and sometimes flowers too.
We could also invite our imagination to this question, by adding what are you doing with crafts and hobbies? Knitting, painting, reusing some piece of furniture, puzzles; they all have color to fill the places where Christmas was.
These are good questions for us. I have heard several times, what am I leaving behind when we step into the new ‘normal’?
All these questions are great and we can ponder them now as well as through the week.
Happy New Year!
I hope you enjoyed a blessed and wonderful Christmas and I pray for you a very Happy and Blessed New Year.
The first Sunday in January is, by tradition, celebrated by participating in the White Stone Ceremony and writing what is called, a Letter to God.
The White Stone Ceremony follows the Burning Bowl Ceremony. These two Ceremonies are meant to open yourself, to let go of anything that you are prepared to release, then open to receive a name or word for your intention for the new year. After, we then write a letter to your higher self, which is really God, the Christ within. That letter to traditionally be mailed to you around June to remind you of those things that you wrote on your heart, coming FROM your heart.
That may be dreams that you would like to see or experiences that you are looking forward to having in the new year. The letter is a good way for you to check yourself and see if you are making the changes that you wished for or maybe see how far you have come.
For example, one of my Burning Bowl releases is emotional eating. So, my letter might ask myself how that was going or what more I need to do to make that change in my lifestyle to be successful.
This year, since we are not meeting with each other physically, I ask that you find a place to hold your letter and look for it in June. Mark your calendar or set your phone as a reminder of the date and where you have the letter. Then you can read it and see how you are doing on your journey. Some of the other Ministers in the Eastern Region suggested placing it in your Bible…maybe suggesting that it is someplace people are not normally going to….
You choose your place.
Now, let’s start our 1st Ceremony, the White Stone. You need either the white stone that you picked up from the Unity office, or the symbolic paper that we sent you earlier. Don’t forget a writing utensil.
You’ll need paper and pen or pencil and envelope for the second part, your letter.
What is the history of the White Stone Ceremony? It comes from the writing in the book of Revelation, which was written around 95 CE.
In Revelation 2:17: “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers (who overcomes) 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.”
This Biblical verse is stating many things…. first: “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying…”
In other words, we must have our outer and inner ear willing and open to the messages coming to us. If we are not willing, we will not hear the word or words, the new name that our Higher Self, our Christ Presence is giving us.
We develop this inner listening quality by getting out of our intellect and into our hearts, through meditation. In meditation, we stop our daily busy-ness and listen to the Divine Voice of Love. We open our minds and hearts to a deep intuitive “knowing.”
Then, To everyone who conquers (who overcomes)
What are we overcoming…? What do you think?
I wish you were here with me to hear your thoughts and responses.
We are overcoming – unnecessary fears, anxieties, the strains, and stresses of the physical plane.
And that is everyone, maybe not all day, every day, but we ALL overcome the trials of living a spiritual life in a physical body. And the more we listen, the more we are willing, the more we will overcome.
To everyone who takes the time to listen to the still, small voice; to everyone who makes the effort to deny outer appearance and affirm inner spirituality; you will 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:
“To everyone who conquersI 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:”
When we are in “the wilderness” of our spiritual searching, and if we surrender to the I AM, we receive “hidden manna,” not visible to the world. We are given an entirely new source of energy and nourishment. We are given peace that passes all understanding.
This hidden manna is derived from the higher level of being within us. It nourishes the soul first and then, the body. It benefits the whole being. Jesus alludes to this when he says to his disciples in John 4:32, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”
The 2nd promise is a White Stone
The white stone is an ancient ritual. 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 person. Each of us comes from the bondage of past nonsense – false limitations, old beliefs, error thinking that have been a prison. With surrender of the belief in separation and 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 Biblical times, a name was a very sacred thing. Every name represented a quality that was in the person who carries the name. Parents didn’t choose a name for their child just because they liked the name. They chose it for whatever essence they saw in the child.
Abram, as he grew in spiritual awareness became Abraham. Sarai becameSarah. Simon was named Peter (Faith) by Jesus.
So, when we surrender to the 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, our higher self. And this is where the Ceremony called White Stone” comes in. In the passage, we are told that I will give a white stone and on the white stone is written a new name that no 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.
In our oneness with God, we surrender our human identity to recognize our full potential. We let go of unnecessary baggage. Picking up a white stone is a symbol of receiving our “hidden manna” to feed us and our white stone of freedom.
The little card you have been given is a symbol of the White Stone. I invite you NOW to pick up the card or the White Stone and hold it in your hands. 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, write it on the card. If nothing comes to you during this ceremony, continue to ask. Whenever we ask there is an answer.
Allow yourself to ask a question: Who 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 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: 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.
The little card you have in your hand is a symbol of the White Stone. It is your sign of a clean slate. Whatever has gone on in the past, let it go. 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.
This word can be an overall intention…a way of being in the world…something to grow into…something that allows a deeper Truth to express more fully through you.
As you hold the white stone or card in your hand, hear the Christ Self that is you saying, “Behold, I make all things new.”
This is a sign of your ability in this moment to live in this new beginning. This is a moment in which you know you are free, free from all that has bound you.
And so, as you are guided by Spirit, I invite you to trust in this now moment, ….as Spirit gives to you in this sacred place…in this moment of Truth…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.
And, as that name becomes clear, just allow yourself to write it on your stone…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.”
Pause – silence-
Anytime you look at your white stone card 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 or card as a reminder of that promise.
Now take a cleansing breath. Clear your mind and connect to your Heart space once again, your inner Christ, your Higher Self.
It’s time to write our letter. This is a way to set our intentions for the rest of the year.
A new year is a time of beginnings. And when we release, as we did with the Burning Bowl, we create an empty space, which will be filled with something. This letter could be something we wantto consider filling that empty space.
It may be a check on how you are doing with the releasing of your Burning Bowl items. It may be a goal you have set for yourself for the 2021 year and this letter will check on your progress and maybe have some words of wisdom.
This meditation is done to help the us connect with our divine essence, Higher Self, Divine Mind–whatever we call God. We are invited to ask for guidance, we are invited to express some goals we would like to accomplish this year.
So, take some time now, in the quiet, and write your letter.
When you have completed it, place it in your envelope and write your name on the envelope.
Now place it where you will not see it constantly and make a reminder on your phone or calendar…or both!
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
While researching for today’s Message, I found this article by Eric Butterworth. What caught my attention was the title: Rise Above Your Past
And I think that title says it all…a big part of the Burning Bowl Ceremony is letting go of our past, no matter what it is that no longer serves us.
In fact, Big Unity sent this affirmation to lead us toward the Burning Bowl Ceremony: “I release the past so that I am free in this moment for all that is possible now.”
The Burning Bowl Ceremony is what is on our agenda this morning. The end of the year is a perfect time to review the year or, possibly other situations in other years, that have bubbled up in our consciousness and after prayer, meditation, and contemplation, we choose it is time to let the memory go.
Perhaps we are harboring a sense of guilt for something done or left undone in the past. Our past is retained only by our thought. It is not the incident but the memory of it that causes the effects of it today. The moment it is dropped from our consciousness, it is gone from the only place it ever existed.
This is liberty for us, freedom from the bondage of the past. True forgiveness, perhaps the only kind of forgiveness, is self-forgiveness.
What you have been is not important. All that counts in your life is what you are reaching for, what you are becoming.
If you are hoping and praying for some new unfoldment, some inner or outer change, are you ready to let go of the person you have been so you can let the flow of unfoldment be fulfilled through you as the person you desire to be, the person God sees you as being? Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:32). He meant free from the mistakes of the past and the effects of those mistakes. To know the Truth is to let go of untruths. Recalling negatives about yourself is rattling skeletons in your mental closet. They have no reality, but they can stir up great fears.
Affirmation: I empty myself, so that I can accept the good that awaits me.
We reflect, evaluate, and summarize in our mind’s year. We can focus on the ending and just feel gratitude that it is over, or we can truly feel gratitude for the blessings and growth the year has blessed us with.
However, we reflect and evaluate, it’s extremely healthy to release and let go before we move forward into the good in store for 2021.
Unity’s 3rd principle is the Law of Mind Action. Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind. Or we create our world by whatever we think, feel, and believe. So, whatever we focus our thoughts upon will show up in our world: think positive, create positive. It’s a universal law, like gravity!
Unity’s 4th principle is Prayer and Meditation to focus our thoughts on the positive through the use of affirmations and denials. Many are first drawn to Unity for its terrific teachings surrounding positive thinking and affirmations; however, we can affirm ‘til the cows come home, but if we have underlying beliefs that are in opposition to what we are affirming, we must eliminate the erroneous thoughts before we can truly create the world of our choosing. Releasing, eliminating, emptying, renunciating, all are basically for emptying out the power any negative thoughts can have on our lives.
Emptying ourselves is more than just eliminating negative thinking, it’s denying the power such thoughts have on us… and forgiving. We must forgive ourselves and others to move forward to our awaiting good.
Everything is made of energy, and everything emits some energy. Even our thoughts and feelings are patterns of energy.
According to the dictionary, an emotion is any departure from the usual calm state of the organism. Since an emotion prepares the human body to release energy through overt action, if the energy is not released, it is trapped with the memory of the event which aroused the emotion.
It is safe to assume that all of us who have not deliberately cleansed our memory banks of suppressed memories, we have a large store of trapped thoughts and emotional energy buried deep in our subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind has been compared to an obedient but not very bright servant whose principal function is to keep its master alive, safe, and (in its master’s conception of happiness) happy. We begin issuing orders to our subconscious servant the moment we are born, first as feelings, then as words, sometimes with thoughts such as, “I never want to think of this again!” It doesn’t matter if the buried events are real or fictitious, the emotional energy that is trapped can be disruptive and can interfere with our lives.
Fortunately, our subconscious minds will respond to our conscious minds, but we need to be firm in our purpose. If our current consciousness wavers, our subconscious mind will rely on old information! The very information we wish to release.
To conduct the burning bowl ceremony, we need paper, pencil and some uninterrupted time. A burning releases energy, therefore, it’s best not to do it at least four to six hours before bedtime. A burning is also a private matter. There is no need to share what you are choosing to release with anyone else.
Shortly, we are going to do a burning. I’m going to invite you to close your eyes and move into a silent time of reflection, evaluation, and forgiveness. It is a time to absolve ourselves. It is a time of releasing any negative feelings and related energy blockages in our bodies.
We’ll spend several minutes in the silence reflecting on that which we wish to release from 2020. With the pencil and the small, square of paper we included in your Christmas mailing from me, I’ll invite you to write down one or two words or phrases to represent that which you’d like to empty from your consciousness.
When you have completed your list of thoughts, feelings, memories that you wish to release, you will carefully take your paper to a safe fire like your fireplace or a small candle that is safely contained in a bowl with maybe sand and some water nearby.
Or prepare a bowl of water and release your thoughts and memories in cleansing water. Maybe tearing the paper and with each tear, feel the releasing.
Either way, We wish to be safe as we release.
Let us begin by denying together, “I release all that no longer benefits me.”
Now, let us affirm together, “I empty myself, so that I can accept the good that awaits me.” Let’s say that three times together to impress it upon our sub-consciousness.
Now affirm with me. “God is expressing as me and memories are powerless to disturb or harm me.”
Feel that affirmation.
Now declare aloud with me: “I now release all of the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes from 2020, that could hold me back from my good.”
Now we hold the Silence as we begin the forgiving process. Invite in the Holy Spirit to guide you in your process of letting go.
Silently ask what is ready to be lifted from you now. Allow people, places, things, feelings, addictions or patterns of behavior to arise in your conscious mind and as you recognize them, begin to write them down on your paper.
As you agree to release them, trust that they are being treated perfectly by God as you release them from your human concern, anxiety, fear or resentment. Your Highest Good is intimately connected to the Highest Good of all who are in your life – as you release them from your worry they are released into God’s care at once.
With each name, thought, feeling or internal pattern you release, peacefulness grows within you. Allow this process to continue for the next couple of minutes, writing down what you are given to release.
Release your thoughts and memories by burning or placing the paper in water or tearing it up to release your thoughts and memories.
We will continue in SILENCE.
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
Great Morning and Merry Christmas to you all!
We are back with our final Sunday of Advent. Our Advent theme is JOY. (Light candles Hope/faith. Peace, love, joy)
When we light the Advent candle for joy, we remind ourselves of the spiritual truth of this season: “Unto us a child is born.”
Charles Fillmore states in the Revealing Word “joy is the happiness of God, expressed through humankind”
There is a Chinese Proverb: “One joy scatters a hundred griefs.”
How have YOU been scattering JOY? Think on that for a few minutes. How have you done that? Close your eyes and see the joy you give to your family…your friends….your neighbors….maybe strangers passing by, or in the store…
I bet you have a smile on your face!
In telling the Christmas story, the Gospel writers remind us that when things seem darkest, joy can come in unexpected places and small packages.
And are we not seeing the small package of vaccines that are one of the answers to this pandemic? We have seen many things through these months…some very good and some an indication that we, as a nation and a world, have much to still do.
Isn’t this the perfect time to look at what is ours to do, this time when we are reminded of the Christ presence within each and every one of us.
Christmas brings out the inner child in us. Children remind us of the joy of playing, giving, learning, and loving. In the presence of such joy, our inner child can awaken our Christ nature and then the Messiah is truly born.
Jesus told us, “unless we become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
If given the opportunity, spend some time with some youngsters, watch their eyes as they reflect the joys of Christmas. Talk with them and hear their words, so simply stated. That’s where we will find love and joy and peace.
Christmas is not an event that happens only in December or 2,000 years ago in Palestine. Christmas happens as we open to the possibility of hope, when we live in the understanding of peace, and when we give love.
We can certainly look with hope now and moving forward, for we can see the end of this pandemic and see the light that we each bring to the world as we express the joy of the season.
WE can see a light at the end of this year. We can look with hope and declare to do our best as the new year starts with prayers for an end to the division in our country.
WE can pray for peace.
The joy that is Christmas—the birth of the Christ, happens all the time, every minute of every day. As the days get shorter and darkness seems to close in, we light the candle for joy to remind ourselves of the power and presence within us. Then we celebrate the season with newfound glee. We pray for the guidance and strength to always do our best.
Our 4th Agreement is “Do your best.”
Easy — right?
WE have explored Hope & faith, peace, love and now joy for Advent, anticipating the arrival of the Christ Spirit, reminding all of us that we are one in the Christ.
All of us! No one is left out.
And we have looked at each Advent theme through the lens of the 4 agreements: Be impeccable with your word; Don’t take anything personally; Don’t make assumptions; and now Always do your best.
Today is all about Joy! What is one way to discover joy? To always do your best!
Don’t you always feel joy in accomplishing a deed or a job, a work assignment or maybe completing a gift for someone?
When we let ourselves off the hook of having to be or do differently, an inherent joy is discovered. We just BE!
As each faith tradition takes time to experience the light of this joyous season, not everyone will be feeling happy. Some of us may feel isolated or lonely.
This reminder is especially for you.
You are whole, no matter where you are on our journey. You may not feel like celebrating, and that’s okay, but you can remind yourself: I am joy.
Our lives are an expression of love and joy. This is an innate truth of our divine nature
Tell yourself – I am a celebration in this world. There is no other me.
Whether in the quiet of our own thoughts or surrounded by others, our energy flows into a creative collective. Each of us is a unique and beautiful reflection of the Divine.
Give yourself the first gift: affirm that you are a divine and joyful celebration.
Rev. John Paul Roach
“Joy is not dependent on the accumulation of things or being successful in the world’s terms, or having the perfect life”…they can bring some happiness, often temporary & unsatisfactory. Joy arises when we let go, we release our need to work it all out, and simply be with what is.
Joy is our natural state of being…it’s connected to our Christ nature
Joy can come in unexpected places and small packages. Remember, children remind us of the joy of playing, giving, learning, and loving….our inner child can awaken our Christ nature & the Messiah is truly born
Christmas is not an event that happens only in Dec or 2,000 years ago. Christmas happens as we open to the possibility of hope, when we live in the understanding of peace, and when we give love, & experience love. The joy that is Christmas happens all the time, every minute of every day. We just need to be open to it.
If we are doing our best to be joy and bring joy to others, we are being our best selves when we are impeccable with our words. We understand the power that is inherent in words & thoughts spoken silently or out loud.
If we are doing our best, we are not taking anything personally. That means joy for us because we are being true to our authentic self. We know that what others say regarding ourselves is not of our concern. It belongs to the person speaking – we do not have to let their words injure us.
We can’t be in joy if we are making assumptions. And that is certainly not doing our best. If you are making an assumption, most often it has to do with your egos desire to think it knows everything. It does not. What is happening with others is different from what is happening to you…or at least how each of us see it.
What is ours to do?
To seek joy:
Listen to what is around you…church bells ringing, positive words spoken, toddlers’ lispy lyrics all carry joy
Watch for acts of loving-kindness. Give thanks, keep a joy journal.
Appreciate beauty. Behold star patterns across the sky. Feel the vast well-being of the universe
To spread joy:
Lighten a load, listen with love, make a difference.
Anticipate opportunities to beam a smile, whisper a blessing, encourage another.
Grant yourself quiet times of prayer and meditation, contemplation.
Remember, Hope, Peace, Love and Joy can be ours. Always do your best, in thought, word and deed.
Have gratitude as it expresses as peace, love, and joy.
Say: I am gratefully and wonderfully blessed.