Saturday, July 2, 2011

Just a thought

It's been some time since I posted. Spiritually I am so blessed. I am challenged to grow, to become more understanding and to deepen my connection with God. No matter what the challenge, God working in and through me is enough.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Of Power & Grace

Mother's Day dictates a lesson about mothers. When it doesn't work to talk about human mothers, that leave the principle of motherhood, the divine mother, or a mother of history who was amazing and did great things.
I have chosen the latter. An amazing mother who did great things. She said:

But, dear, I feel you are crowning me with an honor that belongs to the Holy Spirit-- . . . which expresses in the loving desires of the hearts of all those who are endeavoring to manifest the Mother side of God! You call me the mother of Unity! . . . in reality, I feel that I am only the soul who caught the first vision of this ministry, and who nurtured that vision until others came along to help in the establishment of it in the minds and hearts of our dear ones (Letters of Myrtle Fillmore., by Myrtle Fillmore, [1936],

Those are the words of Myrtle Fillmore, co-founder of Unity.
History says she was an equal partner in the founding and ongoing development of the prayer ministry, property development, and services provided. She is often called “the Mother of Unity.”

Myrtle Fillmore was a woman of power!
Her life stands as an example of what people may become when we are expressing our best! She said,Given wise and loving mothers, orderly and harmonious homes, we could eventually dispense with primitive laws and corrective outlays (How to Let God Help You 176-7)

Myrtle could be said to be a late bloomer in her spirituality.
Her early life was clouded by disease; tuberculosis at a young age
Still she finished high school, attended a year of college
all that was available then to women,received her teaching license,and
accepted a teaching post in Clinton, MO

Illness continued through the early years of her marriage to Charles. She was
42 when she attended a lecture by a Christian Science practitioner, Eugene B. Weeks.
I must have been fully ready for the initial lesson, for it filled and satified all empty, hungry longings of my soul and heart. There is nothing in human language able to express the vastness of my possibilities, as they unroll before me.(HTLGHU 5) In her process she used the affirmation, I am a child of God; therefore I do not inherit sickness. Through spiritual means she healed herself of tuberculosis.

Yes, Myrtle Fillmore was a woman of power, and an example of the power that each of us has within, that is always available. As she said, human language cannot express the vastness of our possibilities.

Myrtle was also a woman of Vision
She said, From the moment I perceived the healing law I could not let my neighbors alone. If there was anything the matter with them, it had to be put aright; they had to know that there is a better way.(TBLW 6)
She could not avoid sharing the message and the ideas.
Martha Smock wrote about Myrtle that she “Led the way. . . she led the way with her changed life and thought
(Torch Bearer to Light the Way 149)
Yet neither Myrtle nor Charles claimed any special revelation;
no claim that she could do something that no one else could do.
It is my great joy to perceive somewhat of the mother side of God--the divine love that never fails and that is equal to the drawing of souls to itself. It is my prayer to be able to radiate the qualities of this divine love to all. You too are the mother of Unity, because in your heart you have the same ideals, and the same great generous spirit, and the endless and tireless service, and the love that never fails! The mother (Letters of Myrtle Fillmore 3) of Unity is the universal mother.
She taught classes, wrote for and edited Wee Wisdom magazine for children and Unity magazine. She worked for a salary along with the other workers.
Yet it was her vision and dedication to the work that co-founded a spiritual movement that today encompasses a 24-hour prayer ministry that is 120 years old, and an educational ministry that offers classes at Unity Village and on line. It's sister organization, the Association of Unity Churches International supports churches such as Unity Christ Church with products, programs, and resources.

Yes, Myrtle Fillmore was a woman of vision, and an example of what the vision in each of us, of what we can become by focusing our attention on developing our conscious connection with Spirit within.

Yes, Myrtle was a woman of vision, AND she was a woman of Grace

May Rowland was the head of Silent Unity, the 24 hour prayer ministry, said of Myrtle, She had a way of stopping and patting people on the shoulder as they worked. . . She was vitally interested in everybody, in all the workers here. (TBLW 151)

Myrtle wrote to one of her correspondents,
I think you are trying to give me too much credit for your poise, happiness, and success! Of course I am happy to have been privileged to write to you and pray with you and rejoice with you over demonstrations. But I know that it is God in the midst of you doing His perfect work who is responsible for the good (LMF 7).

Myrtle's humility was rooted in her conviction that students can easily fall into the trap of crediting their teachers for their progress rather than the teaching itself. Myrtle was aware that such crediting can take the attention of the student away from the Source or Spirit, and keep them wandering instead of arriving at their goal.

It has been said of Myrtle that until the day before she died at age 86 she reported for work daily, maintained an infectious, joyous presence, a way of being that had its impact on those around her.

Yes, Myrtle Fillmore was a woman of power, of vision, and of grace. She was the mother of three boys, who brought in her mother-in-law to help with the family when Charles and she agreed she should use her talents outside the home.

She was a 19th century woman of great spiritual development. She can serve as a shining example of validity of prayer, healing ability of Spirit when we focus on our spiritual practice of silence and denying the power of the condition and affirming the health and vitality of the spirit of Life within us, what can be accomplished with a vision and unswerving dedication to the integrity of the message;
Living a life of inspiration and dedication.

She may have been a 19th century woman, but her teachings and examples are timeless. She truly deserves to be called the mother of Unity, and is a great example to all who wish to manifest the Mother side of God, the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cabaret or Masquerade

Life is a cabaret, old chum
Come to the cabaret.
Come taste the wine, come hear the band, come blow your horn, start celebrating,
Right this way your table's waiting.

Cabaret is a form of entertainment featuring comedy, song, dance, and theatre, For our purposes today, the cabaret is the celebration of life, the table that has been set and awaits our arrival at the party. Are we sitting at the table waiting for the band to begin?

If not, what stands in the way?

Jesus met a man who was not only NOT at the table, he was so deluded that he lived in the cemetary. He had been bound many times, but nothing could hold him, so he was banished.

Mark 5:9-13 NRSV
Then Jesus* asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’ 10He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; 12and the unclean spirits* begged him, ‘Send us into the swine; let us enter them.’ 13So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned in the lake.

In those days it was the common belief that mentally ill people were possessed of demons lives and intelligence of their own, demons who resisted all efforts to drive them from the person. In his mental illness, the demonic showed many aspects of himself in exaggeration. These ways of being were a masquerade, a false representation of his true nature. Notice that Jesus did not fear the man, he did not walk away. He asked, “What is your name?”

This incident is one of the most obscure passages in the Bible for those who try to interpret it literally or traditionally. But what is the spiritual significance of the event?

With regard to demons Charles Fillmore:
Demons, or evil spirits, are conditions of mind, or states of consciousness, that have been developed because the creative power of man has been used in an unwise or an ignorant way (MBD).

In other words we have been given marvelous minds with which to create great things, but we misuse that power. We get bored, we get frustrated, we place our focus outside the Sacred and use our creative power ignorantly, not realizing what we are doing to ourselves or our world.

Fillmore goes on to say ...The mind builds states of consciousness that become established in brain and body. (i.e. when we misuse our minds, the mind becomes used to that state and tends to follow that same vein.) Both good and evil are found in the unregenerate [one] . . . The work of every overcomer is to cast out of himself the demons of [error], through the power and dominion of his indwelling Christ (MBD 170).

These material/ mental creations of ours fascinate us. We tend to enjoy our creations, and don't give them up easily. It's a bit like being conditioned to fear something. Let's say that at some time in our lives, we were in a confined space, and believed we could not get out. The longer we were confined, the more fearful we became. Even though we were released from that situation, we tend to go through our lives with the fear of confined spaces – aka claustrophobia. Even when it's a short ride to the 4th floor, and we know that the elevator door is going to open, we feel fear and sometimes even panic.

Usually it takes concerted effort to rid ourselves of that fear. Likewise it takes concentrated effort to break the bonds of those fears and addictions that keep us from seeking and living our highest selves. One addiction may masquerade as another. For example, an addiction to a substance may shift to an addiction to food, or religion, or relationships. Our minds are marvelous creations that can fool us into believing its okay to do something “just this once.”

Byron Katie said,
“I have never experienced a stressful feeling that wasn't caused by attaching to an untrue thought. . . . We have a thought that argues with reality, then we have a stressful feeling, and then we act on that feeling, creating more stress for ourselves. Rather than understanding the original cause – a thought – we try to change our stressful feelings by looking outside ourselves. We try to change someone else, or we reach for sex, food, alcohol, drugs, or money in order to find temporary comfort and the illusion of control. Loving What Is

Fillmore put it this way:
Adverse states of consciousness (demons) are tenacious and do not relinquish their hold easily. When their rule is threatened by our determined efforts to be rid of them, they seek other habitats or places of residence in consciousness. (YHG, P 115)

Swine [under Jewish law] are unclean animals and represent . . . impure thoughts. In this healing the demons left the man at the command of Jesus and entered the swine. This means that obsessions that are dislodged at one point in consciousness find temporary refuge in some other phase of the carnal nature. As the herd rushed into the sea and perished, so evil is ultimately destroyed if we will be faithful in focusing our thought energy on the indwelling Christ and claim union with [the Christ].

We have mentioned that the demonic's demons were masquerading as his nature, but were not his True Self. From earliest times people wore masks when droughts or other disasters struck. They believed that the demons who had brought their misfortune upon them would become frightened off by the hideous masks. Even after the festival of Samhain had merged with Halloween, Europeans felt uneasy at this time of the year. Food was stored in preparation for the winter and the house was snug and warm. The cold, envious ghosts were outside, and people who went out after dark often wore masks to keep from being recognized.

Eventually this combination of Samhain and the wearing of masks has evolved into our celebration of Halloween, which for most is a way to have fun, perhaps do a few harmless outrageous things we might not ordinarily do.

However, when we use masks to hide our true selves, they may NOT be in good fun. They are likely to be a way to protect ourselves from some perceived threat.

We become afraid of letting people see the real us.

We are afraid of letting someone see our shortcomings out of the fear that they will not like or love us.

At work we may throw on a mask of authority and power in order to seem in control.

At home we may throw on a mask of contentment, a mask of everything is okay, out of fear our spouse may not love someone with problems.

At church we throw on a mask of self-righteousness and pride, a mask of "I have this God stuff in my life together, so don't ask me how I am doing. I don't need any help; I don't want any fellowship with you people that are down and out. I am okay."

Maybe we even have a mask of rationalization that we put on in compromising situations, a mask that shows the boys on the golf course "I am really just like you; this church stuff is just for Sundays."

On and on we go, shuffling our masks on and off from situation to situation, until one day our masks begin to fail. No matter how good we are at this game, eventually cracks develop from all the wear and tear of changing masks. As the cracks develop people start seeing the real you in-between the cracks. Some may even reach out to help, but that mask of pride, which has now become a prison of pride, will not allow anyone inside.

All the masks will become prisons of guilt, resentment, self-centeredness and on and on. The prisons can become solitary confinement, locking out even God. You lose God, AND you lose your identity, the core you, the real you.

If you find yourself in a prison built in your mind, built by your actions, built by losing the real you somewhere behind these masks, it's time to pour your heart out to God, to claim the Christ within, and cast the masks away. It's time to find the core you and to let others inside to help you. Let a pastor or an unselfish, caring friend inside your walls to help you up.

Has anyone here rescued an animal? Remember the transformation of that animal? You first see it in their eyes. It begins a few weeks or months after the dog or cat has been taken in to a safe, secure place where she is fed regularly. Her eyes begin to open wider, rounder and softer. Then in time they began to open like a flower in bloom. A little while longer her muscles, once taut, angular and sharp, begin to round out ever so delicately. She walks more softly, sits down more easily. Even the breath is less disjointed, more rhythmic. It can take a year or more for the full transformation to happen and with some it never happens 100%, but even at 50% or 75% it’s quite a miracle what having a home, steady meals, dependable treatment, and kind words can accomplish. It’s as if this warrior came into your home and morphed into a young, innocent child. The same is true for the person who has been living in a prison of his or her own mind, built by one's own actions.

Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Do not submit to thoughts that would imprison us from our real Selves. Do not permit the allure of our mental and material creations to dupe us into self deception.

You are the Christ the son or daughter of a living God.

Come taste the wine, come hear the band, come blow your horn, start celebrating,
Right this way, your table's waiting!
God loves you, and so do I.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sharing In the Harvest

“Daddy you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it's Bo's birthday.” Those were the words of Malea Obama as she said good morning to her dad, President Obama, Friday morning. Sasha added, “We have a 3-day weekend coming up,”
Kids do put things in perspective.

I Cor 9:10 . . . It was indeed written for our sake, for whoever plows should plow in hope and whoever threshes should thresh in hope of a share in the crop. (NRSV)
What do we want our harvest to be?
It all begins with self examination.
What do I want?

What if we want to harvest success?

If we reap what we sow, what do we sow to reap a harvest of success.
Self observation is one of Unity's tools for transformation. So observe your own thinking right now. Let the word “success” rest in your mind. What thoughts show up? Look closely . . . What does success look like?

Greg Braden, best selling author and one who bridges science and religion said,
when we create the very precise feelings as if our career is already successful, our relationships and our partnerships are already in place and we have just the right people to accomplish all of the goals in just the right way, this sets into motion a mechanism in this field that allows those things to come to fruition. Once we understand the mechanism, it becomes a technology, and we can do it consistently and repeatedly.

In the movie You Can Heal Your Life Braden tells the story of a Native American friend who asked him to go with him to pray for rain. There had been a drought in the region for years, and his friend, Richard, had been asked to pray. They went together and Richard began his process. He created a sacred circle and walked around within the circle. After a while Richard stepped out of the circle and Gregg asked him if he had prayed for rain. Richard said, “No. I prayed rain.”
Heard the rain
Saw the rain falling
Smelled the earth as the rain came down
He felt the wet soil under his feet and between his toes
He tasted the raindrops
He felt the rain falling on his body.

He did not pray FOR rain, as he stood in the circle he prayed rain – he became one with the experience of rain.

This is what we do when we pray success.
We see ourselves dressed the way we would if we were successful.
We feel the way we would if we had that measure of success.
We hear the sounds, friends, conversations that we would if we were successful.
We taste the special food we would eat, we smell the fabrics, perfumes, foods, flowers, the whole olfactory experience we would have.
We touch the things with which we would surround ourselves.
Now all that experience depends on how you define success.
If success is a CEO position, create that experience in your mind.
If success is a self-sufficient cabin in the wilderness, create that experience in your mind. When we see it rightly, we set into motion the mechanisms that can bring it to fruition.

A word of caution – for most of us on the spiritual path, “things” are not the goal.
It's fine to have them, and usually we are seeking harmony and fulfillment that “things” cannot offer.
So, be careful what you ask for! You are likely to get it. If you want all those things, be sure to put a vision of money in your experience. You want to pay for those things.
If you are seeking harmony and fulfillment of a spiritual nature, then seek God within.

A second word of caution – we may find ourselves somewhat addicted to our problems and the drama they can bring.
It's exciting. Just look what I am dealing with!! Can you imagine!!
We DID imagine it – that's how we got it.
So if you want the harmony and fulfillment of a richer life in Spirit, then we just may have to give up the drama.

Lynne Twist tells a story in The Soul of Money about her visit with Mother Teresa in Calcutta.
Mother Teresa had been her inspiration since childhood, and she finally had a meeting with her.
She sat with Mother Teresa at a simple table and were deeply into sharing when a scuffling noise and loud voices interrupted them.
Both the man and the woman were very tall, very large, heavily perfumed, and clearly very rich.
They had seen Mother Teresa, but now wanted a picture. They treated her roughly to get their picture, and a second and then without so much as a “thank you” disappeared down the hall and away.
Swift was extremely upset, and the distress continued after she returned to her hotel room. She lit a candle and sitting down, wrote a letter to Mother Teresa. She poured out her heart and asked for forgiveness for her own thoughts and judgments and asked her counsel.

Weeks later Twist received a reply from Mother Teresa in which she explained that the vicious cycle of poverty was well known and articulated.
Far less obvious, and almost completely unacknowledged is the vicious cycle of wealth. The suffering, the loneliness, the isolation, the hardening of the heart, the hunger and poverty of SOUL that can come with the burden of wealth. The wealthy need as much compassion as anyone on earth (34-36).
We may not think of the wealthy as in need of compassion, yet this is part of our work. As Mother Teresa said, “Do not shut them out. They also are your work.”

My point here is that when we ask for a rich spiritual life, sometimes we encounter those situations that challenge us to our very core, and often from most unexpected quarters.
If we see ourselves with a rich life with Spirit, we must be sure to include seeing ourselves as having the strength, wisdom, and compassion to include the rich and the poor, the loving and the hard hearted, the sick as well as the healthy, the poverty of money and things as well as the poverty of the SOUL.

Even as we work to clarify our own deepest desires, it is critical to remember
Nothing and no one is against us.

Times of change are times of fearfulness AND times of opportunity.
Bible says many times, “Do not be afraid.”
If fear is your constant companion, try facing the fear. Most fears resolve themselves into a few general classes that almost everyone is called upon to meet in some form or another (Wilson, Master Class Lessons, 137).
Nothing and no one is against us. It is God's good pleasure to give us the kingdom.
Once men feared lightening – then one man faced the fear and found out how to make lightening serve him and others.
Men feared the uncharted seas until one brave soul set out to face that fear.
We know that God's perfect will for us is only good. Facing our fears can only diminish their effect on us.

We ALWAYS reap what we sow; we share in the harvest. Let's not cheat ourselves by sowing seeds of distrust, of fear, of dissension, of rage, of poverty.

A story is told of a man who was employed to build a fine house. His employer was a man of means who was going on a journey and wanted the house built during his absence. Before leaving he explained to the builder just what he wanted.. The house was to be built on a beautiful site already chosen. No expense was to be spared. Nothing but the finest of materials was to be used.
The employer departed and the builder set to work. He built well, following the instructions of his employer and building a worthy structure.
After a time he succumbed to thoughts of dishonesty. He reasoned that it would not be notices, and he did poor work. He used inferior materials and pocketed the difference.
After many months the employer returned and the builder went with him to inspect the finished building. On completing his inspection the employer astounded the builder by telling him, “This home is yours. I intended it for you in return for your past service to me.”
The builder realized he had been cheating nobody but himself.

When we sow seeds that are unworthy of the Divine, we are cheating ourselves. God is right here and right now, within every one of us. We are free to choose, AND in choosing we are electing to accept the results that will flow from those choices.

God is the love within you; you are the most precious creation of the Creator.

God loves you, and so do I.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Small Seeds, Mighty Trees


Members of our congregation participated in Unity's World Day of Prayer on September 10.

Today is another AWESOME day of prayer!
Thousands to Gather in Times Square for Prayer
Prayer in the Square will take place on Sunday, September 20 and will also be streamed on the Internet
By Sarah Beldo

Prayer in the Square takes place on September 20.
As many as 20,000 people are expected to show up to New York City's Times Square for an organized prayer event on Sunday, September 20 at 3 p.m. EST.
The hour-long 2009 Prayer in the Square gathering will bring together 264 churches from the tri-state area, representing multiple denominations.
Additionally, 87 churches from across the world, including some in the UK, Singapore and Israel, will take part via a live webcast.
Ten individuals have been chosen to pray for three minutes apiece, and these prayers will be interspersed with songs from a 180-member gospel choir.
Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a proclamation saying the event "is sure to be once again a powerful symbol of unity."
"People from across the country of different denominations and backgrounds come together in their shared vision of a better world and their belief in the power of prayer to make a positive impact on us all," the proclamation stated.
The first Prayer in the Square event took place in September 2007, with the aim of promoting spiritual growth.
From what I could find, thousands gathered in Time Square for that first event.
In 2008, an estimated 15,000 people attended.

  Live Webcast at at 3pm ET, 2 CT

In scripture we find:
Matt 13: 31 He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."

The parable of the mustard seed is most often used as a parable about faith, and it is!

It is also about growth – the plant has a most vigorous growth habit. It is a cool-weather loving annual (must be planted every year). So it grows to maturity and develops seeds which are either harvested or dispersed by the plant itself – all in a single season.

“Prayer in the Square” sounds to me like a mustard-seed-like event. In three years it has grown to 20,000 people plus webcast and 264 churches world-wide.
Unity's World Day of Prayer may have been even larger – there are over 900 Unity churches and study groups through out the world. We just don't know how many participated.

Unity was founded on prayer, and it continues today with a 24 hour prayer ministry that has been praying 24 hours a day for at least 110 years and counting. Here at Unity Christ Church, in addition to our Sunday worship and prayer, we have two additional times of prayer and meditation through the week along with the option for prayer on an individual basis with the ministers, with our chaplain, and our other prayer partners.

When we have a small seed of faith that moves us to pray, it is like that mustard seed. We plant it in a receptive heart, as the seed is planted in cool garden soil. The receptive heart is the environment in which the seed of prayer can grow. The cool garden soil is the proper environment for the seed. When the seed has plenty of water, good drainage, and sunlight, it grows quickly into a large shruby plant. That prayer activity combined with a receptive and willing heart soon grows a strong flourishing faith.

So how do we grow spiritually like the mustard plant grows in the proper soil, water, and climate?

Soil might be compared to the emotional field. Remember often in the Bible when the people were facing a challenge, an angel would appear and tell them “Be not afraid!” When we are facing the unknown, don't we have those moments of hesitation, sometimes fear, and sometimes even terror!

Imagine living in slavery for a few hundred years, and along comes Moses to lead you to the Promised Land. This is a land that is supposed to be rich and life in that land is supposed to be good. But you have to cross a desert on foot to get there. While slavery is abhorrent, what would it be like to leave a place where you have food and water and a roof over your head? Then you realize you are going into the desert where there is no evidence of food and water; never mind a roof! Do you suppose there would be some fear there? I'm sure I would be scared out of my mind.

Fast forward about 1200 years to the time of the birth of Jesus and imagine the shepherds in the fields when they see a great light shining around them. We've seen enough UFO movies to know what comes next, right?? They didn't have movies or television, but they knew that light was some kind of phenomenon. Then an angel spoke to them and said, “Do not be afraid.”

The writers of the Bible knew that fear was the constant companion of the people. Fear of famine, fear of drought, fear of disease, fear of each other! It was a hard life by today's standards, and fear was always there. So dozens of times the people were told, “Do not be afraid.”

That seed of fear is strong, but what is stronger is the tiniest seed of faith. We use our affirmations, our denials, and our self talk to help us through the fear. AND we pray. When no other prayer comes to mind, use the Prayer for Protection. We allow that God-Spirit to well up from within and wash over us to assure ourselves that all is well.


As we pray, the other half of that prayer is listening. We speak our affirmations and denials, and claim the good that we know is ours. Then it's time to listen. What is that inner wisdom, that God-spirit calling you to do or to be. As a son or daughter of a living God, we are being invited to participate in our own spiritual growth and the spirituality of the global community.

As you listen, what is beconing you? What is YOUR passion? Is that passion something in which Unity Christ Church can participate? Unity Christ Church stands poised for growth and transformation. The growth of a church is all about the consciousness of the spiritual community it embraces. Growth is fueled by passion. When that passion meets a need and enhances the lives of others, it transforms society.
Helen Keller said,
"No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." Helen Keller
When it comes to uncharted lands, some in the medical community are walking them.
In an article in the Jersey Journal, incidents at Meadowlands Hospital in Secaucus and the Jersey City Medical Center contrast two approaches to a mistake.
At Meadowlands, a patient who says a kidney tumor was misdiagnosed told the paper he wouldn't have sued if the doctor had apologized.
At Jersey City Medical Center, a case is cited in which a nurse failed to administer medication to a pregnant woman who had a blood type incompatible with her fetus. The woman had already left the hospital, so the hospital sent a nurse to her home to give her the injection, said Brenda Hall, a senior vice president and chief safety officer, the paper said.
"They were grateful and understood," said Ms Hall.
There is nothing in the current medical context that would have suggested an apology should be considered. Admitting liability is anathema to the insurance companies and attorneys. Yet this medical center apologized with good results. AND according to a report by the Herald News, a new trend toward encouraging doctors and hospitals to own up to and apologize for their mistakes is cutting down on malpractice lawsuits. (The Jersey Journal Saturday March 21, 2009.)
Listen to your inner wisdom – how are you being called to step into your own destiny? How can Unity Christ Church participate in that destiny?
Look for a Sign
As we have prayed and listened, our next step is to look for a sign.
But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jer. 31:33-34).

This does not just mean the nation of Israel, metaphysically Israel symbolizes spiritual consciousness. So God-Spirit has made a covenant with all humankind that when we access spiritual consciousness, God's guidance, God's law, is already written on our hearts – it is within us; we know it inately.
AND We know that God-Spirit is reliable and true to the promises. Our job is to understand those promises. So when we think we have received guidance, put it to the test.

If our guidance is of God it is:
pure – free of selfish motives
peaceable – promotes harmony
gently – considerate and courteous
full of mercy – compassionate
offers good fruits – ultimately serves the best interests of everyone.
Without uncertainty and insincerity – that is, it is impartial, straightforward, free of doubt, and honest.
If any course of action fulfills all those requirements we can follow it confidently, for it will be in accordance with God's will (Hasbrouck, Handbook of Positive Prayer, 126)
If what we perceive as guidance does not meet the test of purity, peaceable, gentle, mereciful, straightforward, and serving the best interests of everyone, then the so-called guidance is NOT of God. That same mustard seed of faith can work for us.

One of the oldest uses of Mustard Seed has been as an emetic, a medicine that provokes vomiting.
When something is not of God, the mustard seed of faith can act as an emetic to spew out the old, useless beliefs that no longer serve us and make room for the true guidance of God-Spirit.

Then we ask in prayer to be given two signals – one that always means yes, and one that always means no.
What kind of sign might that be?
Sometimes a very ordinary sensation that we associate with being correct (feeling of relief, perhaps the color green for go, perhaps the word yes seeming to sound in our minds.
Sometimes it is something startling. If that happens, then it probably means that kind of signal is necessary to get our attention.

Signals for both yes and no are important. Even if we haven't asked for guidance, our signal for no often occurs when we start to do something that is not in our best interests.

We began with the mustard seed, and its similarity to our path of spiritual growth. To grow that seed of faith into a mighty tree of spiritual maturity,
First we pray – we enter the depths of our being to commune with God.
Next we listen – for that urging, for that guidance that pulls us forward, testing that guidance as we go.
Then we look for a sign – we put that guidance to the test

Through prayer and meditation, and using our standard of guidance we have the opportunity to turn it around. Whatever it is in our lives, we can not only GO through it, but GROW through it. As the mustard seed grows into a mighty tree-like shrub, so with that seed of faith, we can grow through life's challenges as a person and as a spiritual community into a mighty tree, a spiritual beacon of light!

As Helen Keller said, "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Your Servant Is Listening

A wide porch graced the front of a house we owned a few years ago, and I often sat there watching the sunset. One early Fall evening as I sat wrestling with a decision about an issue at work I saw leaves drifting down. Now focused on the leaves, I watched as one drifted down and landed on a flower that grew in front of the porch. It was NOT a leaf but a Monarch butterfly. Our home was in the migratory path of the Monarchs! I followed the butterflies out into the trees to discover clusters of them covering some of the low-hanging branches, their tiny bodies packed as tightly as they could possibly be.

As I stood and watched, more of them drifted in and settled in clusters. They reminded me of ideas;
ideas that float in from many sources or up from within and gather in clusters. Have you noticed that ideas cluster around our intentions? I was reminded that ideas come from many directions, and no matter the direction, the ultimate source is God. It is our willingness and openness to ideas that attracts the resources we need. It's the energy of invitation that brings those resources to us. The ideas are always there as this is the energy of God everywhere present. Our energy attracts and activates those ideas.

In the Old Testament, Hannah was barren. She prayed for a son and conceived. In her prayer she declared that if she had a boy she would dedicate him to the Lord. That son was born to her and she named him Samuel. Samuel served the priest Eli in the temple. When Samuel was about 12, one night in the early hours before dawn, he heard a voice calling “Samuel, Samuel.” Samuel ran to Eli, but Eli said he did not call. This was repeated 3 times until Eli understood it was the Lord calling. (Read I Sam 3:4-10)

Metaphysically Samuel represents spiritual discernment; both judgement and wisdom. The ability to hear/connect with the still small voice AND to implement what has been heard. He is the wisdom and the judgement that come often as a still, small voice at the heart center.

Like Samuel,we may get the still, small voice, but not hear it. OR when we hear it, we don't understand. Samuel went to Eli 4 times before Eli understood. As we continue in prayer and meditation, and in personal unfoldment we begin to understand:
This is Spirit talking to me! That energy of invitation that Samuel expressed by his service and devotion in the temple and to Eli attracted and activated Spirit's activity.

So how is it we so often either miss the message or misinterpret it?
Thomas Jefferson said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

It may be that we have not attuned ourselves in our unfoldment to hear that voice.
Perhaps we have heard the voice and don't recognize it. Or we misinterpret it.
If it is of God:
It shows love; even when the Truth is hard to hear, it is wrapped in love. There is a sense deeply within that this is what one is meant to do, even when it is difficult. The work is lifegiving. It may draw upon our deepest resources to continue the walk, And we know it is the walk to which we are called. We may delay it, resist it, make it extremely difficult for ourselves, yet in our heart of hearts we know we are meant to do this work.
Margaret Lewis wrote a poem about this:
I reached out from the cloak of confusion
To find you sitting patiently in the silence
You watch as I struggle against the weight of the pain
I kick, I cry, I scream
You sit patiently in the silence

The cloak slowly slips from my shoulders
Revealing an ugliness that shames me
You never recoil from the grotesque
You sit patiently in the silence

The horror fades, the cloak is forever lost
Beauty and wisdom are found beneath
You sit in an easy silence
Allowing me to revel in newfound strength

Unfamiliar gifts, difficult to accept and honor
And you sit silently
Accepting and honoring all that I discover
Teaching me to sit patiently in the silence.

Lewis has put into poetic form the transformation from resistance and self absorption to the energy of willingness and invitation that attracts those ideas; the still small voice.

You may recall from the OT that Elijah did not find God in the storm but in the stillness. God was just as present in the storm as in the stillness, but Elijah could not hear. Listening is a skill that we often don't develop or lose track of. Even when we can listen to Spirit we may not listen to others in our world
In daily life – are we so eager to get our 2 cents in that we fail to hear the other person?

Are we so preoccupied with our own thoughts and beliefs that we are not open to another's ideas? For me I can get so busy and focused I don't hear or see anything but what is on my path. Something as simple as our own routine can get in the way of hearing or discerning the voice of guidance.

Aren't we much the same with each other? We half listen with our heads while
part of our mind is making the grocery list or the “to do” list. We're in a hurry and the story from the other person is too long.

There's a type of listening called active listening. The listener looks at us full in the face; looks in our eyes. We know we have their full attention. They seem to hang on every word.

Then when we finish they may pause a moment and then reflect back, “what I heard you say was . . .” and they give an accurate summary.

The way we listen can actually allow another person to bring forth what is alive in them. This is a way we can all be enriched. Not only by listening to each other, but listening to Spirit, to the still, small voice that speaks in the storm and in the stillness.

Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.

Monday, August 3, 2009

God Calling, August 2, 2009

God Calling

Moses, Exodus 3
• minding his own business,
• tending the flock of sheep of his father-in-law,
• Jethro who was a priest in Midian.
• He led his flock beyond the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

• The angel of the LORD appeared
o in a flame of fire out of a bush.
o Bush blazed, but was not consumed. That got Moses’ attention!
o “I must turn aside and see this great site; see why the bush is not burned up.”

• Out of the bush came the voice of the LORD, “Moses, Moses!”

• “Here I Am”
o Come no closer!
o Remove your shoes
o holy ground. I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
o Moses was afraid and hid his face

The LORD told Moses that He had heard His people’s cry for deliverance, and Moses was to go to Pharoah to bring the Isrealites out of Egypt.

o Who am I to go to Pharoah?

o I will be with you.

o What about the Israelites? When they ask me the name of the one who sent me, what shall I say?
o I AM who I AM. Tell the Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you.” God told Moses what to say.

o But what if they don’t believe me? God showed Moses
o Turned staff to a snake and back to a staff
o Put your hand in your cloak – it came out leprous, and turned it back to healthy flesh
o If they don’t believe those 2, pour water from the Nile on the ground and it will become blood.

o I’m not eloquent!

o I’ll send Aaron with you

Aaron never got to say a thing.

MBD: (461)
Ex 2:15 Moses moving from the wilderness to Horeb
o discipline we must undergo when we have sought the One.
o Horeb means solitude.
o So we go within and lead our flock of thoughts to the mountain of God, that is, the divine I AM, whose kingdom is good judgment.

The bush burned but was not consumed.
o The light, or flame of intuition burns in our hearts, but our hearts are not consumed.
o Instead the heart brings forth wisdom. This is “holy ground”, or substance in Divine Mind.
o When we approach that holy ground of wisdom in our own inner being, we must take off all limited thoughts, i.e. “remove our shoes”
o In this communion in the silence with the light within us, the true way of release is indicated.
o We see the possibilities of humankind and the goodness of the Promised Land to which we can raise our thoughts.

From God’s assurance that “I will be with you,”
o recognize the power and presence of God, and
o in that recognition lies our strength and ability.

Determining the call of Spirit
o a theme that has been around since time was.
o myths and legends about the will of the gods, or the Will of God in every culture so far as I know.
o legends of gods and goddesses
o messengers that conveyed the will of these gods to humankind.

In our own scriptures there are many examples of callings.
• Samuel, [I Samuel Ch 3]: Samuel served the Priest Eli. Samuel heard his name called 4 times before he answered the Lord, “Here I am for your servant is listening.”
• Saul [Acts 9:3] Saul was on his way to Damascus to bring followers of the Way to Jerusalem when a light from heaven flashed around him.

Each of these was called to serve God.
o Each of you is here because you at least are curious about God.
o Perhaps you have been called.
o Being called does not mean you have to stand on a platform and speak.
o You might be called to do exactly what you are doing!
o Or it may be a form of ministry you have only admitted in your innermost hearts.

Before we talk about what, let’s ask some more questions.
But how do we know we are called?
Maybe we just fell out of the basket here on Earth and life happens to us.
o And if we are called, how do we discern that call? How do we recognize the touch or voice of Spirit?

• We are created by God, in the image and likeness of God; therefore spiritually perfect.
• God has already chosen us;
o so the first choice for us to make is choosing God.
o We can delay, we can reject, we can go our own way, and the invitation will continue to present itself in various ways.
o At any moment we can choose God or “not God.”
• When we choose God, we
o set into action a catalyst that sends us toward experiencing our oneness with God.
o This is a union that is a soul yearning
o When we choose God, we choose a path of returning to our spiritual perfection.
o even if it is challenging, we are equipped to handle it.
o Through our connection with God we perceive and understand what is ours to do.
o When we choose God, we choose a path of love.
 Whoever does not love is not in alignment with God, for God is Love.
 God is the all-pervasive, all-encompassing love energy that is in everyone and everything.
 It is in everything and everywhere, always in all ways.
So if any of these things are missing, it’s a good bet it’s our own ego that we are choosing, Not God. God is the light that is always shining within so that we may all be enlightened with the knowledge and glory of God.

Having chosen God:
How do we know what God is calling us to do or be?
God’s will for all humankind is that each one of us expresses as much good and Christ nature as we possibly can on the level of consciousness at which we are operating.
o Raising our awareness of God in us is our life-long walk when we choose God. There are many tools for seeking self awareness and heightening consciousness.

• First is prayer & meditation. This is our direct connection with God.
o Prayer is a process in which we
 relax our bodies and
 focus our attention on our connection with God.
 We concentrate on life, wholeness, and health.
 We continue to focus on God to deepen the connection as we sit in the Silence.
 In the Silence we commune with God and listen for guidance.
 Realizing our oneness with God and all the Good that God is, we may receive our answers if we are willing and open enough.
 We then give thanks.
o Meditation is a longer period of remembering that we are Spirit and that our bodies are the temples of our Spirit. Charles Fillmore, cofounder of Unity, said in Christian Healing (15), “A daily half hour of meditation will open up the mind to a consciousness of the inner One and will reveal many things that are hidden.”
• Self observation is another tool. We have the capacity to observe ourselves,
o to review our actions, and assess our motives.
o One instrument - keeping a journal. We can note our feelings and our reactions to situations. We can write down when we feel disconnected, and what was going on at the time.
• Listen to our questions.
o Are the questions we are asking leading us to answers?
o Or are they questions like “Why?” “Why doesn’t God answer me?” “Why can’t I figure this out?”
o A question that DOES lead to an answer, “What needs to die in me so that I can discern God’s gifts and leading?”
 What part of me needs to be released to hear God?
 What ego-motive needs to die
• Interact with other seekers who help you find answers; with those who support your efforts and offer conversation that further your spiritual quest.
o A drug addict who gets clean does not return to the drug culture in an effort to stay clean!
o A depressed person doesn’t seek the company of other depressed people to feel better.
o May be useful in understanding the illness, but it doesn’t help us be less depressed.
o If we are seeking spiritual enlightenment, then seek the company of those who support and uplift us on our path.
o You may be amazed at the comments that impart wisdom when the speaker was just making conversation.

As we seek to discern God’s call, remember that “divine guidance is a magnificent flow of Infinite Mind. It is a longing and an energy through which you and I can make choices that are best in our own consciousness” (MPH I, 45).

What is God calling you to be or to do?
What is the desire of your heart?
Who would you most want to serve?
Help children? Teach adults to read? Care for infants in distress? Care for the elderly? What desire is bigger than the next thing we want to buy? What secret yearning of your heart is greater than how great we want to look for the picnic?
It can be anything, AND to be a true calling, it must have those God-like qualities:
• Compassion
• Love
• Kindness
• Serving
• Lifegiving
• Strengthening
• Goodness

Sometimes it helps to look at how others have experienced a call.
You’ve heard of—a website that helps shelters and rescue groups find loving homes for animals?
Maybe you even found your own pet through the site— has facilitated more than 13 million adoptions.
Back in 1995 Google wasn’t a verb and Facebook didn’t exist. The world wide web was more of a wild world.
Betsy Saul, and her husband, Jared, weren’t dot-commers. He was beginning his medical residency and she worked for New Jersey’s urban forestry. But they were intrigued by the sense that anything was possible on the web. We just didn’t think it was being used effectively.
“The ultimate website would harness technology for a socially responsible cause,” Jared said.
Betsy nodded and they fell silent. What cause needed our help? Then both said, in unison, “What about animal shelters?”
Betsy got goose bumps when she thought of all the lives we could save. What were the chances the same inspiration would strike us at the same instant? Betsy knew every year, millions of abandoned pets—healthy, loving animals who wanted only for a home—were killed.
Two years later our site went national. I left forestry to devote myself to it full-time. Today, more than 12,500 animal welfare groups post animals on Petfinder; 65 percent of animal adoptions in the U.S. come through the site, including most of the animals on my farm in North Carolina. Jared and Betsy live with three horses, seven chickens, a guinea hen, two goats, a sheep, two guinea pigs, two cats and a dog.
Betsy said, “Helping animals find homes isn’t always easy, but it’s what I was meant to do. Every day I’m reminded we’re all connected in ways beyond our imagining.”
James Dillet Freeman, Unity’s poet laureate, wrote
Sometimes I wonder if life ever answers prayer except with a seed. Life never gives us a life lived, but always a life to be lived.
Life never makes a tree grown but a tree to grow.
Life never brings forth a man in the full flush of his powers and deeds, but a babe with powers all to be discovered and deeds to be done.
What powers and deeds are God calling forth in you? God is calling. How will you answer?