Sermons

April 3, 2020

THE JOURNEY OF A MODERN DISCIPLE
By Rev. Violet Schonhardt

Mathew 14:14:21
Lamsa Translation

14. And Jesus went out and saw large crowds, and he had pity for them and healed their sick.

15. When it was evening, his disciples came to him and said, This is a lonely place, and it is getting late; dismiss the people so that the men may go to the villages and buy food for themselves.

16. But he said to them, It is not necessary for them to go; give them something to eat.

17. They said to him, We have nothing here, except five loves of bread and two fish.

18. Jesus said to them, Bring them here to me.

19. And he ordered the people to sit down on the ground, and he took the five loves of bread and the two fish, and he looked up to heaven and blessed them and he broke them and gave them to his disciples, and the disciples placed them before the people.

20. So they all ate, and were satisfied; and they took up the fragments which were left over, twelve full baskets.

21. And the men who ate were five thousand, not counting the women and children.

*

Recently as I sat in the comfort of my living room, quietly reading, See No Stranger, by Valarie Kaur. I felt the comfort of my own heart opening more. To share her message to the world, Valarie uses her own personal experiences to make the book come alive as it is a memoir and manifesto of revolutionary love that dives into the racist hate that American Sikh’s faced after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

When looking at the overall point of view, the reality of living in the physical world at this time of evolution is challenging, often confusing to say the very least. The needs are many, not just for the human species, but for animals, plants, all life on the planet really. So many times, the human heart feels lost and alone, separated from the comfort of feeling the wonderful peace that comes from within the center of self.

At other times, the peace of mind, the joy of building community, all of the blessings of living fully integrated in the physical world as a human being, are readily available as we individually and collectively turn to the center of peace, the Spirit within and feel comforted.

In an updated sentence from the “Indian Prayer to the Great Spirit” the mission of the Modern Disciple is comforting and peaceful. “I ask for wisdom and strength, not to be superior to my brothers and sisters but to be able to make peace in my relationship with myself.” That to me is the first responsibility of a Modern Disciple. As we integrate the message of loving compassion that comes with peace of mind, we are prepared to give love without condition to the world.

As I continued reading See No Stranger, a sentence jumped out at me and warmed my heart. “Love is such sweet labor.” That one sentence immediately changed my consciousness to one of comfort and joy, of strengthening the feeling of my ongoing purpose of service to all of life all over the planet. Oh my, what a powerful vision, such a blessed experience for all of us to move into, to integrate into our everyday living experiences, to fill the need for loving care in our world, the journey of New Hope for the love of all. What a blessing to call ourselves loving, care packages. Spiritual activists shall we say.

For me it is the same journey that we as Modern Disciples, metaphysicians, light bearers are moving through right now in 2022. It also speaks to the time of turmoil that Jesus moved through and mastered many years ago, an example that many of us have chosen to follow.

My thoughts once again turn to “Loving Compassion,” as I think of the journey of love that each of us is called to move into on our own journey as Modern Disciples, as way showers, as Spiritual Activists. We feel the call from within to be fully integrated into the physical world while experiencing the fullness of unlimited spiritual creative activity. This is the blessing, the opportunity to make a tremendous difference in our world today.

In our metaphysical work through the years, we have been encouraged to think about enthusiasm and the wonderful effect it has on our lives. Several years ago, while in Florida, I met a man from London, whose name was Stanley. When he retired, he moved with his wife, close to Cypress Gardens, where he works part time on a steamboat, serving refreshments. He inspired me as a beautiful example of living a life filled with enthusiasm, with loving compassion.

He had a light in his eyes, a bounce in his step and a smile on his face. A few minutes after the boat began its journey around the lake, Stanley left his place behind the refreshment stand and walked to another part of the boat. He returned with a five- or six-year-old boy. He took him to the cabin to be with the captain where the young boy happily spent the rest of the tour.

As he and I were chatting, he fixed a slice of warm apple pie, put whipped cream on it and set it in front of me and said, “Enjoy!” Later in the trip as I was listening to the captain explain the scenes around the lake, I suddenly became aware that something special had happened as Dudley handed a lady a cup of coffee. Their hearts connected with contentment as both shared smiles. Both had given and received in this simple act of kindness. After she left, he turned to me and said, “She didn’t have any money. I could feel that she wanted a cup of coffee.” As the tour ended, I watched him seek out the 5 or 6 children on board and hand each of them a sack of potato chips. The warmth of loving care permeated the air. An example of loving compassion fulfilling potential.

During our conversation, Stanley told me that his wife was not well. He was so happy to know that if she needed him, someone would come out on the lake and get him so he could return home. As we came close to the end of the tour, Stanley looked at me with a big smile and a twinkle in his eye and said, “Life is what you make it!” The words landed softly in my heart as I was aware that I was in the presence of a Modern Disciple.

With that he told me he had enjoyed talking with me and that he must help dock the boat. As I left, he was shaking hands and greeting the people. As I went on my way, I was left with hope and joy; the fulfillment of loving compassion, an example of the “Sweet labor of love.”

Before my father passed away, I was visiting him in the nursing home. I was touched very deeply by a special gift of love. As I walked down the hall, I heard, comforting, fulfilling music coming from a room I was passing. It sounded to me like an angel singing a beautiful song in a foreign language. A woman with her back to me was sitting in a wheelchair singing a beautiful song in a foreign language. Stretched out on a bed in front of her was a white-haired lady with a large oxygen mask covering most of her face. Her eyes were closed. The song the woman was singing seemed almost like a lullaby filled with warmth and tenderness and a wonderful peace. I lingered a moment as tears welled up in my eyes.

As I moved on down the hall, I stopped at the nurse’s station, where I mentioned to the nurse what I had just experienced. She too responded to my comments with tears in her eyes. She said the lady in the bed would probably not last through the night. Her friend in the wheelchair had canceled her out of town plans so she could spend time singing to her friend who was passing away. She also told me that even the son, who had come to say good-bye to his mother, had been hesitant about disturbing that sacred, holy scene.

I do not know how long the lady in the wheelchair continued to sing her song of love to her friend. The nurse implied that she had been singing for some time. I would not be surprised if she sang until her friend breathed her last physical breath and found herself back home with her loved ones on the Spirit side of life. As I think back to this special memory, I realize once again, the value of loving compassion, which is a “Sweet Labor of Love.”

The work of the ministry of the First Spiritual Church of Bay City includes communicating with guides, teachers, loved ones in the world of Spirit. This relationship is a special bonus, which provides a special opportunity to live fully present in the environment in our world today. So many of us have felt the unconditional love, the guidance, loving care coming to us from our friends in the world of Spirit. They are always there for us on an everyday basis including in our time of need. As my teachers and I have had fun working out, part of my special relationship with Spirit is that I am a student in Spirit University. The good news is that they are available 24/7 and their guidance is free! Whooppee!

Because it is a world filled with opposition, which brings with it the need to hold the feelings of sadness, of fear, the pain of Covid, of war, and many other hurtful circumstances, as well as happiness, joy, kindness, the journey becomes a process of making peaceful relationships with ourselves as individuals. Out of this comes the experience of abundance, the idea of the Loaves and the Fishes demonstrated in the scripture by the Master Jesus. The songs of our hearts create the fullness of coming together on common ground.

Spirit teachers encourage us to wake each morning and greet the day with Love as we say, with respect to ourselves, “I have everything I need.” And of course, the next loving, caring thought being, “How can I be of service today?” It is such a blessing to realize that in the light of loving compassion, hearts are wounded no more. The tenderness of loving care of self and of others unites us in an environment where love builds bridges not walls.

Moving forward the ability to live life creatively is a gift we have brought with us into the physical world. It is included as part of our essence, our innate ability. The beauty, the opportunity of the physical world, is that is designed as a womb of creation. Things, experiences, do not have to be the way they have always been as we set our intentions and follow through on what is ours to do. The need to grow, to change, to become that which we long for, moves us forward into new ways of accomplishing ideals. I call them current projects. We do not have to be stuck in past circumstances that have been created by old thought processes. We have everything we need to create reasonable solutions that are kind, loving and fulfilling.

As we listen to the call of our own hearts to love more, we include the process of loving more as is demonstrated in the book, SEE NO STRANGER. We are the strength, the courage, the revolutionary love to include all life in our prayers, our meditations, our everyday living experiences. Loving compassion includes family members, politicians, governments, co-workers, anyone and everyone with opposite belief systems and attitudes. It is the opportunity to integrate peace into our own lives. And yes, it includes President Putin and others whose hearts are broken and disconnected from the One powerful energy system that created all life everywhere.

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN by Robert Frost sums up the Modern Disciple’s journey artistically.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

In conclusion, living lives as “full-time love bugs” is the glorious opportunity of a Modern Disciple.
It is the road that makes all of the difference. Enjoy!


March 20, 2022

From Whom All Blessing Flow
Rev. Brian Jones

Our scripture is the Gospel of Luke, chapter 5, verses 20-26, Lamsa translation:

20And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples and said, Blessed are you poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. 21Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

22Blessed are you when men hate you and discriminate against you and reproach you and publish your names as bad, for the sake of the Son of man.

23Be glad and rejoice in that day, for your reward is increased in heaven; for their fathers did the same to the prophets.

24But woe to you, rich men! for you have already received your comforts.

25Woe to you who are full! for you will hunger. Woe to you who laugh now!

For you will weep and mourn.

26Woe to you when men speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

You’re likely familiar with the eight beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. I’ve always been drawn to Jesus’s lesser-renown Sermon on the Plain where Jesus offers four blessings and offsets them with four woes (perhaps that’s my mother’s overly cautious influence). Make no mistake. Jesus is not being pessimistic here.

Instead (unlike in the Sermon on the Mount) he is showing the full cycle of Divine Energy, or at least our place in it. Sometimes we have abundance. Sometimes we’re in need.

As Metaphysicians, understand that we’re not passive bystanders in the cycle of Divine Energy. We are Divine Energy. And because of this when we are blessed, then we tend to pass it on. If Divine Energy is constantly in motion, we can rest assured that it will flow to us when our cup is empty.

Blessings are abundant in the Bible. The first happens as early as Genesis 1:28 where “God blessed them and said to them, “be fertile and increase. Fill the earth and master it.” In the New Testament, Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple to receive the customary “first born son” blessing.

Humans have grown accustomed to seeking the blessing (or favor) of God.

There’s a plaque on one of the condominiums in my community commemorating the time Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, visited a Polish-American journalist in 1976 and blessed his home. And it’s not just homes. Our meals are blessed; our pets are blessed, business ventures are blessed. I’m especially charmed by a Hindu blessing called the vahan puja in which the owner of a new car asks that it be in harmony with the household and accident-free.

We want a so-called blessed life. We buy cards wishing people blessings on very special occasions. I know I love it when a customer service rep tells me to “have a blessed day” rather than a plain-old nice one. To be honest, I think I’ve got “nice days” down. I can do those. Be on my best behavior, and boom! There’s my nice day.

But a blessed day. When someone tells me to have a blessed day. I wonder, “ooh! How is that going to unfold? Should I walk through the rest of the day with my palms outstretched in a beatific posture? Will the sun shine warmly upon my countenance? Will a bird alight on my outstretched finger?”

But in all seriousness, this act of blessing is a serious business. Many of you might remember a little book from 2000 called The Prayer of Jabez. It’s based on a scene in First Chronicles where a less favored son cries out to the God of Israel, “’Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”

The Prayer of Jabez became a runaway bestseller. It was hailed by many as the key to earthly security if not prosperity. And I remember my saintly mother sent me the book, shortly after I’d walked away from a perfectly good career in the United States Air

Force Band to pursue my dream of being a teacher, specifically a university music professor. While that was over twenty-years ago, I was sufficiently steeped in Metaphysics to read Jabez’s prayer with a metaphysical eye:

“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!” Unlike Jabez, I did not need acreage to validate my existence. But as someone who knew to this life to be a teacher, I wanted to be of benefit to the world. Not only did I eventually become a university professor, I went on to join the National Guard where I mentored future Army officers. I rose through the ranks to be the Senior Enlisted Leader of all Army National Guard Bands and now advise 51 bands across the United States and its territories. And (spoiler alert!) I eventually went to seminary which has allowed me to give sermons and classes on Divine Metaphysics. As a teacher, I consider myself blessed with an enlarged territory!

And Jabez’s request that the hand of God be with him, to keep him from harm so that he would be free from pain. It’s practically Buddhist: if the works of our hands, in other words our actions, are done with Divine intentions. Then we should not suffer.

Like Jabez, it appears that blessings are something we tend to seek out, something we want to receive. In seminary we were trained in the art of conveying blessings to the home, to a child, to a relationship. Notice I said, convey the blessing, not give. Like healing, it is not ours to give. It’s something that should rightfully flow through us, to those who need it.

Those of you who recall my sermon on gratitude, hopefully remember that living in a state of gratitude requires us to participate in the cycle of gratitude. We must genuinely express and genuinely receive it. The same goes for blessings.

Looking back at Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain:

24…woe to you, rich men! for you have already received your comforts.

25Woe to you who are full! for you will hunger. Woe to you who laugh now! For you will weep and mourn. 26Woe to you when men speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

There’s nothing in the scripture indicating Jesus is bringing down the wrath. No. He’s simply stating this as a course of Natural Law – that all things are in motion and cyclical. If you hunger, if you are poor… you will be blessed. If you are wealthy, if you’re joyful, if you’re adored… these things too shall pass. And why?

Because the first four happy conditions, like the last woeful four, are human conditions. Not spiritual conditions.

The key then is to act from a spiritual mindset when we find ourselves in either state. And I’ll be the first to admit that this is easier said than done. When we’re in a state of abundance, it’s utterly human to crave more. And when we’re in a state of woe, it’s utterly human to wallow in our misery. The challenge then is keep blessed energy flowing.

I will never forget a moment several years ago when I stopped at a 7-11 in a very foul mood. I’d had an exceptionally bad day at an old job with a miserable boss. I’m sure everyone could see the black cloud looming over my head. Waiting in line it appeared the high school kids in front of me didn’t have enough money. They’d popped in for a couple ice cream sandwiches and came up short. I never have cash on me. And yet this day, I had single dollar bill in my pocket. I set it on the counter. It was a minor act of kindness, but the kids’ relief was palpable. The showered me with “thank you sir!” all the way out the door. And not only did I not mind being called “sir,” my foul mood was gone.

There’s saying by Brazilian writer Fernando Sabino (made famous by John Lennon), “everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” And as cleverly reassuring this is, it still calls for a significant amount of faith. And I think I consider the despair millions of Ukrainians have been facing these past few weeks, this seems like an incomprehensible leap of faith. Yet, I see thousands of Ukrainians not succumbing to despair, but instead looking it squarely in the eye. Their resilience shouts, “this is not the end! We have hope! And hope is faith in action!”

During Lent we are retreating within. We’re taking account during the dearth of winter while joyfully anticipating the abundance that comes with the fully actualized Christ consciousness. It’s this spiritual elevation that spares us from the suffering that comes with the swing between earthly blessing and woe. This is one of the most valuable promises of Natural Law. The pendulum will always swing between blessing and woe. Living in accordance with our higher selves means that we ascend higher up that pendulum. The bottom will always swing violently between extremes. But higher up, the shift from left to right decreases. It is there where we can gain equilibrium and focus on what really matters. Always remember that in times of abundance or despair, the Kingdom of God is yours. It always has been and always will.


March 13, 2022

Beginning Lent
Rev. Lisa Bovard

Jeremiah 29: 12-14

Then you call on me and come to pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you and will bring you back from captivity. Jeremiah 29:12-14

Every year we await the coming of spring knowing its cyclical return is assured. Maybe this is a reflection of our scripture from Jeremiah today? An assurance that when we seek God. We find God. We find God within ourselves. This is the message, return to Spirit and Spirit returns to you, to set you free from your captivity.

Lent is the name given to a process of inner clearing and reflection to allow the necessary space for sacred connection to happen, for space to take us back to the source of the Divine. Historically, it is a period of 40 days from the start to the finish where we clean up, clear out, and engage active inner reflection…where our action focuses the attention to the possible inner connection to the Divine.

All this transpires over a period of time, typically 40 days, culminating as Easter which in of itself stands for resurrection, and there sealed in Divine Bliss we are fully illumined, and transfigured, wholly new. And we as metaphysicians know there is no death only this beginning as part of a cyclical process.

Around the world at this time of year, various religions prepare to observe the lent season which begins in the coming days on Ash Wednesday. The meaning of the word ash denotes a burnt offering to Spirit…a physical offering working from the outside in, to burn down-to rise again, to rise in spiritual consciousness. There is also this association with repenting or clearing. We can associate the mythical Phoenix theme with this seasonal cyclical process, this inner process of Alchemy of change. The Phoenix the great bird of ancient myth dies to the physical, the outside, and out of the ashes arises, a kind of burnt offering, renewed both physically and spiritually. This year that day falls on March 2____ and lasts until April 14. All of these weekdays add up in amount to roughly 40 days. Now, forty is curious number known to have an important hidden meaning in metaphysical circles. It is our clue to what is happening spiritually. It is transformation. In the case of the lent season of forty days we are talking about this process of transformation to arrive at inner connection to creative mystery. Likened to Jesus our avatar, who embarks on the epic transition of 40 days in the wilderness evoking transformation and emerges a fully illumined Christed being, the ultimate phoenix. To be specific, this sloughing off of what doesn’t serve us, opening to a new consciousness, awareness, rising out of our wildernesses of chaos state, and walking forth into this new beginning fully transfigured, fully illumined Christed consciousness this is our process of Lent.

William Stainton Moses a famous ordained English minister and medium in our church’s history of the Spiritualist movement, channeled many books, and ideas straight from the Divine to share with the general population to help us in our individual achievement of Christed consciousness. In one such book, “The Spirit’s View of our Religious Observances” some of some of these teachings are recorded and one idea that was shared from Spirit is that our religious holidays follow the progression of the soul. We have a template to follow! This progression of our soul’s journey is likened to the Lent time, where we recognize our own divinity by coming to the place inside that withiness place of sacred mystery. To list the progression and give order its due, we are speaking of; 1. Christmas- as denial of self. 2. Epiphany- as a festival of Spirit, new light onto the world. 3. Lent- the struggle of truth and dark within ourselves. 4. Good Friday- out of conflict there is death and life, love triumphs. 5. Easter- is the feast of resurrection, which is to rise again in birth and beginning anew like the season of spring itself. And again, as metaphysicians we affirm this principle that nothing dies. We rejoice in the cyclic rebirth beginning a basic principle in the metaphysical umbrella.

Poised at the beginning of lent season here today we note, some traditions have feasting before the traditional fasting. The giving up of or the purging of stored food. Clearing out the cupboards to make room for the new. Know this is a symbol for the greater meaning of sloughing off, ridding oneself of the dark, making space for new growth to begin on the inside so we can connect to the hidden withiness place inside. We are in fact preparing the fallow time of winter, in the inner within place of mystery for a new beginning to transpire. This time is the transfiguring and evolves over a period of time, say…forty days, from late winter into early spring. This is our timed progression of the soul, as Stainton Moses would say, and before recorded times this evolution has always been. Humanities ancient ancestry is the natural expression of the same. Reconnection to Divine love is there on the inside waiting for this rejuvenation.

Here at the onset, we can ask ourselves; how do I prepare myself to go within, to prepare for the coming lent? First, we have to take an inventory of what is not needed anymore. What does not serve us anymore? Lately, I have been clearing out clutter being something of a domestic goddess. And though now there is sparkle and light it didn’t feel this way at the start. Oh no. In fact, I had disturbing dreams and then sleepless nights as the accumulated “build up “energy released itself. The next question for our reflection before lent in the coming days is; where would you like lent to take us this year as a community? How do you want your individual practice to look, on the journey within? Give this some thought, let’s talk among ourselves about it. We have forty days. It takes time to understand what practices we are to commit to in this season, we are birthing a new way, a community after all and it is not so much someone suggesting giving up a practice or what other outside voices say we “ought” to do but all of us and I dare say Mr. Moses would agree that this time of year our lent is our opportunity to make changes in the community, the way we grow our lent individually is how we will live in years to come.

As we approach the coming season of lent, we are focused to the season’s outer parallel to our inner potential of connection to the Divine. When we seek the inner connection, it will be there ready to set us free. Know our illumination in connection to Divine essence is always just a breath away, a thought away, here on the inside. We can make room for the expansion of Divine light to occur individually by our focused thought, clearing out, and cleaning up, by outer actions which reflect inner potentials. The connection builds us, builds networks, and builds communities. Listen, now to how the new spiritual life within us stirs ready to leap forth to full expression. Remembering that when we seek God we find God. We find God within ourselves. Return to Spirit and Spirit returns to you.

Namaste


March 6, 2022

Keep Your Eyes on the Christ Light
Matthew 6:19-21

Once again, it is good to be sharing with you in this format as we see Covid numbers becoming more favorable. I pray you and yours are doing well. I do want to share on a personal note a recent amazing occurrence for me. Many of you know I am a crossword puzzle nut/aficionado. Tuesday night while watching Jeopardy with Tom, I was also crosswording on the couch, which is our early evening routine. Exactly as Ken Jennings was reading the selected clue of the contestant, my eyes were reading the exact same clue in Puzzle # 247 of Simon & Schuster’s Mega Book # 21: 74 Down – Michelle who wrote Becoming. Obama, of course. That crisp moment of connectedness with the Universe still fills me with awe and reassurance. Onward…

Today’s Scripture is one recommended by some liturgical calendars for Ash Wednesday. So on this first Sunday of Lent, I thought it might be fitting to use it. It is taken from Matthew 6:19-21, reading from the George Lamsa’s translation, hear the words of Jesus: Do not lay up for yourselves treasures buried in the ground, a place where rust and moth destroy and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, where neither rust nor moth destroys and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there also is your heart.

For where your treasure is, there also is your heart. Of course, this statement begs the question, “Where is our treasure, our heart?” As we examine this today, please realize that I can’t answer it for you. There will be as many answers are there are people reading this message; just as it should be. We are not carbon copies of one another. Thank goodness, everyone is not like I am. Can you imagine a world of “me’s?” That would be way over the top. In some cases, one of me is too many.

Also, it is important that you know that I don’t think anyone needs to think as I think, not even my two sons. Now, I have a good friend who thinks everyone thinks as she does and has to remember that isn’t necessarily so. On the other hand, I have always thought that few, if any, think as I, and am even surprised when they do. Whoa, really! What is important is that we each find our own way, and that is a singular walk; we each have come for our own journey. We each have to make our own decisions. I do believe, as beings created by God and having free will, that to be true. We are each unique beings with our own special talents. It is for us to develop our God given gifts and use them creating our lives.

Originally published August 15, 1989, Steven Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He divided these seven habits into three private habits – things over which we solely have control; three public habits meaning those things in our lives that involve other people and our interactions with them; and finally, the last habit is taking time to step back and renew, recharge or revitalize if you will.

I’d like to look at the three private habits today and expand on those ideas just a bit because I think they are directly related to Jesus’ statement, For where your treasure is, there also is your heart. The first habit is to be proactive. Active means we’re doing something and pro in this case means we set things in motion. It is the opposite of being reactive. Reactive people simply respond to life’s events. They wait for something to happen and then take action. The emphasis or thrust of their lives, the power if you will, is given to other things, people, or events as they simply respond to these outside forces. Being reactive, you let life take you where it will with no personal game plan or vision. Being proactive is just the opposite. It means as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions not our conditions. Let me say that again – our behavior is a function of our decisions not our conditions. Huh? In other words, we choose our attitude and the kind of person we want to be. It’s been said that proactive people carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines, it makes no difference to them. They have made the decision to be happy. Proactive people are driven by values. They determine what kind of person they want to be and set about becoming just that. As Eleanor Roosevelt observed, “No one can hurt you without your consent.” Wow, is that powerful! In other words, it’s not they doing to us, but our allowing whatever happened to affect us in a negative manner. We are the ones making the choice of how we perceive any life situation or event. We consciously step up and take responsibility for our lives. Along this same line, Gandhi said, “They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them.” Think about that one. “They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them.” Thank you, Gandhi. Being proactive is the idea of us being in charge of our lives. Victor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning said, “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Proactive people decide what they want in life and pursue it. In light of today’s topic, proactive people choose what their treasure is; they consciously decide where their hearts should be. Let’s hope we can be included in that group.

But how would we do that? The second habit Steven Covey describes deals with knowing what you want and is to begin with the end in mind. The way he engages the reader on this one is quite interesting. He asks the reader to make sure he is in a quiet spot with time to think before reading the section on beginning with the end in mind. He invites us as the readers to imagine attending the funeral of a loved one. He asks you to picture yourself driving to the funeral, parking, getting out of your car, and entering the funeral home. He asks you to smell the beautiful flowers and to hear the organ music playing as you enter. You see the faces of friends and family as you walk to the front. You feel the people’s loss, their joy in having known the person that radiates from their hearts. As you make your way to the front and stand by the casket looking at the person, you realize it is you – only three years from now. All of the people have come to honor you, to express feelings of love and appreciation for your life. As you return to your seat, you are given a program which list four speakers – a family member, a close friend, a colleague from work, and a person from your church or community organization. He then asks you, as the reader, to decide what you would like these people to say about you and your life. Is that a powerful exercise or what? By beginning with the end in mind, you have a focus, a direction. It’s our job to figure out how to get there – wherever “there” may be. I officiate many funerals; some I know, and others I don’t. In each funeral, I try very hard to personalize the service honoring the life that has been lived. I believe every person is deserving and completely worthy of that. That is part of my mission as an interfaith minister – being available to anyone or any family in need. In fact, I added to my personal Mission Statement just a few years ago this: As an Interfaith Minister, I joyfully serve wherever and whenever needed, honoring the belief systems of those served. Being so busy doing these things (funerals, weddings, and pulpit supplies) was integral in my twelve-hour decision to retire from teaching school twelve years ago. It has been a joyous journey. Anyway, back to the topic suggested. How would each of us do things differently with the scenario of attending our own funeral in mind? Steven Covey suggests if we know what we want as the end result, then all we have to do is figure out how to get there with that vision guiding us. How very wise that is – wonderful advice: begin with the end in mind. To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of our destinations. It means to know where we’re going so we can better understand where we are now and so that the steps we take are always in the right, intended direction. If we don’t have a clear picture of what we want as we are climbing our own personal ladders of success, we might arrive at the top only to find our ladders were leaning against the wrong walls. How very tragic. And we know that happens. Sometimes people spend their lives chasing their dreams and having achieved them only to find those dream so very empty, not at all fulfilling nor satisfying. How truly sad. Let’s not be among that group.

I have before – many, many years ago and more recently – thought what I would want said on my tombstone if I could only have one word after, “She was,” what would I want that one word to be? Think of all of the adjectives you know. What would you choose if limited to one word? I think it is a very interesting exercise. I also think it is interesting that my word hasn’t changed in over thirty years. Then again, maybe I’m just dull or have a small vocabulary. As you’re probably wondering what I would pick, it would be this – and I am not sure people even think of me in this way, but I’d select, “She was kind.” That pretty much says it all for me, what I aspire to be.

Beginning with the end in mind is based on the principle that all things are created twice – first as a mental image in our minds and second in the real world as we turn that image into reality. I have long done this. Before any service, I have in mind exactly how I would like it to go and most often with thoughtful care in planning, the event goes well, exactly as planned holding the image in mind.

Covey’s final private habit is to put first things first. It’s so easy to get lost in the details and lose sight of the larger picture. If we don’t keep this in mind, we may get to the end of our day and find that we are not where we wanted to be having been absorbed in details and losing sight of the steps to get there. I’m sure you’ve seen that email that starts with a person doing one task – like taking a letter to the mail box – and getting distracted along the way doing twenty other things and two hours later placing the letter in the box. Well, I’m at the stage in my life that I can actually relate to that circumstance. I will start for my office in the basement to retrieve something, and it may be long later that I actually have the object with many, many other things being done along the way. Now, it’s probably only twenty-seven feet from my sunroom couch (my kingdom) to the basement door, then thirteen steps to the bottom, with my office being three feet to the right with all things in the northeast portion of our basement. But I can truthfully tell you, a host of other things may be accomplished from that first step taken from the couch to when I actually arrive back with whatever it was, I was procuring. You know what I mean, and I am sure many of you can relate. I am of the belief that we have enough time in life to do the things that truly matter to us. What we have to do is determine what those things are and actively pursue them. Put first things first.

Now, you most likely are sitting there thinking, “Well, this is all fine and good but what does this have to do with today’s title: Keep Your Eyes on the Christ Light. Everything, really. I would suggest that as we become proactive and take charge of our lives – not drifting along allowing them to just happen – that we connect with that light and let it be our guide. If you’re proactive, you are value based. You do realize that values can be good, bad, or indifferent and all of those are subjective terms. We give the word a positive connotation, but in truth, there are “bad” values, or those at least with negative or undesired results. What are our treasures of which Jesus spoke? He told us to not store up earthly treasures that can be destroyed by moths or consumed by rust or stolen by thieves. He encouraged us to lay up treasures in heaven. Looking to the Christ light, we find the values of love, compassion, friendship, trust, caring, honesty, sympathy, and empathy just to name a few. These are not tangible things that can be grasped and seen directly, but I will assure you they are more enduring than any physical things ever will be. These reside at the center of the Christ light and emanate from it. So when choosing your treasures, choose wisely.

To the second habit of beginning with the end in mind, whatever takes you nearer the Christ light is worthy. If it is something that takes you away from it, then that is not a desired end. Actually, the end we have in mind, should be the Christ light. If we do keep our gaze there, we will never go astray. When wondering what to do, look to the Christ light. It’s like the ultimate GPS system, way better than On-Star.

As to the third habit of putting first things first, put Christ and his light first in your life and everything else will follow quite nicely. I believe God wants only good for us. Once we recognize that truth, seeking his guidance should be our first choice. My daily prayers include asking God to help me be the person he would want me to be for the day. Then, I have the responsibility to listen. I also ask that I show his love, grace, and compassion to all I meet. So much of what I understand about God comes through knowing Christ, our master teacher, and learning from his example in the world. From my understanding, Christ’s message was one of love, forgiveness, and compassion. We would be wise to make those the things we put first in our lives.

So I would encourage us to keep our eyes on the Christ light. As we decide what we value, make conscious choices. Then as we look to the end of whatever, imagine Christ standing there with us. And by placing God first in our lives, all else will follow. It will be our best possible life. That is our true treasure: to fulfill God’s plans for our lives, and in my opinion, exactly where our hearts should be. Blessings for a wonderful week.


February 27, 2022

Lent- A Time of Preparation, Purification and Revelation
Rev. Laura MacLachlan

On Wed., March 2nd we enter into the Lenten season. It is, for us, a time of preparation for a new level of unfoldment, a new level of understanding. It represents a lengthening of days, the anticipation of new life at hand. Even though there is no sign of “Lent” in the New Testament, there is a hint of this lesson in new levels of spiritual understanding in the color chosen in the Christian church to symbolize this season: Purple, which is the color of our crown chakra. So, we who are trained to look beneath the surface of these spiritual teachings for hidden wisdom, are shown that to fully absorb the lessons of the Lenten season, we are invited to move up into our crown chakra to view the story through our spiritual eyes.

Lent, like so many other monumental events in the Bible, is 40 days long. The Sundays of Lent weren’t counted because they were already feast days. We know from our studies that whenever we see the number 40 we are about to read something about a new spiritual awakening. In numerology, the number 40 reduces to 4—our foundation. The wisdom we are about to receive will allow us to create for ourselves a new foundation for our further spiritual growth. Before we can grow as souls at this point in time, we must have a rock solid foundation in our understanding of our nature as sparks of the Divine. Jesus spoke of Peter, the Apostle who represents “Faith” when he said, “Upon this rock I shall build my church.” Not a literal church building, but the symbolic “church”-a place from which one explores their relationship with and worship of God.

To us, our foundation for unfoldment includes faith in things unseen; even God itself, which we see as a pure love energy and not a person on a throne. We strive to live in the flow of this Divine love energy, as demonstrated so beautifully when Jesus the man attained Christ Consciousness.

When Jesus was contemplating what was to come in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was fully aware that his final physical demonstration, the reason behind all his teachings, was culminating with the survival of bodily death. That human part of us would shudder at the thought of how that would play out. Yet he was able to say, “If this cup cannot be taken from me, thy will be done.” That is the response of a Christed being! It is the embodiment of “faith in things unseen.” It is the kind of faith that has an open hand that does not strive to control or divert from oneself all pain or suffering. There are several theories about when the man Jesus actually attained Christ Consciousness. This is one, the other is while on the cross he said “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

The Christian church stresses sacrifice during the Lenten season. What are we willing to “give up” as we prepare for this new awakening? However, we as Divine Spiritual Metaphysicians know this is a symbolic act far more than a literal one. Jesus didn’t attain Christ Consciousness because he gave up Hershey bars for 40 days! It is about giving up one’s belief in the material plane as “all there is.” It is a time of inward preparation. It is a time of clearing one’s mind of outer conditions and return to that sacred space within us where the spark of the Divine awaits so that we might observe our soul’s progression from a higher perspective. Let’s look at some other Biblical examples of this meditative and contemplative time.

Moses and his 40 year search for the “promised land” is an excellent allegory. He led the Israelites, those seeking spiritual enlightenment, out of Egypt, a place where one is enslaved by our lower, material nature, into the Promised Land. That was another way of saying their awakening. Remember, we are EVERYONE in these Bible stories. This is our own process, through many lifetimes. All the struggles, all the accomplishments, all the battles—they are OUR struggles, battles and accomplishments. Ultimately, we are our own Moses for our own Israelite state of consciousness!

Exodus 24:18 talks about Moses going up Mt. Sinai, a “place of higher consciousness” and received the Ten Commandments. What was so significant about going to a mountaintop? He was going into a higher state of consciousness! He was in deep Meditation! Why Ten Commandments? Ten in numerology reduces to one. The number one signifies New Beginnings. A time which called for a new spiritually based understanding of the One God concept. Can you see how that was to be their “new foundation”? The Earth plane at that time was filled with young souls who had to understand first, as their foundation for future spiritual growth, that they had to obey basic rules of civility and spirituality.

Jesus the man “wandered in the desert for 40 days” before the start of his Ministry. He did not immerge from that experience ready for his Ministry because he said “no” to turning rocks into bread! Let’s look deeper…He went into physical “retreat” from the distractions of the material plane. A desert is a place where nothing appearing to be going on there. A blank canvas. The backdrop for “fasting” from physical, daily irritants, ego judgments, destructive patterns. Jesus said, when the thought (not a physical devil) came to him to take a shortcut in this time of contemplation by turning his attention to physical food (bread) instead of the spiritual food found in his deep meditations. He said to himself, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” Satan, “you deceiver you” is our own inner voice of doubt, fear, lower chakra state of being. It wasn’t about food at that moment, it was about focus!

Our last example is Noah and the Flood, which lasted 40 days. This is the first lesson in balance within us to achieve soul growth. Symbolized by the gathering of all the “animals” (our lower chakra, animal nature) we see a balance created in these male and female energies. When the waters of emotion flood our psyches, when we feel like we are drowning in anger, fear or destructive thoughts, we build our “ark” (new foundation) to stay above the fray–ride upon the top of those waters of emotions. It leads us back onto solid footing. Helps us keep our balance when these life lessons come to call.

We will all have our Gethsemane moments in life. Remember Peter, who kept falling asleep when Jesus asked him to stay awake and watch with him through the night? He saw, finally, that Peter couldn’t take this journey with him. He finally said, “Sleep on.” There are times when we hope our friends will be there for us as we go through our life lessons, but that isn’t always possible. We hope our own faith is strong enough to sustain us when the chips are down, but we are a work in progress. There are times when we have to forgive ourselves for our own shortcomings. But the guidance we find all through the Bible says it’s always darkest before the dawn. Remain steadfast. Fast from all the inner turmoil that tries to take our eyes off the goal of soul growth leading to a new spiritual awakening. More light is soon to come. The dove (inner peace) came to Noah bearing a twig of green leaves. New life is at hand.

Our soul essence longs for the time when we return to our Divine Source of all. Biblically, it’s those times when we read of those who “go up in a pillar of light and are no more.” After each new step toward that goal, our soul yearns for more. Standing still is not an option. Lent is not a destination, oneness with God is. Lent is the starting point for another lesson in awakening the dormant Christ potential within us.

Prayer and deep meditation is key to your success. Opening up, listening to that Divine wisdom, becoming one with the energy of All That Is. Wow, does that require focus and self discipline! We work to let go of all the ego stuff that blocks our way. We open our hands and say, “Not my will but thy will be done,” even if it’s just for one day, one hour, one moment at a time.

Then, like our Wayshower, the Master Jesus, we can emerge from that quiet, contemplative time prepared for whatever lies ahead. We can feel like we are more powerful, focused, activated light workers who are ready to serve and fulfill our soul’s purpose.

Blessings to each of you on YOUR soul’s journey!


February 20, 2022

“To Do List” or “To Give Love” List? You Decide


Good day! Wherever you are and whenever you happen to be reading this sermon, I thank you for
joining with countless others in this time of worship and reflection.


My sermon text today is based on Luke 6:27-38. I have included the text of the New Revised Standard
Version of the Bible. If a different translation speaks to you more, I invite you to substitute that
translation for this one.


27“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless
those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer
the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your
shirt. 30Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask
for them again. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.


32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who
love them. 33If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even
sinners do the same. 34If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to
you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35But love your enemies, do good,
and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the
Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is
merciful.


37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed
down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be
the measure you get back.”


The words of this particular passage are familiar to most anyone who has hung around in any church for
any amount of time. In fact, verse 31 is known more commonly as the “Golden Rule.” Taken together,
these scriptures are what I see as Jesus’ attempt to reverse the damage that had been done to the
Mosaic Law.


The Mosaic Law is one of the oldest known examples of written law. While other written law systems
existed at that time, The Mosaic Law had the distinction of stating that breaking these laws was an
offence against God rather than society. As the name suggests, the Mosaic Law was given to Moses by
God and then Moses gave it to the Israelites. The content of the Mosaic Law includes the Ten
Commandments, laws regarding food safety, the crimes of murder, adultery, and dishonesty, purity laws
that instructed how to treat and prevent the further spread of diseases, a “how to” guide to sacrifices,
and much more. All told, there are 613 distinct laws within the Mosaic Law system. Individual laws were
updated over time, claiming that the updates were dictated by God. By the time these revisions ceased,
however, the laws often contradicted each other or favored one strata of the Israelites’ society at the
expense of another. We can draw two possible conclusions here:

  1. The same God who created a big, balanced and harmonious universe could not handle the
    smaller task of updating 613 laws without messing it up, or
  2. the updates were requested by God, and human ego changed the message based on projections
    of people’s control issues, political pressure by one strata to make the law not apply to them,
    etc.
  3. The edits were not of divine origin and entirely made up by the human ego.
    Which one is true? You decide.

    And then there were interpretations that tended to benefit individuals or groups at the expense of
    others. When that was not “justifiable,” exceptions were made available at a high price to those who
    could afford to pay the price. This is yet another example of what I see as an overarching theme of the
    relationship between God and humankind:

    God creates it and calls it good. God gives it to humankind who responds, “yeah, but I can make it even
    better.” (Narrator Voice) Mankind didn’t make it better.
    While we know very little of Jesus’ early life, we can safely assume that he would have been educated in
    the traditions, policies, and ways of his fellow Jews. We can also assume safely that at some point Jesus
    became aware that the current system was broken. He was aware that the one-sidedness plaguing the
    Mosaic Law had spread to all of society, favoring the rich at the expense of the poor. He saw corruption
    in the Temple and the religious leadership whose manipulations of the law made them complicit in
    creating the challenging conditions in which Israel had to live. Jesus’ awareness apparently brought him
    to conclude that he might not be able to restore the original language of the Law, he could restore the
    spirit of the Law by reframing it as love in action, as opposed to a set of requirements.
    In this passage, Jesus is using the language of love to teach his followers to meet negative actions with
    love and not buy into the negativity. He also frequently talks about doing more than what is required
    and doing so joyfully.

    Joyfully. That’s the point. Jesus tells his followers to be joyful as much as they can. Because when one
    performs a task and does so with love, it ceases to be an obligation—an item to be checked off a list,
    and now it’s about giving out love in the world. Can anyone give out love and not do so joyfully? I do not
    think so at all!

    For this week, when you are doing your chores, work tasks, or anything that feels like an obligation—
    something you HAVE to do—and look at it in terms of giving out love. Notice any changes in body, mind,
    or soul. And then keep on giving out love and feeling the joy!
    Namaste



February 13, 2022

SOWING & REAPING 
FOR A SPIRITUAL HARVEST 
REV. ROBERT J. ALLEN, SAGINAW, MICHIGAN 

Our life on this Earth is not static. It unfolds one step at a time, in a dynamic progression as we change and evolve and grow. Life in our youth is not the same as middle age, or in our mature years. It is said truly that, with the passage of time, we are “older but wiser”. Marianne Williamson says,  

Great spiritual teachings do not change, but we do. As we grow older and wiser, we can receive the teachings at deeper levels. 

I graduated from high school over 40 years ago. When I attended the 5-year class reunion, I noticed that quite a number of high-school sweethearts had married. Many of these youthful marriages did not last: at later reunions quite a few people had divorced and remarried. There was a quiet contentment about these couples, and I had a joyful “aha!” moment where the light came on. I realized that we really DO get wiser from the lessons we learn in life’s School of Hard Knocks. “Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.” (Margaret Peters.) As C.S. Lewis put it,  

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God, do you learn. 

Very few of us (if any) “get it right” the first time around. This is one reason I firmly believe in reincarnation. God took a million years to make the Grand Canyon; why should we be expected to ace the exam after a few short years on Earth? 

How quickly those years pass! My Uncle Russ made his transition a few years ago at age 91, shortly after my Aunt Marie passed away. They had been married for 70 years. Before my aunt’s funeral, Uncle Russ remarked, 

You might think that 70 years was a long time. But it isn’t long at all. 

In navigating the often-confusing road of life, the Spiritual Seeker’s principal GPS devices are the inner guidance that Spirit gives in prayer and meditation, and messages other seekers on this Path deliver for our growth and upliftment. As Isaiah 30:21 tells us,  

 
And your ears shall hear a word behind you: “This is the way; walk in it”. 

A life on the spiritual path is very like cultivating a garden. You must first plant the correct seeds. Never once has anyone planted ragweed and harvested strawberries. Jesus taught that the proverbial good tree will always bear good fruit (Matthew 7:16-20). See also Galatians 6:7 (CJB) (A person reaps what he sows). 

Galatians 5:22-23 lists the 9 fruits of the Spirit. It advises, 

[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

In pondering this list of virtues I am reminded of the statement of the Dalai Lama, 

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. 

We are bombarded from every side by worldly advice concerning the values upon which we should build our lives. But, as our association with this Church has taught us, there is a higher and better way to live – by the “still, small Voice” of Spirit. James 3:17 describes it thus, 

[T]he wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 

Blessings, Love & Light to every seeker who may read this. 

It is a privilege and an honor to be permitted to teach from this platform. THANK YOU for permitting me to serve. 

PEACE BE WITH YOU! 

SUPPLEMENTAL NOTES 
ON SPIRITUAL FRUIT 

NIV: Galatians 5:22-23: 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 

KJV: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 

Contemporary English Version (CEV):  22God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 

GOD’S WORD® Translation:   22But the spiritual nature produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There are no laws against things like that. 

Douay-Rheims Bible  22But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, 23Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. 

THE NINE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT 
FROM VARIOUS TRANSLATIONS 
OF GALATIANS 5:22-23 

1.love, Divine Love, unselfish concern for others, charity 

2. joy,  

3. peace, inner peace,  

4. forbearance, longsuffering, patience 

5. kindness, gentleness, benignity (kindness or tolerance toward others), sweetness 

6. goodness,  

7. faithfulness, faith, longanimity 

8. gentleness, meekness, mildness  

9. self-control, temperance, fidelity, modesty, continency (the trait of practicing self discipline), chastity, forbearance 

Definition of longanimity 

: a disposition to bear injuries patiently : FORBEARANCE 

Longanimity is a word with a long history. It came to English in the 15th century from the Late Latin adjective longanimis, meaning “patient” or “long-suffering.” Longanimis, in turn, derives from the Latin combination of longus (“long”) and animus (“soul”). Longus is related to English’s long and is itself an ancestor to several other English words, including longevity (“long life”), elongate (“to make longer”), and prolong (“to lengthen in time”). Now used somewhat infrequently in English, longanimity stresses the character of one who, like the figure of Job in the Bible, endures prolonged suffering with extreme patience. 


February 6, 2022

We Are Creating Memories 
Rev. Hile

Philippians 4:4-9 

Scripture Philippians 4:4-9: Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.  

Once again, I am happy to be serving you. Know, Tom sends his best. 

Today, I would like to focus on our relationships with one another emphasizing that We Are Creating Memories. Since Thanksgiving, I have officiated 16 end of life services. Some I have known well, others not. I always find it interesting the things shared/remembered at such a time. What we do matters in ways, I believe, we rarely perceive. For a few minutes, I invite you to think along with me. 

I know I have shared with you before that I feel there are two places that people are candid and more real than they are many places, and those two places are at airports and funeral homes. Those two circumstances seem to evoke most easily opportunities for us to be our true selves, without pretense. We speak from our hearts saying the I love yous, opening ourselves completely to the other. Highlighting the airport example, long ago now, like 1997 or 1998, I picked up my friend and her two children from Tri-City Airport as they returned from vacationing in California. I have always found watching people in airports fascinating. That day as I was waiting for their flight to return was no different. As travelers were entering the airport having just arrived from the east coast, one woman traveling alone was met by another woman of similar age, so in their early 60’s. They embraced, and the one from the flight said to the other, “I knew you would come if I could just find your name and make a connection!” with the other responding, “Of course, I would be here!” As I listened, I learned the woman who had flown in had come to be with her father living in Saginaw who had suffered a stroke and was possibly near death. She was his only close relative. I also learned that these two women had been best friends growing up, graduating together, and being there for each other as best friends are for a long while. Over the years, they lost contact with each other as they each married with the one moving out east. As they joyfully reconnected that day, I learned that it had been 40 years since they had been in contact.  Yes, 40 years, which had quite simply vanished as one called the other in need with the other coming honoring memories created over 40 years before. Each and every day, We Are Creating Memories

Their being lifelong friends when the need arose reminds me of the last conversation I had with Chris Crosby. Chris and Sandy lived on M-81 just three-quarters of a mile west of our corner on the north side of the road, where Sandy still lives. Chris grew up in Watrousville as her parents, Bob and Cassie owned the store. Anyway, our last conversation was in VG’s parking lot the summer of 2014. She was leaving the store, and I was going grocery shopping. We exchanged pleasantries and asked about each other’s families catching up on the news of our children; she had two sons as did I. We ended the talk that day by recognizing although we didn’t see each other often – for years maybe – that we were there for each other if needed. Since we lived on the same section, we were just a hop and a skip from one another. That day, we both took great comfort in the fact that whatever was needed at any time of the day or night, we could surely be counted upon to help one another. That’s the kind of neighbors Chris and Sandy were, dependable, caring, and ready to help – people you could count on, making our community a great place to live. I can tell you in the days that passed after that casual meeting, whenever driving by their home, I felt the comfort and warmth of that parking lot conversation. In the Watrousville United Methodist Church pulpit, November 24, 2015, I officiated her funeral, three months over a year since our last conversation. Know, each and every day We Are Creating Memories

In like manner at my mother’s visitation nearly seven years ago now, a man and his wife came from Bay City. As I was standing at the casket, he waited in line and when coming up to me asked if I knew who he was. Not at first, but his voice was familiar so I guessed, “You’re Duane,” which was correct. My mother had worked with his mother at Broadworth’s Convalescent Home in Akron in the early to mid-1950’s. We became fast friends with Duane and his sister calling my mother Aunt Irene and me calling their parents Uncle Les and Aunt Helen. Many happy times were spent together. Duane told me that when he saw my mother’s obituary on TV5, he told his wife, “That’s my Aunt Irene, we have to go.” He had been to mom’s home once when she first married Bob, but he hadn’t seen her in 40 years. Yet, he felt compelled to come honoring the memories she had created for him. Like Irene long ago, We Are Creating Memories

Think about All Saints Day that we in Watrousville celebrate each year the first Sunday of November, as do many other Christian denominations, with this past year being no different. As I create our bulletins, last November, I printed six sheets of names to be celebrated in church as we remembered our “saints” with love in our hearts. For each name the liturgist reads, a chime on the organ is played and a candle on the alter lit by a friend or relative, one candle per lighter whether one name or several names read. For me, it has always been a most meaningful service, one my favorite of the year with Christmas Eve being right up there too. Of course, over the years, some of those offering the names and lighting the candles are now being remembered as saints as they have passed. That seems to be a very sobering fact especially amid this pandemic. I heard on the news a few months back, a doctor who reminded the viewers of the leading cause of death in the world. Do you know what it is? I was guessing as I was listening and did not get it right. According to this doctor, the leading cause of death – world wide – is being born. Right? We will all die. That’s a given. You know the saying: The only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes. Yes, one day, we will all return to spirit. Meanwhile, let us remember, We Are Creating Memories

During the past year, I officiated eight weddings. I already have three scheduled for this year. Of the eight this past year, for three of them I had taught both the bride and groom and even a few of their parents. For three others, I taught either the bride or groom. Another was Cal Gray’s, I didn’t teach either; however, Cal grew up two miles from me going to Vassar Schools escaping the Mrs. Hile experience. I remember when Lorna and George, his grandparents, were married, his father’s birth, and him being born. These connections make it a very fun time for me.  For one wedding near Fraser Presbyterian held in the family’s barn at twilight, I didn’t know either the bride or groom. But for six of the eight, many from the wedding parties were also my students. I thoroughly enjoy reconnecting with them. I always find it so interesting what they remember. When we have some time to group chat, many offer, “I remember in your class when…” adding some event from the past. Some I very well remember, and some I don’t but sounds like it could have likely happened. I do remember a groom telling me several years ago now how he remembered the spring day I took his science class out to the ball fields to fly kites they had made in class. I told him that I thought that was done in one of his high school classes and not mine. He assured me I had been the teacher. Later that day, I asked my teaching partner of 34 years and now my next door neighbor a quarter mile north, “Did we make kites in 8th grade science and take them to the ball fields to fly them?” She quickly replied, “No, Denise Leizinski in the high school did that.” Well, at least I wasn’t losing my mind. Also, the oldest son of my babysitter of nine years swears he had me for 8th grade science, and the other teacher and I know he had her. So, sometimes, like all of us, their memories may not be totally accurate. But most are, and it’s always fun for me to reconnect with them, always. It never particularly occurred to me at the time I had them in class that beyond learning the material and becoming proficient students in whatever subject I was teaching that all along We Are Creating Memories

It is interesting what we remember. I was asked to give the eulogy for Gladys Wiltse, my life’s mentor, at her funeral. She was 94 when she passed. School was always very good about letting me attend and officiate funerals on my conference period which extended into my lunch time, and this was no different. It was held at the First Presbyterian Church so just a hop and a skip from my school building. As the crowd was gathering, the family was seated. Then a woman entered that was thought to be by many a bit odd and inappropriately forward, being on occasion the subject of ridicule. She was a couple of years older than I, and I knew her back in school. As she and her husband took a seat one row back from the family just across the aisle, there were a few audible Tsks…ah as some apparently thought she was over-stepping her place and should not be sitting so close to the family. The deceased’s daughter, three years older than I, looked back at the woman seating herself just across the aisle, one row back, and immediately got up as it was about five minutes before the service was scheduled to start and walked toward her. She said loudly enough for those in the immediate area to hear, “O, Peggy, thank you so much for coming! You were always one of my mother’s favorites!” What a class act! Those rolling their eyes thinking the woman had overstepped her place were set straight by this daughter’s act of grace. Now this funeral service was February 27, 2003, and I am telling you about it today, these nearly nineteen years later. Talk about creating a memory

A few months ago, I officiated a memorial service for the oldest child of a long-time Caro family. The deceased was about ten years older than I; Tom had graduated with her sister who is 8 years older than I; another sister is five years older; and the son passed just over a year ago, he was a year ahead of me in school. Their mother was the President of the Business and Professional Women’s Club in Caro when I returned to teach and very kind to me as I began my career. The woman for whom I was doing the service had spent her life after college in Ohio. The sister who graduated with Tom, has lived in Belgium her adult life. She was unable to travel home for the memorial. After the service, she and I interacted a few times with her profusely thanking me for doing her sister’s service of which I had sent her a copy. In one of the exchanges we had, I told her about a wall hanging in our spare bedroom upstairs from when I was growing up. I can close my eyes and see it. It was maybe 16” X 20” made from royal blue felt with white lettering, which said, “Any good that I can do, let me do it now. For I am only passing through this world; I will go this way just once.” I am not so sure about the just once, but I can tell you I totally embrace, “Any good that I can do, let me do it now.” What better time? Tomorrow is not promised. We are unlimited in our capacity to do good. It’s not like we will use it up and then be mean, nasty people. I would think the more we “do good,” the better we will be at it. We Are Creating Memories

Another visitation I attended this past year was for my 4-H horse leader. I grew up with a menagerie but I can tell you, I am afraid of anything with four legs larger than a kitten. Of course, our animals were tame, but I was never in charge; they were. This woman was five years older than I and was an accomplished horsewoman. In April of 1965, she and her then boyfriend who became her husband two years later took three of us to the annual Block and Bridle Horse Show held on the campus of Michigan State University. Being fourteen, that was my first time on campus, and I can tell you that I fell in love with MSU that day. Now, these 56 and a half years later, my blood pumps green. I taught two of her three sons and two of her grandsons. When I learned of her passing, I wondered if I should go. After all, it had been many years since I had contact with any of them and likely wouldn’t be remembered. I guess for old time’s sake lacking a better reason, I went. One of her daughter-in-laws met me. I had not taught her but her two sons, and her mother had been a teacher in our system. After a nice visit, I thought I would at least say hello to the husband and offer my sympathy. I stepped to the group where he was seated, and when I had the chance told him that I was Michele Hile and reminded him of the trip to MSU. To my surprise, he immediately remembered me and offered that I may not have been too sure about the horses but I was a great tractor puller. Yes, that was my forte. He told of how my mother was always doing nice things for people and the great time their family had with my dad and the horses. He even mentioned how nice my second step-father was. Now, I almost had not gone thinking I’d likely not be remembered. Not only was I well-remembered, but my parents were celebrated. I left thinking, “Wow, I am sure glad I went.” Then I thought, “How many times have I not gone when it would have been appreciated?” I well remember 61 years ago this past July 30 when I moved to the house where I am still living on the occasion of mom marrying Harry, my first step-dad. We moved seven miles south and three miles west. Our house number had been 3329, and I knew I liked 1726 a whole lot better. But I did sacrifice phone numbers going from MY1-2461 to the lesser OS3-4332. Apparently, I was a numbers nut even back then. Anyway, I recall wondering why my mother felt the need to attend funeral visitations in the Akron area as we no longer lived there, being all those ten miles away with a Caro address. Once an adult, I totally understood and often attend services of relatives of friends from long ago. I am at times asked how I was able to recognize the once friend as it may have been over 40 years. I just pleasantly give some benign response, but in truth often times as older adults they look just like their parents. Mom always went. I shouldn’t wonder whether I should go or not; yes, of course, go if possible. We Are Creating Memories

Mentioning, if possible reminds me of a quote from the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet made March 7, 2014 while on his visit to Capitol Hill. He said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Wise words definitely worth remembering and emulating, helping us to be the people God intends we be as We Are Creating Memories

The October 30, 2021 reading in Science of Mind has this to offer, Learn to see God in all manifestation, in all people, through all events. The ordinary person sees only the lump of matter. Not so with the awakened soul, who sees in all things the divine Mind at work, molding out into expression what it feels Itself to be of life, of color, of form and beauty. That way of looking at the world would certainly make this a better place to live. We can’t control the actions of others but we do have complete control of our actions. As I’ve said many times, If I can’t see the best in you, there’s something wrong with me. Everyone has worth. We are all children of God divinely loved. 

I want you to leave reading this today with the realization that each and every day from the significant to the humdrum, We Are Creating Memories. Once we consciously realize this, it may give us pause to consider just what those memories might be. For the last while, maybe a couple of years, I have added to my daily prayers, “May I show your love, grace, and compassion to all I meet.” Having prayed that, it makes it more likely to happen, but at times I certainly do not live up to that hope. But then I recognize, we are all works in progress including me and rededicate myself to the goal. As I have told you before, I need to consider God’s divine order being at work when things don’t go as I had planned. Getting on board with a different plan, even if it is God’s, sometimes is hard for us to do. We get stuck in our vision of how things should be. If we keep an attitude, if not my way, something better, we more readily open ourselves to God’s plans for us. 

Also, let it be said, I believe there is no better exemplar of how to live than Jesus. If we take his messages and move them from our heads to our hearts, we will be creating the finest memories possible. He continually tells us to love our neighbor as ourself, to be kind to all, to share what we have, and to help those different from us. If we want a blueprint of how to create memories, Jesus would be our best example. This, of course, could be its own sermon topic, several actually. 

I also want to briefly address our penchant, at times, for wanting to put people in their places. You know what I mean. “Well, I put him in his place. Ha!” What I would tell you is YES, please do, put people in their places… as long as you remember each one of us is a holy child of God, His beloved. With that said, may we always respond with kindness remembering the words from Paul, the last two verses of Philippians 4:8-9: Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. If we honor God and hold these requirements as the way we should live, be assured, we will be creating the very best memories possible!  

Blessings for a wonderful week. 


January 30, 2022

Tactical Gratitude 

The scripture comes from Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth, Greece: 

2nd Corinthians, chapter 2, verses 14-17 (Revised Standard Version): 

 14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word; but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. 

Wow! This has to be among the most poetic scripture in the New Testament. The elegance of this specific translation also veils some rather charged teaching by Paul who aims to both reassure and energize a young and probably insecure church. Two thousand years later, give or take, it’s no less relevant for the Metaphysical church.  That said, it would help to bring a little clarity to Paul’s florid words.  

Even though Paul knew that tough times lie ahead for the Corinthians, he started in a posture of gratitude, assuring them that the road ahead will be triumphant. However, Paul is not declaring victory in the moment. He’s describing an active state of being – a process.  Life in action, from the Christ-mind, is the triumphant course. 

 I’m rather enamored with Paul’s mention of fragrance, and I’m fascinated that he’s talking not about spreading the “knowledge of Him.” No, it’s the “fragrance of the knowledge.”  Paul isn’t telling them to stand on a street corner with a megaphone. In essence (pun intended), the power of our faith is not necessarily tangible. Yet, like a fragrance, our Divine knowledge emanates from us; its power is unabated even in the smallest, most humble expression. 

Further, Paul says that we must share it indiscriminately. It’s meant for those living in Divine order (“life to life”) as well as those stuck in a cycle of error (“death to death”).  And he reminds us that we cannot use this gift transactionally (“like so many, peddlers of God’s word”).  Paul’s final charge in this scripture is that if our words and deeds originate from the Christ-mind, then we remain within the sight of God. Or metaphysically put: we remain within the realm of God. 

NOW having emerged from that rabbit hole, with insight to some dense scripture, I bet you’re sitting there with two important questions: 

  1. Well Apostle Paul that’s wonderful… but HOW?    and…. 
  1. Well Rev. Jones, that wonderful… but what does that have to do with the title of this sermon, Tactical Gratitude

Well, here’s where I get a little confessional.  There’s a line I use in prayers; I came up with it in my seminary days ago, and use it regularly: “Exalted Father, Divine Mother, it is through gratitude that we share, knowing that gratitude brings us closer to You.”  It’s a wonderful phrase, and I love its sentiment. But it also raises one important question: “just how does it bring us closer to God?” 

I don’t know about you, but at this point I’m pretty well sold on the notion that gratitude is key for lasting happiness.  It seems every other day someone is encouraging me to “live a life of gratitude.” One time, Oprah Winfrey got me to keep a gratitude journal for almost a month.  And I admit, I do have a lot to be grateful for.  

Just last Sunday, in his sermon, my colleague Rev. Jim Wilkins invited us to think of something that brings us joy.  I found myself with plenty of options and happily settled on my favorite.  Next, he asked us to think of something in our lives that was upsetting.  My mind quickly jumped to my job and my boss. Except, there was one problem: I left that job in 2019! And when I reminded myself of this, I was stumped.  I tried to pick “it’s cold,” but I love winter. So, while I couldn’t complete the thought exercise with the congregation, I did get to sit there with the thing that brought me joy. And I was quite content with that.  

But while that is certainly cause for gratitude, I must confess that emotion, eluded me. Maybe this is because gratitude has been elevated to a powerful and magical condition. Certainly, it must be!  Earlier this month a listened to a radio interview of the authors of Africa Town, a book about the community founded in southern Alabama by Africans brought there on the last slave ship to the U.S. One author spoke specifically of Kossola, who was abducted from Benin at nineteen: “he just maintained this sense of gratitude that was so inspiring and never let go of this dream of returning home.”1  

When gratitude is used to describe a life lived so powerfully as Kossola’s, I’m left convinced that gratitude is potent, and it’s not to be bandied about. Perhaps gratitude as an all-encompassing, pervasive state of consciousness has eluded me. And yet, I have persisted to pray, “Exalted Father, Divine Mother, it is through gratitude that we share, knowing that gratitude brings us closer to You.”  

I’m not alone in my elevation of gratitude nor in my contemplation of its potency.  Last November Dr. Andrew Huberman, Professor of Neurobiology at Stanford University School of Medicine, shared on his podcast a number of studies about gratitude and its beneficial effect.  When it comes to achieving a state of gratitude, Dr. Huberman admitted that he, like millions of others had it wrong.  Despite widespread wellness advice, the best way to attain a gratitude mindset is not through by journaling or listing things we’re thankful for.  

Nor is it found by sitting and trying to (as Dr. Huberman puts it) “trying to think deeply about the emotions, the sensations, the perceptions that are associated with those people, places and things on your list.”2   

Peer-reviewed studies have shown that these types of practices do not bring about (again Dr. Huberman here) “the enhanced activation of the pro-social neural networks”3 associated with the profound gratitude so many of us desire to live in.   I know that’s a lot of $5.00 words, but it was this word – “pro-social” – that jumped out at me.  Truly living in gratitude is not something we can do alone, and it immediately reminded me of a bookmark that’s been in my Bible since grade school. It reads, “God did not make love to make it stay. Love isn’t love until it’s given away.”  

While achieving a state of gratitude is not something we can achieve by ourselves.  Compounding its illusiveness has been the discovery that we don’t attain it by giving it away either.  The conclusion is that we achieve a true state of gratitude by receiving it! Dr. Huberman connected the dots with a peer-reviewed study called Prefrontal Activation While Listening to a Letter Read Aloud by a Co-Worker Face-to-Face. The letter, of course, was complimentary and expressed appreciation for specific actions of the recipient.4  

So, if I can’t generate gratitude on my own, and I can’t attain it by giving it away (that would be “transactional,” harkening back to our scripture), how do I get a bunch of people to express gratitude for me?   

And to place a few more hurdles in out path, studies found that the expression of gratitude must be (1) specific, (2) detailed, and (3) sincere. Think back to Paul’s words: “…but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” 

As I listened to Dr. Huberman’s podcast, it dawned on me this was an important opportunity for Metaphysicians. There was something we can do right here, right now, to make a metaphysical difference. We have to give gratitude. We must do so sincerely, free of intent to be returned in kind.  We must give it specifically and abundantly. And lastly, indiscriminately.  We may not be able to personally foster gratitude within ourselves, but we can plant seeds of it all around us.  Recalling Paul’s description of a fragrance, we’re cultivating Divine energy in an intangible way.  It doesn’t have to be universally recognized as Divine energy to serve its Divine purpose. 

Dr. Huberman is big on protocol, which are practices we can undertake for self-change.  While we can’t generate gratitude strictly by ourselves, for ourselves, there are things we can do for self-maintenance while we cultivate gratitude around us.  When you receive thanks, especially if it’s in written form, sit and reread the letter or card at any time. In fact, according to Huberman, you can and should reread it daily. If the thanks came verbally, replay that conversation in your mind, recalling not just the thank you, but what it was you did and the positive impact it had on others.  It is not egotistical to sit and meditate on how someone appreciates you. Gratitude is the gift they shared with you. It’s yours to enjoy. And so, you should. 

Further, we can also derive benefit from someone else’s good news story. Humans have this uncanny gift of empathy, and that swell of shared joy we feel watching a good news story of an exchange of gratitude between two people is good for us.  Whether it’s the thanks we sincerely and generously share, the gratitude we receive, or observing the grateful experiences between others, we have at our hands a ready and powerful means to, as Paul described it, “spread the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere” and to “the aroma of Christ.”  As we look to the year ahead, may you give specifically, indiscriminately, sincerely, and most of all generously. 

Blessings to you all, 

Rev. Brian D. Jones 

  1. “‘African Town’ traces the history of the last slave ship sent to the U.S.” National Public Radio. January 2, 2022. https://www.npr.org/2022/01/02/1069739420/african-town-traces-the-history-of-the-last-slave-ship-sent-to-the-u-s 
  1. “The Science of Gratitude & How to Build a Gratitude Practice,” The Huberman Lab. November 22, 2021. https://hubermanlab.com/the-science-of-gratitude-and-how-to-build-a-gratitude-practice 
  1. ibid
  1. Prefrontal Activation While Listening to a Letter Read Aloud by a Co-Worker Face-to-Face: a NIRS Study (Hori, Sasahara, et al). PLOS-One, September 2020. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32898150/ 


January 23, 2022

What’s Your Superpower?

1 Peter 4:10
So let everyone of you according to the gift he has received from God, minister the same to your
fellowman, like good stewards of the manifold of God.

So what’s your gift, your superpower?

Growing up many of us remember the old comic books of that time. We knew Superman and Batman
and the powers that THEY possessed. Whether it be the power of flight, x-ray vision, or amazing gadgets
that enhanced their skills, THEY HAD GIFTS!

Then in the 1970-80’s, role-playing games became popular. The games allowed players, to obtain
objects that gave them superpowers. We saw these not only on TV, but as video games came to be, we
had home entertainment systems. And today we see all the above and we can get them on an “app”
application, on our cell phone or tablet.

Superpowers are many and varied in media and electronics!

What is your superpower?

If you’re not sure you can take tests online that will tell you. I took a couple…just for the sake of this
sermon. One of the tests described my gift/superpower as shapeshifting. OH! That’s interesting!
Another test said my Superpower was strength and speed, perfect for the athlete that I am. Really?
Not so much!

So, what are, our SUPERPOWERS, our gifts? Certainly, we don’t qualify for many we see in the media.
Our gifts can’t be found out there, in a comic book, a video game, or from a computer test. Our true gifts
or superpowers are inherent. They come with us into each incarnation, each lifetime. We hold within us,
God given gifts that are part of the expression of who we are. Each of us is our own special superpower
human version.

Over the years, working in the public education system, I have been privileged to see many shining
examples of “little” souls with GREAT gifts! Maybe you can see yourself in one of these children.
Robert was a gifted young third grader. He was quiet and unassuming. He had a couple of friends and
they usually played together on the outer edges of the playground with their own games and private
conversation.

Robert wasn’t unfriendly, but he certainly wouldn’t be someone that stood out in a crowd. His teachers
would say that he was very shy. His study habits were poor, and he struggled to participate.
Robert had great difficulty with eye contact when you spoke with him. But…it wasn’t that he didn’t see,
as his gift was in his VISION, he noticed everything!

If you watched carefully during recess, you could see him jogging over to touch a child on the back that
had fallen or was crying. He would open the door for playground supervisors when their hands were full
or appear out of nowhere to tie a shoe of a younger student that hadn’t learned that skill.

He was one POWERFUL young man! He saw through his heart!

Maybe you’ve experienced a grown-up Robert when you were at your wits end in the grocery store, and
tired, weary, needing to get something quick for dinner. And then a “Robert” reaches over and takes
your cart to let you go ahead of him.

Or the mechanic, “Robert” at your local auto repair shop that notices you are hot and tired waiting for
him, and stops working to get a bottle of water for you. Then he climbs back under your car to finish
changing your oil, never saying a word.

You may know a “Robert?” “Roberts” were born seeing, truly noticing, what others don’t and then acting to make the situation better.

Another little soul with a BIG Superpower/gift is 10-year-old, Natalie. Natalie came from a very poor
family with many brothers and sisters. She rarely did her homework as education wasn’t a valued in her
home. Honestly, the business of survival took most of her family’s energy. Natalie was a very quiet girl
with few friends.

However, when watching Natalie in her classroom, one thing was outstandingly clear! Natalie was a
listener. She sat and listened during class discussions. In group learning situations she was not the leader
but sat back and let others orally and physically engage in the work.

THEN…when she did speak, WOW! Natalie had wonderful contributions. She listened and considered
everything that was said by the teacher and her classmates. Her comments were thoughtful, kind, and
insightful! Everyone listened when Natalie spoke. Natalie’s Superpower gift was listening with both her
heart and mind engaged.

That’s a rare gift today! Natalie is now the secretary/assistant, at a local insurance agency. She listens on
the phone as well as face-to-face all day to the problems and emergencies of all her customers and
when she does speak, she provides empathy, understanding, and guidance for quick resolutions. People
will stay with this agency just because of the listening ear and care Natalie gives to them.
Perhaps you know a “Natalie” or maybe it’s you?

We all come into this lifetime with many gifts/superpowers that are special just to us. We express these
gifts best by being ourselves!

How are you using your gifts?

Our gifts don’t necessarily have to be that of a musician, an artist, a writer, a chef, or a speaker.
If you have these talents, you are doubly blessed. The world needs you, but the world also, seriously
needs those Roberts and Natalies, and others that serve in seemingly unseen talents.

Our world today is in desperate need of those who use their special gifts to serve others in caring and
listen and noticing and acting with their hearts and their minds towards making it a better place.

It might be a smile through a mask and kind word in the grocery store, a silly joke or comment to make
someone smile, or a call on the phone to listen to someone who is isolated and at home alone. People
are needing connection and need to be assured that others care. Now is the time to step into your
SUPERPOWER and be of service.

Mama Cass of the Mama’s and the Papa’s sang a song that comes to mind:

“Make your own kind of music,
Sing your own special song…even if nobody else sings along”

You, we, all individually, are going to make our world a better place, by recognizing what we can make a
difference letting that “superpower” flow out to others like music into their lives.

Your gifts have the SUPERPOWER to truly change our world, spreading light into the darkness!
Starting today and in the week ahead help transform the world in amazing ways by being the Super
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January 16, 2022

King James Version – Scripture: Malachi 4:2  

But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall. 

THE LAMP LIGHTER’S VISION 

This scripture has always been my favorite in the Old Testament. I love the phrase “healing in his wings.” It speaks to me of loving compassion for the whole of life on the planet and beyond. It invites me to lift my thoughts into the blessings of having fun, loving without condition, being enthusiastic, enjoying my journey as I like to say as a “full time love bug.” It is so special to know the warmth of my own loving care for myself and to share that same love with others. It provides for me a reason to fill my life with purpose. 

As we grow in shared consciousness, we experience the power of the Christ light or the oneness that is our true nature, our authentic selves. Many of you may remember the song by the Browns, in 1960, “The Old Lamp Lighter.” To me we are versions of the Old Lamp Lighter of Long, long ago. The words of the song provide the vision of the loving care in the physical world that I believe is necessary for us to create and to experience in our world today.  

Each of us has the ability to create meaningful lives for ourselves, and then through the open doors of kind, loving hearts share the gift of loving care to others. Like the Lamp Light Lighter, we light our own lamps and then we willing share that light with the world in whatever way is necessary. To me that is the healing in our wings that was prophesied in the scripture.  

It encourages us to follow the example shared by the Masterful Jesus who came into the world to demonstrate, to be an example, of how to live life comfortably in the physical world. He came as a friend, an elder brother, to demonstrate how to live life compassionately; a life filled with purpose. 

The following story comes from the Aquarian Gospel, Chapter 92- Verses 13-28. The Aquarian Gospel was transcribed from the Akashic Records in the late 1890’s. by Levi, a Belleville, Ohio resident, who knew this was his special life mission. 

The story demonstrates the practical application that is necessary as we experience living in the physical world as spiritual beings. It is an example of how Jesus helped people light their lamps so to speak.  

13. And then the guests returned and sat about the board. A little child came in and stood by Jesus’ side. 14. She laid her hand on Jesus’ arm and said, please, Master Jesus, hear! My father is a drunken man: my mother toils from morn til night and when she brings her wages home my father snatches them away and squanders every cent for drink, and mother and we little ones are hungry all the night. 15. Please, Master Jesus, come with me and touch my father’s heart. He is so good and kind when he is just himself; I know it is the wine that makes another man of him. 16. And Jesus went out with the child; he found the wretched home; he spoke in kindness to the mother and the little ones, and then upon a bed of straw he found the drunken man. 17. He took him by the hand and raised him up and said, my brother, man, made in the image of our Father-Mother-God will you arise and come with me? 18. Your neighbors are in sore distress; they have lost all they had in this fierce fire, and men must build their homes again and you and I must lead the way. 19. And then the man arose; the two went arm in arm to view the wrecks. 20. They heard the mothers and the children crying in the streets; they saw their wretchedness. 21. And Jesus said, my friend, here is a work for you to do. Just lead the way in helpfulness; I’m sure the men of Bethany will furnish you the means and help. 22. The spark of hope that had so long been smoldering in the man was fanned into a flame. He threw his ragged coat aside; he was himself again. 23. And then he called for help not for himself, but for the homeless ones; and everybody helped. The ruined homes were built again. 24. and then he saw his own poor den; his heart was stirred into its depths.25. The pride of manhood filled his soul; he said, “This wretched den shall be a home.” He worked as he had never wrought before, and everybody helped. 26. And in a little while the den became a home; indeed, the flowers of love bloomed everywhere. 27. The mother and the little ones were filled with joy; the father never drank again. 28. A man was saved, and no one ever said a word about neglect or drunkenness, nor urged him to reform. 

To me this story demonstrates lives filled with purpose; a life filled with loving compassion that heals, releases the broken strings of the human heart. It is the energy, the spiritual perspective that unites, that purifies life experience, coming together on common ground. I like to think of it as the intimacy of spirt.  

As I send these thoughts to you, I have a small praying beanie bear sitting beside me. The little bear reminds me of loving compassion, my prayer of intention for myself and for all of life on the planet for 2022. I have also set an intention for myself for 2022 to have the courage to take care of me in the special way that allows my light to flow freely out into the world as a “loving care bear.”  

Yesterday morning in meditation, I found myself putting on my favorite blue sweater. As I slowly pulled the sweater over my head, I felt such comfort flowing through the open door of my heart. My own true spirt continued the process of filling my whole being with the fullness of comfort. I am fully aware of that comfort now as I write these words. As we allow the energy of this vision, filled with comfort and joy, to fill us with new hope for our future together, we are fulfilling the promise of peace. Coming together on common ground is our ongoing mission. It is the “healing rising in our wings,” prophesied so long ago and demonstrated by the man we call Jesus. 

Now is the time for healing to take place in our own lives through the warmth of our soft, gentle loving hearts. It is a time for each of us to care for and respect each other. This for me is the opportunity for 2022. Just sending this vision, with the warmth of loving care is very healing. I feel like I have been preparing my whole life for this part of my journey. I know that you, as you dive deep within, know that is true for you as well. 

As I gather my strength, and oh by the way my courage, to open the door of my heart to new experiences, to new adventures, to exploring the opportunities that come with unlimited possibilities, I am becoming more aware of my vulnerability as a human being. I am expanding my consciousness into new environments which is not always very comfortable, but in my experience, very much worth the effort. It is the process of my becoming one with my ongoing journey into health and wholeness 

Another story that speaks to me that demonstrates the purpose of loving compassion is a story about a sheep farmer who had a problem with his neighbor’s dog killing his sheep. The family had two children with a pet dog who they allowed to run free. So, one lovely spring day he gave the children a cute little lamb that they adopted for a pet. Now you may already be ahead of me as we are incorporating the energy of loving compassion into our everyday experiences. So here we go with our ongoing practical application. The result of the neighbor’s kindness was that the parents tied up the dog so he wouldn’t kill the lamb and the situation was resolved in a kind, responsible way. The sheep farmer had moved forward in the way of friendship. As we grow in shared consciousness, we experience the power of the Christ light or the oneness that is our true nature, our authentic selves.   

During a conversation with teachers in the world of Spirit many years ago, someone ask about a brain injury that she felt was keeping her from doing things that she wanted to do, and how she could move forward. The answer she was given, was that her balance would come as she lifted herself up on the “wings of love,” so to speak. Her balance would come as she allowed her Spiritual Universe to lead the way. Her loving care, gifts, talents, intuition, knowledge, that inner knowing filled with happiness, joy, laughter, providing necessary ingredients that would lift her consciousness into a place of balance. That has indeed, been her experience as I have watched her grow into fulfilling her heart’s desires. 

I have remembered this and have set my intention to take care of myself in this special way. I do not have to be so focused on attitudes and belief systems that are promoted in the physical world. My focus is intended to increase my attitudes and belief systems from the spiritual perspective. Practically, it is to dampen the effects of the physical world and to increase my Spiritual growth.  

A phrase comes to mind that was shared with me years ago by a spirit teacher. “Give love and love to your heart will flow. Give it not and love you will never know. As I keep nourishing these ideas for myself, I can share them with others and thus, become a shelter in the storm of life that provides the comfort, the fulfillment of loving compassion.  


January 9, 2022

A Welcome to the Age of Aquarius.
Rev. Lisa Bovard


Matthew 5:1-2, 14-16
When he saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then, he opened his mouth and began teaching them saying: You are the light of the world. A city cannot be hid when located on a mountain. People light a lamp and set it, not under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it shines on all those in the house. Likewise, let your light shine before men. So, they may see your fine works and give glory to your father who is in the heavens.

Matthew 5:1-2, 14-16.
Anytime there is talk of going up on the mountain we know something big is going to happen. Being on the highest point is a powerful metaphor and not just for metaphysicians but for all peoples, in all cultures since the days of an oral tradition being told around a fire. I can’t think of any imagery as powerful as the picture these words paint. It is no mistake either that our scripture here opens to the eight beatitudes given in the book of Matthew, atop a high perch. These first audiences to hear the spoken words of the eight beatitudes would recognize right away that Jesus, by speaking from this high place, had authority. He was aligning himself with important figures of the Hebrew tradition. He was a man of God. Poised at this pinnacle of light so to speak with a rapt and attentive audience he delivers a sort of set of directions or blessings for the people to live by. Knowing that the human condition can be uplifted that living by a code one can follow, a person can find their own inner connection, their own inner spark of Divinity, which would help negate harsh living conditions and lack of awareness. Instead, the people could see this new way of life has meaning, magic and transcendence. The daily path was not just a dead end, because the inner sacred radiant light within all of us when nurtured provides illumination on the individual path and shines outward to others.
This basic blue print, these directions…get repeated in other books in the Bible. We see them again in Luke’s gospel called the Sermon on the Plain, or the blessings and the woes. Although the style of delivery is a little different– contrasting a good and a negative condition– again these are instructions on right action living. In Luke, Jesus describes what the world would look like if people really followed his teachings. In the final verses in today’s scripture, Matthew reminds us how powerful a bright light can be. If you have this light, it shines for all the world to see and know. So, we don’t want to be “small” about it. We can let it shine out. Like the “sound” of light on top of the mountain. These instructions are timeless. We can live by them today, making the inner Divine Light a beacon for others, a sanctuary, an oasis that waters a hungry world. If we embrace what can almost be felt, it makes a difference.
As a child growing up like any other, if my parents, a teacher or any person of authority were to give me the same directions over and over again you can be sure I would be paying attention. Partly because I wouldn’t be paying attention unless they said it until blue in the face! It seems we need to hear the same thing over and over!
These directions, on our “original packaging”, if you will, were given in the Piscean era that only now has ended or, is ending. And we find ourselves BANG-at the beginning of the Aquarian age; perched on a precipice looking down the birth canal of a new age. Perhaps we are afraid… Living in a transitional age such as ours is scary; it may seem like things are falling apart. It appears that so much doesn’t seem to make sense. We can’t seem to put order to it. In just the last twelve months we have seen ushered in, a worldwide pandemic which, among other challenges, has interrupted the consumer society that is kicking and screaming to the very end.

The Aquarian energy is that of an interconnected society. It is our collective energy, a justice and higher order for all. Also, adding to the arena of energies at this auspicious time is the other planetary energies adding to a constriction of old order and of quiet.

The appearance of cycles of death and transformation, would be Saturn and Pluto for the astrological minded. These are the energies that remain influential in our skies now until 2023 and 2024. It is noted this planetary collective was last seen roughly three hundred years ago in another well-known time, as the reformation, another age of great transformation. Death. Rebirth.

Now is the time, go to your inner “high place” becoming one with the light beyond description, expand your good and let it be shared with others.

Every soul the good touches reverberates to an even higher good… Even if just one smile at a time, this is how we make change. Margaret Mead. a well known anthropologist wrote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

At the same time, our world climate is spiraling out of control due to, among other things, greed for personal gain and no collective cooperation of equitable resources. We need to make change for the good of all. Because the world needs us now and we have our early instructions from the Master Jesus, as we work to be better people, how to invite the good to happen. This can mark the beginning of that bright light that shines, a bright light beyond description.

John Davis wrote “Revelation for our Time; A Metaphysical Perspective,” a new spiritual language using numerology decoding ancient mysteries found in the Book of Revelation. He adds much insight to this transit from the age of Pisces into the age of Aquarius citing that America is being asked to hopefully pass the test of reconnecting the divine masculine to the empowerment of both woman and the feminine energy. Our country has always been an experiment in the balancing of masculine and feminine energies according to the numeric vibrational code of our nation’s founding date July 4, 1776 which is also a number that carries the vibration of the Messiah code. If we lose our balance, we lose the way.

One has to use these good energies available to us to make change. We can learn to see that action needs to be taken, that we recognize the process.

When we don’t see what is happening in our lives or the greater highway of the world, whether that is intentional or because we just are not able to face certain truths, the Universe has a way of sending events to get our attention. We get a catalyst for making the changes our lives are calling for. Necessity helps us create the change and the transformation that is required.

I have to laugh at myself. While writing these words I had a sudden image of Paul Revere of our Revolutionary history galloping on his horse shouting, “The Tower card! The Tower card!” As many familiar with the Rider Waite deck know, in Tarot the Tower card is a Major Arcana card depicting a frightful image of lightening striking the tower, and all in the tower fall where they may. It is an ancient primal archetypal energy that we fear.

We all know well the world’s challenges we hear reported on the news. They bring to my mind the same issues which challenged the ideals of “The Great Cincinnatian” and were also embraced by our founding fathers as building blocks for our nation. Historically, the name Cincinnatus belongs to a real person of antiquity; Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who was asked to leave his livelihood to serve at a Roman Consul meeting for a sudden war emergency. When the war was won, he returns his power back to the senate and returns to plowing his fields. His actions embody the ethics of selfless service. He relinquished everything to save the republic. This very credo is adopted by our first President, George Washington. He belonged to the then secret society of the Cincinnatian along with others from the Continental Army, all looking to bestow an auspicious beginning to this nation.

Those directions written in the Piscean time of Matthew, the Beatitudes. They described how to personally arise out of hardship. The wisdom was relevant then and also is relevant in this pivotal time. Jesus gives us a code to better ourselves by. Our inner consciousness is not promised in an orderly universe.

This Biblical wisdom helps us meld the inner sacred in the real life of this incarnate moment now. Mentally ascending to the mountain top, so that we might acquire the tools to embrace the moments, be the good and share it.

In these days, as the old order falls away, we will be called to hold the good energies in any variety of ways. Whether you serve in civil service or the military, or simply work in ordinary walks of life, we can be a facilitator for highest good, be the watch dog or even the physical arm that protects. In all things let the inner guiding light that we have move your actions as we prepare ourselves, as we are the new Cincinnatians in the Aquarian age.


January 2, 2022

 Happy New Year………2022 

Matthew 12 verses  25 and 26 

But Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them.  Every kingdom which is divided against itself is brought to desolation: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:  And if Satan cast out Satan he is divided against himself: how shall then his kingdom stand? 

In 1858 Abraham Lincoln was a candidate for the Illinois legislature and said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand, I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and free.  I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided.  It will become all one thing or all the other.” 

Happy New Year !!!!    Well, it’s 2022.  I had a conversation with our in-house Numerologist Kirk Hall about the energies of this New Year which calculate to a 6. But as Kirk would tell us, we really need to look at all the individual numbers that make up this specific 6. Before we begin to peel away the layers it is important to tell you, that within all of the chaos in our world today there is Divine Order at work. 

 Once upon a time in the year 2000 we were so  ready and filled with excitement and wonder  to celebrate the 21st century, the dawning of the Aquarian Age. Feminine energy, the number 2.  Love, Service, Harmony, Cooperation, Consideration for others and it was even more wonderful because it was intensified with all the zeros. But that was the constructive aspect of the Two.  We also needed  to look at the negative or destructive aspects of the Two which are apathy, indifference, deception, bad temper and  cruelty.   What is important is, whether it’s positive or negative aspects , it’s  all about duality  and how we are in balance or not in balance physically mentally, emotionally and spiritually with all of these energies the 2 brings. 

 The century of 1900 was all about the aspects of the 1, the individual. Or, “What can I do” But it’s now the century of 2000 and the 2 asks, “What can we do”.  This is the big question. What can we do as a collective consciousness to solve the problems within our nation let alone our universe?   We may say we include everyone, yet we prefer to hang around like-minded people.  We say we honor all paths, but when their teachings are not as tolerant as ours, we believe they need to become more “enlightened”.  We are challenged by family members who won’t get  vaccinated let alone wear a mask and a culture that seems to be going backwards rather than forward in terms of social justice, equal rights and the environment.  We can absolutely disagree with an idea, and we do not even have to like a person enough to want to be their friend.  But we must learn to see that beneath an idea we don’t like or a person with whom we don’t resonate as a spiritual being, the universal is incarnated in individuality, the divine love and light seeking to express itself through that person.  It sure doesn’t feel that way when I turn on the news but again we must separate the idea from the person. Evelyn Beatrice Hall said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.  One of our greatest spiritual challenges is to include those we don’t want to include in our circle of love.  This does not mean we have to agree with their ideas, nor does it mean we have to become friends.  It means we accept that we are connected at some deeper level. This creates the opening for connection, understanding, healing and reconciliation. Humans have been dealing with inequality for eons, long before Lincoln talked about the great divide in our country. The Universe is now screaming at us to take action. 2020 opened a portal and forced us to look at how we have evolved or how we have devolved as a species.  2021 gave us another look into what another civil war could do to this country. We are still in the mode of debate and division, knowing that the universe can no longer stand down. We are experiencing the most destructive, historic weather events across the United States, wild fires, unstoppable floods, hurricanes and unprecedented tornadic activity all in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. As we move into 2022 the numbers tell us it’s time for action. That is what the 22 is all about when reduced to a 4. The ancient philosopher Pythagoras called this the Symbol of Eternal Creative Principle. Thoughts become things. As metaphysicians we understand this concept, but this New Year can be the most beneficial time for us as a collective consciousness to meditate and mindfully envision a world of peace and harmony. Be very specific with your affirmations from your highest self.  These are only a few of the tools the number 4 gives us.  

2022 is reduced to a 6 and this is the year of responsibility but again it becomes intensified because of all the 2’s.  The number 6 is feminine energy and its ruler is Venus. It is love, love, love and when in balance it is the most powerful healing force in the universe. It cannot be destroyed, but it can be ignored.  By denying its power, we cause ourselves and others pain.  Embracing it is the only answer. Through the power of love we can release ourselves from history’s entanglements and begin again.  Love heals and makes whole and when it’s in balance it has the ability to soar into unconditional love. It seems to reason that the 6 is also the Master Builder.” Make me a channel of your peace, where there is hatred let me bring your love”. Peace automatically indicates the lack of division and can be experienced only when we are unified from within.  If we dared, we could take a look at our own life the way it really is and promptly understand ourselves.  How?  Simple! If our life is in turmoil on the outside, the turmoil exists as well on the inside.  Once the inner self has attained stability and is at peace, it becomes a reflection for our external life and it too will change.   

Many religions believe that we are presently in the end times and four horseman of the Apocalypse have been released.  We have witnessed the destruction caused by war, natural weather phenomena or geologic upheavals and the Bible does indeed state that these events will occur.  Seeing their increased frequency and intensity in the past few years many churches have automatically surmised that the four horseman have been unleashed upon us.  However, let’s look at this from a metaphysical stand point.  There is a notion found in the Dead Sea Scrolls that says a single thought has the power to shake the heavens.  This text is older than the Bible itself, and because of this simple phrase, one may ask what it has to do with the end times.  First of all Jesus, assured us the kingdom of heaven is within us and nowhere else. So we can deduce that we are the ones to be shaken and it often happens.  Any single thought has the power and ability to completely influence not only our lives but also who we are. Jesus was telling us that if allowed, our minds and thoughts could individually create waves of negativity in our internal heaven. Now let’s replace heaven with consciousness. So a single thought has the power to shake consciousness.   The implication now shifts from the individual nature to the collective and this collective consciousness is now shaking back.  If we genuinely understand this concept, it should make us very aware of what we are thinking collectively, and what we as contributors, add to the universal consciousness.  When the preponderance of our thoughts revolve around hate, anger greed, frustration, etc., we exacerbate the existing turmoil present in our world.  As we understand it, thought creates a gravitational pull, meaning that love attracts love, hate attracts hate and so on.  In the field of physics, Newton’s third laws tells us that for each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If we can accept the fact that life is our own personal mirror and that the devil did not make me do it, then we can effectively change it. And if we can take responsibility as an individual we as a collective consciousness can eventually do the same. It is a choice. If we believe that we are all equal, what is our problem?  It only confirms the differences generated by the external side and the fact that we do not accept our inner Self. Again this is the year to find that inner self and to let all thoughts of unworthiness melt away and see yourself as a child of God, knowing we are truly all children of the same God. 
This is the year to see yourself whole, letting go of old beliefs that set you apart and divide us from one another.     

 Awakening to our Divine nature takes courage and this is the year to be the Master Builder and be a force for good in the world.  Actions will always speak louder than words. Yes, our world faces a daunting situation.  Our challenge is to foster a deep, inner, revolutionary rebirth in consciousness.  And when we change, we change the world.  

 2022 provides every human an unparalleled opportunity to reevaluate the way we engage in the world and it demands a focused look at neglected reparation to our planet and all of its inhabitants. We can start by surrendering the worry of what will happen to us and choose to serve someone in need.  Surrender our fear of losing relevance and help another achieve a victory that you yourself would love to experience.  Surrender your fears of abandonment and go assure someone else that they truly matter. This is how we awaken and this is how we build bridges. Be the Master Builder.  This is truly the year to make a difference.  Blessings  


December 26, 2021

FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS
Rev. Laura MacLachlan

Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ Section II, Ch. 3 verses 4-13

(4) At midnight came a cry, a child is born in yonder cave among the beasts. And lo, the promised son of man was born. (5) And strangers took the little one and wrapped him in the dainty robes that Mary had prepared and laid him in a trough from which the beasts of burden fed. (6) Three persons clad in snow white robes came in and stood before the child and said, (7) All strength, all wisdom and all love be yours, Immanuel. (8) Now, in the hills of Bethlehem were many flocks of sheep with shepherds to guide them. (9) The shepherds were devout, were men of prayer and they were waiting for a strong deliverer to come. (10) And when the child of promise came, a man in a snow white robe appeared to them and they fell back in fear. The man stood forth and said, (11) Fear not! Behold I bring you joyful news! At midnight in a cave in Bethlehem was born the prophet and the king that you have long been waiting for. (12) And then the shepherds all were glad; they felt that all the hills were filled with messengers of light, who said, (13) All glory to God on high; peace, peace on earth, good will to men.

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The Aquarian Gospel, subtitled “The Philosophic and Practical Basis of the Religion of the Aquarian Age of the World” was written inspirationally in 1907. It heralded an age that is upon us now. It sounds very much like our Lamsa translation of the Holy Bible. We recognize the symbolism of “men in snow white robes” as light beings from the Angelic realm. The message of the arrival of a baby who the people believed was going to take back the Kingdom of the Jews for them. We as Metaphysicians know there’s another take on the mission of that child, born in a “stable” or place of humility—in our hearts.

Yesterday we all celebrated with our loved ones Christmas Day. We cherish all the adornments of the season like any other person who follows the Teachings of the Master Jesus as a philosophy and religion. But almost instinctively, we are drawn the deeper, esoteric meaning of the birth of the “son of man.” Not only was this the name given to Jesus in the Aquarian Gospel but in the New Testament as Jesus himself said in defining who he was.

We know that the greatest gift of Christmas was the reason a Christ returned to the Earth plane at that time in history. It was time for a demonstration of the evolution of a “son of man” into a fully Christed being. It will ultimately be a journey we will all take. The darker times of the Old Testament, with its more primitive flavor of spirituality, had fulfilled its mission. The vibration on the Earth plane was rising. It was time for the shift from “Thou Shalt Not” to “Blessed Are Ye.” The consciousness of the young souls incarnate was beginning to mature. They were spiritually growing up now. Instead of being taught like very young children, they were ready to begin to discern what was more spiritually aware thing to do to live in a love centered society. Their concept of God itself could begin to evolve from vengeful, angry old man to pure love energy. They could begin to see themselves as “children,” or sparks, of a creative force in the universe that carried the same love energy as they recognized in their own parents. And at the same time, the Master Jesus would also teach them that God was bigger than any humanistic figure. His work was cut out for him and he was fully aware on that higher self level of his mission to facilitate this huge shift in consciousness.

This is why we personalize the birth of the baby Jesus, wrapped in “dainty robes” or the Bible’s “swaddling clothes” and lying in a manger. This is OUR spiritual awakening. Our stable is a place of humility within US. He agreed to take on the mantle, described symbolically as clothing, of human flesh to be a Teacher. He came at a time in our personal and collective spiritual awareness when we are ready for the next level of our spiritual journey to enlightenment..awakening the dormant Christ presence within us. This process can only begin when we reach a place in ourselves when we are not boastful and showy, not “dog eat dog” to be admired by others. Instead, we have become humble and desirous of service to others. How can we help? Why are we here? Who are we…really? Our soul essence came to that place that is on a material level historic and on another more metaphysical, mystical. We, like the Earthplane itself, reach our New Testament time of learning and unfoldment. He came to move us out of our lower chakra level of understanding to the Heart and above.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. The Master Jesus would unfold a multitude of lessons for not just those incarnate, but for thousands of years afterward, other dormant Christs. Joy to the world, the Lord has come.

The “Lord” is, of course, the keys to the “Kingdom”. The Kingdom of God. As above, so below. “On Earth as it is in Heaven.” Jesus will introduce the concepts of Natural Law, the Beatitudes, the Golden Rule, “Love thy God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.” The battle the people thought he would wage for them wasn’t about physical real estate. It was about awakening as true sparks of the Divine. “Know ye not that ye are Gods?” When we learn the inner workings of Natural and Spiritual Law, when we understand the Love energy that is God, and that God is the creative force behind every manifestation on Earth, we arrive in the “Promised Land.” All this lay ahead for the collective consciousness of every soul incarnate then or discarnate, scripted to be born after that day.

It would be like getting a big kid two wheeled bike under the Christmas tree and leaving the tricycle behind.

In Section 2, Chapter 4 of the Aquarian Gospel we learn that at 40 days of age (there’s that universal number 40…a time of preparation for a new spiritual awakening!) Jesus is taken to the Temple in Jerusalem “to be consecrated by the Priest.” Verse 9 tells us an old widow of four and eighty years saw the child and exclaimed “Behold Immanuel!” Hmmm….as did the angels who materialized and stood beside the new born child. When you read something more than once in the Bible or any sacred text, pay attention!

Immanuel…God is with us. I wonder if she knew how profound those words were! In that one sentence, she moved God out of a human castle in the sky and into our hearts. That 40 day preparation for the new spiritual awakening was for US. The revelation that God was right within our own beings was just the start.

The Earth plane never was and never will be the same. The Lord, Immanuel, is come. We are always evolving upward when we align with the pure love energy of God. We may struggle to see and feel it on a daily basis, but we who have made Divine Spiritual Metaphysics a life study know it’s true. Yes, spiritually young souls will continue to be in our midst; that need the rules and guidance of the Old Testament “Thou shalt not” level of understanding. They will find their way. We all will– at whatever level of unfoldment we have achieved.

So…Joy to the World! A Master who would show us how to become a Christ was born. He came with members of the angelic realm, who reassured the human minds of the day, “We bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be for all people.” The Master Jesus would grow up to show us how to walk this spiritual journey we are on, how to live in the flow of Divine love and order. He told us, as his disciples, to “follow the man with the water jug” into this, the Aquarian Age.


December 19, 2021
Rev. Carey Barker

Today’s scripture is Luke 2:8-20

Now there were shepherds in that region, where they were staying, and they were watching their flocks at night.  Behold, the angel of God came to them, and the glory of the Lord shone on them; and they were seized with a great fear.  The angel said to them, do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which will be to all the world.  For today is born to you in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Lord Christ.  This is a sign for you; You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.  Suddenly there appeared with the angel, many hosts of heaven, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good hope for men.  It happened, when the angels departed from them and went to heaven, the shepherds spoke to one another, saying, let us go to Bethlehem, and see this thing that has happened, as the Lord has shown to us.  They came very hurriedly, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe laid in the manger.   When they saw it, they made known the word which was spoken to them concerning the boy.  All who heard it were amazed at the things which were spoken by the shepherds. 

Mary treasured all these things and dwelt on them in her heart.   The shepherds returned, glorifying, and praising God for all that they had seen and heard, as it was spoken to them.

Luke 2:8-20, the Lamsa Translation

“What Child is This?”

Imagine for a moment that you are standing in the middle of the field, tending your flocks and an angel of God comes to you with a BIG shining light.  A light so big that the night sky is illumined.  Of course, you’re going to stop what you are doing for a minute.  As many can be fearful when standing in the middle of something so big it lights up our thoughts.  When our thoughts and paths are illuminated by the divine mind it can bring promise, excitement and hopes of peace.

As we protect our flocks, our thoughts, we can name them, command them to come and go as we command.  One should protect their thoughts from outside influences, especially in the darkest of night. 

Then with the mind illumined, we can find deliverance from lower thoughts of sickness and sin.  This is a beautiful sign that you will give birth to a new consciousness, Christ consciousness.

When the divine thoughts departed, the thinking mind decided to go to Bethlehem, at the pit of the stomach.  That place of spirit where Mary and Joseph, love and wisdom come together.  Love and wisdom are now manifested in the outer world.  Thus, giving birth to the new consciousness within the manger, the body of oneself. 

This whole Advent season is about waiting and preparing for Christ-mas.  Teaching us how to hope, have peace, open with love, and receive our joy.  This is an opportunity to prepare our hearts and our homes so that we may shine even brighter. 

It is in these darker, shorter days of winter we may feel out of rhythm, less motivated, maybe even feeling the winter blues. 

This celebration of the light is a way to delight in the coming of the winter solstice representing the return of more light.  We all know that our environment affects us internally and this is no different. 

That is why it’s so important to surround yourself with the energy of Christmas.  Light some candles, hang extra lights around the house, whatever you feel will symbolically light up your world.  Christmas lights shine all day but they shine brightly at night.  Just like our light of Christ consciousness does, that light of love is more needed in darkness, in times of testing.

As the sun begins to bring more light to our days, we can bring more light to our inner being.  This rebirth of the light can help us to bring back our childlike qualities.

So what child is this anyway? 

It is the child within you that sometimes lays sleeping, surrounded by divine love and hope that with thoughts illuminated will bring forth a new life, a new love for yourself and others.  Allow this beautiful season to give you an opportunity to reflect on where you are spiritually.  Take the time to feel the rebirth of source energy within you.  In doing so, you become a light of hope for others.

In the individual consciousness the meaning of Jesus’ being born in Bethlehem is that the principles of Truth have laid hold of the intelligent substance of Spirit and through praise have brought the Christ consciousness into manifestation.

This babe that is born, is born in all of us.  From love & wisdom we can manifest greatness within us.  We celebrate this time of year that there is something great within us that we can give birth to when we choose.  Celebrating the birth of something great, the birth of our ability to be great.

The subconscious realm within ones being is said to have twelve great centers of action, with twelve presiding egos or identities. When Jesus had attained a certain soul development, he called his twelve apostles to Him. This means that when one is developing out of mere personal consciousness into spiritual consciousness, there begins to train deeper and larger powers; sending thoughts down into the inner centers and through word quickens them to life. Where before one’s powers have worked in the personal, now they begin to expand and work in the universal.

Christmas is the time to open your heart and mind to greater experiences for yourself and others.  Remember that everyone is working on their own individual power within themselves.  We may not understand what one is going through but do we really need to? 

We are living in a chaotic time and most of us feel like we have no control in what is happening around us.  The truth is you can focus on what you do have control of.  Go beyond the immediate task at hand and see the bigger picture. 

We are all in this together and remembering that when expanding your awareness can help you to grow and those around you to grow. 

There is no greater time that I know of in my lifetime that a more focused energy, a brighter energy for the greater good is needed.  There’s always been a balance of those that are struggling and those that have overcome.  Help has always been there.  It is important that we turn within, assisting spirit in the shining of our light to the world.  This is how we can bring peace on earth and good will to all. 

Christmas is the season of giving.  Remember the wise men that presented their gifts?  I’m asking you to present your gifts this holiday season.  Share your light, your love, your joy of the season with others. 

Many of you know that you have beautiful gifts of Spirit to share with the world.  Today, I encourage you to go forward and do so.  As you open your brightly wrapped gifts this season, remember the greatest gift you have within you.  Then go to that place of spirit.  Through love & wisdom nurture that child within, that babe in swaddling clothing that lies within your own being.

May each of you have a beautiful Christmas season with those that are dear to you.   May your light shine so bright that it lights the way for another. 

Merry Christmas and many blessings to come!


December 12, 2021

Faith in the Unseen
Rev. Brian Funk

Our Scripture this morning comes from the Book of Luke, Chapter 2: Verses 1-20, we will be reading from the Lamsa translation of the Bible.

1 AND it happened in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, to take a census of all the people in his empire. 2 This first census took place during the governorship of Quirinius in Syria. 3 And every man went to be registered in his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Nazareth, a city of Galilee, to Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and family of David; 5 With his wife Mary, while she was with child, that they might be registered there. 6 And it came to pass while they were there, that her days of deliverance were to be fulfilled. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because they had no place where they were lodging. 8 Now there were shepherds in that region, where they were staying, and they were watching their flocks at night. 9 And behold, the angel of God came to them, and the glory of the Lord shone on them; and they were seized with a great fear.10 And the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which will be to all the world. 11 For today is born to you in the city of David, a Saviour, who is the Lord Christ. 12 And this is a sign for you; You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel, many hosts of heaven, praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good hope for all. 15 And it happened, when the angels departed from them and went to heaven, the shepherds spoke to one another, saying, Let us go to Bethlehem, and see this thing that has happened, as the Lord has shown to us. 16 And they came very hurriedly, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe laid in the manger.17 When they saw it, they made known the word which was spoken to them concerning the boy. 18 And all who heard it were amazed at the things which were spoken by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, and dwelt on them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all that they had seen and heard, as it was spoken to them.”

This concludes the reading of this morning’s scripture. Good morning. Happy Holidays to all of you. I have a joke for you this morning. “What did Adam say in the Garden of Eden to his wife on the Day before Christmas? It’s Christmas…Eve..” No? How about this one. “What do reindeer say before they tell a joke? This is really gonna sleigh you.” Ok I’ll stop. That will be my present to you!

As we celebrate the metaphysical birth of the Christ Consciousness within us, let us remind ourselves of the importance of faith in the unseen. All of us have our ups and downs. Frank Sinatra sang, “You’re riding high in April, shot down in May. That’s Life.” Today we will remind ourselves that despite the ups and downs, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.

All of us need the faithful reminders that give us the strength to keep going. This strength can be given to us by our angelic guides, and by our intuition. Mary, the mother of Jesus, according to the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, symbolizes the feminine, the soul, the emotional phase of our being, that magnifies the Lord “daily in the temple” and through its devotions prepares itself for the higher life. She signifies the divine motherhood of love. She can also be said to be intuition.

Jesus, the perfected-man manifestation, is thus conceived in the intuitive or soul nature, and is molded in its substance. The coming of the Christ body into activity is the result of the higher idea sown in the mind and matured by the soul (Mary).

Mary metaphysically symbolizes the soul, and thus gives birth to Immanuel, whose name means God is with us, (Immanuel of course also being the prophetic name for Jesus). Immanuel means the consciousness that God is with us and we are one with God. This is amazingly insightful and a beautiful reminder. This understanding also fits perfectly with the birth of Jesus. The understanding of how the “Word became flesh” in Jesus, and is now being made flesh in every one of us even as it was in Him. We too must make flesh the very concepts of love and purity. We must make the words become real.

It’s interesting that this Gospel of Luke focuses on shepherds instead of the traditional Three Wise Men. Instead of placing the emphasis on the gifts given by three wise men, the emphasis instead is on a visitation of angels to these shepherds. These humble herders of their flock were visited by heavenly hosts. In fact the wording is the “Glory of the Lord” shone around them. They were able to hear and see the angels BUT at first they are afraid. Most of us when we start to tune into Spirit we are afraid. As we grow in understanding, that fear subsides. We may be fearful of the responsibility that such a connection brings. It is this very connection that builds our spiritual awareness.

Unity teaches that Jesus’ birth metaphysically represents bringing forth the inner realms of consciousness and when it is fully grown, saves us from ignorance, sickness and death. This growth occurs through the power of the word of Truth. Here we have shepherds, watching over their flock at night. Sheep metaphysically represent our innocent and pure connection to Spirit. They symbolize the natural flow that occurs between us and Spirit when we are gentle and innocent as sheep.

As we shepherd our thoughts with peace, we are given illumination (The Glory of the Lord shone around them). We are given divine guidance and insight by the angelic spirits that direct us to go and visit the Divine Child. We all have free will, and just as the shepherds receive this information from angels, they have the choice to remain fearful and not do anything with it. Instead they listen to the angels, “Let us go into Bethlehem and see this thing that is come to pass.” They follow what they see and hear by going forth and doing what the angelic hosts instruct them to do (as they have faith in the tidings of great joy).

Do we always know that we are being visited by angels? Are we able to perceive the difference? Do angels resemble us? What if instead of names like Gabriel, Michael and Uriel we had an aspiring angel come to us named Clarence? That is exactly what happens to George Bailey in the Christmas classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

The movie opens up with various prayers being sent to God asking for help for George Bailey. They cut to the stars and a conversation between who we presume to be God and an angel regarding George and the action he is about to take regarding ending his life. The two agree to send the clockmaker Clarence, who has not gotten his wings yet and it has been over 200 years. He is promised that if he completes this mission, he will earn his wings.

George faces many decisions in his life and does his best to put other people’s needs before his own. In his youth he knows exactly what he wants to do with his life. He wants to travel the world, leave his boring hometown and go off to college so that he can build skyscrapers and bridges. Much like all of us, life happens to him along the way. His father dies, and instead of going away to college he takes over his father’s business with the hopes that his younger brother will take it over after a few years to free him up to go off and live his dreams. There is an interesting phrase on the wall that hangs underneath his father’s picture, echoing a spiritual message, “All you can take with you is that which you give away.”

His growing frustrations and feelings of being stuck lead his emotions to be repressed and bottled up. Sound familiar? He continues to put others’ needs ahead of his own. His own expectations of who he should be and who he has become continue to frustrate him. His inner conflict continues to rage inside of him.

The main antagonist in the story is a shrewd businessman, named Potter, and represents the selfish side of our ego. He symbolizes the comforts of material living. He offers George a large salary, with international trips and a luxurious lifestyle. He tempts George with the very things he has lost out on by serving others. Right when George is about to accept the offer he refuses and stands up for his beliefs, the ivery deals set forth by his father.

We could equate this to the temptations we all face during our lives. Do we stand up for ourselves and say “Get behind thee, Satan,” or metaphysically, get behind me, material Ego mind? George survives this round but just like for all of us, there will be more tests.

The name George means earth worker, farmer. It was made popular by St. George who was said to have wrestled with a fire breathing dragon, symbolizing the devil. Same dance, different folks dancing? Our greatest adversary is always the one that keeps us furthest from our connection to God and Spirit.

On Christmas Eve, George’s emotions finally get the best of him. He snaps. He gets angry at his family, his children, and even gets angry at his daughter’s school teacher and blames her for his daughter getting sick. His children ask their mother if they should pray for him. His wife says yes. His wife’s name just so happens to be Mary. We already know metaphysically what her name symbolizes and her role in his life.

In his frustration and desperation George returns to Potter with a life insurance policy asking for a loan so that he can keep the family business going. Potter tells him that he is worth more dead than alive with his life insurance policy. This plants the seed in George’s mind. Yet another challenge designed to test us. Have any of us thought that people would be better off if we were not around? His exact words are, “If it hadn’t been for me everyone would have been a lot better off, my wife, my kids and my friends. I wish I had never been born at all.”

He decides to drown his problems by having a few adult beverages as some of us have similarly done. As he drinks he lets out a heartfelt prayer, “Dear Father in heaven, I am not a praying man but if you are up there and you can hear me, show me the way. I’m at the end of my rope. Show me the way O’ God.”

Things get a little worse before they get better for him. The same can also be said by many of us. George gets punched in the face by the husband of the school teacher he yelled at. He leaves the bar and drives his car into a tree. He stumbles over to a bridge and gets ready to jump into the freezy icy water and end his life. At that moment, this is his plan of escape from his seemingly insurmountable frustrations of failure and confinement.

Right as he is about to jump he hears a man screaming for help and drowning in the water. He jumps in and saves the man, who informs him he jumped in the water to save George because he knew George would jump in and save him. “I’m the answer to your prayer. By saving me, I saved you”, Clarence tells him and introduces himself as George’s guardian angel, to which George famously responds, “Well you look like about the kind of angel I’d get.”

Clarence gives George a present. “You’ve been given a great gift George, a chance to see what the world would be like without you.” He is shown the world around him as if he had never been born. His family and friends and their lives all play out differently and not for the better. “Strange isn’t it.”, Clarence teaches him, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around it leaves an awful hole doesn’t it?” Clarence’s final wisdom is imparted at the end, “Remember that no man is a failure who has friends.”

Is it any surprise that the name Clarence means bright and clear? The information we receive from our angelic guides can often be bright and clear but we sometimes fail to do anything with it. We may fail to accept it at first out of fear, like the shepherds. So many of us fail to recognize the impact we have on others beyond our limited perspective. We fail to visit the Divine Child and honor our own divine self. The shepherds, metaphysically keeping watch over their thoughts and deeds, signify the importance of not letting our lower nature and fear get the best of us. We all must battle the fire breathing dragon nemesis like St. George and the materially minded Potters of our daily experiences.

What we put out to the world in thought and deed comes back to us; for better or worse. As we work on ourselves, we must be careful of what energy, thoughts, and words we are putting out there. When we are properly shepherding our thoughts to reflect the higher vibrations, we are becoming in tune with the unseen forces of the angelic hosts. We then are able to see the unseen and hear the unheard. This allows us to make the higher concepts of the Word, into practical application, made flesh.

There are signs and coincidences everywhere that point us to where we need to be and what we need to do. We need only to trust that spiritual insight and abide by it. If we want to walk the spiritual path and unfold spiritually, we need only put that faith out to the Infinite Intelligence and Spirit will do the rest. We will hear them clairaudiently and we will see them clairvoyantly. We will be led where we need to go to find the Christ Consciousness.

The Christ Consciousness brings us sustenance and vitality when we have faith in communication with this presence and bring it forth with right judgement in our thoughts, words and manifested reality. When we have overcome our own error thinking and opposing mind we are given the power of faith to manifest physical reality. Through this faith we truly make a heaven on earth. Through this faith we can move mountains. The connection to Spirit is only separated by our own limited understanding. We can live in harmony and balance with our higher self alongside the Spirits. They have been watching out for us and looking after us for a long, long time.

We can become more mindful to be fully present in the only moment we ever have, the present. That is a great gift to give. For as we read in THIS Gospel, the importance of gifts being

received is NOT important. The importance of being PRESENT, is! Give the gift of being present. As we learned from the movie, all we ever have is that which we have given away. May you go forth knowing that you are loved and cared for by the angelic hosts as it is written, “For I will give thine angels charge over thee.” Remember, it truly is a Wonderful Life. God Bless.


December 5, 2021

Experiencing the Peace of Christ
Rev. Mike Hile

Scripture John 14:25-27 from George Lamsa’s translation, hear the words of Jesus: I have spoken these things to you while I am with you. But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom my Father will send in my name will teach you everything, and will remind you of everything which I tell you. Peace I leave with you; my own peace I give you; not as the world gives, I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.

Know, I am honored to have the opportunity to share with you on this second Sunday of the Advent Season. Traditionally, the advent theme for this Sunday highlights the Old Testament prophets as The Candle of Peace is lit. That being said, I have chosen words from Jesus, our master teacher, dealing with peace.

First, let us explore a few aspects of peace making certain we do not confuse it with its homonym, piece. In our circles, when peace is mentioned, we may think of a calm, personal state of being. Other times, we may consider it as a state of affairs that is not in turmoil. Yet another aspect would be the absence of active conflict, or war, in the world. Then, there is the global view with peace evoking a steady, safe state of the world in which countries are making efforts to coexist, aligning agendas for the good of the planet. Added to that might also be respecting the rights of their citizens affording them a sense of civil stability, i.e., peace. All of these definitions of peace are valid and worthy to pursue.

Today, I’d like to have us explore peace on the personal level which if attained by enough would translate into affecting the other definitions. Sometimes we feel defeated before beginning with the thought, What can I do as one person to make this a more peaceful world? I am not a world leader and never will be. I am barely coping with my own problems trying to exist each day let alone thinking on a greater scale involving others. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the events of the world. That was true twenty-two months ago prior to Covid-19 entering our circle of thoughts and seemingly more so today. But as we seek and attain personal peace, a calm sense of order prevails in our lives. Each person being more centered in peace translates into a better chance of peace on higher levels. So, it seems worth pursuing a conversation – if one-way by the design of this format – about how we might not only attain this personal sense of peace but maintain it.

Last Sunday in my Watrousville church, the minister talked about how we shake our heads, wring our hands, looking at the ground and wonder what we should do with the challenging circumstances we face. He then suggested, we should be looking up meaning to God for our answers. I liked the analogy but we know instead of the preposition being “up” we would say “within.” I particularly liked the reading from Tuesday’s Daily Word which read, In the past, I may have believed fear would keep me safe and alert to danger. I understand now that fear siphons my energy and causes me to shrink from the fullness of life.

My safety is in my awareness. Unlike fear, awareness keeps me preset and responsive. I pay attention to fearful feelings and tune in to the messages my distress is sending me. Any fear I feel may inform my awareness, but it does not control my actions.

I remember there is no place I can be where God is not, no situation I ever face alone. God isn’t just with me – God is within me. Embracing this divine protection, I am fearless knowing all strength, support, wisdom, and love are mine every moment of every day.

As I read that Monday night in preparation for Tuesday, it reminded me of the words of Jesus from today’s Scripture. I felt empowered, reassured, hopeful, and calm. All to say, I felt at peace.

Another phrase in that passage that evoked a particularly positive reaction for me as it related to an experience I had is, the fullness of life. Last March 7, as I was on my way to get take out from Club 24 south of Caro on M-24, I zipped over the Cass River and past the Exchange Club Forest. I am thinking I have shared this with you, but it’s worth repeating methinks. Within a mile and a half of my destination on that crisp March day, it was like some outside force gave me the thought, May I live in the fullness of the life I’ve been given. I was already enjoying my day feeling happy and content – hey, I was on my way to get take-out after all – but it was like I was being given those words to internalize at the core of my being. May I live in the fullness of the life I’ve been given, inspires me to be authentic identifying my purposes which are God-given and unique to me.

It is no surprise to any of you reading this that I love the written word and find quotes uplifting leading to, or helping to at least maintain, my sense of peace. Last week while reading Strength & Grace for 11-28, I read an account of a teacher presenting a virtual lesson to a class of early teens. This teacher has MS and during something she was demonstrating she noted this to those watching as a way of explaining her sometimes compromised movements. Later that night while reading through the comments which had been sent, she found this from a boy of thirteen. In response to her having MS, he wrote, So far you have survived 100 percent of your worst days. Keep up the good work! That is true for all of us! No matter if we have been unsure, scared, fairly certain of doom, we have survived to the here and now. Wow! As we continue to live, things of a seemingly adverse nature will visit our lives possibly eroding our feelings of peace. But take courage, So far you have survived 100 percent of your worst days. Keep up the good work!

Because finding inner peace is not a once-and-done process, we need continual encouragement. We may also tend to be rigid task-masters when we consider ourselves. Daily Word 9-30-21 had this to offer: One of the most precious gifts of inner peace is living in harmony with myself. When I lovingly accept myself just as I am and extend grace and compassion inward, I feel calm and content.

My self-talk is positive and affirming. I am kind and gentle with myself, at ease in my own company, and forgiving and compassionate when I stumble, I am at peace.

While reading that, I realized I have little problem extending those considerations to others but maybe I am not so lenient with myself; definitely an adjustment worth making.

Yet another quote from Daily Word 9-25-21, The presence of God is within me, and that blessing is the truth of my life.

Rev. Ernie Forks offers this, I am not all that God/Spirit is, but God/Spirit is all that I am. Of course, that means we are each an individualized expression of the One Infinite Reality.

On a good day with things going fairly well by our estimations, we may stay more readily connected with the source of our peace. Remembering it during adverse times is another thing. But like so many experiences in life, if we practice, we become better. A turning point for me was realizing and accepting that I don’t need to put parameters on peace but rather accept it as God-given. There remains part of me more times than I’d like to admit that allows me to think I have the best solutions to any of the myriad of challenges I may be encountering. Divine order might have an edge over Mike Hile’s planning is what I am willing to admit. But what I need to embrace is Divine order is just that and find the good. Dr. Ernest Holmes offered this, Learn to see God in all manifestations, in all people, through all events. The ordinary person sees only the lump of matter. Not so with the awakened soul, who sees in all thigs the Divine Mind at work, molding out into expression what it feels itself to be of life, of color, of form and beauty.

Also, I have noticed if I trust Divine Order with the smaller things, I become more likely to trust it with the larger issues of life leading to a deeper sense of peace. We need to be thankful and appreciate the gift of peace given us. These present-day challenging times make a great field to practice attaining and maintaining inner peace. Hear Jesus whispering to us, Peace I leave with you; my own peace I give you; not as the world gives, I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.

Also on a personal note, of the four Sundays in Advent which many Christians identify as celebrating Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy in that order, I do not believe I have given a message purely on peace and emphasizing inner peace. The first sermon I preached was on December 26, 1965 – 56 years ago. I did not keep copious records early in my speaking career, but have for the past ten or so years. In that time, I know that I haven’t devoted a sermon to peace. I have given several on Hope, Love, and Joy but none that I can remember about Peace. High time to do one now.

Know, that I believe part of our growth here is to connect with inner peace, find it, develop it, cultivate it, and internalize it having it become one of the prevailing factors of our being.

PEACE BE WITH YOU!

Blessings for a wonderful week.


November 28, 2021

After Thanksgiving
Rev. Carey Barker

Twas the day after Thanksgiving and all through the house, Leftovers were plentiful for me and my spouse.  The ham on our biscuit the turkey on bread, the Yams still delicious and kept us well fed.  This day after Thanksgiving should all be for rest, There’s Football on TV I’ll crash and I’ll nest.  Not so fast as she rattled my roost.  Christmas is coming and it’s time to reboot.  She threw open the shutters and looked upon me, Saying bring in that Santa, the lights and the tree.  My eyes must have rolled to the top of my cap, Cause I felt a hard strike a pop and a snap.  Get off the dang sofa and get into the garage, There’s boxes in the attic and don’t forget Claus. 

So we turned off the TV and cranked up the tunes, the tree was unboxed and brought back to new.  The wreath and the manger both found their spot, it’s looking like Christmas is not so far off.  My bride is now happy and admit I am to Cause Christmas is coming and decorations are through. – By John McCormack

How many of you have begun to decorate for Christmas? 

It’s that time of year again when we see homes decorated, there are pretty decorations filling the stores and lining the streets…. And hopefully you find your heart becoming fuller and decorated as well.    

Today’s scripture, Romans 15:13

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace so that by faith you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lamsa Translation of the Holy Bible, the book of Romans, Chapter 15, verse 13

I know for our home we do exactly what the before mentioned poem speaks of.  We eat leftovers and haul out the Christmas decorations. 

In the years past I would always decorate the day after Thanksgiving and would get very excited about the holidays.  The past few years when things were getting very overwhelming, we didn’t do so well with being timely for Christmas.  In fact, each year the tree went up later and later in December.

Last year I made a personal decision to get that tree up and it wasn’t without obstacles. 

The lights on the pre-lit tree weren’t working so I ran to the store to buy some new lights.  We get them on the tree, feeling accomplished, we begin to slide the tree in place and “Wah-la” …..½ the lights went out. 

It was a little frustrating in the middle of trying to get other things done as well but it paid off.  It looked beautiful…every time I walked by the tree it put a smile on my face. 

I am remembering my blessings – particularly my kids and my husband, our great friends as well as the warm home to live in, jobs that we enjoy, most of the time and so many, many other things.

Most of our everyday thinking is driven from the unconscious mind, which is far greater than the conscious mind. Therefore, it may feel like an impossible task to rein your thoughts in.   As with most things, a little practice can go a long way.

Reach for the thoughts that make you feel good and then practice holding on to them. If, for example, you have had a bad day at work, don’t tell the story about it because that won’t make you feel good!

Don’t ruminate on the conversations or events of the day because that will only serve to make you more tense and may affect your ability to have a good night’s sleep. Instead let go of the thoughts and think of something else that makes you feel good.

The more you can get a hold on your thoughts, the greater control you will gain over your emotions.  After all, why would you choose to feel anything but joyful, elated, on top of the world, clear-minded, creative, enthusiastic, or eager. 

The holidays don’t have to be stressful and overwhelming.  The holidays can bring joy to your heart and open you up to greater awareness of all that life has to offer.

Often, I think we wait for something to excite us, bring us joy but we must be mindful that Joy is a choice.  We are powerful creators of our own reality, but so many of us don’t realize our own true potential.  We are all equal; not one of us is more “special” than another.  We all have the ability, the potential to be filled with as much joy as we choose to create.

The only difference is that there are some people who have learned to shine a beam on what they really want in life and then have the belief to make that happen.

December is here and that means that Thanksgiving is over and now onto Christmas, New Years, and everything in between.  It means that we will potentially be around family, that we will be stressed, and that there will be a lot to do. So much to do, that many times we fail to find ourselves truly living in the joy of the season or in joy at all. Whether it’s because of an absent friend or family member and it’s hard to celebrate without them, or maybe finances make this time of year difficult, or just maybe you struggle with frustration, anxiety, or depression. No matter who you are or your reason, finding joy in the holidays is possible and can renew you going into the new year.

It is still very possible to find joy; that deep emotion that stirs inside of your heart and soul, even when you outwardly are not at your happiest. You can revel in the moments that you will never forget, and you can focus on the things that are going well.

Remember that you do not have to be perfect nor does the occasion.  There is so much anxiety in trying to make everything “just right” when it’s completely unnecessary in the long run. We all live imperfect lives, and our joy is not derived from a perfect-looking pie, but that moment when the ugly pie gets the “best tasting” seal of approval.

Find joy by decorating your heart with things that make you laugh, things that make you smile and put you in this energy of love for the season. 

Think of your tree and how the lights make it stand out and shine, think of the garland that accents that light and reflects it out into the room.  The precious bulbs with people’s names and the places you’ve been.  Let us not forget what tops that tree, in our case it is an angel that we purchased together 33 years ago.

Take time to imagine what color the lights are that adorn your heart, what thoughts accent those lights and makes that joy shine through and reflect out into the room.  Who are the special people in your life and the special places you have been that hang on your heart adding its own unique beauty? 

And finally, what truly tops that off in your world… an angel maybe, what does that angel represent, what truly elevates that joy in your heart like nothing else… for me it’s the joy in knowing that Steve & I have found a way to express that unconditional love for 33 years.

Take a few minutes every day to imagine your heart being decorated this holiday season.  Know that everything is but an opportunity to grow that Christ light even brighter within you.

Know that no matter what gifts you bring or the gifts that were brought to you, people care about you, think about you and love you and that’s all that really matters.

Whenever you are overwhelmed or stressed, hold that beautiful, decorated image in your mind and go out of your way to make it top priority to decorate, to lift your spirit and the effect will light up the room and others in it.

I came across this poem to share with all of you, titled, “THE CHRISTMAS GIFT”.

It isn’t the flowing ribbons, draped and curled with extra care, or the fine and fancy bows tied with ornamental flair.

It isn’t the label on the box, the sum of money spent, or anything that shows the length to which you obviously went.

The beauty of a Christmas gift cannot be seen at all.  For the loveliness of giving is a feeling, grand and tall.

It’s the genuine offer of love, the yearning to make a connection, a show of honest gratitude, a display of sincere affection.

The poem is anonymous but the sentiment of it is out there.  Remember that everything you do is felt by someone, somewhere.  When you make a genuine effort to feel love in your heart, it will be felt.  Sharing that joy with another is a gift that cannot be bought.  Have faith that by finding joy, you become that joy.

May the God of hope fill you all with joy and peace this holiday season.  So that by faith you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Many Blessings!

November 21, 2021

Thanksgiving and the Harvest Table
Rev. Laura MacLachlan

2 Corinthians Ch. 9, verses 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11 (With an adaptation)

(5) Therefore I thought it necessary to ask these, my brethren, to go before me to you and make ready in advance the blessing of which you have long ago been notified, that you have it ready as a blessing and not as though it were forced on you. (6) But remember this: He who sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he who sows generously shall reap also generously. (8) God (energy) is able to make all goodness abound to you and may you always have enough of everything for yourselves and may you abound in every good work. (10) Now he who gives seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and cause the fruits of your righteousness to grow, (11) That you may be enriched in everything, in all liberality; for such generosity enables us to perfect thanksgiving to God.

We have come to the time of the Feast of Thanksgiving. It’s the time we set aside to give thanks for the bounty of the seeds we’ve sown this year—some metaphorically, some literally. What have you brought to your harvest table?

Are you taking stock of your “harvest” and thinking, “How did this happen?” Who shares your table with you? Who populates your world these days? Are you wondering, “Who are these people?”

Paul wrote to the Corinthians that his brethren would go before him to prepare them for his visit. For us, our study of Natural Law and other metaphysical principles which we have already learned act as “blessings” so that when life lessons and challenges come to call, we can better understand what is on our plate at this harvest time. The people sharing our table may have had the sacred contracts to bring us those lessons. Ours is a denomination which doesn’t feed us empty platitudes or simply talk “at” us about how we should behave. We talk about the tools we can glean from all sorts of spiritual sources to master this earthly life in real, meaningful ways. Those tools are our actual blessings! They help us grow as souls as we navigate not only the life lessons we scripted for this life before birth but also the present day manifestations of our thoughts, words and deeds.

We don’t get to blame our rough patches on a devil. There is no devil, other than our own self doubt and negative internal commentary about what we are experiencing at any given moment. We don’t get to give away our own personal power as sparks of the Divine by saying God is “testing us” when life lessons roll around. God is not a personified school teacher who is known for pop quizzes. We are not somehow fated to a particular “lot in life,” whether good or bad.

I would offer you that quite simply, as we preach and teach, we make our own happiness or unhappiness based on our adherence to natural, spiritual and physical laws of the universe. Are we perfect at it? Not hardly! We err all the time. But the beauty of our religion is we know we can “repent” or, stop doing that and do something else..at any moment.

Our philosophy is not a matter of never experiencing challenges in this life or having to balance karma with people who we had interactions with from our past. Where would be the soul growth if every day was like being at Disney World? The key is what we decree about these situations! We “live and die by the sword”—and the sword is our tongue.

In Verse 8 we add the word “energy”. “God energy is able to make all goodness abound to you.” In other words, God as the limitless creative force in the universe is in around and through everything is the fertile ground for whatever seeds we choose to plant. We have free will. The choice is ours.

Everything begins in the mind. Proverbs tells us “As a person thinketh in their heart, so they are.” The things we “thinketh in our hearts” are charged with emotion. It’s the fertilizer which speeds manifestation. Later comes the harvest, or appearance, of whatever that is.

Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations With God Book III writes “What you think, you create. What you create, you become. What you become, you express. What you express, you experience. What you experience, you are. What you are, you think. The circle is complete.”

God energy, while in and of itself is perfect, pure love and entirely positive, has no opinion about what you do with it or if what you are manifesting by energizing it with emotional intensity will be good for you or not. It simply is. It is constantly creating.

At the symbolic “harvest time” we can scan our metaphoric harvest table and see which of our efforts turned out better than others. The beauty of the moment..the pearl in the oyster..is that even our dismal failures are beautiful teachers. They are tremendous blessings! What went wrong is the lesson learned, never to be repeated again. We will see that situation coming and create something different and better as the outcome.

This makes life less unpredictable, doesn’t it? Knowing that there are unchanging universal laws governing the life we are experiencing? Knowledge of those laws allows us to avoid accidentally creating something which we might have to struggle with later. Remaining positive in what we decree about any given situation smoothes the passage through the lesson with far more grace than we may have thought possible. That understanding is the focal point of the harvest table desserts for a life lived with our spiritual eyes open.

The sticky wicket is self discipline. This earth plane is tough! We have to constantly be aware of the power in our thoughts, words and deeds. We strive not to invite pity party experts to our harvest feast. They wish to only recognize and feed energy to what’s wrong in their lives. Group energy amplifies the affirmations that all is lost, we’re doomed, the world is going to pieces…you’ve heard the script. It’s enough to curdle your pumpkin pie! If being in their company is unavoidable, we can turn the conversation around. We can be the role model for changing the script. You know the old expression about having to eat your words? Picture that harvest table! You want fries with that? Hardly! So, we can sow better seeds!

The universal laws that govern our human experience have two distinct phases: Desire and Expectation. Remember to want what you expect (only positive outcomes) and expect what you want. These who desire perfect endings cannot expect to see only worst case scenarios. Remember Neal Donald Walsch’s writing. We work with those ideas as we strive to create a better life for ourselves. The natural laws of cause and effect, like attracts like, much like sowing and reaping, are predictable and steadfast.

If there are people in your life who seem to constantly tromp on your dreams, look closely at them as you sit at your metaphoric harvest table. I would suggest they may be there to mirror to you your own inner struggle with self sabotage. At some point in time we all have felt our dreams may be “too good to be true”. It is human nature to question the possibility that there are limits to the good we could have coming to us in this life. Our silent prayer of thanks at that moment might be “Thank you for showing me the way I used to be.” We can then make a mental about face, upon learning for that personal revelation and cull that type of inner dialog from our minds. It almost sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Well…if you don’t like turnips, don’t plant turnips. End of story.

So, now that we’ve looked at what you don’t want to harvest next time around, how do we harness God energy..the fertile soil for manifestation..and create more of the happiness we desire in this life experience?

Amazingly enough, the answer is also surprisingly simple. Meditate. Dream. Dream big! I know we talk constantly about the importance of meditation, but that’s because it’s a critical time for personally aligning with Divine Mind and focusing on a place and time when all is well. Then, let that moment expand to include all your senses, experiencing and celebrating the experience of “all is well,” possibly for specific challenges, or just as we would feel when fully being a part of the energy of Divine Love and Order. You’ve heard it called “living in the flow.” It allows us to become ONE with “all is well.” Thought, activates principle, producing results. When you plant the seeds of peace and oneness with Divine love and Order, that’s what you will harvest. Nobody buys seeds for corn and harvests string beans. We can rest in our trust in the laws of the universe.

The potential for our expectations for a happy, healthy and prosperous life are endless. Challenges can be times to practice grace under fire. We just have to play by the rules of natural and spiritual laws. They are universal and steadfast. The more we practice, the more energy we invest in the practice of self discipline and positive decrees about our life and how it will flow, the better it can get. Our Thanksgiving harvest table can be heavily laden with the fruits of those labors. We can share our bounty with others, we can be the light to help them find their way and thrive. That’s what Paul meant when he said we can be the one who gives “seed to the sower.” Verses 10 and 11 explain how our bountiful harvest of the seeds of our generosity will multiply for those who choose to be the givers. We can come to our table filled with gratitude!

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and many blessings for the next growing season ahead.


November 14, 2021

Give It All to God
1 Peter 5:5b-7

Scripture 1 Peter 5:5b-7: Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.

Know I am happy to be serving you this day. I hope you have been enjoying the beautiful fall as I have. This past week, I put away my yard with all now ready for winter and have likely mowed the last time this season. Today, it’s a little bit more Brrr…, but I still have a pink geranium hanging in its basket with over 20 blooms completely oblivious that it is no longer summer. Onward…

For this message, the key phrase in today’s Scripture is the last sentence, Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. He Jesus, i.e. God. Hence my title Give It All to God. This is in no way original as I glean my sermon ideas as I live day to day. This actually comes from the latest Guideposts issue October/November 2021. You have known me long enough that it shouldn’t be surprising that I am a creature of habit, and you know I love the written word. I have shared with you that I now regularly – yes, every night to the wee early morning hours – read from four devotional books. I have read Daily Word, a Unity Publication, every day since first being given it July 8, 1991 for my 41st birthday, so over 30 years now. For along while, that was my only daily devotional reading. Probably about 15 years ago, I connected with Science of Mind which in addition to daily readings has articles by spiritual leaders/seekers. Rocco Errico, whom I have heard, has often contributed articles. I saying that, I almost never read the articles but am completely faithful to the daily readings. Every October, the daily readings are from the founder Dr. Ernest Holmes. The other months are filled by fellow seekers. About three years ago, I came upon Strength & Grace published by Guideposts in a bi-monthly format. It was advertised being for care givers and has daily readings pertinent to that end except for one two-month booklet shortly after I began receiving it. It was about my third or fourth issue, and had nice devotions but not at all related to being a caregiver. Not sure what happened there, but the next issue the care-giver theme reappeared, and I have enjoyed it ever since. For the fourth daily reading, I am in my second year of reading the year-long, hard cover Daily Guideposts. I started last year and am, of course, now in the one for 2021 with next year’s on my desk in my basement office. So those are my four, and I would recommend them to any on their personal journey. I also receive 5 religious type magazines, all bi-monthly. These, I scan at best, and then give them to others. His Mysterious Ways is a Guideposts publication, and has amazing true stories about God being active in our lives. I think it is absolutely excellent. After reading whatever I have time for in a timely manner, I sent that on to a dear 95-year old friend at Northwood Meadows. We often chat about the amazing ways God is present in our lives. I receive Guideposts which is the source that sparked today’s sermon. I share that with a friend with whom I taught for 36 of my 38 years. Since the pandemic began 86 weeks ago, we talk on the phone every Monday sharing our days from the previous week. The three others I receive are also Guidepost publications, Mornings with Jesus which offers a space after each meditation to write personal thoughts, All God’s Creatures specifically for animal lovers, and All Creatures also highlighting animals. Those three I pass on to a retired teacher friend who loves nature and spends a lot of time outdoors and with animals. I only mention these as maybe some might resonate well with you. I also get two or three other magazines, like Reader’s Digest, but not of a devotional nature.

I can also tell you for the five of a devotional nature that I regularly give away, I now actually read some of the articles. When I just kept them for myself, they would lie by the couch and only rarely be read. But now that I make a conscious effort to pass them to others, I try to be timely and at the very least scan the readings before sending them off. This is a clever way of sharing with others but really making me be interactive with the readings meaning we both benefit.

I believe, we all realize that these are challenging times like non other we can remember. Life as it was a couple of years ago was complicated enough, but the pandemic has intensified our concerns. We get weary, at least I do. Just as things seemed to be improving this past summer, new threats loomed, forcing at least me to reconsider how I interact in the world causing me to step back. This experience has been a long haul and has an uncertain end. Yes, I get weary. I am sure you may also. That’s where the latest October/November Guideposts comes into play. After t arrived and while skimming the articles, I stopped to carefully read one entitled Giving It All to God, which became the spark for today’s sermon. The short synopsis read, After 76 years of marriage, Alzheimer’s had taken his wife. His granddaughter worried, how do you go on when the care giving ends? At his wife’s burial, the grandfather said that they would be back there soon for him with an expressionless voice. His granddaughter recognized that he had given up. When his wife received what resulted in a terminal diagnosis five years earlier, he was spirited and determined to take care of her at home until the end, and he prevailed. But with his wife’s death, his strength seemed gone. The granddaughter tried to think of ways to get her grandfather active in life once again and also engaged other family members. She called regularly but he didn’t seem to do much except sit and stare at the tv. Suggestions to go to the senior center met with him saying that he didn’t want to be around old people. Remember, he was nearly 100. The granddaughter had her own life and didn’t see him for nearly a year, but did talk to him on the phone regularly. When she finally went to visit him, he was 99. He greeted her with a huge hug and she couldn’t believe the positive difference in him from the previous year. She mentioned that he seemed lighter and asked what had changed. He offered that it was really good to see her. He had been a chef and at 99 he had prepared for the two of them a meal of fried chicken, cabbage, and cornbread. After dinner and washing the dishes together, they played dominoes playfully arguing who was the better player. They played dominoes until midnight each bragging about their moves. As she was about to go, she said, Granddad, you’re like a new man. What’s your secret? He was quiet for a moment before telling his granddaughter, I don’t worry ‘bout nothing. I give it all up to God. He takes good care of me. I just gotta trust him. His entire outlook on life had changed for the better. The whole family turned out for his 100th birthday party as he looked dapper wearing a white 3-piece suit. They joyfully spent the evening roasting and toasting him, and he gave it right back to them. Six months later he danced at a Christmas party. He died at 101, leaving this life the way he had lived it: trusting God for everything. We would be wise to follow his example. I can tell you in the while since reading the article, I have thought about him many times and affirmed Giving It All to God is how we should all approach life.

The October 10th reading in Science of Mind talked about our stressful life. Listen to a paragraph from that daily reading by Dr. Ernest Holmes. Overanxiety is one of the most negative states of mind we can experience. It is a complete denial of the divine beneficence, a feeling that the entire burden of life rests on our shoulders. Spiritual communion relieves this tension, automatically straightens out the consciousness. Through recognition, acknowledgment and receptivity, it readjusts the psychic streams of life. It frees the pent-up emotions and causes them to become sublimated or transformed into the energy of light, of power and of self-expression. Jesus tells us to take no anxious thought for the morrow. All of our tomorrows are still unborn; every day should view a new creation and world more blessed than yesterday. I find that so hopeful and helpful. What he’s really saying is, Give It All to God.

Daily Word for October 10 centered around A growing awareness of God’s presence is my greatest joy. Listen to these three sentences: Even if the day includes less than happy experiences, I will know the quiet joy and comforting strength of the peaceful presence of God that is with me always. I will rejoice today in being alive, able to think, to feel, to appreciate the sights, sounds and aromas that fill my environment. I will discover joy anew as I recognize each person I meet today as a unique expression of the wonder of God. Sounds like Give It All to God to me.

October 20th’s reading in Daily Guideposts by Shawnelle Eliasen who lives in LaClaire, Iowa talked about her family’s favorite place being Higgins Lake, Michigan where her husband and their five sons have been coming since the boys were little. They are filled with awe and wonder of the natural beauty of the area and thank God for it as it brings healing to their family. As she holds her husband’s hand, listen to how she describes being at Higgins Lake, We stand in moss as lush as carpet, and suddenly my soul opens wide. I’d walked in with plenty of worry. Life is full of uncertainty – from jobs to school to selling the home we’ve recently moved from. But here there is room for none of that. There is only room for worship. Heaven shines in gold patches through a green canopy. My boys play, and praise flows like water. Lord, You are kind. You are the giver of good things like the beauty of this secret space. You’ve brought such healing to my family. You are powerful. You are compassionate. I’ve heard it said that the act of worship shouldn’t be limited to Sunday mornings, and I understand this because what feel here can’t be bordered by brick. The creek ripples and rushes. Birds sing. Trees rustle. Brothers laugh and live. And my soul joins this song. O Lord, how I love You, Amen. In the natural beauty of Higgins Lake Michigan, Shawnelle Eliasen finds it easy to Give It All to God.

Maybe ten years ago now, I hosted a party where sayings were sold to decorate your rooms placing them in conspicuous places to uplift those seeing them. I know Northwood Meadows has many of these affixed to the halls of their assisted living unit. Just under the window of my main door which we exit, I have the saying in an artistically written font saying, Trust in the day; Believe in the future. Do I read that anymore? Maybe not so much. But with this sermon title, I have been once again reading it this week making a very positive connection for me. You know, I need my messages more than any of you. Trust in the day; Believe in the future. is really another way of saying Give It All to God.

Sometimes, we seem to think that we are bothering God with our small day to day cares and should resolve those things by ourselves. But I have come to believe that is a very limited understanding of God. This pervasive force of love desires only our best. Turning to him/it is always best in every circumstance big or small – every circumstance. I have become more relaxed about things as I’ve grown spiritually. That’s not to say always, as I still go off the deep end, but less often than even a year ago. Recently, a fellow Relay for Life Committee member was coming to video me for the Opening Ceremony and a Survivor’s Story to be shown at our virtual Relay for Life of Tuscola County. At first, she said she could come anytime Thursday, so I picked 4 p.m. as I was having a late lunch in town with a group of retired teachers outside at Club 24 with my mask in place. The woman texted back that she had forgotten about a 5 p.m. vet’s appointment for her dog and couldn’t do 4 p.m., so I told her 3 thinking I could go back to town after the filming if needed for a couple necessary stops. I stayed relaxed and trusted God to work out the details. Lunch went well, and I even had time to make my two needed town stops arriving home about a quarter to 3. She arrived at 3, as promised. I had my two scripts ready, laid our chimes aside so as not to have the extra sound, and I stood with my beautiful hanging basket of pink geraniums that obviously still think it’s summer just behind me to my right and our country’s flag on the left. She videoed the Opening Ceremony parts first followed by my Survivor’s Story. We were finished at 3:31. Less than a minute after filming, a clap of thunder sounded not too far away. We said our good-byes as it was beginning to sprinkle. By 4 p.m. the scheduled time I had preferred, it was pouring rain. I smiled as God had taken care of it perfectly. By now you may be asking yourself, does this woman writing this really think God had anything to do with a rainstorm and a scheduled filming. Well, yes, I do. God has everything to do with everything. We are very good at limiting God. But, in truth I feel, we are the ones so limited in seeing the true and expansive nature of this all-pervasive force of unconditional love and good that we call God. I am sufficiently sure God is so very much more than I may even be able to understand. In I Corinthians 13:11-12, it reads, For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now, I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. I am willing to believe in my present, partial understanding but also believe I am a work in progress and will someday understand fully as Paul tells the people of Corinth. The only thing that makes sense is to Give It All to God.

Another interesting aspect of my life right now is that since February 1, I have found myself in the position of texting Tom’s third cousin a daily Bible verse. He went through Caro Schools but escaped having me. Over time, we have become better acquainted. He, like all of us, has challenges in his life from a variety of sources so we “talk” from time to time. I pray for him regularly, and I’m not quite sure what precipitated my sending him a daily Bible verse but I am, having done so each day since February 1. I did miss three days that were wildly busy in the morning with it being past midnight when I realized I hadn’t sent the verse entered in text the night before. That’s still not a bad record. What I have found is that this has been a very positive help to me. As I search for encouraging verses, I am encouraged. In truth, I get many from my daily devotionals as three of the four consistently have daily verses. As of this morning, I’ve sent 287 verses. Snippets of God’s goodness. Just reading those is uplifting to me. I sometimes open my texts to him, scroll back, and read six or seven verses. These always calm my mind and soothe my soul. Each verse makes a wonderful case for why we should Give It All to God.

I think it should be pretty obvious by now what I want you to take with you today from my message. We are not in this life alone unless we choose to see it that way. There is not a single aspect of ourselves that we should keep from God. The very essence of our beings may be offered to this Infinite Intelligence – all of our joys, all of our sorrows, and all of our cares. Whenever I get weary – and I do – that is telling me I need to reassess and not leave God out of my life’s flow. I pray that we may live in the fullness of the lives we’ve been given. What do I think we should do: Give It All to God. Give meaning it is no longer ours. It meaning whatever is on our mind seemingly holding us back. All meaning the sum total of whom we are. To meaning a directional, active process from us to God. God meaning that creative, all powerful, all pervasive, all loving, all caring existence. GIVE IT ALL TO GOD!

Blessings for a wonderful week.


November 7, 2021

24 Sunday after Pentecost Mark 12 chapter 38-45

And in his teaching he said to them, beware of the scribes who like to walk in long robes and love to be saluted in the streets.

And take the front seats in the synagogues and the head places at the banquets.

Those who embezzle the property of widows under pretense of making long prayers, they shall receive greater judgment.

And when Jesus sat in front of the Treasury, he watched how the people cast their alms into the treasury; and many men were casting in a great deal.

And there came a poor widow and she cast in 2 coins, which are a few pennies.

And Jesus called his disciples and said to them. Truly I say to you that this poor widow has cast into the treasury more than all the men who are casting.

For all of them cast in of their abundance; but she out of her poverty cast everything she had even all of her possessions.

The scripture today is from the Liturgical Calendar for Nov. 7th 2021.

Obviously we can see that one of the many layers this scripture has to offer is about the Law of Abundance and Attraction. On one side of the coin we have the scribes and on the other side the widow, opposite extremes of the Law of Abundance. This Universal Law tells us a simple fact that there is an unlimited Source of everything we need or could ever want. And it’s already ours. As Metaphysicians we believe that this universe is made up of Divine Energy and this energy is everywhere and in everything. We are this Divine Energy. It is a live, infinite sea of love, joy, creativity and good will. Divine Energy is the source of abundance and it fills all space. The Law of Abundance states that there is nowhere it is not, so there is no lack anywhere at any time. It is equally available to all aspects of itself. Which includes you and me. And when we align ourselves with the Law we move in oneness with it. But here is the clincher, the only thing that limits us is whether we believe in the Law of Abundance or do we believe in lack and limitation. Sometimes the way we seem to block ourselves from attracting abundance (Scribes) is by giving more attention to the lack of what we want rather than the fulfillments of what we want (Widow)

But this scripture had another layer that I needed to explore. No such thing as coincidence that Spirit would open a door for me to see this world from a better perspective, because I really wanted my sermon to come from a positive place within me and yet I was struggling to stay in that energy when it feels like our country and the world are falling apart. I had to stop looking at friends and family on Facebook because some of my friends and family were choosing neighbors I really did not want to be associated with. This got me thinking about who really is my neighbor? Which led me to a more honest question, who do I WANT as my neighbor. That’s when I started to laugh at myself and heard that voice within me say, “Oh no, I’m doing the same thing that everyone else is doing. I’m picking and choosing who I want as my neighbor.”

Speaking of which, our next door neighbor has a pot farm. I think I wouldn’t mind so much but the fence is built helter-skelter with the fabric torn and blowing in the wind. You get the idea. And then the smell. It constantly smells like a skunk den and in there is no wind, the aroma will bring tears to your eyes and take your breath away.

When we begin reading about the Scribes the first thing that hits me is that Jesus is being very judgmental of people he should regard as his neighbors. And aren’t we supposed to love our neighbors? We need to remember it’s not Jesus who is writing this story. It’s Mark’s interpretation of an event in Jesus’s life. I’m not certain the scribes were corrupt, they have lives to live too. People expected them to go to banquets and social events and say long prayers and speak eloquently. Surely they felt good when they did well and also probably felt the pressure of needing to do just as well the next time they spoke. I’m sure they were expected to dress well which meant buying the long robes that transformed their whole being into the fine and respectable religious scribes they were. People expected no less from them. So shouldn’t we cut them some slack because they forgot the widow? And what about that widow? Yes, she was giving the last of her material wealth, but she also knew if she gave all her wealth away the scribes had to take care of her. Now in an ideal world the widow would give her last cent in gratefulness to God and she would no longer have to worry about where her next meal would come from or where she would find shelter. All of her needs would be taken care of (in an ideal world). Jesus was trying to tell us that the scribes and the widows are all aspects of ourselves and we are truly the only one who knows our real intention.

Spiritually we are all one, there is no separation, no sides, all human beings, animals and plants are all a manifestation of God. I believe this and yet I get caught up in my humanness and do the dastardly deed of judging and ask, “Who is my neighbor?”

Judging others wreaks havoc on our judgment. It can cause us to make bad decisions and act unfairly, or say things we may regret. Anyone who has been unfairly judged knows how bad it feels. People who have been hurt by judgments are often the kindest people in the world.

We are responsible for the quality of our lives. Sometimes it’s easier to blame than to take responsibility. Taking responsibility, however is empowering. When we blame, we can’t change what is happening, because we give up our power. When we take responsibility, we take charge of our lives. In their book, The Fifth Agreement, don Miguel Ruiz and don Jose Ruiz ask us to examine the judgments we have about ourselves and to remember those judgment are all opinions, representing a point of view. The real question is, are they true? Each of us is what we believe. Ask yourself what you believe you are. What do you believe is creating your story? The truth is that the real you is unique. If we could only see that our mind and thoughts are our greatest physical tools, the steering mechanism of life. It is the guiding energy that controls and influences all that we do, directly or indirectly in our lives. It is up to us to determine how we use this little known and misunderstood tool. We may lift our lives into self-mastery or we may reduce and maintain them in the lower forms. Remember, we have free will. It is a choice. Life is about self-discovery and not discovering someone else’s. Nor is it about being what another says you are. Life is about being you and being free to experience yourself and the relationship you have with your soul. We are all able to learn from others, but the greatest wisdom comes from within, based on what you have learned from the interaction of the outer world and your inner soul. There is an old Chinese proverb that says: Knowing other people is wise, but knowing one’s self is true illumination.

Jesus basically told us not to judge according to appearance because there is a perfection at the center of us and when we are able to allow the intellect, will and feelings to make a complete surrender of littleness, fear and doubt it will discover that we are already whole.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your character. Your character becomes your destiny.”

Today, in this moment, I release all judgments. I remember we are all God expressing and doing the best we can. And when I truly believe this I allow the peace and love of Spirit to flow forth to all of my neighbors. So we must train our minds to think differently. That may sound simple enough but I would not say it is easy, for a thing can be simple without being easy. This is where faith must be used, faith in a Power greater than we are, based on the firm conviction that we live and breathe within this Divine Presence, which wishes only good for us and that every man and woman should be happy, joyful and at peace Hmmmm…this sounds like the Law of Abundance doesn’t it?

Now as we come to the end of my sermon I would like you to sit back, s and join me in a guided meditation.

Begin to notice your breathing, just breath naturally, not forcing the breath.

Begin to see those family and friends who are near and dear to join you for this moment and bless them and wish them happiness, joy and peace.

Take a deep breath in, again just sitting in the silence.

Now bring in those family and friends who are not so easy to love and bless them and wish them happiness, joy and peace.

Continue to stay with your breath.

And begin to see those people who are difficult to be with, it could be family, or friends or even a co-worker, bless them and wish them happiness, joy and peace.

Again just move back to your breath.

And place into this melting pot all those people and situations you feel you are not able to deal with and bless them all and wish them and all situations happiness, joy and peace.

Again come back to your breath.

And last but not least, seeing mother earth and all the turmoil and blessing it and wishing it happiness, joy and peace.

Again moving back to your breath, breathing in and out.

And in this energy of happiness, joy and peace….all people become our neighbors.


October 31, 2021

Today’s scripture comes from George Lasma’s translation of the Holy Bible. The New Testament from The Book of
Luke Chapter 12 verses 1 through 4.

WHEN a large number of people had gathered together so that they trod on one another, Jesus began to say to his
disciples first of all, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

For there is nothing that is covered that will not be uncovered; and hidden that will not be known. For whatever you have said in darkness will be heard in the light; and what you have whispered in the ears in the inner chambers will be preached on the housetops.

I say to you, my friends, Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more they can do.
The masks of mankind. Sooo…………..What masks are we wearing today?? Humans have two personas. First there is the essence that is who and where each of us are, at any particular point in time, on this earthly plain of existence.

The second is who our worldly self wants others to think that we are. Let us take a minute and think about the custom we call Halloween. For one night people get to dress up and become anything or anyone that they want to be. Then, go door to door to any house they want to. When the door opens the occupant is threaten by a masked person saying trick or treat. The occupant then gives out candy so that they are not tricked.

Some of today’s popular celebrations associated with Halloween have pagan roots stemming from the ancient Celtic festival, Samhain (sauin). This harvest festival of the Druids ushered in the New Year, beginning on the evening
of October 31, with the lighting of bonfires and the offering of sacrifices. As the Druids danced around the fires,
they celebrated the ending of the summer season and the beginning of the season of darkness. It was also
believed that at this time of year the invisible “gates” between the natural world and the spirit world would open,
allowing free movement between the two worlds. We as metaphysicians know that those “invisible gates”
are always open. But the more that our worldly existence embraces the lifestyles of the EGO, the I, me and mine,
the more difficult it is to stand in that open door and see our way along the path that we have chosen for this
existence. You see, the more one feeds their EGO the more singular their existence becomes. When we
recognize the duality of our existence, the easier it becomes to follow the path that we have laid out for
ourselves. Children from all over the western hemisphere don costumes and go door to door making pleas,
disguised as lighthearted threats, in order to fill their bags with candy.

For one night a child can become anyone or anything that they want to become. A fantasy evening. But who are we? Do not all worldly beings have masks that they wear? When one goes out into unfamiliar surroundings do they not wear their “I am not a victim” mask? When one goes out looking for a date, they always wear their “please pick me” mask, don’t they? Entering into negotiations you wear your mask of confidence if you want to succeed.

We have so many masks that we use. When we meet someone we must ask ourselves, is this person a character? Or is this a person of character? Ask yourself, are you a character? Or are you a person of character? Some wear the masks of desire, others the masks of strength, and others yet the many different masks of deceit. The lesson that we must learn is that our soul, our spiritual being, cannot hide behind any mask. Hiding only slows our progress. If one wants to change who they really are, they have to first see who they are. Only then can we begin by changing their thoughts. Thought is energy. Energy is action. And action is what others see. In Hebrew chapter 4 verse 13 it says And there is no
creature hidden from his sight; but all things are naked and open before the eyes of whom we are to answer.
In other words, anyone can say all the correct things, but at the end of the day, everyone is the sum of their actions.
Don’t talk about taking the high road and withholding judgment and then turn around and talk about others and
their perceived wrong thinking actions. That would be wearing the “High Road” mask of the pharisees. If humans are to truly forgive, the wrong thinking actions of others, they must not criticize the miss-steps, taken by those around them.

What should be done is to assist the person who took the wrong path and help them back onto the correct one. That is how we grow our soul. Anyone can gossip, criticize, judge or lecture. The better person will assist others along their pathway during their time of distress. In Matthew chapter 7 verses 1-2: it is written: JUDGE not, that you may not be judged. For with the same judgment that you judge, you will be judged, and with the same measure with which you measure, it will be measured to you. In other words, we receive what we give out. But we already knew that didn’t we? Universal Law teaches that as the Law of Attraction. If our goal is to become more enlightened as a soul, and it should be, then take off the mask and look within to see who we really are. Only then can an assessment be made as to what should be done next. Everything starts with the self. One should love not only themselves, but also who they
are. I am not talking about EGO here. I am talking about the pure love that one can only give out to others when
one truly loves themselves. If you do not love who you are, then that loving, positive energy cannot be projected,
showering love onto others. It is impossible to project that energy when one is distressed about their own situation.
Remember THE LAW OF ATTRACTION, that like attracts like.

So, if someone is down on themselves, they will attract others who feel and project in the same negative way.
When hiding behind a mask, will others who are also hiding, have the same attraction? The entire earthly realm moves through many larger groups of consciousness. The good part is that we get to pick the group. We are attracted toward them through the energy that they emit. Then the energy that is emitted from that group will attract even more of the same back to it. If it is good energy, then good will come into and emit out from that group. If the group uses the energy for not so good activities, then that is what will come into that group and emit out from it.

That has been proven throughout history and the world. Just look at some of the best or worst ideas, teams, leaders, empires, theologies, and movements of all time. Started, maintained, and grown by a like energy that snowballed. Each ended only when the thinking and energy of its group was changed either internally or externally. Voluntarily or by force. Thus, by their fruits they are remembered.

So, who do you want to be? We as metaphysicians spend a lot of time and energy on community, state, country, world, and universal energy. There is a very long way to go, and it’s not going to be quick or easy. Moving forward one step, one individual, one problem and one thought process at a time. Just remember that it all should begin with the SELF.
Try raising your energy by picturing this. Instead of despair over where some soul may be at this point in time, turn it around, accept where they are and look toward where they need to be. Keep that as a goal and give thanks every day for the incremental changes that occur as they slowly progress. The energy change to positive will be easier to hold each day as they acknowledge their place on their path. When the positive energy slips toward negative, let it go and then reclaim the positive. Each time this happens, it will be easier than it was the previous time. Soon they will be
plodding along satisfied each day with the progress that they have made. Let it snowball. A small change in one’s
thinking can and will make a dynamic change in their perception.

So how does this change start? Step one: Start by rejecting wrong behavior as a means of moving towards acceptance. If this wrong behavior is self-inflicted, then one must reflect on what caused that negative action and move away from that energy source. Negative energy both internally and externally needs to be assessed and corrected. Hiding behind some illusion or mask only delays that progression, even if others do not detect what is happening. Remember that it doesn’t matter what others think, you are not supposed to create in their space, so quit trying to fool them.

Step two: Now that the dynamic has changed from negative to neutral, people can begin to make the move from neutral to positive. Recognize that the energy has changed and that you should let go of some of the old ways, some of the old acquaintances some of the old possessions and then the actions will change. One should let go of the old to be able to fully embrace the new.

This is why relationships and friendships end, and new ones begin. This is why old habits have to be let go of long the way so that new ones can be learned. Step three: When waking up in the morning and looking around at the surroundings make each assessment a positive one. This is very easy to do. If it is raining out, say to yourself, we really needed the rain. If the rain wasn’t needed then say, I am glad that I didn’t wash the car. But find something positive in everything. Another example might be to go to work on a Monday where a co-worker says that they had such a great
weekend and that they really didn’t want to come to work. They state that they HATE Mondays. It’s such a bummer
to have to give up the good time and go to work on a Monday.

Turn it around. Tell that person that you also had a great weekend but are very grateful to be able to have a job to
go to on a Monday morning. In fact, without that job, it would be difficult financially to have the great weekends.
Also, be aware that there are many people who would love to have this job, seeing how good jobs these days are so
scarce. What has been done is to change the perspective from negative to positive. This has been accomplished without judgment or having to do anything other than changing thought. Focus on the positive aspect of every situation.

If all of life’s problems were so easy to fix. Or are they? Our decisions about who we are and what we do should
not be determined by the wisdom of mankind. That is worldly thinking. All of us have come into this worldly existence with an understanding that these decisions are to be made from the power of GOD. We believe in GOD as infinite intelligence. In other words, GOD is energy, and all energy is from GOD. That is the power that is used to define who or what a person is.

I would like to ask that each of us, when we get home tonight, look at ourselves in the mirror. Then ask the reflection, using the words immortalized by the great Peter Townsend, WHO ARE YOU.

Love and light


October 24, 2021

The Magic of Ordinary Days

Our scripture today is from the Holy Bible: Psalm: 119:18 

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. 

I don’t know about you, but for me, I was always a believer in Magic!  

As a child I was blessed to have a mother that read to me. 

My fertile childhood imagination allowed me to believe that fairies, talking animals, and mystical journeys to an underworld, were to be found within the pages of a book.   

Growing older, the physical life of school, work, and human friends started slipping their way into my consciousness,  

My childhood magical world moved to a distant memory, not to be forgotten, but set aside, as the reality of growing into adulthood surrounded my days.   

Now, there was a new kind of magic! 

  • The magic friendships,  
  • Of a first love,  
  • Camping and hiking in the woods and along the shores of Michigan’s lakes,  
  • Babies being born and watching them grow right before your eyes.                   
  • I’m a believer! 

The New Dictionary of Spiritual Thought by Carol E Parrish-Harra defines Magic as: 

The art and practice of shifting consciousness at will,the conscious direction of mind. 

The old alchemy term, spelled magick meant “transformation of consciousness” and is often replaced by alchemy. 

Gala Darling, author, teacher, and speaker on Radical Self Love, says: Magic is seeing things with new eyes. Magic is recognizing your true power when you decide to see things differently. It is a shift in perception. These are good definitions to think about. 

Especially as we journey thorough life’s ups and downs. How DO We find Magic in our ordinary days? 

I’d like to share a story about Faith and Magic! 

Several years ago, after losing a job and my mother’s transition both within 4 months, I found myself spending cold winter days wandering around my house trying to process all of life’s events and find that spark of the divine within me that gave me happiness and purpose to move forward. I was struggling to reclaim the magic in my life. 

One afternoon spirit lead me into a local knit shop looking for Faith. 

Faith was teacher, a kindred spirit of yarn craft. She taught knitting. Knitting socks, mittens, lace, you name it, as well as she was an expert at unraveled many projects gone bad.  

I hadn’t seen Faith in months and missed her calm, reassuring manner, her unassuming ways and consistent direction for a knitter trying to learn a new stitch. 

Faith had her physical struggles, she didn’t get around well, and she walked with a cane.  

She never spoke much of her life outside the yarn shop, 

 I knew she had never been married, but other than a rare story about her dog or her mother……. her personal life was a mystery. I was drawn to her and she was the person I would look for when I went into the shop.  

Unbeknownst to me Faith had been at home all these months after knee surgery and was fighting an infection that appeared to be getting the best of her leg. In fact, I was told that amputation, was a good possibility. 

I went home and couldn’t get Faith out of my mind. Spirit nudged me. Call her! Call Faith! I got her number from the yarn shop and called then went to see her. 

At my first visit, I learned that all I had heard was true. The infection in her leg had been there for months. She had been working her way through numerous antibiotics while lying in a day bed in her living room, pretty much, 24/7 with a 2-hour visit from a nursing aide each day.In addition, her ailing mother had transitioned and she had to adopt her dog out as she was unable to take care of it.  

Faith’s mindset, however was EXCELLENT and in fact she was cheery as we talked. As I marveled at her upbeat attitude despite her prognosis, I asked what she did all day while lying in bed with her swollen leg propped up and in pain? 

 There were many different pots and sizes of orchids growing on an enclosed back porch. They would need tending. And a few random knitting projects where scattered around within her reach… but laying down or propped up in bed and knitting wasn’t something one could do for very long. She had to keep her leg up. She pointed to a painting hanging on the wall next to her.  

It was an oil landscape of a nature scene with a lake, woods, and snowcapped mountains. At first glance there was nothing outstanding about it, to me. However, Faith marveled at the beauty of the trees and how they reflected on the lake and told me she spent time in those woods. She said she imagined walking on paths through the woods, looking at the flowers, trees and enjoying the smell of the fresh woodland air. She walked along the water’s edge and observed animals; birds and bees and even beavers making dams. I remember the smile on Faith’s face as she talked about her adventures in the painting and it made me smile too! 

Anthony Alvarado, an American Educator said, “Magic lives in the power of the mind”. Faith certainly had tapped into her own magic!  

We as Metaphysicians learn this when studying Natural Law. The Law of thinking comes to mind. The law of thinking says the power of our thoughts determines our state of living! Our power to think is inexhaustible. Scientists tell us that thought is compared to the speed of light. They say that our thoughts travel at the rate of 186,000 miles per second. No other power in the Universe is know that is as great or as quick! We know it’s not what goes on out there in our lives that truly can make or break a day. It’s what goes on within our minds. And the magic in thinking is that the thoughts we think throughout our days will determine the kind of experiences we draw to our lives. 

Energy follows thought and thoughts create things! 

Faith and I spent time together— several days each week for the next few months. We did energy healing, Reiki, together. Faith learned to channel energy to heal herself. She borrowed and read as many books on spiritual healing and spirituality as I could lend her.  

One day she asked me if I believed in Angels. She hesitated and then quietly told me a story of an Angel that had visited her.  

It came right through the front door about 10 minutes before my first visit. This beautiful, transparent, spirit of light with outstretched wings said, “Faith, be open”. 

She said she was not truly sure if she believed her eyes and ears until during the end of our visit that day, when I asked, “Faith, are you open to trying something different?” 

What spirit had moved me to talk with her about…. was to be open to energy healing and looking at naturopathic, holistic medicine to complement what she was already using. 

I wanted her to look at other ways that God works in healing in addition to tradition medicine. 

Certainly, we aren’t always aware of Angels to encourage us to be open.  However, rest assured angels and spirit are always there to nudge us to question and wonder and consider letting go of some of our old beliefs. Natural law calls this openness… 

The Law of Allowing- 

In practicing the law of allowing, you become the observer and then make the decisions as to what you want as part of your life. It’s not right or wrong. It’s your choice. Our transformation is fueled by a strong sense of curiosity and inquisitiveness rather than being suspicious of new information. 

Become a soul in wonder! 

Like, Faith, we can take time to visualize the magic in our lives. 

Remembering the child within us and looking forward to what’s next. What’s going to happen today? I can’t hardly wait! 

Yes, we may have work and have many things to accomplish but we can leave an opening each day for something new to present itself in our lives. 

Routine… the same old/same old, is good but as with anything else, we need balance. Life sometimes gets a rhythm of busywork that can throw blinders on the joy, kindness and spiritual connection available to us. 

Pema Chodron, an American Tibetan Buddhist and ordained nun talks about consciously pausing or creating a gap. She speaks of our habitual mind and how strong it is. If we don’t allow our mind to open and connect with where we are, with the sacredness, the magic, we miss the opportunity for blessings. Stepping outside of the cocoon we have built in our daily routines… is one of the greatest gifts to give ourselves. She suggests…Just pausing, taking three conscious long, deep breaths at least once a day so the world has a chance to open us. With our breath we can create that gap and allow that space into our state of mind. Let spirit in to move us. 

Let it be a contrast to being in our routine-cocoon and with practice just maybe that feeling can stay with us and we can go about our day with it.  

Magic is seeing things with new eyes…. Magic is recognizing your true power when you decide to see things differently. It is a shift in perception…a transformation in consciousness! 

Have Faith!  Be Faith! 

Faith’s story was magical indeed! It was led by spirit. Faith remained open, with consistent positive thinking and belief in her ability to heal. She became a patient with a local holistic healer and a chiropractor. There was one point where she was putting compresses on her leg, reapplying essential oils and taking tinctures every 4 hours for several weeks, along with the drugs her medical doctor had prescribed. Faith set her alarm and religiously did what was prescribed by all her caregivers.  

Faith, a woman with limited physical ability was a woman of action!  

The capacity to heal was within Faith just as it is within each one of us.  

She was disciplined and kept her thoughts focused on the end result. Faith found wellness and was able to keep her leg! 

She continued improving and was able to adopt a new dog and find magic in her days in new ways! We haven’t seen each other for quite some time but we send an occasional card to each other now and then. Our lives have turned in new directions.  

However, the magic of our time together remains!  

With God all things are possible. God’s presence working through Faith created the perfect energy and a sacred space for her to heal. She was transformed. And by being in her presence and a witness to her work, I was blessed to be transformed too! 

In closing… 

Let’s remember our scripture: 

Psalm: 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law 

A little postscript to this: 

Two years ago, as the holiday season was just beginning, my phone rang and the voice at the other end of the line said,  

“I think I’m in your driveway. Look out of your window”.  

Low and behold, there was Faith! Her health-aide was driving. 

She got out of the car and walked with her walker, up the steps, through the door and into my kitchen.  

“I came to wish you a Merry Christmas”, she said. 

She stayed only for a few minutes as her aide waited in the car. 

What a blessing! The gift of Faith’s visit was priceless!  The VERY best gift I received that year. 

Kahlil Gibran is quoted as saying:  

❝The appearance of things changes according to the emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves. ❞ 

Many blessings to you wishing you renewed Magic in your lives as this year, 2021 comes to an end and transforms all of us. 


October 17, 2021

Mother God
Rev. Laura MacLachlan

Genesis 1: 26-27 Lamsa translation of the Holy Bible

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over the cattle and over all the wild beasts of the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Do you ever wonder how THAT got past all the translations of the Bible? Making “man” in our own image, male and female? Lots of metaphysical principles to unpack here!

It is not uncommon in churches which practice the philosophy of Spiritualism or Divine Spiritual Metaphysics to refer to God as “Father-Mother God” in opening sentences in prayers. Why do we do that? What’s being acknowledged at that moment? We believe God energy, as we understand it to this point, is perfect, balanced and complete pure love energy. If that can be so, then it must be an expression of both masculine and feminine qualities and characteristics. It is the energy that animates the universe, so it must be in perfect balance with itself and in all its manifested glory on this earth plane.

The Old Testament saw God as a personified old man, subject to anger, jealousy and often seen handing out punishment to anyone who didn’t act in a certain expected way. Yet…did some evidence of this balanced energy as a key to soul growth still survive all the edits done during the masculine rule of the Piscean Age? Remember the hidden wisdom encoded in the story of Noah and the flood? How did Noah and his family survive the tumultuous waters of unchecked emotion? By staying above the fray…floating above it in an “ark” (our evolved consciousness). What did he gather into the ark with him? Pairs of animals..male and female! We are challenged to find a balance of energy within us to stay above the waters of out of control emotion or visible conditions on the earth plane. Or, balance of emotions as a part of who we are allow us to not “drown”, be dragged under, by the sometimes chaotic state of the earth plane.

With that esoteric (hidden) wisdom in mind, shall we peel the onion and look at our scripture today, which honors the feminine aspect of God energy, all the way back at page 2 of the Holy Bible? Who is “us”? Our “likeness”? Could it be that for those of us with eyes to see, certain concepts survived human interpretation and edits that were designed to maintain control over the people in a paternal society?

In all religious history, there has been some kind of recognition of a feminine Godhead. It was personified, of course, as humanity has a habit of doing. Those who read the Bible literally read those verses in Genesis and firmly believe God as a humanistic Father created with his humanistic female wife/companion/mother figure– male and female humans.

Sylvia Browne, in her book Mother God shared her research into the history behind a Mother God symbol for what balances masculine Father God energy. Isis of Egypt, she wrote, was that cultures symbol for restraint, unity and love. She was a healer and wise counselor. Quan Yin, she stated, was the “Buddhist Madonna.” Mother Earth began as a Native American concept, now universally adopted feminine creative principle. Of course, Mary of Bethlehem has expanded into the personification of feminine God energy for the Christian belief system.

Carol E. Parrish, in her book The New Dictionary of Spiritual Thought translated Sophia as the Greek symbol for wisdom and the “Companion of the Creator.” She was the “bestower of many blessings”. Proverbs in the Bible speaks extensively of Sophia. Carol Parrish writes that in Sophia, “Intellect and love are wed.”

In astrology, we learn of masculine sun energy and its counterpart, the feminine moon.

Across so many civilizations there was an innate understanding of balanced energy in the universe. The Aztecs, Inca Indians, Assyrians, Babylonians—so many cultures has some form of feminine Godhead.

But it was the coming of Jesus to the Earth plane with the New Testament energies he came to teach and anchor that accelerated the awareness of Mother God, the activator of God as unconditional love energy. Once the floodgate was opened, there was no turning back to the Old Testament image of God as angry Overlord to be feared at all costs.

She was called Mary of Bethlehem, Virgin (pure of thought) Mary, Mary- Mother of Jesus. In A.D. 431 The Council of Ephesus named the Virgin Mary “Theotokos,” which translates to “Mother God” or “Mother of God” OR “God-Bearer”. After that, that energy began coming forward to claim its place in our understanding of God as pure love energy,

In more modern times there have been sightings of Mary, books about messages from Mother Mary. Sightings of Mary were reported in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 and Lourdes, France in 1858. Conyers, GA. reported Mary sightings from 1990-1998. They were always related to messages of love, peace and prophecy. It seemed to be the activation of Jesus’ message about the nature of God beyond the Old Testament understanding of God, still very much accepted as true at that time.

The coming of the Aquarian Age seems to have pulled the recognition of Mother God energy to center stage again. Many more Biblical scholars and ordinary metaphysically minded spiritual seekers are open to the teachings of the Gnostic Gospels, the Dead Sea Scrolls and certain metaphysical writings. They seem to agree that there is validity in understanding balance of God energy being key to achieving Christ Consciousness.

Ted Andrews, author of The Occult Christ, (Occult-Hidden wisdom) also said the purpose of Jesus’ teachings was to restore the balance of Father/Mother God energy on the earth plane.

Jesus brought forward the principles of love, compassion, forgiveness as keys to becoming a fully enlightened being in physical form. Those are typically feminine attributes, our feeling nature, expressed outwardly. Our right brain! They represent our subconscious, our creative nature and our intuitive abilities. This was to balance “Father” God- our conscious mind. The Will. The Law. Our left brain!

This is summarized in the phrase, “Thought (Father God, First Cause) activates Principle (Creative, feminine Mother God energy) producing results (manifestation in visible universe).

See how beautifully the stage was set for our spiritual journey today? Are we not students of our Elder Brother, Our Wayshower, the Master Jesus? Have not other Christed beings become figureheads for other religions? Buddha, Krishna, Mohammad—all bringing the same message?

The secret to mastery over the challenges found on this earth plane lie in being at one with the balanced energy of God; to practice the Divine Attributes of both Father and Mother God. Integrate both hemispheres of our brain so that we can access our material plane and spiritual plane gifts and abilities. John 14:6 scripture tells us “Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life; no man comes to my Father except through me.” That does that say to us? Unless you live with the consciousness of an awakening Christ, you are not able to live fully in the flow of Divine Mind. That consciousness is fully aware of the balance in God energy, male and female characteristics and can act out of both aspects of ourselves.

So, we work to honor and practice those characteristics every day. We live within the teachings of natural law. We align our will with Divine Love and Order. We strive to be compassionate, loving people-as we have been taught in the Beatitudes. We try to be humble, merciful, a peacemaker. Matthew 5:17 says “I did not come to weaken the law or the prophets; I have come to fulfill.” In other words, the Commandments (The Law) Moses brought to the people are not cancelled out by what I have come to teach, but fulfilled, or filled out, balanced. It was a point in time here on the earth plane for the Feminine aspect of God to become part of the Earth’s incarnate being’s evolution going forward.

So, as we celebrate the day that honors our Mothers who have loved and nurtured us in this lifetime—even under the strange conditions of a pandemic– let’s also see them as a personification in our personal lives of the balanced God energy that animates all things. They are our first teachers for all things loving and forgiving, our first taste of unconditional love in physical form.

Blessings to each of you who are mothers, children of mothers—and all those others who have mothered us in so many ways!


October 7, 2021

The Blame Game
Rev. Brian D. Jones

The Scripture comes from the Book of Jonah (New Revised Standard Version), chapter 1 verses 1-8.

The word of the Lord came to Jonah, son of Amittai saying, “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and preach against it, for their wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah set out to flee, to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fair and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and such a mighty storm came upon the sea that the ship threatened to break up.”

5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried to his god. They threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten it for them. Jonah, meanwhile, had gone down into the hold of the ship and had lain down, and was fast asleep. 6 The captain came and said to him, “What are you doing sound asleep? Get up, call on your god! Perhaps the god will spare us a thought so that we do not perish.” 7 The sailors[a] said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, so that we may know on whose account this calamity has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Tell us why this calamity has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”

Jonah with his two measly pages, is my favorite prophet. Not because of his great work, but because of his great humanity. Just through these eight verses alone, it’s clear that despite his great potential, he holds tremendous fallibility.

And it’s in those moments of great fallibility that we see the consequences of separating ourselves from God. When we veer off the path of Good Orderly Direction, we should not be surprised to encounter storms.

Some religions assert Jonah’s storm as a dire warning of guaranteed punishment when we turn our backs on God. But I take comfort in the converse: storms are a time to set a course correction.

Now as I said, I have quite an affinity with Jonah. He knows what he’s here on earth to do, yet he heads in the other direction. And I write that as some someone who was asked about the ministry starting at the age of 12 and wasn’t ordained until he was 53.

I also find food for thought in the predicament of the sailors. The scripture describes that while the tempest raged, our hero Jonah was sleeping blissfully in the bowels of the ship – entirely checked out of a problem that is entirely about him.

Allegorically, I appreciate the fact that Divine power is breaking up this false journey Jonah is on. Literally, however, I can’t help but feel for those innocent sailors caught up in Jonah’s drama. Those poor sailors up on deck. They’ve abandoned all crew discipline. And we have to forgive them. Because at this point, the storm is so violent that the ship could break apart.

So, what are they left to do? They look to place blame. And in doing so turn to the utterly rational [sarcasm implied] method of drawing lots. And once Jonah draws the short straw, they set upon him like a mob with torches:

“Tell us why this calamity has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”

I don’t know about you, but lately it seems I can’t turn an ear or an eye toward the world at large without seeing some version of this scene. I call this, the blame game.

I’m not going to delve into specifics. The intent of this sermon is not to parse any of the disagreements occupying the national or even global mindset. I’m sure you can think of one. Or two. Instead, I want to explore the perspective of the sailors.

Perhaps you can think of a situation. Some instance in your life, career, family, or neighborhood where things aren’t going well. And while you and other hard-working people are hustling to make things work (like those earnest sailors), there’s a Jonah (or Jonahs) snug as a bug in a rug seemingly unphased by the impending doom.

From my own little corner of world, I see a lot of the blame game going on. And I don’t deny a lot of it is over critical issues. But I wonder, what is the value of blame? And metaphysically, what do we do with blame?

Looking at the scripture, blame paid off for the sailors – in the end. My previous sarcasm aside, I have to give them some credit. When the storm hit, they conducted a risk assessment and tossed some of the cargo overboard. When that failed, they prayed to their gods. Only when things got dire, did they decide “well, if that hasn’t worked, then someone must be to blame for this!”

Every time I reach this part of the story, I’m reminded of a favorite scene from TV’s The Simpsons. Two beatnik parents bring their unruly tot to a child psychologist with this explanation: “mannnn, we’ve tried nuthin’ and we’re all out of ideas!” The idea of adults abdicating their

responsibility makes for good comedy, but it doesn’t always play out well in real life.

The words of an elected leader gave me considerable food for thought this summer. The leader’s statement was in response to a prominent and divisive issue right now. Without going into detail, the issue was split between people who have done something and those who have not. The leader, in an attempt to persuade the latter group, declared in an official address, “folks are supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming [those who have not], not the regular folks.”

Regular folks…

It was a strong move on the leader’s part – not just placing the blame on a very large percentage of their constituency, but also declaring them not regular people. And this is where I realized that blame is pretty limited as a practical course of action. Metaphysically, it has unlimited potential – the potential to separate us from people when we most need to build bridges.

Jesus cautions us about blame (a form of judgment): “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?” (Luke 6:41). Jesus later goes on to emphatically call out people who disregard his warning (“You hypocrites!” Luke 6:42).

Personally, this was one of the primary ethos that drew me to Divine Metaphysics. Much like that meme of the meditating Buddha with the caption “Inquire Within,” it’s the primary responsibility to consider oneself before expending valuable spiritual time evaluating others. The blame game distracts us from necessary spiritual work in the same way it can distract us from effective work here in the human realm.

One of my pet peeves as a military leader is when people justify the existence of problems with “well, what should to be happening is….” or “people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to!” I bristle when I hear these “sh-” words coming from my own mouth. I’m not providing a solution; I’m separating myself from it. Further, I’m not acknowledging what actually is. In other words, I have a choice. I can disavow conditions that are not up to my ideal, or I can acknowledge what actually is, and make a difference in whatever way I can.

But going back to our scripture, the sailors got lucky. Jonah owned up to his part in the storm, and then became part of the solution. “Throw me overboard,” he says. (Why he didn’t do the heavy lifting and throw himself is a good rabbinical question for another time.) But how often does this happen in real life?

There are plenty of examples of people digging in their heels when confronted with culpability. Still, I imagine almost every one of you reading this has found themselves as a parent… a boss… one who reluctantly realized someone had to be the proverbial “adult in the room.” It’s in these moments where we have to make an assessment and then diplomatically approach the person(s) contributing to the problem. We do so from a point of good faith in the other person. Metaphysically I call these namaste conversations (the Divine in me greets the Divine in you). If the namaste approach fails, then I (as the adult, boss, etc.) acknowledge that person as they are, where they are, and I proceed from there.

When it comes large societal conflicts where I have limited means to effect change, I remain vigilant against the blame trap. Assigning blame to a large swath of people may bring a small, temporary comfort, but it can also build a large, long-lasting wall. In short, blame as a sole course of action is like a cul de sac. It’s a dead end that leaves you moving in circles, quite the opposite of Good Orderly Direction.

I must confess, I initially wrote this sermon in an attempt to sort out one of the today’s big issues, to provide some sort of metaphysical perspective. But in writing, I was continually reminded that Divine Metaphysics, like life, is not easy. Further, the point of Divine Metaphysics is not to make the world around us more to our liking or comfort.

The aim instead is to steer a course through or around a storm. It may not be smooth sailing; even Good Orderly Direction can be choppy seas.

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke each tell of Jesus and his disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee when a mighty storm begins to toss the boat. The disciples are panicked. They’ve intellectually and spiritually surrendered to the storm.

And Jesus, he’s asleep on a cushion, on the stern of the boat mind you (the part that takes the most impact from the waves). And when the disciples rouse him, just like the Sailors in Jonah, they’re accusatory: “How can you sleep!? Don’t you care that we might drown!?”

And the awakened Master simply dispenses with the storm. Now Jesus and the disciples can focus on their journey and the ministry ahead in Galilee. When the Christ Consciousness is awake, and brought to the fore, the storm recedes.

For now, each of us is human. Like Jonah, we might veer off our Divine course. Like the sailors, we may have the misfortunate of a Jonah onboard our ship. The storms will come.

Our challenge lies in our recognition and our reaction. When we see the dark clouds brewing. When we feel the churning of the see. How quick are we to take stock and consider, “am I acting in accordance with my true Divine nature? Am I proceeding in Good Orderly Direction?” And with our spiritual selves confidently at the helm, we resume doing what we can do to make a difference… storm or no storm.

Blessings to you all on your journeys.


September 26, 2021

Be Like a Child, Grow Like a Child
Rev. Fabienne Piccinni

Matt. 18;1-5 (Lamsa Translation) 

“At that very hour, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? So Jesus called a little child to him, and made him stand up in the midst of them, and then said: “Truly I say to you, Unless you change and become like little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever therefore will humble himself like this little child, shall be great in the kingdom of heaven. And he who will welcome one like this child, in my name, welcomes me.””

I went apple picking with my children a couple of weekends ago, a popular activity for those with children. A young child, maybe 2 years’ old, was running and his mom had a hard time keeping up with him. I heard her shout, “Stop running, you are going to fall!” I watched the scene in amusement, because it reminded me of myself 10 years’ ago when I had a hard time keeping up with my children in those busy places. We even lost my little Sarah for a few minutes at that orchard. She was also 2 years old when that happened. While they were all looking at the petting zoo animals, she had decided to go off and go on a little discovery mission all by herself.

The scripture above tells us that to grow in consciousness, we should be more like children. Children are the greatest learners and the greatest discoverers. They trust the world. They do not feel fear like grown ups do. When I heard that my little Sarah had wandered off in the crowd, I imagined all things that could happen: my baby being lost among all those people, she could fall and get lost forever and she could get hurt; or worse, someone could hurt her. Deep inside of me, I knew that I was going to find her, and I visualized her coming back to me praying to God that she would be returned to me. But at the same time, I had all the fears that a mother can have when her child is missing. My little girl, on the other hand, was carefree. She had set out on an adventure to check out the goats, the pigs, and all the other animals that were there for her enjoyment. She had gone off to discover the world from her own eyes. She displayed the curiosity of a child. She went on a learning adventure. That is what children do. They go out to discover things, without a care in the world. 

For adults, it’s different. There are many things we take into consideration before going on a learning adventure. We do our homework. We check out reviews online. We say we want to grow spiritually, and we go look for a church. We check out their website. We read up about it. We consider the location and ask ourselves, “Is it in a good location?” We check out the pastor and ministers, and when we have done our homework and are satisfied, we try it out. When we make a decision about learning new things, a lot of work goes into the selection process because we are afraid that we could make the wrong decision and not learn, or not as much, or even learn the wrong thing. We don’t have faith we will go to the right place if we don’t do our homework. We do not have faith that our Mother-Father God will lead us where we need to go. 

Children trust that their parents will take care of them. Regardless of race, culture, creed, or socio-economic background, children trust that they will be taken care of. They trust that their parents love them and will take care of them. When Jesus in this scripture tells his disciples to be more like children, he tells them to know with confidence that our Divine Mother-Father will take care of us. To not have a care in the world in our discovery of our Spirituality and Divinity. To have faith that we will be led in the right direction. To have faith that we can be led in the right direction, we have to listen. Sit still, and in the silence of our mind, listen to the Divine guidance that comes to us. Also observe the other signs that our guides and teachers send our way: look at license places, look at innocuous messages such as someone telling us out of the blue that they read a certain book, an ad on TV. Be alert to the Divine guidance, and have faith in what you receive.

We do all that, and then we are not so sure, after all, that we are still able to learn new things at our age, or perhaps are not emotionally ready to have a change in mindset. To reach spiritual awareness, we need to be open to new learning like children. We have to open ourselves up to learning new things. We must be ready to challenge our beliefs and be open to discover the world not only around us but within us. We must be humble like a child, meaning that we have to accept that there is a lot that we don’t know, and a lot of things that we learned that were untrue. We have to open to a brand new world and let go. We might even need to open ourselves up to what we thought was heresy. We need to challenge ourselves. We need to open ourselves up to new ways of feeling, hearing, and seeing without being scared of what we are experiencing. And for most of us, it is not second nature. We can have faith that we are being guided by a power greater than our mind and ego and physical being. We can have faith in the Infinite Love and guidance from Source. 

But what will others think? We need to learn to not be afraid of disturbing societal norms, to not be afraid of our neighbor or family member who might think that we have gotten lost on the path, and to have faith that if we choose the road less traveled to pursue our mission of self discovery, of inner discovery, we will be taken care of. We can let go of greed and desire for power. We can have faith that Source brings us abundance. We will still have food on the table, we will be able to take care of our family, and we do not need power to be happy. There is no need for hoarding, no need for greed, no need to be in the most expensive home or expensive school. The greatest teachers don’t all fly in first class. They drive a car, and not necessarily the most expensive car. They are not driven by power. When we reach a high level of Spiritual Awareness, we realize that we don’t need power over people, we don’t need expensive things; we are not attached to material things anymore. Those expensive things fall in the category of “nice to have” rather than “my happiness depends upon it.” When we are spiritually aware, we know that we don’t need all that. Because God will provide. This scripture tells us to have faith in the love of our Divine “parent,” because the Universe will take care of us. 

This scripture tells us to be more like children, because children are not born with preconceived ideas about race, they are not born with judgment. Before children are conditioned by the grown ups around them, a white child is no different from a black child or a child of any other race. A child is a child. When they are young, children do not care about race. Until a child has been conditioned by their environment — their family, their school, and society around them — in their eyes, a child is a child, someone to play with. To enter the Kingdom of Heaven, to become aware, we can let go of all our preconceptions about race and we have to let go of things. To be like a child is to open our hearts for the love of others, regardless of what they look like or where they come from.

So ask yourself, “How can I become more like a child.” “Am I playful like a child?” “Am I excited to learn new things like a child?” “Am I able to not let myself be consumed by fear, like a child?” “Do I trust that I will be taken care of and that I will have a better life if I behave like a child?” Spend some time meditating on it, and listen to the Divine guidance that sits within you. Ask your guides and teachers to give you signs, to show you the way. Ask you guides and teachers to help you let go and let God.

A few months ago, I spoke (wrote) about “Physicians (or Metaphysicians), Heal yourselves.” I spoke about the Omnipresence of God that heals us. In meditation, invite the Omnipresence to uplift you and carry you and guide you, and ask the Omnipresence of God to help you let go, so that you can open up your mind like a child and let yourself be led on the path with the faith of a child. And be like a child and grow and flourish to your full potential.

Blessings,


September 19, 2021

Rev. Nancy Hall

Scripture is from the Lamsa Translation of the Bible.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3; verses 1 through 9

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the sun.

A time to be born and a time to die: a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted:

A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up;

A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to lose and a time to seek; a time to tie up and a time to untie;

A time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silent and a time to speak;

A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.

What profit has the worker in his labor?

Good beautiful day to you all;

Scripture today is a spot on explanation of life. The ebbing and flowing of life’s challenges and joys. But the last verse number 9 “What profit has the worker in his labor” is a wonderful example that what effort “labor” we put into our life, is the result “profit” we will get. How we approach life and at what vibrational level we are at that time is what we will receive back. Scripture didn’t say it was going to be easy but the rewards are wonderful. As we maneuver through this life time; or our many lifetimes we choose; we choose to create our experience. We, so much so, we fight against the flow; the Universal flow, not completely understanding how it affects our own lives and the lives of those around us. And it’s only through an understanding and knowledge that we can make those alterations to steer us on a path that is better suited for us; a path that is embraced; a path full of joy, peace, and harmony and that is ours for the creating but we do have to do the work and we have to understand; expand and evolve. Or should I say through understanding we expand and evolve. We need to experience the seasons; the contrast of what life is offering us but it is how we embrace or how we approach each of those seasons determines the depth of our growth; the acceleration or deceleration of our growth. Take a moment just imagine you are at a rivers edge and there is a watercraft; a canoe; small row boat; a kayak in front of you. And that river is your LIFE; and that river is your experiences “seasons”; your future experiences. So you with a very determined attitude, because this is your life; get into that watercraft. Since you are in control you take the paddles and you start upstream going against the current. So as you’re paddling and paddling, the current lessens a bit and you’re still paddling and paddling as you go and you approach some rocks; some boulders, you’re “okay I can make it around these, I’m doing good”. As you keep paddling and paddling the current gets a little heavier, a little stronger. You have to paddle a harder and you get so caught up in the paddling that you; you almost ignore the big tree that is across the river in front of you and its branches/limbs that are protruding out – well this frustrates you even more because you have to maneuver around this tree; these obstacles; trials, the whole time struggling with the strong current. But you make it around the tree. And you paddle some more, paddle some more. You take a deep breath, “my gosh, I’m just working so hard at this, I’m just working so hard at this, am I; am I getting anywhere in life. Am I getting to where I need; I want to be in life” and then you; you take a quick glance; looking back to where you started; thinking that you’re going to be, because you’ve worked so hard, you must have traveled quite a ways; you glance and you realize, “oh, I’m not that far from where I was; I’m not that far from where I started” and then the SUN comes out and you take a deep breath in; you take a second; you settle down; you turn and you allow yourself to float: and you flow down the river. And yes, it takes a little time to get in the groove of releasing the intense control that you felt you needed, and allow yourself to be in that moment and be in that now. But you try. Those rocks, boulders, and trees they are still there as you travel through life but now you feel the rhythm of the current; the rhythm of the water; you feel the flow of Universal energy; you float into the rhythm of life and as you do you find yourself to able to maneuver effortlessly around those rocks. You see yourself quickly slipping by those encounters of trials and troubles smoother than you were when you were resisting; placing your energy resisting the current by paddling upstream. You still encounter the trees that have fallen a crossed the river, those troubles–the ever occurring changes in your life. But you see the limbs before they’re upon you and see them for what they are and you are able to easily get out of the way or if you get stuck you quickly free yourself because you are in the flow of life. You are taking control by understanding what you do want and what you don’t want in your life; in your vibration/energy. You understand that you’ll experience contrast in your world constantly. But it is the amount of attention that you give to these moments of contrast that either expands it or reduces it; shrinks it; and lets you get on with the flow of the river, lets you get on with the flow of life. In your times of is bliss then embrace it; relish in it; savor the moment. Everything is forever changing; you’re going to feel it; you’re going to experience it. But it is how you choose to approach it; the level of vibration you choose deal give it; by either embracing it or by maneuvering by it. It’s the type of work you put in that can bring about joyous, wondrous, incredible feelings for yourself. This is your life; it’s the work; it’s the labor that you put into it is your profit.

We are going to have these times; these moments and having this human experience we have, as that humanness of ourselves, we often have this fight or flight reaction and we have to control; we have to fixate and we have to just make it better and who’s to say better is better. We; we fixate on—on this and that and the wrongs of the world; the wrongs that have been done to us. We fixate on–on the issues that we really have no control over and we paddle up stream purposely trying to get a place but we’re unsure of where we are going. But if we just breath, if we just breath; and embrace the current. And let go. And allow ourselves to experience that flow and embrace those highs; allow ourselves to linger in the calm; in that vibrational energy of balance then those encounters with the boulders and the encounters with the trees; such as a struggle with a close friend; or a sick family member or job situation; will lessen in intensity. It’s how we approach them; at what level of understanding and vibration that we approach them is how smoothly we will slide through and around each and every issue that comes our way. We can choose embrace the sunshine as we are floating down this beautiful current; we can enjoy the ride because it is so exhilarating knowing that each and every issue that comes up; each and every challenge that is before us, we can and will get by; we can and will move beyond; maneuver around. Or we can choose to paddle upstream and face our challenges in an energy of frustration. We are amazing beings. We have the capacity/ability to move mountains. We have it within us to approach each and every situation in our life with love, and it’s our choice; it’s our choice in how hard we want to struggle; it’s our choice in where we place and where we direct our vibration. While listening to a recording of an interview Oprah Winfrey had with Esther Hicks a few years back; a particular phrase caught my ear, the basic meaning of this phrase I have heard many times before but it never penetrated my being like this before, I never internalized it until that moment. She said, “Everybody gets exactly what they are offering vibrationally”. It was like “WOW” that is so true”. We heard from scripture today that we are going to encounter/experience all of this stuff; all of these seasons, but how we vibrationally approach each and every one of these seasons is how we expand and how we learn and how we grow. To suit me I changed the word “gets” to “attracts”. I typed it up, printed it out and hung it on my wall at work. “Everybody attracts exactly what they are offering vibrationally”. We go through all of these different seasons; different times in our lives. We go through all of these trials and troubles; joys, highs and lows; that’s not going change. We will continue to have them placed in front of us; we will continue to experience them but it is with what type of attitude; what type of energy; where is your vibration as these matters come before you. You know, your inner being knows your true self. That you are an amazing; loving vibrational essence of goodness, of joy. You are worthy and as you internalize that understanding you do the work; you release the false beliefs of unworthiness. Beliefs can be altered; as your thinking is altered. Beliefs are a thought that you just think over and over and over and over again. If a belief no longer suits you, if an understanding that you had is not a good fit anymore for you, it’s okay to release it. It’s okay to cut loose the baggage of what’s no longer you. And again you be in the flow, in that current. I’ll say it again, it is not easy to, or should I say, it takes work to be in flow; it takes work not to want to be fully in control and paddle upstream but you can put the work in; you can sit 10; 15; 20 minutes a day in meditation and center yourself. Connect with Source within. Center yourself with your breath; align yourself with what is right for you. Through meditating and those moments each day that you take you will reap the reward. Your days will become clearer. The current smooths out; the big boulders that were in your way will now be just a small pile of rocks. The trees a cross you way are now smaller and the gap to get around them has grown larger. You no longer remain in that—you no longer fixate on the struggles of life; but you embrace the joy of being in a vibrational energy of that flow of life. You experience being in the flow of love. Meditate; go within and center yourself. Find that balance and harmony; be renewed. You are so deserving of joy, peace, happiness, and love. We often point to others when the struggles are ours. Or we often fixate on others struggles and put our energy to things that are not for our own highest and best. So I ask you “where do you labor for what profit?”

You are amazing; embrace you.

Namaste.

September 12, 2021

What to Do?
Rev. Mike Hile

1 Peter 3:8, Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

Today’s title What to Do? comes from a rather prolonged sense of angst and exasperation. Firsthand, the pandemic seems relentless as we will soon be entering our 19th month of its influence on our lives. I did go maskless for about three weeks still very consciously trying to be sensible, not running up hugging everyone I met. I did attend the Sparty Party Picnic with another sixty fellow Spartans in a large outdoor venue and some other meetings I supposed safe. A few weeks ago, I received an email that someone at a meeting I had attended two days previously had tested positive for Covid that day. Yowsers! It did say at that time, from the meeting they did not feel there was close contact to report, which meant 15 minutes of exposure less than six feet from the person. I know my contact was definitely less than five. As I was to have my yearly wellness visit the next afternoon, I called my doctor’s office in Saginaw. I was assured that being vaccinated there was only an extremely small chance that I would have been infected and if on that tiny possibility, I would have symptoms within 2 to 5 days. They rescheduled me for the next available appointment the doctor had after the 6th day but did note that they were seeing a surge of the Delta variant and highly recommended distancing and wearing a mask. Amen. Just when a bit of normalcy was creeping into our lives, it seems things are worsening. With school resuming, only time will tell those effects meaning in three months, we, of course, we will know a lot more than we do now. But for the time being in these harrowing times, I am caused to seriously wonder, What to Do?

We garner little good news from TV, pod casts, or webinars. The Covid pandemic notwithstanding, there is a constant onslaught of deplorable world situations. The recent tragic news and horrific happenings from Afghanistan along with the continuing upheaval makes our world order seem very fragile. World unrest and foreign governments disrespecting any semblance of civil rights among those governed seems rampant. World dominance and control rather that cooperation and support seem the focus of some. For myself personally I ask, What to Do?

Recent natural disasters are mounting to a staggering number. Ida has ravaged large parts of our East Coast leaving death and unimaginable suffering; normalcy is months in the future. Haiti is still dealing with earthquake repercussions which have caused incomparable suffering with thousands dying and no clear path of restoration and care for those left. Wild fires out west have not only devasted thousands upon thousands of acres where many had their homes but affect the very air we breathe with our evening skies a few weeks ago being filled with white smoke. Even part of Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior has a wildfire. We have seen floods carrying away buildings and all in their path with abandon locally and abroad. Tornadoes have ravaged our country destroying everything in their paths. I ask myself nestled here in the Thumb of Michigan, What to Do?

We have been made aware that there are many situations of civil rights being violated in this country. Human trafficking and kidnapping have made inroads not far from us. Gun violence is an everyday occurrence in our country and more-unnerving, neighboring communities, sometimes our own. Targeted killings are occurring in areas I travel as I listen to the streets cited on TV of some violent happenings in the Saginaw and Bay City areas. Also among some people, it now even seems fashionable, accepted, and expected to hate others. Yes, hate along with disrespect and distrust whether based on race, sex, political affiliation, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, social class, views on gun control, and so many other criteria. It almost seems trendy right now to be able to identify those we hate and do so openly so we may have something to share in our casual conversations with others. Oh my! I am only one person, Michele Hile, who feels overwhelmed, often immobilized, by the immensity of the challenges of day-to-day living causing me to ask What to Do?

By now, I’ll bet you are thrilled that I was asked to write a sermon for you this Sunday, right? Do you feel as though you’ve been hit by a board? You may be mentally wanting to strangle me as I repeatedly raise these topics. You may feel appreciably worse than you did when you began reading this. However, I think we can all agree, the things I’ve cited do exist. What to Do?

My real message today is in answer to the question, What to Do? In short, my answer for all of us – remember, I am mostly talking to “overwhelmed by the world situations me” whenever I speak – is to have faith, do what we can, and pray trusting in God’s divine order/Infinite Intelligence.

Knowing how I love quotes, let me share some. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. Dr. Ernest Holmes has said, Faith is an affirmative mental approach to reality. As the daily reading in Science of Mind for August 22 suggests, Faith allows us to see beyond appearances. When life gets too painful, faith allows us to see there is a higher truth beyond the horizon. Emmanuel Teney teaches, “There are no guarantees. From the viewpoint of fear none are strong enough. From the viewpoint of love none are necessary.” If we live in a place of fear, nothing anyone can say or do is comforting. When we live from a place of deep and abiding faith, we don’t seek guarantees because we know Spirit/God is always with us – and that is all we need to know.

Also remember fear is learned. We are told by the experts that newborns come into the world only fearing two things, falling and loud noises. Of course, we soon add a host of fears as we grow. But if we consciously put ourselves in a place of faith, our fears will subside. So when our frustrations with life cause to ask, What to Do? Have faith would be a wonderful place to start.

The second thing in response to What to Do? I am suggesting to you today is to do what we can. Right here, right now, as we act with faith, we can live honorably, be as safe as possible regarding the virus, help those at the mercy of natural disasters if the opportunity arises, not promote hate but see all with eyes that find the good, which I believe is in everyone. I have told you before, If I can’t see the good in you, there is something wrong with me. It is my belief that even the most vile, ruthless, despicable, seemingly uncaring person has God’s goodness residing deep within even if well hidden. We can choose to be fair and nonjudgmental. We also do not need to imitate the poor behavior of others. We can be fair in our interactions with others and not harbor hate. As I was putting these thoughts together, I was reminded of the hymn This Is My Father’s World and the line that says, Though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. Yes. Do what we can. None of us have a magic wand to wave and immediately dispel the world’s problems, but we don’t have to add to them either. Remember what Margaret Mead, the famed anthropologist who worked in Samoa, said, Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have. We can be caring people who change the world for the better.

The third thing I am suggesting is something we all can do; we can pray. Even though I often think I may have solutions for life’s problems, I always find it more productive when I pray for God’s will to be done. Remember in the Lord’s Prayer, Thy will be done. Excellent thought/plan. That removes my human frailty and shortcomings from the equation.

Going back to the Scripture reading for today, Peter offers us some advice. Hear his words again from 1 Peter 3:8, Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Let’s examine these ideas for a few minutes and see how we might make them part of our way of living in the world.

Having unity of spirit suggests to me that we adopt the teachings of Jesus and try to live our lives by his example. Jesus is often thought of as the master teacher of how to live. If we join with others trying to live by his example, day to day negative situations will most definitely improve. We are familiar with the phrase, strength in numbers. The more we live by Jesus’ example, we encourage others to do the same. Their actions affect others and so on. When we ask, What to Do? the very best thing we could next ask ourselves is, What would Jesus do? and follow his example. Remember several years ago now, the bracelets that people wore with the initials WWJD, for What would Jesus do? That is still the gold standard as far as determining what action to take in any situation. Let’s have unity of spirit with Jesus.

Peter next tells us to have sympathy. Sympathy is the ability to understand another’s situation leaving judgment behind. In addition to understanding, we can care how another feels. Sometimes sympathy may be expressed to another in caring words, a listening ear, help with a project, or many other ways. Having sympathy says that we care about the person, he or she matters to us, and we are even willing to do some things to improve the person’s situation if they so desire. Sometimes just knowing another cares for us is enough for us to take heart and move beyond what seems like a daunting circumstance. We should never under estimate the positive difference sympathy may make to another if offered.

Love for one another takes our caring a step further suggesting support whenever needed. In loving others, we don’t necessarily have to agree with them and their beliefs, but rather allow them the right to hold their beliefs. Loving others says we recognize them as God’s creations honoring them as children of God. That is, after all, the very best way to view people.

A tender heart suggests a higher level of understanding being aware of others’ vulnerabilities. We aren’t all cut out of the same cloth. Situations that may not faze me may deeply bother others. And the reverse is true: those things that are deeply important to me may be viewed as trivial and nonessential by others, but a tender heart sees value in the things others hold dear at least for them.

The last suggestion of Peter in the verse cited is that we have a humble mind. I recognize I don’t have everything figured out. The older I get, the more I am reminded. I know I have shared with you when I turned 60 eleven years ago, I decided to make a conscious effort to do three things to allay some obvious signs of aging. 1) I would try to walk standing straight up instead of pitching forward which I noticed I was doing as I walked by a full-length mirror we have. 2) I would not leave my mouth agape but rather close it. And 3) I would park squarely in parking spaces, not askew. That last one was inspired by my step-father losing his driver’s license for about twelve weeks and me taking him to appointments at the Secretary of State’s Office in Bay City to regain it. I well remember after returning from a test drive with the examiner her telling him, And see, you can’t even park in the lines! being one of several reasons she would not reinstate his license. Six more weeks and a different examiner saw him regaining his license. Anyway, soon after making the mental effort to adopt these three things into my life, I stopped at the funeral home in Reese for a visitation. I proudly parked in the lot perpendicular to M-81, walked erect with my mouth closed to the door. As it was opened for me by the staff, I with satisfaction glanced back at my perfectly parked vehicle. Indeed, it was perfectly perpendicular to the road; however, the parking spaces were at a diagonal meaning I was taking up two. Oh dear! Another example keeping me humble arose when I plugged in the air compressor a couple of years ago getting only a grrrr response. It remains in the shed from my early days of living there when mom married my first stepfather, my Dad, 61 years ago as of last July 30. The air compressor is on the floor with a grinder on the shelf above it in the corner of the shed with various gardening tools occupying the corner. I oiled the pullies to no avail. Tom bought a new plug and spliced it to the cord. When I tried it again, I was standing to the side not reaching straight over the air compressor as I had been. Still only grrrr but I looked at Tom and told him I realized the sound was coming from the grinder not the air compressor. Yes, I had the wrong cord. Once I fished out the compressor cord, it worked perfectly. Duh! Then there was the time a couple of years ago I left the pick up running in neutral to go inside and tell Tom I was taking a load of brush down to the gravel pit to put on the pile. When I walked out of the house much to my surprise, the pick up had rolled from where I had left it 200’ coming to a stop as the tail gait hit the new shed at the point of the big door’s frame. It caused the least damage possible for which I am grateful. That dent is now cleverly disguised by a four-foot metal, decorative flower. Easy for me to stay humble. I took delivery of my new car the first day of the lockdown, March 23, 2020. This is my first car with a fob instead of a key. When I pulled in my garage, I didn’t know how to shut it off. I pushed and pulled several things to no avail. My neighbor was walking her dog and wondered why I was opening and closing the hatch and side doors. After about 15 minutes, I finally called a friend in Caro who had a Pacifica and asked how to shut off the engine. It was as simple as pushing the start button. Who knew? A couple of weeks later that new vehicle started making a sliding sound at times when turning, accelerating, and stopping. Oh no, a brand-new car with the dealership closed because of the pandemic making a scraping sound! Thankfully, I remembered Newton’s Law of Inertia: an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an outside force, and an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. It seems the loose change in the can I kept in the catchall on the floor between the driver’s side and the passenger’s side was sliding as I’d turn, start, and stop making the grating noise. I’m so glad the dealership had been closed. Whew! As you can see, I don’t have to work too hard to stay humble.

On a serious note, what do I want you to take from this today? Even in the face of these most challenging times, times we have not experienced in our lifetimes, when asking What to Do? in addition to keeping in mind Peter’s advice, I would suggest we have faith, do what we can, and pray remembering the solution to whatever the situation should be God’s vision not ours, thy will be done.

Blessings for a wonderful week


September 5, 2021

Seasons of Faith
Rev. Laura MacLachlan

2 Corinthians Ch. 4, verses13, 15-18
(13) We have the same spirit of faith; as it is written, I believed. Therefore, I have spoken. We also believe, therefore we also speak. (15) For all things are for your sakes that the abundant grace might, through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God. (16) For this reason, we do not grow weary; for though our outward man perish, yet the inner man is renewed day by day. (17) For while the troubles of the present time are little and light, a great and limitless glory forever and ever is prepared for us. (18) We do not rejoice in the things which are seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
This Labor Day weekend we are having our last summer “hurrah”. Though the calendar tells us summer continues for several more weeks, we see it slipping away as days are getting shorter, school is starting, our minds move toward things of fall as we even see the stores putting up Halloween decorations! Does anyone feel a little emotional letdown when this happens? Anyone feel a little energy shift? The outer promptings of the calendar tell our subconscious mind that the earth will all too soon be preparing for winter. Before we know it the leaves will be turning and then falling.
It’s funny that in the old Spiritualist churches that shut down for the summer so everyone could venture off to all the camps that used to be their summer destinations. Fall meant coming home, opening up those home churches again! Renewed energy! We made new commitments to spiritual unfoldment, felt new enthusiasm for getting back into classes and discovering new spiritual truths. Our beliefs carried us into the fall with a sense of expectation. Paul wrote, “I believe, therefore I have spoken.” We gave voice together as congregations returning from summer camp that great things lay ahead.

Our personal faith and belief in our purpose as awakening Christs has seasons, too. Our walk on this Earth plane is a study in springtime highs and winter lows. Let’s take a look at how that might play out.

What if spring represented the birth of our search for spiritual truth-the beginning of our journey to enlightenment? Everything is new and exciting! We hear sermons that seem written just for us! We get messages from Mediums that give us those great AH-Ha moments! Maybe we get a reading from someone new that changes our lives. We participate in classes we wished could never end. We can’t read or study or discuss enough of the topics that electrify us about Metaphysics when we get together with like minded people.

By our spiritual summer, we‘re humming along! We’re learning to use our gifts, sharing our experiences, serving our churches, putting on those dinners. Life is good! We found our spiritual family! Fall sneaks up on us with its crisp mornings and golden leaves. It invites us to begin to turn within. One day we find we’ve lost a little of that summer excitement, the newness of our spiritual awakening. Maybe some begin to inventory those messages we got about travel that didn’t happen, new jobs that never crossed our paths, or maybe new potential personal relationships that didn’t pan out. For those whose faith at that moment might feel “tested” in a purely mental sort of way, we might begin to sag a bit and dismiss it with a curt, “Well, THAT never happened!” We stop looking for the beauty and spirituality in the little things in life.

Winter comes to our spiritual doorstep. For so many, 2020 was one loooong winter, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Life happened in ways we never anticipated. Jobs were lost, we may have experienced physical challenges. We were, to varying degrees, forced into seclusion.

The neophyte might have gotten disgusted by the whole thing and said, “I did all this metaphysical work and look what happened anyway!”

Yet….what happens when you lay down in the sub zero conditions of winter? You freeze! We have to make ourselves move! Physically, we stomp our feet, swing our arms, cut some firewood..we exert ourselves….to feel warm and alive! What does it take to reawaken spiritually?

Looking around the landscape, we begin to remember that while everything looks dead, inside the trees, bushes and dormant grasses there is life. Spiritually, we feel a glimmer of the remembrance that inside of ourselves, just like the trees and all of nature, God energy has never abandoned our heart center. We realize we chose to recognize only the loss and apparent death of things outside of ourselves, and in doing so assigned ourselves the same fate. In Verse 18 Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “We do not rejoice in the things which are seen, for the things which are seen are temporal.” So, in other words, we “decreed” and fed energy to loss, failure, disappointment, whatever has us in a funk. Ah-ha! A quickening takes place as we get back on track. No magic tricks, no silver bullet, no magic wand will fix whatever we feel is going on in our lives that needs changing…We must get back to using our gifts, our inner wisdom and our metaphysical tools and do our own work to turn our ship around.

Ours is a hands-on philosophy. We are taught that life is not a spectator sport! It’s based on action, not just reaction. Some days are diamonds, some feel like dust. How we choose to “name” it and respond to it is entirely up to us.

The irony is not lost that we celebrate the birth of Christ Consciousness in the “Son of Man” Jesus at the time of the winter solstice! Where the dark is deepest on this Earth plane, we follow the star (inspiration, intuitive push) to find a whole new way to live.

Steel is honed in fire, not cotton candy. This is a place of duality. We choose to incarnate to experience all the seasons of faith. We come to use the tools we garner along the way. We appreciate the spring of our spiritual path because we have also experienced the fall. We revel in the summer of our spiritual lives of service to others because we can help them through those long winters. We know what happens next! As our souls add to the experience that comes with so many incarnations, we gain the insight and confidence to walk through our challenges with more and more grace. The 23rd Psalm reminds us of this in the line which says “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for God art with me.” We walk through our challenges…We walk through the seasons of spiritual fall and winter. We don’t stop time and build a house and live there in despair. We can choose to keep moving forward in the flow of Divine love and order.

God energy is always present. It is always available for manifesting a new course of action, new outcomes, fulfilling our needs. God energy is never dormant, is never “dead”. It’s there, silent and available. We are called upon at that moment to again recognize it and move more fully into the flow of it. It’s the very life force in all visible creation. “We do not grow weary.”

Finally, Paul affirmed this in Verse 17: “For while the troubles of the present time are little and light, a great and limitless glory forever and ever is prepared for us.” Grab it like the brass ring on a merry go round. Merge with it. Become illumined with its esoteric wisdom. You are an awakening Christ. Don’t let the end of summer bring you down. It’s just an illusion of the material plane. The fields are ripe for the harvest, and we have work to do!
Blessings to each of you!


August 29, 2021

Rev. Carey Barker

Today’s scripture is Matthew Chapter 6, verses 1-4, the Lamsa Translation

BE careful concerning your alms, not to do them in the presence of men, merely that they may see them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven. Therefore when you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, just as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the market places, so that they may be glorified by men. Truly I say to you, that they have already received their reward. But when you give alms, let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing; So that your alms may be done secretly, and your Father who sees in secret, shall himself reward you openly.

Matthew 6:1-4

“How clean are your streets?”

Here we are the days before Labor Day. I’m not going to ask any of you to run out and clean your street. I will be asking all of you to consider your own labors. When considering mine I immediately thought of being in labor, it’s the mom in me, what can I say. Laboring really doesn’t end with delivery, it just begins. Most mothers and fathers go onto labor endlessly for their children. As most of you could agree, it really does seem like a thankless job. But is it?

We all go to work every week trying to please our co-workers, our customers and of course our boss. Most of us could agree that our daily jobs can be thankless. But are they?

Then there is family, friends, church groups…. The list goes on. We all labor in our own way and don’t always feel the appreciation, gratitude and love in return.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Labor Day began not as a national holiday but in the streets, when, on September 5, 1882, thousands of bricklayers, printers, blacksmiths, railroad men, cigar makers, and others took a day off and marched in New York City. They carried signs that read, “Eight Hours for Work, Eight Hours for Rest, Eight Hours for What We Will”. Another sign that read “Labor creates all wealth”. A placard in the following year’s parade read, “We must crush the Monopolies lest they crush us.” The movement for the holiday grew city by city and eventually the state and federal authorities made it official…..so, Happy Labor Day!

I agree that while we all can sometimes feel unappreciated, we could all honestly say we are treated better than those before us, like the men in the streets on that day in 1882. Though they finally received recognition, they fought for it. Our scripture tells us that while we might have to fight for recognition sometimes here in the physical, Spirit recognizes as the Universe is on top of things.

So, how do we continue to give without receiving? How do we keep our heads up knowing that the one great thing we did may go forever unnoticed?

Today’s scripture asks us to consider our labors, to be careful concerning our alms. Don’t worry about doing to impress others. It speaks of the reward in our own good mind being compromised in the hopes of pleasing another. So when you give and do, don’t worry about sounding your trumpet for glorification. Don’t get caught up with the struggle between your logical mind, the left hand and the spiritual mind of the right hand. Just do the right thing from your heart, make it a labor of love. The returns and gratitude from the Universe and beyond is far more rewarding than the simple pleasing of your co-worker or boss.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry.

He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Everything you do should be done to your own expectations, not the expectations of others. You can’t wait for what you think is yours to be handed to you.

Reach for it, believe in yourself and know that you have all you need within your own mind and heart.

Many people are searching endlessly for inner fulfillment. But are we remembering to look within for it… Are we searching for that inner peace within us or outside of ourselves?

Inner peace is more about being than doing. It’s about leaning toward rather than struggling against. It’s about being fully present and focused on the task at hand. The rewards of inner peace are numerous. They include mental and physical health and well-being, self-confidence, better relationships, and a more intense and joyful experience of life.

Most of us want these things, but we must shift our perceptions of ourselves and how we live in order to create an environment to foster inner peace. Once we make the shift, we must practice the actions that lead to inner peace in order to sustain it.

Distinguish between yourself versus your mind, ego, needs or past experience. Take the time to understand who you really are. What are your values, your goals, your joys and passions, your integrity? Those are what define you and make you authentic.

Do you want to look back at your life and celebrate the rushing around, the completed “to do” lists, and other stuff, or do you want to reflect on days of calm, connectedness, great relationships, wonderful experiences, and peace of mind?

The most profound impact of inner peace is the peace it spreads to the world outside of us. Peace between families, communities, and countries begins with each individual as we all know, inner peace is contagious.

As you find inner peace for yourself, you become a model for others and spread the seeds of peace everywhere you go.

There is nothing — nothing — worth having in this world without peace … and there is everything to be had in the presence of true inner peace.

Focus on what you are grateful for and practice acceptance of your life. Be grateful for what you have instead of focusing on what you do not have. Make a list of everything that you value in your life; family, friends, a home, an education, we could go on with all the blessings we have that we take for granted. For we know that some people in the world may have little access to some of these things that we see as basic.

I’ve also found the importance in giving up control. As humans, we want to control others and our environments. We want our significant other to be a better person, our boss to be nicer, and our house to be cleaner…….. and traffic to evaporate…… Ok so forget the traffic part as that was the transportation manager in me taking over for a moment.

We fear the unknown, or what we cannot control, including our own mortality. We obviously do not have total control of the outcome. Ultimately, we cannot control what others think, feel, or do. Ask yourself, “What can I do in this situation?” If you can’t change it then accept it and let it go.

We all have our own idea of what alms may be. Alms can mean a special charity or cause dear to your heart and in line with your values and thinking. If we all gave or did what everyone else thought best we wouldn’t be honoring ourselves, or our own Spiritual progression. Most of all do from your heart and not because you think you are being watched.

With inner peace you will find your truth, your calling, and your desired alms giving. In that process you will find yourself giving in a way that satisfies your purpose, you’re calling and you will no longer need outside gratification.

A philosopher, Marcus Aurelius said, “He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.”

It becomes clear that serving ones needs in turns serves others & in the big picture serves the entire Universe. Whatever your alms, or personal gem you throw in the big pond, remember it will ripple back to you until harmony is restored. Therefore be sure that what you do in service is done in love so that love is what is returned to you.

THANKS BE TO SPIRIT FOR WITHIN ME RESIDES PERFECT PEACE AND A BEAUTIFUL STREET SWEEPER…. Blessings!


August 22, 2021

Bring Life to Dry Bones
Reverend Joy Fletcher-Thompson

Today’s scripture is the 37th chapter of Ezekiel (1-14) of the Lamsa Bible translation,

“The hand of the Lord was upon me and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord and set me down in a valley which was full of bones.

“And, he caused me to pass by them round about; and behold, there were many in the valley; and lo, they were very dry. And he said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest.

“Again, he said to me, Prophesy concerning these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.

“Thus says the Lord God to these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live;

“And I will lay sinews upon you and bring flesh upon you and cover you with skin, and I will put breath in you and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.

“So I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a quake, and the bones came together, each bone to its joint.

“And when I beheld, lo, sinews and the flesh came upon them and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.

“Then, he said to me, Prophesy concerning the breath; prophesy, Son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.

“So I prophesied as he had commanded me, and they lived and stood up on their feet, an exceeding great army.

“Then, he said to me, Son of man, all these bones are the bones of the children of Israel, who said, Our bones are dried and our hope is lost; we are completely gone.

“Therefore, prophesy and say to them, I will open your graves and bring you up out of them and bring you up out of them and bring you into the land of Israel.

“And you shall know that I am the Lord, when you have opened your graves and brought you up out of them,

“And I will put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land; then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken it, and I will do it, says the Lord God.”

This story is rich with metaphysical gems that provides guidance for us on our spiritual journey. Consider that every person, place and circumstance in the Bible are metaphors for aspects within each and every one of us; individually and collectively. Let’s begin with Ezekiel.

Ezekiel was considered a prophet in the Old Testament. In Hebrew, Ezekiel means ‘strength of God”. According to the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, a prophet is ‘a teacher, one who receives the inspiration of Spirit, an understanding of spiritual law, and it imparts it to others. A prophet, in individual consciousness, is a thought that receives revelation direct from the Holy Spirit; it knows and understands divine law and its working. Therefore, it warns and instructs the other thoughts. A prophet receives the inspiration of Spirit and imparts it to others. A prophet is one who affirms spiritual law.”

Ezekiel is in a valley. The valley represents a low point in our life. Whenever we feel discouraged or down in our life, we are in a valley. Often, when we are experiencing the low points, we may feel overwhelmed and feel hopeless. We might be discouraged by the appearance of hopeless facts, which is represented by dry bones in this story.

To Ezekiel, everything seems to be wrong and insurmountable without a certain positive outcome. Our spiritual ancestors, the ancient Israelites, had an idiom to describe situations that seemed hopeless, they would say. “Our very bones are dried up.” As metaphysicians, we know that the activity of the spiritual I AM, encourages us to apply the tools of affirmation right in the midst of hopeless looking conditions or situations. “Prophesy unto these bones, say to them, Oh, ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.”

“The bones begin to shake, move and then begin to connect bone to bone.” As in our own life, new connections are formed right in the midst of discouragement or contradictory appearances. Every affirmation of Truth, every prayer and every thought produce new connections in the dry bones.

The literal perspective sees only ‘dry bones’ while a spiritual point of view knows that Good, “a living army’ shall be brought forth. Ezekiel prophesized and the bones connected.

There are times, in our spiritual development when things seem to be overwhelming. It is important to believe, to know, to affirm this is not a permanent situation. Instead, it is a message from our soul that it is time for a new chapter in our spiritual growth. It is time for an expansion of awareness. Time for a deeper consciousness.

However, our ‘humanness’ often responds by feeling lost, angry, or afraid. We might think we are alone and helpless. Nothing is further from the truth. An inner beckoning is encouraging us to call forth the energies of Ezekiel and courageously ask Universe “What’s next?” “What is mine to do?”

The Metaphysical Bible Dictionary further defines Ezekiel as “that in us which relies on Spirit and encourages us to place our full trust in Jehovah, that the Lord Jehovah (the spiritual I AM within) may become the keeper of our sheep (spiritual thoughts). He shows us how to demonstrate strength.”

In the face of any appearance, we can utilize our inherent spiritual powers to speak to ‘the dry bones’ and bring them to life. Like Ezekiel, we may ask, “Now, what do I do? What’s next?” “What is mine to do?”

Our Ezekiel hears the inner voice of Spirit instructing us to “prophecy now to the winds to tell the bones to live and the bones became a living army.” What could this mean? Prophecy to the winds? Does this mean all four directions? Was the Lord, (the activity of the Spiritual I AM) really instructing Ezekiel to prophecy to the winds?

Often, the wind is symbolic for the Holy Spirit, activity of God, the movement of the Divine, as Holy Spirit. To speak to all four directions, is to declare the Truth in every possible direction. To profess or prophecy is to affirm. By divine design, we are meant to affirm, prophesy and trust that our Good may come from any direction, any channel. We are to be open and receptive to our Good, to our answered prayers that often are more glorious than we could even imagine. It is a reminder to not ‘outline’ or expect our channels of Good to only come from one direction or channel. Our Good is unlimited and comes through many directions and avenues. We don’t know exactly what direction or avenue the prayer, affirmation or prophecy may be answered. It could be from the north, south, east or west which symbolizes the possibility the answer can and often does come from unexpected channels. It’s all the activity of God, Holy Spirit, Universe moving in our direction.

Often, our affirmations may be that we are prosperous and insist that prosperity demonstrations must come through the channel of our employer or our current source of income. It is not wise to continue insisting or declaring it has to come from a particular direction. To use the wind metaphor, south or southeast, etc., perhaps our soul is declaring that our Good, our prosperity and our healing demonstrations come from known and unknown directions. This is true for all experiences, and manifestations that our soul is desiring to express.

During Ezekiel’s vision, God sets him down in a valley of dry bones. God explains that these are the bones of the Children of Israel. After many years of living on land that was not theirs, the people believed that their own kingdom or their own land would not be restored. Land represents a state of consciousness. Our own thoughts and beliefs represented by people in this story, often focus on appearances, past experiences, opinions, facts etc. We are overwhelmed with the facts and habitually declare that our Good is elusive. But, we are encouraged by Ezekiel, to believe in hope and our spiritual authority. We are to prophesy, to affirm that life shall be brought forth to the dry bones. Ezekiel, our inherent ‘strength of God, our indwelling prophet encourages us to believe in the unseen, trust in the activity of God, and to prophesize life in the appearance of dry bones.

Our own “Children of Israel’, according to The Revealing Word are “the thoughts of reality or the true ideas of Being that have to be brought out in every part of man’s consciousness.” The Children of Israel must be called forth through prophecy and affirmation. New life in those bones will be made manifest. The dry, dead appearances will be brought out of the grave. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened the graves and bring you out of them and bring you into the land of Israel.”

You are Ezekiel, you are the Children of Israel, and can bring forth life in places that seem to be dry and impossible. “I will put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land.” (Ezekiel 37:14)


August 15, 2021

Balance
Rev. Susan Wright

Balance as a scale, can be either real or imagined, and used to weigh things that affect all parts of our lives.

We can apply balance to the air pressure in our tires or balancing our checkbooks.

We know Libra, the 7th of the zodiac signs is often a symbol of balance and represented by a scale. People who are Libras often seek to understand opposites in relationships… to harmonize and find balance. It’s no wonder that Libra’s are considered the spiritual diplomat of the Zodiac.

Libra’s may have a special relationship with balance … but of course, it’s important to all of us, not just Libra’s.

The balance I’m going to about today is the personal balance in our lives that allows us to walk this earth plane both physically and spiritually with ease.

That balance is critical to grow as a spiritual being while living a meaningful life.

It’s interesting to note that the idea of being in balance isn’t new but it is ageless … as it is part of our soul seeking the same vibration from which it came.

Are you aware that one of the most enduring lessons Jesus teaches us in the Bible is that of Balance?

Our scripture today is from Luke. I’d like you to keep in mind that Luke is known the physician, the healer, the Medical missionary. It’s quite interesting when you think about how he approaches this story.

Luke 10 v. 38-42

And it came to pass while they were journeying, he entered into a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister whose name was Mary, and she came and sat at the feet of our Lord and listened to his words. But Martha was busy with many household cares, and she came and said to him, My Lord, you do not seem to care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me. Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and excited about many things; But one thing is more important; and Mary has chosen the good portion for herself, which shall not be taken away from her.

Martha and Mary from this story in the Bible were sisters of Lazarus.

In fact, in the book, Good Girls, Bad Girls of the New Testament, T.J Wray, the author, gives these two women the first chapter of his book.

He states they were part of Jesus’ inner-most circle of friends, and supporters.

According to the New Age Bible Interpretation by Corinne Heline, they were among the highest in development of Jesus’ women disciples.

Yes, there were women disciples!

In our scripture today, Jesus comes to their home to visit and as always …to teach.

Mary sits and listens while Martha busies herself preparing to care for the physical needs of Jesus and others that traveled with him.

Again remembering that is from Luke.

Luke the physician.

Luke is also the symbol for light, healing, wholeness.

*Wholeness meaning completeness; illuminated-enlightened

To be in such a state wouldn’t you have to be a “balanced” individual?

The story of Mary and Martha is a study of what it means to be an incarnate soul who understands the importance of balance.

We can look at this balance in several ways:

1st we might think of the concept of Left brain/right brain

Martha- represents our left brain

Which relates to the reasoning of the mind and the outer world

She analyzes as she looks at her surroundings by what she sees.

She saw Master Jesus and those that traveled with him and her thoughts went to their physical needs.

If we think about the 7 main chakras of our body, this thinking is an expression the lower 3 chakras which includes the will.

If you remember she was “judging” Mary, as doing THE WRONG THING and seeking Jesus to be the person to straighten her out.

On the other hand- Mary represents our right brain- a mystical thinker… relating to the UNSEEN reality.

She represents the upper chakras.

Mary wanted nothing more than to sit devotedly “at the foot of the Master” and absorb his teachings.

The blending of these two states of being is a reoccurring theme in the stories of Jesus.

An example of this is in the crucifixion:

Remembering there were two thieves crucified at the same time as Jesus.

Paraphrasing:

One said: If you are who you say you are… save yourself… and save us and get us out of here.

The other saying: Remember me in paradise

In fact, if we look at the story of Martha and Mary with an eye to Luke’s careful placement of it in the Bible, it again follows the same idea.

Many scholars agree that Luke was very mindful of the way in which his writings were arranged in the Bible.

This story is inserted between two stories of different kinds of compassion and forgiveness.

The parable of the Good Samaritan and the Lord’s prayer.

In the Good Samaritan Jesus teaches us to treat others with mercy and compassion tending to their physical needs.

Whereas, in Luke 11 v1-4 Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray.

So…let’s go back to the contrast of Martha and Mary’s perspective

Martha is our reasoning mind. She seeks completeness outside of herself based on physical needs being met for others.

She IS being of service to Jesus and others by (in this case) being the perfect “Martha Stewart”.

It is how she loves and how she serves.

Mary, on the other hand knows there is more to life than the physical. She is the symbol for service also… in demonstrating her love for The

Master by listening to him and resonating with the essence of his teaching.

Again-the example of living out of the upper 4 chakras-dwelling in the kingdom of heaven through contemplation leading to enlightenment.

Martha complained to Jesus about what she considered to be Mary’s lack of service, but what happened?

Jesus cautioned her…

And said that Mary was entitled to “her portion” and that it was not to be taken from her.

Did you catch the symbology with food? “Portion”

Interesting!

Martha is about physical food… which is necessary… but so is spiritual food-Jesus’ teachings.

In fact, they are so important that they shouldn’t be taken from Mary.

Mary and Martha offer us a lesson in balance as a key to this physical life we live.

Both are equal parts of being a “whole”person

Neither woman was told by The Master to stop what they were doing.

It takes an inner life AND an outer expression to grow as a soul

We must be dedicated to our inner life as a spiritual being-

That may be different to each of us:

We all have our own unique recipe for that inner portion:

Perhaps it’s a few minutes of reflection and prayer at our office desk before we start each day.

Maybe it’s a walk in the woods with your guides and teachers, listening and reflecting.

It could be a daily meditation sitting in a special chair, reading and studying, listening to an uplifting podcast, or attending church services.

And then remembering to balance that portion with nurturing our human existence;

Our bodies, our families, our jobs, our homes, our finances

It’s not easy to be walking this earthly journey. This past year and a half may have been particularly challenging,

Our lives are complex.

It can feel as if we have many plates we are balancing on tall thin sticks to keep moving forward in our lives

As we walk in our physical bodies we know that feeling…when we are in balance we will notice that life seems to flow easily…and when we are out of balance life seems to be a challenge.

Have you ever tried to get dressed standing on one foot?

Remember, when it is a challenge, having solid spiritual practices, will give us that the other foot, scaffold to support us.

We can be very involved in our physical world and yet very relaxed knowing that truly the Universe is working in our favor.

On a daily basis, we must discern, “the good portion” which means finding that delicate balance of service to others without loss of the inner-self, in the giving.

As individuals, if we are ALL Martha, all the time, we would be living:

Out of balance-perhaps a workaholic, judgmental, materialistic

All Mary, all the time, can be just as problematic

That person might appear as an “air-head” too far out there and not very grounded.

Jesus our Way Shower is the perfect model, for us to understand how to walk this earth in perfect balance showing us that it is possible… so that we can grow and progress on our life path.

That means being in the physical enough to learn the lessons we are here to learn—— AND working in our spiritual lives to gain the understanding of that timeless, never-failing, connection with the divine, our source.

Using the Bible as a handbook to higher consciousness we learn our job here is to integrate both energies equally.

To take care of our minds, bodies, families, daily earthy lives while allowing and nurturing our connection with the Divine, with our feet planted firmly on Mother Earth.

As Luke wrote in this story of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Neither pursuit is wrong, but it is vital that both be allowed their rightful portion.

When this is the Truth of your life, you are aligned with the perfect flow of balanced God Energy all will be well.

Blessings!

August 8, 2021

Refill Your Cup/Self Care When the Going Gets Tough
Rev. Laura MacLachlan

1 Kings Ch. 19 v. 3-10

(3) And Elijah was afraid and he arose and fled for his life and came to Beer-Sheba, which belongs to Judah and left his disciple there. (4) But he himself went a days journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under an oak tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said It is enough for me; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. (5) Then he lay down and slept soundly under the oak tree; and behold, an angel touched him and said to him, Arise and eat. (6) And he looked, and behold there was, at his head, a cake on the coals and a cruise of water. And he did eat and drink and lay down again. (7) And the angel of the Lord came again the second time and touched him and said, Arise and eat and drink; because the journey is too great for you. (8) And he arose and did eat and drink and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the Mount of God. (9) And he entered into a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him and he said to him, What are you doing here, Elijah? (10) And he said, I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars and slain the prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life to take it away.

Elijah was running on empty!

As Metaphysicians, many of us choose to come here to be of service to others. We strive to express, carry and demonstrate nurturing energy for the help and assistance of others. We know it is essential for all of us to grow as souls.

Sylvia Browne, in her book Soul’s Perfection outlines 45 life themes, of which each of us are expressing one or more of in this incarnation. She writes that we have one major theme and one minor. Just some of them which attract the nurturers: Activator- Get the job done right, finish what others started, inspire, be the troubleshooters of the world. Builder- Unsung heroes of home life or organizations. “Without these cogs, the wheels would never turn.” Harmony, Healer, Humanitarian, Justice, Leader, Psychic, Peacemaker, Rescuer, Responsibility.

Just reading the list shows you the work we came here to do as conscious creators! Can you see yourself in any of those roles?

Plenty of life themes are there to work on not only for our own soul growth (keeping them in balance) but to assist others as well. This is a time on the Earth plane when souls have taken on so much at once: Living our themes, cleaning up any karma we have to balance, be a role model for our families and those we serve and taking care of our personal responsibilities as material plane beings.

What happens, what do we do, when the tank is empty?

Elijah, in verse 3 decided he needed to flee for his life. He had slain the prophets of Baal. They were the prophets who believed in false gods of the north wind; of some force of evil outside of themselves. It was a tricky business, because first he had to prove the presence of the One God. He was spent, done, out of gas. Some of us can identify with that level of mental and physical fatigue. When we feel that way, as the old saying goes, we want to “crawl in a hole and pull it in after us.” We are in need of personal retreat. We learn its value as a technique for self healing. For those who recognize when it’s time for a retreat, we are practicing spiritual balance in action. We do our work giving, creating, lending energy, being as Elijah said, “very zealous for the Lord.”

We have also learned there is a time to rest as well. It is the very definition of “Sabbath.” There is a time to create and a time to observe that which has been created.

Elijah gets very dramatic! He asks that he might die. What could that look like? Depression? Exhaustion? Feeling overwhelmed? Wrung out? So, in verse 5, scripture tells us he lay down under an oak tree and slept until an angel of the Lord touched him and said, “Arise and eat.”

Dr. Rocco Errico, author of the Aramaic Light On interpretations of all the books of the Bible, suggests that Elijah saw a vision, had a restorative meditation that fed his soul with guidance and personal revelation; food for the soul. It happened a second time. The angel said, “Because the journey is too great for you.”

Of ourselves, we cannot. If we align with the false belief that the energy we lend, share, use to do our healing work, whatever, is generated by us and then comes out of us..we eventually believe we can be depleted. That we are like a gas tank that can be sucked dry.

At the point where we need to change our thinking, it is suggested in this scripture that we retreat spiritually into meditation and rest. We can reassess whether we are gas tanks or channels, while still nurturing our minds, bodies and souls with spiritual food from the higher vibratory levels of our guides and teachers in the pure love energy which is God. We allow those energies to renew our spirits so we might continue to do our work.

Verse 8 tells us “and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mount of God.” What a wonderful bit of esoteric wisdom! We find the reoccurring number 40-which we have found indicates a time of preparation for a new spiritual awakening. His preparation brought him to Mt. Horeb, or “Mount of God”. Elijah’s new spiritual awakening brought him to a place of a new, higher state of consciousness from which to live and move. Elijah’s retreat, or meditations, re-energized, inspired, fed his soul for the next level of soul growth he then achieved It was described as ascending the Mount of God, which says he became more in tune with God Consciousness.

In doing that “time out” or spiritual retreat, be restored balance in his physical life as well as his spiritual life. He was re-energized for his work on the Earth plane and achieved a higher level of enlightenment for his future challenges. This seemingly sad story of a guy who wished that he “might die” Instead became a lesson in mastery unfolding. Beautiful!

Once again, this confirms to us, who are trained to look beneath the surface of the written words, that the Bible truly is a handbook for higher consciousness. Remember, we are ALL the characters in the Bible. We slay our own inner prophets of Baal-belief in things outside of ourselves like they were false gods. We can take this instruction and use it to keep from getting to the point where we are feeling like Elijah in verse 3: depleted, probably a little afraid and exhausted. We are reminded of the value of regular meditation. It’s not being selfish to take time every day to turn away from the material plane and tune into spirit. Perhaps the visual ones find solace in a good metaphysical book. Sit quietly in nature. Others reconnect with the company of their metaphysical “tribe” in churches, study groups or meet-up groups on the internet. We can learn from others how they found their spiritual nourishment. Everyone has a story to tell. The earth plane is a lot less lonely when we find our kindred souls! We may be on a singular journey, but we can walk together as we go!

The added benefit is we have a new story to share with those coming along behind us on the path to enlightenment. We can help others understand: All of us who have placed ourselves in situations where we are called upon to be a source of light, who chose loving, supportive life themes and the selflessness that comes with them; and who may have gotten so immersed in the material plane issues, challenges and daily drama….have had to rethink our position.

We go to verse 11: With strong winds ripping around him, and rocks breaking, mountains crumbling (our material safety nets failing) there is a small voice with the reminder, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” This is not who we are. This is not all there is. Balance in all things is a key to mastery: There is a time to slay the dragons of the material plane and there is a time for personal retreat and focus on spiritual truth of who we really are. We are spirit. We are channels. We recharge when we return to our true home: The higher states of consciousness we achieve when we go into meditation. Realign with Divine love and order. Regain our balance.

With this firmly in our focus, we can understand our retreats can be ones of wisdom and strength, not fear and despair. We can reside on the Mount of God.

Blessings to each of you on your journey!


August 1, 2021

FINDING PEACE OF MIND: A LESSON FOR
FIRST SPIRITUAL CHURCH OF BAY CITY
BY REV. BOB ALLEN, SAGINAW, MICHIGAN

In this strange time with Covid abroad in the world, we had hoped that today, August 1st, 2021, might be the day that we could reopen our Church and resume worshipping in physical proximity to one another. However, as author David G. Allen reminds us, “Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” Caution has counselled that we be patient and wait awhile longer, so it is my honor to serve you today by doing my best to listen to Spirit and share the words and ideas that come forth.

Something led each and every one of you to this Church, to this website. Every one of us is on a Journey, searching for spiritual food that will satisfy that deep, aching yearning we have felt all our life. That longing to connect with something greater than ourselves. That earnest, sincere desire to “be still and KNOW that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). That abiding conviction that this transitory, temporary material life in our physical body is assuredly NOT “all there is”.

Spiritualism gives us the assurance that individual existence (be it our own or of those we hold dear) is not interrupted by that event humans call “death”. Both our individual lives, as well as the life of the Universe as a whole, are set up a happy ending. Jesus teaches us to “Judge not by appearances” (John 7:24). When we see truly with eyes opened by spiritual understanding, we perceive truly that what we have (mis) understood as a conclusion or end event, “death”, is only transition to another phase of the soul’s journey. As poet Emily Dickenson wrote, “This World is not Conclusion”. Our life in this material realm is not a book that ends as we leave the physical body. Our book of life has a sequel!

As these truths become part of us, we become a center of Quiet in a mad world where most souls seem to live in a frenzy of fear that “tomorrow we die”. We do NOT “die”. Spirit lives; the Light of Christ lives; and that One Life is the Life that beats in my Heart, the Life that breathes in and out. That Life is here; that Life is now; that Life is IN me; and that Life IS me. It is all that I AM.

St. Teresa of Avila lived in Spain in the 1500’s. After she made her transition at age 67, a prayer was found written out and tucked into her prayer book:

Let nothing disturb thee

Nothing affright thee

All things are passing

God never changes!

Patient endurance attaineth to all things

Who God possesses, in nothing is wanting

God alone suffices.

God, Spirit, and Spirit alone, is enough. Spirit satisfies. Spirit fulfills. Spirit perfects. Spirit is Completion.

If we keep our minds and hearts centered in the energy of the Blessed Spirit, we need not worry that our material needs such as food and shelter will be supplied. In the Sermon on the Mount, in

Chapter 6 of the Book of Matthew, Jesus reminds us that God cares for the birds and the lilies of the field, and will care for us, as well. Jesus tells us to seek FIRST the kingdom of heaven, and “all things” (that is, all material needs and concerns) shall be given to us.

Scripture teaches us in Philippians 4 that there is a place of Peace instantly accessible to all of us. It is not a limited, human sense of Peace, but a Divine Peace that exhilarates – that raises us above the turbulence of earthly existence: 4Rejoice in Spirit always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be apparent to all, for God is near. 6Be worried about nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I will close with a quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley (late wife of the head of the Mormon church): “The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days waiting for better ones ahead.”

Claim joy as your birthright. Do it today.

PEACE BE WITH YOU!


July 25, 2021

Remembering Who We Are
Matthew 5:14-16

Rev. Mike Hile

I pray that you and yours are doing well as you read this. Relax and join me for a few minutes as I offer/share some ideas that have been rattling/ bouncing/ circling in my mind.

For today’s Scripture, I have chosen Matthew 5:14-16, which reads from the Lamsa Translation, You are indeed the light of the world; a city that is built upon a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, so that it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

We are amid times like no other we have experienced exceeding any previously thought “normal parameters.” It seems in all facets of life limits are being pushed and upheaval reigns. If we follow the crowd, it becomes easy to join in the negativity. The very foundations of our society seem tenuous. Even climatic change is wreaking havoc with lives lost and large inhabited areas destroyed whether by fires, monsoons, floods, tornadoes, blizzards, or hurricanes. Social unrest prevails and is blatantly rearing its ugly head challenging our interactions with others and their basic worthiness. Governments in certain areas of the world are openly oppressive with little regard for individual rights, and we seem to be taking giant steps backward erasing hard won civil rights. In times such as these, it would be easy to throw our hands up in despair. Ethnicity, political affiliation, nationality, sexual orientation, age, economic status, and so many, many other things seem to suggest divisive feelings with an “us and them” mentality prevailing. These reflections don’t make us feel very good, do they? Deep breath time… feel better?

None of what is happening changes who we truly are. We in large numbers may be behaving very badly in this grand experiment of life, but the fact remains that we are holy beings – yes, all of us – created by divine

intelligence with it being at the core of our existence. We all have free will and may abuse or exalt circumstances. Matthew encourages us to, Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father (Infinite Intelligence) in heaven. Why? Just maybe because it is the most worthwhile thing we can do. We each have a choice in how we think, act, and treat others. This is our birthright and does not change because others wish it to do so. Sure, we can follow the crowd and be naysayers, but just as easily we can live from the highest essence of the universe. Matthew is encouraging us to live our best lives for all to see becoming examples of what is possible.

We all have the ability to become unique expressions of divine joy. We are each magnificent, holy creations who have never lived in the bodies and circumstances in which we presently exist. We are like none other, each with our own unique talents to offer the world. As we share our talents, we can make a positive difference in the lives of others making the world better for all. Yes, we can!

In addition to being a numbers nut, I love quotes. One that comes to mind is, Always remember you’re unique, just like everybody else. We laugh at the contrast of using unique and like everybody else, but there is truth in the statement as we each have different things to offer a waiting world. No one ever before or ever to come will have your exact skill set, understanding, and opportunity to impact the lives of others. My good works are different than your good works, which is wonderful. As we share from the best of whom we are, we uplift easing the burdens of others. We alone have the ability to individually share from our gifts.

The question becomes with whom do we share? My answer is simple, with everyone we meet. Are there some more deserving of our hard-won perspectives? I would say if a person is on Earth and perceived in need, that is enough to merit our giving. I always smile when I hear someone tell of “putting someone in his/her place.” And trust me, I am all for people being put in their places. With that being said, as long as we remember we are all holy creations of divine intelligence. Please, yes, put all in their places!

I have long held the thought that if I can’t see the good in you, there is something wrong with me. I find myself officiating many funerals, which I feel are apt opportunities to celebrate one’s life. We find the good that has been expressed and celebrate it full measure. And yes, I am confident I can always find good in every person. It’s most definitely there if we are willing to look.

I also believe that problematic relationships may be just what we need. In fact, I could easily accept that sacred contracts may be made in spirit with one soul asking another soul to come to earth so as to teach the soul a hard lesson. In doing so honoring the other’s request, the one presenting the lesson may be demeaned and despised. I believe there are most certainly circumstances where the perceived “problem person” is willing to be cast as a hurtful person because he/she is motivated by love of the other to whom the lesson is being presented.

Long ago now, I can think of two persons for whom I didn’t care and had little regard. As time has passed, I now realize each one had something to offer me that I needed to learn, if a hard lesson. From the perspective of time, the person offered just what was needed for my soul’s growth. In this time of seemingly political turmoil, I am diametrically, adamantly, and categorically opposed to the views of some. How could they ever think that (whatever)?!?! What, in fact, those people have done for me, if I can get beyond being just simply mad is to clarify exactly what I believe. Having one’s beliefs made crystal clear is valuable. Thank you, outrageous people!

Not so long ago, when I forgave my father for his philandering which was symbolic as he died the day after my thirtieth birthday, I began to realize we are all doing the best we can at the time – all of us. With that realization, peace came to my relationships. Much, if not most, hurt is incidental and not directed, but rather the result of rash, thoughtless, maybe even selfish choices of others. How do/should we react to those hurtful situations? We offer forgiveness along with our very best. It was said of Eleanor Roosevelt when she was treated poorly by another that she got even in a way that was almost cruel, she forgave them. We must also be mindful that we at times have caused others to be hurt whether intentionally of inadvertently. There is truly no better way to correct our errant ways than to forgive and be forgiven.

Affording another forgiveness is a way of letting our light shine. Other ways may be as simple as offering a smile, saying a kind word, or getting out of the way allowing others to be expressions of the divine as they best understand that concept. If we are all creations of divine intelligence – which I believe we are, it becomes apparent that some are hiding that fact well as wars rage, destruction prevails, and human life is expended for selfish reasons. I dare say, most of us haven’t connected to our highest calling, we still have lots to learn. We each have our own time frame to assimilate doing what our birthright demands. What we don’t learn in this lifetime, may be gained in another until we get it right, so to speak.

In my May 9th message, I noted while driving Sunday, March 7, to pick up take out, the thought came upon me: May I live in the fullness of the life I’ve been given. To live fully is most assuredly to let my light shine. For me, this means not to succumb to the negativity that seems to surround us, but to find the good. I have faith that even with our free will, given time, divine order will prevail. What am I learning from this? How can this be good? In what way is this making me a better person? I am certain these questions have answers, good answers. Now later in life, I am more easily and quickly seeing/finding the positive. I have faith in the life I’ve been given and confidently trust in good outcomes for all.

This coming Friday, July 30, 2021, I will have lived in my home for 61 years moving here when I was ten when my mother married my first stepfather, the person whom I think of as “Dad” even though I saw my biological father every week of my life until his death. I now easily see the perfection of being here and want to live in my home 100 years. When that happens, I will be 100 years and 22 days old, so if I go to 111, no one will think I cheated. So far so good! In saying that, I will be happy/thankful when my fuzzy head hits the pillow tonight. In those forty years, I pray I may live in the fullness of the life I’ve been given as a divine child of infinite intelligence allowing my light to shine in all that I do. Consider joining my on my journey!

Blessings for a wonderful week!


July 18, 2021

David Byrd-Fournier

Good day! As I was contemplating my sermon today, the following meditation came to me, and I am
sharing it with you.


Whenever it is and wherever you are, I thank you for answering your soul’s call to pause, relax, and join
our virtual spiritual community for this time of worship. I invite you to take a deep breath, being fully
aware of the sound and feel of the air as it rushes into your nose, down your trachea, and into your
lungs, opening up your chest. With the same awareness, slowly exhale through your mouth, feeling the
squeeze of as your diaphragm and abdominal muscles contract and push the air out of your lungs,
paying attention to how it feels and sounds as it flows back up your trachea and through your mouth.
As you repeat each “in” breath feel the energy of love flowing into you, filling you increasingly more
with each breath. Take it in fully and freely, allowing yourself to be filled beyond the point of overflow,
knowing that this love is available in an infinite supply. With each “out” breath, give yourself permission
to release anything that does not feel loving and allow it to slide out on your breath. Let it go and feel
yourself getting lighter until all you feel is love flowing back out.


Acting on faith and trusting in love’s infinite supply has filled you beyond full, and now it is with that
same faith and trust that you allow the love to flow through you, unlimited and uninhibited. You see it
as your mission to keep the flow of love going by sending love to everyone you know and everyone you
meet, even if you’re just passing each other on the street, often resulting in authentic connections with
others that last a lifetime. Where you once felt anger, hurt, and loneliness, you have found love, healing,
happiness and a mission to pass it on to the rest of the world.


For today’s sermon, most of the scripture choices from the Lectionary were not exactly the positive,
uplifting scriptures I prefer. The one positive passage is one familiar to most—if not all—of us, Psalm 23.
I particularly like the way The Message treats this scripture, so I will share that translation with you:
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find
me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the
right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at
my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your
beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the
rest of my life.


Wow! I have heard some translations criticized because (in the critic’s opinion) the use of more modern
verbiage—especially pronouns—robs the translation of the often-poetic feel of older translations, such
as the King James Version. In this case, I believe the translator did his best to use modern verbiage and
keep it poetic.


But, of course, my purpose is not to offer a critique of this or any translator’s take on a particular
scripture passage—and somehow keep your attention for long. Rather, my purpose is to look at this
scripture as one “episode” (if you will) in a story arc that tells of the progression of the human soul from
knowing only good to “falling” when it took on the knowledge of something other than all good, to rules
and laws that really didn’t work, to the redemption of the soul when it shed itself of the knowledge of
something other than all good.


And then there are the Psalms. If we accept the notion that the other books in the canonical Bible serve
the purpose of storytelling, the Psalms serve as the soundtrack, setting the ups and downs, triumphs
and trials, happiness and sadness, and—let’s face it—at least a couple get downright whiny. Songwriting
credits, if you will, have mostly been attributed to King David and his life experiences. In this particular
one, David draws on his pre-royalty career as a shepherd to describe his relationship with the God of his
understanding.


Sheep have the reputation of being some of the most docile and dependent farm animals. They have
had the “dumb” word hurled at them a few times, and that may or may not be true or fair. My
experience with sheep is limited to having seen them in petting zoos or sheep ranches. The ones I saw
tended to stand around, eat grass, bleat occasionally, and…that’s pretty much it. They will respond to
stimuli like the sheep herders calling them, and they are capable of being spooked, upon which they
take off running at close to top speed and requiring a sheep herder to round them up before they get
hurt or killed. Sheep who get loose from their pens can wander off and not know how to get home,
again requiring a sheep herder to retrieve them before they suffer a horrible fate. I think the fairest
term to use when describing sheep behavior is that of a highly dependent animal.


Being this highly dependent means that sheep must be cared for and watched over closely by the
humans who raise and care for them, and such a person must be responsible and responsive to the
needs of the flock. Shepherds or sheep herders feed, clean, and provide for their charges’ needs, and
sheep do learn the voice—if not the face—of their human caretaker, often coming running up when
called. Whether by nature or by nurture or a little of both, sheep come to be trusting and dependent on
those who watch over them.


In Psalm 23, David compares his relationship with God as the same between sheep and shepherd: a
relationship based on dependency and total trust. David regards God as provider, protector, and a
trusted caretaker upon whom David depends for everything. Given David’s often rocky relationship with
God, these words are as profound as they are poetic. So, what relevance do the words of an ancient
shepherd-turned-king have for us 21st Century metaphysicians? What might they have to say about our
relationship with God as we understand God at this moment?


At first the idea of being totally dependent on God might sit well with many of us. Am I correct in saying
that God did give us free will and the power to make our own choices, reach our own decisions, and take
our own actions? Of course I am! But wait, let’s take another look at that metaphor. In Divine
Metaphysics we accept the idea that God is the Infinite Intelligence that designed and created the
universe. Some would also say that God is the underlying energy that makes up all matter and energy
within this universe, and there are other perspectives. Even within more mainstream religious teachings
the universe came into existence as a result of the work of God. The common theme in all of this is that
none of the universe as we know it would exist without a God making it happen. So, this universe,
everything in it, even our own lives depend on God having brought it all into existence. I don’t know
about you, but that kind of dependency seems a bit more palatable.


And then, there’s the trust part. The biblical story arc is based largely on the “roller coaster ride” that
was the trust between God and humankind. The story starts out with a good relationship between both,
only to be ruined when humans exercised the free will God put into them to make a decision that went
counter to what God said and asked, and then took actions based on said decision. In most stories God
seems quite shocked, surprised, even enraged that humans actually dared to do any of this. So, the
relationship went sour for a while until humans could grovel, repent, and eventually be forgiven, maybe.
At some point it stopped making sense to me, too, so maybe this concept can also be reframed.


The trust humans have in God can be seen to be based largely on the assumption that an all-powerful
presence/energy/intelligence would use such power appropriately, rather than recklessly. The fact that
we live in what appears to be a stably-constructed and orderly-running universe would tend to support
that thought, because if God were the least bit reckless, it’s a safe bet that the universe would have
destabilized millennia ago. I think we’re okay on that part. More to the point, our practices of prayer and
manifestation are based on trust, where we know that if we ask for something and it isn’t going to teach
us a lesson we’re not ready to learn yet, we have a reasonable expectation that the something will
eventually show up. When it didn’t show up, that was likely because we simply weren’t ready for it or
the lesson associated with it. That would be an excellent example of God never giving anyone anything
they were not able to handle.


Bringing these two “reframings” of the shepherd/sheep relationship model described in Psalm 23, a
radically different picture appears. Rather than humankind modeled as completely dependent,
unmotivated, and incapable of taking care of themselves, we see instead a model of humankind
knowing deep down that everything came from God and without God none of this universe would exist.
We see a humankind who has observed the stable and mostly predictable behavior of the universe and
can deduce that its maker was at least as stable and predictable. We see a humankind who has
discerned the way to work in partnership with God to manifest a desirable and peaceful life. We also see
a God who did give us free will, does understand we will use it, and also understands that the outcome
of such choices may carry with it big lessons that will serve to move us along in our evolution. I don’t
know about you, but I believe I could live with this kind of shepherd/sheep relationship.
Namaste


July 11, 2021

Kindness is Our Super Power
Rev. Michael Schlotterbeck

Do you sometimes feel powerless to bring about a better world?  Do you wonder how one person can make a difference?  It’s not uncommon.  Many of us look at the world and wonder how can we fix this?  

We are powerful creators.  We are expressions of the divine. We have the power to heal and bring about change.  Each of us has this power….a super power, and that power is kindness.

Kindness is the authentic generosity of spirit that we offer up to one another.  It is the desire to connect with someone and share the beauty of our spirit to make the world a little brighter.  Kindness is a gift of our heart.  Kindness is love in action.  

The Dhammapada states, “Hatred is never appeased by Hatred in this world, Hatred is only appeased by Loving Kindness.  This is an ancient law.”  Kindness, love in action,  is the antidote to hatred.  

When I speak of kindness, I mean authentic, loving action.  Kindness is not merely politeness or being civil to one another.  Kindness is not a forced smile or pleasantries.  Kindness is not flattery or playing nice.  Kindness is the offering of your loving spirit to another.

Kindness is an awesomely transformative power.  It can diffuse hostility and conflict in no time.  This is evident in good customer service.  When a customer’s upset is met with authentic kindness and concern, that upset can become dissipated.  However, when a customer’s upset is met with rudeness or even apathy, that upset can increase.  When conflict or upset rages, you can either fuel the fire, put out the fire, or walk away and let it burn.  Kindness puts out the fire.

Offering kindness during conflict or upset is a healing.  It’s an opportunity to transform conflict into peace.  This healing brings about connection.  Kindness brings people together and provides a sense of belonging and care.  

If kindness is powerful and can bring about great change, then why aren’t people more kind?  Perhaps because when kindness is most needed, it is difficult to access.  That is to say, when we are faced with unkindness or hostility, it can be difficult to respond with kindness.  This is when it is most needed. Most everyone can be kind in pleasant circumstances, but when the going gets tough, kindness is often nowhere to be found.

I’d like to offer up ideas to contemplate for cultivating a practice of kindness.

First, let your practice of kindness be independent of the behavior of others.  It’s not about them or whether they deserve it.  It’s about you and your spiritual practice.  Kindness in the face of hostility does not condone the hostility.  Negativity is not the only viable response to negativity.

Second, remember that a practice of kindness is good for you.  It’s good for your soul.  You benefit.  It may seem like it’s the receiver of the kindness who benefits, but in fact, the giver is the beneficiary.  Proverbs 11:17 states, “ A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.”  As the healer, you yourself are healed.  

Third, recognize and adjust your self-imposed limitations to kindness.  Where is it that you draw the line at being kind?  Personally, I struggle with bullies or bullying behavior.  That’s one of my limitations that I have to actively work on.  Being kind doesn’t condone the behavior, but it is an offer of healing.  

Fourth, know that you will never see the full result of your acts of kindness.  The healing energy of kindness continues well beyond the offering.  It transforms well beyond the situation in which it was given.  This power of kindness is captured by Rumi who said “Your acts of kindness are iridescent wings of divine love, which linger and continue to uplift others long after your sharing.”  

Lastly, I invite you to explore the Buddhist practice of Loving Kindness Meditation, also known as Metta Meditation.  This meditation practice involves sending love, peace, happiness, and prosperity to loved ones, acquaintances, strangers, and enemies in equal measure.  It’s a heart opening experience that anchors the practice of kindness regardless of relationship.

The Tao Te Ching says “The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step”.  The task of bringing healing to the world may seem insurmountable, but we all have the power to bring it about, one step at a time.  Everytime you take an action that moves the energy of the world away from chaos, fear, and hostility,  and toward the light of the divine, you lift the world for everyone.  When you offer kindness in the face of hostility or unkindness, it’s not simply a step that you take, but often a leap toward healing. 

You are not alone. The more of us who engage in the practice of kindness, the greater the healing. Each act of kindness is like a dose of curative medicine.  Unlike most medicines, it is free and unlimited.  Kindness costs us nothing but can give us everything.  I invite you to become masters of the practice of kindness, and spread joy to all those you meet.

Many Blessings to You on Your Path


Scripture is from the Lamsa translation of the Bible.  

July 4, 2021

2 Corinthians Chapter 3 verse 17  

‘Now the Lord is that very Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty”.  

Spiritual Independence 
Rev. Nancy Hall

Hello to you on this beautiful weekend of the 4th of July;  We celebrate the foresight that our forefathers had 245 years ago as they embraced the wisdom and courage within themselves and worked as a collective unit creating; producing; and signing the Declaration of Independence.  This powerful document proclaiming to the world the birth of a new nation.    

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. “  

Nowhere in the Declaration of Independence does it state an exception to those rights: 

  • Life Liberty and pursuit of Happiness—only if you make a certain income;  
  • Life Liberty and pursuit of Happiness—only if you have this particular background or education 
  • Life Liberty and pursuit of Happiness—only if you are affiliated with this religious organization or are from a particular geographic area  

All men (people) are created equal.    With that said, what about you.   Do you feel you are created equal?  You are, you know.  We are.    

In preparation for today’s lesson I read a transcription of the Stone Engraving of the parchment Declaration of Independence.  Very powerful words.  It got me thinking what does it mean to us on a personal level; on a Spiritual level?   Do I have Spiritual Independence?   As always there is layers to the onion—so in peeling back the layers — Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness; here is my definition to those words for my own understanding.    

  • Life = Self;  
  • Liberty = Freedom 
  • pursuit of Happiness = balance/harmony.      

Spiritual freedom begins when you make the simple choice not to live in the confinements of your own making but instead “pursue happiness”  “balance/harmony” by listening to the wisdom of your inner being.   

So proclaim to the world and yourself your “new birth”;   proclaim your Declaration of Spiritual Independence.  Proclaim it loud and clear.   We, each one of us, can proclaim our Spiritual Independence; our Spiritual Freedom.  It is by the choices that we make.   It is in opening to our inner wisdom; it is in knowing thyself.  That Divine Self.  “Now the Lord is that very Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty”  In acknowledging “very Spirit” and  seeking the wisdom within “Spirit of the Lord” we break free “Liberty” of the confinements of our own making and give “Birth” to our Spiritual Independence. Know thyself;  

The initial step to toward developing Spiritual Independence is Awareness.  Pay close attention to your thoughts, actions/re-actions, and feelings.  Again the key is Awareness; make a mental note or better yet write down, journal, if you can, how often and under what situation or circumstance you do the following. 

  • Respond either negatively or positively to someone’s judgment of you.  
  • When making choices –  choose from the energy of “what could go wrong” fear based; instead of “what could go right”  
  • Hold on to the energy of guilt, worry or insecurity with the reluctance to release or let go.   
  • That behaviors are repeated only to get the same results although expecting different? 
  • Hold the energy of resentment or anger to others or yourself for past or current behavior? 
  • Say “yes” to people when you’d like to say “no” and are fearful of the outcome if you say “no”? 
  • Feel like you’re in a rut? or stuck?  Whether it is a relationship; job, situation and feel you cannot be freed from it?   

Analyze your action/re-actions; feelings; thoughts to these different circumstances and others; be aware of the intention or energy that is accompanying your behavior.   BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF.   In doing so you will see a set pattern of where your blockages are.  Where you need to focus your attention on.   As you find and acknowledge these blockages then you can work at releasing the limitations that you created for yourself.    

James Van Praagh states it beautifully: 

  “Ready to declare your own Spiritual Freedom? 

 Start with releasing yourself from: 

  • Putting the expectation of others over your own desires.  Too much concern about pleasing other people can cause you to lose touch with your own desires.  The key to Spiritual Freedom in the area is the realization that other people’s judgments and expectations of YOU are their issue – not yours.  
  • Holding on to old “stuff” from your childhood.  Childhood traumas, insecurities, failures are in the past, and they shouldn’t be allowed to define who you are today.  Break those chains and listen to your inner voice – it know the real you! 
  • Fear based decision-making.  Fear and worry from an energetic wall that blocks abundance from flowing into your life.  Faced with something (or someone) that you perceive as unfamiliar, overly challenging, or dangerous?  Instead of reacting with fear, imagine the best possible result – an adventure, a wonderful new friend, a new personal best.  Choose excitement and optimism instead of allowing fear to limit you.  
  • Judgement of others.  The more love that you generate, the more that you will attract.  Judging others is the opposite of loving them – so replace those inclinations with empathy, compassion and unconditional love.  
  • Refusing to let go of old grudges and grievances.  Forgiveness isn’t excusing someone’s bad behavior, it’s refusing to allow that behavior to have an effect on you.  Let it go – for your own sake.  Forgiveness is the biggest and most important key on your Spiritual Freedom kay chain! 
  • The crazy-making belief that you have to be perfect.  Do your best, but don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect.  Perfectionism generates fear, anxiety and stress – the opposite of Spiritual Independence! 

I’d like to give something a try– not sure how it’s going to work but please, join me.  

Please read slowly the follow words and although you are reading this; also view the words with your Third eye.  

Take a few deep breaths in:  release slowly; feel yourself softy sway into alignment; embrace the rhythmic flow of your heartbeat; as the energy of peace and harmony cascades throughout and down your whole body; every fiber of your being becomes gently alert to your inner being—Alert to your Divine Self and connection to your Creator.    Take another deep breath in; experience a sense of oneness; A sensation as great as opening the door on a warm, sunny spring morning after a long winter.  You feel alive. A rush of vibrant waves flow over you as you feel the warmth of the Sun and the gentle breeze; you smell the freshness of new growth; you hear the sounds of newness and you sense the wonder around you; for you are one; you are perfect; you are peace.  You know your Self “Life”; You feel your Freedom “Liberty” and you are in Harmony/Balance “pursuit of Happiness”    

Now, with another gentle breath in, please come back to the printed words on this page.    

Spiritual Independence, it is not an easy journey to achieve.   If it was what would we have learned?  But you can achieve it.   Start bit by bit.  Day after day.  You can do this.   We can do this.  Go within; seek your inner wisdom.   “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty”.    

Thank you for taking the journey with me today.  

Many blessing and much love to you all 


June 27, 2021 – Rev. Sandra Spyker

Mark 5 verses 21-43 

When Jesus crossed in the boat to the other side, large crowds again gathered around him while he was by the sea. 

And there came one of the leaders of the synagogue, whose name was Jairus, and when he sawy him, he fell at his feet. 

And he besought him earnestly and said to him, My daughter is very ill; come and lay your hand on her, and she will be healed and live. 

So Jesus went with him and a large multitude followed him, and they pressed about him. 

And there was a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. 

Who had suffered much at the hands of many doctors, and had spent everything she had and was not helped at all, but rather became worse. 

When she heard about Jesus, she came through the dense crowd from behind him, and touched his cloak; 

For she said, if I can only touch his cloak, I shall live, 

And immediately the hemorrhage was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of the disease. 

Jesus instantly knew that some power had gone out of him; so he turned around to the people and said, who touched my garments?  His disciples said to him, yes see the people pressing against you and yet you say, who touched me? 

But the women, frightened and trembling, because she knew what had happened to her, came and fell before him and told him the whole truth.   

He said to her, my daughter, your faith has healed you; go in peace and be healed of your disease.   

While he was still talking, some men came from the house of the leader of the synagogue, saying, your daughter is dead; why do you trouble the Teacher? 

Jesus heard the word which they spoke, and he said to the leader of the synagogue, Fear not, only believe. 

And he did not permit any man to go with him, except Simon Peter and James and John the brother of James. 

And they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, and Jesus saw them in a tumult, weeping and wailing. 

So he entered and said to them, why are you excited and crying?  The little girl is not dead, but she is asleep. 

And they laughed at him.  But Jesus put them all out, and took the little girl’s father and mother and those who were with him, and he entered where the little girl was laid. 

And he told the little girl by her hand and said to her. Talitha, Koomi. Little girl rise up. 

And immediately the little girl got up and walked; for she was twelve years old and they were astonished with great amazement. 

The scripture reading today is from the 2021 Liturgical Calendar for this Sunday’s sermon the 5th Sunday after Pentecost. And I think I got more than I bargained for. Why you ask? Well there is a lot more than one sermon in this story. As Rev. Laura says, “let’s peel away the layers of this story.” So let’s get to at least one of the lessons this story is telling us.  It’s all about fear and how fear can wear many convincing disguises; anger, rage, resentment, jealousy, greed, depression, bigotry, inferiority, shame and even more!  And behind every one of these emotions or behaviors swells the same single, formless, invisible energy known as FEAR.  The tyranny of fear does what it has done best for thousands and thousands of years.  It holds us hostage, imprisoning us with invisible chains keeping us from freely living the lives we were meant to live. And another message of this story is; be careful what you think. Be in the present, aware and accountable for what you allow into our minds and hearts.  And what does this have to do with 2 women and a Jairus? 

Let’s briefly look at the younger woman first.  Her main role in this interpretation of the story is as the catalyst for her father’s actions. The great love he had for his daughter spurred him to take actions he otherwise might have avoided. 

The condition of the older woman, on the other hand, is instrumental to the message of this story. I know some people are very squeamish discussing “menstruation” that nasty word. I’m not sure about nasty, but it can be very painful for many women, let alone a real nuisance, but this is part of most women’s lives. It is a natural occurrence and still a taboo, something we just don’t discuss.  Are you feeling uncomfortable yet? I hope so because this was the intention of the writer. That is why the woman’s affliction had to be menstruation. According to Jewish Law when a woman is in her menstrual cycle she is unclean.  An unclean person must remove herself from the population and live in isolation until she becomes clean again. During this time a woman would go live in the “Red Tent” while she waited for her cycle to pass, and then she would do a purification ceremony and be good to go until the next month. 

Now imagine if your cycle never stopped for years.  This woman had been in the “Red Tent” of isolation for a very long time and also to have spent all she had under the care of physicians and still suffering. Not only is she an unclean person but she is now poor. 

The Jairus and the older woman are opposites but they both have one thing in common.  They are both wanting to change something and believing that Jesus can help them with his healing powers.  They also realize that Jesus could care less about status, wealth or power.  Jesus represents unconditional love for all people and all belong in the Kingdom of God. 

The layer we are going to zero in on in our story is Fear vs Faith.  Jesus said to  the Jarius, “Fear not, only believe” and to the older woman he said, “Your faith has healed you” . 

 Fear and faith are not so different. What did the Jairus and the older woman have to fear?  The Jairus had to go and beg Jesus to save his daughter and in doing so he would face embarrassment and ridicule from his peers.  And as a leader of the temple it was forbidden for him to walk among beggars, thieves and especially sick people, he could have lost his place at the Temple.  But the life of his daughter was more important and he was willing to sacrifice everything because he knew in his heart of hearts that all Jesus needed to do was to touch her and she would be healed.  The Jarius let go of his fear and changed it into faith. 

Even though the older woman had no social status, she still had one more ultimate fear.  Moving through the crowd could have meant death and she knew that no one would come to her aid if they began to stone her. She also knew in her heart of hearts that if Jesus touched her she would be healed. For both of them it was far more than just believing, they acted on their belief. 

Believing in a thought or idea and then acting on that belief, by moving through the crowd or bringing Jesus to your child, can alter outcomes in ways unforeseen. Faith is the acknowledgement that thoughts and ideas can become things. 

The older woman and the Jarius believed with their whole mind, body and spirit that Jesus could heal, no matter what. They no longer allowed fear to keep them from completing what they set out to accomplish.  

What is the difference between fear and faith?  Each is a positive mental attitude of acceptance about something.  Fear accepts that which we do not wish to experience; faith accepts that which we do wish to experience.  It will be easier for us to convert fear into faith when we realize that in so doing we are not dealing with two powers but merely with two ways of using one power.  Our attention should be given not to combating fear with faith but to the act of using faith without fear. 

In her book author Dennis Merritt Jones writes “Fear has no life of its own other than that which we choose to give it.  Getting comfortable with our fear means taking time to stand face-to face with it and understanding why it is there, even if it frightens us. How we consciously perceive fear will determine our ability to coexist with it because fear is not going away, ever, nor is it supposed to.  When we are able to mindfully embrace fear as a messenger, a portal in awareness opens that give us the ability to transcend the fear and view it from a new perspective, to see it for what it really is and is not.  This doesn’t mean fear magically vanishes and goes away; it means we no longer allow it to determine our sense of inner peace or define our happiness.” 

Whenever we experience fear of the unknown or of what may happen, we need turn inward and have faith that there is a voice within us that does know the path we should follow. Listen and know you can trust it.  When we attune ourselves to listen with an inner ear, we hear something beyond the surface noise of the outside world.  Stop, take the time to meditate and listen.  It’s the universal wisdom saying fear not, believe, I’ve got you and you’re ok. 


June 20, 2021

Our Fathers 
Rev. Brian D. Jones 

Full disclosure: as a seminarian, the thought of giving a Father’s Day sermon gave me pause. I am not a father. And while I look back on my childhood with gratitude, my relationship with my father was not storybook.  In my opinion, there are far better ministers to stand behind a pulpit and welcome all the fathers and their children. Perhaps I would impart sage advice, such as this classic from Second Samuel, chapter 7 verse 14: “14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands.”  Perhaps not. 

We’ve come a long way since this was the model for fatherhood.  Rods and floggings have gone the way of the whip and buggy. And with limited exception, pretty much all the duties and expectations of so-called fatherhood are now fulfilled by either parent, neighbors, role models.  

Unlike Mother’s Day, Father’s Day arose from unhappy circumstances.  The first, in 1908, was a commemoration in West Virginia for 362 men who died in a mining disaster. The tradition we celebrate today began the following year clear across the country in Washington State. Sonora Smart Dodd’s mother had died in childbirth when she was just sixteen, leaving her father to raise her and five brothers.  

In 1910, a then 27-year-old Smart Dodd sat in church on Mother’s Day listening to her minister extoll the virtues of motherhood.  But instead of reflecting on the mother she’d lost, the daughter swelled with gratitude and admiration for her father, William Jackson Smart, who had raised six children on his own.  Within weeks she convinced the Spokane Ministerial Alliance to honor the fathers in the community, and on June 19th a joint observance was held at the local YMCA.   

Father’s Day would not be a national holiday without Smart Dodd’s unwavering commitment. She continued to promote it and got the US Congress to initiate a bill in 1913.  She even got President Woodrow Wilson to support Spokane’s 1916 observation, but Congress remained skeptical claiming (as people still do about every holiday) that it was just a commercial grab.  Eight years later, President Coolidge endorsed it but stopped short of an official proclamation. 

            But when Smart Dodd turned her attention to art school in Chicago, interest in Father’s Day withered. It wasn’t until the 1930s that she renewed the pursuit and got the manufacturers of typically men’s items (suits, pipes, hardware) on board.  Despite this alliance with commercialism, Father’s Day cynics did not win out. Congressional support grew over successive decades. President Johnson finally issued that long-sought presidential proclamation, and in 1972 President Nixon officially signed Public Law 92-278 designating Father’s Day a national holiday to be observed the third Sunday of June in the United States.   

            Sonora Dodd Smith, who died in 1978, had the satisfaction of seeing what started as a heart-felt homage to her widower father become enshrined in national law and observed in scores of other countries. Watching a 2010 PBS documentary on Smart Dodd, I was delighted to hear her granddaughter Barbara Dodd Hillerman share that she would send Father’s Day cards to her grandmother – again, the founder of the holiday!  

            Just as Smart Dodd was awed by how her father fulfilled the roles of both mother and father, Hillerman described a similar balance in her grandmother.  She likened Smart Dodd to an executive who was proactive and “radiated energy.”  Yet, on the other hand Hillerman added she was also an undeniable romantic and compassionate woman.  

It brings me considerable metaphysical delight to consider how the roots of Father’s Day were not inspired by a traditional father. Nor was it born from a woman who limited herself to the expectations of women a century ago. I return to that word “balance.”  Old Western thought tells us specific traits and characteristics aligned with males and females Yet Smart Dodd and her father are just two of uncountable departures from this notion.   

When I look at Father’s Day with a metaphysical eye, I can’t help but consider how some churches now acknowledge the duality of God with the address of “Father, Mother, God.” The Law of Correspondence so eloquently addressed in The Kybalion - “as above, so below; as below, so above” – reveals that this duality resides within each of us. Whether we employ them in obvious ways depends on our life circumstances. But they reside within us nonetheless.   

            Early in seminary, I came across a wonderful interpretation of the Biblical First Family: Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel.  Cain represents the physical consciousness. Abel the spiritual. Eve is the heart, while Abel is the intellect. In other words, their story isn’t just an account of how humanity fell to ruin right off the bat and is forever disenfranchised from God. It’s also a useful allegory for the four consciousness and how they fall into disharmony when we stray from Good Orderly Direction (G.O.D, get it?).   

From my perspective, modern metaphysics is inclined toward the heart. We are a love-centric people. Our strength is derived from it. When it comes to the intellect, many of us think the best course of action is to quiet the mind (that pesky “monkey mind” meditation teachers sometimes call it).  It’s not enough to keep the mind quiet however. We must nurture it. Be good stewards and grant it an appropriate place at the table. Anyone reading the news the past few years has seen frightening evidence of what happens when “thinking” has strayed far from Good Orderly Direction. Suspicion, discrimination, and fear dominating over hope, love, and faith.   

            Several years ago I had the fortune to hear Aramaic scholar and minister Dr. Rocco Errico address the conundrum faced by the modern faithful when considering the male-father depiction of God in the Bible. Yes, the original Semitic word Abba is used to address a male parent in that part of the world. But Dr. Errico invited us to consider the text within the period and culture it was written.  Remember, the survival of the Chosen People (both as a population and a faith) was the utmost priority. Fathers provided rules and guidance. They provided food, shelter, and safety. What is left for the Biblical mother, I suppose, but to provide all those other things that make life worth living. 

Kidding aside, the Biblical father as described above sounds practical but necessary. Sonora Smart Dodd had an uphill battle getting her holiday on equal footing with its female counterpart.  When it comes to recognizing our various types of consciousness, I think the intellect is similarly the underdog compared to the affairs of the human heart (Valentine’s Day, anyone?).  

I have a degree in education. I’m a college professor. Still, I have to admit that the rigors of the American education system have made the intellect seem quantifiable and an unfortunate means to rank people.  This is my opinion, does it a grave disservice. 

It’s Father Intellect who enables us to put Mother Heart into action.  No matter how well we did on standardized tests, the intellect is how our emotions are made manifest in the world.  This makes everyone’s intellect potentially either our greatest blessing or greatest weapon. When you look at it that way, it’s easy to see how Father Intellect deserves our respect, recognition, and investment no matter how beyond he is from school age.  

When you have a moment, I want you to take pen to paper and write down all the wonderful ways Father Intellect has enriched your life.  Are you curious? Are you able to see things from different perspectives? Are you creative? Reflect on this list (I hope it’s a long one.) and say, “thank you Intellect.”  

Then I want you to consider the ways you can better steward your intellect. Do you feed it good news? Do you seek out the best examples among humanity? Do you fuel anger or hurt with imagined scenarios?  

As I said before, Father Intellect can be a great blessing or a great weapon. Looking back on our scripture from Second Samuel (7:14) it certainly seems that way: “When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands.”  Read that line again with metaphysical eyes: “When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands.”  God is not the vengeful one we’ve heard so much about. These words are stern. But they are a stern reminder of our personal responsibility and how we co-create everything, including our punishment.  Just like the Biblical Abba, Father Intellect is not a distant, calculating parent.  In Good Orderly Direction, it paves the road to more of everything that is wonderful in the world.  

Or as the next verse of our scripture assures us: “15But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.” 

Blessings to you and your Fathers.


June 13, 2021

How Does Your Garden Grow?
Rev. Nancy Booth

Mark 4: 2-9. Lamsa Translation from the Aramaic of the Peshitta.

And he taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching he said,
Listen: Behold, a sower went out to sow.
And when he had sown, some seed fell on the roadside, and the birds came and ate it.
Other seed fell upon the rock, where there was not sufficient soil; and it sprang up sooner because the ground was not deep enough;
But when the sun shone, it was scorched, and because it had no root, it dried up.
And other seed fell among thistles, and the thistles sprang up and choked it, and it bore no fruit.
But other seed fell in good soil, and it sprang up and grew and bore fruit, some thirty, and some sixty, and some a hundredfold.
And he said, He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Good day! It’s mid-June and we are in the midst of what I like to call the “best eating time of the year,” or gardening season. 😉 Summer is truly a glorious time to savor the fruits of our labors as the school year ends, the weather heats up, and our yards and gardens come alive! I consider myself a very amateur gardener and, for the first time, I sat down and planned out my entire garden back in late December/early January. I threw my good intentions into the New Year by hitting the “purchase” button online to order all my vegetable seeds in anticipation of better days that I knew were coming. I was envisioning a garden bustling with edible veggies and a part of my soul was feeling a deep primal need to Grow. All. The. Things. I think it was my way of exerting some semblance of control over life and desiring to manifest something that brought joy into our family’s life, to help heal the anxiety of a very worrisome and soul-weary winter. Now, as I busy myself with the daily tasks of watering, harvesting, repotting, and starting fresh seedlings to replace the older plants, I am happily immersed in my Dirt TherapyTM! I am shaping the world around me into something vital and nourishing, as I follow the planting time table from the seed company with great optimism. My garden is growing and, so far, the eating is good in my neighborhood!

While looking for inspiration to write this sermon, I was drawn to the parable of the seeds. Most likely it was because I’ve got seeds on the brain right now, but I like to follow where Spirit leads me anyway, so here we are. Parables are basically an old school version of a well-crafted Disney Pixar movie; there’s something in there for everyone. These animated movies cleverly layer in meaningful commentary and humor for every age range of viewer. Jesus did this, too, in his storytelling. In the parable of the seeds, we can immediately grasp the idea of different physical environments providing varying degrees of opportunity for the seeds’ growth: of *course* no seed will grow if a bird eats it (although it might find new life elsewhere later), we understand that shallow roots won’t provide a good base for a new plant to cling to life, and having to fight for food and water with thistles and other tough cookies in the wild sounds like an uphill climb for sure. This is the literal understanding of the parable.

A slightly deeper reading of this scripture leads us to the idea that there is some symbolism involved: the different kinds of soils may represent the state of our relative receptivity to spiritual ideas. One religious video I found mentioned that the soil symbolizes our heart’s openness toward ideas of spiritual “Truth.” Basically, those uninterested in any spiritual thinking won’t even consider the idea that seeds and soil might represent anything more than just that; they aren’t spiritually minded at all. Some who have an open heart may be receptive to the idea that we have our own ability to directly experience Source, but they quickly become swept up in the goings-on in the world such that their inner spiritual contemplations are short-lived, and no long-term personal change results. Others are more profoundly spiritually awakened to their inner divinity and attempt to change themselves to accommodate this newfound inner understanding but are ridiculed and choked out by those who are not like-minded and become ostracized or marginalized by less spiritual acquaintances, co-workers, family, society, and friends. So they find themselves fighting to express their authentic inner spiritual state in a less-than-accommodating outer world. Others still are very secure in their relationship with Source, are working on themselves daily, and actively seek out spiritual wisdom whenever they can.

If we dive deeper still into the seed parable, we can consider that our spiritual “state of mind” is not static; it’s not that we simply are or are not receptive to meaningful contemplation of the inner realms, it’s that we have an analog dial we can adjust to decide whether and how much we choose to cultivate our relationship with Source, how and how often we touch in with God, and what we actively choose to do on an internal level to allow Source to express in and through us and out into the world. As a student of mine once wrote, we are not only the soil, we are the farmers of it. We actively prepare the fields of our consciousness to be fertile places where we may manifest the fruits of our spiritual development and labors. For many of us this means a dedicated meditation practice where we can truly let go into the deeper realms of consciousness to expand and dissolve our personal boundaries so we can personally experience All That Is and surrender into it. We can learn to feel our interconnectedness with all other forms of consciousness and spend time dwelling in that healing in-between space where we become one with the peace that passeth understanding. We are all ‘nodes’ on an energetic web of life, constantly transmitting and receiving all that we are learning about life, like little nerve cells that are part of a bigger brain, expanding the collective “cloud consciousness” as we continually upload all thoughts and experiences to the Source. We are Divine cosmonauts that have been sent on a mission to the physical realm to experience it and learn more about how we are derived from Source whilst in the midst of feeling some level of disconnect from it. That’s the irony of physical duality on the Earth plane: it creates an apparent (but unreal!) chasm between us and God that we have to work to internally reconcile while we are in physical form. By being the farmer of our own consciousness, we are in control of what we choose to allow to enter our thoughts and affect our understanding of our relationship with Source. There is a spiritual dynamic at play here in our ‘garden,’ or consciousness. We are responsible for the care, feeding, and watering of what we plant there and allow to take root and grow to fruition. Free will is in play! If we want to reach across that (apparent) chasm between us and God, we have to take the first step, like how in the Creation of Adam painting by Michelangelo, it is Man who must make the effort to move his finger to touch the already-outstretched finger of God.

However, let’s go one step further in peeling this onion. Let’s visualize ourselves as not only the soil, and the farmer, but also as the seeds, themselves. As ‘seeds’ of the Divine Consciousness, we find ourselves seemingly randomly strewn about in a world that has a myriad of different environments in which to experience life. However, unlike actual seeds, which have no choice but to make a go of things wherever they land, we have the brilliant ability to pick ourselves up and “transplant” ourselves into a different set of experiences. We can do this physically, by literally moving to a different location and/or choosing a different vocation, or we can move ourselves to a different environment spiritually, by choosing to shift our mindset within a situation that may or may not be physically alterable by us.

Free will doesn’t just mean physical freedom. The ‘will’ part of ‘free will’ implies that we have the mental capacity, self-awareness, and fortitude to choose a different outlook or perspective. For instance, if we find ourselves in a seemingly hostile work environment, and leaving the job isn’t practical, we can choose to shift the way we look at things: we can ask that Spirit help us see the critical lessons in this situation, so that we may learn them quickly and efficiently, knowing that once we do, the situation is sure to shift because of the Natural Laws of Allowing, Choice, Attraction, and Cause & Effect. By consciously understanding a situation from a neutral position, without judging it, we can allow things to be as they are without trying to “push the river.” We can then choose the path forward that seems to be in our best interest and which has reasonably anticipated consequences that are as acceptable to us as possible. Once we make our choice, using our free will, we have activated the Laws of Attraction and Cause & Effect, which then lead the situation to its natural resolution. How many times have we noticed that once we intuit the lessons a difficult person is bringing to us in our lives and take steps to internalize this knowledge, this person moves out of our sphere of influence? Maybe they move out of town or are transferred to a different department, or our own situation shifts and we are made to leave the situation somehow. Apparent conflicts and tension will naturally resolve when we learn the spiritual lessons we’ve come here to learn. Earth is a school and class is always in session. Natural Law just IS: like gravity, we can learn to work with it.

I feel that the ultimate essence of the parable of seeds is that we are responsible for our own garden of consciousness and what we choose to cultivate there will affect our spiritual development and growth trajectory. When we consider our life to be a fertile field of consciousness containing limitless educational opportunities that benefit us spiritually, we claim our power as co-creators with Source and activate our ability to manifest spiritually satisfying outcomes. We are Divine ‘seeds’ that have both free will and legs! We can alter our spiritual and physical trajectories if we choose to.

This is the beauty of co-creation: we are the soil, the farmer, and the seeds in our garden. Understanding this invokes the idea of being multi-present on the spiritual plane. Multipresence is not omnipresence — that’s God’s perspective — rather, multipresence is what happens when we adopt multiple, simultaneous perspectives about our spiritual potential and Divine origins. In summary, this is the Sacred Trinity of our existence: we are an integral part of the field of consciousness that is the very fabric of existence (the soil); we are the Divine co-creator that allows our field of consciousness to accept or reject specific ideas (the farmer); and we are the God-sparks, once emanated from Source (the seeds), exploring physicality with the mission to

Experience Everything and upload our results and understanding to the collective consciousness. Can you see how powerful this parable of the seeds really is? We are all three of these things, all at once.

So, how does your garden grow? As a Divine Seed, did you land on the roadside, in the rocks, among thistles, or are you in fertile, abundant soil? If you would answer anything but the latter, think on what you can do to change things and then take action to co-create a different field of consciousness to work in. If we truly believe in what we are taught, then this is where the ‘rubber hits the road’ – we have to do the inner work! There is usually something we can do to shift our life if we truly and deeply want to change it. As ‘metaphysical farmers,’ we can amend the soil of our garden (consciousness) and choose a different perspective so new ideas can take root and grow there. We can adopt an attitude of gratitude to train our mind to see the positive side of things more readily. We can meditate more intentionally to understand the soul lessons that are being presented to us in any situation. We can strengthen our self-confidence and internal spiritual compass so that we don’t feel rocked by rejection by those who don’t resonate with us: we simply pick up our bags and walk on. There is so much we can do to change our adventures here on planet Earth by claiming and using our spiritual co-creative power. We can take stock of where we are and strengthen our spiritual roots so that they can keep us stable through all the ups and downs of life. We can seek the company of like-minded and spiritually awakened individuals who can encourage and support us in the face of whatever environmental conditions prevail. We can intend to keep growing on all levels of existence while we are in physical form. We can help another tend to their garden while we tend to ours. Let’s all be good stewards of our gardens of consciousness: we can simultaneously be the soil, the farmer, and the seed so that we can bring forth all the good fruits from our collective spiritual development!

It’s time to tend our gardens.

Namaste.


June 6, 2021

Metaphysicians, Heal Yourselves
Rev. Fabienne Piccinni

Scripture reading: Luke 4:23:

“Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: “Physician, heal yourself!” and you will tell me, “Do there in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.”

When Jesus was crucified, some were laughing saying cynically that he healed others, but he couldn’t even heal himself; they thought that Jesus must have been a fraud. If you look at the Bible and interpret everything literally, those cynics make sense. Jesus couldn’t even save himself. How could he save us? How could he heal us when he couldn’t even save himself? No wonder we doubt our abilities to heal, others and ourselves, and to save ourselves.

Another traditional interpretation of this scripture is that when Jesus says “Physicians, heal yourselves”, Jesus is saying that we should tend to our own affairs before we try to solve other people’s problems, again, perhaps because most of us don’t truly believe in our ability to heal.

Now, Let’s look at the metaphysical interpretation. The “physician” is the omnipresence of God, the life force energy that heals everything and everyone. If you don’t know if there is a God presence or life force energy within you, well, you are alive, aren’t you? That would be a life force energy. But what is healing? Healing is to make whole, to bring us to a consciousness of God. And Capernaum is a village of consolation, it is the belief that our consciousness heals our body and our spirit. Our hometown, our home, is our own consciousness.

So when Jesus, the spiritual awareness in man, tells us “Physicians, Heal yourself,” it really means that the God within us can heal our consciousness, and as it heals our consciousness, it also heals our body.

Our spirit has a natural propensity to heal our body. Isn’t the body an amazing machine? When you have a cut, all the little cells start forming; your blood starts clotting; the little white cells appear to attack any intruder cell that might be detrimental to your health and healing. And then new skin cells form. It’s amazing. I am not a doctor and I might have oversimplified this mechanism, but our bodies are neat instruments. God gave us wonderful instruments to work with. The healing mechanism of our body is amazing.

Our consciousness also has a natural propensity to heal, but healing can be many different things. Healing is to have the courage of our convictions and take the road less traveled. Daring to become a Divine Metaphysican — or living a life of Spiritual Truth — is a manifestation of your consciousness of healing. Many of us either did not have a religion or came from more traditional religions that did not make sense to us. Some went to the Sunday service every week; the sermons did not make sense. The pastor or priest was nice, but what was said did not resonate. And one day, we dared to challenge our old beliefs and reject what did not make sense to us. You dared rejecting what did not make sense to you, despite what others might think of you. You stood tall, unafraid of what your family might say or think. And even if you were afraid, it didn’t matter anymore, because what you believed — or knew — was stronger. Your spirit was calling you. That is healing. Congratulations for making the first step! There will be more, but you made the first step.

This concept of healing applies to many areas of our life. I was married once. I was married for many years, but I don’t think I was ever happily married. Early in our relationship, my then husband was diagnosed with a serious condition. It required multiple brain surgeries that caused permanent damage. I had made a vow to stay married, and I was going to stay married; I had made that vow to him, to myself, and to his father. I felt it was my duty to stay married and to take care of him. Regardless of how I felt. Regardless of how he treated me. For a while, I was depressed because of what had happened to him. I thought that Life had given up on me, that I had a life of duty, and not a life of joy. I was resolved to live this life of pain. I stayed depressed for a long time. Every night, I would wake up after just a few hours of sleep and that was it. I was exhausted. One early morning, in despair, I heard myself scream, “I can’t take this anymore, I want to leave.” And I heard his dad’s voice inside of me, saying “then leave.” His father had made his transition a few years earlier. A very powerful man to whom I had made a promise to stay gave me permission to leave. I knew it was real. But still, I couldn’t give myself permission. So I stayed married for several more years. When I heard the voice of his father releasing me, I realized that it wasn’t God of Life or his father that wanted me to stay; they had freed me. I just couldn’t free myself. I was too afraid of the consequences. Perhaps I wouldn’t be able to take care of myself (which didn’t make sense because I was financially independent); perhaps it was going to cost too much. Or perhaps I thought that he was so smart, and I wasn’t, so I needed him to take care of me. The despair I felt was because my spirit was telling me to leave, and I was resisting. I just didn’t have the courage to act upon the internal guidance I was receiving. I was afraid. A wise friend of mine had told me years earlier, “you will be much happier once it is done, but you will take that step when you are ready. And you will know when you are ready.” That day finally came. And he was right.

I am taking this example, because for many people, ending relationships can be very hard. There are many things that hold us back. But our spirit has a natural propensity for healing. Healing the wounds of the physical body, but also healing the wounds of the spiritual body. Healing our minds. Healing all aspects of ourselves.

As my little story showed, we sometimes have a tendency to get in the way, and we make it hard for our spirit to heal. Our minds create fear. That fear, of course, has a purpose. It protects us from real threats, but really, the threats we face are not always real – they are in our minds. So our job is to listen to our spirit, to let ourselves be guided by our Higher Self and follow our path, to free ourselves from all the things that don’t serve us, that don’t bring us joy, so we can reach the greatness that we were all meant to be.

Our Higher Self and all the Spirit Helpers are pretty good at telling us what to do, and we need to pay attention. Sometimes, it’s a subtle message; sometimes it is a message that is loud and clear, like the one from my ex-father in law; sometimes, it’s a message on a billboard or a car tag; sometimes, it’s a feeling in our stomach; sometimes it’s just a hunch.

By design, our spirit is free, free of pain and free of fear, free of restrictions. When our spirit feels constricted, it sends us signals as well – for me it was “I was not happy in that relationship”, so I was depressed. And I freed myself from unhappiness and depression when I freed myself from the relationship. Life gives us experiences that lead us in the right direction.

This is not only true for our personal growth, but also for our collective growth. The “me too” movement that started a few years ago was the collective consciousness telling us enough – enough violence and abuse of women by men in positions of power. And about a year ago, a 46 year-old black man named George Floyd died unable to breathe under the knee of a white police officer. The people said “enough”. Collectively, people said “enough.” Enough police violence on black men and women. And a few weeks ago, a jury found the police officer who had kneeled on him responsible and accountable for his death. This is healing as well. Just like our becoming Metaphysicians. It is the first step. More healing will take place after that first step, if we allow it.

Healing is listening to communities express themselves. Healing is listening to our spirit express itself. Healing is to go against norms and conventions to do the things that will make our Spirit free and joyful. Have faith that life has your back because Life wants you to be happy.

Life wants you to be happy. Life wants you to be free. Life wants you to heal yourself. Physicians – Metaphysicians – Heal yourselves!


May 30, 2021

Memorial Day and the Old Souls
Rev. Laura MacLachlan

Joshua Ch. 1 verse 9

“Behold, I have commanded you. Be strong and of good courage; fear not, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On this Memorial Day weekend we pause together to honor the sacrifices made by all our loved ones in uniform who gave their lives for a greater good in this country. How do we honor them in a meaningful way? How do we emulate their selfless service?

We as Divine Spiritual Metaphysicians understand that we work with the greatest tool imaginable—and it is everywhere present. It is the pure love energy of God. That energy allows us, when we align our will with Divine love and order, to manifest what is for our highest and best good. Even if we are unsure from one moment to the next what that might be! This is not easy from the standpoint of our limited human minds! We sometimes struggle to be open and ready to receive without reservation or distrust; to be guided by unseen inner promptings. But as we begin to see this perfection at work, gradually we realize we have no desire for anything less.

Scripture reminds us that surrendering our will to Divine Order is an act of courage! It takes strength and fearlessness, as demonstrated to us by the Master Jesus when he said “Thy will not my will be done.” It’s the motto of an awakening Christ. It is our spiritual “finish line”!

What constitutes courage on this Earth plane while we work to grow as souls in physical bodies? What types of courage are we honoring as demonstrated by our loved ones in uniform? They are much the same. To investigate, we add in the study of soul age characteristics.

“Wishing Well Today” offered a post on Facebook not long ago that caught my eye regarding the “Six Types of Courage.”

The first was Physical Courage. “To keep going with resiliency, balance and awareness.” Ah, the mark of an Old Soul! When an Old Soul sees a challenge, it becomes an opportunity to “soldier on” and make adjustments to one’s thinking about actions to take. They quiet their minds and step back to observe what is happening beneath the surface of the acts before them. For the loved ones we honor today, survival required that they operate from that state of mind. They had to be the cool heads in the face of unbelievable danger and chaos.

The second was Social Courage. “To be yourself unapologetically.” An Old Soul not only finds a way to do this for themselves, but more importantly, have the courage to not be threatened by those who are not just like them, too. Young Souls are often triggered to violence or rage by anyone they don’t see as “another me.” Wars have been fought all through time here on the

Earth plane by Young Souls who are determined to eradicate any group of people who they think aren’t just like them. The Old Soul has the inner awareness and fortitude to simply say “I’ll do me and you do you.” Live and let live. “The Christ in me honors the Christ in you.”

When all incarnate beings master this understanding, we may not have to celebrate Memorial Day for the same reasons we do now.

The third was Moral Courage. “Doing the right thing even when it’s uncomfortable or unpopular.” Our inner moral compass leads us to do the right thing if we listen with our hearts. We know when we know! The hard part is ignoring the pressure outside of ourselves to do something less. When we’re young and honing the skill to follow our inner guidance, people call the pull to act against that inner guidance “peer pressure.” We’ve all felt it! “You want to go with us, right?” “Come on-n-n- ….Don’t be a stick in the mud!” The voice of our inner knowing was personified by Disney in the form of the character Jiminy Cricket. The lesson of Jiminy Cricket was simple: Doing the right thing couldn’t be more clear if a talking cricket in a top hat showed up and explained it to us! Moral courage challenges us to grow as souls at a crossroads in our lives. To be spiritual warriors for our own soul’s progression on Earth.

The fourth was Emotional Courage. “Feeling all your emotions (positive and negative) without guilt or attachment.” This is one of the primary reasons to incarnate on the physical plane! To master emotions! It can feel scary and uncomfortable to navigate an emotional battlefield peppered with sadness, anger or terror. Some even struggle with joy! “It’s too good to be true!” Ever hear anyone say that? Even as joy is offered to someone, it’s met with mistrust. But the courageous older soul pulls from deep within themselves the ability to step back yet again, and take a good look at what triggered such intensity in the first place. What within us is calling for healing? Then it becomes possible to make a plan to act, not just react, to what is being shown us. Emotions are all too human. Stuff happens here on the Earth plane. Time to get into meditation, literally walk it off..in the woods, in a quiet place, whatever setting allows us to process what’s happening and how we can begin the search for Divine Order in what’s next. Remember the line from the 23rd Psalm: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil. We strive to remember we walk through our challenges, not fear them. We are still- we quiet our minds, we allow the universe to show us what’s best, what action is intuitively called for. It is then that we grow as souls.

The fifth is Intellectual Courage. “To learn, unlearn and relearn with an open and flexible mind.” That describes our progression as souls incarnate or discarnate, doesn’t it? What drives our thinking and actions as Young Souls evolves as we acquire more lifetimes of experience through time. Our souls become older and wiser. In this one physical lifetime, the same is true. Often times we look back at things we said and did as young people and laugh at the goofiness of it all! The stuck and stubborn want “my way or the highway.” They find comfort in sameness. The Old Souls listen, meditate and open their hands to change. We surrender nothing of ourselves if we change our minds in favor of something better for everyone. Scripture tells us to use our heads, to be strong and of good courage. Thinking about things or doing things, differently may be challenging, but shouldn’t cause us to stop moving forward or lose heart.

Finally, we get to Spiritual Courage. “Living with purpose and meaning through a heart centered approach towards all life and oneself.” Like Social Courage, when Spiritual Courage rules the Earth plane, we will silence the guns of war. We will have found new and better ways to work through our differences. We will lay flowers at the memorials of the peacemakers rather than those who have sacrificed themselves on actual battlefields. It is the essence of Christ Consciousness. As souls on a path to progression it is the “finish line” after all the lifetimes it took to reach a state of awareness centered in pure love energy of God.

And we ascend.

Blessings to you and blessings to all we have loved and lost.


May 23, 2021
Carey Barker

Today’s scripture verses are contained in the Book of Proverbs

Chapter 15:22, 17:17, 18:24, 27:17 and John 15:12-15 

Those who have undue respect for the counsel fail to appreciate its purpose; but in the multitude of counsellors the counsel is established.

A friend loves at all time; but a brother is born for adversity.

There are friends who are merely friends; and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Iron sharpens iron; so a man enlightens the face of a friend.

Thus ends the scripture readings from Proverbs.

“Not a daisy goes by where I don’t think about you.”

The book of Proverbs were written by and during the reign of King Solomon.  Solomon was the son of King David, who is credited with writing many of the Psalms. Proverbs are short sayings that zero in on both problems and solutions.

The Proverbs deal with everyday life issues, like conflicts with family, trusting God and keeping good friends in your life. The sayings are ideal for simplifying life’s most important concepts, like getting along and showing kindness and love to others.

It’s interesting that we spend most of our lives concerned about who are friends are or maybe how many friends you have.  Steve has commented to me that I have far more friends than he has.  Truth is we all have more than we think we do and they are all here to help us grow.  For those of you that use Facebook, all you have to do is log on and Facebook will tell you how many friends you have.  The depth of friendship you have with all 800 is another story altogether.

Truth is, friends can challenge us, confuse us, and sometimes we might wonder why we bother.  However, friendship is important to our wellbeing.  Friendships help us grow through each year of our lives.

The friends we met in school teach us how to be patient, wait our turn, reach out, and try new things.  When we move into adulthood, we learn more about taking responsibility, finding our path and seeking out people that we want to be more like. 

As we continue on our path and get older, we learn to weather the ups and downs in life and our friends provide that sounding board and place for us to grow. Friendship really is the key to our success with all our relationships and it can create a sense of purpose in our lives.

Friends can change our value system so we learn to find more meaning.  Spending time with friends, we fill our lives with great conversation, learn what heartfelt caring and support feels like and of course, my favorite, laugh out loud fun. When we fall on hard times, friends are there to put things in perspective and help us. When we have success, they’re smiling at our good fortune.  We don’t just enjoy life more when we have healthy friendships, we thrive.

The other day a friend sent me not 1, not 2 but 3 bouquets of flowers to set around my home, several stalks of Gladiolas of different colors.  I was moved by the kind, loving gesture that was made, “just because”.  Those of you that know me, know that I love to interpret the meaning of flowers and consider them a living message from Spirit.

The gladiola stands tall and straight, its blossoms in a row, announcing to all the world its symbolism of strength and sincerity. Afterall, the gladiolus is often the frame upon which the florist creates the backdrop for the arrangement. They are the strength of the display. 

Many people assume that the root meaning of the word gladiolus is that they are flowers that make you glad. In reality, the gladiolus was named after the gladiator. Its Latin root, gladius literally means sword. The gladiola is a warrior’s flower and it symbolizes honor and asks us to never give up. 

Many of these things are what I believe having friends does for us.  They are our champions; they ask us to never give up and sometimes give us the hard truth when we need it most.

Martin Luther said, “God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.”

Our scripture today contains lessons for us on our spiritual path.  Those who have undue respect for the counsel fail to appreciate its purpose; but in the multitude of counsellors the counsel is established… telling us that we cannot have too many friends and the more diverse the better to learn and grow from.

Chapter 17, verse 17 reminds us that a friend loves at all time; but a brother is born for adversity. And 18:24 says, There are friends who are merely friends; and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.   When the going gets tough you find out what kind of friends you have. 

There is a popular song out that sums it up:  Run your car off the side of the road, Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere.  Get yourself in a bind, lose the shirt off your back, Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus fare.

You find out who your friends are, Somebody’s going to drop everything, Run out and crank up their car, Hit the gas get there fast.  Never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘it’s way too far.’  They just show on up with their big old heart.

Robert Leighton says, “Like a friend, the flower that follows the sun does so even in cloudy days.”

Then there is chapter 27, verse 17:

Iron sharpens iron; so, a man enlightens the face of a friend.

Telling us that a friend sharpens our thoughts, helping us to be wiser, excite each other, teach us how to forgive, strengthens our judgment, all in all make us a better person.

It’s interesting when you consider that friendship is the only relationship that is deliberate…. Yet…. it doesn’t push itself on you.

According to Aristotle, there are three kinds of friendship.  Friendship of utility, accidental, and the friendship of the good.

Utility says, there is something in it for me and is usually temporary.  #2, Accidental, based on pleasure, it’s emotional but also temporary as we grow and move into different things that bring us enjoyment.

Number 3 can be forever.  It is a friendship based on mutual appreciation of the virtues that the other holds dear.  It’s the people themselves and the qualities that they represent that provides the incentive to be in one another’s life.  These are the friends that you have seen at their worst, endured hardships with and gain joy from being with them. 

With time and intention these friendships blossom with trust, admiration and awe.  These are the friends that bring the sweetest joys that life has to offer.

With true friends you do not worry about how to make them better friends or how to win them over. 

When you are together you are enjoying something together, that mutual fondness for life that brought you together to begin with. 

It is because you don’t find great friends like this by looking for a friend, you find them by living and doing what you love. 

At the end of the day, the bonds we have with those close to us directly shape the quality of our lives here on earth.  We are and we live through the people we spend time with. 

Make no doubt about it that the God energy places certain people on our spiritual journey.  A 12th century monk noted that the love of friendship springs directly from God, coming closer to the love of the saints in heaven than most other loves.  True friendship that combines charity and goodwill is possible only between those who do good.  It is mutual harmony in affairs human and divine with benevolence and charity.

Shakespeare’s definition of a friend is more in tune with spiritual friendship, he states, “a friend should bear his friend’s infirmities” and is more in harmony with Jesus’ view on friendship.  As in John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment; love one another as I have loved you”.  A person can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friend; you are my friend, if you do what I command you.  I shall not call you servants anymore, because a servant does not know his master’s business:  I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learned from the Father.

A true friend shares everything with his friend and loves them. To love another as our way shower taught us gives a foundation of a solid and authentic spiritual friendship.

Friendship has played an important role in our spiritual growth and is meant to bring out the best in us. 

Believing and encouraging one another is a powerful force that manifests itself in the change and transformation of us as an individual and helps us to develop our gifts.  Truly a friend is someone who helps us to know ourselves.  A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself.

A friend’s influence is often not realized, both past and present.  These types of relationships determine our sense of self and the direction our lives take.  Whether you realize it or not, your friends have shaped who you are today. You are even the product of the friends who are no longer your friends.  Afterall, of all the loved ones in our life, it is our friends that we get to choose.  We choose our influences in our life. 

We must work to keep those near and dear to us in our thoughts and in our hearts.  It’s by caring for another, even when our DNA doesn’t dictate, we must increases our good.

I found this short story I would like to share with you…

A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island.

The two survivors who have been a good friend, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.

The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren.

After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.

Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island.

The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island.

He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.

As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?”

“My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man answered. “His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything.”

“You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings.”

“Tell me,” the first man asked the voice, “What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?”

“He prayed that all your prayers be answered “

In closing, when you find out who your friends are, don’t think lightly of the value they add to your life well beyond the earthly plane.  Your forever friends are just that.

Blessings to all of my like-minded friends & much love.


May 16, 2021

The Importance of Faith
Rev. Susan Wright

Our sacred scripture today is from the Holy Bible- Mark 5:25-34

And a large crowd followed Jesus and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well,” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth through him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “you see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.”

Oh my, the Importance of faith!

We have all been in a place in our lives where we have had to walk in faith, haven’t we?

In reading and studying the stories in the New Testament of the Bible we might remember that Master Jesus, our Way-shower, used his life to teach by parables and stories and his disciples repeated them. These are earthy stories have profound spiritual/heavenly meanings.

TJ. Wray, in her book, Good Girls, Bad Girls of the New Testament, gives The Woman with a Twelve-Year Hemorrhage, a chapter in her book and labels her as a BAD girl,

Only, because of the Near Eastern culture of that time.

As you read more about her, you get a better picture of the incredible inner qualities this woman possessed.

Considering the customs and beliefs during this period helps us to understand, not judge, but understand the views toward cleanliness, and attitudes about women in that culture.

Blood was viewed as unclean. Because the woman in this story is suffering from an issue of blood, she was considered “unclean”.

This meant that everyone and everything she comes into contact with was also considered unclean.

If, this woman sits on a chair, then the chair is unclean and if you happen to sit on the same chair she sat on, you are unclean.

If you, in your uncleanliness from sitting on the chair, touch someone else, then that person is unclean and it can go on from there.

This was what was believed.

We can imagine that among the crowd of on-lookers who gather closely around Jesus, she was there, perhaps in physical pain, suffering from the debilitating effect of a persistent hemorrhage, which in all probability by today’s medical insights might have made her anemic.

It can also be inferred that this faithful woman, surely would have experienced some psychological pain as she would have been considered a social outcast, because of her impurity.

We can only imagine what her life might have been like….

However, she hasn’t given up…quite the opposite, she’s tried to find a remedy for her ills.

She’s searched out all the possibilities available.

It had been 12 years, if we are to take the scripture literally.

Can you imagine? 12 years

Where else can she look for help?

She relies on her FAITH!

When I started writing this sermon, I chose this scripture to speak about FAITH as it was story about a woman and I like to use women’s stories from the Bible because they are few.

But truly, is this story only about just women?

No, no more than other stories in the Bible about MEN are just about MEN. They are about all of us (everyone!)

The expression, essence of God, lives through all of us.

Blood symbolically is our life essence in this scripture. It keeps our bodies well and vital so that we can live on this earth plane heathy and in balance.

We have ALL lost our vitality…allowed things to distract us at some time or another. We ALL have had situations in life that weaken and temporarily take some of our life force physically, mentally, and spiritually.

In our scripture today, blood represents something that is keeping us from being whole, draining our life essence.

ALL of us, have had experiences in our lives that have tested our faith. This past year has been exceptionally challenging!

Perhaps it’s being out of work

Isolation

A difficult job interview or a situation at work

Or it’s a health issue

Caring for a loved one that is sick

Divorce

Long term stressful situations can be very draining

If we take a quick look at the OLD Testament, loss of blood was perceived as impurity, you were not permitted in the temples and others were not permitted to touch you.

We all understand what it’s like in some way to feel inferior, not good enough.

In the new testament, Master Jesus brings to light a new way, a new thought process, Christ Consciousness. We are not EVER, inferior, less but whole and part of the Divine plan/expression. There is no separation. We are all one with the Divine. We can count on that and lean into that knowing.

We are whole, complete, and perfect, experiencing life as it is, growing learning and evolving!

Let’s go back to our scripture again ……. and think about what other meaning we might find.

What is the significance of the number 12?

The numerology of 12 might give us some insight into this scripture.

12 was the number of the years the woman had her dis-ease if you take this scripture literally.

We can look at it in other ways.

In numerology the meaning of 12 can be the completion of a cycle or wholeness.

The number 12 itself is very prominent in many stories of the Bible.

The 12 tribes of Israel

The 12 disciples

It is also the first number in a sequence that is a combination of male and female

(1-being a male number and 2-being a female number)

12 is a number of BALANCE

The Metaphysical Bible Dictionary from Unity states that 12 refers to spiritual fulfillment

And through the expression of the number 12 we find BALANCE

Our faithful woman in this scripture has much to teach us…

This is a story about spiritual fulfillment and wholeness and how when we touch into Christ Consciousness, we are supported, healed and balanced allowing us to move forward with gained faith. The growing spiritual awakening within each of us is forever budding and ready to expand.

So…let’s take a look at how this woman’s journey aligns to the truth in our Spiritual and Metaphysical principals and Natural Law. Understanding these can truly help our lives to unfold in a smoother manner.

Emory J. Michael states in The Alchemy of Sacred Living, “Faith means an unwavering assurance in the infallibility of divine laws and in the essential goodness of life. It is a deep certainty, an unswerving conviction that the laws and principles that govern life always work.”

How has our faithful woman, perhaps unknowingly, worked with these laws and principals?

Let’s think about our Spiritual principals:

Number 8 states: We affirm the moral responsibility of the individual and that we make our own happiness or unhappiness as we obey or disobey nature’s physical and spiritual laws.

Our woman in the scripture would have certainly had to take complete responsibility for herself as others would not have wanted to come in contact with her.

Her thinking was aligned with the Natural Law of Divine Oneness.

This Law helps us understand that everything is connected in our world/universe. Each one of us is part of the Divine, God energy. Everyone and everything is infinite, powerful, perfect, whole and complete.

Her personal consciousness had to rise above the consciousness of the society or she could have thought, “Maybe I’m not worthy to be healed” but she recognized her value.

Our woman’s faith was solidly connected with

The Law of Supply

The Law of supply can best be explained in Matthew 7:7

“Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you”. Our faithful woman sought and it was found.

Going back to our scripture again…we haven’t talked about

Master Jesus’ healing.

He could feel the woman’s presence energetically.

We assume that Jesus was often surrounded by many people that were “pressing in on him”.

But in this case, he felt the energy move through him and leave his body.

He is puzzled but after he hears the woman’s truth, he speaks to her, not as an unclean woman.

He doesn’t shun her but speaks to her with the love and understanding of a family member, he calls her daughter, blessing her on her path.

Jesus’ healing ministry encourages us to have faith and not to walk away from humanity. He surrounds himself with the ills of all. A sick child, a lame beggar, a blind man. He wades right in and does what he can to heal, comfort and improve lives.

Master Jesus models to all of us how to be of service to our neighbor, loved one, friend, or stranger that is in need. Regardless of who, or what status in society they have, thus instilling faith in humankind.

Just as the woman in our scripture, we are all presented circumstances, on our life paths, that can give us the opportunities to deepen our faith.

Eckhart Tolle states it this way:

Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.

Some opportunities we may draw to ourselves with free will or we may have chosen some prior to our birth. Others we may experience watching those around us that we know and love. During the most difficult times in our lives we grow the most faith.

In those times when it feels we have exhausted all of our physical means; we can rely on faith in God/Infinite Intelligence/The Universe to support us to see it through.

ALL OF YOU CAN THINK OF TIMES LIKE THIS.

If we have the knowledge of physical, natural and spiritual laws and principals this can help as we can better live in harmony with them.

They can work with us in our daily lives, raising our consciousness our understanding of our life path, so that we can use them and build our faith in our spiritual walk and life experiences.

So, when difficult times come, we can experience them with a different perspective and greater faith. Knowledge of Natural Laws work to help us gain wisdom, and grow our faith.

We can only imagine the path of this women and how she lived by her faith. Her faith was so great that she went against social customs and touched the Holiest of Holy, she believed that she deserved it and could get healed even with her place in the society in which she lived.

Our scripture today shows us when we touch in with our divinity, in faith we can be renewed and restored. Whether it be through study and learning, prayer, meditation, or opening to receive love and healing energy. The Universe is on our side! We are all one with God.

Jesus’ actions show us how we are to reach out to others in their time of need. To be compassionate and of service. We gain faith through seeing how our influence works as part of the whole to better our world.

We are all channels for healing every day through our prayers, thoughts, words, and service to others.

Our scripture today may lead us to not necessarily embrace the literal meaning but a higher spiritual understanding that faith transforms and heals our lives.

A wise friend and mentor once said to me,

“It is our faith that lets us hold site of our soul’s journey”.

“Our faith becomes a knowing”


May 9, 2021

Opportunities Abound!
Romans 8: 28 & 31

Rev. Mike Hile

First of all, hello! Know that I miss all of you, my drive to Bay City, the honor of being in your presence, receiving the day’s message, and contemplating it for the next while – a routine I enjoyed for over twelve years before life as we knew it came to a screeching halt. Know that I am honored to be asked to offer today’s message.

Also, I want to give a “shout out” to the mothers on this day honoring them. In truth, all nurture others whether biological mothers per se. We learn for others as we interact with them and many influence in maternal ways, male and female alike. So in revision, let me say, blessings to all who have given nurturing, selfless encouragement to others. I fortunately had a dynamic mother who believed in my worth and abilities and so enabling me to believe I could do anything. She was not clingy and always fostered my independence allowing me to live in the world as I wished, and beaming with pride as I did. One of her mom-mantras was, I want you to be able to stand on your own two feet!” Thank you, mom!

Now, on to the message for today. I have chosen two well-known Scriptures, Romans 8:28 & 31. Today, I am using the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, hear Paul’s words: Verse 28 ~ We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. And allow me to interject, I believe ALL are called according to our highest purpose, whether we recognize it or not. Continuing with Verse 31 ~ What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? Other Biblical references assure us of being children of God. We belong to and are part of that Eternal Essence with it residing at the center of our beings.

Many of you know I absolutely love quotes. One that has recently resonated with me among others is from Ram Dass when he offered, We are all just walking each other home. To be using that here, I am suggesting that I may have things of worth to offer you as I share in this way. At least, that is my hope. I know, you always have things of worth to offer me. Let’s continue our “walk.

These fourteen months of relative isolation have offered opportunities in many ways. It certainly has given us time to become better acquainted or reacquainted with ourselves. Being an only child of an only child and raised with only adults, I have spent lots of time listening, learning, and absorbing the ways of the world from other adults observing their perspectives, much more so, I believe, than if I would have had other children with whom to run off and play. Early on, I was fascinated by the adult world around me and loved it. I quite simply was perfectly happy sitting and listening to adults. I was like a quiet (I hope, and have been told) sponge ready to absorb it all. As neither grandparent, with whom we lived for my first ten years, drove that meant my mother had to drive them, and I went everywhere they went – mostly to their contemporaries whose children were long grown. Many often remarked how quietly, patiently, and politely I sat being among all adults. In truth, I preferred it to playing with kids, and I happily “soaked up” much of the adult world. Also, I could soon identify the good story tellers, those going in circles with seemingly no point, and any other methodologies of communication appreciating all.

So as we are walking each other home, may I offer in these uncertain times some perspectives – maybe even eternal truths – worth remembering. First and foremost, I would remind us (us because I am absolutely certain that I always need my messages more than any of you) that we are never alone as God is within us. The wisdom of the universe, the creative power of all, the source of all intelligence, that which holds the solutions to all life’s questions and is entirely centered in love and unlimited possibilities is within each one of us. I truly do believe this. The problem comes when I don’t remember it!

These are challenging unsettling times, no doubt about it, at least on the surface. The news is full of what are easily considered horrific happenings, violence and turmoil prevail, the perceived order of things has been overturned, and chaos seems to rule with all getting worse by the moment. But if we remember God is within and all around us, our fear surrenders to serenity allowing peace to permeate our beings. Yes, even now, peace!

In my prayers, I pray for myself first because if I am to be of worth and serve others, I need to do so from the most “God-connected” position possible. I assure you that I am better at finding that place that lies within me each day, but I still on occasion – more than I’d like to admit – succumb to worry, fear, and dread being fairly certain all is likely lost. But I am learning to more regularly find that God center within. You may know that I am a numbers nut, so you shouldn’t be surprised as I share with you that this, May 9, 2021, is my 25,873rd day of life ~ yes, I accounted for the 18 leap years I have lived. In those 25,873 days, I have most certainly grown in my awareness of being a spiritual being eternally connected to my divine source. More than any year previously, I accept the day’s events with calm assurance. The 2012 movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has a main character often citing (loosely interpreted by me), Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. That is much like my so far favorite quote ever which comes from Richard Bach’s Illusions: The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly. Over time, I began noticing how situations in my life that I perceived as not to my advantage or liking actually led to my greatest joys. Looking back upon my life with the perspective of time, I see only blessings, rich blessings granted to me from our loving source.

So, when coming unglued, how ~ oh how ~ do we access that God-center within wisely becomes the question. First, I think we need to recognize that our human self with all of its vast information and majesty does not innately have divine perspective, at least that we readily recognize. It is of that eternal source from which we all have come. Yes, it is there, an ever-present companion entity if you will. As I have grown spiritually, I have more readily become willing to accept that I ~ separate from the God source ~ do not have all of the answers. Admittedly, I have often arrogantly lived from the perspective if God would just listen to me, it would save time and all would be well. Okay… maybe not. (You know it is hard to convey voice inflection and facial expression while typing. I hope you are “seeing” and “hearing” me as intended.) In my growth, I do more consistently access that God presence, rely on it, and trust it. Allow me to share what I have found helpful.

Most recently, these ideas are gleaned from Daily Word, April 29 and 30, 2021 but have been the foundation of my efforts for connection for a long while. In the stillness or driving down the road or wherever my mind can safely explore the depths of my soul, I acknowledge there is a place within me untouched by the chaos of the world. This part is entirely centered in the awareness of the divine love and unlimited possibility that is God. To access this place, it may help to pause, breathe deeply, and anchor my consciousness there. Doing this results in a sense of calm, serenity expands, and my sense of being at sea fades as I connect to my true self. As we access our true selves, we recognize we are never alone because God is within us. Hope abounds with God, that guiding light in which every possible solution is already known. With that perspective, we are ready to face any challenge. Using that creative power, we can create the lives we want as we consciously choose our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. We are in charge of our lives allowing the world to open before us. We have the guidance to overcome and persevere. Allowing that knowledge to sink into our consciousness opens us to divine solutions to our perceived problems.

This last Wednesday’s Science of Mind reading shared what was said to be a true story of an entrepreneur whose company was deeply in debt. The payroll was due, creditors were constantly calling, and his workers’ livelihoods were depending on him. He sat in the park with his head down in a daze wondering how to save his company from bankruptcy. An old man appeared and listened to his story after which he told the desperate man he could help and handed him a check he had written telling him to meet him in the park again in exactly one year to repay him, and walked off on his way. The man unfolded the check and found it to be written for $500,000 and was signed John D. Rockefeller! This windfall could solve all of his problems immediately; however, he chose to put the check in his safe because just knowing if all else failed he did have a solution was enough to allow him to be creative in solving the woes of his ailing company. Within a couple of months, he was out of debt and in a few more months, the company was once again very profitable, thriving even, never having used the check. He eagerly returned to park in exactly one year with the unused check in hand excited to share his story of success. Just as the old man arrived, so did a nurse who was chasing him. She readily said, I’m glad I caught him! I trust he wasn’t bothering you. He always runs away from the home and tells people in the park he is John Rockefeller!” The business man smiled realizing with the money his belief in the possibilities had shifted. He saw ways to succeed when he “knew” he couldn’t fail. We would be wise to remember with God we can not fail, even if our definition of fail may need to be reworked.

As we connect with our God source, possibilities expand exponentially. The outward situations can not dominate us if our inner self is connected to God. As we remember and live this truth, we become the people I believe we were meant to be. Possibilities abound! The outer influences are just that, outer. We have been given life to live and dreams to fulfill. Yes, even in these most challenging times. The outer circumstances yield to our inner wisdom, knowledge, and love. I am reminded of a quote by Eli Wiesel from his book Souls on Fire. He wrote, When we die and go to heaven, and we meet our Maker, our Maker is not going to say to us, why didn’t you become a Messiah? Why didn’t you discover the cure for such and such? The only thing we’re going to be asked at that precious moment is why didn’t you become you? Part of my daily prayer is, May I live in the fullness of the life I’ve been given. This becomes possible as we connect to our divine source. So I say to you, may you live in the fullness of the life you have been given.

Blessings for a wonderful week.


May 2, 2021

“WHAT WE DO IN LIFE ECHOES IN ETERNITY”: 
A LESSON FOR FIRST SPIRITUAL CHURCH OF BAY CITY 
REV. BOB ALLEN / SAGINAW, MICHIGAN 

In these strange times occasioned by the Covid virus, our beloved Church continues as an activity of Spirit among those of like mind. We are learning that our weekly exchange of spiritual light and wisdom is not limited to assembling physically in a structure of wood and brick, but also by joining in a cosmic choir of all those in Spirit and those of us in body who unite in prayers for the manifestation of Love, Light and Peace in our world. 

The principle that “thoughts held in mind, produce after their kind,” is a familiar one to students of metaphysics. Thought by thought, each individual creates his/her own personal Heaven or Hell. Indeed, perception creates each soul’s reality, so the rhyme about two prison inmates is quite correct: “Two men looked through prison bars, one saw mud, the other – stars.” Henry Ford spoke truly when he said that “Whether you think you can or you can’t – either way you will be right.” 

Today’s lesson was inspired by a message I found on the internet: “What we do in life, echoes in Eternity.” The line is uttered by actor Russell Crowe in the 2000 film, Gladiator. The film itself is a mixture of true events and fiction, set in the days of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Some research revealed that Marcus Aurelius had written a near-identical sentence: “What we do now echoes in eternity.” The words carry an obvious power. But what do they mean? 

Now, as a natural phenomenon, an echo is a sound of repetition caused when sound waves bounce off a surface and return to the listener. As a metaphysical idea, echo, or repeat, of our thoughts and actions is what we can and must expect. As is taught in Galatians Chapter 6, Verse 7 (Intl Std Version): “A person harvests whatever he plants.” Never in human history has someone planted ragweed and harvested strawberries.  

Consider also the person who stands on a beach and throws a stone into the water. The energy set in motion causes ripples in the water, which spread until they pass out of your sight. However, the energy you have set in motion, whether good or bad, continues after you are gone. 

The human race has been transmitting radio programs since the 1920’s, and television programs since the 1950’s. A few years ago, scientists at a space telescope in Puerto Rico were studying some signals they were picking up from an estimated 25 light-years ago. Scientists are fairly certain that these signals are television programs broadcast over 50 years ago, that are bouncing off some unknown object, possibly a “massive cloud of asteroids” acting as a “mirror” that reflects the signals back to Earth. The point is, that energies that are sent forth in the universe do not “ripple” out a few feet and disperse; rather, they persist and continue their activity. These energies include Love, Hope and Prayer. Every prayer you have ever prayed is like one of those old TV broadcasts, and continues with its love energy unabated. Have faith that even the few minutes you may spend on prayer or meditation each day ARE making a difference in your home, your family, your town – your world. 

How important it is, therefore, that we stand watch over our own thoughts and emotions, and live according to our highest and most noble sense of things, and resist the temptation to believe the worst about a person or situation. Mary Baker Eddy, the metaphysician who founded the Christian Science movement, wrote that every individual is the sculptor of their own life:  

“We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives.” The late actor Cary Grant was born as an unknown person named Archibald Leach. After achieving fame, he explained that “Cary Grant” began as an idea and an aspiration: “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until finally I became that person. Or he became me.” 

Keep your mind and your heart in that great, good space. As Philippians 4:8 teaches, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” And let your Love, Hope and Truth echo throughout all eternity. 

PEACE BE WITH YOU! 


April 25, 2021

HIGHER LOVE
Rev. Michael Schlotterbeck

Why is there so much hatred in the world? What’s wrong with people? I’ve noticed that I’m asking those questions with a lot more frequency than ever before. And I’m hearing other people ask similar questions as well. Like, “Why can’t we get along”. “Why can’t we love one another”. And that’s a good one. Why don’t we love one another? After all, the major religious traditions have “Love thy neighbor” as one of their basic tenets. From the Christian Bible we get “Love thy neighbor as thyself “. From the Gospel of Thomas “Jesus says, love your brother like your soul”. From Islam, we get “Love your brother as you love yourself”. Similar passages are found in Upanishads of Hinduism and in The Dhammapada of Buddhism. But if the majority of the people in the world are followers of these religions that teach, encourage, command us to love our neighbors, then why don’t we?

I would argue that the primary reason is that we find many people to be unlovable. How can I love someone who irritates me, angers me, harms me, disgusts me, hates me? People who act like that toward other people aren’t loveable people. Right? This is where the system failure happens. It happens when we believe that people have to be lovable for us to love them. That they have to qualify. Notice that none of the scriptures that I quoted said Love thy neighbor as yourself, unless they irritate you, or unless they insult you, or lie to you, or wear ugly clothes, or like the wrong football team, or anger you, or disgust you, or hate you. There are no qualifying conditions. These traditions ask, encourage, command us to love one another in spite of their “unlovability”.

This is a different kind of love than we are used to. This is not how we usually think of love at all. We tend love people who have earned our love. We love them because of how they treat people, not in spite of it. We love them because we like them, we approve of them, we enjoy their company. This is what I think of as Special love or Personal love. In this type we love people for their personality and how they improve our happiness or fit into our stories. But “Love thy neighbor” demands a different kind of love from us. An impersonal love, a spiritual love, a Higher love that is radically different from our usual Special love. I’m going to look at a few different ways that the Higher love differs from Special love.

The first difference I’ve already touched on and that is Higher love is unconditional. There are no disqualifying factors. There’s no need to earn the right to be loved. There’s no determining whether or not someone else is worthy of love in Higher Love. There is never a decision to be made on whether or not we should love a particular person. The answer is always yes. In the paradigm of Special love we separate people into categories. Those who we love and those who we don’t. And based on our experiences with people, we move them back and forth between categories. That’s how we’ve been conditioned to love. However, most of us have access to the unconditional love of Higher love, we just don’t usually apply to other people. We often apply to animals and babies. Imagine the world if people loved each other with the same love reflexes that they love animals and babies. Different scenario completely.

The second difference between Higher love and Special love is that Higher love demands that we see the spirit or soul of a person rather than their personality. Higher love sees the divine God spark that rests in each of us as our identity. Higher love sees the innocence in each person no matter how abhorrent their personality or behavior. Higher love understand that none of us came out of the womb with a weapon in our hand. No one slapped the doctor first. When you see hatred or violence in a person, that is how life has affected them. You are seeing their wounds. You see a person in need of healing. Special love sees a person’s actions, attitudes, and behaviors as their true identity. Special love sees the guilt, not the innocence. They see a person’s wounds as their true self.

Perhaps the most drastic difference between Higher love and Special love is that Higher love focuses on equality between people. In higher love, no one is valued more or less than anyone else. Special love values or focuses on our differences. With special love, we value the person over others because of how they are different. How they stand out from the crowd. How they suit us individually. Their quirks, their talents, their sense of humor, etc.. “All the things we love about someone”. And there’s a hierarchy of importance among all of our loved ones. In special love, we don’t love equally. We have friends and then we have best friends and then we have BFFs and we have soulmates etc. etc.. No one is truly equal in this scenario. But as a species we are shockingly similar. I say shockingly because as a culture we are conditioned to believe that we are radically different from one another. Research shows that in terms of DNA we are 99.5% or more similar to one another. Some studies say as much as 99.9%. And it’s likely that our emotional and spiritual make up are more similar than not as well. From culture to culture, we have remarkably similar myths. The hero myth exists in almost all if not all cultures. Not only does it exist, but it has the same structure across the board. Even in cultures that had no contact with one another.

Look religion or spirituality. All religions are trying to answer the same questions. Evidence of our sameness is overwhelming and obvious. And Higher love demands that we recognize this truth and live from this truth.

So after a lifetime of seeing love through the eyes of Special love, how can we make the switch to see it through the lens of Higher love. There’s no formula, at least I haven’t found one. But there are things you can do to help remove the obstacles. First, and this is probably the biggest one, is to remember that with Higher love, you don’t have to like someone to love them. When you get this, everything opens up. Suddenly there are so many people who are loveable. Approximately 7.385 billion of them. Another thing you can try that helps is to focus on the sameness between you and the other person. Ask yourself, if I believed what they believed, and I had lived their life, would I be any different? In most cases, I think I’d be worse. I’m not that strong, and I’ve had an easy life. I also find it helpful in a situation where I’m finding it difficult to access higher love for a person, to remember that all the stories and judgments that we have of others and ourselves are NOT absolute truth. They are merely our perceptions at the time. The untrustworthiness of our stories becomes glaringly apparent when our relationship goes belly up and we have a breakup. With special love, when you are in love you cannot tell a more wonderful story about the other person.

But when they hurt us or betray us or leave us, the story changes and suddenly they are the worst person on the planet. Higher love recognizes that neither the wonderful story or the horrible story is true. And last in my bag of tricks, is to think of people as a character in a play. As you watch the performance, you can despise who they are what they are doing. But when the curtain falls and the lights come up, you don’t transfer you dislike of the character to the actor. Our bodies and our stories are like costumes and plot lines that we play out in our lives, but they aren’t who we really are. We are the actor who is playing the role. Shakespeare said it best. “All the world is a stage and all the men and women are merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”

I’m not telling you have to choose Higher love. You all have the free will to answer the call to Higher love or not. As species, so far, we have not and we are left asking ourselves the questions…what’s wrong with the world….what’s wrong with people….why is there so much violence and hatred in the world….why can’t we love one another. If you think about, life is simply our group experience of our beliefs about one another. As long as we have unloving beliefs about one another, we have an unloving/hateful world. And if you want to stop living in an unloving/hateful world, I encourage you to answer the call to live from a perspective of Higher love. Answering the call of Higher love can offer healing to the walking wounded. Answering the call of Higher Love can shine a glorious light on the truth of our identity, our sameness, and cast out the illusions, fantasies, and fears we have about one another and our separateness. Answering the call of Higher love can create a world that is not plagued with hatred.

The Dhammapada says “Hatred is never appeased by Hatred, Hatred is only appeased by Love, This is an eternal law.” But only if the call is answered. And only you can answer the call. And I urge you to do so, because to quote one of my favorite songs from the 1960s, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love. No, not just for some, but for everyone.


April 18, 2021

Relax don’t react
Rev. George Williams

As our lifestyles continue to change and we find that the old ways of doing things no longer fit
the when, where, and how that we are living in today, we should look at how to view those
lessons that we are being provided with by the universe.

We demonstrate on a regular basis how we can live in harmony or in discord with what nature
has placed around us. We can struggle to do it our (my) way, and fight what has been placed in
our way. Or we can show restraint, watch as doors open, learn from the past, and move forward
in that loving energy the Lord has provided for us.

When we live in and view the beautiful aspects of this world, that awesome energy that we are
occupying, We find ourselves in awe of the creative processes that Nature provides for us to use, as we continually create and recreate our environment. Every thought, every word, every action moves energy and changes, ever so slightly, our perceptions and our environment.

The Bible teaches us this over and over.

One example is in the Lamsa Translation of the Bible, Proverbs chapter 24 verses 3 and 4.
Through wisdom a house is built; and by understanding it is established; 4 And by knowledge the inner chambers are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

I interpret that to mean “wisdom” equals lessons learned. “House is built” means, environment
created. “Chambers filled with precious and pleasant riches” is the bountiful supply. So, as you
experience your lessons and understands that only you, through your thoughts and actions, create your environment, everything comes to fruition.

This reminds me of a poem I once read. It was written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, and it has as
much meaning to me personally today as it did the first time, I read it. It goes like this.
“Build on resolve and not upon regret, a structure of thy future. Do not group among the
shadows of old sins but let thyne own soul’s light shine on the path of hope and dissipate the
darkness. Waste no tears upon the bottled record of lost years. But turn the leaf and smile to see the fair white pages that remain to thee…”

There is so much spiritual wisdom in those words. Ms. Wilcox tells us to plan forward using
only the positive aspects of our past. Let go of the hurt, pain and suffering that came with the
past lessons. Do not allow any negative thoughts from previous experiences to enter the present equitation. Because the future is waiting for you write it.

We must use only the beauty and positive nature from within to lead us toward the desired goals.

Do not waste any time, energy or thought on the outcome of whatever it was that didn’t go as it
was planned. Reverse the negative and turn it into some aspect of the positive, and all that is
ahead is goodness. Like attracts like, positive brings about positive. Do not allow the negative
to manifest. Because your thoughts become actions, and that itself is another lesson.
Ms. Wilcox words carry energy that become thought and action. What a great affirmation to
carry around in our wallets, so that we can take them out and remind ourselves, what it is that we should do when we start feeling sorry for ourselves. Whoa is me…I was wronged…I am
afflicted by….Soon these thoughts as words materialize and your correct, you are wronged and
afflicted.

We create, then we observe what we created, and then we go about fixing that creation.
This is true on the earthly plane just as much as it is true on the spiritual plane. We do what we
think we must do at the time, using many available options from setting back and allowing, to
the entire spectrum of free will. We then look at the completed lesson and observe where we
might have done something differently if we had the ability to go back and do it over. This
observation is an especially important one, because we will do it over and over again. Some of us just don’t realize it. The lesson will come back around until we get it right. Then it will come
around again to make sure that we learned it. At some point, we will see that lesson as a signpost and just pass it on bye.

Just because something is in our past, doesn’t mean that it’s not in front us. No, we will see it
again in one form or another until we figure it out. I guess that is where the saying “those who
ignore the past are destined to relive it” comes from. View lessons as circles, that go round and
round. They may be pleasant, or they could be eventful, seemingly spinning out of control.
These circles will expand and contract, and we, each of us, individually, are the only one who
can control it. Free Will or Natural Law? The choice is yours.

The rules of Nature apply to everything, the universe, this state, this church, and all of us in it.
We can stagnate, we can move forward blindly, or we can progress along our path using the
lessons that we have learned from our past, and applying them to our current situations, growing as we move forward.

Communications with the Spirit world tell us of the warm loving beautiful existence we are
reborn into when we leave this earthly plane. Spirit tells us that we have guides and teachers, as well as loved ones who are ready, willing, and able to help us progress while we are here on
earth. We also know that when we ignore that assistance, life can become a living hell.
The Bible gives us many examples, mostly through allegories, as to how our world should be.
Starting with the beautiful poem that serves as the creation story in Genesis, bringing light and
order to humanity and our world, and on through the book of Exodus providing us with a
demonstration on how we will move from the physical to the spiritual, bargaining, fearing, and
looking over our shoulder along the way.

All the stories show a progression; like the ones where early man sacrificed the eldest son. Then as man developed, the sacrifices became goats and sheep. Finally, man evolved to tithing grains and then money. We are shown that as man progresses as an individual, mankind also evolves.

As we move into the New Testament, we have many stories where Jesus demonstrates
compassion, forgiveness, and love. He advocated for second chances and demonstrated how
humility and non-action becomes evident in progressed souls. It becomes clear that the Bible
evolves as it moves forward from the earthly, beastly teachings of the old testament to the beauty of heaven on earth that Jesus teaches to us in the New Covenant.

The Bible, the “book of life”, evolves to show us that we too, can evolve as humans. The
founders of this Church Community believed they could evolve so they started this church in
Bay City. Their families and followers are believers of the concepts of Spiritual living, and carry
forward that desire to learn, grow and progress as human beings.

As a member of this church, I have watched as some of those who come and go exhibit their own unique perspective on their lives, their beliefs, where they are on their spiritual paths, and how they feel about those around them.

I see them as soul mirrors, reflecting back to me what it is that I need to see for my own growth.
Each of us are in a slightly different place, though we are not as far apart as some would like us
to believe, but together we toil to develop and move toward that singular goal of perfection.
We should each look back proudly at our own unique personal history without dwelling on it.
But we must realize that we will move forward to our destiny. Some kicking and screaming,
while others are enjoying the trip.

There is nothing inherently spiritual about it. There is no need for a Divine Spiritual Revelation
to see it because it is amazingly simple, learn by observing nature in its purest form. It is not so
much what it is that we are observing, but how we observe it. Do not try to place a label on what
you see. If what you see is beauty (as it should be in all things), do not make it beautiful,
because that creates a space for ugly. See goodness for what it is, don’t label it as good, good
creates bad. Remain simple, free from desire and judgement, watch nature in its simplest form,
and learn.

In nature, the rabbit eats green leaves and plants while setting in the sun. A beautiful picture.
Then the rabbit is consumed by the carnivore. An ugly scene. Watch the rabbit in all its beauty.
Then know that the cycle of life completes itself. Nothing more and nothing less.

By employing all the aspects of Natural Law, we know that we can make happen anything that
we desire. Yes, we do need to act on those desires to make them come to fruition. It sounds so
simple, yet we continue to stumble around with the process. We should realize that we need to be incredibly careful that what we create is truly what we want. Because Natural Law provides
consequences that come from all our thoughts (creations).

We create the thought; Nature manifests the creation.

Have you ever lost someone close to you, an employee, close friend, or relative, yet when a
replacement for that person (lesson) manifests, you treat that person (lesson) the same way as
you did the one you lost? You will lose the replacement too, until you learn the lesson that is
being provided to you. Review the lost relationship, learn what happened, see it from as many
angles as possible, then let go of it and move on so that you can continue the growth process.
Never dwell on the past. It is done.

We each must first open our hearts, then observe, and then we listen. Listen to those around us, listen to both spirit and nature. Then through the collective consciousness of the ALL, we can proceed to move on with our lessons and growth.

Reserve actions, still the voice and observe as your potential unfolds in front of you.

Namaste


April 11, 2021

Forgiveness-The Path to Peace
David Byrd-Fournier


Good day! Wherever you are reading this sermon today, I trust that you are safe, loved, and
you are experiencing as rich and abundant a life as possible during this time of diaspora due to
the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. My sermon will be based on the Gospel According to John,
Chapter 20, verses 19-31, and I am quoting from The Message translation. As we read together:
19-20Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had
locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”
Then he showed them his hands and side.

20-21The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated
his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”

22-23Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said.
“If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you
going to do with them?”

24-25But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when
Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”
But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick
my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

26Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them.
Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

27Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take
your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

28Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

29Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings
are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

30-31Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These
are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of
believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.
In this passage the writer (most likely a disciple of the apostle John) relates a story set in the
timeframe between the resurrection of Jesus’ physical body and his ascension from the earth. It
is during this time that Jesus appeared to his surviving disciples to deliver the news that he had
transcended death and had reanimated his physical body after its having laid in the tomb for
more than a day.

The disciples had scattered in those days after. Some were in hiding, fearing the possibility of
being found “guilty by association” and being put to death. Some had attempted to go back to
the lives they led before being called by Jesus. Some were wracked with guilt about the part
they had played in the events leading up to Jesus’ execution by crucifixion. It’s not surprising,
then, that Jesus first words to his disciples are all about forgiveness.

In fact, it is this message of forgiveness that most stood out to me as I contemplated this story. I
chose the translation rendered in The Message because of the way that the translator
approaches the concept of forgiving vs. not forgiving others’ sins. In other translations this has
been treated as more of a power the disciples would have over others. In this treatment,
however, the disciples were presented with a question, “If you don’t forgive sins, what are you
going to do with them?”

This teaching about someone else’s sins being our responsibility to do with as we please has an
echo in the “Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.” (Matthew 18:23-35) In this parable, a servant
who was forgiven a debt that in today’s money would be about $100,000, and yet he would not
forgive a $10.00 debt owed to him. Upon hearing of this, the king who had previously forgiven
the debt not only reinstated every penny but also threw the unforgiving servant in jail until he
could pay back all of it. In both teachings the lesson is clear: if we choose to forgive, we release
ourselves from the burden of remembering the wrongdoing. If we choose not to forgive, the
burden is ours to bear, and the question of “what are you going to do with this?” will weigh just
as heavily on our minds as the memory of the wrongdoing.

So, I ask you the following questions: could a Jesus who didn’t forgive become light enough that
he could eventually ascend from the earth? Could Jesus’ mind so full of hatred and resentment
over the events leading up to his crucifixion be able to will his body to teleport from one
location to another? For that matter, had Jesus not forgiven every participant in these same
events is it conceivable that he might not have been able to resurrect his body? Closer to home,
how much power do we deny ourselves when we deny the powerful act of forgiveness to
another who did the best they knew how to do in the moment and still fell short?

I believe that much of the pain, suffering, and dysfunction in our present world could be wiped
away if as a human race we chose to forgive—to give up the pain of the past and to embrace
the joy that rushes in to take its place. To do so would be truly revolutionary. Imagine a world
where acts of injustice would be met with a loving and sincere offer to help heal the
perpetrator, rather than seeking revenge. Imagine a world where misunderstandings and
conflicts are seen as invitations to seek understanding, to recognize common goals and purposes while acknowledging that only the paths differ, truly living the ideal that differences do not become divisions. Such a world is possible, and it all starts with each of us being willing to forgive.


Namaste

April 4, 2021 – Easter

In Preparation
Rev. Brian D. Jones

The scripture for today is the Gospel of Luke (NIV), chapter 23 verses 26-49

The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’[b]

31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called Golgotha, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[c] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]”

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e] When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him,

including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

_________________________

It is Easter. And were this any other year than 2021, sanctuaries around the world (even the metaphysically-inclined), would be bursting at the seams with congregants in their Spring finery, gleaming in optimistic colors. As a minister I will neither complain about nor feign confusion about this annual burgeoning of worship. It is as expected and anticipated as the crocuses and tulip trees. And why?

Because everyone… loves a winner. Who among us has not experienced a rise in the fervor of our fandom as our team chases the pennate or makes the play-offs? As far as our faith goes (and a few other faiths, to be fair) the resurrection is the – and it being Easter, allow me to use a highfalutin word – the Resurrection is the apotheosis of what we believe.

The promise of the Resurrection is so powerful that Pope Francis evoked it as a source of hope during his March visit to Christians in war-ravaged Iraq. That said, to those of you who set aside this moment to celebrate Jesus’s ultimate victory over death, I owe you an apology. Because rather than focus on the triumph of resurrection, I want to talk about the importance of death.

And notice I did not say, “the Crucifixion.” Yes, it is epic, inspiring, and overwhelming to contemplate. I remember as an adolescent Methodist, our minister walked us through the entire event in uncomfortable detail. Clearly the Master

Teacher’s death was beyond our capacity. Our take-away should be this: we are not worthy, but still he died for us. And the suffering. It was important that he suffered during the experience, perhaps to pile on a little guilt.

So often we’re taught to follow in Jesus’s footsteps, but this conventional take on the Crucifixion implies the road to Golgotha is beyond we lowly mortals. And ultimately, in my opinion, this take separates us from the experience. “The kingdom of God is at hand,” Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew. Metaphysically, we receive this as assurance of its availability to us (as opposed to a dire warning of the apocalypse). Accordingly, the example and lessons of the Crucifixion must surely be available and applicable to us today.

This is not a radical expectation. Passover was last week. In my readings as well as in the videos I watched, there were assertions that Passover isn’t just about remembrance of the Hebrew liberation from Egyptian slavery. It’s also a time to reflect on human enslavement in modern times. Further, it’s a challenge to strive for liberation from material, emotional or intellectual enslavement.

It is Easter, and of course we should reflect upon the overwhelming account of Jesus’ death and glorious resurrection. From there, I gently invite you to look back upon the times physical death has touched your lives. And – if you’re ready – reverently consider how good somehow managed to bud forth in the years that followed.

My beloved mother was rather thrifty, and she regularly discussed financial responsibility with us kids. When she died, without hesitation each of us applied our small inheritance to our debts. After that I addressed my finances more purposefully and within a few years (save my mortgage) was debt free.

Of course, given the choice, I would gladly be saddled with all that debt and more and to still Mom with us. But the lightness-of-being that followed my release from financial burden, it happened because of that little inheritance. I feel constant gratitude for her when I look at a zero-balance credit card bill. Though her absence looms large, my lightness-of-being is a monument to who she was, is, and will be in my life.

Back in the 1990s, Mom was visiting from Florida, and she joined me for Easter service at Arlington Metaphysical. This generous-hearted woman had accepted my leaving the Methodist church, and this was the perfect service for her to understand why Divine Metaphysics was the right spiritual step for me. She was fully engaged. I can still picture her sitting there in the pew, positioned for meditation and chanting the three aums. Afterwards I asked her thoughts.

“Well, I agreed with it all,” she said. “with the exception of one thing.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“[The minister] said Jesus didn’t suffer on the cross, and I think it’s important that he suffered for our sins.”

I accepted but did not counter her point. After all, my intent was to share not to convert. Even Metaphysicians debate when Jesus reached Christhood. Was he born fully-christed? Was it when he was baptized? Perhaps in the Garden at Gethsemane when he accepted his upcoming trial and crucifixion.

What is evident from today’s scripture, on the road to Golgotha, we do not see a man burdened by his humanity. His highest, Christed-self is present and in action during circumstances that are unthinkable to most of us. His body has been greatly abused; he’s being mocked by strangers. The heavy cross-beam is strapped to his back, and yet he’s comforting the women mourning in the streets, instructing them to look inward and forward.

“Do not weep for me. Weep for yourselves and your children.” In essence, “This is not about me! It’s about you!” Later, there from the cross, he is more concerned about the spiritual welfare of the Romans carrying out his execution. And with one of the thieves dying with him, the Good Shepherd adds a final member to his flock.

Dying with him. I can’t write those words without thinking of the story of Lazarus.

To refresh your memory, Lazarus is the brother of Mary and Martha. Jesus and the Disciples are on the outskirts of Lazarus’s town when they receive word he’s is sick and needs healing. Yet for some reason, Jesus stays put for two more days. By the time Jesus decides to go to Lazarus, it’s too late. And to clear up any confusion, Jesus lays it

“Let us go, so that we may die with him.” Wow. What a thing to say. Since the New Testament is not known for its humor, it’s safe to say Thomas isn’t offering a little comic relief. Instead, Thomas has taken to heart some earlier comments by Jesus:

“This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory, so that God’s Son may be glorified through it (John 11:4).” And when the Disciples urge Jesus not to go for safety reasons, he replies, “…Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light (John 11:5).”

Maybe I’m making something out of nothing. But I genuinely believe Jesus is using this instance to make a statement about physical death (why else would he have waited two more days when the situation was so dire?). Further, he’s instructing how one should “walk through the Valley of Death” (pun intended).

Now, odds are low that we may find ourselves on the literal road to Golgotha. Odds are even lower that we will be summoned to resurrect a dead man. But just as Jews reflect on the potential ways they may metaphorically enslaved during Passover, so too should we consider the many metaphorical deaths or losses we have experienced or may someday experience.

Whether it’s a loss of a job, health, a relationship, assets… Jesus’s roadmap is for us: proceed as the children of light that we are. In these dark hours our Christ-consciousness will be at the fore.

By no means does this guarantee that the experience will be shorter. It will be as long as is necessary. It does not mean it will be easy. It will be as difficult as is necessary.

But by proceeding with the Christ-mind, we will have a foothold on the true route through it along with an eye and heart focused on what truly matters. The promise is that when we emerge anew, we will be the better for it. Different perhaps, but better than had we wrapped ourselves in the burdens of our humanity.

Jesus knew the death that lay before him. He went to the Garden of Gethsemane and spiritually prepared for the events that would soon lead him to Golgotha. For us, in our human lives, sometimes we’re several steps down that path before we realize it. Sometimes – may they be very, very few – we inexplicably discover ourselves on the hill. And so, Children of Light, let us take our Master Teacher’s advice. Let us make every day a Gethsemane.

May the promise of Easter illumine all your days.


March 28, 2021

Palm Trees
Rev. Sandra Spyker

An excerpt from “A Holmes Reader for All Season” by Dr. Ernest Holmes 1993.

Life is and cannot produce death. Death is naught but evolution, progress and transition from one state to another. In life, in thought and in act we should cease contemplating death and realize life and more life. Life is a continuous process.

And that is what Palm Sunday was and still is about, our beginning and end. A continuous cycle of our spiritual resurrection.

As Jesus road into Jerusalem, of course the Israelites thought this was a new beginning. They waved their palm branches in victory knowing Jesus had come to save them. But supposedly all was lost just a day later with the Crucifixion and his Death. As far as the Israelites knew their hope for freedom had been destroyed. What happened to “The Kingdom” Jesus was always talking about? Did he not say it was not of this world, that is was within us? They were only able to see the physical aspects, not the spiritual side.

In somewhat of a comparison, 2020 and 2021 has been filled to the brim with uncertainty and chaos. We thought we put it all behind us when we said good bye to 2020 and then Jan.6th happens and here we are with stress levels significantly higher because change and uncertainty are not the exception anymore. Learning to be comfortable with the discomfort of change in 2021 is an important aspect of managing our energy. And now with the vaccine becoming available, things don’t look so grim and yet.. what about the variants? I don’t think we are ready to wave palm branches in victory.

I know I have posed many questions, but are we doing the same thing that happened over 2000 years ago? Only seeing the physical point of view? I am not taking away from the 500,000 men and women who have died in this pandemic, but I think there is more than just the physical side to this story. It is important that we sit with the hard truths. We are living through a pandemic and also waking up in a broader and more personal way to the hideous nature of racial injustices. I realize this sounds so negative but when we are seeking only blissful experiences we cut ourselves off from seeing and experiencing the Divine in every aspect and moment in our lives. It all boils down to your belief system, and your beliefs are yours alone. I’m sure we all knew that a pandemic was possible. We’ve seen them before somewhere else but not here in our country. However, believe it or not, it happened to us. There have been so many things that have happened since the beginning of 2020 and are still continuing in 2021. Everything is not ok. Everything will not be all right– but there is room for it all, the fullness of life. As Holmes said, “Life is a continuous process.” Crucifixion, death and resurrection. We are learning about public health. We are grieving those lost to the virus. We are grieving what our lives looked like a year ago. And we are leaning more about our mental health, we are also laughing, and painting and falling in love and doing all the beautiful thing humans do. Some of us have been taught that the way to deal with pain and painful emotions is to get rid of them. Just stuff them back inside and try and forget. In her book “Learning to Walk in the Dark” Rev. Taylor states “it can take a lot of reschooling to learn to sit with painful emotions and finding out from those who feel them what they have learned and realizing what they labeled as undesirable revealed it’s gifts.”

What you believe is your personal choice. You can even believe in the labels such as good and bad that we give to people, events and things. This is free will, to believe in whatever we chose. It can definitely help us to learn of our personal responsibilities and hopefully change when we need to. As metaphysicians we believe that we have come from the same Source and by our beliefs we are made whole. Yet, our beliefs can also make us sick.

The universe is constantly changing, growing and being created and recreated. All of Living Spirit is alive, thus exhibiting growth and evolution. If we didn’t change we would be dead. And if we were not creators how did your home and the chairs you sit in take shape and find their place in “reality”, here and now.

This is Eastertide (Palm Sunday), we again celebrate the birth of new life and through the process of death life is again reborn in different terms and different realties. What we call new life is not new at all, it’s a new experience of an eternal reality. The life budding forth in your garden is not new. The life expressing in the trees is not new. The buds in the garden had life within them before being planted and when the condition of the soil and bulbs came together something “new” came into expression. It stands to reason that when the flowers end their expression the life that expressed as them did not die. It simply transformed to a new plane of existence. Jesus knew the soul is immortal. “In my Father’s house are many mansions”. What he was trying to tell us is that this is but one of the innumerable planes for the soul on its ever-expanding pathway of self-unfoldment. There have been many spiritually illumined teachers, who over the course of thousands of years have taught the immortality of every person, the continuity of every person’s individualized stream of God consciousness and self-awareness. We may desecrate our spiritual natures; we may temporarily dishonor or disown them. But somewhere, under some condition, we shall all awake from our sleep. This is the meaning of the saying

“Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light”. Awake from the physical self and see with spiritual eyes (Christ Consciousness). Our third Principle says; we believe in the immortality of our soul and that we carry our individual identity into the spirit world after each life time. The teachings of Jesus were based on the theme that we are surrounded by an intelligent Law which does unto each as we believe. All of this leads us to the conclusion that once we can hear that small voice within that tells us we are all one, there is no separation .We then come to our Resurrection which means that all of Spirit is present as you and as me. We are not part of Spirit, we are all of Spirit.

Do you believe?


March 21, 2021

Harmony
Dianne Williams

Good Afternoon 

Today’s scripture comes from George Lasma’s translation  of the Holy Bible. The New Testament from First Peter,  Chapter 3 verse 8. 

Finally, all of you must live in harmony, be sympathetic, love as  brothers, and be compassionate and humble. 

Thus, ends the reading from the First Peter, Chapter 3 verse 8. 

“I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony!” Why don’t  we all sing instead of ignoring each other or fighting? Imagine this  happening instead. 

The metaphysical meaning of harmony is being in perfect accord with the goodness, the beauty, and the righteousness of omnipresent Spirit. Everything is governed by fixed law, and  harmony is its expression. This is illustrated by the living body,  which is a sensitive instrument, responsive to the touch of the  Master, I AM. 

It seems to me that one of the goals as a spiritual person is to  achieve harmony between the spirit, mind, and body. We can  define harmony as congruity between these three aspects of  being. All three are integral parts of our existence, and as such  interact with and influence one another. Congruity is the key  word. For there to be harmony, the mind must be aware of the  spirit and understand the nature, meaning, and purpose of a  spiritual life. The mind must also be dedicated to a life of  goodness and virtue. The body finds congruity by cultivating  good health to fully support expression of the mind and spirit  through outward action.

The state of the mind determines the extent to which the spirit  can express itself. If the mind is at peace, open, and seeks  spiritual awareness, it will come. When this happens, the mind is compelled to seek outlets for expression of the spirit-self.  There is a transformation in one’s motives, intent, and desire. When harmony is achieved, love and compassion for all things  overlooks the person’s world view. One’s thoughts are outwardly  directed toward the needs of others. There is a strong desire to  serve God (Infinite Intelligence) and humanity, and material things  become relatively unimportant. Expression of the spirit energizes  mind and body bringing feelings of happiness and wellbeing.  When we build harmony between our bodies and spirits, we can find true happiness both in our mortal existence and in the life to  come. 

In the movie, Beauty and the Beast, Belle is taken prisoner in  an enchanted castle by a prince trapped in the body of a beast  because of a curse. Belle does not judge the Beast and is able to  separate his outer shell of rude manners and anger from his spirit  within. Because of Belle’s love, the spell is broken, and the prince  returns to his original appearance. Each of us is made up of two  elements – the physical body and the spirit. The Beast’s physical  body, with which the prince had been encumbered, made him  grumpy and asocial, but when his heart changed, and he was  able to recover his joyful and sociable nature, his physical  appearance also changed. Physical conditions can have a  significant impact on spiritual wellness outside of fairytales as  well. The beautiful harmony that can exist between our physical  and spiritual natures is an important condition for finding true  happiness in our mortal journey and in the eternities to come. 

Three principles come from Bishop Gerald Causse and they help  explain the relationship between our physical and spiritual natures  and their influence on each other. 

1. Spiritual strength influences our physical well-being.  Inner thoughts, feelings and emotions can translate into  physical sensations. Pure and charitable hearts reflect a  countenance that draws others to them. True beauty is a  result of a subtle alchemy and a delicate balance, which in  large part comes from our personal inner lights, rather than  from aesthetic or physical criteria alone. We should not allow  perceived physical imperfections to define us. Strengthening  our inner light should be our focus. By doing so we will  develop an inward beauty that radiates in our outward  appearance, improves our physical well-being, invigorates  our natural senses and makes us a happier person. 

2. Physical appearance impacts spirituality of ourselves and  those around us. Outward appearance is not insignificant.  Dress and behavior have an influence on our spirit. We  should pay careful attention to the physical image and  appearance that we present to the world. It may directly  influence our spiritual life and the lives of those around us. 

3. The Lord recognizes the importance of both temporal and  spiritual principles. Many commandments are both spiritual  and temporal, including the Word of Wisdom, the law of  chastity, tithing and emergency preparedness. Taking care of  our health is another important principle, which includes eating  nutritious food, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.  The habits we establish now pertaining to our personal  well-being will impact us both temporally and spiritually for  the rest of our lives.

Spiritual harmony is the absolute fact of being it characterizes the  true state of existence. Harmony is inherent in everyone. So, it is  with a deep sense of joy that we begin to realize that we do exist in perfect harmony and that any belief to the contrary is only  mortal illusion. The real house in which we live, and move, and  have our being is Spirit, Infinite Intelligence, the eternal harmony  of infinite Soul.  

We all seek spirituality in our own way, but some of us need  a more self-propelled approach to our spiritual needs than what is  pursued by the vast majority. The attainment of spiritual harmony  can be established by coupling a genuine desire with a firm  commitment that brings about a determined effort to progress with  one’s spirit. Neuroscientists have concluded that our sense of  spiritual yearning has either evolved over time or is hardwired into  our brains, there appears to be little knowledge about how to  independently promote our own spiritual progress. In childhood  our innate sense of spirituality is strong, but it does not take long  for many of us to abandon connecting with our spiritual selves,  since we recognize so little gratification in the process. As it  remains our own choice about how to direct our individual journey  through this life, we should want to pursue a course of action that  will give us a sense of achievement for our work at the spiritual  level. Like how we crave food and drink to sustain ourselves, we  also crave a sense of spiritual nourishment that is either handed  to us at the corner institution or is earned through a conscious  commitment to interact with our spiritual selves.  

Although it might be assumed that we first should gain a healthy  balance at the physical level to be in harmony with our spirit,  once we start to conscientiously work with our spirit by following  positive principles, we will naturally find balance at all levels. We might be surprised to find how easily we can adopt a healthy  secure lifestyle and generally take care of ourselves better, when  we feel attuned to our spirit.

A positively oriented spirit requires a firm commitment with  its physical body for it to be able to exist in a harmonious  relationship. A spirit is not affected by time, emotion, or the  elements of the physical world, but it can be affected by the  negative or positive energies that we accept or reject at all levels.  A positively oriented spirit will work in unison with its body when there is mutually positive interaction. Our main task is to  genuinely assume the responsibility of doing the hard work  of removing the elements of negativity that inhibit our spirit from existing in a positive state. 

Bringing a positive perspective into all aspects of our life is an  incremental process through which the benefits fall into place  as we build on a sound foundation. No one can eliminate all  negativity from this life – it is all around us on our planet – but we  can reduce its impact through counteraction and positive  replacement. Working against negativity is a challenge that,  when met with the strength of commitment to work with a  positively oriented spirit, results in a positive stance in our life. 

We can feel at peace anywhere anytime, when we know our spirit  is progressing, because our efforts to remove the negative  elements from our life elevate us and our spirit to a positive state.  When we reach a state of harmony with our spirit, we feel a sense  of calm, even when we are in the middle of traffic, dealing with  finances, working out a relationship or dealing with troubling  events in our life – somewhat like the feeling we get when we  are out in nature: walking through a forest, sailing atop the  ocean waves or looking up at the stars at night.

Being in harmony with our spirit means that we feel a keen sense  of serenity and contentment all the time. When our spirit is  intimately connected with the purely positive energy of the  universe/multiverse, it brings a sense of timeless majesty into  our being. We naturally become more aware of the importance  of being in balance with our spirit, as we work alongside it to bring  spiritual progress and harmony into our existence. We should not  think of true harmony without paying attention to our spiritual  aspect. Call it our emotional being if that feels better. Either way  it is the key force that pushes and pulls us through life. 

The first, foremost and most important of all the 20 Universal  Laws is the Law of Harmony. This is also like one of the 7  Cosmic Laws of Hermes Trismegistos, called The Principle of  Harmony and Balance, which states, ‘Harmony is the flow of life.  Everything strives for harmony, for balance. The stronger  determines the weaker and makes it equal to itself.’ 

Everything around us is energy, including our thoughts and  feelings. For example, empaths can intuitively feel and perceive  other people’s emotions and feelings without the other person  saying a word. These energies create vibrations that are either  harmonious or disharmonious with the Universe and can not only  affect us, but the people we meet. Do you think this explains why  the mainstream media and most governments try to keep us living  in a perpetual state of fear? When we live in fear, we can be  easily controlled.

Negative emotions, such as fear, jealousy, and envy, will keep us living in a state of disharmony and create blockages which in turn,  will bring repetitive cycles of negative emotions and experiences  until we can finally release whatever disharmonious emotion or  experience that is attached to us. For example, when we get  angry at someone, it usually is not something we personally  dislike within that person, but more likely, it is something that we  fear within ourselves. This provides us an OPPORTUNITY to  overcome this fear or negative emotion through self-reflection  while helping us on our spiritual progressions. 

The Universe always works in perfect balance. By aligning  ourselves with positive energy, we will in turn receive positive  energy. When we align ourselves with negative energy, we  create a disharmonious ripple effect. This law supersedes even  the fundamental law of Karma, for harmony is the supreme  potential of balance. The purpose of Karma is to attain harmonyIf we throw a rock into a pond you disturb the harmony of the  pond, we are the cause, the effect is the splash and the ripples  that flows out and back until harmony is restored. Similarly, our  disharmonious actions flow out into the Universe and back upon  us, lifetime after lifetime, until eventually our own harmony is  restored. 

When we give unconditional love to others, we open the space to  receive unconditional love for ourselves. When we give anything  away freely that which we are seeking, we are also allowing that  which we are seeking to enter. What we give to others, we create  for ourselves. The energies are in perfect harmony with one  another. Unfortunately, this works with both positive and negative  energies as the Universe will seek a matching balance for these  energies.

One thing we can do is to silently send love to everyone we meet.  If someone walks by us on the street, smile and say, “Good  morning” but in our minds, also say, “I love you.” When we are  driving, we can do the same thing to the drivers in the oncoming  traffic. Or we might try stargazing and send out the intent of love  to the galaxy and universe. 

Once we begin to release all fear, the Universe will align itself with  our new energies. We can tell that we are in perfect alignment  when we are receiving that which we are positively giving to  others. This does not necessarily mean wealth or materialistic  possessions, but it is more on a level of positive energy  exchange, although it could possibly include money or physical  possessions. The main aspect is the intent behind it. When we  give, always give without conditions attached or expecting  anything in return. When we do this, the universe will reward our  kind acts to others to create a symbiotic balance between what  we have done for others and what we are about to receive!  

How do you think we lose harmony? It is lost when the will is  centered in the external and loses sight of the ideal, it breaks the  connection between Spirit and manifestation, and thus we lose  the harmony that is his under divine law. Then we restore it  through a knowledge of the Truth of Being, we are restored  to divine harmony. We really need to know the Truth about  ourselves and conform to it in all of our thinking, and not be  misled by appearances. 

If we help each other to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony  we can hold it in our arms and keep it company. We see the  world for once….all standing hand in hand and hear the echo  through the hills for peace will be throughout the land.


March 14, 2021

Healing Self, the Nation, and the World
Rev. Fabienne Piccinni –  Arlington, VA

Luke 17:17-19 (American Standard Version): “And he came down with them, and stood on a level place, and a great multitude of his disciples, and a great number of the people from all Judaea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; and they that were troubled with unclean spirits were healed. And all the multitude sought to touch him; for power came forth from him, and healed them all.” 

The past few years have been challenging. On top of a pandemic that ripped through the world, a great divide was set between many friends and loved ones. Friendships and families were torn apart. The world is not new to divergence of opinions; politics, religion, social justice, and many other topics have a way to awaken people’s passions, leading to conflicts. But history tells us that conflicts can lead to more conflicts, and pain can lead to more pain if we don’t agree at some point to turn the page and start the healing process. Where do we start though?

First and foremost, with an intention. For healing to happen, we have to want it. It is when we are ready to start the process that it can take place. An example that some might identify with is that former smokers might say that they attempted to quit many times to please their loved ones. But it is only when they are ready to heal that they are able to quit. 

Two top cleric leaders met just a few days ago with an intention to heal people with different opinions about religion. Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani, the leading spiritual leader of Iraqi Shia Muslims, and Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, met to decry the religious violence in Iraq. They condemned extremism as betrayal of religion. This was a historical moment that took place in Ur, Iraq. It is very symbolic: two Spiritual leaders of different faiths met where Abraham is believed to have been born; two leaders of different religions united with a healing intention. They came out of their comfort zone to show the world that peace and harmony between people of different religions can exist even in a place that has been ravaged by war. 

For healing to take place, we have to set our emotions aside. When we are upset, we tend to forget that we have a role to play as well. When we are upset, we tend to blame others. They need to change, they need to heal. But is it fair to blame others without looking at what we could do and how we could change? As the talented Michael Jackson said in one of my favorite songs, Man in the Mirror, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.” We all have a role to play. Personal responsibility is a cornerstone of our belief system. 

For healing to take place, we need to open our hearts, be honest with ourselves, and question our own actions and our own beliefs. We need to open our hearts and let the healing in, and then let the healing out so that we can open the hearts of others. As we say, charity starts at home. Actually, healing starts at home, in our own temple, in our own heart.

Just like the Grand Ayatollah and Pope Francis, we also need to recognize the divinity and the humanity of those with whom we don’t share the same values and opinions, and yet share our love with them, even if we don’t understand them. As we are all one, if we are unkind to others, we are unkind to a part of ourselves. So for healing to happen, we have to let go. Let go of pain, let go of anger. There is no room for anger in healing. Letting go is one of the most important parts of the process.

During her first press conference, Jen Psaki, the Press Secretary said that the way her office could promote healing in this country was to share truth. Isn’t truth the foundation of all healing? Truth – the truth of who and what we are. The greatest disease affecting most men (and women) is ignoring the truth. The truth of facts, but also not accepting the truth of what we are. And that is what we need to heal from. Because once we know and feel what we are – a divine spark – the only way to go is to heal and open our hearts to heal others.

And while we are on the topic of truth, let’s go back to our Scripture. The multitudes represent the hungry thoughts that we have that want to hear truth. Truth is often masked by the fog of just about everything happening to us in life, the chatter in our mind doesn’t want to handle the truth; however, deep within, at the core of our being, we want truth. The multitudes (those thoughts) came to hear Jesus, the Christ consciousness talking to them. This represents our hunger for wisdom and a consciousness of truth. Deep down within, most of us want  to be part of the Truth, feel it, and live it. 

The disciples gathered with Jesus represent the faculties of the mind; once the faculties have been illuminated by Truth, they want to share the Truth so that others can heal and grow. It’s not fun to see others in pain; when we discover Truth, we want to share it with others, but they might not be ready to hear it. People came from Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea of Tyre and Sidon. Judea represents the part of ourselves that praises Jehovah – or God – those among us that thank and praise God for all that we have. Jerusalem represents the dwelling peace, from which enlightenment comes. That which is not true cannot live in Jerusalem. Internal peace resides in Jerusalem. In the consciousness of God.

The multitudes (the many thoughts in our mind) that come to listen to Jesus for healing also come from Sidon and Tyre. Those are the parts of our consciousness that are having a hard time questioning our actions, our wrongdoings – kind of like immature children that only question our actions only if we get caught. Sidon and Tyre are the people who will go on and pretend it’s the other person that has to change, until they see their own Facebook post that confirms that they have been hurtful to someone. It is not always easy to be honest with ourselves – to have a tough conversation with ourselves, to be open to the insights of truth. We might have to look at things that we don’t want to see. We have to open ourselves to the insight of spirit that will tell us to change our ways. If we pretend that all is well, we don’t heal. We don’t change. We don’t grow. And then, what’s the point? Don’t we want to go to Jerusalem and meet the peace within, or do we want to stay where we are?

In Hermetic Philosophy, we learn “as within, so without, as above, so below.”  What happens outside of ourselves, or metaphorically in the world, is an expression of what happens inside of ourselves. The conflict that we experience in the world is a conflict we experience in our consciousness. Healing is needed inside of us so we can heal the world outside of us. First we have to heal ourselves – within – so that we can heal outside of ourselves. If we heal ourselves, if we pay attention to our spiritual growth, our actions, all the insights; we let go of the things that pain us. We allow change to set in. And as we let go of the parts of ourselves that pain us, healing takes place, and changes happen within ourselves and are expressed outside of ourselves. As we heal, the light within shines brighter and illuminates everything on its path. We heal our environment. The multitudes were drawn to Jesus not only because of the words he spoke but because of the light that he shone. When we heal ourselves, those around us are drawn to us for their own healing. 

A lot of healing is needed in this world. We can choose to be part of the solution and heal ourselves and then heal the world. Healing starts with a true intention, commitment, and honesty. Go within. Listen to those insights. Be honest with yourself. Be true to yourself. Let your healing begin and be the light that shines onto the world.

Blessings of Peace.


March 7, 2021

Note to Self
Rev. Nancy Hall

Hello to you all; again we come together via technology; cyberspace. Although it is so wonderful that we have this avenue to be able to communicate during this time; it also has its glitches. I was to bring you this lesson last month and due to technology it was not received on time and Reverend Laura stepped in and filled the gap. Thank you very much Rev. Laura. I am very blessed to have another opportunity to bring you this week’s lesson. So how have you been? I pray that all is well.

This last year it seems like the days have merged with the weeks and the weeks have melted into the months. Just yesterday it was January 1, 2021!!!! Kirk and I were discussing the energies that this year brings. We talked excitingly about this year’s possibilities and contemplated this year’s challenges. Now it’s the first week in March; we are already two months into the year. Why does time give us the illusion of moving so swiftly, more swiftly then before? Is it because of the trials and experiences we have been through this last year? The pandemic? The political division? A nation struggling? A world struggling? Is it the concern of the emotional impact and social impact that this is having on society as a whole? Well my answer is “it’s all of the above and more”. A certain TV station will air throughout the day a little clip that asks “What Day Is It?” and then with the flare of a game show announcer responds with the correct day. I chuckle when I hear it, yes many of us are losing track of the days, whether it is working from home; or staying home with the kids because of virtual learning. Through all of this there is a need to ask; what, what is our purpose? What is the lesson that’s here to learn? What is the bigger picture? I have heard from my family, co-workers and friends who say they have turned off the news or took a break from social media. There are so many questions; I don’t have the answers. I wish I did. But I can and must say there is still so much beauty all around. There is common ground. There is love and compassion we can see it if we try. 1 Peter; chapter 4 verse 8 reads “And above all things have fervent love toward one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” Now I had to look up “fervent” cause I had no idea what it meant; so another word that could be used in its place would be enthusiastic. “And above all things have enthusiastic love toward one another, because love covers a multitude of sins”. Okay let’s resolve the “sins” thing; multitude of sins; let’s rephrase that to a multitude of errors; mistakes or missing the mark. So I’ll say it one more time. “And above all things have enthusiastic love toward one another, because love covers a multitude of mistakes” And man, have there been many of them on multitude of levels. Hey, our humanness is not perfect, that portion of us is not supposed to be. If we can’t overcome, forgive our mistakes (sins) and others mistakes where is our growth? Where is the “loving enthusiastically” (fervent)? Through it all, love can and does conquer all and compassion rides along with the love energy. They go hand in hand. For me, I have to hold on to that Truth. I need to live by the “Golden Rule”.

So with that I turn to the title of this lesson. Note to Self. If you were writing a note to yourself; placing your hopes and joys, struggles and worries down; expressing how you’ve felt this last year; what would it say? How would it read? Do some self-examination. Take the time to search for what makes you tick, truly tick. Make the effort to step away from the external energies that do; could and will influence your energy which does not have your best interest in mind and heart. Check out what is really important to you, what really matters. This past year there have been many individuals that I might not totally agree with about life and what has and is occurring. I allowed myself to get all worked up and would rant and rave about what was done or said; I got “a bee in my bonnet” (for lack of better words). I found myself needing to really search for, “what is really important here” “what really, truly matters”. I get so lost in the surface, the superficial of the physical realm. And the Universe always, always gives me the opportunity to be pulled back to reality, my reality. I hear that guidance; that voice that steers me to Self. I keep being drawn to that Beatles tune. “All you need is Love” bum bum bum bum bum. “All you need is Love”. Bum bum bum bum bum. “All you need is Love, love; Love is all you need”. Now on a side note you can’t tell me you weren’t humming along just now. I know you were. I hope it sticks with you for a long time; maybe even becomes kind of an affirmation/mantra”. In all areas of our world we need to see, feel, and express that which is our true nature, our true essence, which is Love. 1 John chapter 4 verse 7 and 8 reads, “My beloved, let us love one another; for love is from God; and every one who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love”. I know I speak a lot of this love thing but really “love is all there is”. Mother Teresa said “Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within the reach of every hand” We are given precious gifts; these lessons in life; we are given the opportunities to grow; to evolve. In life each and every experience we have unfolds within us new levels of consciousness. As we move through this “thing” this “trial” on a collective consciousness as well as on an individual level try, I know it’s not easy, but try to see this as an opportunity. An opportunity to heal, to mend ourselves and each other. The following was posted on Facebook; I am not sure of the author but it touched me. Titled — Good Karma –Note to Self–

“What is my purpose in life” I asked the void.

“What if I told you that you fulfilled it when you took an extra hour to talk to that kids about his life?” said the voice.

“Or when you paid for that young couple in the restaurant? Or when you saved that dog in traffic? Or when you tied your father’s shoes for him?”

“Your problem is that you equate your purpose with goal-based achievement. The Universe isn’t interested in your achievements…just your heart. When you choose to act out of kindness, compassion and love, you already aligned with your true purpose.

No need to look any further?”

Choose to see the good; the love in you and everyone around you. Eliminate yourself from toxic energies that flood your space. Although this is a rather lengthy read, I share with you this story from the book; Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and Lao Tzu; The Parallel Sayings, edited by Richard Hooper. He writes, “I recall reading a story some years ago about an encounter that took place between a Jewish rabbi and his wife, and a member of a white supremacist group which hated Jews. Circumstances arose in which this your man, along with his brethren, broke into a local synagogue and destroyed much of it. Defacing almost every surface with racial slurs and other slogan of intolerance.

If something like this were to happen to most of us, our first reaction might be one of equal anger and disgust. We would call the police with the hopes that the responsible parties would be found, arrested and severely punished. We would probably feel horribly violated, and our intolerance of hate groups would become intense. Some of us might even want to retaliate in kind.

But instead of calling the police the rabbi and his wife went looking for the responsible people. They were finally able to locate one member of the hate group, and instead of responding to him angrily, they told him that they loved him. This response so disarmed the man, that when the rabbi invited him to dinner at the couple’s home, the man actually accepted the invitation.

After dinner the rabbi and his wife talked with this young man for many hours, during which time he shared his life story with them. It was not surprising for the couple to learn that this poor lost soul had been abused and unloved as a child. Neither was it surprising to them that his role models had been parents who were bigots.

It was apparent to the rabbi and his wife that the young man’s hatred had nothing to do with them, any more that it had to do with the fact that they were Jewish. They understood that this young person’s hate was really an expression of his own pain and suffering. Life had been hard and cruel to him, so he had become hard and cruel to survive.

The rabbi and his wife did not see a hate-filled criminal before them–someone who ought to be vilified and punished. They saw a human being who was desperately in need of love and compassion. As it turned out, love worked a miracle; not only did the ex-white supremacist voluntarily repair all the damage his group had done to the synagogue, but he became like a son to the rabbi and his wife, and they became the loving parents he never had.”

And inspiring true-life story like this allows us to see that love and compassion are more than spiritual platitudes. Hate really can be transformed by love, just as the great spiritual teachers have always told us. To see what we need to do in this world, to recognize the pain and suffering in everyone, we have to transform ourselves into living embodiments of love. If we succeed–through great effort, and many failures–we come to realize that what we did for the sake of others was the very thing we needed to do for ourselves. Love, like hate, returns to the sender.

Note to Self; when you are in the midst of the chaos and you are floundering in the energies. Come back to your Self. Your essence. You have the power, the knowledge, the strength to mend; repair and heal yourself and in turn help heal the world we live in. Utilize it. All you need is Love.

Thank you for allowing me to share a part of me with you.

Peace and blessing to you all.


February 28, 2021

Walk the Talk
Rev. Susan Wright, Caro

In a year that took us by storm, 2020 gave us cause to experience life in ways, that not even in our wildest dreams, could we imagine. Much of our old reality shifted and we were encouraged to look at life through a different lens. Our world today calls us, as Metaphysicians, to rise to new challenges and understand the importance for us to Walk the Talk.

It’s good to stay current with what’s happening, but too much negative media can shift our energy to a lower vibration and bring about sadness, anger, and a lack of love into our energy field. Watching the behavior of others throughout the world, our country, our community, and perhaps even in within our own family can do the same and lead to us becoming judgmental and “finger pointing.

At least I have noticed that with myself.

As spiritual seekers our life experiences in these times are continually nudging us to grow and evolve.

We all leave our energetic “footprint” on the world. We are spirit having a human experience today. We ARE the expression of God. The question is, how do we bring forward our best expression?

I have been reminded many times in the past year, by my guides and teachers, “Stay on the path, stay in your own lane, stay in the light, be the light”!

We as Metaphysicians talk spiritual truths but do, we Walk the Talk?

In Buddhist sacred scripture, The Dhammapada, verses 51-52 says:

As a flower that is lovely and beautiful, but scentless, even so fruitless is the well-spoken word of one who does not practice it.

As a flower that is lovely, beautiful and scent-laden, even so fruitful is the well-spoken word of one who practices it.

The Dhammapada implies, it is the practice of showing our light not just talking about it that gives beauty to our lives and the lives of others.

So, during these unprecedented times, how do we HELP, rather than hinder our world? How do we keep ourselves balanced, whole and in a good vibrational place as well as contribute to the lives of those around us? How do we Walk the Talk?

The Bible in 1 Peter, Chapter 1 verses 13-16 states:

If you want to act holy, you have to learn to think holy.

Through Natural Law we have been taught that Thoughts are Things. And that our thoughts will in turn determine the kinds of experiences that we draw into our lives. The mind is like fertile soil and whatever we consistently plant(think) will grow.

So, what is it that we are thinking these days? What is it that we are allowing into our lives that is shaping our thoughts? Is it what we truly believe and want in our lives?

In many ways we’ve had more idle time, than ever before with COVID precautions.

I’ve come to realize that days have gone by and I wondered what I had actually completed that day. It seemed huge but I often did mindless

tasks, watched more movies than normal, and sometimes got wrapped up in the news and drama of my life and the lives of others

That’s OK! We’ve all done this…I would imagine.

It’s all part of being spirit in a human body!

It’s all part of processing the numerous events that are happening!

However, to Walk the talk, being true to our spiritual path, there is work to be done!

There is VALUE in the challenge, in the work it takes to consistently notice our thoughts.

Perhaps it’s about common sense, as my Grandmother used to say, “Use the good sense that God gave to you.” Are we using that God infused, inherent wisdom within us?

Are our thoughts based on that?

Recently, a friend sent me a video he had watched and asked my opinion. Three minutes into watching this, I thought this video isn’t for me. I was tempted to respond quickly and judgmentally telling him exactly what I thought. Instead, I went with the old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” To me, the video was a very heavy message of gloom and doom.

We talked about the video and what his thoughts were after watching it. Mmmmm…. he said he was angry, irritable and out of balance. His thoughts, when he really considered them, were consistently negative, about himself, life and several employees at his work. He had repeatedly spoken harshly to them.

The weekend was coming up and his intention was to spend some time alone, in meditation, and self-reflection to gain discernment, faith and trust in the future.

Moving forward, the next time I spoke with him he sounded much lighter and happier. He specifically said his thoughts had changed. Through prayer and meditation, inner work, he discerned his truth. He said his thoughts were focused on positive outcomes and his overall vibration had lifted. He had spent most of the weekend with music or silence, rather than having the TV news running in the background.

He stated, “I really noticed and checked my thinking and I found how I was acting kinder… to myself and others!” Wow!

Life experiences are great teachers.

Our task as Metaphysicians is noticing our daily routines and maybe adjusting them, especially our spiritual, reflective times. Our spiritual work is taking note of our consistent daily thoughts, not only about life in general, but about ourselves.

Know that what we consistently think, is the spark to light the fire within us. The fire, God Source, within us all, will fuel us to be in a better place.

Moving into a better “head space” will raise us to a higher vibration which in turn raises the form of our actions. Knowing that Like attracts like, we will attract more loving experiences, people, things in our lives.

In the Holy Bible, the Epistle of James shows us an example of Walking the Talk. James is spiritual truth in action.

James Chapter 1 Verses 21-25 says:

Be the doers of the word, and not the hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

For if any be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who sees his face in a mirror;

For he sees himself and goes his way and forgets how he looked. But whoever looks into the perfect law and abides in it is not merely a hearer of the word which can be forgotten but a doer of the work, and this man shall be blessed in his labor.

James, often called James the Just, wrote shortly after Jesus walked the earth plane. Times were troubling. Some say history repeats itself but perhaps we can say that many events throughout history rhyme. James, head of the church in Jerusalem, faced times of personal problems, oppression of groups of people, and deception of many with power.

No pandemics, but none the less, universal issues throughout time.

In the New Age Bible Interpretation, James is said to be the “synthesis of spiritual life”.

James counsels us in the scripture that the “hearer but not the doer” is like the man in the mirror. He walks away, forgets who he really is.

Isn’t that what can happen to all of us from time to time?

It can happen especially during challenging times.

We sometimes forget who we really are.

James encourages us to look at ourselves, not only listen to spiritual truths and have the knowledge but do the work to Walk the Talk.

Use what you know to be the truth/law.

Wisdom is born not just in the knowing but in doing the work.

There’s not silver bullet, an easy “fix” to doing this. It’s about the work of Walking the talk that gives us the blessings. Not only does it keep us balanced and peaceful and in a higher mind but the more immediate knowledge of the strength of God-source within us, is always something to support us when we need it.

Our world today calls us to consistently remember who we are! This may include taking time in our lives to be quiet and to hear our inner truth, for reading, chatting with like-minded others, keeping negative outside influences to a minimum, monitoring our thoughts and acting from a place of spiritual knowledge and discernment.

It’s an easy time to “point fingers” at others but the BEST work we can do is to hold that mirror up and work on ourselves. It can be tough, challenging but the benefits are many.

Casting our own LIGHT on the shadows of our experiences we not only raise ourselves up when we Walk the Talk, we raise up the lives of those around us and the world.

Be the well-spoken word of one who practices it!

Walk the Talk!


February 21, 2021

King of the Jews
Rev. Fabienne Piccinni

Mark Chapter 15 v. 1-11, Lamsa Translation of the Bible:

“And immediately in the morning the High Priests took counsel together with the elders and the scribes and with the whole council; and they bound Jesus and took him away and delivered him to Pilate the governor. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered, saying to him, “That is what you say.” And the High Priests accused him of many things. Then Pilate asked again and said to him, “Do you not answer? See how many are testifying against you.” But Jesus gave no answer, so that Pilate marveled. Now it was the custom on every feast to release to them one prisoner whom they asked for. There was one called Barabbas, who was bound with those who made insurrection and who had committed murder during that insurrection. And the people cried out and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to the custom. Pilate answered, saying, “Are you willing that I release to you the King of the Jews?” For Pilate knew that the High Priests had delivered him because of envy. But the High Priests incited the people the more, that he should release Barabbas to them.”

How long do you think you have been on the Spiritual Path? Two-three years? Five? Twenty? Five hundred, if your many lives? Most of us have been on the path of spiritual growth and unfoldment for many more years than we think. It usually starts way before we decide to join a metaphysical church or even go to seminary. The path to spiritual growth and unfoldment is a very long and arduous one.

Let’s go back to the scripture. If we look at it from metaphysical perspective, it talks about the challenges that many of us face on the spiritual path and bargaining with ourselves. We go to church. We feel good about it. We listen to sermons, we listen to our teachers, to our gurus. We read spiritual books. We want to learn. We are excited to be attending classes with like-minded people. We want to become enlightened. But the path to enlightenment requires us to change our ways, to open to a totally different new way of thinking, of feeling, or being. It requires us to really open our minds to things we are not used to doing or even thinking. And that’s not easy. And our ego is not comfortable with that.

According to Charles Fillmore, who gave us many wonderful metaphysical interpretations of the Bible scripture, Pilate represents the ego, the carnal will, that part of us that believes that it is in charge. The ego does not mind religious rituals (represented here by the High Priests) but the ego is not on board with Spiritual

Awareness. In the scripture, Pilate asks Jesus if he is the King of the Jews. Pilate really asks Jesus, “Is there a ruling will over my religious nature?” “Do I (my personality) need to feel threatened?” Perhaps it does, but eventually it will have to give in because our higher self is much greater and powerful than our ego, and the ego at some point will have to surrender. But in the meantime, the ego feels threatened. Jesus knows how to handle the ego. When Pilate asks Jesus if he is the King of the Jews, Jesus, the Great Teacher, knows that he should not answer directly. He lets Pilate discover the answer for himself.

The High Priests wanted to maintain their power. Metaphysically speaking, that’s the power of the religious rituals over spirituality. The High Priests would rather release Barabbas, the murderer, than Jesus, the healer. What does Barabbas represent in metaphysics? It represents the adversity to the Christ Consciousness. Barabbas is like a tool, or a set of tools, that our mind uses to stomp our Spiritual Unfoldment.

The Scripture also illustrates the bargaining that we go through during the process of spiritual unfoldment. We negotiate with our mind. Look at Pilate: he wants to release Jesus – he wants to open to his spiritual awareness – and he knows that the High Priests are full of envy. He is okay with the religious rituals, but he’s not so sure about this spiritual awareness. He is hesitating. Should he give in to a new way. Eventually, he lets the people tell him what to do, and he releases Barabbas.

It is somewhat like what we have gone through with our faith. We have tried conventional religions, and after years of negotiations with ourselves, we recognize that it was not working for us. Sometimes, events in our lives make us challenge our old ways of thinking. We tried maintaining the status quo, but we really couldn’t. When we are ready, usually later in life, we had to come to terms with the idea that our old ways of practicing our faith were not working for us. Then, when we join a metaphysical church, we do it quietly. We don’t want to upset our family members, our colleagues and friends, because they might judge us.

Our Pilate (ego) hangs around with us quite a bit – pretty much throughout the day. And we have to decide what we are going to do with him. Sometimes he is with us at work or among friends. We are part of a conversation that is going to go down a path that is quite negative. We talk badly about people. We think about it but we allow ourselves to go down that path anyway. It is like releasing Barabbas. Other times, we are able to stand up to Pilate, and we excuse ourselves when we are pulled to these ego-feeding conversations that generate negative energies.

Spiritual growth takes disciplines and commitment. How many of us have been told to meditate daily (or more) and actually do it? We say we don’t have time. Getting up ½

hour early so that we can meditate instead of sleeping is not always fun. In the Lord’s Prayer, we say “Leave us not in temptation.” In this case, it’s “Leave us not in temptation to skip meditation, to skip church or a class,” or “Leave us not in temptation to read senseless news on our phones or watch TV instead of learning spiritual truth.” The likes of Prince Ea or Jay Shetty, the modern-day Monk, have online channels that can teach us a thing or two that will help us grow. But our phones, tablets, and computers can be a serious distraction to the real work we have to do.

When I have a nice long meditation in the morning, I feel relaxed, like on a little cloud the whole day. I still want to watch the news and know what’s going on in my neighborhood and around the world, but I don’t get upset about what one candidate or another has said. I don’t get upset about having to wear a mask or about someone not wearing a mask in public, or about numbers going up or down. It’s like meditation put a shield around me and all the information that comes at me doesn’t penetrate the shield that was built during meditation. The energy doesn’t generate high emotions. I am aware of what’s going on, but all is well. I can also tell you that life around my 3 children is a easier when I meditate. I don’t get excited because they don’t want to eat their broccoli or because they fight and one of my daughters thinks that her brother did this or that on purpose. “All is well.”

Meditation has been part of my routine for several years. Early on, my teacher really engrained in me the need to commit to a daily meditation practice. I did it dutifully. But then I started feeling the changes within me; I felt how I would – or would not – react to certain events, and I knew that my mentor was right, so I continued meditating daily. Now I won’t let a day go by without a meditation. But sometimes I don’t go very deep. My mind keeps wandering. But I accept that it is part of the process, and tomorrow, I will have another chance at it, and perhaps it will be better. And if it isn’t better tomorrow, that’s okay too. I know I will soon be shown the way to get back into it.

Those temptations that keep us from staying committed to our spiritual path will always pop up, and we deal with them any way we can. It’s a lot of work and long path. Sometimes it feels like we have it together, and sometimes, we feel that we could really use some help. Not all is lost… We will get there. Until we reach this Christ consciousness, let the Pilate in us dismiss the call of the High Priests and let’s release Jesus instead of Barabbas.

Namaste


February 14, 2021

Love

Rev. Jenny Moss (Muncie, Indiana)

Happy Valentine’s Day!  This is a traditional day in which we express our love and gratitude to our spouse, lovers, family, friends and to oneself.  This is the wonderful indulgence of chocolates, flowers, special diners and special time to share life experiences with one another.  However, it is also a special day to celebrate YOU.  Valentine’s Day is a reflective day about YOU, the Divinity, and love for your Soulful self.

“Love is patient, love is kind” are teachings of spiritual gifts.  The purest and highest of all God’s gifts of the Spirit is the grace of divine love.  Our sacred text teaches us that Faith, Hope and Love come together as the trinity and eternal formation of heavenly gifts, but the greatest of these is love.

Our Scripture today:  1 Corinthians 13: 4-7  (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

In review of this meaningful scripture more closely one may start to gain an in- depth understanding of how this scripture is applicable in your life. 

  1. Patient:  The quality of being concerned about another’s welfare.
  2. Kind:  One being tender in the heart, speech and action. 
  3. Does not envy:  Not feeling jealous of what others have or become.
  4. Does not boast:  Not telling one’s own achievements, possession, or abilities with excessive pride.
  5. Not proud:  One who is approachable, not arrogant and overbearing.
  6. Not rude:  The quality being courteous and polite in speech.
  7. Not selfish:  The quality of being truly concerned about the welfare of   others.
  8. Slow to anger:  One who is long tempered or slowness to express anger.
  9. Keeps no records of wrongs:  One who is forgiving and does not hold a grudge against another person.
  10. Does not rejoice in evil:  No gloating over another person’s failure.
  11. Rejoices with the truth:  The quality of rejoicing when the truth is revealed.
  12. Endure all things:  Not allowing one to become overwhelmed but preserve through difficult trials. 

We grow in love with another by extending our love outwards and not inwards; it is a love that shows compassion or considered as “tough love” if need be.  It is a love that endures when life throw its curveballs.   It is a love that always gives. It is love that is there every day with all those little actions and behavior that demonstrates caring, compassion, compromise, tenderness and taking nothing for granted.

“Love” is used to describe different types of relationships.  I would like to share a few examples of love in my life and the diversity that exist when we talk about love.

“Love” that is shared and express by family.

My Mother, like many Mothers, prepared vegetable beef soup on these cold winter days.  I decided to prepare soup for my family and friends and then would place the soup on their porch for the purpose of social distancing.   My Nephew, Chad, texted me and thanked me for the delicious soup.  He said, “Aunt Jenny, that soup was excellent.  May I have the recipe for grandma’s soup?”  So we spoke on the telephone and I told him how to prepare the soup.  At the end of our conversation he stated, “Aunt Jenny you left out one ingredient.”   “Oh, I stated….what would that be?”  His reply:  “LOVE!”   “You always cook with love.”  I smiled and said “Yes, love will always make everything better.”  For you see I always thank the Farmers for the meat and the vegetable and I feel the warmth that this nutritional soup brings to others. So the moral of the story, people do observe your actions even though you think no one is watching.  Actions do speak louder than words. 

The expression of “love” for humanity:

I am a health care provider, front-line, as a Registered Respiratory Therapist.  I have provided words of encouragement to patients, co-workers, and other health care providers as we are all on the march against the invisible virus, covid 19.  Even though, I am wearing all the protective personal equipment the patient only see me thru my eyes.  The expression of compassion speaks volumes through one’s eyes.  I have held the hands of those patients who are dying.  We have conducted ‘face-time’ communications for loved ones to tell their family member that they loved them before placing a patient on a ventilator…..knowing that this would most likely be the last time they would see their loved one alive.  The heart felt compassion and love for a person that I have never met.  The love for humanity, the heart ache for humanity, and the greatest gift that one can give in those moments is compassion and love.  The greatest of these is love.

Covid 19 has affected each and every one of us in some fashion.  Everyone is a “front line” worker from the workers at the grocery store, to the individuals who deliver the mail, the truck drivers, teachers and the list goes on and on.  Thank you to each and every one of you as humanitarians to make our world a little bit better with your kind word, and a smile behind the mask.  You know that smile when those crow feet wrinkle up and the eye squint with a twinkle of the eyes.  You know…you know when there is a smile behind that mask projecting love, peace and kindness.  We are searching for the human connection and the feeling of belonging to someone and something greater in this current pandemic.

Self-love during covid 19 has one of many positive outcomes from this pandemic.  Self-love and the desire to be with those that you have not been able to hug for months.  As most of us have discovered there is the importance of having people in our lives to help balance the needs as human beings.  We have been so busy prior to covid 19 indulged into everyday living, taking things for granted, and being busy bees.  This time has allowed self-reflection, to review what is important in our lives.  In this reflection many are looking at what really matters in their life and how they are working with their emotions.  Emotions that have been pushed way down in their souls for so long that are now rising in ways that we can no longer keep them pushed away, “out of sight, out of mind”.  Remember to love oneself as you recognize who you really are.  Oh how we will rejoice the day that we can hug a friend, family member or others that are so near and dear to your heart.

The expression of self-love:

In accordance to the Spiritual Teachings of Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati:   It is time for you to experience the true power of love.  To do this, dig deep into your heart, the storehouse of love.

Love conquers all things past, present and future.  Never try to prove yourself to any other human being.  Always trying to prove that you are right brings great heartache into the world.  The spiritual seeker wants to be in the flow of love. When we are in that love, we feel no need to place anyone in the space of wrong. It is not another’s religion that matters, or the form of God one worships.  Love is the answer for all questions, and in the love of God we are all equal.  Love is the common thread that intertwines each and every one of us together.

A spiritual seeker is one who wants only to be in the moment.  Even those who are filled with fear about their lives can feel the divine love and the space of grace given to each and every one of us.  But in truth, no seeker can be ignorant of this love.  It lives and breathes inside of you as the essential nature of every human being.

Live each day in a high state of consciousness, and connect with all people on the level of love.  The fastest and surest way to unveil the supreme self is to serve, and serve, and serve some more.  When you serve others, you feel kindness and compassion growing in the heart.

In Conclusion:

As you walk the spiritual path, God places a responsibility for you to serve love to yourself and to others.  To serve love is to keep your heart open.  When you can do that, people will be able to feel love coming from you at all times.  To be an instrument of love will stir your heart like nothing else, because it is the most natural thing you can do.  It is a simple way to live, being in love with life in the abundance of living in the now.

May you be filled with love on this special Valentine’s Day.  Share your love with others, but most importantly fill your own heart with love and joy.   


February 7, 2021

Law of Oneness- Rev. L. MacLachlan

Paul and the Epistle to the Colossians

The Metaphysically minded reading the Bible looks for hidden wisdom. It’s what we do. We know that like many other sacred texts from all the great religions, it is written on many levels, so that everyone at every level of unfoldment could glean meaning from it for themselves. Jesus described it as “having eyes to see and ears to hear.”

On this earth plane, by the time the man Jesus was once again in a physical body, it was the heralding of a time for a more mature group consciousness of the incarnate beings inhabiting the planet. In fact, the vibration of the planet itself was ready to elevate to better support these maturing souls. Instead of the just the very young souls who required rules for living a la the Old Testament (Thou shalt not) the more evolved incarnate beings were ready for “blessed are ye”—or, have the ability to make choices about how we should treat one another…ready for more advanced teachings in taking responsibility for doing that. Natural Law is encoded in the teachings of Jesus and other enlightened ones. Natural Law and living in accordance with it are the keys to soul growth…leading to the awakening of the enlightened state of being within all of us.

We find the Law of Oneness embedded in what sounds like a simple line in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians in the New Testament. He opened by trying to explain that he couldn’t be with them physically, but he was “with them in spirit.” For a Metaphysician, this reference to energy isn’t just about he being with them mentally as he wrote, but also a cosmic wink, a planting of an idea, about God energy that is everywhere present; it animates all of us..all life forms….connecting us energetically no matter who or what we see around us. He asked them in that moment to contemplate the idea of “One-ness”.

Marilyn Autry in her book River of Life writes about the Law of Oneness in this way: This connection is beyond time, space and change. Every physical and spiritual law is encompassed within this law.

So, we can gather from that that we really are all a part of the collective consciousness of all beings, all life, incarnate or discarnate. We are all a part of the energy of our Divine Source.

It also confirms, in my mind, the theory that a lot of us agree with– that this interconnected life is happening in all directions of time…perhaps even simultaneous lifetimes lived all at once rather than linear lifetimes.

This brings us to some of the challenges we are facing in our country. There seems to be such a propensity for mass violence. Don’t you wish Natural Law could be taught in school? Starting with the youngest children, what if we could teach them the importance of The Golden Rule? Just treat one another the way you want to be treated!

Then as they grow, we could add more to this idea of Oneness. Maybe we could plant those seeds before their circle of friends and family teaches them to hate those not exactly like themselves. Hmm…would we be teaching them…or helping them remember?

We wish we could say..you can’t shoot away your problems…you can’t shoot away everyone who doesn’t look or think exactly like you do. What’s really going on here? Are you looking at yourself..feeling isolated? “Lesser than”…? Are you trying to stop that pain?

Could we help them, as they grow to adulthood, understand that they are, at that moment, killing another aspect of themselves? That their hopes and dreams are not all that different than the ones of the person standing before them? Say: Stop..that is or was or will be…YOU!

The law of Oneness tells us our connected-ness transcends death. We may have taken on a particular race, creed or nationality in this life to facilitate our life lessons, but soon we all finish this lifetime… and later flow back into physical form as yet another race, gender—why try to destroy the very spirit you may have been in your last incarnation? The eyes you look into for a split second before committing an act of violence against that person is just another aspect of YOU..THEIR eyes are really YOUR eyes.

After we get word of yet another incident…As a result of actions we hope everyone of all ages could grow to understand should never be a choice, the Law of Oneness and two of its parts, the Law of Cause and Effect and the Law of Karma…will require that the guilty party return to experience that which they did to another..thus, another link …to the awareness that they are/they will also be doing to themselves.

If only we could tell them….

Paul continued on in that Epistle to offer a prescriptive answer to stopping the endless cycle of violence he knew of then and we see now, centuries later. He encouraged the people to move their consciousness up into the higher realms (or vibrations). He suggested they set their minds on things above, not things of Earth. In other words, don’t be fooled by appearances here on the earth plane. Our differences, or the outward appearance of someone, are just an illusion. It’s challenging for the young souls—soul ages, not physical ages— incarnate right now—who are so suspicious and threatened by anyone not exactly like them.

At one point he wrote “Put off from you all these things: Anger, wrath, malice, foul conversation”….how did he know about Tweeting? Hate manifestos? Chants at rallies?

He just didn’t tell really them why…but we know it’s because not only does it drag our own vibration down to base chakra levels, but that negative energy goes out into the ethers..the waters of space…to find a being which, like a tuning fork, resonates with that negativity..getting them fired up… to perhaps commit their own violent acts. We see it happening all the time. The thing about God energy.. while a love energy, it’s a neutral creative force..it carries whatever intention we create to every corner of the world…Free Will and the knowledge of our responsibility as a child of this energy says “use it wisely.”

I guess we are slow learners here…because Paul could be talking to us as much as anyone back in his day. His blueprint also reminds us in the same way he reminded the Colossians: “Therefore, as holy and beloved (as Children of pure love energy of our Source) put on mercy, kindness, gentleness, humbleness of mind, patience. He wrote “forgive one another.”

Could this also mean forgive the things within themselves that some we see on TV might project onto someone else and then attempt to kill off?

Paul called love “the bond of perfection”. God energy, connecting everything in the universe together, is perfection. We forget that when we come here..we can’t jot it on our hand as a “note to self” before sliding down the birth canal.

I love the story about the mom coming into her baby’s room one afternoon only to hear her slightly older son say to the baby, “Remind me about God. I’m starting to forget.” I use that story a lot…because sometimes I think we all forget.

What a different world it could be if we practiced mindful spreading of the light. And what a different world it could be if we could teach..or remind… young children to do it, too. They are the most likely to still remember the pure love of God energy…it wasn’t that long ago they came from that light source…even as some of us adults are starting to forget. Paul advised about that knowing, “Put on the new life, which is renewed in knowledge after the pattern in which it was originally created.” In other words, back when EVERYONE remembered who we were! It’s not so new, is it? It’s just a harkening back to what we all knew and felt before we came to this plane to experience the duality of light and dark… positive and negative. We knew. We just need to remember. We long to get back in the flow of Divine love. We remember then how to see one another as the same sparks of light we are…the Law of Oneness rules the day.

Interestingly enough, Paul even threw in a little hymnology in this Epistle..a lesson in raising the energy of the earth plane itself. He advised them to teach the principle of peace and oneness through “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” Those of us who conduct worship services know that the reason music and song is a part of our time together is that it brings everyone in the room to a higher, more peaceful, harmonious vibration.

People who may know nothing about energy or meditation say things like “A rising tide lifts all boats.” It’s absolutely true! It’s the Law of Oneness in action! We who have been taught about energy.. strive to raise our vibration in our meditations and routinely send that love energy out throughout the world as light..doing our part so all boats..people of all faiths, nationalities and stations in life can be lifted as well. We understand in by doing so, healing can begin..Hearts get opened. Minds can be changed.

Let’s get at it… Double down on our planetary meditations. Use the energy of love and oneness to help heal our country…the planet…help the baby and young souls here today who struggle in this time of soul growth.. by creating an energy we know can help them grow past their suspicious nature. We can work to neutralize and transmute with light…the negativity we feel in this nation and out into the world..

We know our energy of our positive intentions seeks out and merges with the energy of love and healing being generated from all other light workers out there. Oneness… as a healing force—universal energy.. converging to make change.

Imagine what that could look like on a planetary level..with those hearts opened, minds changed… Countries can be working together again… The distrust is neutralized. Our economy thrives, so all economies thrive. Countries rebuild with help from other nations after disasters like Hurricane Dorian..the sick and injured are able to be helped. Abundance is clearly visible in the lives of all people.

The key to our evolution has always been about seeing each other as more than our earthly identity this time around. Paul, to be relevant in his day, wrote: “Neither Jew nor Aramean, circumcised or uncircumcised, Greek nor barbarian, slave nor freeman.” The labels change but the message crosses all directions of time. The healing and transmutation is needed so much..in all directions of time.

This is a three year in numerology. We can creatively use our words to decree an end to the violence. We can affirm our oneness with each other and the Divine

Source that animates all life. We can set the stage for 2021…changing from the old dog-eat-dog way of looking at the world to a new partnership! In Numerology, we see those 2 number 2’s in the year 2021. It may add up to a 5 year, which is about change, but the “how to” is in those 2’s. Divine feminine ruling with love….to open hearts and open spiritual eyes. I think we had hoped we’d be there by now. So…Our work is cut out for us. It’s our call to action. The 1 in 2021 tells us it must begin with us as individuals.

Many blessings to all you light workers who have felt that call!


January 31, 2021

Where Angels Fear to Trea

Hello everyone. I’m Rev. Brian Jones, and I’m writing this sermon at the Armory in Washington, D.C. I’m here, not as a minister alas, but in another capacity – a member of the National Guard. I’m among the over 25,000 members from the Army and Air National Guards from every state in the union (plus Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the District of Columbia) who are here to help secure a safe presidential inauguration. And so, I confess today’s sermon was precipitated by the unimaginable events from Wednesday, January the 6th at the U.S. Capitol as well as the challenges from 2020. But I promise you… it has a happy ending.

And with that said, the scripture for today’s sermon comes from the Books of Mathew and Luke (New Revised Standard Version).

Matthew Chapter 15 verses 21-26

21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

Luke Chapter 10 verses 30-32

30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

While some ministers cherry pick, I imagine a lot of you are thinking, “Reverend, you’re not even picking the fruit; you’ve just given us the stems!” And you’re right. That’s because I think it’s important we examine the challenges spiritual people faced in the Bible not just “the moral of the story.” And so let’s look at these scriptures.

The example from Matthew is especially concerning, because it depicts both the master teacher and his disciples literally discounting a woman because of who she is. What is it about this woman that has her earnest and virtuous request spurned without a thought? She’s a Canaanite.

We know the Canaanites were indigenous to the Promised Land long before the Israelites arrived. The Book of Joshua records that the Canaanite nation was one of a number that God directed the Israelites to destroy. Now, we understand this wasn’t a commandment of genocide, because one has approached Jesus for help and there are actually still ethnic Canaanites in the world today. We do know that the ancient Canaanites had social and religious rituals that… well, that I could not comfortably describe in a sermon. Their culture was deemed so dangerous to the spiritual health of the Chosen People, that its footprint had to be minimized and its population avoided. Over a millennium later, the Canaanites are essentially the Untouchables of Jesus’s time.

As a result, the disciples and so it seems even Jesus, are so intent on eschewing this woman and everything she represents, that they do not see she is a woman of great faith. Even though she greets them: “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David…”

And turning to Luke: even without its protagonist, most of us recognize this parable with its important moral: we must treat our neighbor just like that Good Samaritan. But what about the priest and the Levite (who were an elite class among the Jews with religious responsibilities)? For reasons unknown to us, they did nothing. Some translations write that these highly stationed men just walked on by. Others, such as the version used today, go so far as to describe them purposefully maneuvering their way to avoid the injured man.

Avoidance. This is what the subjects of these scriptures have in common. Whether out of fear, prudence, cultural or moral objection, these individuals hoped to dodge an unpleasant experience. And when I think about it, from my perspective, this was a hallmark of 2020. Think of Facebook. What was once the world’s go-to for grandchild updates and cat videos has become a frontier of fortressed communities for singular-minded thinking, conjecture, even fervent belief. I saw people cull their Facebook friends, removing those with the so-called wrong beliefs or opinions. Suddenly, it seemed, anyone of us could now be deemed a Canaanite.

It reminds me of an exchange I had with my reserved, Southern mother who had traveled to see me in a college play. “What did you think?” I asked.

“It was very nice,” she said. “But I don’t know why you had to say those bad words.” (In full disclosure, my character was scripted a healthy share of them.)

“Well,” I offered, “you have to admit there are people who talk like that in the world, and they can be viable characters.”

“I suppose so,” Mom countered, “but I choose not to associate with them.”

“That puts you ahead of Jesus,” I replied a little easily.

“What do you mean!?” she gasped.

“Well even He hung out with that Magdalen woman.”

I now know my take on Mary of Magdalen was historically wrong, but I was right about Jesus. He generously shared his message and its gifts with lepers, tax collectors, Romans, and yes, eventually the Canaanite woman.

I have wrestled with avoidance during these past few years. I had a very low threshold for hearing about various national figures and their goings on. Yet I also knew I had to be aware of the world around me. Following the 2020 election, it appeared many people had done such an effective job walling themselves off from different views, they reportedly didn’t know a single person who’d voted for the other candidate!

No matter how right we know we are, I liken this to painting ourselves into a corner. This is metaphysically rendering ourselves spiritually ineffective when it is most needed. And yet, I can’t help but think of Paul’s dire warning in the Book of Romans (chapter 16): “I urge you brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause division and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” This is one among many scripture directing the faithful to avoid different people, different beliefs. It’s important to know that Paul, just as the writer of Leviticus, was concerned about the well-being of a fledgling and vulnerable faith (emphasis on fledgling and vulnerable).

You’ve likely heard this timeless observation by 18th century poet Alexander Pope: “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” I want you to think for a moment. Have you ever heard of a cowering angel? Of course not. Despite fear or dread, our angelic selves, our higher selves tread forward. Now, let’s be realistic. In areas where you are fledgling or vulnerable, you are wise to keep your distance. Personal responsibility extends to ourselves as well as the world around us. But where you are strong – especially in areas of faith, values, ethics – I encourage you to try to understand and be aware of things you disagree with. Remember. Accepting something does not mean embracing it. Our spiritual selves will know what to do with what we’ve observed.

Shortly after the nation-rocking events of January 6th a friend wrote me that she had watched a video of D.C. police officer being crushed behind a door trying to keep out the insurrectionists. She felt awful having seen it, couldn’t stop worrying what happened to that officer, and was filled with regret.

I turned to Jesus’s counsel from Mathew 15, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean but what comes out of his mouth. That is what makes him unclean.” I assured her the same could be said about what we see or hear. I reminded her that she was a compassionate and thoughtful woman with a strong connection to the Divine, and I had complete faith in time she would know what to do with what she saw.

It’s my hope to show you through these examples that will be times where we learn of the suffering of others and a higher voice inside us says, “It’s important that you witness this.” Or perhaps we become aware of a widespread anger or fear, and the responsible adult in you says, “I should understand what this is about, where it’s coming from.”

By no means am I encouraging you to fall into that dark, obsession called doom scrolling. Far from it. But if you are emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually postured to do so, please consider mindfully and responsibly treading beyond your realm of comfort to understand more about the experiences of others. I personally believe that one of the greatest sins we can commit is to know the truth and do nothing with it.

Going back to our scripture, when the priest and Levite saw a helpless stranger, they did nothing. The Samaritan chose to act. The disciples, and even Jesus, heard the Canaanite woman express her faith, and defaulted to their long-standing cultural bias against her tribe.

Yet Jesus, thoughtfully challenges the woman once more (if you recall): “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” When the woman replies, “but do not even the dogs feed off the crumbs that fall from the master’s table?” Jesus acknowledges their shared faith and heals her daughter.

Before I go, I want to return to the story of that police officer in Washington, D.C. A few days speaking with my friend, I saw a news story about him. His name was Daniel Hodges. It turns out that a ten year old girl from Montana had also seen that video. And not knowing what to do, she made him a card despite not having an address to send it to. Her mother was so touched that she shared it on Twitter. In a few short days, images of the card reached Officer Hodges, and he soon connected with Emma on Zoom to let her (along with the rest of us) see that he was going to be okay.

I think we still have a ways to go before things settle down in this world of ours. And it’s okay to have a little fear when we look out upon it. But like the angels, I hope you will faithfully tread when you feel it right to do so.

Many, many blessings to you in the journey ahead.


January 24. 2021

The End of the World. A New Era Is Here.
Rev. Joy Fletcher Thompson

Much of today’s lesson is based on writings and speeches by Reverend Dr. Emmet Fox, Divine Science minister. He spoke to audiences around the world. One of these, Sermon on the Mount, is a recovery tool for 12 step groups. I did quote extensively from The. Zodiac and the Bible: The End of the World and Golden Key. Also, I included some of my own inspiration. I was quite fascinated with Dr. Fox’s reference to the astrological influences (that seem to be pertinent now ) to humankind’s evolution of in one of the pamphlets I read but chose to not include that information, here.

As you will see, many of his ideas and teachings are just as relevant today as in the early 20th century.

The End of the World: A New Era is Here

It certainly seems as if we are experiencing end times or the destruction of the world. Perhaps we could reframe this idea and, instead, recognize that we are standing on the threshold of a new age.” One age has passed away and we have entered a new one.” This is due to the inherent divine blueprint within each of us that yearns to fully express itself. “Humanity is now entering a new era in its history” and that means that most of the old ideas in which we have clung are out dated and no longer serve us or all of humanity in the highest and best way.

It is time for a new outlook. “This does not mean to merely rearrange old ideas into a new pattern.” We must remove the outdated beliefs and rely on the foundation of everything: We are meant to evolve and step into new states of consciousness, a deeper awareness of our eternal connection to God.

“No matter what the next few years may hold-and beyond a doubt they are going to show us some very surprising things-we shall not be either shamed or grieved if we realize what it is that is really happening.” (1933 lecture)

“The history of humankind has experienced a number of distinct periods with its own characteristics, with its own lessons to be learned, its own work to be done; and each one is different from its predecessor and not a mere improvement or expansion of it. “

What is the real reason mankind incarnates on earth? What are we here for? What is it all about? The answer is that we are did not agree to live on this planet to merely survive a physical existence but rather to express the Truth of our Being. “We are here to become “more self-conscious, self-governed entities, focal points of the Divine Mind, each expressing God in a new way. That is the object of our existence, and the only thing that we have to do is to realize a better knowledge of God, because such knowledge is the answer to every problem. All trouble, all sin, sickness, poverty, accidents, death itself, are due simply to a want of knowledge of God. …All health, success, prosperity, beauty, joy and happiness “ are manifested through the attainment of a deeper awareness of God. During times of difficulty, we might be tempted to think that we have been abandoned by God. However, heartaches and struggles are not sent to us by a God that is punishing us. God is Love. The pain and suffering is our reaction to what we ourselves helped co-create. And, as a result we may feel as if our world is ending.

Metaphysically, this may be true. The Revealing Word defines world as “a state of consciousness formed through belief of things external. It leads one to follow standards of living based on man’s opinion rather than on Truth. The world is overcome by by our denying that it has any power over us and affirming freedom in Christ.” As our awareness of and connection to God heightens, we no longer feel as if our survival is attained through manipulation or force. We learn to trust that, no matter what happens in the 3rd dimensional world, we are not alone. Everyone yearns to experience a deep relationship with God. And, we make many mistakes and learn many life lessons attempting “to discover” what will fulfill that desire.

Songs, poetry, and scripture express this desire. St. Augustine wrote “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they repose in Thee.” “Psalm 42:1 reads “As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.”

Emmet Fox suggests that some individuals progress spiritually far more rapidly than others. “These are the leaders and teachers of the human race. But, the main body of humanity is always steadily, if it may seem a little slowly, growing in its knowledge of God. This is the reality of behind what we call progress.”

Currently, there are many challenges that we face. Things may appear dire. Fear and anger seem to be a popular response. Much upheaval is a clumsy attempt to restore “false’ security and what was familiar. Even though, as a collective consciousness, it is time for change and transformation.

I am reminded of the story where the Children of Israel grew impatient on their journey to The Promised Land of milk and honey. They were weary and discouraged. Even though they had been freed from bondage, they were willing to turn back to return to a life of limitation they were familiar with rather than move forward toward a life of freedom and liberation.

How often have we had similar thoughts or perhaps taken such actions because we didn’t realize that we are to progress not regress.

Fear and violence can be a reaction to life’s encouragement to transform. An important thing to remember is that nothing permanent is maintained by force, dishonesty, or manipulation. If something is obtained by force, it is only maintained by the same. Because we know, as metaphysicians, that we are all interconnected, what can we contribute to a peaceful transformation? Our prayers, meditation, affirmative words, positive thoughts and compassion are the tools we use. Force, dishonesty and manipulation are not going to serve a higher purpose. We are all held accountable by our actions and reactions.

Emmet Fox continues (In 1933) .. “As a matter of fact, we are, within the not very far distant future, going to change everything in the outer world around us. Our political, social, and ecclesiastical institutions, our methods of doing our daily work, our relationships with one another, our manifold instruments of self-expression and self-discovery- all will undergo a change, a radical change, and for the better.”

“Now, concerning these changes, it will be the attitude which will determine their reaction upon him. If we take up an attitude of resistance to these natural changes, if we, so to say, antagonize them in our own consciousness, if we assume that change must necessarily be bad-which is another way of saying that all our present arrangements are perfect and can’t be improved, then we shall suffer a sense of conflict, and defeat and loss. We shall go about saying ‘the country is going to the dogs; talk foolishly about ‘the good old days’ (which never existed); and, in fact, take up the stock attitude of opposition to the spread of knowledge and reaction. Our soul will become, what is said of a certain university, ‘a home of lost causes and dead faiths.’ And all this will mean, temporarily, at least, defeat, failure and waste.”

“If, on the other hand, we know the Truth and practice it, we shall sweep forward in the grand march of humanity, learning the new lesson, rejoicing in the new work, and triumphing in its triumphs. If, instead of seeking to hold on to the wreckage of outworn things, we are prepared to march forward, and ‘greet the unknown with a cheer’ then, indeed shall we be loyal servants of God and our fellow men. The summing up of all wisdom is the fundamental recipe for happiness, “Set your heart upon God, and not upon things, upon Principle and not upon form.”

“We shall go boldly on, knowing that the best is yet to be, and that ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

“Those who understand the Truth of Being are well aware that what we call death and destruction are usually but the prelude to something better and finer. What is the death of Monday is but the birth of Tuesday, the death of the old year but the birth of a new one, pulling down the old house but the prelude to the building of a newer and better one. And so the New Age, while at first it may seem destructive, will in fact be destructive only of ideas which have been outgrown by humanity and could only remain as a hindrance.”

“The great world Teacher of the New Age is not to be any man or woman, or any textbook or any organization, but the indwelling Christ that each individual is to find and contact for himself. There is a simple test by which anyone can tell a true leader from false one. It is this; if he points you to his own personality; if he makes special claims for himself; if he says that he has received any special privileges from God that are not equally accessible to the whole human race anywhere; if he attempts to in his own name or that of an organization to establish under any pretense a monopoly of the truth about God, then, however imposing his credentials, however pleasing his personality may be, he is a false teacher, and you had better have nothing to do with him.”

“A true teacher will tell you to look away from himself or to seek the Presence of God in your own heart, and to use books, lectures, and churches only as a means to that end, however humble his own efforts may be, however lacking his own demonstration may seem, he is nevertheless a true teacher and is giving you the Bread of Life.”

“Now this change though which the world is going through at the present time, which is covering the front page of the newspapers with sensations, and filling the hearts of men with fear and misgivings’ is a call for everyone to contact the Spiritual Power which lies all around us, within us, and through us.”

“This means that while the race as a whole moves forward relatively slowly on the path of spiritual development, there is now no reason why any individual who really desires it should not cut out all the intermediate steps and make the Great Demonstration at his own pace, irrespective of his any material circumstances or time or anything else whatever. The qualities he will need for success are a single-minded pursuit of Truth and the whole hearted practice of the highest he knows at the moment. “

“What may appear to us as the most revolutionary and far-reaching upheavals in the circumstances will be over and done with.. these changes will hardly go through with a certain amount of disturbance and temporary chaos, as we have seen; but we know that Man, as a race will emerge with flying colors, purified, strengthened and emancipated. But what of the individual? Well, individuals may have a bad time in certain cases, but your personal fate will depend upon one thing and one thing only-the condition in which you keep your consciousness. If you maintain any attitude of mental peace and good-will towards all; if you root out of your own heart every atom of hostility and condemnation for your brother man, no matter who he may be, then, you will be safe. As Jesus promised “Nothing shall by any means shall hurt you .” If you allow yourself to be drawn, if only by mental acquiescence, into any current of hatred against anybody, against any nation, or any race, or any class or any religious sect, or any other person or body of people, under any pretense whatsoever; then you will have forfeited your protection and you will have to take the consequences. If you allow yourself to be carried away by any political, religious, or newspaper campaign of hatred, no matter how self-righteously it may be camouflaging itself, then you will be laying yourself open to any destructive tendencies that may be going. It is for you to choose, knowing that as you choose, so it will be done unto you.”

As metaphysicians, we know that universal law holds us accountable for our actions.

It is extremely important that we understand affirmative prayer, the power of our words, the effect of our thoughts and the consequence of our actions. We must live as if we know this.

Our responsibility is to lift our own consciousness to a greater awareness of the inherent goodness within each and every one of us. Our consciousness must rise above the level that created discord and create a new consciousness.

Emmett Fox stated “Nothing but practical work in your own consciousness will do it. Do not waste time trying to fix challenges by manipulation or control, instead raise your own consciousness.”

I read a book some time ago and therefore am not certain of the title or author. However, I recall a story of a man sent to prison for a crime he did not commit. He was well respected in his community. It did not make sense to anyone who knew him as to why he was imprisoned. The evidence did not appear to be enough to prosecute or even place him where he was.

Many attempts were made to persuade the legal authorities that he was innocent. This went on for years. Nothing seemed to happen. As what often happens when all else isn’t working and we are exhausted from trying everything else, God was acknowledged. A group of people began applying the principles of Spiritual Truth. They declared that the appearance of injustice was false, and asked for forgiveness for the many unkind words and thoughts that were expressed toward those considered “the trouble makers.” They were sincere and steadfast with their practice and the man “was suddenly freed” from prison and all charges were dropped. This is proof that whenever we focus our energy on a difficulty, we create more of the same.

“It makes no difference what kind of trouble it is. It may be a big thin or little thing. It may be health, finances, law-suit, a quarrel, an accident, or anything else but whatever it is, just stop thinking about it and think of God, instead. Stop giving the situation your attention and feeding it. Instead, know that God is everywhere is present, is infinite Power, knows everything and so on.” God is Love, God is Wisdom. God is Order. God is perfect Health. God is Light.

Replace your thoughts about the challenge with those of God attributes. If you keep your attention on the challenge, you are praying for more of the same. “The object is to replace the thought of difficulty from your consciousness and substitute it with the thought of God. “If you can become so absorbed in this consideration of the spiritual world that you really forget for a while all about the trouble concerning which you began to pray, you will presently find that you are safely and comfortably out of your difficulty-that your demonstration is made.”

Dr. Fox stressed that a way out of or through a situation is to remain steadfastly on God rather than the challenge. He called this process “the Golden Key “to health and harmony.”

He states “In order to “Golden Key’ a troublesome situation, think “I am going to Golden Key John or Mary or the situation.” Golden Key for peace within ourselves, peace in our families and community, peace in our country and in the world. – Think about God as Peace.

Perhaps affirm statements such as “There is no power but God, or I am the child of God, filled and surrounded by the perfect Peace of God, or God is Love, I am an expression of this Love. God is divine Wisdom and I am guided by this Wisdom.”

Consider the lyrics to this song and the power we have been endowed with.

“Our thoughts are prayers and we are always praying.
Our thoughts are prayers, take charge of what you’re saying
Seek a higher consciousness, a state of peacefulness.
And, know that God is always there and every thought becomes a prayer. (Our Thoughts Are Prayers by Lucille Olson)

Friends, every thought is a prayer. Imagine, every thought is a prayer. What are you praying for? It is a new era, a new world is coming into expression. Let us pray together that:

From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let light stream forth into the minds of men
Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men
May Christ return to Earth.

From the Centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men
The purpose which the Masters know and serve
From the Centre which we call the race of men
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells

Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth. (The Great Invocation)


January 17, 2021

Meeting the Shadow Within
Rev. Nancy Booth (Bethesda, MD)

Scripture: Luke 23: 1-4, 13-14, 18-25. Lamsa Translation of the Bible.

1Then the whole company of them rose up and brought him to Pilate;

2And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this man misleading our people and forbidding to pay the head tax to Caesar; and he says concerning himself that he is a King, even the Christ.

3Pilate asked him, saying, Are you the King of the Jews? He said to him, That is what you say.

4Then Pilate said to the high priests and the people, I cannot find any fault against this man.

13Then Pilate called the high priests and the leaders of the people,

14And he said to them, You brought me this man as if he were misleading your people; and behold, I have examined him before your own eyes, and I have found no fault in him concerning all that you accuse him.

18But all the people cried out saying, Get rid of him and release to us Bar-Abba;

19(Who because of sedition and murder which had happened in the city, was cast into prison.)

20Again Pilate spoke to them, desiring to release Jesus.

21But they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him!

22And he said to them the third time, What evil has he done? I have found nothing in him worthy of death; I will therefore chastise him and release him.

23But they persisted with loud voices, and asked to crucify him. And their voices and that of the high priests prevailed.

24Then Pilate commanded to have their request granted.

25So he released to them the one who because of sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they asked for; and he delivered Jesus to their will.

We know how the rest of this story ends, with the crucifixion of Jesus, but I’d like to pause for a moment today to analyze the spiritual mechanics of what is going on right here, in the moment of this struggle between Pilate and the high priests and leaders of the people. This scene is a spiritual snapshot of the internal workings of ourselves in certain situations and there are some interesting insights and wisdom to be gained from looking at this scripture through a metaphysical lens.

It is through our tests and trials on the Earth plane that our spiritual grit and mettle are brought forth and refined, much as how the steel in a sword is tempered after its initial forging. We can exact some deeper understanding of our true nature by incarnating in a physical body on Earth because with physicality comes duality, and all its tricky trappings and learning opportunities therein.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Know thyself.” The more self-aware we are of the internal workings of our mind, the deeper the wisdom that may be revealed to us when we self-analyze our motivations and actions. When we understand that we are Spirit manifesting in a physical body, and start “watching” our thoughts, feelings, responses, and actions, and looking for symbolic meaning in our specific, individual life experiences, we have a great opportunity to accelerate our spiritual learning through quicker recognition and processing of life lessons. In this way, we can “level up” our spiritual progression. But, for right now, let’s return to the scripture.

Pilate had dominion over Rome, which metaphysically represents the head or human intellect. We could say that Pilate is that part of us which is in charge of our mind; he is basically our mental will and reasoning. Jesus is a physical manifestation of the I AM, or the Christ Consciousness. The Christ consciousness is, in part, our spiritual will whose source is God. Pilate is our physical will whose source is our limited human mind. This “little mind” is not the same as the “big mind” that is the Mind of God. Our human mind is a differentiated, or individuated, manifestation of the big Mind of God. Our human mind occurs as part of, and not separate from, the Mind of God. But our human mind is not the same as the Mind of God.

When the human intellect (Pilate) is given the task of judging the spiritual will (Jesus), it may not know how to proceed, since its eminent domain is in the physical world. Remember that we exist in a dualistic world and we experience an apparent separation of our mental and spiritual wills while we are in human form. The mental will (Pilate) engages and begins using logic to explore whether there is any fault in the Christ Consciousness (Jesus) and cannot find any handle to grab onto because the human mental realm has no real power over the I AM except through its ability to conceive of it and accept that the Christ Consciousness’ eminent domain is in the spiritual world. Therefore, there is no real conflict and Pilate wishes to let Jesus go in peace. The mental will can accept the spiritual will and, in fact, can choose to give its power over to the spiritual will in an act of unifying grace. But we didn’t quite get there in this instance in the scripture.

The high priests and leaders of the people represent our inner, contrary thoughts as well as contrary thoughts coming at us from the outer world. Pilate is our mental will and the Christ Consciousness is the spiritual will. Pilate at first opposes the outer thoughts that do not align with his logic and reason and, initially, is prepared to go against the outer thoughts. However, he eventually allows himself to be broken down and caves in to the desires of the outer world, over what his own inner compass tells him is right and true. Instead of allowing Pilate to release Jesus, the priests and people clamor for the release of Bar-Abba (Barabbas), who represents an adverse consciousness that opposes the Christ Consciousness (our spiritual will). We recognize, here, that Bar-Abba can represent either an internal struggle within our own thoughts, OR a struggle between our spiritual will and the outer world’s needs that conflict with our spiritual will. Either way, when we allow contrary, adversarial thoughts to override our spiritual will, we feed a beast that will only grow if we do not stop this process somehow. The solution to this is increased self-awareness, self-analysis, and self-healing. Let’s come back to this in a bit, though, because there is a parable about two wolves that I’d like to share with you. It is said to have come from the Cherokee. If I’ve misattributed its origin, I apologize, but it is such a good story that I feel it is definitely worth sharing, especially now.

The story goes:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life: “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Now, this wise answer would appear to yield the following lesson: You should only feed the “good” wolf, in order to lead a “good” life, right? But let’s consider this further.

We cannot deny something that is always there. Light and dark are part and parcel of the Earth plane. The so-called “evil” wolf will never go away while we are living life in a human body in the physical world, where we are subject to duality. And starving it of attention – denying the darker, shadowy recesses of our inner selves – can lead to further inner conflict and unhealed wounds, due to repressed trauma and issues that are never brought to light and allowed to heal. In modern parlance, this is sometimes referred to as “spiritual bypassing.” In short, when we deny that we are capable of bad things or “evil” thoughts, we are denying the very fact of our human existence: that we are living in a dualistic realm where our spiritual lesson is to create unity out of seemingly opposite poles that are found within our world and within ourselves. Yes, we should always work to send love and light out into the world and practice positive thinking, but we also need to attend to our shadow aspects, so that we can heal and become more whole and balanced as we continue to walk our spiritual path. Both kinds of spiritual work are necessary for us to fully appreciate what it means to achieve unification of our mind and spirit: as within, so without. So why not take time to look in the mirror and see what we can work on or how we can do better? Not for the purpose of self-flagellation, but to learn, grow, and heal.

I like to call it, “having tea” with my shadow side. Whenever I catch myself doing or thinking something less than savory that I feel I should not be indulging in because it’s negative and drags down my energy and/or that of others, I am reminded to have tea with that particular aspect of myself – the micromanager, the overbearing one, the hurt inner child, the judgmental one, the sarcastic one, the privileged one, the bruised ego, and so on – and ask it why it’s come to pay me a visit today. I ask Spirit to show me the lesson in why I’m feeling this aspect of myself so acutely right now. The answer may come right away or much later – timing isn’t important – but the fact that I’m inviting the lesson and its consequences into my consciousness for the purpose of learning from it have made it a lot easier to bring my shadow side to the light of day and look at it in the mirror. I try to do it without wincing self-judgment, without the knee-jerk urge to beat myself up for being less than “love and light” all the time. I still struggle with this.

We all have parts of ourselves that need to be healed. We might do well to consider investing time, and lots of self-love, to do this shadow work and see how it propels our spiritual development forward. In a world of duality, our job is to unify. One way to bring together the mental will and the spiritual will is to fully expose the shadow parts of ourselves to awareness, analysis, and amending. That last one, I feel, is particularly important.

Imagine what would have happened if Pilate had unified his mental will with the spiritual will of the Christ Consciousness! The high priests and people (the inner and outer contrary thoughts) may have, indeed, revolted, but sometimes we need to move against “popular” opinion or the one that seems to be broadcasting itself more loudly than others in order to align with our Highest Good. Surrendering the mental need to control things, people, and thoughts to the I AM’s spiritual inner knowing results in unifying grace. Not my will but Thy will. This brings us closer to God by returning us to a spiritual state where we are less humanly differentiated, or individuated; bringing us closer to that formless, Divine Mind of God where we may experience unity and bliss on a macro and eternal scale.

I’m giving away a bit of the plot, but by diligently and consistently self-evaluating ourselves over time and changing what we know we can do better at, we quicken our spiritual progression on the Earth plane. And isn’t that why we are here? To learn as much as we can and master our soul lessons while in human form so that when we return to the Spirit side of life we can bring all this delicious wisdom with us and integrate it into our hungry soul?

When we feed both wolves by offering to sit with the darker as well as the lighter aspects of ourselves, in order to understand why they are there and what they have to teach us, then we move closer to wholeness (a form of unity). By acknowledging our shadows, we begin the healing process by shining light on them, recognizing that they, too, are a part of us, and therefore are worthy of love. It’s similar to the process of soul reintegration, or soul retrieval – where you call back ‘pieces’ of yourself that need to be healed and reintegrated so that you can continue to move forward in your spiritual progression. This isn’t necessarily easy work. Sometimes we may be caught off-guard by things we never consciously imagined could be part of us. We can bring up repressed or subconscious issues that may require professional consultation to assist us in processing and resolving them. But shadow work is also richly rewarding, and is an exquisite window into the complexity of our beautiful soul. As within, so without. As we heal ourselves and unify our internal duality, the world around us responds to our new, beautiful vibration and shifts, too. And doesn’t the world need a lot of this right now? Imagine what would happen if we all suddenly decided to look within and ask ourselves to reveal the lessons behind why we are angry, scared, vulnerable, begrudging, desperate, feeling lack, needing power, and so on right now – and then acted on the wisdom that emerged to change ourselves and live differently?

When you see or realize the presence of a shadow aspect of yourself, without judgment invite it to tea. (Or coffee. I’m an equal opportunity caffeinator, myself.) Ask yourself in a neutral manner why you are becoming aware of this aspect of yourself and what it is here to teach you. Then listen, without judgment or expectation, to Spirit/Source for the answer. Know that this aspect of you is valuable and has something to teach you. It is also worthy of your love and healing. Once you know the answer to why this aspect of you has presented itself so acutely in your life right now, then the deeper soul work may begin. This is what some philosophers mean when they speak of the Great Work: it is the spiritual work we do on ourselves, fine-tuning the instrument of our soul by becoming self-aware, self-loving, self-healing, and self-changing. We are all spiritual works in progress.

When we work on the parts of ourselves that most need healing, bringing them into the light and applying the healing salve of understanding, love, and compassion, we can then go on to make better decisions about who seek counsel from from that point forward – our inner Jesus (spiritual will) or Bar-Abba (adversarial thoughts from inside ourselves or from the world around us). The Kingdom lies within us and the Keys have been in our hands all along.

May we all work to feed, heal, and nurture all aspects of ourselves first, so that we are then better equipped to feed, heal, and nurture our human relationships, and then the world, itself. Imagine what we can do once we reconcile our mental will with our spiritual will, our Christ Consciousness – we can shift the collective consciousness toward more self-love, self-healing, and self-change. And doesn’t the world need a lot of this right now?

Blessings to you, and may you meet whatever comes on your spiritual path with compassion, love, and understanding. Especially your shadows.

Namaste.


January 10, 2021

“Destination 2021”
Rev. Carey Barker

Philippians, chapter 4, verse 6 –                                                              

 “Do not worry over things but always by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made.” 

This chosen scripture is a small part of what Paul wrote to the body of believers in Philippi with whom he shared a close partnership and special affection. Paul was under house arrest as a prisoner in Rome yet was full of joy and thankfulness.  Paul wrote to encourage his fellow servants throughout his writings.  There is a powerful message about the secret of contentment. Although he had faced severe hardships, poverty, beatings, illness, even in his imprisonment, in every circumstance Paul had learned to be content.

Paul did share his secret about contentedness.  He told of the discontentedness that lies in the heart of every human being.  That there is a discontent that can only be filled by evolving to that higher level of being.  Paul knew he could be content in troubled times as he had the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

This year I do not have the normal “New Year, New You” spiel.  It is very difficult to start this year as a new beginning when so much of the old is lingering.  Often time we spend much of our lives worrying about what did happen and what could happen, we tend to lose sight of the here and now.  The consensus seemed to be that if we could just make it out of 2020, we would all make it across some proverbial finish line of sorts.  We spent most of the year wanting back what we once had.  As we rounded the corner approaching 2021, we wanted the new energy that was waiting for us.  As we all crossed that “finish line” we find that our discontent has not really changed.  Our fears of illness and hardship are still lingering.  Most people are still in one category or the other, want what used to be or wanting something better than what we had before.

In this universal 5 year we can expect the unexpected.  A 5 year can be both exciting and empowering.  We cannot just sit around waiting for all of this to be over.  We must take an active role in manifesting our future.  We are being empowered to use this freedom of the 5 to create our desires. 

Mahatma Gandhi said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world also change.  As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him… We need not wait to see what others do.”

Embrace the uncertainty and encourage others to do the same.  No more waiting for things to get back to normal or waiting to see what is to come.  Open some doors, transform that brilliant idea into a reality.  The key here is to utilize the freedom without taking the great escape.  We can not sit by waiting for all of this to be over so that we can move on with our lives. 

One thing is for certain, the universal 5 year is a catalyst for change.  Be solid in the direction you want to go in 2021 and stay focused.  Do not let the days pass you by like missed opportunities.

Through prayer and gratitude realize how you want things to be in your little corner. Make decisions on what things are going to be like in your world.  Encourage others to do the same and before you know it, we will be moving forward collectively. 

Prayer could be thought of as your personal “superpower”.  The power of prayer can remove perceived obstacles and raise your vibration into a place of great manifesting.  In this energy one can affect change in ways that are beyond current comprehension.  When others meet up with this energy they can be compelled to rise-up and join in a journey of their choosing.  With each addition the momentum becomes and even stronger reality.

There is so much crazy stuff happening around us that if we are not careful, we fall victim to greater fears for our future.  Paul gave us the example to be content that everything is falling into place beautifully.  Through prayer and supplication, we can lift ourselves and the world around us into the highest of vibrations.  We really do have more to be grateful for than we realize.  Through Spirit’s guidance we can find ways to appreciate all that is good in our lives.

According to Charles Filmore, many meanings and symbolisms have been given to Paul and to his life.  All bearing on the important work of overcoming in the individual.  One who concentrates all their energies upon the accomplishment of purpose will surely succeed.

I am not suggesting that we have lack of concern for what we fear or ignore what is going on in the world.  It is impossible to live on this earth plane worry free for any great length of time, if at all. 

I am suggesting we should address our fears through Spirit.  We do this with gratitude and certainty that our needs are always being met.

The biggest barrier I see is our resistance to change.  Change is inevitable, it is going to happen whether we like it or not.  There is a lot of change coming and it seems to have sped up in the last few years.  It is not a matter of adapting year to year; it seems we spent at least the second half of 2020 adapting day by day.  Then the finishing crown, here we are in a 5 year of unpredictability and you guessed it…. Change.

It is imperative that we shift our perspectives and overcome so that we can be open to the good opportunities that 2021 will bring.  You will have to be awake and paying attention to the doors that are cracked open for you.

It is easy to become fearful living in this world.  We seemingly have less control of what is going on around us and that is difficult.  We must focus on what we do have control over to stay above the chaos.  We must take ourselves off auto pilot and make decisions not from fear but from that higher place.  Pray with gratitude for guidance that you know is already there.  Then choose from a place of love for yourself and those around you.

There is a short excerpt I found from the book, “How to Be Happy Dammit”.  It is a quirky little story but has some Divine irony.

There once was this criminal who had committed a crime.  (Because, hey, that is what criminals do. That is their job!)  Anyway, he was sent to the king for his punishment.  The king told him he had a choice of two punishments.  He could be hung by a rope.  Or take what is behind the big, dark, scary, mysterious iron door.  The criminal quickly decided on the rope.  As the noose was being slipped on him, he turned to the king and asked:

“By the way, out of curiosity, what’s behind that door?”

The king laughed and said: “You know, it’s funny, I offer everyone the same choice, and nearly everyone picks the rope.”  “So,” said the criminal, “Tell me. What is behind the door? I mean, obviously, I won’t tell anyone,” he said, pointing to the noose around his neck.  The king paused then answered:                              “Freedom, but it seems most people are so afraid of the unknown that they immediately take the rope.”

Lest us not forget that fear can be contagious.  Ones actions can easily change another’s thoughts or actions.  We all know how we can be affected by someone else’s energy just by walking into a room.  Stop before you walk into that space, literally and metaphorically.  Make a choice to enter with higher thoughts and ideas.  When we quiet our mind, practice gratitude, we can find peace in our thoughts.  When you quiet your mind, it is much easier to find the good, the positives.  Let these positives replace the thoughts of unknown.  You may just find that your life is much more a blessing than you once believed it to be.  Do this not only for yourself but the others in the “room”.

I know many, including myself that put their life on hold last year.  We all just kept waiting for this to all be over.  We took a time-out so to speak.  I mean how could you not as so much just stood still.  I fortunately through a hardship at the end of the year was able to find the blessing.  I was able to take time and reflect on all that has happened and realize what I want for myself and those around me.  I can see that I have so much to be grateful for.  I have always thought so but this time it is different.  There is so much more than I ever realized.  While I have always wanted to do more and be more, I can see now that I AM already.   

Use the energy of the 5 year to your advantage and encourage others to do the same.  Use your special power of prayer as you continue your journey into 2021.  Take time to be grateful and take time to release worry and fear.  Using the power of prayer and being content knowing that you are right where you need to be will help you to the door that is best for you to open.

“Nothing is predestined:  The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.”  – Ralph Blum

Namaste!

January 3, 2021

A Metaphysical Look at Epiphany
Rev. Laura MacLachlan (Dryden)

Scripture: Matt. Ch. 2 v. 1, 2, 7-11 (Lamsa Translation of the Bible)

1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in the days of Herod the king, there came Magi from the east to Jerusalem. 2 And they were saying, where is the King of the Jews who has been born? For we have seen his star in the East and we have come to worship him.

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and he learned from them at what time the star appeared to them.

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said to them, Go and inquire very carefully concerning the boy and when you have found him, come back and let me know so I also can go and worship him.

9 When they had heard from the king, they went away and behold, the same star that they had seen in the East was going before them until it came and stood just above the place where the infant boy was.

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly.

11 And they entered the house and saw the infant boy with Mary, his mother; and they threw themselves down and worshipped him; and they opened their treasures and offered to him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

*************************

January 3rd is Epiphany. Epiphany, from the Greek, means “to appear” “to be shown forth”. Epiphany signifies the time when the newly born Jesus was revealed or shown forth to the three Wise Men, the Magi.

The Magi were the ‘receptive ones”. The word also means magnetic or magic in Aramaic. It’s the consensus in the materials you find on them that they were Astrologers and Astronomers (one in the same in those days!) who had foreseen the birth of “The Divine One”.

They had seen the “Star in the East”. Dr. Rocco Errico spoke of the famous Eastern Prophet Zoroaster. He was a “seer of visions” one of which was the prediction that Magi would come and be led by the guidance of a Divine Light to the birthplace of the “Ruler of the World”. An interesting way to describe the one who came to bring us the demonstration of living life in a state of Christ Consciousness!

The New Age Bible Interpretation calls the journey of the Magi “The Rite of Dedication”.

All of this brings us back to the liturgical season of Epiphany; to the reminder that for us, as Spiritualists/Metaphysicians, these stories and references, while historical, are also allegories about US as individuals.

We are the ones who, at some point in this life, saw that star in the east—the east being the direction of enlightenment—and within us stirred the dormant, unborn Christ potential within each of us. Our personal spiritual journey begins.

There, in the midst of life on this material plane, with all of those who might be acting out of their lower, animal nature, we find those who are like Mother Mary “Of pure heart”. Their intention is set by prayer and meditation, which allows them to experience the birth of the Savior—in other words, what saves us from a life of floundering around and being unhappy—Offering us the awareness of how to navigate this life with the emerging consciousness of a Christ.

It might seem ironic that King Herod was the one who summoned the Magi to him in Jerusalem to determine where the Divine Child was born. Herod, after all, was the symbolic ruler of the materially bound ego. King of the first three Chakras!

But he said “Go and inquire about the boy.” Don’t we all feel those stirrings…yearnings..for more spiritual food for our journey through life? Better tools? More wisdom? Even if, like Herod, such truth—especially when we begin our spiritual path as very young souls—seems too much to grasp? So, we push it away, as Herod did when he tried to eliminate it by having all male children killed later in the scripture.

But I believe we are ready to embrace the concept of the Magi and the Rite of Dedication. We understand that to grow as souls we really want to dedicate ourselves with our spirit (the gift of Gold), our soul (the gift of Myrrh) and our bodies (the gift of Frankincense). We wouldn’t be sitting in churches like ours or on web sites like this reading this kind of sermon if that were not true.

Or, maybe I should say, we wouldn’t stay long!

We’re talking about the dawning of our understanding that the truth and the way to oneness with God is the unveiling of our own indwelling Christ Consciousness. It must be nurtured with great dedication before it will become the truth of our being. Not just an understanding in our heads, but in our hearts as well.

Gold holds the highest vibration of all the metals. For our spirit essence-us-to consistently reach and hold that vibration, we continually dedicate and rededicate ourselves to the practices of a Christed One. How? Through prayer, meditation and living in accordance with the Natural and Spiritual Laws of the universe. Include in that the practice of love always. It’s not easy!

The body, represented by Frankincense, which as a vapor (think incense burners ) is symbolic of the transitory nature of our physical body on this plane. Was that not the ultimate demonstration of and teachings of the Master Jesus on the earth plane?

Our bodies are temporary in nature. The bodily deaths we experience at the end of each life time are just a change back to our purely spiritual nature as non physical entities between lifetimes.

Our soul essence, the immortal, personal “akashic record” of all our incarnations and all our accumulated life lessons-with our memories of all our identities—is represented by Myrrh, a plant with a beautiful fragrance. All those identities, as Laura, Audrey, Fred, whoever we’ve been, whatever we learned, through hundreds of years…combine to create the extract which is our soul. In a spiritual sense, it’s our journey to Discipleship– with all of its facets of understanding through all the levels of soul ages we’ve lived. We are wiser than we know at this moment.

So now, our job as those seeking Discipleship is to “show forth” “make an appearance” or as we say nowadays, “walk the talk.” Our challenge is to live the type of life we talk so much about.

We can set the intention, align with that highest purpose, as we meditate and live consciously each day. If we fall short, we get back at it again. It’s ok, though..we have all the time we need. This isn’t a race!

In those meditations, we can return again and again to that place within ourselves where the spark of the Divine awaits. In that open and receptive state we can seek new spiritual guidance, wisdom and love to navigate this Earth plane as smoothly as possible.

We can practice Christ Consciousness as we strive to work in a positive way with the natural and spiritual laws of the universe. Understanding things like the Laws of Attraction, Abundance, Forgiveness and Grace…they are the secrets to harmony with the universe.

As we do that, we show others that challenges can become opportunities. Service to others becomes a time to love with an open hand, share, teach and heal.

The evidence of our journey to the East, we will undoubtedly discover, won’t be made up of huge, Cecil B. DeMille theatrical moments. It will be a path of quiet times, times of synchronicity, moments when we get flashes of inspiration.

We will fall down, feel like giving up, get up and move forward again. I think that’s why we experience Christmas every year. To remember the gift waiting within us if we just keep following the light.

Our journey to enlightenment has its springtime, its summer, fall and winter. Like the Magi, just when we think the days can’t get any shorter, the dark any deeper, we can look to the east and become re-energized. Finally, (if we were to cut to the back of the book to see how all this comes out) we will someday have the ultimate of ah-ha moments..When we realize the journey has led us right back to the center of our own hearts…and the birth occurs again.

Blessings to you on this first Sunday of 2021!!!


December 27, 2020

JOY
Rev. Michael Schlotterbeck (Anderson, IN)

Do you have enough joy in your life? Can you remember a time when you did have enough? Or when you had too much, and you had to pull back? Can you have too much joy? People in general always seem to be on the hunt for more joy. But what is joy? And how do we find it?

Psalm 16: “You will show me the path of life. In your presence is the fullness of joy. At your right hand there are pleasures forever”

Here Joy is defined as the presence of the divine. Not a shabby definition. If joy is the presence of the divine, then joy is eternal. Joy is a moment of holiness. Joy need not be created by us. It flows naturally through the universe and can be found anywhere. We cannot create the divine, but we are fortunate enough to have access to the divine.

According to the Psalm, Joy will be shown to us. Or rather the paths to it will be shown. Paths to joy are often universal. Such as laughter, bright sunny days, clear blue skys, babies, and my favorite…puppies. I cannot be in the presence of a puppy and not connect to joy. And there are many other paths…limitless paths..after all the Psalm does promise pleasures forever.

So if joy is infinite, ever present, flowing through the universe at all times…..why are we searching for it?

Perhaps because we confuse joy with happiness and our relentless pursuit of happiness. By happiness, I mean getting our own way, satisfying our desires, having our stories come true, trying make life bend to our personal agenda, having our personal prayers answered. So often when we talk about creating joy or manifesting more joy in our lives, then we are really talking about happiness. Happiness is temporary…fleeting…dependent on circumstances. In many ways happiness is the opposite of joy.

And when we shoot for happiness we are vulnerable. Our happiness often depends on the actions or cooperation of other people who aren’t nearly as invested in us getting our way as we are. We have little power in the pursuit of happiness. We often set ourselves up for unhappiness because we overestimate our power to control the world.

And with happiness…we must wait and wait. Because happiness is almost always a postponed event. I will be happy when ……. happens. or when I achieve………. Joy is different. Joy, like the divine, is in the present not the past or the future. No waiting. Nothing to try to make happen.

Rev Robert Schuller said, “Joy is not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God.” Joy is available to us even in the midst of suffering. Sometimes, pain or suffering can unearth moments of unbelievable joy. Happiness, however, is the absence of suffering. The pursuit of happiness often has more to do with avoiding suffering than anything else. So, what are you usually pursuing…the absence of suffering or the presence of the divine?

Experiencing joy is a choice. We don’t have to create it or manifest it. But we do have to avail ourselves to it. I think of it like a room where there are three walls and the fourth wall is just a huge window with a direct access to joy. So long as we look out that window we can connect with joy, with the divine. But instead of doing that, we turn our backs on the window and spend most of our energy on managing the room and the other three walls…planning, designing, redesigning, trying to make something…. We can spend so much time doing this that, we forget about joy. Or we catch a glimpse of it, fleetingly, out of the corner of our eyes. So long as we keep our backs to the window, we can believe the story of joy being limited, intermittent, unreliable, scarce, etc.

Sometimes, even when you have your back to the window, life will toss joy in your face…mesmerize you with it if you are lucky. When I was younger…around 20. I was at Kmart of all places. This was before Target or Walmart or Meijer. Kmart and I was impatiently waiting in line. In my own world. lost in my thoughts which is pretty much how I spent the first few decades of life. And I was jolted out of my comfortable narcissistic bubble by the lady in front of me in the line. I heard her bark at bit at the clerk..saying “no, not like that”. And I looked over, and I saw a woman with down syndrome buying a tine violet plant that was barely alive. And apparently the clerk who was trying to rush through the process to get through the line was not handling the plant gently. So the woman took the plant and the bag the clerk was using, and she slowly and gently wrapped the plant up. The energy changed. She had so much joy for this little plant, and handled with reverence and love. I experienced some of the joy she felt in that moment, and I started to cry. on line at Kmart. I’m not a crier. Especially not back then. I thought there was something wrong with me in fact, because I never cried. And there was, crying watching this woman wrap up her plant. I understood then, that joy was an experience, not a story. I wasn’t telling a touching story of a woman and her plant. I was mesmerized. I had no story at the time. To this day I can’t put into words what happened. It’s as if the events bypassed my chatty mind, my logical mind.

Joy Isn’t always logical. Have you ever been in a group and someone says something that you don’t find funny, but someone else does…and they laugh so hard that you start laughing in spite of not finding it funny. That’s joy. Joy isn’t the funny story we tell. Joy is the experience we have when we laugh at the story. When we pursue joy, we must be ready to engage with it. To connect with others. Get out of our heads and experience it.

Joy is contagious. So when you experience it, it’s easy to share it with others. And it can grow exponentially. You don’t need thousands of portals to joy. However, the more time you spend connect to joy, the more paths to joy will open up. I read once, in a book by a Buddhist psychologist, about a woman who was severely depressed. She hardly experienced joy. In a way, that’s what depression is. Not sadness, so much as not seeing paths to joy. Being cut off from the divine. And this woman in the book, found joy in only one place. Chocolate. That’s it. Nothing else. But with the help of the therapist was able to rebuild her life, from that one joy to many joys.

If Joy is the presence of the divine, and every person has a spark of the divine in them, then Joy is in each person you meet. No matter what kind of mood they are in. No matter how they may treat you. No matter how horrible they may appear to be. Remember, Joy is there because the divine rests there. We don’t have the power to destroy the divine in ourselves, but we can cover it up. So when you can’t readily see Joy in another, know that is there.

This also means that

Joy constantly resides in ourselves. Always. No matter how bad of a day we are having. It’s there, underneath it all….available to us. When you struggle to make a strong connection with the joy in yourself, then become an explorer of joy…..a detective of the soul and find out how you are covering it or hiding it. Make this your mission to uncover it because connecting the joy in ourselves is connecting to the divine in ourselves.

The poet Rumi says it beautifully in his poem Move into your house of joy:
If you knew yourself for even one moment,
If you could just glimpse
Your most beautiful face,
Maybe you wouldn’t slumber so deeply,
In that house of clay.
Why not move into your house of joy
And shine into every crevice!
For you are the secret
Treasure-bearer
And always have been.
Didn’t you know?

Psalm 118 says, This is the day which the Lord has brought about. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

We are given our opportunities for joy. These days are the gifts. And we can be glad in our gifts, but before the Psalm let’s us be glad we must re-joice. We must reconnect the divine in life. Re-joice to Remember, Revisit, Reconnect, and Recognize the flow of joy all around us. Joy is truly one of life’s great, unlimited gifts. But it is up to us to open the gift.


December 20, 2020

Christmas Sermon
Rev. Sandra Spyker, Freeland

Luke chapter 2 verses 8, 9, 10

Now there were shepherds in that region, where they were staying and they were watching their flocks at night and behold, the angel of God came to them and the glory of the Lord shone on them; and they were seized with a great fear. And the angel said to the, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which will be to all the world.

From the earliest surviving historical evidence we know the days around the winter solstice have always been regarded as a time of special significance. Winter festivals were observed by many tribes of people who were close observers of their world around them. It isn’t difficult to imagine their feelings as summer gave way to harvest, as the leaves began to fall from the trees, as the first snows of winter began to sprinkle to the earth. They knew that the winter would eventually yield to spring. At least, it always had in the past. But in the absence of exact knowledge as to why the seasons changed as they did, there was always room for fear. Maybe it wouldn’t happen this time. Perhaps the days would go on getting shorter and shorter, colder and colder. Until the world was swallowed up by a perpetual night.

As the critical time approached, huge fires were kindled on the hilltops to imitate the light and warmth of the retreating sun, and to lure it back by sympathetic magic. When it became apparent that the magic was working, that the days were lengthening instead of shortening, and that the sun was returning, the feelings of relief and joy were expressed in the greatest celebration of the year. All normal activities came to a halt, to be replaced by singing, dancing and feasting. And this continued for hundreds of years. And eventually this celebration became a festival called Saturnalia. The return and rebirth of the sun. It held and still holds a deep spiritual meaning for many cultures associated with the birth of the sun (death and rebirth). Following the rhythms of nature where death was always followed by some kind of resurrection.

I think we may have some idea how those first people felt about being plunged into endless darkness. 2020 has been a year of tremendous change; Covid-19, and systemic racism, natural disasters, international protests, 2020 elections and civil disorder. Yes this has been one scary year. No matter who you are on the planet right now, chances are you’ve experienced fear at some point in the past months. Creeping into our consciousness are fears around health, safety, job security and the ever present uncertainty of the unknown. I find that each time I become aware of the fear, I arrive at a point of choice. Do I try to forget everything that’s going on, do I chose to hide and live in fear? Or will I find within myself the courage and reliance needed to face everything that’s happening in the world (and within myself), rising out of the fear. Will I chose to be like those men and women who went out and made fires or will I stay in darkness?

With fear, we can go either direction, and I urge us to be gentle with ourselves as we navigate this time in our world. We are going to have some good days and some not-so- good days. The point is not to be perfect. The point is to be present in it all. Facing everything means making room for all the ways in which we respond to the moment, knowing there is something deep within us that has the power to comfort and sustain us. Faith is what will get us there. We all inherently possess faith by virtue of being a spiritual creature. And faith is this logical certainty that there is a Creative Force in the universe and you and I are part of it. It is not a belief or a proscribed set of tenets; rather, it is knowing who and what we authentically are. It is the awareness of our place in this thing called life. With faith we can bravely look at everything being revealed.

As metaphysicians we can be a part of the solution. We can bring in the light. When facing any challenge or difficulty, to yourself personally or one that is happening in the wider world, ask the question, “What would love do to fix this?” I don’t think when Mother Teresa was taking care of a sick person she asked them first what religion they were or what political party they were affiliated with before she helped them. Her actions transcended those labels and she responded from love.

And that response of love comes from the belief that every person is an individualized expression of God. Every person is divine. Every person regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, economic status, religion or beliefs is a spiritual being, living in a spiritual universe, governed by spiritual laws. This is unconditional love and this kind of energy is inherent in all of us. This is the only thing that can truly heal us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Otherwise no sorrow would dissolve. No wound would cover over and we would not be able to turn to life for new possibilities. All that was broken would stay broken. But we know this simply is not true.

Love is not a sentimental feeling washing over us to make us feel good from time to time. It is a vigorous energy to be consciously engaged in every life activity. Love heals, love unfolds, and love brings light into the darkness.

Each winter during the period from the solstice to Christmas Eve the world is bathed in long swirls of cosmic energy that move the planet to a higher frequency. A moment in time when surges of energies prevail, and then in a moment everything stands in a stillness. You have felt that stillness, as the world stands on the cusp of rebirth, ready to burst forth in radiant light.

If we truly believe that God is the energy of unconditional love in the universe it only stands to reason for us to get ready, to be prepared for this winter event. There in that moment of complete darkness, we turn inward to contemplate the purpose of life. To take a look at that self-centered nature that longs to express a more generous side. This inner awakening that has been germinating and now desires to bloom forth.

There is a true physical shift of the Planet at the winter solstice and the spring solstice and it brings an energy of unsurmountable light. And it’s up to all of us to take this energy and intentionally hone it and mold it and see it bathed in love and peace. It is our responsibility as Metaphysicians to understand this cosmic force. And we realize that through our prayers and meditations we choose what kind of energy the world is going to be bathed on this Christmas day.

This Christmas can be so special even with all the craziness of 2020. We can see that priorities are shifting and changing. Old paradigms are taking a back seat to acts of kindness, sharing of talents and resources, exchanging ideas, inventing new ways to connect. Each day we have a choice to find ways for hopelessness to be replaced by hope.

And there was a star in the East and there were shepherds watching their sheep.

The star illuminates this darkens and acts as a guiding light or beacon that manifest within our unconsciousness. Shepherds watched by night and saw a great light symbolizing how out of darkness the light came down. This light has been ever present within us even in the darkest of our nights. And the sheep, are our thoughts that spark of new possibilities shining thru the darkness of human confusion and illuminating the spiritual truth of who we really are. So each Christmas can be a new beginning for us to give birth to more of the light, trusting in it, believing in its presence. Sending it forth with every choice we make to bring more of itself into expression.

2020 is ending and a new year begins. Be the light on your journey ,the light that shines through the darkness. The most precious gift you can give your self is accepting this light of love that resides within you. Words alone do not change this it requires action. Like those men and women who lit the fires calling the sun back in the depths of winter we too can light the fire within us, calling it forth to shine with a greater brilliance than ever before.

Happy Solstice and a Merry Christmas


December 13, 2020

Joy Is Within Us
Matthew 11: 28 and John 14:27
First Spiritual Church of Bay City
Rev. Mike Hile, Caro M
I

Greetings to all of my friends and any who happen to read this. For this Third Sunday of Advent, which honors JOY, I have chosen two well-known passages from Jesus, our master teacher who showed us how to live and continues to do so daily. The first is Matthew 11:28, Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. The second is John 14:27, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. These words of assurance may translate to a joyful life, even in these challenging, harrowing times.

In ten days, December 23, it will be nine months that in Michigan we have experienced some level of quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We were concerned a few weeks earlier, but official action was taken Monday, March 23. Normal life came to a screeching halt. I several times have thought that if a teacher gave an assignment to write a believable fantasy (yes, an oxymoron, I know), and these last nine months were outlined and submitted, the teacher would return the paper with the comment – Too fantastic to be believable, please, rewrite.

Normal life as we knew it has come to a screeching halt. Our lives have been put on hold for nine months. True, hopeful remedies are forth-coming but no instantaneous fix is immediately apparent. My mother was born in 1918 amid the Spanish Flu pandemic, 102 years ago. We knew of this from history but pretty much shared in the thought, In today’s age of scientific and medical advancement, nothing like that would be possible. Yet, here we are, the world held hostage by border-line life, a virus! Let me say, I completely respect the efforts put in place to control the spread, social distance whenever possible, always wear my mask, use drive-thru whenever possible, and simply stay home. Except our sons being home five times during the nine months, not one other person has crossed our doorstep. The Schwan man leaves our order on our patio. We are very serious about trying to stay safe, both being in our 70’s with compromising conditions.

So, with those things said, you might wonder how I have the audacity to write about JOY. Many years ago now in the early 90’s, an 8th grade girl came to my desk while the class was working on an activity and asked if she could ask me a question. Sure! She asked, Why are you always so happy and cheerful? I told her that other than being too stupid to recognize the difference that a passage from Richard Bach’s Illusions resonated well with me. I shared the passage with her: The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, that master calls a butterfly. Four years later when I attended her graduation party at her home on a Sunday afternoon, in addition to thanking me for coming, she greeted me with a big smile as she said, I still remember that quote! I simply do not believe in injustice and tragedy ~ in the grand scheme of things. From our limited, earthly, human view of this lifetime, yes, but not when I recognize that this lifetime is one small slice of the greater whole. It is our time now to learn and to focus and to experience – all things for which I believe we have come to this lifetime directed by our higher selves. I trust that Divine Order is at work amid it all. This life is our reality for now, and hopefully we learn those things for which we have come.

Also, I believe in sacred contracts and that I have at least three connections that I think were set in motion prior to my coming to this lifetime, likely more. As I have told you in other sermons, I believe I came to be with a dear friend during her divorce and to see my dear friend, Margaret out (her words). In the last couple of years, I have come to believe that I also came to be Tom’s wife. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain aneurysm at 21 and told he had likely less than six months to live. I remember hearing that, and something within my 14-year-old body cringed at the very core of my being. I now totally believe that my soul was screaming, Tom Hile can’t die; he’s going to be the father of my sons! Two months later under the care of another doctor, he spent a few days hospitalized being tested thankfully with no confirmation found. He also had lightning strike close enough to him twice to immobilize him with one of those times being over a half an hour before he could use his legs. While bull-dozing some trees, a fairly large branch broke sweeping across the top of the 2-4-D AC taking off the exhaust pipe and air filter before coming to rest across his shoulders pinning him to the seat. Two or three inches higher would have surely cost him his life. While getting his masters’ driving back and forth to East Lansing, he fell asleep on I-69 heading west awakening when his tires hit the gravel headed toward the abutment of an overpass. He jerked the wheel, saw the speedometer was over 95 mph as his foot pressed down as he fell asleep, and safely continued his journey with eyes wide open. I now tell him, God saved you for me! assuring him that without me, he would just be down in the other house alone, watching TV, and drinking beer. To that he responds, What do you suppose God has against me? Funny man!

After transitioning, I see myself looking back with all being in perfect order for the intended, desired outcomes. I may come again; I may not. But from my view, I have the assurance of perfection being served.

While on my stump and before getting to practical ways to handle the days in which we are living and finding joy, let me also share another idea I heard that resonated well with me. I no longer can cite the source, but read somewhere, We give evil its greatest power by believing in it. Of course, this means evil does not exist outside of our thought processes. When I start to think of things in negative ways, I try to determine their possible positives and the good they may serve. I can usually accomplish that perspective if I remember to have the foresight to do so.

However, I am human and often get in my own way forgetting what my higher self believes/knows at the core of my being. As I always tell you, my messages are first and foremost for me with you having the chance to listen if desired. An interesting thing about forgetting our divinity, as the same divine light that lived in Jesus is shining brightly in each of us, is that often we can handle large adversity stoically with acceptance, you know, the stiff upper lip, and come completely unglued at the small, meaningless, happenings. I can deal with a foreboding diagnosis, but have a fit if I drop the mail on the dewy grass coming from the mailbox. A friend and I discussed this once, back when I actually rode in my vehicle with others. We decided the stresses of huge life issues which were handled with grace found their way out of our body in insignificant, harmless events; the lid didn’t fly off of the pressure cooker KAPOW! but various eruptions definitely did release the pressure. Locking myself out of the house is not a world ending event, especially because I have two keys strategically placed, but I sometimes act like it is. Humans, eh?!

So, on this Third Sunday of Advent, what is it I want you to know and remember about joy; given, we may be feeling a tad bogged down, fearful, and depressed right now? Corrie Ten Boom said, Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. To experience joy, the answer is go within. As noted, that same divine light that lived in Jesus is shining within us. It is comforting knowing we are not alone; we are one with God meaning we are one with the wisdom of God. We can use the light of God within us to guide our decisions. That indwelling light is unwavering and constant, shining as a beacon of understanding. As divine light illuminates our ways, we can sense which direction is appropriate for us to take. Even when the way may seem uncertain, we can be assured that inner light will guide us to our good. When I think of joy, I think of quietly taking a deep breath and as I exhale having a big smile on my face along with a contented heart. Yes, even in these Covid-19 days.

As we take this Advent walk to Christmas, a good thing to do would be sometime – even before this very day ends – to find some quiet time and to thank God for blessing us and ours so richly. We all have joys; consciously remember them on this day! Just spend some quiet time with God, asking His continued blessings, being grateful for those bestowed, and soliciting His help in remembering we are his and that he is in us. Several years ago now, possibly as many as twenty, I began having quiet time in the morning before starting my day. We had been in the habit of beginning our day by flipping on the TV with the lights as our feet hit the floor. By the time I was ready to drive to work, I had the weight of the world on my shoulders having heard about warring nations, violence at home, unrest, natural disasters, and whatever else was tossed our way. One year I decided that was enough, the “news” could wait – at least my hearing about it – until later. Instead, I began spending some time in quiet prayer and reflection. And I am not talking about large expanses of time, maybe ten minutes. With that seemingly small act, my days became noticeably better, more joyful. That’s not to say I want to have my head buried in the sand and be uninformed, just that I don’t need to begin my day being bombarded with all of the woes of the world. I have found that the world will go right on spinning without my direct knowledge of the “news.” So, may I suggest some quiet time added to your days, to welcome the spirit of the season, to welcome joy into your hearts.

I am the great list maker. I wouldn’t know enough to go home if I didn’t consult my list. I find if I have something on paper, it becomes doable. The printed word has great power for me. As the holiday season continues, we all have many tasks to complete even if abbreviated by the pandemic. Making a list of them will help to organize your days and to ensure the completion of desired tasks. Too, let’s remember to put JOY on our lists. Without joy, the actions we take become fairly meaningless. Also, joy is contagious. Back in the day when we actually gathered with others, have you ever noticed the entire mood of a room can be changed by one enthusiastic, joyful person entering? You know that to be true. May we all do some conscious planning, list making if you will, and be sure to put a large dose of joy on our lists.

You may or may not have your Christmas cards sent if you even choose to send them. Since 1984 with the birth of our second son, we have sent a picture card at Christmas with this being the 36th year. For the first several years, we just sent a picture of the boys. After one vacation to the western side of the state, we decided to include all four of us in the picture as we had a particularly nice shot of the family. Our boys, now 40 and 36, still enjoy and are willing to continue doing that, probably because it shows everyone how they tower over us with both being six feet five inches tall. People often say to me when they see our sons, How did you get sons so tall with you being so short? I readily and joyfully reply that they are tall because of their mother’s good cooking. Our older son’s response is always, Yes, charcoal does wonders! For the last several years, we have had our Christmas card picture taken Thanksgiving Day, and this year was no different. I am also in the habit of writing a letter recapping the year telling the highlights of each family member. Of course, I send the boys’ paragraphs to them for their approval and editing, and get Tom’s approval of his paragraph too. As I slip the picture card and letter into the envelope, I will take a moment to think about the one or ones to whom the card is being sent and silently wish for them God’s blessings and joy. It may be a small thing, but it brings me back to the true importance of Christmas with our being an extension of God’s love, the love symbolically sent to us at Christmas in the Christ child. Along with sending the cards and letters, I’m sending our love and joy, which I think should always be generously given whether it is Christmas or any other day. Doing that simple act turns card sending into a happy, joyous act not simply one more chore to be completed. Try it, consciously bless those to whom you send your Christmas cards.

Gift buying may be complex, exasperating, and overwhelming at times especially in this socially distanced setting. The boys offer lists which are appreciated and most helpful. Too, I am known for my off-list items many of which have caused them to roll their eyes when opened. Occasionally, they are big hits. I keep hoping. The thing that amazed me this year was contrasting my gift buying to my shopping of the early 70’s. I just texted a friend two days ago who now lives in Florida reminding her how each Black Friday, we would head for Saginaw with the stores opening at 8 a.m. before the wee-hours of the morning openings of recent years, spend all day shopping, and coming home with still things to purchase. This year, from my couch in the sunroom where I reign and from which I am typing this message, I ordered the things on John and Allen’s lists in my jammies at 2:00 a.m. with it taking about 40 minutes total logging on to four sites! After clicking “Process order” each time, I was joyful!

Cleaning for gatherings can be made joyful by putting on Christmas CDs and cranking up the sound. I normally have about six groups gather at our home over the holidays. Of course, not now. This year, hopefully if they remain unexposed, John and Allen will come Christmas day for about five or six hours. Still, just getting ready for them being home will fill my heart with joy making the mundane cleaning tasks joyful.

Baking special treats can be done with love and joy. Tom says that he can always tell when I’m cooking by the yelling coming from the kitchen. I do a mean drive-thru. But I do have a reputation for making excellent caramel corn. It’s a recipe I received in 1984, and I have made train carloads of it. It gives me great joy to make it and share it with family and friends. I only make it at Christmas time. In fact, we had a dear, dear friend who lived in Fairgrove and was 97 when she died back in 2006. For about her last eight years, I routinely picked her up every Sunday for church, and she had Sunday dinner with us before I took her home. She particularly enjoyed my caramel corn. The year she was 94, she asked me in March if I would make her some more caramel corn because she really had a taste for it. I held my ground and told her she’d have to wait until Christmas because I only make it between Thanksgiving and New Years. She reminded me that she was after all 94 and may not be around for the next Christmas. I told her that I was sorry but I had my standards. Happily, she received three more batches living until 97. As you cook making those special treats of the season, hold those in your heart for whom you are preparing the treats. It makes the ho-hum task of cooking an act of appreciation and joy.

Another opportunity to send your thoughts of love to others is while wrapping their gifts. Make it a fun time. Gift bags have helped make it an easy time. One year (1972) I made all of my own bows. I had three styles and several colors. All of my college career was spent living with home ec (human ecology) majors, so I did many domestic things. Anyway, I made nearly one hundred beautiful bows and had a great time doing it and have never made one since. Now, you’d be much more likely to receive a gift from me without a bow than one that was hand made. That is one of those “likely never again” experiences. I really had fun doing it, but it was enough to last a lifetime. Getting the gifts ready can be a time of happiness and joy thinking about how they will be enjoyed.

So may I suggest, that as we experience these days before Christmas, even in the face of this pandemic, that we find joy by taking some quiet time to be with God and being thankful for all that has been and is to come, and most especially for God’s indwelling spirit in us. Make your lists, mentally or concrete, with a happy heart. Prioritize the items: must do, would like to do, if I have time I’ll do, and whatever. As you send your cards, joyfully send love with each sealing of the envelope. While shopping from your couch in your jammies or socially distancing heeding the arrows and X’s, remember it is we who have turned Christmas into a rat race. Take time to show your goodwill and God’s love whether at home or in carefully chosen settings. Clean with joy being thankful for your home and those, if any, who will be guests in it. Cook and prepare food with happiness for others being in your life. Give gifts in the spirit of joy as we have received so much. In doing these things (which really take no extra time at all, it’s just a matter of bringing them to your conscious thought), may you be bursting with JOY!

Blessings for a wonderful week.


December 6, 2020

Advent Week 2: Prepare Ye the Way!
David Byrd-Fournier 

Good day and thank you for joining us in worship today, December 6, 2020, the second Sunday of
Advent. The Scripture readings from the Lectionary are found in the first chapter of the Gospel
According to St. Mark, verses 1-8 and the third chapter of the Second Epistle General of Peter, verses 8
through the first clause of verse 15. As always, I am quoting from George Lamsa’s translation of the
Bible:


Mark 1:1-8:
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah, the prophet,
Behold I send my messenger before your face, that he may prepare your way. The voice that cries in the
wilderness: Make ready the way of the Lord and straighten his highways. John was in the wilderness,
baptizing and preaching the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And the whole province
of Judea went out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and he baptized them in the river Jordan,
when they confessed their sins. John wore a dress of camel’s hair, with a girdle of leather fastened
around his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, Behold, there is
coming after me one who is mightier than I am, even the strings of whose shoes I am not good enough
to bend down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”


2 Peter3:8-15a:
“But, my beloved, do not forget this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a
thousand years as one day. The Lord is not negligent concerning his promises, as some men count
negligence but is longsuffering toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come
to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, when the heavens shall suddenly
pass away and the elements shall separate as they burn, and the earth also and the works that are in it
shall not be found. Now since all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to
be in your holy conduct and godliness. Looking for and longing for the coming of the day of God,
wherein the heavens being tested with fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent
heat? Nevertheless we, according to the promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which dwells
righteousness. Therefore, my beloved, while you look for these things, be diligent that you may be
found by him in peace, without spot and blameless. And consider that the long suffering of the Lord is
salvation[.]”


This ends the readings.
If you are wondering exactly what relevance these scriptures have to Advent, you are not alone. The first
is written to tell of a time just before the adult Jesus comes to be baptized himself before his earthly
mission begins. The second is well after Jesus ascension, the founding of the church, and is in fact
written to a diaspora of Christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, and Bithynia. Both
passages have in common that neither fits in the timeline before Jesus’ birth. So, what are these verses
trying to tell us during this time?


As it turns out, both passages have a common theme running through them: be prepared and wait
patiently. The two components of that theme seem contradictory at first. Get everything together so
that you are ready for a new experience in life, and at the same time sit and wait patiently because it’s
going to happen when God is ready for it to happen and not when you expect it to happen. So much for
peace and joy, eh?


As I look back on all the sermons that I have written and delivered during 2020 I recognize some
common themes of being prepared for something new and being patient to wait until that “something
new” came to pass. This was not something that I consciously planned, mind you. This was all Spirit, and
I was merely the channel. I also came upon some new insights that I would like to share with you about
the energy of the year 2020.


In numerology we teach that the year 2020 adds down to a 4, which means building a firm foundation
upon which something new can be constructed. Additionally, adding 20 and 20 results in the number 40,
another biblical symbol for a time of preparation in which the old gets cleared away in favor of the new.
According to the website NumerologyNation.com, the number 40 appears a total of 146 times in the
Bible, signifying a time of trials, testing, and a period that comes before results.


The rains that caused the great flood during which only Noah and his family survived lasted 40 days and
40 nights. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years before they were allowed into the Promised
Land, having faced many a setback after their impatience got the better of them. Jesus spent 40 days
and 40 nights fasting in the desert before he faced ego’s temptation to use his divinely provided powers
for something less than all good. In each of these situations there was a waiting period, and in each of
these situations something new emerged at the end. Noah and his family and the animals on the ark
started the world population over. The Israelites moved into a new land where they would be free after
their ancestors had been enslaved. Jesus proved that he could overcome the short-term gratification
promised by the ego and strive for the higher promises of Spirit.


I think it goes without saying that this year has been a year in which we have all been tested and we have all been called to think differently and act differently as well. I think it is also safe to say that there
is not one of us who has not had some aspect of our lives disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The
reactions to these requests for temporarily changing our behavior have ranged from cooperation with
the hope that it would be over sooner rather than later to complete denial, resistance, suspicion of
ulterior motives, and the insistence that the individual’s wants and needs were more important than our
collective welfare. If indeed we are being prepared and tested for a new way of life (Promised Land, new
heaven and earth, mastery of our ego), it appears that we may find ourselves “wandering in the desert”
for a little while longer unless we are willing to change our ways. Can we do that?


In this Advent season let us answer that call to “prepare the way.” Let us each examine ourselves and
ask what new thing we are being prepared to bring about on this planet. In one of my previous sermons
I suggested the idea that our time in isolation was a time in which we were being incubated (or
gestated) in order that collectively we would bring about something new and beautiful on this Earth
plane. In the weeks to come let us all think of ourselves as “pregnant with possibilities” that once fully
developed and brought into this world can move us closer to creating “heaven on earth.”


Can we be peaceful while we wait for as long as it takes for this to happen? Yes!
Can we be joyful as we contemplate the good that will come from this time of testing? Certainly!
Can we be the love that asks us to delay instant gratification in favor of what is best for all of us?
Absolutely!
In this Advent season let us all prepare ourselves to birth the change that is the salvation of our


collective world. The world is calling. What will your answer be?
Namaste


November 29, 2020

Advent 2020

George M. Lamsa’s Translation of the Bible

Matthew 25 1-13

The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to greet the bridegroom and the bride. Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. And the foolish ones took their lamps, but took no oil with them. But the wise ones took oil in the vessels with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry, Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to greet him! All the virgins got up and prepared their lamps. And the foolish ones said to the wise ones, give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. Then the wise ones answered, saying, why, there would not be enough for us and for you; go to those who sell and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom comes; and those who were ready entered with him into the banqueting house, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins also came and said, our lord, our lord, open the door. But he answered and said to them truly I say to you, I do not know you.

Advent is a season of the liturgical calendar year observed in most denominations. It’s from the Latin word adventus, meaning coming or arrival. So advent has to do with preparing for something. As a Christian it’s time to again prepare for the coming of a savior, the birth of Jesus. As mystical Christians it can be a time to prepare for that birth of self, realizing that we are our own saviors and that within each of us is a higher energy or Christ Consciousness. It’s can also be a time of remembering that energy of light that radiates from within us and how we again can make it shine even through the darkness.

On the surface I can see why this would be a good parable for Advent because it’s all about getting ready. Preparation. In the parable the ten virgins were awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom. They didn’t know when he would come. Those who were wise were prepared for his coming no matter when it happened. Those who were foolish let their oil run down and were caught unprepared. The lamps were rags soaked in oil and the oil needed to be replenished. And while they sought to remedy their omission it was too late. The bridegroom didn’t even recognize them. The light in the lamps was just too dim.

Obviously, one lesson this story teaches is the necessity of being prepared. There are certain things that you cannot get ready for in the last minute of preparation. Unless you have been prepared long beforehand, you cannot be prepared at all. It is that way, for instance, with knowledge. The moment of the examination cannot be the moment of preparation. And it is that way with many skills of life. There is also seizing the moment or the opportunity when it comes. Sometimes we read of an understudy who went onto the stage when the principal player became ill and gained great success. Or the athlete who was a reserve and who, through the illness of the first team player, got his or her chance and seized it. But neither the actor nor the athlete would have been able to seize the day if they had left it until the last moment to study or train. By diligent preparation they were ready to grab the chance when it came.

But now let’s go a little deeper, as Rev. Laura says, “let’s peal the onion to the next level”.

First of all, in the Ancient Aramaic world a virgin was defined as a young woman. Young in body, heart and mind and with a certain sense of purity. It does not mean literally a virgin, but rather someone young at heart. The key word would be pure of heart, innocent. In a nutshell the parable is giving us a guided map on how we become a Christed being by remembering that we are sparks of God. And this Divinity is within us all. Eckert Tolle said, “we do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within us and allowing that goodness to emerge”. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in our state of consciousness. If we are prepared.

The ten virgins could represent our five senses, sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. Each one of these senses has a higher counterpart, making ten in all. Each of these senses have the potential to become fully Christel (our higher consciousness or the bridegroom). We know as metaphysicians if we only use our five physical senses we are limited. In the book Working With the Law, Doctor Holliwell says, “if one lived only by physical sight the world would be very small. It is said of a bug that its world is only as large as the size of the leaf on which it lives, and many times it does not live long enough to consume the whole leaf.

With man, if he lived according to the senses, the largest sense he possessed would be that of sight. Thus our whole world would extend only as far as we could see. Therefore we do not see just with our eyes we see with our mind. And our thoughts, although invisible to the physical sight, is an energy force in and of itself. We are surrounded by a vast ocean of thought stuff through which our thoughts pass like currents of electricity, or tiny streaks of light or musical waves. You can flash your thoughts from pole to pole, completely around the world many times in less than a single second. No other force or power in the universe yet known is as great or as quick. It is a proven fact, scientifically, that the mind is a battery of force, the greatest of any known element.” Our Creative Principle tells us that Mind activates thought and thought activates ideas which become manifestation. Whatever we think in our minds will grow. Thoughts become things.

We need to remember that we are Spirit living a human existence and our senses are the catalyst that moves us from the lower thought vibrations to the higher.

If we were to depend solely on the physical senses it would limit our understanding of spiritual matters (no oil in the lamps). When we are able to move to their higher spiritual essences, these same five senses can comprehend spiritual Truths (the oil is present in the lamps).

Another reason why the writer of this parable would have used virgins is because our senses are basically feminine energy and they are impressionable. They are receivers. Sight and hearing, taste, touch, and smell, are movements of mind which receive impressions from our surroundings. Our personal and individual mind is nothing more nor less than the sum of its impressions. Thus it is important what impressions the mind is made of because what are we feeding our minds will manifest.

Wisdom tells us that life is complex and yet so simple. If we were to try to find a single truth we all could agree on, it would perhaps be that everything changes. Opinions are constantly changing, mind is constantly changing, the body is constantly changing, the world is constantly changing, and our relationships are constantly changing. As simple as that statement is, it contains great wisdom. No matter what happens in life remember, this too shall pass. Just this insight alone may seem so simple that we may say that it’s not even wisdom. But when we deeply experience change, when we deeply understand that nothing is permanent, our wisdom grows.

We now have some different interpretations or understandings of this parable but what can we do to begin or initiate moving to that higher-self within? How do we actually move from the physical to the spiritual?

Through meditation we can enhance the five physical senses as they align with our energy centers (Charkas). Like our senses Chakras are vortexes of energy and these vortexes receive, assimilate and transmit life energy. Our chakras radiate and receive energy constantly. Again, through meditation we are able to combine our five physical senses with the Chakras connecting our physical bodies to the mental, emotional and spiritual essence of who we are. As we step into the silence of meditation the physical senses move higher and higher and becomes Intuition (6th), Spiritual Sight (7), Etheric Body (8), Celestial Body (9), and finally Nirvana (10), awaking to our eternal self. Realizing that our energy can never be destroyed only changed (achieving higher consciousness).

In the book Sacred Science of Numbers, ten is the recipient of all numbers. It is the symbol of a circle, whole, infinite life. We have come from Source and we will return to Source.

In a nutshell Advent is all about the light. Whether it’s dim or bright it’s still light. It’s never too late to get prepared. I know 2020 has been a rough year but for these next few weeks before Christmas I encourage you to sit in meditation, go into the silence, open your heart Chakra and see that innocent babe born once again. It’s you, you are the light and this light is just waiting for you to remember.


November 22, 2020

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
What an AMAZING word!
Susan Wright Caro, MI

It’s from the 1960’s movie, Mary Poppins. Just the length of the word… makes it fun to say. And Julie Andrews brought her own exuberant, contagious energy to the word when she sang it. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious certainly means something extraordinarily good! There were several definitions on-line.

Most said: Awesome, fantastic, wonderful! A word that you say when you don’t know what to say.

Let’s talk about power of words!

Our scripture is from:

Ephesians 4:29

George Lamsa’s translation of the Holy Bible.

Let no evil word proceed from your mouth, but words that are good and useful for edification that they will impart blessing to those who hear them.

In 2005, Dr. Masaru Emoto published a book, The Hidden Messages in Water. It was the 1st of its kind to talk about the energetic power of language. You may have heard about it?

Dr. Emoto’s study demonstrated that specific crystal formations were created in frozen water through words and thoughts. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words showed beautiful, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns.

On the other hand, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, formed incomplete, jagged patterns with dull colors. The results of this research gave a new awareness to how we can positively create change in our world and in our own personal health with the words we speak.

Do you remember the childhood phrase?

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me?”

The version I liked to share with children is a little different:

Sticks and stones will break my bones and names will always hurt me.

Words are far more than just a form of communication. They are electromagnetic vibrations.

In order to attract positive things into our lives we need to first make sure the words that are being said in our heads make us feel good… and are positive. If we think of words as place holders or containers then our feelings are the positive or negative energy in them and make our words come alive.

In her book, The Energy of Words, Michele Arbeau gives excellent examples for understanding the power of words. It’s not just the dictionary meaning of a word that is important.

Imagine your words as melodies you sing and each letter a note. When we hear an upbeat song on the radio, it can change our mood and set the tone for the day.

Words we think, speak and write are all part of our personal theme song.

Are you a down on your luck country tune? Or an UP-Beat pop rock song?

Pay attention to the words you are saying to yourself. These words can affect us more than any others, because we process so many more words with our thoughts than we speak. They come from deep within us and have an energetic ripple effect attracting things to us.

This is the Law of Attraction! Make sure to sing yourself a happy tune!

Now let’s think about those words we say aloud.

The words we choose are constantly shaping our world every time we think, speak, and write. We can make our words powerful by the feelings and intention we have behind them when they are spoken. Are they heartfelt?

Here’s an example:

Several years ago I took classes in Access Bars, a form of a healing modality. One of the mantras or affirmations that is used during the training is:

How does it get any better than this?

It’s a great affirmation! It asks the Universe/God to show you.

Just how does it get any better than this? I have found this very effective!

It’s easy to bring heartfelt gratitude and positive intention to the words when things are good. How does it get any better than this?

However, it’s not as easy to find the same positive emotional fuel when life is difficult.

To really ask with gratitude and positivity when times are tough in your life,

“How does it get any better than this?”, no whining but bringing the energy of authentic blessings of the moment, into your words.

It takes practice!

Maybe just thinking about changing the way we phrase things might be a step in the right direction. Rather than saying I’m hurting we might say I’m healing. That’s a change in consciousness. Rather than continually saying, I’m lost, we might say I’m improving at finding my way.

Do your words really help you be the best YOU?

Using numerology is another way we can help our words be more powerful. I’m not a numerologist but just a little study with words can be interesting.

For example: Let’s look at the word Problem.

For those of you not familiar with how numerology works, each letter can be represented by a number which holds a specific meaning. If you add the number value of each letter together you get the numerology of a word.

The word Problem is the number 9(nine). Nine is the idealistic humanitarian number in the positive aspect of nine. Nine’s positive humanitarian energy is there to fix problems.

Most of us use the word problem in a negative way. If we say, “no problem” it automatically sends the energy of problem from a negative to a positive.

Let’s say that you want to buy a new car. You have been looking at a special one in particular and several times a day you are yourself saying,

“The problem is…” Perhaps you are putting a tinted lens over the vision you would like. Have you ever thought about truly listening to yourself and writing down what you say? Try it! Write down those words, phrases and thoughts you catch yourself repeatedly saying.

All of us have a top 10. Jot them down on a piece of paper. You might even check with your family and friends for some help. Just do it for 1 day. I tried it and had a friend point out to me that I often used the phrase,

“Do you know what I mean?”

Thinking about this I wondered what was behind that phrase?

Was I uncertain of what I was saying? Was I feeling that I wasn’t being heard? I didn’t feel this was a productive use of words for me.

And I have been giving it much thought in meditation, as well as trying to change what I say. God knows I could be more reflective before speaking. We all use many of the same words and expressions over and over again. Truly we do! Your top 10 words at home may be different than those at work. Check it out and see.

At the days’ end take a look at your list and see if you need to make some conscious changes.

The frequency or energetic vibration of the words we speak is the missing piece in successfully applying the Law of Attraction. Like attracts like!

If you truly want to make changes in your life this is a helpful exercise.

What are you saying to the Universe? Reword the story of your life!

I’m a big fan of Facebook. I don’t watch tv much. No news at all on TV but I do have a subscription to the NYT and read what I choose as well as other news sites. I often wonder if people understand what they are attracting by some of their FB posts and comments Yikes! Do I have to refrain myself and forcibly get up from the computer at times? YES!

What words and emoji’s are you texting to family and friends?

The words and the vibration they carry, as well as the energy we put out there with them, are shaping our world every time we think, speak, and write.

Did you know there are 6 thousand languages in use today?

Words are unique to humans and as French neurologist, Paul Broca, discovered we have a part of our brain that allows us to think before we speak. It’s called Broca’s area. We are scientifically responsible for what we say. We do have control over this.

Exodus 20:13 is part of the The Ten Commandments. It says, “You shall not kill” Looking past the obvious physical death, perhaps we might think about how our words are affecting others. Are we “killing” others with our words? It’s important to speak up! I’m not suggesting that we should remain quiet.

Change doesn’t happen by not saying anything. Making others aware of your feelings is important not only for a better world but for your good health. It’s your choice of words and the kind of energy you put behind them. Words are SO important! Let’s think about it!

There are words that have launched a movement!

Make love, not war! Back in the 1960’s, this slogan was used by those opposing the Vietnam War. It caught on like wildfire. MAKE, LOVE, NOT WAR. The numerology of Make Love, not War, alone makes it a very unifying, humanitarian, creative and visionary energy.

I have a DREAM, -Martin Luther King Jr.

The numerology of these words brings hope, inspiration, optimism and a sense of unity back into the hands of the people and the heart-felt energy that Dr. King brought to the spoken words have made them powerful even today.

The words you speak and the vibration they carry not only affects you, your friends and family, but reverberates out into our state, country and world. Are you living your best life!

Lawrence G. Lovasik said,

“Kind words are a creative force, a power that concurs in the building up of all that is good, and energy that showers blessings upon the world.”

You have the power to change your world and speaking up and using words consciously is one of the quickest ways to make the shift. If we want more civility and peace in our world, we must start with ourselves.

If we want less violence in our country, we must stop committing violence with our words. Change doesn’t start out there-it starts with each and every one of us, where we live and work. Gandhi taught us, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world”. And I do believe we need more people stepping up to this challenge!

Supercalifragilisticexpealitodocious is a 1 in numerology!

The number of new beginnings.

Make a supercalifragilisticexpealidous start to your week with new beginnings in the ways you use words!

Try to use positive ones! We all need to hear more today!

Blessings!

November 8, 2020

Peace is a Holy Practice

Rev. Michael Schlotterbeck  Anderson, IN

Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

Peace in our world always seems to be a concern, but it tends to ramp up when we are confronted with more and more violence, hatred, and hostile, warring speech.  We can become more concerned when something appears to disrupt  or possibly end a period of peace.  But was it really peace?  Often what we consider peace is merely the absence of conflict.  A time when we have somehow controlled a situation or applied adequate force to bring about a cease fire. 

When I talk of peace, I am talking about resolving the hostility that brings about the conflict, violence, and hostile speech.  I’m not working at the level of symptoms, but rather at the level of cause.  How do we resolve the hostility that prevents the presence of peace in our world?

If we want to bring about a more peaceful world, where do we look to apply a solution?  Who has to change?  What has to change?  Where do we root out the problem?  The following Taoist Peace Prayer gives some insight.

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

Unsurprisingly, the change needs to happen in our hearts. What happens in the world is an expression of what we believe about the world and each other.  To bring about a less hostile world, we are going to need less hostile hearts.

When I looked at various spiritual traditions, there were many references to cultivating peace in our hearts.  One quote from Hebrews 12:14 stood out.  

Pursue Peace with all men, and holiness
Without which no one will see God.

What struck me about this passage was the redundancy.  If you pursue holiness, peace would be the byproduct, and if you pursue peace, you would embrace a path of holiness.  To cultivate peace in our hearts, we must embrace aspects of holiness.

The first aspect of holiness that I would like to explore is Equality.  Peace is born out of valuing each person equally.  Hostility is born out of valuing some people over others.  It’s an odd and disturbing phenomena in human nature that when we value someone or a group of people less, see them as somehow inferior to others or “the norm”, we can then justify horrendous behavior toward them.  We can see this in our nation’s history of slavery, the Holocaust in Germany, and many other instances throughout world history.  The holy perception is to know the worthiness of all people and to operate from that truth.  As you look into your heart to cultivate peace, look for where you believe that people are somehow less valuable or worthy than yourself.  Be aware of how often you make a value judgment about others.

Another aspect of holiness that deepens the practice of peace is an understanding of the oneness of man.  We are from the same source and are part of each other.  The belief that we are separate is an illusion.  One of my favorite metaphors for this concept is that we are waves in an ocean that thinks that we are separate from the ocean and that we are in competition with the other waves.  We forget that in fact we are part of the vast ocean that is the ground of our very being.  Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, addresses this concept beautifly.

My right hand has written all the poems that I have composed.
My left hand has not written a single poem.
But my right hand does not think, “Left Hand, you are good for nothing.”
My right hand does not have a superiority complex.
That is why it is very happy.
My left hand does not have any complex at all.
In my two hands there is the kind of wisdom
called the wisdom of nondiscrimination.
One day I was hammering a nail and my right hand was not very accurate
and instead of pounding on the nail it pounded on my finger.
It put the hammer down and took care of the left hand
in a very tender way, as if it were taking care of itself.
It did not say, “Left Hand, you have to remember that
I have taken good care of you and you have to pay me back in the future.”
There was no such thinking. And my left hand did not say,
“Right Hand, you have done me a lot of harm—
give me that hammer, I want justice.”
My two hands know that they are members of one body;
they are in each other.

When we believe ourselves to be separate, we can judge, compete, and even attack each other and never understand that we are attacking ourselves.

The next aspect of holiness to explore is love. The practice of peace grows in love and dies in hatred and fear.  The Dhammapada says:

Hatred is never ceased by hatred,
Hatred is ceased by non-hatred,
This is an old law.

When cultivating peace in our hearts we must look for the places where we have unloving or fearful thoughts or beliefs.  It’s amazing to me how normalized hatred has become in our society.  I had a co-worker in a previous job who constantly talked about all of the people and things he hated.  I was flabbergasted by the sheer number of these things.  He defined himself through what he hated.  We must actively choose love over hate, and If we must define ourselves, then let us define ourselves through who and how we love.

Truth is another important part of the practice of peace.   Knowing truth, looking or truth, and resting in truth are integral to peace.  Many times, we don’t know truth but think that we do, or rather assume that we do.  What we assume is truth is often just a story we are telling.  Questioning the truth of our stores and our beliefs is vital for cultivating peace.  My co-worker who hated things so readily, never questioned his beliefs.  He would just assume that they were true.  The fact is we can never tell a completely true story about another person.  We usually operate on very little information about other people, yet we can take on beliefs about them as absolute truth.  

Pease isn’t a destination that you arrive at.  Peace is a path, a practice, a way of living in the world that is available to us at any moment.  It is present as an option in every action we make, every belief we take on, and every thought we think.  It is a choice we make over and over and over.

Rumi says that our task is not to seek love, but to remove the barriers to love.  This idea extends to the practice of peace.  If you want to sow peace in your heart, then examine the contents of your heart and mind and find your barriers to peace.  Are your beliefs about all people on the planet holy?  Are they peaceful?  Do you value all people equally and see everyone as worthy?  Do you recognize the unity and common source of all people, and strive to bring people together?  Do you love and have compassion for all?  Do you operate in the truth of love, equality, and unity and guard against untrue stories or beliefs about others?  The answers to these questions are your guideposts to your barriers to peace.  This is where your individual work lies.

So, I’ve given you some good news and some bad news.  The good news is that peace is possible and we can bring it about.  There’s no need to wait on other people to change or to feel powerless in the face of hostility.  The good news is that peace is in our hearts, and it is our responsibility.  The bad news is the peace is in our hearts and it is our responsibility.  We have to do the work.  We often think that bringing about peace is someone else’s responsibility.  They have to change.  But if we want to bring about peace in the world, we must examine our hearts and foster the qualities of love, unity, truth and equality.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.  Make peace in your heart and change the world.

Many Blessings to You.


November 1, 2020

Rev. Nancy Booth (Bethesda, MD)

This week’s scripture reading comes from Revelations, Chapter 7, where John describes a vision where he is observing four angels at the four corners of the earth. They are holding the four winds at bay while a fifth angel descends and declares that twelve thousand individuals of each of the twelve tribes of Israel shall be sealed before the angels are loosed onto the earth to fulfill prophecy. From verses 9 and 13-17 in the Lamsa translation of the Bible, we read:

9After these things, I beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of every nation and people and kindred and tongue stood before the throne and in the presence of the Lamb, clothed with white robes and with palms in their hands,

13And one of the elders answered, saying to me, Who are these who are arrayed in white robes? And from whence did they come?

14And I said to him, My lord, you know. And he said to me, These are those who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne shall shelter them.

16They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall they be stricken by the sun nor by the heat.

17For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall shepherd them and shall lead them to fountains of living water. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

This is a very expectant time. We stand on the threshold of election day in a slow-motion, still-frame kind of moment where the atmosphere is pensive and electric, but there is no wind, no motion, no resolution yet, just raw emotion and anticipation. Like the time where the angels are holding back the four winds, we are held in a country-wide pause and we steel ourselves for whatever comes to pass in the next several days, as mail-in and drop-off ballots are counted and states report their official election results. As a nation, we are drawing a collective in-breath and feel prepared to hold it until the final judgment is called. Whatever the outcome, we know we will have to process it, accept it, and resolve ourselves to work with the resultant energies that it will bring. Many of us feel like our personal and spiritual lives have hit the ’pause’ button while we wait for things to be sorted out. However, this may actually be the best time for us to do some deep inner work and use our spiritual tools to get us through the days ahead. But let’s walk through John’s vision before we talk more about that.

In his vision, John is observing souls who have transitioned into the Spirit side of life and he notes that a number of people from every nation and people and kindred and tongue stood before God and in the presence of the Lamb, or Jesus, whom we understand to represent the Christ Consciousness. These souls were dressed in white robes. We understand that these individuals are somehow set apart from others and the fact that they are wearing white robes suggests they are elevated among humanity in some way. White is the color that contains all colors. When we do healing we often send white light because it contains every color of light that the recipient might possibly require: the individual takes what it needs and leaves the rest to return to the Universe. White encompasses all possibilities, all potentials. It is thought to be a color of purity and holiness by some cultures. The white robes may represent an initiation of some kind that has occurred on a spiritual level.

The elder tells John, “These are those who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” This sounds like a mom’s worst laundry nightmare: a white robe that was washed in blood! How can the color white possibly emerge from blood? If you’re saying bleach was involved, you would be absolutely right from the physicochemical perspective, but this is, of course, a metaphor, whose mystical meaning is left to us to discern. Let’s consider this further.

We understand that these souls who are in the presence of God and the Christ Consciousness have endured the challenges of an earthly life: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual; and they now exist in Spirit form. In particular, these individuals have successfully negotiated earthly challenges on a soul level, which suggests they are not only self-aware, but mentally and spiritually able to glean the higher meaning of all their life lessons. Here they are, at the head of the spiritual class, so to speak. What might their robes represent? The ‘robe’ in scripture may refer to something that is within our control or ability to affect, because the people actively washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. They did this act themselves. This implies that we have spiritual sovereignty over ourselves. If the robe represents our specific incarnate experience of this lifetime, then perhaps a white robe means we have worked to elevate ourselves within this lifetime, and have endeavored to raise our consciousness to as high a vibration as possible. But what seems really interesting here is the ‘blood of the Lamb’ that these souls washed their ‘robes’ in. If we recall that the ‘Lamb’ represents the Christ Consciousness, we might say that these souls washed their consciousness with the ‘blood’ of the Christ Consciousness. What could this mean?

We recognize blood as a life-giving fluid that contains sustenance the body needs in order to survive. If our blood stops pumping, our physical body dies. On a spiritual level, we might make the analogy that blood could represent the spiritual substance of the Christ Consciousness that can sustain our spiritual body when we consciously invoke it, nurture it, and will it into manifestation through us. We have to be the spiritual heart of ourselves and do the pumping of this spiritual life-giving fluid through our veins, though – it doesn’t just happen. There is intentional self-work involved, here. When we decide to live in the conscious state where we embody “what Jesus would do” by invoking the Christ Consciousness constantly, this activates our spiritual substance and starts to course it through our spiritual body. Self-awareness is the catalyst of this process. By analogy, the ‘Blood of Christ’ spoken of in other religions is taken into one’s self through the ritual of Communion; this may represent an individual’s desire to become one with the Christ Consciousness. Aha, so we have the understanding that if we ‘wash’ or infuse our consciousness with the spiritual substance of the Christ Consciousness, we will become closer to God. This makes sense. But let’s keep going with our metaphysical ‘deep dive’ into this scripture.

John goes on to say, “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne shall shelter them.” When we activate, nurture, and express the Christ Consciousness through us, pumping that Divine spiritual substance through our veins, we can rest in that ‘peace that passeth understanding,’ our Divine Source that sustains our spiritual body. We find this peace because we release our ego’s desire to control external things and instead focus on working on ourselves from the inside out, to be the best version of us we can be.

“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall they be stricken by the sun nor by the heat.” We know that our spiritual bodies are not subject to the same stresses that our physical bodies are when we are incarnate on the Earth plane. In our Spirit form, we are free of any pain and physical suffering. However, even in physical incarnation we can taste the bliss of this state of non-suffering while we are still living in our body by doing what we can to raise our consciousness and vibratory level through meditation, self-work, and other spiritual practices. Some of us have touched this nirvana by letting go into the peace of God’s presence in our heart-center in a very deep meditation and it can truly be manna for the soul when we experience this. Our metaphysical practices not only provide comfort, they also provide elevation of heart and soul, which we especially need right now. I find myself craving meditation more lately because I’m feeling a lot more stressed than I used to. Perhaps you, too, have felt a similar spiritual ‘restlessness’ in some way. This is our soul’s way of nudging us to get back to our metaphysical ‘roots’ that sustain us.

“For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall shepherd them and shall lead them to fountains of living water. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Here we have reference to ‘living water,’ which may be another name for the ‘blood of the Lamb.’ ‘Living water’ means a source of high vibratory spiritual sustenance that quenches our spiritual thirst and cleanses away that which does not serve us. Here, we ‘wash’ our white robes in the ‘blood of the Lamb,’ the ‘living water,’ and in doing so our consciousness is purified and uplifted to a vibratory level that is closer to Source. Houston, we have understanding! And we actually don’t need to bathe in real blood. Whew! (Thank goodness for Divine Metaphysics.)

This fascinating vision from Revelation helps us understand what we need to do in order to spiritually progress in this lifetime on Earth, right here, right now. We can focus on our Inner Work and mediate on how we can invoke, nurture, and express the Christ Consciousness while we are incarnate. No one can express the Christ Consciousness through us but us. No one can raise our consciousness and align it with Source but us. It’s an inside job. And an inside job requires inside work. Earth is our spiritual school and class is always in session, so we have ample opportunity to learn about ourselves and how we respond energetically to the numerous challenges we are presented with here. And speaking of challenges, I think everyone reading this can point to at least a few things that have challenged him/her/them lately! The spiritual work we do now will aid our soul growth and make us more resilient and able to handle whatever comes next on our life path. And a pandemic or contentious national election is not a good reason to drop out of spiritual ‘school’ right now.

So, we know we need to work to invoke, nurture, and express the Christ Consciousness while we are alive and still in our physical bodies on Earth, but how the heck do we do this, considering the amount of contention, angst, hatred, and vitriol that is pulsing through the collective consciousness right now? 2020 has been a year to put in the history books for so many reasons, and it’s not even finished yet. With all that we are dealing with, how do we tend to our spiritual inner work and stay aligned with Source? (And avoid yelling at family members over politics?) We can remember that class is always in session and we can start by asking “What is the lesson, here?” When we feel triggered by Uncle John’s political commentary, we can ask ourselves why we feel triggered, and what is the underlying emotion or energy that is bubbling up from within us at that moment. Then we can thank this emotion or energy for presenting itself to us and ask how we can heal it within ourselves. Be aware that some very interesting things may surface in doing this, and don’t be afraid to find someone to talk to about it if necessary. Inner work can dredge up deeply buried issues that we have repressed for a long time or perhaps never knew we had. We can remind ourselves that we are all ‘children’ of God and give ourselves and others some grace right now. We can also ask what things we have in common that we all care about so we can focus on that instead of divisive issues. We can self-analyze our inner talk (what we tell ourselves about ourselves) and how our self-talk might be received if it were, instead, directed at others? Would we say these things to a child? If not, why not? Then why do we say them to ourself? We can observe our responses to those who seem diametrically opposed to our viewpoints. Could we practice lovingkindness a bit more? We can practice looking within ourselves to see what negative thoughts and energetic patterns could use a little tweaking, and then engage in higher vibratory spiritual activities to nudge ourselves into more positive patterns. Maybe we can write some affirmations on post-it notes and leave them on the bathroom mirror until we become automatic at using more positive language with ourselves and others. Perhaps we can attempt to build a bridge to someone on the other side of the political spectrum, as a lesson in finding common ground. We can place those we feel in conflict with in white light during a healing meditation to help us soothe that energetic conflict and allow both souls to continue to spiritually progress. We can work to become self-aware and self-analytical, and then discipline our mind to engage in more spiritually productive approaches to life and people. Don’t get me wrong, all this is hard work – but we came here to learn and even in a failed attempt to do better or be better there will be learning! I fail at being spiritual often enough that I should have a PhD in it by now, but it’s not stopped me from continuing to look in the mirror and asking what I still need to work on. We are works in progress and the point is to just keep growing and progressing on a soul level.

Eventually, all this of self-work will lead us to where we become more spiritually self-realized, a state where we begin to fulfill our spiritual potential by manifesting what we envision more rapidly, and triggering synchronicities in the world around us based on our thoughts and intentions. We are earning our spiritual white robes every day, with everything we think and do. Our spiritual power and our ability to self-realize increase when we align with the Christ Consciousness and allow Source to work through us, and that helps us manifest more good in the world, but, man, is it hard work sometimes! Doing our own inner work and looking in the mirror to see what parts of us we might want to change (and then do it!) is how we earn that white robe so that when we leave physicality we may be initiated into the deeper mysteries of Source and continue our spiritual progression on the etheric plane.

So how can we use this information right here, right now, as we stand on the eve of Election Day, wondering what direction our nation’s collective consciousness will next move in? Do we know what the outcome will be? No. Do we know how that outcome will specifically affect us? We might have an idea, but, really: no. On an individual level, can we control the political course of the nation as a whole? No, but we know that we can inspire others to move in a specific direction, and that, in itself, can push the collective consciousness in the direction of change. Do we have power to control our own spiritual trajectory through this period by controlling our conscious mind and aligning with and expressing the Christ Consciousness? YES. Can we wash our ‘robe’ in those ‘living waters’ that will raise our vibration higher and help us practice lovingkindness and mindful detachment whenever necessary? Again, yes. Well, Hallelujah! So, let’s get to it.

As a specific example that I think many of us can relate to, one of the ways we can cleanse our consciousness of energies that are impeding us from expressing the Christ Consciousness is to focus on healing the conflicts that exist within our sphere of influence. Anyone with whom we exchange energy or touch in with on an energetic level in some way is a person in our sphere of influence. Family, friends, mentors, co-workers, employers, employees, community leaders, casual acquaintances, and so on, are included in this group. People we are in conflict with will cause our vibratory energy to move downward when we allow ourselves to stay in energetic connection with them or in negative thought mode, even if the perceived hurt was justifiably worthy of receiving rebuke. Yes, we sometimes are justifiably enraged but we can be conscious of how long we allow ourselves to dwell in that state.

When we incarnate into a physical body on planet Earth, we’re going to experience tribulation and be hurt, or feel we were hurt, by people as we move through this play we call ‘life.’ It’s part and parcel of interacting with other human beings. However, our energetic state is most strongly affected by how we allow ourselves to respond to these perceived hurts. We can say, “thank you for showing me what you are, I appreciate the lesson” and this can bring us to a higher energetic state of awareness, versus internalizing and/or verbalizing negative thoughts about the hurt and/or the person. Another tactic is to observe things and say, “Isn’t that interesting?” but stay detached and not engage emotionally. We can also consciously visualize unplugging any energetic ties this individual may have to us. Like unplugging an appliance, which may continue to pull power from the receptacle even when it is off, these energetic ties can pull on our auric fields and eventually affect us physically. Of course, we don’t have to tell the person we are doing this; it can be done in the quiet of our mind, or during a mindful meditation. The key is to work with people on an energetic level. Everything and everyone is energy, so if we don’t want to directly confront someone or engage in conflict, we can refuse to allow them to energetically connect with us, put them in the white light, and ask that they be elevated to a higher state of consciousness in which they perceive their Higher Self and how they are affecting the world around them. We don’t impose our will, but we invoke Divine Mind and intend for higher awareness to result. If we do this consistently and kindly with those we have had conflict with, be they incarnate or disincarnate, we may be pleasantly surprised at what ultimately results. Healing conflict allows us to reclaim some of our energies and use them more productively for positive ends.

The vision John had and felt compelled to share with humanity was an interesting one: if we face our earthly tribulations in such a way that we teach ourselves to automatically invoke the Christ Consciousness and react from a spiritual level, versus a purely physical or emotional one, we will ultimately arrive before the throne of Source, wearing our white robes of initiation, saying: “Here I am, God, ready for whatever comes next.” And we’ll mean it because we’ve invested in building up our own spiritual resilience while we were on the Earth plane. As we approach the eve of this Election Day, let us vote our conscience, intend that the result be for the Highest Good of humanity, and then release our attachment to the outcome, knowing that here we are, God, ready for whatever comes next. And let’s mean it by not giving up on humanity, our country, or ourselves, and keep moving forward, doing the inner spiritual work we came here to do, in the spirit of lovingkindness, that will help us manifest the Christ Consciousness and uplift our collective consciousness. It takes a spiritual ‘village’ to raise our national vibration, and we can do this together. We are earning our white robes as we speak.

Namaste


October 25, 2020

How to Change the World

Rev. Joy F. Thompson

Some time ago I read a popular comic strip “Peanuts”. During one episode, Lucy is chasing Charlie Brown at full speed, upset at something, as she often was.

She shouted “I’ll get you, Charlie Brown! I’ll get you! I’m going to knock your block off”.

Suddenly, Charlie Brown stops running, turns and said “Wait a minute. Hold everything. We can’t carry on like this. We have no right to act this way. The world is full of problems- people hurting people, people not understanding each other. If we as children can’t solve what are relatively small problems, how can we ever expect to…”

At this point, Lucy interrupts Charlie Brown, smacked him and said, “I had to hit him quick… he was beginning to make sense.”

Even though violence is not a laughing matter, the underlying message for me is how desperation and fear can often lead to drastic actions.

In this example, Charlie Brown was “beginning to make sense’ so Lucy took action to stop him… perhaps it is because her typical response to a disagreement was to ‘knock your block off’. Her character ‘was upset at something as she often was.’

Today, there seems to be a heightened emotional climate where many are reacting with drastic and unkind responses. It seems as if drastic actions, physical violence, hateful words, finger pointing, and name calling are some of the methods being used to divert from meaningful conversations, actions and solutions. There is a belief that the only way to get someone to agree with you is to intimidate them through physical, mental or emotional violence.

Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. is quoted as saying “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”

During the appearance of upheaval in current events, all of us have been given many opportunities to consider the very subtle and not so subtle ways each of us may contribute violence in our day-to-day life experiences.

For example, have you ever tailgated very close to another car and then expecting, through intimidation, the other driver would drive faster or change lanes?

What about darting in and out of lanes, expecting other drivers to yield or slow down because, after all, wherever you are going to is more important than someone else’s destination?

What about criticizing, gossiping and spreading misleading information about others? These are attempts at distraction. Because, what we see in others and how we treat others is a reflection of us. These actions are an effort to not acknowledge or accept our own shortcomings. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

Another method of diversion is to label a person or group that you don’t agree with, or perhaps don’t understand, with unkind names or descriptions. This a form of violence as well. It is a desperate attempt to not feel the discomfort of someone expressing themselves differently than you. It is important to recognize that when we do such things, we are setting up a chain reaction. “Do not judge or you will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)

Many times, behaviors like these are the result of the belief we are enemies competing for our share of respect, value and or entitlement. Me against you. Us against them. These are mistaken beliefs. Some may think “if I yield or compromise, I won’t get what is mine. I will we lose out. We can see this played out on television, the radio or even when conversing with someone. If a topic becomes a little too uncomfortable or even to make sense, the reaction may be some form of distraction.

We did not incarnate on this planet in order to perpetuate violence or the idea that we are separate from one another. We are more than what our human ego or senses often report.

We can and we are being called to be part of the healing rather than division and separation. “The ego seeks to divide and separate. Spirit seeks to unify and heal.” (A Course in Miracles)

“So, how can we truly have peace if we are perpetuating separation? “There is one Spirit, one Father of all, in us all, but there are different manifestations or individualities.” (Lessons in Truth H. Emilie Cady)

Perhaps many of us were raised to believe that if other people do not agree with our opinions, beliefs or feelings, it is evidence that we are not valued.

Right now, is the perfect time to heal these beliefs and feelings. Right now, more than ever, each and every one of us can be part of the healing so desperately needed. It is time for us, as humankind, to remember who and what we are. We all are spiritual beings.

We are here, as spiritual beings, having a physical experience. Each of us is here by right of consciousness. Every one of us has something to contribute to a more humane experience for ourselves as well as one another. We are here to be express our spiritual nature through our human experiences.

‘It cannot be emphasized often enough that we draw spiritual tests to our self by the very intensity of our desire to know God.” (Elizabeth Sand Turner Be Ye Transformed. Pg 251). And, God is love. “Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love.” (John 4)

I believe one of the greatest spiritual tests is to remember to express love during every conflict, disagreement, appearance of unrest, unfairness and so on. And, in order to offer this to one another, we must be accountable for our own human mistakes and shortcomings.

It can be difficult to consistently express our divine nature, as love, when there seems to be so many distractions and concerns. Some belief systems teach that our time on earth is a form of punishment and our “reward’ will be to spend eternity ‘in heaven.”

Our belief system teaches that hell or heaven are states of mind and of consciousness. What we focus on is how we experience our life. If we are looking at seems to be wrong in our life, we may just feel as if we are experiencing hell. And, as we look for the blessings, we may feel as if we truly are in a heaven state of mind.

“Many bemoan the fact that there is injustice, death, sickness, poverty and war in this world, and think of Earth as a sort of hell. If we wanted to be in a place where this did not exist, we would have not come here! We would have remained in the dimension from which we came or gone elsewhere. Earth is a perfect school for the process of evolution and unfoldment. This does not mean that we should be accepting of injustice, death, poverty and war. Our primary purpose can unfold only with the process of giving ourselves in service to others that we gain the most, fulfillment of our primary purpose. “Let the greatest among you serve.”

We are here for a mighty purpose. This purpose is not to suffer or just trudge on until we are no longer here, in physical form. We are here to express our true nature which is Love. Not only are we here to know this ourselves but also to know this about one another. It does not matter if it is difficult. This is what we are being called to do.

“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer: no disease that love will not heal: no door that enough love will not open…It makes no difference how deep set the trouble: how hopeless the outlook: how muddled the tangle: how great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world…”

(Emmet Fox, Divine Science Minister)

It is a universal law that whatever you share, whatever you focus on, expands. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38). The more we judge, the more we are judged. The more we love, the more we have to love.

“It is the law of Spirit that we must be that which we draw to us. If we would draw to us love, we must be love, be loving and kind; if we would have peace and harmony in our environment, we must establish it within ourselves” (Atom Smashing Power of Mind, Charles Fillmore)

Imagine the possibilities if, instead of resorting to our human negative habits of diversion and distraction, we prayed for one another and well-being. What could happen if, when we observe something or someone’s behavior as unkind, we respond with kindness? While each of us is accountable for our behaviors, we can still treat one another and our self with kindness.

Let’s be vigilant about what we focus on. Instead of expressing anger during these challenging times, why not meditate on the Love that connects us all? Rather than focusing on fear you turn your thoughts to Love?

What could happen if you acknowledge and bless your own shortcomings? Are you willing to forgive yourself? Everything you experienced, every choice you made, every action you took was for your spiritual growth. There is no need to condemn, distract or discount yourself or any other person. Stand firm in the Truth of who you are. The real you, the spiritual essence of you is Love. This is also true of everyone else.

Spend more time filling your consciousness with uplifting thoughts. Read positive literature. Listen to comforting music. For as you practice loving actions toward yourself, you will feel more capable to offer the same to others. And, as you recognize the connection with one another, the false idea of separation from one another will dissolve. It is all an illusion anyway.

We are all here to learn and grow, together. We all have our own journey. I may take one path, you may take another but we are still connected. Always have been and always will be. We are here for one another.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “Great hearts send forth steadily the secret forces that incessantly draw great events, and wherever the mind goes, nature will accompany him, no matter the path.”

“The world cannot change until you change your conception of it. ‘As within so without.’ Nations as well as people are only what you believe them to be. No matter what the problem is, no matter where it is, no matter whom it concerns, you have no one to change but yourself, and you have neither opponent nor helper in bringing about the change within yourself. You have nothing to do but convince yourself of the truth of that which you desire manifested.” (Resurrection pg 95 by Neville)

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

As the election draws closer, let us remember that this is all temporary. In the big picture, what matters is that we consciously align our good intentions with loving thoughts and actions. Know with me, that the right and perfect outcome for our collective soul’s progression is now manifest. Let us affirm our unity. Let us declare our love. Let us live in peace by honoring each other.

“The one who has made union with divine love through his inner consciousness, who lets it pour its healing currents into his soul and his body, is fortunate beyond all description.” (Talks on Truth Charles Fillmore)


October 18, 2020

BECOME
Rev. Nancy Hall

The following is adapted from a post on FB by Countryside Church.

Author John Roedel

Me: Hello God.

God: Hello.

Me: I’m falling apart. Can you put me back together?

God: I’d rather not.

Me: Why?

God: Because you’re not a puzzle.

Me: What about all the pieces of my life that fall to the ground?

God: Leave them there for a while. They fell for a reason. Let them be there for a while and then decide if you need to take any of those pieces back.

Me: You don’t understand! I’m breaking!

God: No, you don’t understand. You’re transcending, evolving. What you feel are growing pains. You’re getting rid of the things and people in your life that are holding you back. The pieces are not falling down. The pieces are being put in place. Relax. Take a deep breath and let those things you no longer need fall down. Stop clinging to pieces that are no longer for you. Let them fall. Let them go.

Me: Once I start doing that, what will I have left?

God: Only the best pieces of yourself.

Me: I’m afraid to change.

God: I keep telling you: YOU’RE NOT CHANGING! YOU’RE BECOMING!

Me: Becoming, Who?

God: Becoming who you are to be! A person of light, love, charity, hope, courage, joy, mercy, grace and compassion. You are so much more than those shallow pieces you decided to adorn yourself with and that you cling to with so much greed and fear. Let those things fall off you. I love you! Don’t change! Become! Don’t change! Become! Become who you are to be. I’m gonna keep telling you this until you remember.

Me: There goes another piece.

God: Yes, Let it be like this.

Me: So I’m not broken?

God: No, but you’re breaking the darkness, like dawn. It’s a new day. Become!! Become who you really are!!

WOW. I read this and it spoke so deeply to me. At this time more than ever as we feel the world fall around us, we are seeking understanding and guidance. We are trying to make some kind of sense of what is going on around us. We feel unsure of the environment; which way to turn; who to listen to; what to believe. Perhaps even what to believe in others and in ourselves; what can be done? To fine that guidance we can look to scripture from the New Testament “Matthew chapter 6 verse 6” “But as for you, when you pray, enter into your inner chamber and lock your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret shall himself reward you openly”. Go to that sacred place within you. That “inner chamber”; your “inner being” the source of your existence and meditate. Be as Abraham Hicks says “Tuned in; Tapped in; Turned on”.

As you are searching for answers; go within. Sarah McLean states “Meditation is an essential travel partner on your journey of personal transformation. Meditation connects you with your soul and this connection gives you access to your intuition, your heartfelt desires, your integrity, and the inspiration to create the life you love”.

We are all feeling the heaviness of the energies as we maneuver through our day. We have the capability to “let it fall”; to lighten our shoulders (let it fall); to reset the start button and Become. Become what you are; that Divine essence of yourself. Start by going to that quiet place; by doing the 3T’s; Tuned in; Tapped in; Turned on. It’s prayer and meditation. It’s making that connection to Source, Divine Creator, God. When we do this — when we make the effort, we will experience the feeling that — as a line from an old hymn says, “It is well with My Soul”.

Be in the moment. Accept that we only have control “in a sense of” ourselves. The more resistance we have to our inner self the more resistance will come to us. At the point we release that resistance and settle into the flow is the point when we can see the world around us come into focus.

Understand we have no control over others, their actions, thoughts and words. We are responsible only for ourselves; our actions, thoughts and words. So, when you are lost to a vibration/ energy, (whether it’s external or internal) that feels like it’s hindering you, I invite you to go to that sacred place. Go within and connect, connect to Source, God. God, Source, Divine Creator is within. When you’re Tune in; Tapped in; Turned on, the pieces that no longer fit on you will just fall right off.

Then listen; feel; become alive with assurance; confidence; calmness and strength knowing you will find everything that is needed to answer your questions as you journey down the path of life. Go to that scared place; pray/meditate, align with the source of your existence. I know it’s hard when we’re being bombarded with all this stuff; when we feel like the weight of the world sits on our shoulders; when the pit in our stomachs feels like the size of a softball.

WHEN do you have time; how can you do this? And how, you may ask, can you do this throughout the day? You don’t live in a monastery where you could have an opportunity to sit in prayer and meditate all day. There’s work; errands; kids; family; you have responsibilities. We all do.

Here are a few suggestions on things that you can do during the day to assist you in allowing those pieces to “fall” to Become. Go to— say a stall in the bathroom or a supply room at work; find a quiet corner, it won’t take long just a few minutes and breathe; while you breathe take just a few moments and visualize the unwanted energy (those pieces) simply falling off your body into Mother Earth to be transmuted to love and light. Allow yourself to come back to center and connect with your inner being.

When you take a shower, allow the water to not only cleanse your physical body but your spiritual body as well; visualize washing away those pieces that are no longer needed by you. Imagine those pieces swirling down the drain, removing it completely from you. While you do, consciously breathe.

When washing your hands – wash them a few seconds longer and take a moment to consciously wash away the energies that are not for your highest and best and again see them wash down the drain.

Carry a special stone that helps remind you to come back in focus; come back to the 3T’s Tuned in; Tapped in; Turned on. Or, wear a special piece of jewelry that is a reminder. Bring yourself to center with a personal affirmation. Purposely create an action that will be your trigger; your reminder to align with Source/God. Connect with likeminded individuals. And make the time; 10- 15 minutes a day to go to that sacred quiet place and pray. When you are in the flow with your inner being, although the world around you may be in total chaos, your inner world will be at peace. You BECOME.

I leave you with a passage from Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

“I searched for God among the Christians and on the Cross and therein I found Him not.

I went into the ancient temples of idolatry: no trace of Him was there.

I entered the mountain cave of Hira and then went as far as Qandhar but God I found not.

With set purpose I fared to the summit of Mount Caucasus and found there only ‘anqa’s habitation.

Then I directed my search to the Kaaba, the resort of old and young; God was not there even.

Turning to philosophy I inquired about him from ibn Sina bout found Him Not within his range.

I fared then to the scene of the Prophet’s experience of the great divine manifestation only a “two bow-lengths’ distance from him” but God was not there even in that exalted court.

Finally, I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him:

He was nowhere else. “

Go to that sacred place and pray for Divine Source, God is within you always.

BECOME!

Blessings.


October 11, 2020

PEOPLE OF FAITH
Galatians 6:7-10
Rev. Mike Hile, Caro M
I

As always, it is my pleasure to serve you. I am happy once again to be virtually in your presence. I pray/trust you and yours are well and staying safe. I love this time of year and am once again completely dazzled by the beauty of fall being surrounded by nature’s beauty. I hope you are able to enjoy the ever-changing colors of each day.

Today’s scripture reading is Galatians 6:7-10. From The Revised Standard Version of the Bible, it reads, Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will form the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. I especially want to emphasize the last two verses, nine and ten, And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Today’s message title is People of Faith. There are many avenues this title could appropriately take. The Bible is filled with examples of people of faith from ancient times through early AD. We also have church leaders today who are wonderful examples of what it means to be “well-doing.” But rather, I’ve chosen to have us consider people in the everyday arena of life and appreciate how seemingly small things may have much larger and unexpected results.

With that in mind, I would also like to visit the concept of The Butterfly Effect. To refresh this term for you, here is a paragraph of explanation and I quote, “In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependency on initial conditions in which a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the theoretical example of a hurricane’s formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks earlier.” All to say, something fairly and seemingly insignificant may result in something quite important with all actions having consequences.

The first example of a person of faith doing what was right and seemingly insignificant is captured in a true story entitled A Simple Gesture. It reads, “Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden. As they walked Mark discovered the boy’s name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball and history, and that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend. They arrived at Bill’s home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home. They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, then both graduated from junior high school. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally, the long-awaited senior year came and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.

Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. “Did you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?” asked Bill. “You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn’t want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my mother’s sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more, you saved my life.”

This true story was provided by John W. Schlatter. There is a version of this on the internet that embellishes this story with a public valedictory speech used to thank the friend and other heightened points of drama like the two boys becoming best friends. This is presented as the true version according to snopes.com and also appears in the 1993 bestseller Chicken Soup for the Soul. A simple, seemingly insignificant kindness of picking up some fallen books and other items resulted in saving a life. The kindness was extended by a boy expressing his faith in doing the right, nice thing – helping another.

In the on-line newsletter Your Life Support, Steve Goodier, told of two men who overcame great obstacles and made the world better for many. He wrote, “I like the way of Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix, two men who experienced first hand a cloud of fear and sorrow. One deadly evening in 1995, 14-year-old Tony Hicks shot and killed a 20-year-old college student and pizza deliveryman in San Diego, California. Tony and several other gang members ordered pizza and, when it was delivered, Tony was told by his gang to shoot the young man who delivered the food, Tariq Khamisa.

Tariq’s father Azim was enraged at the senseless killing. “There’s something really wrong with a society where kids kill kids,” he spat. He was angry with the kids, but he was even more upset with a culture that breeds so much violence.

Shortly after his son’s death, Azim heard from a gentleman named Ples Felix. Ples was Tony Hick’s grandfather and guardian. Azim invited Ples to his home and the two men shared their mutual grief and heartache. But it didn’t stop there — they also decided to do something. “I realized that change had to start with me,” Azim reasoned. Therefore, though he may have wanted revenge, the grieving father chose a different way to respond to his son’s death.

What happened? The victim’s father toured the United States with the killer’s grandfather. The two men visited schools with a message of nonviolence. They told the story of Tariq and Tony — one child dead and the other in prison. And in a growing worldwide culture of violence, these two men of peace changed lives. They warmed hearts and stimulated minds of countless young people. They showed us all there is a different way to live.” This story has been published in the book From Murder to Forgiveness: A Father’s Journey by Azim Khamisa (Mar 7, 2012) These men truly show us that faith in something better can be both a great healing and motivating force. They stepped out in faith from tragic heartache to make this world a better place to live.

We all know people of faith, maybe not in such dramatic circumstances as the two stories, but nevertheless, people who have made a positive difference in our lives. I’ve told you before that when I visited my mother in the nursing home, I took my crossword puzzle book as I was and still am on a life-long crossword puzzle quest. Right now, I am solving books of ones printed in the Wall Street Journal as I await receiving for Christmas Simon and Schuster’s Mega Series Book # 20, which was recently published. Anyway, while I visited/sat with mom, I developed the habit of writing in whatever crossword puzzle book I had – and of course, I do the puzzles in order with the date written at the top of each page – the cute things she said while I was there. I was recently reviewing these. Listen to some things she offered, “There’s only so much to see in the world. I love you an awful lot. I’m up there in age quite a ways. She was 95 at the time. I’m getting so I don’t know anything. I don’t know. God’ll help me some; I guess.” What an incredible statement of faith! “I don’t know. God’ll help me some; I guess,” said so matter-of-factly with assurance that it was a given. That in itself would be enough for an entire sermon.

Several years ago now, the phrase “random acts of kindness” was coined referring to good deeds being done for no particular reason other than it was something kind to do. I was interested in the origin of the phrasing and found this: The phrase “random acts of kindness” has been a part of popular culture for many years now, though its origins are under dispute. Peace activist Ann Hebert is said to have written the phrase “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat in a restaurant in the late 80’s. Dr. Chuck Wall, a professor at Bakersfield College, recalls hearing about “random senseless acts of violence” on

the news in 1993, and was inspired to assign his students the task of committing “one random act of senseless kindness” as homework. He has since copyrighted the phrase. This grass-roots movement, which encouraged people to do something nice for someone else spontaneously or with no expectation of return, built up steam during the 90s, and by 2004, Oprah Winfrey devoted an entire episode to the concept. People around the globe have embraced the concept. Websites have been developed to encourage and record these acts, movies like Pay It Forward and Amelie use the concept as their premise, and some schools have monthly ‘Random Act of Kindness’ awards for students who commit them. A mother of a young woman who was the recipient of one such award pointed out, kindness should be something we expect from our children and each other. The kindness her daughter had shown was, in fact, not random at all, but a part of her everyday life. We all know people who are kind. They seem to exude a faith in humanity or at least in the worth of extending kindnesses to others.

As people of faith, I think it is important that we interact with others on the planet – the family of man – in positive, constructive ways. Sometimes, we have the mind-set of getting something in return. After all, the scripture reading did say, “For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” At times, we become focused on the reaping part. We also want to know the result of our kind doings. Many people have a rather pessimistic view of the world and humanity, and act as though anything good coming from others is a great surprise. If something is done, we want to know the positive outcome. Over the years, I have, however, learned to become unattached to any follow up reward. I don’t spend time looking for it, but rather have the belief that it will come trusting in that outcome. Also, I have become totally willing to do good deeds never actually knowing any end results. It’s enough for me to trust in the words of today’s scripture that call all of us to positive action: So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men. That is in a way its own reward, just knowing we have set something good in motion – the butterfly wings, so to speak, are flapping and great things may result. I also trust that it will be received as intended, but I don’t have to know any specifics of the outcome. I trust in the orderly workings of the Universe God created and designed.

Keeping with the butterfly theme, one of my very favorite quotes of all time is found in Richard Bach’s Illusions and reads: The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. That quote is a source of great optimism for me. Long ago a student asked me why I was always so cheerful, and in answer I shared this quote with her.

Another reading I have long held as inspirational to living our best lives is Desiderata. I would like to share that familiar poem with you. I take great comfort in its optimism. First, I’d like to give you a bit of history about the poem. Its title, Desiderata, in Latin means “desired things.” American writer Max Ehrmann (1872–1945) wrote the prose poem Desiderata in 1927. In 1956, the Reverend Frederick Kates, rector of Saint Paul’s Church in Baltimore, Maryland, included Desiderata in a compilation of devotional materials for his congregation. The compilation included the church’s foundation date: “Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore A.D. 1692”. Consequently, the date of the text’s authorship was (and still is) widely mistaken as 1692, the year of the church’s foundation because of its inclusion in those documents. Also, when US Democratic presidential hopeful Adlai Stevenson died in 1965, a guest in his home found the Desiderata near his bedside and discovered that Stevenson had planned to use it in his Christmas cards. This contributed further to the poem becoming widely known. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it. I think, it encourages me to be a person of faith as the scriptures suggest we be and to not lose heart. It reads, Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. In these particularly challenging times of Covid-19, social unrest, political turmoil, natural disasters whether floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, or wild fires, I find peace in these words giving rise to my faith. May you connect to your faith and share it with a waiting world.

Blessings for a wonderful week.


October 4, 2020

Rev. Dianne Williams (Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica)

Good Afternoon 

Today’s scriptures come from the George Lamsa  translation of the Holy Bible. From The Old Testament  Psalm; Chapter 118, Verse 24 and Chapter 90, Verse 12. 

• This is the day which the Lord has made; we will  rejoice and be glad in it. 

• So, teach us to number our days that we may apply  our hearts to wisdom. 

Thus, ends the readings from The Old Testament Psalm;  Chapter 118, Verse 24 and Chapter 90, Verse 12.

You Are How Old?  

When I was a teenager, I thought people in their 50’s were  really old. Did you know that the most productive years  of a person’s life can be the retirement years? Moses  was around 80 when he led the children of Israel out of  Egypt. Socrates gave the world his best philosophy at  age 70. Plato was only a student at 50, doing his best  work after his 60th birthday. Michelangelo painted the  ceiling of the Sistine Chapel when he was almost 90.  Webster wrote his monumental dictionary at 70. Now,  that I will be celebrating my 60th birthday tomorrow, I am  not so sure! All the people that are still going strong in  their 70’s and 80’s do not seem so old anymore. 

Birthdays, “Ready or not, here they come.” But that is not  how everyone looks at a birthday. For some a birthday is  a joyous event, especially for the young. Birthdays mean  presents and being the center of attention. Birthdays mean  surprises and all the cake we can eat. 

Then the double-digit years come. “I will be ten.” Then  the seemingly long wait to become a …TEENAGER.  Then the long wait until we can drive (a car). (We already  know how to drive our brothers, sisters, and parents  crazy!). From 16-21 everything seems a daze. Then one  day, either after high school or after college we have that  final “fun” birthday and have to act our age. We have to  work like an adult. We have responsibilities.

Then comes those plateau years; 30, 40, 50, 60. They  come too fast. Some welcome them with tears. Others by  having a second childhood, and others by having a mid life crisis. And through it all, “Ready or not, here they  come.”  

Birthdays are simply the best. Parties, games, cake,  presents, and loved ones coming together to celebrate  another milestone in our wonderful lives. These are the  moments to remember that the gift of life is the greatest  gift of all and that every single life is precious. 

Rev. Mike Hile this section is dedicated to you!!  WOW….tomorrow I will be 60 calendar years! 719.999  months, Thank God it is not 720, I would be .001 older!!  It is 3128.571 weeks; 21,900 days; 525,600 hours;  31,536,000 minutes and 1,892,160,000 seconds!  

Our birthday is a magical day in human life. Each soul  that comes to this earthly plane is longing for the gift of  having a spiritual growth in a human body. Our birthday is  the day when the whole universe rejoices and all the  forces of nature and the people around us are helping us  to come and celebrate our life. A new life has been born!  A new soul has visited the planet! A new being whose  presence is especially important to the essential evolution  of life.

Each one of us is needed. The contribution of each one is  important to the well-being and healing of the Universe. 

It is no secret that a few days before our birthday, many  begin to feel nervous, often even depressed and have an  inexplicable longing. And this does not happen at all from  the fact that we are getting older, as is commonly  believed. Every year we are given a new birth and are  given a freedom of choice on how to live our life; by  default or by design; by becoming our own master, or by  going through yet another year without making a little step  toward our dreams, and aspirations. 

Our birthday is a day when a human being is overflown  with positive energy and the Universe pours new ‘creative’  juices into a human body at all levels of its existence to  reset our life and provide us as much guidance and  support needed to start living a more wonderful and  fulfilling life. It is important to look at our birthday as a  spiritual awakening to know ‘thyself’ better and serve  others with the abilities, talents, skills, and qualities that  we have. It is another opportunity to tell ourselves that  today is indeed a special day. A day where we stand from  our highest and absolute best and declare that the time  has come to take full responsibility for our life.  

A Tibetan proverb states “When you were born, you cried,  and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that  when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”

The 12 days after your birthday are the most important  days of the year. This is kind of “point of reference” for the  following year. In these 12 days, we have a real  opportunity to create as beautiful and solid foundation and  necessary programs of events and successes for the  future that will lead to positive changes in our lives. 

Let us look at on how to live the first 12 days after our  birthday: 

Day 1: This day lays a foundation for our physical,  spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being. That is why it  is important to spend this day with the people who we love  and trust and with whom we feel our own true self. During  this day, we should do what we enjoy the most. We can  get a new haircut, go for a walk, listen to our favorite  music, treat ourselves to our favorite dessert, dance,  meditate, and do anything else our soul desires, and feel  our best. 

Day 2: This day lays a foundation for our prosperity,  financial security as well as our health. Writing our  financial goals for the year such as how much we want to  earn in the coming year, things to purchase, or sell, places  to visit, investments we want to make, and debts we need  to pay off. It is necessary to update the money energy.  For example, we and give a gift to someone, give  donations to charity, help a homeless person, etc. This  day is also a good day to start the transition to a healthy  diet. Choose a diet that has wholesome, natural foods,  lots of vegetables, fruit, grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes.

Day 3: This day is important for building a network and  establishing contacts. Change our style of communication  with people. Get out of our comfort zone. If we are overly  communicative, we should restrain ourselves and listen to  others. Today is the day to develop those communication  skills and techniques that we do not have. Pay attention  to new acquaintances as they may turn into a new  friendship, or we may even receive new insights and  guidance. 

Day 4: This day should be spent with the people dear to  our heart. Spend this day with our parents, relatives, and  friends. Tell all of them how much you love them and how  happy you are about their presence in your life. Express  your gratitude for their help, guidance, and support. On  this day find the time to clean up our house and open  windows in every room. Let the new fresh air come in.  You can even smudge sage to detox your house of all the  negative energy. Bless your home with love and gratitude  and fill your home with the highest vibration of love, light,  and divine frequency. 

Day 5: Unleash your creativity today. Go back to your  childhood and remember something that you enjoyed  doing as a child. Then get what you need, set, and get  lost in your own creations. Or try something new that you  have never done before.

Day 6: This is the best day for cleansing and detox. This  day is suitable for all health procedures such as deep  tissue massage, fasting, walking, and meditating. Abstain  from all foods that are heavy, unhealthy, or refined. Today  the body is actively getting rid of toxins. 

Day 7: It is a day of love and affection. This day is  favorable to plan out all the things we would like to do with  our family. Discussing places to visit, how to spend quality  time together, as well as gathering around a dinner table  to have those interesting and inspiring conversations. 

Day 8: This is a day of deep reflection, of going deeper  inside and contemplating on our life, goals, and meaning  of life. Try to spend this day in solitude, think of the things  that need to be improved in your life. Abstain from  gossiping, negative talks, as well as from giving any  advice to anyone. 

Day 9: This day we lay down the program of  entertainment and rest. If possible, take a day off  and go on a short trip, around the neighborhood, or city.  Read about unusual sights, cultural traditions, and  interesting innovations. Spend some time in nature and  get immersed in the sounds of nature. Walk slowly, take  a few deep breaths and feel how your heart is filled with  love and gratitude for all the beauty around you.

Day 10: This day we build a platform for our career  successes. Take an hour to think about your next projects  and plans. Set clear goals for the future and be sure to  write them down. Do something that your heart desires,  something you are passionate about. If we are successful  enough, we can help someone else achieve success.  Whatever you do today will be multiplied. Therefore, be  mindful and compassionate toward yourself and others.  Help as much as you can wherever your help is needed. 

Day 11: This day is suitable for serious undertakings in  our life. Such as engagement, marriage, buying a house,  and making serious decisions in our life. 

Day 12: We create an aura of goodness around us. This  is a day of forgiveness and gratitude. We can visualize a  big fire in front of us and burn all our pain, suffering, and  stress in the fire. We can visualize how it all burns down,  dissolves, and finally dissipates. Forgive all, including  ourselves. We will feel as if a big load had fallen off our  shoulders. We should ask the Higher Forces to give us  love for people, be compassionate, and generate that  good energy around us. Become and be that beacon of  light. We can design our life the way we want and during  these 12 days to create a solid platform for the near future.  We can start taking action toward a better, more fulfilling,  and joyful life.  

May God bless all your endeavors and may you all be happy!


September 27, 2020

My God
Rev. George Williams

Good Morning:

If you would, please take a moment and picture in your mind what your vision of God is.

Now I want to tell you about my vision of God. I see my God as an internal, external, all-encompassing energy presence. My vision of God permeates all matter and is the glue that holds the atoms together, a God without form, but not lacking in essence.

My God is not physical, yet manifests spiritually in each of us. I truly believe that I and my God are one.

I believe that God is not an idea, definition, or a concept, and while those words are helpful in knowing what God is, God is not limited by words of description because God is so much more. Words can never adequately encompass the infinity that is God because God is beyond our experiences and conceptual ability.

Just like Love, my God is a living realization that resides in our hearts, minds, and bodies. My God is an all knowing, all encompassing, omnipresent, compassionate, and merciful demonstration of truth and love. My God knows no theology.

God is a fundamental oneness within each of us. This is evidenced scripturally in Psalm 82 verse 6; where it is written; “I have said, you are all Gods; all of you are children of the most high.”

Each of us has a personal, spiritual awareness of the Divine Consciousness that is in and around us. This awareness sees through the physical and material world that surrounds us. Some may call it intuition; others call it a knowing. Whatever you want to call it, know that God is the source of everything present in life.

Dr. Rocco Errico teaches that in the Semitic dialect of the Aramaic language that Jesus spoke, the word for God is Alaha and Elohim. These names mean the strong or mighty one, the revered one, the highest one, helper, supporter, self-cohesive and the one who
sustains.

The God that governs all life is an all knowing, all loving provider that is a part of everything seen and unseen in my world. I lack for nothing because God provides all. The energy that flows out of our provider knows no anger, judgement, or fear. Our God Source is endless, as we know that the more we use and partake of the source, the
more that source flows out of it and into us.

Other people have their own vision of God. Some worship an angry deity that sits on a throne in judgement of his kingdom. Some worship earthly idols, such as money, houses, cars and fame. I know a person whose God has a picture of Benjamin Franklin centered on the front of it. I guess that his vision of God is a one-hundred-dollar bill.

Even religions get into worshiping earthly idols. Look at some of the cathedrals that they have built, multimillion-dollar extravaganzas called churches. How much good work could they do if that money was spent on humanity instead of those monuments? Does God really care about the excesses that they put into their houses of worship?

My God doesn’t care what your building cost. You won’t get a direct line to God by spending millions on a house of worship, and while gold is a fantastic conductor of electricity, it won’t make the God connection stronger. This is demonstrated throughout scripture.

Everything on earth is temporal in nature and will not last. Only Spirit is everlasting. If each of us could spend as much time and energy on developing our own spiritual nature as we do on perfecting the worldly aspect of our being, we would grow our souls to levels that many believe to be unachievable.

How much time is spent each morning in front of mirrors making sure that we present the look that we desire others to see us as? Wouldn’t it be better to spend those
precious minutes in meditation perfecting the spiritual aspect of our being? The day would more than likely go better if we did.

I once worked for a man who did not like me at all. He was a fundamentalist minister and I was a pagan as far as he was concerned. When I would have to attend a meeting with him, I would always go in early and bless the room, clear the energy and lay out my plan.

It worked. Now one could say that I was very smart or something like that. But what was happening is that I was prepared. I knew how to use my God Source energy to create a space where I would succeed.

How much time do we spend in idle chatter? Could some of that time be diverted into meditation and prayer? Try it sometime. Start out tomorrow with a 15-minute meditation and see the energy of success fill your day.

Humans are funny. They spend time walking on tread mills for exercise while their elderly or disabled neighbor could use a hand with yardwork, shopping or house cleaning. I know, walking on a tread mill is good exercise for the physical body. But assisting other human beings with a burden that they find heavy, is great exercise for the body as well as the soul. Remember, love your neighbor.

I know people who claim to be in tune with their God source. Yet they talk negatively about politics, their jobs, life in general and the people around them.

Listen to them tell you in great detail all the physical afflictions that are manifest in their bodies. When someone is walking around in a cloud of negativity, stay away from that person. Negativity is like a contagious disease that will make you sick to the very core of your being. All physical diseases are made manifested through the mind. Jesus understood my God the best.

Jesus never asked his followers for payment for the healings he did. He shied away from recognition for the deeds he performed even forbidding those who were helped from talking about him or the “so called miracles” he performed. He didn’t have a house, a garden or a paying job.

Yet he knew, No, Jesus had faith that all he, and his followers needed would be provided. Jesus had the ability to “let go and let God”.

My mother use to tell me to smile, because it doesn’t take any more effort to smile than
it does to frown. You see smiling is contagious just like negativity. Try waking around with a smile on your face and you will see for yourself that others will catch the bug too, and some will not want to be cured of it.

It is better to bless and be blessed than to spite and be smitten.

If you believe that our God is pure loving energy, as I believe, then smiling will be one of the easiest ways to show the world how you can pass on that love to others.

In fact, many will wonder what it is that you know that is making you smile. They may wonder what your secret is. It is your choice, you can walk around with the cloud of negativity hanging over your head, or you can pass on that God energy of pure love to all of those who see you, and you don’t even have to say a word.

Our God, is a loving, compassionate, forgiving God, that is pure and free of judgement. Oh, I know there are Old Testament scriptures that talk about judging and control, but how else was Moses supposed to control all those Jewish slaves that he was leading out of Egypt under his supervision? It was a monumental task that required extraordinary measures. So, let us not confuse what was done 2000 years ago in another land, under conditions that we cannot understand, with what our God truly is.

My vision of God is this super indescribable presence, the simplest reality of life and consciousness that is all and supplies all. An essence that can comfort and console me when I am down, lead me when I am lost, and rejoice with me when I find my way again. A personal advisor that leads me without judgement and loves me unconditionally.

Take some time out to marvel at the gifts God has provided us. From the beauty of the Northern lights and the awesomeness of the Grand Canyon to the simple love of a baby, there are no flaws in Gods creations.

Thomas Merton wrote: How absolutely central is the truth that we are first of all part of nature, though a very special part, that which is conscious of God.

In solitude, one is entirely surrounded by beings which perfectly obey God. This leaves only one place open for me, and if I occupy that place then I too am fulfilling God’s will. The place nature “leaves open” belongs to the conscious one, the one who is aware, who sees all this as a unity, who offers it all to God in praise, joy and thanks. To me, these are not “spiritual acts” or special virtues, but rather the simple, normal, obvious functions of humankind, without which it is hard to see how one can be human.

Speaking for myself, I am not like St. Francis, I cannot leave my former life naked and rely on God alone for my sustenance and wellbeing. I am not that strong. That is why he is a Saint. But that is the kind of faith that Jesus, Moses and St. Francis had. Job said in Chapter 1 verse 21: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Those words should be a goal for us to try to achieve. If we do, our lives will be free from discontent, thoughts of desire and want, needs or lack. Thus, allowing us to go down the path that will enlighten us.

How many advertisements have we seen that try to sell us items that will make us happy? From cars, clothing, and toys to far off destinations, advertising would like us to believe that whatever it is they are hawking will make us happy. That is why there are so many storage locker facilities around. They keep the stuff that makes is happy, safe.

In reality, those items will just take up more space in our realm and move us farther from our God source. But what if God ran advertisements, what would we be led to believe that we need to make us a more fulfilled child of God? Would God tell us to sell everything, even the television and radio and donate the money to a reputable charity? Then instruct us to go out and live a simple, loving, trusting and faithful life? …. Just a thought.

It is difficult today to understand some of this. We are told to forsake the physical and embrace the spiritual, yet when I watch any of those ministers on their television shows, they are all wearing $1000 suits, very expensive watches and jewelry, and speaking from multimillion dollar chapels.

It kind of makes their words sound hollow. I guess that we are not supposed to follow their example, just their preaching’s. Do as I say, not as I do seem to be the message we get from preachers and politicians. Hmm what strange leaders they become.

Now I am not saying that I or anyone else is perfect. None of us are, but if one’s message does not pass the smell test, it should be put aside.

Each of us should be a beacon of our own words. If one says something, they need to live it to the best of their ability. We should follow the example that all of the sacred texts gave us when it comes to walking the talk.

My God is everywhere. Look for yourself. Can you see the God in your neighbor? How about in your pet? Is your God present in nature, the woods, the ocean and the mountains? Do you look to the heavens, knowing that you are at one with the universe?

Or do you see your God in a Benjamin? Because if you do then I want you to think for a
minute where that Benjamin has been.

Clear the clutter, release the desires and enjoy living in the loving world of Our God.
Peace


September 20, 2020

Fair and Equal

David Byrd-Fournier


Whichever time of day you are reading this sermon, I wish you a good time!

For my sermon today, I will be using the Scripture found in the Gospel According to St. Matthew,
Chapter 20, verses 1-16. For your convenience, I have included the text from George Lamsa’s translation
of the Bible:

For the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a householder who went out early in the morning to hire
laborers for his vineyard. He bargained with the laborers for a penny a day, and sent them to his
vineyard. And he went out at the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the market place. And he
said to them, You also go to the vineyard, and I will give you what is right. And they went. And he went
out again at the sixth and at the ninth hour, and did the same. And towards the eleventh hour he went
out and found others standing idle, and he said to them, Why do you stand all the day Idle? They said to
him, Because no man has hired us. He said to them, You also go to the vineyard, and you will receive
what is right. Then evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the laborers and
pay them their wages, and begin from the last even to the first. When those hired at the eleventh hour
came, they each received a penny. But when the first ones came, they expected to receive more; but
they also got each one a penny. And when they received it, they murmured against the householder.
Saying, These last ones have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal with us who have
born on the burden of the day and the heat. He answered, saying to one of them, My friend, I am not
doing you an injustice; did you not bargain with me for a penny? Take what is yours and go away; I wish
to give to this last one the same as to you. Have I no right to do what I wish with my own? Or are you
jealous because I am generous? Even so the last shall be first, and the first last; for many are called, but
few are chosen. (End of reading).


In this passage of Scripture, Jesus is once again using storytelling to explain spiritual concepts in earthly
terms familiar to the people who were his contemporaries. In this particular story he uses the concept of
working in a vineyard to explain the idea of equality. Throughout the day the landowner called for
workers to help tend the fields. No matter when these workers answered the call, at the end of the day
they collected the same wage. Each walked away from the jobsite with one penny. This incensed the
workers who had worked the longest during the day, and no doubt it thrilled the ones who had worked
the least. To the landowner it was “fair” to give equal pay for unequal work, and even he admitted that
he was being far more generous to the latecomers than he was to the early workers. In terms of wages
per time, paying the latecomers the same wage cost the landowner more than it did for the workers
hired at the beginning of the day, and the landowner didn’t seem to mind this. I’m probably not
stretching things too far to say that the workers who were hired at the beginning of the day saw nothing
“fair” in any of this!

I believe the concept that Jesus was trying to explain to his disciples was that the concepts of “fair” and
“equal” as we have developed them in the physical plane are essentially meaningless to God. In the
“eyes” of God (as it were) we are all equal manifestations of God’s infinite wisdom power, and presence,
each with equal access to the rich, abundant universe in which we live. In the physical plane we have
built up rules that say that one must do or be a certain thing in order to gain access to the things we
need and want. We further have twisted these rules to say that for one to have, at least one other must
do without. We have further twisted these rules to say that some are not worthy of having at all, and we
have gone as far as to say that this is “God’s will” and persecute those who would say otherwise. How is
any of this “equal” and how is any of this “fair?” I think it’s safe to say that we as humans have made a
mess of things here on the physical plane.

As I write this sermon—and as you are likely reading it—the world is still in the extraordinary, once-in-alifetime, experience of dealing with the global COVID-19 pandemic. This time has been one in which the
things we take most for granted, such as eating in a restaurant, watching a movie or play in a theater, or
even participating in a worship service have been identified as prime opportunities for the novel
Coronavirus to spread from one person to others, potentially putting others’ lives at risk. We have been
required to wear a facial covering in indoor public places in order to reduce the likelihood of spreading
the virus to others as asymptomatic carriers. And we have been required to stay at home for all but the
most essential, life-sustaining functions. In other words, we have been asked to value others as much as
we value ourselves—maybe even more.

While some amongst us have indeed embraced the idea that our actions affect others, I believe that
others have disregarded this essential fact and have only focused on getting what they believe is
theirs—even at the expense of others. The cry to return to “normal” has only brought about more of the
abnormal as we see the number of new cases rising significantly, and most likely requiring us to delay
that return to “normal” far longer than we ever thought possible—if we ever can.

At the same time, we are witnessing wildfires ravaging the west coast and hurricanes and tropical
storms battering the southern and eastern coasts. The severity of both have been directly linked to the
climate shift brought about by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in
our atmosphere, creating a hotter, more unstable environment. I fear no hyperbole when I say that our
actions have potentially set the stage for life as we know it to be altered seriously

All of this said, I believe that this time continues to be a divine opportunity to look at the state of the
world as we have currently built it. Whether it is the pandemic, dangerous weather, or even the way we
say which lives matter and which do not, I believe that we are being called to pause and ask ourselves
this simple question: do we see each other as being equally valued and equally worthy of sharing the
blessings of this abundant universe? Additionally, are we willing to stop and reflect on how our
insistence on being, having, and doing may in fact infringe on another’s ability to be, have, and do in
equal measure? Are we more like the workers hired later in the day and grateful for the blessings
bestowed upon us, or are we like the workers hired at the beginning of the day cursing the same
blessings and calling them not enough? The day we stop looking at these questions as political and
instead as questions about basic human values is the day I believe that we will see real, lasting change
begin to happen in this world.

My friends, I believe that the time in which we live can be the time in which we begin a complete
transformation. I believe our time in isolation can be a time in which we—like the caterpillar that goes
into the chrysalis—undergo a complete letting go of who we were and embracing who we can be. A
butterfly becomes a butterfly only by completely letting go of the life it knew as a caterpillar and
embracing the life it will know as being a butterfly. In a similar fashion, our letting go of the life we knowcan open up the opportunity to live the life we were meant to live. Even better, our own transformation
will not deprive anyone else of the opportunity to live a transformed life as well. If anything, we may
find that our transformation inspires others to do the same.

What if we stopped fighting the times in which we live and instead embraced the lessons that are being
laid at our feet? What if we awaken to the spiritual truth that there is only one of us and that any
separation is only in our limited, human mind? What if we embrace the truth that our actions do have
more impact on others than we have let ourselves believe? What if we celebrate others’ gaining access
to the abundance life has to offer and recognize that it takes nothing away from us? Does that sound
like a “kingdom” in which you would like to live? I don’t know what your answer is; mine is that it sounds
like “heaven” to me, and I look forward to living it.


Namaste.


September 13, 2020

Building A House

Rev. Fabienne Piccinni
Arlington, VA.

English Standard Version – Proverbs Ch. 24 v.27

“Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.”

Do you remember the story of the Three Little Pigs? It was time for the three little pigs to leave their parents house and build their own houses. The first pig built a house of straw because it was easy. The second pig built a house made of sticks. The third pig builds a house of stones. It took more time, but he did it carefully so that his house could weather storms. When the big bad wolf came and blew on the houses, he was able to destroy the house made of straws, he had to blow harder for the house made of sticks, and he blew as hard as he could but couldn’t destroy the house made of stone.

As per Charles Fillmore, in Divine Metaphysics, a house represents the body. By extrapolation, the house also represents the spiritual body — the consciousness of man. Scripture tells us to prepare everything around us — our environment — and work on our consciousness towards our spiritual growth and unfoldment.

You might be familiar with John ch. 14 v. 2, “In my Father’s house, there are many mansions.” In this case, the house also represents the consciousness of man, and the mansions are the many steps from the passive state of consciousness to the full spiritual awareness and God realization. In the Bible, those steps are known as Jacob’s ladder.

Working in the field also refers to aligning the energy of the people that are in our environment with our own energy, and that can be challenging. Sometimes we realize that the energy of the people around us, our friends and relatives, or even spouses, is not in sync with our energy. We are in one place and they are in a different place. Letting go of these relationships can be painful. But when the energy of those around us is not aligned with our own energy, we can stagnate in our spiritual growth, or even regress.

Climbing the steps of Jacob’s ladder then is hard. We feel that we go up one step to take two steps back.

When we are serious about climbing Jacob’s ladder, we also need to work on the energy we generate. Let me share with you a story that I remember from my childhood. When I was 9 years old, I was taking judo classes in a sports complex that offered different classes for people of all ages. There was a swimming class for ladies that was attended by mature women. They were all chatty and happy in the locker room. However, when one woman would leave, she would immediately become the subject of conversation, then the next, and the next. What stuck me at the time was that the comments made were so mean. I was young and naive, and the gossip and negativity shocked me. Does it sound familiar though? This is not uncommon. But when we are on the path of spiritual growth and unfoldment, we realize after a while that those relationships are not productive. We can choose to engage, or we can choose to not engage. It’s our choice. And our choice will determine how quickly we climb Jacob’s ladder. We can also try to find activities in different environments, but life has a way of re-enacting situations we have evaded until we have really learned our lesson and … stop engaging.

And then of course there is social media. Social media has a way to get the best of us, or the worst of us. When some people comment on social media, all sense of decency goes away. Everything that their mamma told them about good manners goes down the drain. And then we take sides and get happy or really angry at some people, most of which we don’t even know, for the comments they post. We let ourselves be absorbed in those energies, and we carry those energies with us. We ought to ask ourselves, “Is that the expression of God that we want to manifest?” “Is that how we are going to climb Jacob’s ladder and build our house?”

But why would we want to build a house? At times, spiritual growth and unfoldment can seem like a very nice concept, but far removed from our reality. We might know to a certain extent that this is the goal of our existence(s). We want to reach spiritual awareness and totally unfold spiritually. Well, our soul might want to reach yoghi status, but we still have life to deal with: our kids, groceries, a mortgage to pay, our job, health concerns, and day-to-day affairs. And that’s where the three little pigs come in. Building a house, a spiritual body, helps us weather the storms of life. When we choose the easy way, work fast and use light material. As the storm starts blowing, the house collapses. But when we build a strong house based on a strong spiritual foundation, we know that we are equipped to deal with the storms that are approaching. And when the storms have passed, we look at ourselves, and we know that all is well. If we look around the country and the world, we know that there are many storms coming our way these days. Do I need to name the devastation made by the pandemic, the political divide, the civil unrest, and the natural disasters? When we have built a strong spiritual house, we are better equipped to deal with those events. We are aware that they are taking place, but they are not affecting our consciousness. We can deal with them knowing that all is well.

To help us determine how to work inside of ourselves and build our house, Paramahansa Yoghanada had a simple phrase: “Read a little, meditate more, and think of God all the time.” Read Spiritual things that help us grow. Scripture, ancient texts, new age books that you are drawn to. If we don’t like reading, we can listen to audiobooks on your computer, our Alexa, or our phone. Meditate more… We can have a daily meditation practice. We can carve some time in our schedule to meditate, preferably in the morning when we first get up, so that our mind is not all cluttered and contaminated by those energies that we have mingled with reading the latest piece of political news, twitter post, or Facebook comment.

When we commit to our meditation practice, we create a shield and reinforce our house. When we meditate, the divine spark within us grows and engulfs everything around us. We draw to ourselves energies of love. As we draw those energies to ourselves, we purify our environment and our consciousness. “As within, so without” as per the ancient Hermetic philosophy states. When we truly commit to it and practice it daily, after a while, we first notice the change within ourselves. We are better equipped to handle emotionally the challenges that come our way. We are not so worried anymore that something bad is going to happen or that someone is going to think badly of us because of this or that. And as a result, since we don’t expect bad things to happen, bad things don’t really happen so much anymore. We don’t have them in our consciousness, so we don’t manifest them. Or at least not as frequently. So meditate and build your house.

“Read a little, meditate more, and think of God all the time.” By thinking of God all the time, we invoke the Divine Presence in everything that we do. Everything that we see is a manifestation of God. We acknowledge it, we love it, we bless it. We acknowledge the presence of God by praying. We thank God for the beauty around us. We pray and ask for help overcoming the challenges we are going through. Those challenges are here to help us grow in consciousness and build a beautiful house.

“Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.” We can work on our physical environment and make it conducive to peaceful meditations and a more peaceful life. We can make a conscious effort to work on our environment and stay away from the energies that are not conducive to our growth, or neutralize them. “Read a little, meditate more, and think of God all the time.”

Namaste.


September 6, 2020

Martha’s Time

Rev. Brian Jones, Alexandria, VA.

The scripture for this sermon is in the New Revised Standard version. Luke, chapter 10, verses 38-42: 38Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” 41But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42there is need of only one thing.[a] Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” And from Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 verse 1: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

_____________________________

Let me start with a story. Twenty or so years ago, back the summer of 1999… I was cast in a bit part in a very low-budget, supernatural-horror movie. My character, if you’re terribly interested, was that of a college student interviewing for a research internship at the house of an eccentric, if not bordering-on-mad, professor. My scene was being shot at an older ranch-style home in the suburbs. And to make things a little more interesting, I was not allowed to go inside until they filmed my entrance.

And that was a smart directing choice, because when I opened the door… it was a hoarder’s house. And by this, I don’t mean a set designed for the movie. No, the location scout had found an ACTUAL hoarder’s house. Boxes and magazines were piled head high, leaving small paths where you could barely squeeze through and make your way to the kitchen. Well, just the fridge really, because the other appliances and counterspace had long since surrendered to clutter. You could make your way to the bedroom, the bathroom, and to where my scene was set up: a small oasis for a couch, a coffee table, and a small TV.

I forgot to mention – there was also a cat in this scene. And at some point, that cat, it got away from its wrangler (that’s what they call animal handlers in the movie business) and in a mad dash, it disappeared into the mounds. This, I decided, was the perfect time to bushwhack my way to the bathroom.

It was one of those mid-century, pink bathrooms. And to my relief – save a generous inventory of magazines, abandoned toiletries and cleaning products – it was largely spared from the calamity in the rest of the house. And while tending to my affairs there, I noticed a faint rectangular silhouette underneath the thick coat of dust on the toilet tank. And being the curious type, I picked it up.

This is what it was: sometime in the late 1980’s, somebody in that family had gotten sick and was given a prescription. And their caregiver, prescription in hand, went to that bathroom, stood in the very spot where I now stood a decade later, and they had set that prescription down on the tank, never to get it filled.

Now if there EVER was a time for someone to be less like Mary and MORE like Martha, that was the time. Mary and Martha. On the surface, their story is a strong lesson about priorities – a value comparison between the physical and spiritual. The disciples had set aside their fishing nets and other careers to pursue a higher calling. And in his way, Jesus, the VIP houseguest is admonishing his hostess to do the same, if only for the moment.

Early metaphysical writer Charles Fillmore proposed that these sisters represent two expressions of love: spiritual and physical. And through deeper consideration, they also symbolize the outer and inner activities necessary to welcome the higher spiritual teacher. Now that’s a headful, no?

Martha, Fillmore explains, represents the outer activities the soul undertakes to ready itself for communion with the higher self. To make this a little more user-friendly: these are the things we as spiritual beings do to prepare ourselves for spiritual advancement. And these activities lie within the physical domain (our bodies and material environment). This work also takes place in the emotional domain. It isn’t restricted to our relationships with other people but also includes self-examination, working on how we respond to the world as emotional beings.

And finally, there is the mental housekeeping. We thoughtfully examine the information that surrounds us – mindful of what we’re taking in both consciously and subconsciously. We strive for a balanced but honest awareness of what’s out there in the world. However, we invite in only that which is in good orderly direction (G.O.D.). And finally – we seek out further spiritual knowledge.

With all this in mind, I invite you to conjure the scene in Martha’s house: a care-free Mary seated at Jesus’ feet, a frustrated Martha scurrying about. Poor Martha. It’s no wonder she’s frazzled. But let’s not be misled into a simplistic interpretation of this scripture. Mary is not always the correct choice. She is the SITUATIONALLY correct choice in Luke’s scenario. If we’re always in Mary mode, our lives can start to resemble that hoarder house.

And Martha unchecked – we run the risk of being like the rabbit in Lewis Carrol’s Alice In Wonderland… frantically running about, crying “I’m late! I’m late!”

But I get the allure of Martha. Martha may have an impressive to-do list, but more often than not, her tasks are finite. She checks off one little box after another and feels so accomplished. On the other hand, there’s Mary…. I picture her with one cosmically portioned item on her to-do list, and it may take her lifetimes to check it off.

I like to think Jesus, the guest of honor, was perhaps a little tickled. All this work had been done to host him, and as soon as tea is served, Martha segues right to cleaning up all evidence he was even there!

I invite you to look at these two sisters as the original Odd Couple. The inevitable bickering that must have happened leading up to Jesus’s visit and certainly ensued with gusto after he bade them a “good night.” Luke wants us to consider the relationship between the two sisters. But I think there’s another useful representation in the scripture for us. Two more roles we must play. That of host and guest of honor.

This is why I love the story, The Little Red Hen… yes, like Martha she shouldered the work of baking the bread. Unlike Martha, however, the little hen did not deny herself of the bread. “I shall eat it myself,” she says. She refuses to be a victim of her own good intentions.

I can’t think of Martha and Mary without recalling my very first grown-up Thanksgiving in Washington DC, back in 1993. It was an ambitious affair. My roommate Jennifer and I hosted almost a dozen of our friends. Which meant the first turkey I’d ever be roasting was a mammoth Butterball.

It went by without a hitch. And when all was said and done, Jennifer, ever the perfect hostess, was out in the living room serving our guests coffee and pie. I sequestered myself in the kitchen to load the dishwasher.

“MARTHA!” I heard her yell. “Come out of the kitchen!”

And sheepishly, I did. Aware of what I was unwittingly conveying to our guests, and that I was missing out on the company of dear friends, my chosen family, on our national day of gratitude.

There’s a wonderful advisory in Mathew, chapter 25. It describes when the “Son of Man” comes to glory, sitting “on his throne with the nations of world before him, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.” Taken literally, this verse misleads some people to wag a finger and say, “just you wait, heathen. You’re gonna get yours.” It also reminds me of that bumper sticker: “Jesus is coming, and boy is he mad.”

Still, is this not a wonderful metaphysical example of Martha? Clearing out the ultimate pantry and sorting out that which is in line with Divine Order (the sheep) and that which is not (the goats). As Metaphysicians, we do not wait for this ultimate day of reckoning. Instead, we embrace a profound but empowering personal responsibility to mobilize Martha upon our own lives at an exacting, spiritual level. A discipline I like to call “Applied Metaphysics.”

My professional career included such a reckoning. My thirties were so successful; I accepted every opportunity offered to me. I had a great full-time job which I left every afternoon to teach as an adjunct professor. Over the years, I took on even more lucrative obligations which were too good to pass up. For almost a decade, I worked 12 to14 hour days and built a great professional reputation.

But, many of my friendships faded away. I hadn’t had a decent relationship in years, and I gained 30 pounds. While my resumé described a very success life, I was pretty unhappy. For the first time in my life, I felt a distinct lack of possibility for new good things.

This is going to sound radically off-topic, but bear with me. There’s a running joke that if you don’t know a thing about art but want to sound savvy… vaguely gesture to a spot in the painting where there’s not much going on and say off-handedly, “I just love how the artist uses negative space here.” Let’s just say, that back then, if my life had been a painting, no critic would have said that about me.

If you don’t know the paintings of twentieth century artist Jackson Pollock, take a moment to do an internet search. He was famous for dripping and slinging paint all over large canvases and turning them into big, frenetic statements. That was what my life felt like. It was a giant Pollack, with not a whit of blank canvas left.

I felt no sense of “possibility” in my life because there was no room for it. There was no empty space for anything new to arrive. Even if there was absolutely nothing wrong with my jam packed life… there was no room available for me to recover in the event something bad happened.

I’d like to say I did all the heavy lifting to unclutter my life. I did a little. It was the universe that came through. A new dean at the college summarily dropped every adjunct faculty member replacing us with people of his own choosing. While my grief over losing that job was tremendous, I could not deny the lightness all that unexpected free time ushered into my life. It was as if every window was thrown open on a spring day. One year later, I entered the seminary.

So returning one last time to our scripture, Martha offers us multiple lessons. It’s not enough that we take a pause from our planning and duties. That’s beginner-level Martha. Varsity-level Martha builds that empty space and protects it. That so-called “negative space’ on your canvas is the space to perform necessary inner work.

The things we do here to better ourselves as corporeal beings are certainly satisfying and necessary, but they do not lead to ultimate spiritual fulfillment. To put it another way, Martha is not the road to enlightenment. Martha is the crew paving that road.

As I outlined at the top of my sermon, the duties of Martha are many, and they cross many domains of our consciousness: interpersonal, physical, emotional, intellectual.

But when it feels like your life is a Jackson Pollock painting, you absolutely must stop and carve out some empty space. Even if spiritual studies and meditation are already on your calendar, protect the quiet spaces. It’s those moments of stillness that allow all that good work to ferment and grow within your spirit. In the words of English poet John Milton, “they also serve, those who stand and wait.”

Blessings to you.


August 30, 2020

What If?

Rev. Laura MacLachlan

Our Scripture today is Romans Ch. 12, v. 2, 6-8, 10, 15 and 18 using the Lamsa Translation of the Bible.

“2 Do not imitate the way of this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, that you may discern what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, some have the gift of prophecy, according to the measure of faith. 7 Some have the gift of ministration, in their ministry; and some of teaching in their doctrine. 8 Some of consolation, in consoling; that he gives, let him do it with sincerity; that he rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor referring to one another. 15 Rejoice with them who rejoice and weep with them who weep. 18 If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all (people).”

Scripture tells us in Paul’s letter to the Romans that it is extremely hard not to be sucked in by all the things that appear to be wrong with the world. Funny how the outlook at the moment seems pretty unchanged! He offered them a prescription for not only coping, but how to be catalysts for changing the energy surrounding the Earth plane at the moment. It is, in actuality, timeless instructions for living the life of an awakening Christ in spite of anything happening outside of ourselves that threaten our soul’s journey to enlightenment.

In Verse 2 Paul counsels, “Do not imitate the way of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” Hmmm…Do you feel up to the task? Has the long list of what’s going wrong in our lives caused us to be frozen in fear?

Let’s take a look at Verses 6-8. Read again about the variety of gifts we came to this plane with when we incarnated. Each of us chose the gift or gifts we could best share in this lifetime, knowing that we were being born into one of the most difficult periods of time in recent history. There are so many difficulties to navigate, so many challenges, on so many fronts. Yet, Paul reminds us we DID pack for the trip! We have tools! We have gifts to share like a first aid kit!

We have other internal tools an awakening Christ needs to navigate life’s challenges. One of them is the awareness that everyone’s evolution is occurring on many different levels of consciousness at once. We are trained to “peel the onion” and garner insight about whatever is being shown to us not just on a strictly physical level, but on mental levels as well.

What if?

What if we are being asked as a human species who we really are /who we want to be? What if all these challenges, which feel so physical: Bigotry, disease, hatred, survival of natural disasters, separation and distrust between people in this human family are a planetary karmic lesson? What if all this chaos is occurring now as an opportunity to move as a group consciousness into a higher level of soul evolution?

We have all experienced karmic lessons and life challenges in our individual lives. What if this were the very same thing, presented on a planetary scale? “Oh, NO!!” You may think. “How do I deal with THAT??”

Our first piece of the puzzle is to look at who holds perceived power over us in some way. Who is the person or people who seem to hold all the cards and who become an easy excuse for handing off our personal power? We look to Matthew Ch. 7 v. 15-18 and 20 for answers.

“15 Be careful of false prophets who come to you in lamb’s clothing but within are ravening wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do they gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit; but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, neither can a bad tree bear good fruit. 20 Thus by their fruit you will know them.”

We as Divine Spiritual Metaphysicians are trained to read those words and find the esoteric (hidden) wisdom, find the hidden guidance in those words, that appear to be about fruit trees but actually are about US.

We are trained, or came here with the ability to read energy, correct? We can walk into a room and know what has happened in there. Even those unaware of their gift of “clairsentience” might say, “You could cut the tension with a knife,” if people within the room were fighting.

Let’s take those 4 verses and change the word “fruit” to “energy” as in the personal energy we carry. Now look at it again. You will better understand the world leaders and people in your own lives that hold all the cards (in your eyes) by the energy they exude. People who are good at heart carry good energy. They make you feel at peace, even if they are experiencing difficulties or bring us difficult work to do, they feel like good, honest people at their core-their soul level. They empower you in some way to strengthen the connection to your own good energy. It’s like a tuning fork finding compatible strings in a piano. They help you remember who you came here to be as they reflect your own goodness back to you. “Good trees bear good fruit.”

Those who carry negative energy or have ulterior motives or harmful intentions are the “false prophets who come in lambs clothing. Yet, they can be our most powerful teachers about reading energy! There is no awareness of light on the Earth Plane without the presence of darkness. This is a school of duality. Negative energy comes from negative people. They show us to be the ones to steer clear of or at least be paying close attention to– so you do not, in the words of Paul, “Imitate the way of the world.” “Bad fruit comes from bad trees.”

They might compel us to feel unsafe, inadequate or afraid. They stir things up until they create a state of chaos and fear because of the Law of Attraction. It is their compatible energy. “By their fruits (energy) you will know them.” You will understand what is really going on with them. You will perceive their “ravening ways.” (Verse 15), and can react accordingly to preserve your personal peace.

Meanwhile, back in Romans Verse 2, we have Paul reminding the people that it is a mental process that transforms us. It allows our souls to grow and become more attuned to life situations, “that you may discern what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” This is exactly what we as awakening Christs strive to awaken to: The ability to live and move and have our being in harmony with Divine Love and Order.

With that as a foundation, we as this generation of Lightworkers can share our good energy and spiritual gifts to assist those around us. Isn’t that what we aspire to as a species? Be a physical expression of the Divine? Isn’t that the definition of a fully realized Christ as demonstrated by the Master Jesus and other enlightened beings in other sacred texts? Hmmm….Could those be the challenges posed to us on this Earth Plane right now? Are they being shown to us in many different ways, but at their core, all the same question? “Who do you want to be? Part of the problem, or part of the answer?”

Hopefully the answer is the one described in Matthew Ch. 7. We strive to be a good tree that bears good fruit. We also take it further: We strive to share that good fruit (or energy) and our gifts, with anyone who is in need—including planet Earth itself.

Whether our unique spirit has brought the gift of healing, prophecy, consolation, teaching, leadership-on and on- for the benefit of all, we know as much of our bounty we share with others, our cups will never run dry. We also have learned that the Law of Attraction assures us that as we share, simultaneously the same is returned to us tenfold.

In closing, we look again at verses 10, 15 and 18 in Romans. Be kind to one another. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. In other words, practice empathy! Discern from your heart the trials and tribulations others are experiencing. It will help you understand their story and how you can help. It’s like an expanded Golden Rule, a proactive Golden Rule.

Read the energy of those who are in pain or are in need of transmuting their negativity into love. This is the work of a planetary Lightworker. Send and surround all involved the White Light of Christ Consciousness, which recognizes only perfection in all things.

Finally, “If it be possible, as much as lies within you, live peaceably” with all people. Are you up to the task? When in doubt, remind yourself, “This is why I’m here now. This is why I came!”

Blessings to each of you, the Healers of the Earth Plane, each in your own beautiful way.


August 23, 2020

JOURNEY TO SELF

Rev. Nancy Hall

Hello to you all. I share with you my truth, my understanding in hopes that it may to bring some sense of clarity that you may be searching for. These written words are about “Self”. Our true self and our journey to our “Self”.

All along our journey on this earth plane we are challenged or given opportunities to evolve; to explore the core of our self. At times I express to the Universe my feelings of frustration, disappointment, fear of the direction I am going and the direction that society as a whole is headed. The Universe responds. It is during these times that I gain a deeper understanding of “Self”.

Whether past or present (and there have been many times more lately than I would like to admit) I witness myself; co-workers; friends; family members; random people say or do things that bring the frustration, disappointment, and yes sometimes fear into my being. But again it is at those times that I gain a deeper understanding of “Self”. I am jerked back. I am a co-creator of my reality. I am not responsible for others energy, so what co-workers, friends, family and random people may express is not of my making. I am though responsible for myself, my thoughts, words and actions. I am responsible for my energy and where I place it.

When I get caught up in what is happening around me, what I see, what I hear that’s when I lose sight my “Self”; I feel a sense of being lost; like I’m being sucked down or dragged down into a pit. It is not a good feeling and not an energetic place I wish to remain. It is at those times that I and not always instantly, but I eventually return to the knowledge of “Self.” As much as we see, hear and energetically feel the division, the separation, the anger of society by what is occurring now we are also shown and can feel the energy of hope, compassion, kindness and love that also coexists. It is in these moments of witnessing this compassion, kindness, hope and love that I am reminded that the true essence of everyone is Divine. That is at the core of our being.

An explanation of “Self” from the book The Common Teaching of Four Mystical Traditions Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Lao Tzu, The Parallel Sayings, The chapter of “ The Self”:

“When most of us use the word, “self,” we are usually referring to our ego identity—that persona, or mask, we wear to maintain our illusion of individuality. This small self includes our subconscious mind, our intuitive mind, and virtually everything else our brains produce that make us believe that we are separate and part from every other thing in the Universe. Krishna, Plato and Jesus, however, meant something entirely different when they used this word “self.” Self, to them refers to what lies beneath individuality. This Self is the core essence of what (not who) we really are: God, the Tao, Universal Mind. …. Self is what we recognize when we “wake up.” Self, really, is all that exists.”

In the current state of affairs we are asked to look beyond our “self” and see our true “Self” within our self and each other. We are being called upon to honor the true essence of our “Self” and we are being called upon to honor the true essence of others, PERIOD. No matter if your political opinion differs from others or whether you believe that we are in a pandemic or you believe that it is all a hoax; we are all ONE. There is no separation of our being from another or from Source. We, you and I, on this physical plane, it seems like we must take this journey to our “Self” as individuals—-we truly do not; there is no separation. There is a thin thread that is delicately woven between and attached to each of us. You are as connected to the next person reading this lesson as you are to the person behind you in line at the grocery store or the individual in the car next to you or your co-workers or the young girl in India or the mother in Pakistan or the boy in England or the grandmother or father in Italy. You get the picture. What is affecting us here in the United States is occurring across the world.

As you scroll through Facebook, listen to the news, overhear a conversation or are in a conversation that may get your dander up, feel beyond what is expressed and know thy Self. Know that what you express energetically affects all those around you. I know it’s not easy when you read something or hear something that goes against the every fiber of your being. I get it. But we can’t be divided. We are one. Focus on the uplifting; the good; the positive that is all around you. And yes, that uplifting; positive; goodness is found on Facebook, on the news, and in conversations as well. I know the actions or words I express affects everyone. The actions or words you express affects everyone. When we know our “Self” we experience love, compassion, understanding, kindness.

An excerpt from “The Book of Thomas the Contender”,

Jesus says “If you have come to know yourSelf, then you will be called the one who knows himSelf. But if you do not know yourself, then you know nothing. But for those who have know themselves, also know the All”

Know the “All”, know the Divine essence within. We are all family and as we maintain that higher state of consciousness, that higher vibration–we can maintain that awareness of oneness. But when we emerge to our own individuality (ego), we tilt the scales and do not remain in harmony, –we lose that connection to our “Self”. We tend to picture our reality, our “self,” as separate from “Source” or “The All”; each other and ourselves.

No one other than we ourselves can start that desire to search for the Truth. It is no coincidence that the first Rune in the Viking Runes is “The Self” it all starts with “the self”. An explanation of this first Rune “The Self” states;

“To understand your “mission” you must understand your relationship with yourself; perfect your understanding of who you are… before taking on deeper understanding of others. Know your inner world and you will more quickly know your outer world.”

From “The Book of Runes” by Ralph H. Blum’s, he states of the first Rune “The Self”

“Be in the world but not of it. And yet do not be closed, narrow, or judging; rather, remain receptive to impulses flowing from the Divine with and without.”

Isn’t that what our journey was all about? Finding that flow, staying in that flow.

Buddha stated, “he who experiences the unity of life see his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with a impartial eye.”

Impartial eye; no judgment. We as individuals must accomplish each opportunity or lesson that we encounter on our journey by our “Self” as we find ourselves— and in doing so we remain in that loving, harmonious—balanced state of consciousness. We achieve a bit of our “Self” every time we sit in meditation or bow our head in prayer. We achieve a bit of our “Self” every time we reach out to others, with a smile or gesture or as we send healing energy to all and to Mother Earth. We achieve a bit of our “Self” every time we manifest for peace and unity throughout the entire world and I dare say that— that list goes on and on. I ask you right now; what type of world do you manifest; a world of oneness, of connection or a world of separation? Can you see beyond the words or actions of others to the Divinity within them? Can you honor their “Self” even when their-self is of a vibrational energy that is in contrast to your-self? Can you go “High” when the energy being felt is not? I am asking you to try. To try and bring about a change of unity. Each and every one of us is the expression of the Divine; of Love.

Taken from todays responsive reading:

With the presence of Spirit, we feel the life force pulse through one heart; we rejoice as we celebrate life; we are all one in Christ Consciousness.

Many blessings to each and every one of you


August 16, 2020

Finding Our Roles Amid Life’s Turmoil?
1 John 4:20-21 and John 13:34-35
Rev. Mike Hile Caro, MI

Today’s Scripture is taken from 1 John 4:20-21, and John 13:34-35. Reading from the Revised Standard Version, 1 John 4:20-21 reads, If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also. And going back to John 13:34-35, to which he was referencing, which quotes Jesus as saying, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Well, a lot has happened since I last spoke in person with any of you, five months ago. So it’s been a while. We continue to be in unprecedented and harrowing times realizing that we are living in times like no other. It would be hard to imagine the current state of the world say back in February, just six short months ago. Covid-19 was a major news issue then and has brought normal life to a standstill worldwide with a return to normal being uncertain at best. Then around May 20, we sat shocked watching the aftermath of the Sanford and Edenville dams breaking. It was absolutely horrific to watch towns being erased and homes floating down the rivers. Add to that just five days later, May 25, the death of George Floyd which was a tipping point that brought many other examples of injustices to bear; daily we learn of related ramifications throughout our country, near and far. Given these current circumstances, I think the question becomes, How do we proceed in our daily lives? Better yet, maybe we should ask, How does God want us to proceed in our daily lives? Once refocused on that question, I think there is little doubt about that. God would want us to follow his example as taught to us by Jesus and love always.

In view of our present world situation, we can/must still find things to celebrate as people are helping others in a myriad of ways, those close to them and those previously unknown to them. There are wonderful examples of complete strangers, close and far, coming to the aid of others alleviating their struggling with no expectation of repayment or involvement of any kind. The creative ways people are helping one another are amazing. They are truly heartwarming. Also, the fact that there was no loss of life directly related to the dams breaking was absolutely amazing, something for which we may all be thankful.

On the flip side, there are startling examples of man’s inhumanity to man. For me, I know I have been deeply affected by the earlier demonstrations at our state capitol with people carrying nooses, confederate flags, and rifles, unsettling for me to say the least.

Also, the story from near the start of the quarantine when a guard at a Dollar Store in Linden – just a short distance away really – told a woman and her daughter that they needed to be wearing masks to enter the store. As you recall, they left and returned with the woman’s husband and son, with the son taking a gun and shooting the guard in the head killing him on the spot. Just a couple of weeks ago, a man who killed a woman at a gas station in Genesee County July 13 over $10 was apprehended and is in custody. Over $10! Unimaginable! Here? So close? In 2020? Really? Yes, sadly these events are happening. I know I have been very saddened by these events, but I didn’t realize how much they had also put me on alert until I was in the Post Office in Caro a while ago complete with mask and gloves standing on the appropriate X waiting my turn. When his turn, the man ahead of me went over to the boxes, selected one and asked the clerk behind her plastic shield, “How much?” She quoted the price for the small box as $1.29. In a booming voice, he challenged, “For this? That’s highway robbery!” causing me to immediately wonder if he had a gun, and if I should hit the floor seeking shelter. No kidding, I thought that! The postal clerk replied, “Well, for you it’s actually $5!” to which the man responded with a heartwarming belly-laugh. You see, they were friends, and he was teasing her! All was well. But I can tell you, that incident made me realize that I am so much more wary in public situations than I have ever been in my life. That exchange made in fun made me very aware of my uncertainty in today’s world.

Despite being aware of these negative examples of behavior, and I think we need to acknowledge yes, they do exist, I am more determined than ever to find the good in others. I hear Jesus’ words saying to me, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.”

Even before the pandemic, we realized our world has become considerably smaller in the past 100 years with regard to modes of travel and especially so with communications. Long ago, people and “news” traveled slowly. Ships sailed and took months to arrive at ports. Runners took time, and even the Pony Express experienced delays. Of course, that is not the case today. Instant messages, Skype, twitter, Facebook, cell phones, and the like provide worldwide, immediate exchanges of information. We very literally see events as they are happening worldwide. A case in point, a couple of summers ago, our older son texted us a picture from Tanzania of himself on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain at 19,341’. A couple of days later, he texted a video of him being amid the gorillas of Serengeti National Park as they passed only a foot or so in front of him. In view of our shrinking world, I have come to believe that we must recognize the world as our greater family – yes, all of the people on the planet. As the much-used phrase says, We ARE all in this together. As I have said many times, I believe all people are creations of our loving God. Where do we draw the limits? I believe we don’t. When John was telling us of Jesus’ view – to love one another – I don’t think he meant limiting our love to those like ourselves, or those we enjoy knowing and are nice to us, or those with whom we feel safe, or those with similar ethnic backgrounds, or people with common financial worth, or those with similar community status, or anything else. Love one another pretty much includes anyone and everyone of whom you have knowledge or with whom you come in contact to my way of thinking. Love one another.

Even in view of the tragic events as previously mentioned, I still think I am called to be an optimist; my glass is always half full or more. If not, I’m not thirsty. I truly believe, despite recent glaring examples to the contrary, we are growing as humans and expanding our beliefs to include all of humanity in our scope of care and concern. Now, I am sure many of you may think, “Come on, now, you really think this world’s peoples are becoming better and conditions are improving? Where have you been? Is your head in the sand? Mankind is becoming more perverse and depraved every day. Things are terrible – and getting worse by the moment! How can you say that we live in a more caring world? Hello???” And you, most certainly, have every right to your opinion.

But for me, I do say that we live in a more caring, compassionate world than ever before in history despite recent example of simmering hatred surfacing. I don’t know of any place that I can go and buy a ticket to see Christians being eaten by lions. Our collective conscience as humans has been raised by many brave people willing to sacrifice much to stand for what is right and fair looking bigotry and hatred in the eye. With the recent celebration of Congressman’s John Lewis’ life, we noted the significant progress that has been made. Yes, some of those very points of progress do seem like they may be eroding, but we need to stand firm in believing for a better world for all peoples. We have a lot more that unites us as people than divides us, hopefully, we are coming to recognize that more so each day. One reason being that we are in contact with others, those different from us, so much more than any previous time.

Yes, horrific things happen – here and in other countries? We know they do. Human trafficking still exists; oppression is a fact of life in many places; we have people living on the streets near us; women are forced into lives of prostitution; murder occurs; bullying happens; and lives are thoughtlessly lost and little regarded in some places and at some times. I know all of those things are true. But, I also still believe that things are, or at least can, change for the positive, if slowly, and we can be a catalyst ensuring that happens. Answering Jesus’ call to love one another, can and should be a role we assume.

We need to keep our eyes upon God’s goodness and move forward as we love one another focusing on what we can do, and not on the overwhelming tasks that lies ahead. In one of the songs from Les Miserables, it is said, To love another person is to see the face of God. Hopefully we can develop an awareness of taking the higher road and not becoming sucked into the vortex of hate and perpetuating that vicious cycle of violence. Richard Bach has written in Illusions, “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” I think this respect and joy can and should be extended to all those we meet along life’s path. Horrific circumstances, like the pandemic we are all experiencing offer us opportunities to connect in meaningful, caring ways with one another. Not person to person as we would have done in the past, but new and creative ways. Ask yourselves, how many of you in mid-March, just five short months ago, would have imagined you’d be attending Zoom meetings but most have and are. I have a friend with four grown daughters. One lives on the East Coast, another on the West Coast, one in Minnesota, and the youngest within view of her mother’s home. They held a Zoom meeting for Mother’s Day. She is rejoicing that all are planning to make this a regular happening as it was so wonderful with all being connected.

When we are shaken as a nation and as individuals, we realize those who are so very precious in our lives. I have talked to college roommates, high school friends, former teaching colleagues, and such during the past few weeks. These phone calls were made just to hear the other’s voice and to say, “I love you.” Not being with those we routinely saw underscores their true importance in our lives. A while ago, I received a card from a former student who is the mother of four. She was thinking of me and wanted to express her appreciation to teachers as she is dealing with the education of her four young children at home now. I was very touched by her kindness. A few nights later, a man came to our door. I had taught his wife my first-year teaching in a high school class at the end of the day. He related to me that his wife had cancer and would likely not live through the night. His question was would I officiate her service with the allotted 10 attending and a socially distanced graveside service to follow. Yes. She did make her transition that night. Forty-eight years ago when we met, I could not have imagined how our lives would be intertwined. She gave me a crocheted throw she had made about ten years ago that is on a chair in our sunroom. I sat wrapped in that throw and marveled at life’s connections. Her final resting place is in the township cemetery just a half mile from my home; I think of her often.

Long ago in 1988 – thirty-two years ago, I took a team building seminar as I was part of the school improvement team for our building. A woman from Lansing, C. Leslie Charles was one of the presenters. She spoke of several tenets as being important to team building, but the one that still stands out to me is, “Do unto other as they would want done unto them.” It wasn’t the Biblical Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” but what they would want. Sometimes what I want isn’t what you want. I should want for you what you want. As we try to be helpful to others, we need to be respectful of their individuality. As we love one another, we need to be mindful that their lives are not ours and support them in ways they desire.

One way we can love one another is to find win/win situations. Now, I am not talking about athletic competition, but life events. Often, we as a people are competitive and tend to think in terms of approaching life situations as winning or losing, but how much better it is to find a win/win solution – one in which everyone benefits. Sometimes all that is required is a little thinking outside of the box. I will guarantee you that once you achieve a win/win solution you will be committed to finding them again and again. Everybody wins, has what he or she needs – how wonderful!

Sometimes, like now with Covid-19, we feel immobilized by the enormity of a challenge and just don’t know what to do or how to help in any given situation. I think we do what we can, recognizing we all have different talents and resources. Do something. Look at all of the things that have been done to aid health care workers, to keep in touch with those in quarantine, to assist those needing food. These many efforts are just amazing. Every one of us can do something to make a positive difference within our family of man. Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” We can be part of that small group of thoughtful, committed citizens if we so choose.

Another reading I came across spoke of “extravagant graciousness.” The author told that if we have our eyes open, we can see graciousness being extended to us by those we know and those we don’t know. She went on to wonder what would happen if we all acted as gracious hosts in our world every moment. She continued to say that a huge part of extravagant graciousness is seeing ourselves as one with all people. In other words, the world is our family. Sounds like Jesus’, “Love one another,” doesn’t it?

I’ve long been a fan of Eleanor Roosevelt and particularly like a quote about her made by Jeffrey Mitchell. In telling about her relationships with others who had hurt or wronged her, he said, “She got even in a way that was almost cruel, she forgave them.” What a perfect way to “get even,” forgiveness.

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard University neuroscientist who lost the use of the left side of her brain for a time when she was 37 years old due to a stroke. In her book, A Stroke of Insight, she told about being able to sense people’s energy using the right side of her brain but not being able to respond because of the deficiencies of her left side which controls speech. She was very aware of those genuinely bringing help and assistance and those less interested. In a television interview, I have heard her say, “You are responsible for the energy you bring into any space.” Think how much better the world would be if we each took responsibility for the energy we carry. Furthermore, what if we were committed to carrying only positive energy with us to the places we go? Amazing things would be possible, absolutely amazing. You all know those people who make everything better by just walking into a room. When you look up and see them, your heart says, “Oh good, so-and-so’s here,” with delight. I would suggest that those people are very mindful of their energy and committed to bringing their A-game to every circumstance of their lives. We can do that too. I have that quote taped to the console in my car right in the middle of the dash where I see it every time I go anywhere. “You are responsible for the energy you bring into any space.”

As we consider Jesus’ admonition to love one another, let’s not put any limits on that love. If you know of someone in need, help. That help may be in many forms. Sometimes it may be kind words of encouragement, financial giving, an arm around the shoulder – before social distancing, a hot meal taken to a family, a friendly smile, stopping to talk for a few moments with a call, or a myriad of other things. Just recognizing another as worthy of your time can make a difference in that person’s life.

Who is worthy of our time? In truth, everyone and anyone, if we would but see it that way.

I would also suggest prayer as a support for others. Sometimes we apologetically say, “I really can’t do much or I don’t know what I can do, but I’ll remember you in my prayers.” We actually apologize for praying for them! I think that prayer is the very best thing we can ever do for someone. It tops all other forms of help. Also, prayers have no geographic limits. They reach the people struggling across the planet, anywhere and everywhere.

Clayton Christensen is an Oxford, England educated Harvard University professor. He has said, “You’ve got to define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.” Do you feel safe recognizing the world as your family? Do understand, it is a two-way street. Do realize, as we open our hearts to others, that love is reciprocated. The ways may be unexpected but always rewarding.

May I suggest that in thinking of the world’s people, we think in terms of “we” and “us” not “they” and “them.” We are all God’s children. As we meet those we already love or those we’ve never seen, may Jesus’ words echo in our minds and hearts, love one another because, you see, this would be a wonderful way to respond to life’s turmoil.

Blessings for a wonderful week.


August 9, 2020

Sowing and Reaping in Our New Normal

Rev. Carey Barker, Coleman, MI.

Matthew 13:3-9

He spoke many things to them in parables, and said, Behold the sower went out to sow; And when he had sown, some seed fell on the roadside, and the fowls came and ate it. Other fell upon the rock, where there was not sufficient soil; and it sprang up earlier because the ground was not deep enough; But when the sun shone, it was scorched, and because it had no root, it dried up; And other fell among thistles, and the thistles sprung up and choked it. And other fell in good soil, and bore fruit, some one hundred, and some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

George Lamsa Translation of the Peshitta, Matthew chapter 13, verses 3-9

I sit here looking out my kitchen window enjoying the beauty of the season. The grass is finally turning green, yet the calendar says we are approaching fall. It’s hard to believe it is August already. Most of the events we usually participate in didn’t take place. We all have experienced something different than our “normal” routine for most of this year.

I know I’m not alone in feeling like I’m not myself at times. Things overwhelm me that I may not have gave a second thought to before. I feel like my inner being is searching for that something I can’t quite put my finger on.

I hear people say things will never be the same but what exactly does that mean? I know I can adapt to any changes that come my way…. Or at least I’ve always been able to before. The saying “Hurry up and wait” takes on a whole new meaning in 2020. It’s like we are all waiting to see what is going to happen next so that we can plan our lives moving forward. Fear and lack of stability can do crazy things to us but we need to bring our focus back to basics.

We are co-creators no matter what is happening in the world. We are responsible for the direction our lives take today and every day moving forward. Even though time seemed to stand still for all these months, we will still reap the harvest of our works.

Most often we talk about planting seeds in the Spring but the truth is we are planting seeds all the time. For example, Steve and I are making plans to utilize our fields more fully.

Currently we are reaping the harvest of seeds others before us have planted. Because of this, our hay fields have become more thin and less abundant. Which is ok, we have enough to feed our animal friends at home. However, they could be eating hay with more nutrients and we could be producing hay for others. Point is, if we continue to use what has previously been planted, our bounty will continue to decrease. If we throw some seed on the soil this fall like unorganized thoughts, some seed will be ate by the birds and some of the seed will be burnt because it wasn’t planted deep enough. We would however, probably increase 30 bales. If we plant it deeper by cultivating our thoughts we may increase to 60 bales. However, if we fertilize it with good nutrients and positivity and plant it deep, we will be using our soil, our consciousness 100%.

Those with the ears ready to hear will take up what they may have previously put down.

Let me explain another way…. The soil represents our consciousness and we have many types of soil. Some of us may have already overcome many of the different types of soil. The first type is symbolized by the pathway, the hard packed soil. This represents the one who is totally unreceptive to truth. This is the unfortunate truth of many. Some may hear the word of truth but they do not understand it. As Jesus said, “they have ears to hear but cannot hear.” When someone seeks to tell them about truth they are confused and can become defensive or reject. If one holds fast to what is false they are in this type of soil consciousness represented by the pathway.

The next type of soil was the rocky ground. Jesus said this soil represents those who hear the word of truth and are happy to hear it. It is the beginning truth student who has the beginner’s luck type of manifestations and thinks the truth is great and that it will help one become rich and successful and solve all his problems. Oh but when the pressures of life, the times when we need to apply the truth come along, this type of individual gives in. One is not able to stick to this belief for if there is no depth of consciousness.

The third type of soil was the soil with the thorns growing with the seed. Jesus said this soil represents those who hear the word of truth but use it selfishly to get things of the world. They are so materially minded that their greed chokes out the truth. Jesus refers to this as the “deceitfulness of riches.”

There is nothing wrong with having wealth but we should not let it deceive us. Money and the things of the world cannot make us totally happy. We may have some exciting and sensory pleasurable experiences but that will be all. In the Gospel Mark refers to this type of individual as “lusting after things.” The word of truth cannot grow in this type of consciousness. We must be willing to put aside all self-seeking. One may sit down and pray with a list of things that they want God to do. When Spirit speaks or shows that personal plans may only lead to disaster, one may refuse to give them up. Spirit seeks to reveal another plan, the good seed down by the Sower within one but if to no avail, the seed of selfishness and greed choke out the true seed of truth.

All our efforts must be unselfish. We must truly take in the God energy into our lives and let Spirit lead us.

Then we have the good ground. This represents those who hear the word of truth, accept it unselfishly and begin to bear fruit. In the good ground there are variations, 30, 60, 100. This means that the good ground can be further developed. But we should not fail to realize that what seems to be negative and pessimistic to the human ego is that consciousness develops slowly. That is why a daily regimen of study and prayer are so essential. The easy way is the learned way, it is the way of humility, the willingness to grow.

How do we get that good soil consciousness? First we have to become a constructive thinker. This is much more than just being a positive thinker. Positive thinking is working on the mental level trying to demonstrate things. Constructive thinking is more than that. Constructive thinking is positive but it is the type of thinking that says to the indwelling Spirit, “Not my will but thine be done.” On the positive thinking level, the mental level, the individual has the mental attitude of wanting what is in the Divine flow for the good of all.

Our efforts to apply principle must come before our personal plans, opinions, or desires. It must surely come before any advantages and gains. One will never truly become prosperous until he is willing to give with no thought of return and he

must do this first, that is, he must give first and then he will receive. The wonderful thing about this is that he will be blessed far beyond what one was asking.

Secondly we must clean up our emotions. We must get rid of doubt, fear, greed, and selfishness. We must overcome timidity and we must cease our human tendency to depreciate ourselves. We must become strong emotionally and not let the human ego with all of its desires and passions influence us. Remember, consciousness is the sum total of all that we think and feel. It includes this life and the many lives we have had before this one. We must learn to think constructively about everybody and everything and the same applies to our feelings.

Third, we must have total self-honesty. We must be honest in our dealings with others. We must seek to give advantage. To do this we must seek to do more, give more, and be more of service. Many hold back and this restricts the growth of consciousness.

In this day and age we have our thoughts and feelings challenged every day. We are bombarded by radio, television, books, social media with all types of ideas.

The Apostle Paul gave us some good advice for developing consciousness when he said, “ Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

The parable of the seed can be interpreted as the sowing of our thoughts and thinking styles where life is concerned. We need to understand that seeds, even if we don’t notice them at first, will all come into fruition.

There is a need to harness our own personal doubts that are buried within our mental and emotional aspirations. This is the planter of the weeds, the creator of our fears and the posture of the defensive mind. Only the inner wisdom of Christ Consciousness may set one free of these deceptions.

With the faith of a mustard seed, we can realize just how wonderful people and our life really is. To grow we must do so through our hearts, through innocence of our being and by being aware of what we are planting in our fields.

What kind of seeds are you sowing? Are you sowing seeds of love, faith, compassion or goodwill or are you sowing seeds of greed, fear and deception? What kind of harvest are you going to reap in the end?

Think wisely on the seeds you sow for you may not like the fruit it will bear. So plant seeds of kindness, goodness, faith, compassion and especially sow the seeds of love. You will have a bountiful harvest and the fruits those seeds will bear will be awesome.

Sow good seeds even if you think they go unnoticed. Just like in a garden, healthy plants take time to sprout up, yield fruit and spread about. Insects will attack them, weather conditions might threaten them but good fruit will grow from a well-maintained and nurtured garden.

Do what it takes in the present to make amends if you need to, whether physically, verbally or spiritually, but then move on and live a good life. Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. And when you know better, do better.”

We can sow good seeds, and whether we ever taste the harvest or not, we will feel good. We will feel like we’re living the right kind of life.

Today’s a good day to ask yourself: What kind of seeds am I planting?

Love & Blessings to you on your path


August 2, 2020

An Honest Accounting 
Rev. Michael Schlotterbeck    Anderson, IN 

This year has brought about a lot of restrictions in our daily lives.  We’ve been asked to stay at home and not engage in our normal social pursuits.  For many of us, that has felt like a cosmic timeout. Like we’ve been sent to our rooms with none of our usual outlets for activity.   For others, it has felt like a relief, a chance to catch our breath and de-stress.  And for others, those whom the rest of us depend on to survive, it has been a call to duty, a time to provide for others.  Regardless of how each of you may be experiencing this time period, I think we can all agree, it feels like a once in a lifetime event.  There’s a shift of energy happening and our daily life pattern has changed.  This shift of energy and change in life pattern are offering us many opportunities for spiritual reflection, contemplation, and growth. 

I tend to go through life with a Hermetic perspective.  That is to say that I try to understand the nature of the universe and humanity by observing and learning from what’s happening in the world around me. When an event like this pandemic happens where the whole globe is weathering the same storm, my mind starts to look for wisdom, insight, and information about the mysteries of life from what I’m seeing.  These last few months have provided a buffet of food for thought about the universe and human nature.  What has caught my attention, over and over again, is how we take things for granted and how we take one another for granted. 

We have had to do without many things that we probably never thought we would be without.  Such as going to get a haircut, grabbing dinner at a restaurant, visiting a friend’s house, going to the store and buying toilet paper.  Who knew that spring of 2020 would be a time when you couldn’t just go the store and buy toilet paper? On some level, we’ve always known how important toilet paper is to our daily lives, but this spring, we really came to appreciate it.  Toilet paper didn’t change.  What changed was the story we told.  It’s always been a necessity, but before, when we took it for granted, we didn’t think about or talk about it or openly value it.  But that changed.  We thought about it, we talked about it, and we wondered in amazement, why people needed so much toilet paper.  

We don’t tend to acknowledge things until there’s a problem with them.  We often build our life stories around what goes wrong in our lives.  For example, if you were to ask me how my day was, I usually would have two types of answers.  One would be a list of problems from that day, a real Debbie downer type of answer, and the other answer would be “It was fine”.  That response simply means there were no problems to list.  When I don’t have any problems to report, I don’t have much to say.  That’s the crux of the issue.  When we only acknowledge the problems in our lives, that becomes how we see our life.  We can end up with a very skewered or unbalanced story about life.   We can see life as a series of problems.  But honestly, for the most part, that’s not a true story.  When we take an honest accounting of life, of our daily life, we will notice that far more things go right in our life, day to day, than go wrong.  We just haven’t been acknowledging it.   

For example, let’s say you wake up one morning and your water doesn’t work.  You can’t get water out of any of your faucets.  So, you have to heat up water from water bottles so everyone can have travel wash.  You adjust.  You go to work and you’re probably going to tell your co-workers about your frustrating morning.  That’s normal.  Suddenly, the water is this big problem.  But if this is the only time you’ve had a water problem in say, ten years, then you’ve had ten years where your water worked perfectly.  You’ve had 3650 days where, water wise, things went right, and now you’ve had one day where things didn’t go right.  That’s what I call an honest accounting.  It’s not saying that there wasn’t a problem on that one day. That day happened.  But the full picture is that there were 3650 days where things worked, and one day where they didn’t.  Those are the numbers. That’s the perspective.   

It’s from that perspective, where I like to say with great confidence, that we have far more things in our lives that go right than things that go wrong.  Think about what went right for you today.  Make a list in your mind.  You woke up!  Woohoo!  That’s an important one. For me, today, I woke up, I made tea, I had breakfast, I turned on my computer and it worked.  My house was dry and safe from last night’s rain.  The roof is intact, the house is standing, I have plenty of clothes, etc. I can go on and on with what is going right for me if I chose to make an honest accounting.  When I do this, I begin to experience life differently.  I begin to feel supported by life.  I begin to feel fortunate. 

One place I like to implement an honest accounting is when I’m driving. I’m so happy to be working from home the last year, but before that, the worst part of my day was my commute.  I rarely made it to work in a good mood.  There would always be one or two drivers that just weren’t cooperating, every day.  We’ve all seen those drivers. I would make myself miserable complaining in my head about those one or two bad, selfish, problematic drivers.  What I started to do to help myself, was to stop focusing on the one or two exceptions and notice the hundreds, thousands of drivers that were cooperating, that were following the rules and doing what was best.  Think about how many drivers you’ve been on the road with in your lifetime.  The overwhelming majority of them have been doing it right.  99+%.   That’s the truth.  Millions of people have made driving decisions that have kept you safe.  Millions.  When you see driving from that point of view, it’s much harder to flippantly complain about all the crazy drivers in the world.  

The other aspect of gratitude that is being explored as we weather this pandemic storm, is taking people for granted.  One of the myths of our culture is the idea of the self-made person who says things like “I’ve done everything on my own.  No one helped me”.  Is that true? Is that really true?  Is it even possible to go through life without help or support from others?  After all, we are not self- sustaining at birth.  We are cared for, nurtured, and fed for years.  No one matures in isolation.  We can’t even tell a story about something we think we did completely on our own without using a language acquired from someone else.  We aren’t born with language.  We are given it.  We are supported in a multitude of ways by others from the moment we are born and that never stops. 

We are extremely interconnected and dependent on one another for our lives.  That’s how the world works.  We are seeing this in the pandemic with the idea of essential workers.  Before this year, most people probably would have called health care workers, essential workers.  What’s new is that people who work at Walmart have now been called essential workers. Six months ago, it’s more likely they would have been referred to as unskilled workers.  What they do hasn’t changed.  Our story about them has changed.  They’ve always been an essential part of a vital social process that feeds us and keeps us alive.  We are just now waking up to this fact. 

Think about the science at work right now.  All of the people working to keep us safe and healthy.  They are all building on the work of scientists that came before them.  We are riding the wave of the work and effort of billions of people from the centuries before us.  We are constantly building our lives on a foundation provided to us from the effort and action of others. 

We can be somewhat willfully ignorant about how much other people contribute to our survival, our safety, and our daily lives.  Think about the shirt you are wearing right now.  Think about the number of people involved in the making of, transporting of, and selling of that shirt.  There were people who cultivated the raw materials, there were people and machines that turned the raw materials into cloth.  There were designers, machines, and people that produced the shirt from the cloth.  Then you have quality assurance, shipping, and retail workers that get the product on the shelves.  All you did was go in to the store, buy it, and walk out with a new shirt and with the idea that you just clothed yourself.  There were dozens if not hundreds of people that contributed to the shirt you are wearing.  Now do that same process with every single item you own. That’s a lot of people.  A lot of people who have contributed to your survival, your comfort, and your daily life.  Those are the people that can receive your gratitude.   

We have a choice.  We have free will.  In all of these areas, we can open our heart and feel gratitude for all that we have received, or we can take it for granted and go forward on automatic pilot.  I would encourage you to choose the path of gratitude because it is the path of a higher vibration.  In the poem, All Rivers at Once, the Sufi poet, Rumi, has a short four-word stanza.  The first three words are “What is Love?”  His answer in one word is “Gratitude”.  When you engage in a path of gratitude you choose love.  When you take things and people for granted, you are choosing apathy. 

I invite you to explore these areas of life and feel the gratitude for what comes your way.  Feeling the gratitude is important.  This isn’t an exercise in lip service.  You easily feel the frustration of things that go wrong, so easily feel the gratitude for things that go right.   Take an honest accounting of your life and bask in the gratitude.  

Thessalonions 5:16 says:   
 
Always celebrate, 

Never stop praying; 

In everything be thankful 

 
Stay in a state of gratitude.  See life through the lens of thankfulness.  Let yourself experience life through the joy of a grateful heart and it will transform you. 

I’d like to end with a quote I found online recently that is also attributed to Rumi.  It sums up what I’m trying to say perfectly.  

 “Wear Gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” 

 I want to thank you for the opportunity to share these ideas with you.  May your path forward be filled with love and light, and may you know the joy of a grateful heart every single day.   


July 26, 2020

Rev. Dianne Williams

Good Evening/Buenas Noches from Costa Rica!

Tonight’s scripture comes from George Lasma’s translation of the Holy Bible. The New Testament from The Book of Luke, Chapter 6 Verse 12.

“It came to pass in those days Jesus went out to a mountain to pray, and he remained all night in prayer to God”.

Thus, ends the reading from The Book of Luke, Chapter 6 Verse 12.

After Prayer, What?

Let us suppose that we have prayed about some need, using the science of prayer. We have let go of the problem in a time of relaxation, mind, and body. We have turned within in an experience of wordless silence, feeling our oneness at the center. We speak the word of truth, affirming the reality behind the negative…….and ending with a consciousness of “Amen!—–So be it!”

Now what do we do?

At times we may come to the end of our prayer time feeling empty, doubtful, wondering if the prayer will work. Remember, God can do no more for us that God can do through us. We may be thinking, “well, I have prayed, so now the rest is up to God.” But as they say in tennis, “the ball is in your court.” Our prayers are not for God. Infinite Intelligence does not need our prayers, or pleas to understand. God knows what things we need even before we ask.”

In God, there is an eternal yes, but our part is to get into a Yes consciousness and stay there. “Change our minds and keep them changed.” Our prayer time may have renewed our faith and sharpened our vision, but it is still “thy faith hath made thee whole.” It is not God that has done something special for us, for God has already done all that God can ever do. God created us in God’s image and supplies us with the possibilities of the Kingdom of God within us. So, God has already done the work. Our need is to believe it, and to act as if we believe it. Jesus said, “If you know these
things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).

Beyond the Amen of prayer, the next step is to act as if we believe that what we have affirmed is true. Go and do what comes naturally, and it will come naturally, because it is the activity of God in us that has revealed the goal and has given us the faith in it. Expect the answer through you…in guidance…and direction…through your consciousness.

Often, the hoped-for is an end, a goal, a condition, an object, or achievement all wrapped up with a perfect bow——something about which we can sit back and say with Jack Horner, “I stuck in my thumb and pulled out a plum, and said, what a good boy am I.” In other words, I prayed…and the answer came…and it is all over. But life does not come to ends. Life is an experience of growth and going on. Many of us sit in the serene attitude of “I fold my hands and wait”, expecting the spirit to move them.

People often complain that they have not received an answer to their prayer pertaining to a certain situation. They are probably holding back the process. The ball is really in their court, but they act as if it were in God’s. The Bible does say, “Those that wait on the Lord shall inherit the earth” (Psalm 37:9). But this is another one of those cases where a dubious translation has led to confusion. To wait on the Lord does not mean sitting on your hands, a kind of procrastination. The Hebrew word from which we get the word wait is gavah, which literally means “to bind together”. Thus, to wait on the Lord means to integrate yourself with the power and potential of your spiritual nature,
to get yourself plugged in, tuned in, and turned on.

The waiting is not a matter of time, but of consciousness. We have the cliché, “In God’s good time.” So then, if we wait a long time and nothing happens, we have erroneously thought, “I guess God is saying NO!”….or “NOT YET, DEAR”… what we need is to get our mind to stay on God, to get and keep plugged in, to become a channel for the
creative flow. Prayer is often limited by the complex of “these things take time.” However, it is not the conditions that are limited by time, but our attitude toward them. The problem will continue if we hope it will be healed “one of these days”. And it will always remain one of these days….until we change our thought and realize that “now is the time.”

Jacob Bochme says that man fell asleep in time and can never understand himself or life until he wakes up. Paul believed this too, for he says, “Awake thou that sleepest that Christ shall shine upon you.” Wake up! Accept the dynamic, radiant, Child-of-God-self, which is us, and has been us from the very beginning of time. When we are asleep to our true power, the reality within, we go about our life walking, talking, maneuvering in a state of unconsciousness. Our acts are the mechanical acts of hypnotized people. Therefore, the world seems to go from one disaster to another. George Gurdjieff says that a conscious human being would not destroy himself through crime and war. It is just that we simply do not know what we are doing to ourselves. But he says optimistically that we can wake up. We can know who we really are, and then love, intelligence, and peace will no longer be merel words and theories…they will be us.

When we close our eyes, we are opening the inner eye of transcendence, that we may see from the highest point of view. The challenge is to keep this inner eye open beyond prayer….and that takes discipline. The need is not to set things right, but to see them rightly. This takes all the effort and strain out of prayer. We may say “ I have tried and tried to make this thing work and now I am going to pray for a divine outworking.” But we are still trying to work it out, only now we are trying, through prayer, to set it right. There is a letting go called for, knowing that the need is not to set it right, but to see it rightly. And the one way is to turn from the appearance, close our eyes to all the convincing facts of the condition, and open the inner eye, the process that Jesus calls “judging righteous judgment.”
This means seeing it as it was intended to be. It is like using the imaging power of the mind and seeing a sick child as a perfect, whole, radiant child. Or seeing ourselves as the strong, capable, competent person that we are, that we can become, “As the within, so the without.” No matter what the appearance, the inner is always there. Prayer is to
close the outer eyes and open the inner eye of transcendence to see from the highest point of view. We may say, “But the condition is there. My side hurts.” Or “I do not have enough money in the bank. It is a fact!” Of course, it is a fact…but it is not the truth. Facts and truth are two entirely different things. The truth is what a thing can be–
the reality that is always present because God is always present.

We live in a universe of law. The most effective prayer still does not bypass the obligation to live within the divine law. It takes hours of disciplined practice to become a good musician or, as I can attest, a good cook! How many hours a day does it require to become a good truth student? I mean thinking and living spiritual principles. Just reading truth books will not make you a metaphysician, any more than reading about the violin will make you a good violinist. Something much more is required of us. How much time should we spend in the practice of the presence of God? All the time!!

Because we are dealing with fundamental law—-we are not dealing with the notion of God, who may smile on us once and awhile, while we go begging, hat in hand, hoping to get into the rhythm of the creative flow once in a while. That certainly is not what prayer is all about. How often do we practice the presence of gravity? All the time! Any time we forget about gravity, and fail to practice our relationship with it, we fall on your face. So, with the practice of the presence of God we are told to “pray without ceasing.” It could be said that the reason we have problems is that we stop practicing the presence of God. The practice of the presence of God is not just a nice thing we do for brownie points. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we will begin to experience that abundant life that Jesus promised.

When we open our eyes from our prayer time, we are born into the world in a new level of consciousness; we are born again as a new person. Isn’t that wonderful? We open our eyes and “WOW.”…it is a new day. We are a new person. And it can be true if we believe that life is a constant process of awakening, letting go, releasing that which is negative, getting in tune with the positive flow of divine life. The challenge is to act as if we are new, trust the process, and let it lead us forward to a new experience.

Our Amen says “OK,” so it is. Believe that it is done.

There will be the temptation of many influences urging us to postpone action, to wait until the spirit moves us, to do it tomorrow. Goethe says that whatever we dream we can do. So, keep on, keep on keeping on, until the work is completed. Our mind may be harassed by many subconscious influences, urging us to let down, dropout, give up.
It is interesting how many of us feel that if something is right, it should literally work itself out. So……if there are obstacles, pressures, or delays, then it must not be right for us. We think it is God’s way of saying NO! thus it cannot or should not be done.

Long-distance runners are often defeated by the intrusion of negative thoughts, telling them that they cannot go on. They may have the wildest illusions that they are exhausted, that they are dying, that it is impossible to continue. And if they give in, they dropout. But if they forge on through this barrier (the runner calls it the wall), they get their “second wind”. William James had this in mind when he said that we must move past the first layer of fatigue. Now, as we keep on keeping on in the trusting process, it is important to realize that the universe has many hands, many means by which our answer will come.

An article from the internet stated that a woman was looking back to her childhood where she learned a great lesson in prayer. Little girls in her day were supposed to learn to knit and sew, so every evening she had to make one piece for a patchwork quilt. Her hands were awkward, and her stubby fingers were unsuited for needlework.
After an evenings work using all her ability, she had invariably produced a piece that was uneven and puckered. It was always discouraging, after trying so hard. Her mother taught her to place the pieces between the pages of the Bible on her bedstand, so that during the night God would make the “crooked pieces straight.” And in the morning, she would go to her Bible and discover that the piece was sewn tight and neat. It helped her to have a great trust in God. She said it was not until many years later that she learned that her mother would always tiptoe into her room while she was sleeping, pick out the stitches, and re-sew them straight. But, she says, it did not shake her faith in God. It taught her another great lesson: that God invariably works through human hands to bring about good. Again, trust the process….and keep open. A realization that can be helpful is, “I have faith in God as the source of all my good, and I bless all the many channels through which it may come.”

After prayer, the next step is the action to give. This may well be the problem. It is an excellent practice. At the conclusion of any and every prayer, we should give in some way. It is one way to be certain that we are giving to the flow. Giving is an important prerequisite to receiving. Make a commitment to some effort of giving. So….after
prayer, what do you do? You discipline yourself to maintain the transcendent perspective and keep yourself in a state of perpetual trust in the spiritual process.

Nehemiah, undertook the task of rebuilding the walls of the city of Jerusalem –a symbol of prayer. The surrounding tribes and everything they could do to harass Nehemiah in his work and prevent the wall from being completed. They conspired to have him come out to the plains of Ono for a meeting, where they would slay him. I see him standing
tall upon the wall and proclaiming dramatically “I am doing great work and I cannot come down.” It is a fine body of beliefs for the sincere student of truth. Every difficulty that seems to disrupt the consciousness achieved by our prayer is like a bell ringing to remind us to reaffirm who and what we are, to remember the truth that “If we want to we
can, because we could not want to if we could not. Our desire is proof positive of our ability.”

Stand tall upon the wall of our spiritual defenses and proclaim to the harassing negative thoughts that would lure us into chaos: “I am doing good work and I will not come down.” A man once asked Socrates, “How do I get to Mount Olympus?” The wise man said, “Just make every step you take go in that direction.” This is like the man who
stopped the great Paderewsky on the streets of Manhattan and asked, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The reply? “Practice, practice, practice.” Remember, there is no wrong time to pray. Prayer is an inward-out activity of mind. It is not putting needs and troubles into God’s mind. Rather, it is letting God-mind speak the words through us.
The universe is calling……are we listening?

Amen!—–So be it…


July 19, 2020

Quarantine or Incubation? 
David Byrd-Fournier Bay City

Good day to all of you out there! 

My sermon text today is from the 8th Chapter of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, verses 12-25. I am using the Lamsa translation. I invite you to read and contemplate the following: 

“Therefore, my brethren, we are not indebted to the flesh to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, you will die; but if you through the Spirit, subdue the deeds of the body, you shall live. Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage, to be in fear again; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Abon, Father, our Father. And this Spirit bears witness to our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; so that if we suffer with him, we shall also be glorified with him. For I think that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of all mankind waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. For man was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who gave him free will in the hope he would choose rightly. Because man himself shall be delivered from the bondage of our corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors in pain to this day. And not only they, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the salvation of our bodies. For we live in hope; but hope that is seen is not hope: for if we see it, why should we yet hope? But if we hope for that which we do not see, then do we wait for it in patience.” 

Even though the writer named “Paul” was writing to the Roman Christians during the first century of the Common Era, this writer could be writing to all of us now. For history’s sake, I wrote this sermon during July of 2020, the time in which the entire world has been experiencing a major upheaval.  

First, there is the pandemic caused by the novel Coronavirus. In response to this pandemic, governments worldwide have issued some form of “stay at home” self-quarantining orders. Most businesses not directly connected to sustaining or protecting physical life have either been completely shut down or required to modify the way they do business. For that matter, the businesses that are associated with sustaining and protecting life have also been required to change the way they do business. 

This shift in business has resulted in worldwide economies taking serious hits as many industries have not been able to function as normal—if at all. In particular, the entertainment industry has been completely disrupted as closed movie theaters could not show the latest motion pictures. Recording artists have had to rethink the way they launch new albums and share their musical gifts with fans as concert venues have also been closed. Competitive sports got halted and the Summer Olympics have been rescheduled for next year (so far.) 

Then when many of us were staying at home, we saw the news of yet another brutal killing of a Black man at the hands (or more correctly, knee) of a White police officer. Even though this is (sadly) nothing new, something was new in the way that people responded to it. The result was worldwide protests and demonstrations against systemic racism, hate crimes, and racially-motivated violence. The phrase “Black Lives Matter” went from having largely faded from current awareness to being out there in front of all of us again. Somehow, this has resulted in governments and big business taking a serious look at how people of differing races have been portrayed and treated. 

We have borne witness to announcements that the Aunt Jemima brand name and imagery would be retired, the Uncle Ben’s and Mrs. Butterworth’s brands are being looked at, and the most recent announcement that the Washington Redskins professional football team would also retire its mascot and rebrand the team. The Marine Corps announced that the Confederate Battle Flag (the correct term for the one with the stars and bars in an “X” configuration) would be banned from all of its bases, followed by the particularly shocking news that NASCAR would do the same at all of its events and venues. Statues of people associated with the Confederacy have either been torn down by protesters or have been voluntarily removed by local or state governments. A statue of President Teddy Roosevelt has been removed from public view because of the way it portrays his relationship to Native Americans and Black Americans (hint: it’s not positive). And who knows what is next? 

To be fair, not all of this has resulted in what could be deemed a “paradigm shift.” The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and many states reopened their economies sooner than recommended and are now seeing a rise in new cases and an overload of their medical systems. People (I’ll politely call them “misguided”) have protested against the stay at home orders, citing a violation of their Constitutional rights. The revival of the Black Lives Matter movement has resulted in the oft repeated and cynical response, “All Lives Matter.” (To paraphrase Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, “it doesn’t mean what you think it means.”) The removal of flags and statuary has resulted in the cries that we are erasing history and heritage. And let’s face it, removing the underlying racism from individuals’ hearts is an internal—not external—job. 

So…by now, you may be asking where I am going with all of this and how it relates to the scripture I quoted. Glad you asked! 

When we started the year 2020 we entered a “4” energy, which numerology interprets as a firm foundation. Building a foundation often requires removing unwanted and/or unneeded ground and rocks in favor of the materials desired to give a new building a firm, level, and stable base upon which to stand. Going back to the scripture, I believe that we are seeing nothing less than one of many stages of the clearing away of our being “indebted to the flesh,” which is to say, our trust in what our five senses tell us is real. In its place, we are beginning to look beyond the surface to what is truly real: we are all Spirit. Everything else is just the “wrapper” we take on when we choose to live on the physical plane. For most of our known history we have trusted the wrapper more than we have trusted what’s inside.  

I believe that one of the messages Jesus was trying to get across to his disciples was that it was the inside—not the outside–that was most important. I also believe this message got hidden over time when Christianity’s teaching became more about the man than the message. Furthermore, I believe that the message is getting back out now in a way that it may not be silenced or hidden again.  

Another of Jesus’ messages that I believe is coming forward now is the idea that our choices have impact on others. I think this message is becoming more evident in the behaviors we are being asked to adopt to slow the spread of this pandemic: wear a mask, maintain social distancing from others, only go out when absolutely necessary. This message is also manifesting in the increased awareness of how we as humans have treated others who don’t look or act like we do (which is everyone else, by the way).  

In this passage Paul alludes to the “groans and labors” that proceed the time in which liberty is established. Other translations treat the word “labor” as the labor pains associated with giving birth. While as a cis man I cannot relate to that experience, I do recall the actress Carol Burnett famously being quoted as comparing labor pains to “take your bottom lip and pull it over your head.” Yes, I tried, and ouch. I do believe that there will be some discomfort and pain as we shift from how things have been to how things can be, and I believe that we are seeing that discomfort and pain now as the old ways of thinking and being are being cleared away to make way for the new.  

If we look at the time we are spending at home as an “incubation period” in anticipation of something new coming forth, would that not reframe this time apart in a way that feels more empowering than punishing? If we knew that our time in isolation was a time of being prepared for something greater, sweeter, more peaceful, would we want to rush things or let them take their course? What price would you pay in exchange seeing the birth of a new era of peace, harmony, and unconditional love? I believe that these are the questions we are being called to answer in this most unusual and sacred of times.  

What will your answers be? 


July 5, 2020

LETTING GO
Rev. George Williams, Costa Rica

The Lamsa translation of the Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, my brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honest, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think about these things.”

Today, July 5th, 2020. The day after we celebrate our great country’s independence from Great Britton.

Independence, what does that mean?

Independence, letting go. A release of our need to depend on something or someone for some part of our existence.

What a great time to look at ourselves from a Metaphysical perspective and let go. Release whatever it is that is holding us back. Declare our own personal independence. I know, I have read all the posts that we write on social media that are so inspiring, “let go of fear” “release what holds you back” so on and so on. Yet a few hours later I read another post where the same person is bashing someone or something that they do not agree with. We cannot have it both ways. If we believe that we create with our minds and our thought processes, then we cannot go off emotionally on some issue we personally disagree with. Because when we do, negativity enters and fills our thoughts and actions, bringing us down to a lower plane of energy and understanding.

It is contagious. One person writes it. Three more share the post and 164 “like” it. We now have 167 negative thoughts. Did it make the situation better? Did whatever it was that set the writer off on a rant, correct itself? Or did it just make them feel good that they brought down 167 other likeminded souls?

If something does not go our way we can fight, scream, condemn and belittle those involved, an emotional response. Or we can look at it and say, other than patience, what can I learn from this. How can I help create positive change. We can change the outcome from one that is negative and controlling us in a bad way, making us do or say things that only compound the negativity. What we must do is LET GO. Seek independence from the emotions or negative
forces that desire to control us.

Think about it. Does some rant about politics, a store clerk or a neighbor, fix the problem? It just adds negativity to the situation. The more people that chime in agreeing with the negative response, the worse it gets. Pretty soon it will bring down the entire group of people, or a country, or a planet. One act of misguided behavior by that clerk or neighbor, creates one bad response to that act and then, … well watch it build.

If a negative thought enters our head when something external triggers that type of response, LET GO of it immediately, before it can start an action. If we don’t give that “bad” thought energy, it cannot create a wrong thinking response.

Remember that every action began as a thought. So as our Way Shower Jesus taught us in 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 “For though we do live an earthly life, yet we do not serve earthy things. For the weapons which we use are not earthly weapons, but of the might of God by which we conquer rebellious strongholds. Casting down imaginations, and every false thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God:”

We have a worldwide problem today. Technology is evolving faster than the people who use it have the capability to put it all in perspective. We have the reports of world events at our fingertips as they are happening. We do not take the time to put it in perspective and our reaction to events start to take on a life of its own. Whether it is a confrontation, a celebration, or a natural disaster, we are provided immediate access to the reporter’s perspective as to what is going on. We have no way of deciphering what is accurate and what is not. At least not as quickly as we are getting the information. So, we react to those reports is a way that expresses our viewpoint, usually in an emotional way.

It may take days or weeks or months to learn what the truth was, but by then we have moved on to the next greatest event. The truth be dammed.

When radio and television were created, we found that we could learn what was happening much faster than in the past. Then we learned that we could be entertained by this new media wonder. Now we are learning how the media can control us through our thoughts. Advertising and the Home Shopping Network, makes us covet things that we may not even want. How many storage sheds are filled with things we thought we needed, but later found
we do not even want them.

Editorials would have us believe that one person’s desires are not only correct, but that everyone else has, or should have, that same desire.

And if something is found or written anywhere on the internet, well then, it must be completely true. Why else would it be written there?

Do we think that because we have posted some theory about something, and that 167 people have “liked” it, that it will change someone’s mind or opinion about it?

Or are we that self-centered that we need others to believe exactly as we do? That our selfworth is somehow determined by how many people agree with our own personal view on something.

Who anointed us?

Nothing will be changed for the positive if what we say is less than positive. Hate brings more hatred, anger and frustrations will attract the same. Instead, spin it to a “glass half full” theory and focus only on the good. And if we cannot find something good to say, well then, say nothing at all.

We have Wi-Fi repeaters to build the signal, to make it stronger. We have those who repeat negative actions and gossip to build on the hatred that brings down an individual, a community, or a society.

Matthew 5: 37 tells us to “let our words be yes, yes, and no, no; for anything which adds to these is a deception”.

If somebody must explain what happened, it is usually because something did not have the desired ending. So instead of hating, or rubbing one’s nose into the mess, or celebrating their misstep, turn it into a learning experience and move forward in a positive environment. Just as we do not celebrate an action that was created through wrong thinking, we also do not celebrate when Natural Law bites back through Karma, at those who did wrong. Keep our thoughts on a higher plain. If the energy that surrounds you is at a lower level, calling for you to lower yourself into it. Move on to something, or someone else. Declare your independence and move on. Find the source of a higher energy and chase it. Follow it and claim every ounce of it you can. LET GO of the old ways that no longer serve you. See them
fade away in the rear-view mirror of your “Metaphysical Mobile” as you ride off into the future. Then give them no more thought because they are gone.

That’s not to say that we should not look into the past. Because looking deeper into the events of our history, allows us to learn the cause and effects of what brought us to the lesson we are currently experiencing. Then we can look forward to where we are going with the full knowledge of what got us here. But dwelling on the past only brings up regret. A negative emotion or thought.

If someone berates you until you start to question your own self-worth, leave that person, LET GO, and find the love you wish to embrace.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 “Now we beseech you, my brethren, correct those who offend, comfort those who lack courage, bear the burdens of fear for the weak, and be patient towards all men”.

It is not our place to set others right, it is ours to see them rightly. The people that I have met that are the most inspiring to me, have been those who were great listeners, they thought, sometimes for a long time, before they spoke, and rarely said anything negative. If they had nothing positive to say about something, they said nothing at all, and then they moved on, refusing to add more negativity to the event. Releasing all less than positive thoughts they had about whatever the lesson was, they were letting go. As I find myself on that road of negativity, I often recall those individuals, as though they are a council in my mind and seek their wisdom. I ask myself what they would say or do. Then I listen for their reply. When I take the time to sit in the stillness before responding to an action
or event, I try to find the proper response and stay away from negative actions. Maybe they were doing the same thing, and that is why they sometimes took so long to respond to me. As we watch events unfold around us, be careful and take the time to discern what exactly is happening. What caused these events and how it affects us? Then listen for the proper response. It is not our place to change the world. It is our duty to assist those around us in this changing world as we ourselves grow.

Each of us are on this earthly plane to learn, develop and grow. While our growth is our responsibility, this world is not “all about me” as an individual. We each collectively are what makes up the world.

LET GO of the hurt, anger, pain, and emotions that we have suffered in the past and stop living in the lessons that brings it to us over and over. If you what to be happy, then be happy. All you need to do is LET GO. It truly is that easy.

As many of you know, I moved to live full time in a “third world” country. There are many reasons why we chose to move to Costa Rica. But one of the biggest things is the people. They live without most of the worldly things that Americans must have. Money is scarce, but they have an ability to reuse and make do that is remarkable. Sometimes when I observe them, I wonder if that is how some of our ancestors had to do things.

It’s the mind set they have, that keeps them going.

I might be stuck behind a farmer in an underpowered diesel truck hauling a load of feed up a steep hill. We are usually going about 10 or 15 kilometers per hour. As I start to get frustrated, I think about the farmer in the truck. He is not frustrated; he is thinking; this sure beats a horse.

When we are able to put things in perspective, letting go of the emotions that we have been conditioned to attach to a situation, we instinctively find the joy in what otherwise would have been an aggravating lesson.

Now, when I find myself behind that truck, I smile and see that 18th century DNA is merging with 21st century technology. If those who live in “first world” countries could understand that “merging”, we might be able to avoid the collisions that we create.

LET GO of the past. LET GO of the emotions and feelings of inadequacy. Slow your mind down. Hesitate to use your free will and listen.

LET GO and LET GOD.


June 28, 2020

Back to Metaphysical Basics: Master the Mind!
Rev. Nancy Booth      Bethesda, MD.

Good day to you. Our scripture today is from Genesis 22:1-3, 7-14, from the Lamsa Translation of the Bible.

1And it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham and said to him, Abraham. And he said, Behold, here I am.

2And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of the Amorites; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I will tell you.

3And Abraham rose up early in the morning and saddled his ass and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son, and cut wood for the burnt offering and rose up and went to the place of which God had told him.

7And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, My Father. And he answered, Here I am, my son. And Isaac said, behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

8And Abraham said, God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son. So they went both of them together.

9And they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham build an altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

10Then Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

11And the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham! Abraham! And he said, Here am I.

12And he said to him, Do not lay your hand on the boy, neither shall you harm him; for now I know that you are a man who reveres God, seeing that you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.

13And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold a ram caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

14And Abraham called the name of that place Mariah-nekhzey, that is, the Lord will provide, as it is said to this day on this mountain, The Lord shall provide.

I think this story about Abraham is one of the hardest for me to wrap my head around, especially as a parent, because, on a surface level, we might wonder how a loving God would command a parent to make this “ultimate” kind of sacrifice. What helps me reconcile this particular passage with my own humanity is viewing it through the lens of Divine Metaphysics. We do not believe in a personified God, but, rather, an energy of Allness that encompasses all ideas, thoughts, potentials, and manifestations within it. From a symbolic perspective, Isaac has been said to represent joy, and with this in mind we can see that this scripture might contain the message that there are times when we may feel we have to give up something that seems dear to us or we need to endure something that appears to cause great hardship, but that there is also something greater waiting for us on the other side of this experience. However, we may not be able to see this greater thing while we are in the midst of the moment where we are wrestling with our ability to let go of what is so familiar and comforting to us, or while we are grappling with this very difficult thing that we are caught up in. In the end, all was well and “God provided.” The manner and character of divine provision will differ according to our individual situations, but scripture gives us hope that there is a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. However, it can sometimes take a while to get to the place where we can start to see that light. This seems fitting for our current times.

Still, I have to wonder what was going on in Abraham’s mind as he was preparing to walk up that hill with his son in tow, knowing what was to lie ahead, and being unaware of the divine reprieve that would appear? We are not told Abraham’s thoughts but we might imagine ourselves feeling anxious, disturbed, worried, and sorrowful, because we knew we were about to lose something very precious to us. We may find some of these same feelings bubbling up within ourselves under the current pandemic, as we grapple with huge uncertainties about life as we know it on a daily basis. Will we be able to see our grandparents/parents/children/grandchildren soon? When can we hug someone? When will it be safe to go to school again? Will we survive this experience? We miss being able to gather in groups to celebrate life’s milestones, and do what we want when we want. On so many levels, we have made great sacrifices in our individual lives, and we continue to live with a high degree of uncertainty about what lies ahead. From a metaphysical perspective, the novel coronavirus has brought up a lot of interesting energies from within for us to examine and work with, and we need our self-awareness abilities and metaphysical tools now more than ever.

As Rev. Funk mentioned previously, where there is peace, fear cannot exist. He reminded us that fear is mainly due to our sense of uncertainty and worry when we anticipate the future. Loss is due to our sense of regret or sadness when we focus on the past. Right now we may be grappling with both of these, because we are simultaneously concerned about the future and feeling a sense of loss about things we can no longer do right now, or about people who have transitioned. Being fully present in the current moment is where we know we will find our peace, but it can be very hard to do this sometimes, especially when we may have a tendency toward certain states of mind, and when we are existing in a constant state of stress where we feel that the outer world is really pushing in on us. Your mileage may vary in all of this and none of us really knows what the person next to us is going through, but we can bet that, on some level, we are all touching in, to varying degrees, with the fear, sadness and anxiety that is rippling through the collective consciousness right now. However, Abraham’s story tells us ‘God will provide,’ even if we cannot see that divine reprieve with our human eyes just yet. We are still climbing that hill, with all the accompanying feelings and thoughts Abraham might have had in his mind.

So, without yet being able to see over the horizon of the metaphorical hill that is in front of us, how do we live in and manage our feelings about the current moment, not knowing what Source may provide us as reprieve on the other side of it? I think, first and foremost, we can reframe that last statement and remember that Source is ALWAYS present, not just at the end of our journey, but during every step as we walk on it, because all things exist within Source, including our current situation. Perhaps this is why we do not read about Abraham’s mental state being an anxious one: maybe he was able to stay connected to Source such that he dwelled in that ‘peace that passeth understanding,’ even whilst having to prepare for such a life-changing, undesirable outcome. There is some wisdom here! Let’s unpack this a bit.

When we look at how Abraham proceeded toward the task at-hand, we are told about what he did – he rose up, he saddled the ass, he cut wood, and he went out. Just the facts, ma’am. Or, rather, just the actions. Just the ‘doing,’ the ‘being,’ part of his process. Metaphysics tells us to focus on the breath when we are trying to calm down or persuade our physical body to prepare to meditate, and we are trained to follow our thoughts but not plug too strongly into any emotions that may be attached to them or judge them – we acknowledge them and we let them go; we thank them for their presence but we do not hold onto them. We can go through these simple motions (breathe, release, observe) even when we cannot fathom or rationalize or make peace with what is going on around us. Doing is a pre-step we can take to gently nudge our minds toward the idea of peace, and we can do things even in the midst of chaos. Many of us are baking bread, gardening, growing food, painting, writing, and working on projects that have previously lain dormant – these are the “doings” that can help us limit our minds to the ‘now’ and pull us out of the past and future. We can start creating a sacred space for inner peace by doing.

In doing we can find rhythm and when we are completely focused on this rhythm, as in painting, cutting flowers, running, doing yoga, washing dishes, etc., there is opportunity for silence, which is what the mind needs to still and center itself. By saying ‘silence,” I’m not necessarily meaning silence in the auditory sense, but rather a mental stillness where we slow the constant flow of thoughts and calm any energies associated with fear that prevent us from being at peace. The very nature of the Universe we live in is change and flow – birds are tweeting, plants are growing, washers and dryers are humming, kids are playing, people are aging and dying even as others are born. The Principle of Vibration is always in play: “Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates” (The Kybalion). So is the Principle of Rhythm: “Everything flows, out and in…the pendulum-swing manifests in everything…rhythm compensates” (The Kybalion).

So, peace does not mean an absence of movement; rather, peace is what we achieve when we consciously step into mental stillness within any moment. If we try to stand in physical stillness for any given period of time, eventually our bodies will tell us it is time to move again. Change and movement and flow and rhythm are life; we cannot deny this, nor can we stop it. So, we understand that peace does not mean lack of change, movement, flow, or rhythm. To create our peace, we can apply the Hermetic Principle of Mentalism which is that All is Mind; everything we know is contained within the All that we call Source, or Divine Mind. Everything in our existence is part of Divine Mind. We are created in this ‘image and likeness’ of Source, so, to create our peace, we may manipulate this Principle for our benefit by directing our mind to engage in something that involves rhythm and a required focus in the NOW. We work within the natural rhythms and motion of our world to create a mindful moment, and in that moment, we consciously tell our mind to let go of what it doesn’t need. Chop wood, carry water.

In physically doing something, we use this as a tool to regain or retain control over our mind. We consciously create a ‘door’ through which we can then step into a place of mental stillness. Knitting, sewing, cleaning, cooking, baking, sculpting – choose whatever rhythmic activity resonates with you and go do it, even briefly. Try telling yourself, “In this moment, I create a door in my consciousness. I step through this door when I [name the activity], and I move into stillness and peace.” Even drinking tea can become a ritual through which we create and step through this cosmic portal into that sacred and eternal “in between” place where we are at peace and renewed on all levels of our being: “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future” (Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk). Where our thoughts go, energy flows, so if we still our mind we can open that door into our sacred inner temple where peace presides. When we practice doing something mindfully and observe how our body feels, we can sense an energy shift within us.

And, speaking of energy, physics tells us that as frequency of a wave decreases, its energy decreases. By slowing ourselves down and focusing on a NOW-oriented activity, we bring our physical and mental energetic states down. This is good! When we are slowed down and feeling a sense of inner stillness and peace, that’s when the intuition and insight can really kick in. How many times have you had a great idea while you were showering, washing dishes, running, and so on? It happens! And this is why: we are in a lower energy state where we can receive the more subtle inputs from Spirit and inspiration that are always there. How many times have we been too caught up in the energy of the moment (in a high energy state) to “hear” our guides and teachers in Spirit? Their frequencies are on the lower end of our physical spectrum of existence so we must calm ourselves down physically and mentally to access their frequencies. This is what Abraham was doing, I believe, as he headed up the mountain to complete that heavy task. By doing and staying present in the physical motions and rhythms of saddling the ass, cutting wood, and walking up the mountain, by being present in the NOW, Abraham was able to keep his mental energy and frequency low enough so that he could still “hear” Source. And thank goodness he could do that, because it was why he was able to hear the angel’s voice telling him to ‘stop’ at that critical moment. Have you ever met someone who just exuded calm and had such a peaceful demeanor, even in the face of chaos? Doesn’t it feel good to be in their presence? We can be that person! It just takes practice.

When we are masters of our mind, we are better able to step into that inner stillness and peaceful place where we can receive the insights and inspirations we need, at any given moment. These times are creating great challenges for us on many levels of existence, personal, societal, and global, and, as metaphysicians, we understand that we can better handle any task by working with our conscious mind to help it move into a place of stillness and peace. We always make better decisions and react with wisdom when we are focused and calm. Let us take Abraham’s example to heart by knowing that, when we have a hill to climb or a seemingly unfathomable situation to step into, we can use every day tasks to help us consciously open that spiritual ‘door’ and move into inner stillness. Through that ‘door’ of consciousness mental stillness, Source meets us and provides what we need to keep going. God will provide. As the mystic Paramahansa Yogananda has said, “Stillness is the altar of spirit.” Let us do those things that help our mind be still.

Blessings.


June 21, 2020

Happy Father’s Day!
Rev. Sandra Spyker

Luke Chapter 10 verses 25-29

And behold, a scribe stood up to test Jesus, and he said, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He answered, saying to him, you must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.

My question is, but what if we don’t know our neighbor? Jesus then explicitly explains who our neighbor is by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan.

I was born and raised in a small town and growing up I don’t remember meeting black people or any people of color. Not at school or church and I definitely did not have any neighbors of color. It was a lily white place. It never occurred to me that it was that way by design. The business and civic leaders of the community purposely made it difficult, if not nearly impossible, for black and brown people to work or live there. It wasn’t until I was 18 during my first year of college that I met a black person. I can still remember shaking his hand and thinking, ”Oh wow, his hand feels the same as mine. There’s no difference.” But when I brought him home to meet my parents my whole world changed. I had no idea that my parents were racist. I was devastated. And I don’t think that it was coincidence that this was happening in the late 60’s during a time of such unrest. Assassinations, the Viet Nam War, marches and protests. I later realized my parents were not consciously racist. They just never had to deal with the issue. Out of sight, out of mind.

In 1965 a white Unitarian minister Rev. Reeb was so committed to the civil rights movement that he drove to Selma, Alabama to help register African Americans to vote. He was beaten to death by segregationists. As students of Metaphysics we are aware that we do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are. We acknowledge that any real or meaningful spiritual transformation begins with a courageous act of introspection. Some of us have spent decades plumbing the depths of our own minds, rooting out error and recalibrating the mental processes by which we construct our realities. And my friends this is an ongoing process. I am not suggesting that you go out into the world and try to right all the wrongs, but I am asking you to begin a conversation. And the big question is, where do you stand on racial inequality? What are your beliefs and opinions and are they yours or someone else’s?

There is a universal shift happening and it has been a long time coming. Throughout our cultural discourse, brave people are daring to peel back the layers of shame and denial that hide from us the last frontier of our awakening. It’s time. It’s time to finally put the issue of racism and bias front and center. And this by all means is hard work, but it is a sacred work.

How do we as progressive white people learn how to have transformative conversations with our white racism-skeptic friends, colleagues and relatives? First of all what is a racism skeptic? The term describes about half of white Americans. They believe racism is no longer a significant problem. Or they believe that white people are just as likely to suffer from discrimination as people of color. They’re tired of talking about race. They say things like, “I don’t see color.” They think the only racists left are those guys carrying a tiki torch at a Klan rally. But white racism skeptics are everywhere, they are teachers, principals, police officers, mayors, ministers and parents and the narrative they share holds center stage in our political and media environment. A church that decided to make a leap of faith and open a conversation is a Unity Church in San Diego. Rev. Wendy Craig-Purcell decided it was time and opened a heartfelt conversations with the African Americans and whites of her congregation. She created a curriculum that began what she called “The Great Unlearning.”

They started by reading Debby Irving’s Waking up White and watched Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th .They shared articles, videos and resources and sat in circles to open up about what it means to be white. She said, “It was a dizzy ride, filling in all the gaps of our incomplete education, the truth about slavery, black codes, Jim Crow, work gangs, lynching’s, voter suppression, inequities in the GI Bill, redlining the criminalization of color, and on and on all of it missing from the official history we teach our children and tell ourselves. “

It’s not easy learning that so many of our American institutions were intentionally engineered by white supremacists generations ago to shore up their own power and deny it to others. And that as white people, we have unwittingly benefited from this unearned privilege our whole lives. But this is where the sacred work can begin. With honest truth telling, and we need to start with ourselves first. It’s important to educate ourselves first and then ask the big question. Do I want to be a part of this change? We can see that many white people, especially now in the wake of another black man being killed, have made a commitment to change by marching alongside blacks. This is just one example of being a Good Samaritan.

We don’t have the opportunity to have this kind of conversation at church as we are mainly a white congregation. But we can still educate ourselves. This could be the beginning of having empathy-based dialogue with our ideological opponents who may be family, friends or co-workers. No one is saying this will be easy but the stakes are high. If we are serious about awakening ourselves and contributing to an awakening world it is essential that we break our silence about the wounds that still scar the American heart.

Dr. David Campt is a dialogue coach and corporate trainer and in the late 1990’s he worked in the Clinton White House. He designed and implemented what he calls the R.A.C.E. method. Four steps to better communication.

Step 1. As we initiate conversations with our racism-skeptic friends, relatives and colleagues, the first step is to reflect. What do I need to do to remain in an open and empathetic listening mode? How can I avoid falling into the old habits of argument, judgement and condemnation?

Step 2. What are some key questions I can ask? How can I gently guide them to talk not about their beliefs and opinions, but about the personal experiences that led to those opinions?

Step 3. How can we connect with this person? Tell a story that aligns with and supports the story they just shared. Tell them that you notice it, too, that there’s been a lot of progress. That’s a point on which we can agree.

Step 4. We need to expand. Now that you’ve connected and found common ground, gently nudge them just a little bit further. Help them see preferably with a personal story instead of a sermon, that racial discrimination in America is still all too real.

If you think you cannot have this kind of conversation because it would just be too hard think about what would be harder, starting a conversation or being a black person sitting down at a “WHITES ONLY” lunch counter and being arrested. That’s hard. Or getting your bones broken by state troopers. Terrorized by Klansman. That’s really hard.

The wounds of slavery still linger. The grooves worn into the collective consciousness by the atrocity are deeper than deep. Healing is so desperately needed. It’s time for us to do this. We have the power and moral obligation to undo the structural racism built into our consciousness and our institutions. And when you think that we are all just to broken to mend this, Author Vance Havner eloquently states, “The Universe uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. The poet Rumi says, “The wound is the place where Light enters you. Our brokenness is where this leading light can penetrate and shine itself upon all the strengths, talents and possibilities we forgot were in all of us, where one judgment at a time is suspended. And we must be reminded daily that Spirit is being revealed out of the worst of separation thinking and the power to overcome conditions lie within us all. It takes courage and commitment . We can do this. Be the Good Samaritan.

Blessings


June 14, 2020

GOD: YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW
Rev. Letha Brogdon       Anderson, IN.

Some of you may have had a background similar to mine. It was a fundamentalist up bringing where the Bible was deemed to be the Word of God, no ifs ands or buts. Its authority was not to be questioned. As a child who loved her parents and wanted to please them, what they believed was acceptable. It was as if God came to earth and wrote the Bible with his little finger.

As I got older I decided to read the Bible for myself, front to back. What I discovered was a God who was cruel and at times a real weirdo. Starting with the creation story I learned that God had created man from the dust of the earth and the woman from the rib of a man. Later, scripture tells us God drove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, which made little sense. An all knowing God could easily have foreseen that his creatures would disobey his orders by eating the forbidden fruit.

Scientists tell us that the earth was not formed in seven days but that it took millions of years for it to cool and become inhabitable. Then we discovered that the creation story was borrowed from Israel’s neighbors.

Fast forward to Moses: We remember that he came down from the mountain bearing slates that contained the Ten Commandments. One inscription reading “Thou shalt not kill”. When he discovered that some of his people were worshipping a golden calf he had them killed off.–so much for killing. We have been engaged in killing ever since. As you know a great portion of our tax money goes to upgrading our killing ability.

Moving on to Leviticus, at least one chapter is comprised mainly of God giving Moses laws to abide by; what should be eaten, priestly duties, etc. Scattered throughout the writings reveal just how vengeful God is. What should be done about evil doers? Kill them of course. To worship a God so cruel leaves much to be desired. Vengeances of these kinds continue into the following books referred to as the Pentateuch or the Torah.

An interesting argument takes place between God and the Devil in the book of Job. The Devil wanted to prove that he could change Job’s beliefs by bringing all kinds of difficulties upon him. The Devil did a great job in making poor Job suffer. We don’t believe in the personage of the Devil or that God would deign to deal with such a being. The belief in the Devil has brought some benefits: “The Devil made me do it.” That’s a wonderful alibi but that argument no longer holds water.

Skipping quickly to the New Testament brings more confusion. Paul’s writings have been proven to be the first of its kind so it rightly should have appeared as the first book.

A devout proselytizer who took his message of Jesus to his fellow Jews, who were rabid monotheists, found Paul’s message, a Divine Son, was not compatible to their beliefs. Paul left his people to take his message to the Gentiles. His preaching was much better received by them. To accommodate the Gentiles he deleted all references to Jewish dietary laws. He also accepted the birth of Jesus to be the same as that of the pagan’s gods. No one really knows with any certainly when Jesus was born but we sure make a major celebration of December 25 which is becoming more and more commercialized.

Mathew, Mark, Luke and John are also out of order and the names were borrowed to assure everyone that they were Jesus disciples. However, no names were attached to these scrolls. Since they were written seventy or one hundred after Jesus death, none of the writers knew Jesus or were eyewitnesses to his life. What they wrote were tidbits they had gleaned from oral history.

Emperor Constantine decided that the beliefs of Christians should become more uniform, presenting everyone with a written standard. He appointed the Council of Nicea in 325 AD to go through hundreds of scrolls to determine what of those should be kept or what should be discarded. The group argued over the multiple scrolls that were pitched. Many of the first group walked away in disgust. This is the way our Bible was put together. Still it goes by the term “Holy”. Let me suggest that you read about some of the happenings at that council. May I also suggest that you read Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, by John S. Spong, and Jesusgate, by Ernie Bringas.

Because of the contradictions and the presentation by the Bible as God, the ogre, Spiritualist Churches excluded the Bible from their platforms. Pictures of Jesus were also prohibited. This prevailed until cooler heads realized that the Bible contained some very beautiful and teachable parts. One might say that some are pickers and choosers of verses. Jesus has become a valuable personage in our thinking. If all that is said about him is true he led an unbelievably spiritual life.

For a time Spiritualist churches exploded in numbers until orthodox ministers became concerned that we were taking congregants away from their establishments. Their message gripped man. If you attend a Spiritualist church “you will surely go to hell”. Hell was a much feared place one hundred plus years ago, but their message worked and the threat worked. Our numbers decreased rapidly. Now we can relax. Hell no longer holds the terrifying aspects that it once did. In time we will see a surprising increase in our attendance.

TODAY’S GOD

Sadly, today’s God remains pretty much the same as the way God was viewed 2000 years ago. We are seeing many people walking away from fundamentalist churches. Some are having trouble swallowing beliefs that no longer hold much truth for them. We believe that when they start searching again they will find us what they are looking for in our teachings and beliefs.

A mother was preparing to take her young daughter to the Vatican where they would be viewing the Sistine Chapel. The mother explained to the girl that she would be seeing the great painting on the ceiling by Michelangelo. It was very hard work the mother told her. He painted it on his back. Being a literalist, the little asked, “Wouldn’t it have been easier if he had painted it on his arm?” The point is that there on that beautiful ceiling is God depicted as a glorified man: white hair/white beard with white robes flowing in the breeze, as he touches his creation with his magical finger. This helps perpetuate God as a superior man, and is often viewed that way to this very day. This too will change in time—especially as we get farther into the Aquarian Age.

TOMORROW’S GOD

Fortunately for many of us, we have taken the time to listen to the voice of spirit, to seers, prophets, philosophers, and sages. In so doing we have come to realize that God is far greater than ever depicted in the past. For instance, God is changeless! That’s hard for us to understand when everything around us is constantly changing. The Late Rev. Gladis Strohme often said, “God doesn’t change but our conception of God does. We are so grateful since it means we are growing up spiritually.”

GOD is OMNISCIENT: God knows everything. Aw-w-w, C’mon. Yes, yes it’s true! God is aware that mankind is a long way from being what we were meant to be, but God is patient and will wait for us to become fully human.

Think of the brilliant minds that have graced this earth: Aristotle, Plato, Michelangelo, Galileo, and Einstein, to name a few. They were all great in their fields of endeavor but they certainly didn’t know everything. A human brain is not equipped to glean it all.

GOD is OMNIPRESENT: Maw! Yes, yes it’s true! God’s energy is in everything. Scientists tell us that our hearts beat, we breathe, our organs and glands function without out thought because it’s all autonomic. (A fancy way of saying it’s all automatic). So do we believe that we are like our car gear shifts?

We know that Divine energy operates in this universe and in all matter and particles. Plants wake up from their winter’s slumber; animals become active again. Our bodies function with Divine energy sustaining us. All things respond to God’s energy.

As Theodore Parker of the last century observed, “The stone I sit on is in communion with God’ the pencil I write with, the gray field fly reposing in the sunshine at my foot. Let God withdraw from the space occupied by the stone, the pencil, the fly, they cease to be.” He continues on with this reasoning and should find a place in our thinking.

GOD is OMNIPOTENT: Blah, blah, blah…Yes, yes, it’s true! God is all-powerful. When we think of the most powerful things on this earth we often think of the A-bomb or the hydrogen bomb. It’s hard for us to believe there is more power than that. Spirit tells us that there is more power in a grain of sand than we have yet to discover. All the great power remains with God.

God uses that power to create, never to destroy. Those who believe that God sends plagues to cull our ranks are totally mistaken. God did not send the recent virus to eradicate us. We humans are responsible for the bad things that happen. Scientists tell us that God has created “Worlds without End.” Creating beautiful things are God’s forte. Our world is beyond beauty and should become known as the true Garden of Eden.

Guides and Teachers on the Spirit side of life also tells us that they will be bringing new revelations. The caveat is that we have to be prepared. That means that we must live up to the highest standards that we know. It is easy to talk about our beliefs but much more difficult to live them. Those who commune with Spirit will one day know what it is that Spirit wants to impart. We must be ready. I will likely be on the other side, but I will do all I can to see that it is received with truth and love.

Blessings to all those who have set their foot upon the path that leads onward and upward forever. Don’t become discouraged because we are not the most popular sect on earth. Our day will dawn and our earth will become better for it. We are the wave of the future.

Blessings to everyone on their spiritual path!


June 7, 2020

PEACE PRAYER
Rev. Brian Funk         Windsor, New York

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console; To be understood, as to understand; To be loved, as to love; For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

Good morning to all of you beautiful souls reading this today.

“Preach always. If necessary, use words.” Those words were reportedly said by our spiritual brother and master Francis of Assisi. That’s not true however, as they have been mistakenly attributed to him. The Peace Prayer we just read, is most often referenced as being written by him as well. The Peace Prayer, Or Make Me An Instrument of Peace, or The Prayer of Saint Francis, while almost always attributed to him, was not in fact written by him. It’s authorship is unknown, but was first found in the early part of the 20th century, written on the back of a St. Francis prayer card. It does however exemplify the humility and the simplicity that St. Francis would have embodied. It also gives us a great prayer for healing and for understanding the necessary tools to return back to peace.

At this time in our history, many of us have feelings of worry and concern. There is a pandemic, disrupting our entire way of being. There is a loss of jobs and financial stability. There is a fear of uncertainty and turmoil within our nation. Some of us suffer from pain, illness or know someone that does. It seems that so many feel fear, anxiety, depression and helplessness at this time. There is hope! All of us, whether we realize it or not, can facilitate self-healing and restore peace.

Within Divine Metaphysics, we teach and study Natural Law. We teach that a true, correct understanding of natural law AND living in accordance therewith leads to happiness. Mere understanding is not enough however. We must apply our understanding and put it into practice to fully experience happiness. One of the

great universal laws and one of the greatest keys to healing is found in the Law of Polarity. In the book “The Kybalion,” we learn of this law from the Hermetic Philosophical teachings: “Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degrees; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes can be reconciled.”

Everything has its opposite because everything is made of energy. Energy itself consists of both positive and negative energy at the same time. ALL things that we experience have both positive and negative energy existing within them at the same time. The degree at which we perceive events and categorize them as good or bad, positive or negative, determines the reality we experience. Imagine in your mind the two sides of a coin. Whether we observe the coin to be heads or tails, the value of the coin remains the same, does it not? That is a lesson for all of us within this earthly experience to remind ourselves of. There is equal value in all experiences, regardless of our defined categorized perception of which side we are perceiving.

Think of the Peace Prayer we began with: “Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” This is the Law of Polarity in action. This shows the process of mentally transmuting an idea, emotion, or state of existence to its polar opposite. To understand this we must understand that restoring ourselves back to a peaceful state can be done by a matter of degree. We can polarize and transmute our fears. “Where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.”

What are we perceiving to be true? Are we perceiving one extreme, the other, or some “gray area” in between? Can we see both sides of the coin at the same time? “Where there is hate, love.” We can read this Peace Prayer as an affirmation of the Law of Polarity, reminding us that there always exists a positive and negative to all things. We must try and remind ourselves to be more present to recognize how our thoughts and our beliefs filter each present moment.

During times like we are experiencing now, it is important to remind ourselves of the power of being “present”. Eckhart Tolle wrote that, “All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, tension, anxiety, stress, worry- all forms of fear are caused by too much future and not enough presence. Guilt, resentment, regret, anger, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past and not enough present.” This is a great reminder of the power of NOW. The only moment we truly ever experience, is this present moment. Where is our mindset in this moment? Is our mindset focused on the worry and concern about tomorrow? Are we longing for the past and for how things used to be?

What if the present moment is giving us the experience of pain? There are some pains that we cannot let go of so easily. There are some emotional hurts that we are not ready to forgive. Our physical bodies can become diseased, injured and create significant pain. So often we try and numb the pain as best we can. Substance abuse rises significantly during stressful times, creating even more pain down the road. Pain is increased by anxiety. While many try their best to stay informed by watching the news, checking social media, or even listening to a friend; all of these things can trigger more anxiety and increase more pain. Whether the pain is from an emotional experience or a physical accident; we suffer. What can we do to feel better when we are suffering?

Our metaphysical answer is to remember that our minds and our bodies are connected. Worry and anxiety are the extreme. Tranquility and peace are the opposite. Which side of the coin do we choose to see? What do we believe in? Jesus taught that healing would be the result of our faith. “According to your faith, be it unto you.” What do we believe will happen with our health, economy, or fear of the future? What is it that we are attracting to us with these thoughts?

One of the more familiar Universal Laws is the Law of Attraction. What we put out there comes back to us (for better or worse). So as we work on understanding and healing ourselves, we must be careful of what energy we are allowing into our present moment. The Peace Prayer teaches us that when there is something present that we do not desire we can choose to focus on its opposite. Combining the Law of Polarity with the Law of Attraction gives us a simple and effective way to shift our energy to draw more positive things to us at any moment we choose. It is what we choose to focus on today that will determine what happens to us tomorrow.

Does the news, social media, and concerns of others keep us up at night worrying and fearful? Think of what that type of thinking that energy is drawing towards us. That energy can cause us to be victims of it. If someone’s words have upset us, we have given that person power over us and how we feel. We have lost any feeling of peace. Many of us put out prayers for assistance but we have forgotten the key to any successful prayer. We have forgotten the feeling of peace.

In “The Deep Silence of My Peace”, by Joel Goldsmith, we read, “The reason for peace is that there is nothing to fear. While there is something to fear, there is no peace. Once the peace has descended upon us, the prayer is complete; the reason for disturbance, for sickness, for lack, has gone. The FEELING of peace is the successful prayer. There is no successful communion until “the peace that passeth understanding descends upon us.” All prayer, all communion with God, is only for one purpose-not to make any kind of demonstration, but to achieve for us this sense of peace, or well-being, this realization: “Lo, I am with you until the end of time. Lo, I am with you always.” Let us have that sense of the Divine presence and we shall have the answered prayer.”

When we practice the presence of the Divine, by emulating the Masters and working as instruments of peace, we bring this awareness into our daily lives. We can choose to not be victims of other’s thoughts, words, or deeds. We can choose to not be dependent on the opinions of the outside world to feel better or worse. It is our interior world that is in control of our health and well being. It is our interior world where we feel the stillness and peace of God’s presence. “Don’t you know that you yourselves our God’s Temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” 1 Corinthians 3:16.

The world’s fears do not need to be our fears. Fear cannot exist when there is true peace. Anytime we are reminded of a pain, a negative thought, a worry or concern; we can choose to enter a state of quiet contemplation. By entering the meditative state and returning to that stillness of mind, body and spirit, we can re-enter into the restorative balance of God’s holy temple within us.

Just how powerful is the connection of what we believe to our mind, body and spirit? In Bruce Lipton’s “Biology of Belief”, we read, “In 1974, Sam Londe, a retired shoe salesman suffering from cancer of the esophagus, a condition that was at the time considered 100% fatal, was treated for that cancer but everyone in the medical community “knew” that his esophageal cancer would recur. So it was no surprise that Londe was dead a few weeks after the diagnosis and treatment. The surprise came after Londe’s death when an autopsy found very little cancer in his body, certainly not enough to kill him. There was no trace of esophageal cancer. The physician, Clifford Meader, was faced with difficult questions, “Had he died because he believed he was going to die?” “I thought he had cancer, he thought he had cancer, everybody thought he had cancer…did I REMOVE HOPE in some way?”

Lipton goes on to write, “Our positive and negative beliefs not only impact our health, but also every aspect of our life…Your beliefs act like filters on a camera, changing how you see the world. And your biology adapts to those beliefs. When we truly recognize that our beliefs are that powerful, we hold the key to freedom. While we cannot readily change the codes of our genetic blueprints, we can change our minds…You can filter your life with rose-colored beliefs that will help your body grow or you can use a dark filter that turns everything black and makes your body/mind more susceptible to disease. You can live a life of fear and or live a life of love. You have the choice! But I can tell you if you choose to see a world full of love, your body will respond by growing in health. If you choose to believe that you live in a dark world full of fear, your body’s health will be compromised as you physiologically close yourself down in a protection response. Learning how to harness your mind to promote growth is the secret of life, which is why I called this book, The Biology of Belief.”

We now have the union of science, philosophy and religion teaching us during times of need. Where is our belief? What are we feeding our bodies with our beliefs? We need to take the time to make sure we allow ourselves the time needed to heal. When our body reacts, pay attention. The very cells within our body are intelligent and alive. These cells respond to our thoughts. These cells respond to which side of the coin we are perceiving and what value we are ascribing to it.

In the book “Heal ThySelf”, White Eagle states that “we should love our bodies as a reflection of Infinite Intelligence and we shouldn’t overwork or overindulge them. By meditating, we enable healing from a deeper level by helping our bodies to rise above the physical vibration. When we turn to our innermost center, we connect with the Divine light which is unconditional love. As we love truly, our etheric bodies become filled with light, transmuting the physical body back to health. We become as a beacon of light to those around us; blessing both them and ourselves. As we seek the Divine light through prayer and meditation we allow that light to shine through us, opening the channel for our healing. Sometimes healing comes instantly, in the removal of pain, but often it is the soul that needs healing. The higher self of each of us knows no limitation. True healing flows through our higher self and can melt away all ills and resolve all difficulties.”

Where there is peace, fear cannot exist. Where there is peace, true healing takes place. We can learn to understand and apply Natural Law to better understand ourselves during stressful times. We can learn how to return our bodies to a balanced state of peace by entering the silence of our inner temple. We can combine science, philosophy and religion to cultivate these concepts. We can go out into the world during this difficult time better equipped to face whatever challenge comes our way. We can walk confidently equipped with the knowledge we have been granted this day.

While we began with a prayer that has been mistakenly attributed to St. Francis, we will close with a prayer that has been documented as being written by him. It is a great example of how to live each moment of our lives in the footsteps of a Master while exemplifying an attitude of peace.

“Lord, help me to live this day, quietly, easily. To lean upon Thy great strength, trustfully, restfully. To wait for the unfolding of Thy will, patiently, serenely. To meet others, peacefully, joyously. To face tomorrow, confidently, courageously.”

AMEN.


May 31, 2020

Synthesis of Spiritual Life
Rev. Laura MacLachlan

James Ch. 1 v. 22-25 Lamsa Translation of the Holy Bible

22 “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who sees his face in a mirror; 24 For he sees himself and goes his way and forgets how he looked. 25 But whoever looks into the perfect law and abides in it is not merely a hearer of the word which can be forgotten but a doer of the work, and this man shall be blessed in his labor.”

The New Age Bible Interpretation by Corinne Helene calls the Epistle of James the “Synthesis of Spiritual Life” or, walking the talk. There come a lot of challenges with moving the hearing of the words of the Epistle and making the move from head to heart. To make something a truth of your being takes time and practice. How do we make our lives one of spiritual truth in action?

Scripture tells us we can strive to be “doers of the word” and not just “hearers” of it. This is our external practicum. It is our spiritual internship, so to speak. It is a bringing out of the classroom the things we read or are just told to us about spiritual truth and integrating it into our daily life. A person I used to know would say, “It is time to become that which we talk so much about.”

Verses 23-24 tell us we are deceiving ourselves if we think we are becoming an enlightened being if we are still only an armchair quarterback for spirituality. In the Aramaic language of George Lamsa, seeing yourself in a mirror is a false image of you. It isn’t the real you. It’s untouchable.

Just seeing ourselves as the person we wish we were, as though reading about spiritual principles and enlightenment will make it so for us, does not make us an awakening Christ. We have to be out there in the real world putting our metaphysical knowledge of these principles into practice.

Do we have the patience? Can we put in the time? New Thought teacher Emmett Fox was asked how to “speed up attainment.” He answered, “True spiritual attainment (spiritual enlightenment) comes from putting into practice the knowledge you already possess.”

In other words, synthesize the teachings we’ve heard all along. Personal experience becomes our daily teacher. Seeing, feeling, witnessing the results of using our metaphysical principles are worth a library of books. Aren’t we better off in an airplane with an actual pilot than someone who has just read about flying airplanes?

It takes patience, perseverance, meditation on right action to become what we hear so much about. We are challenged to try and try again to remain in alignment with the flow of Divine

Mind. It takes thoughtful practice to realign with Divine love and order before taking on any earth plane challenge.

Verse 25 brings to the table the concept of “perfect law”. Ah! We find ourselves again being asked to implement Spiritual/Natural law into our personal choice for right action in any given situation. That will guide us in where we should put our energy going forward. Remember the expression “Want what you expect and expect what you want.” What we think about we create! That is the Law of Vibration! Scripture tells us when we do that we will be “Blessed in our labor.” We will reap what we sow for positive outcomes when we carefully choose where to invest our energy.

Bookstores and the Internet are loaded with books, guides, CD’s, and even different crystals which all claim will lead to personal transformation during our earth plane experience. So, in our short cut, “hack” world we live in we might try this or that. Then we ask ourselves—why didn’t it work? Why didn’t these things do our work for us?

James addresses that question in verse 26 because nine times out of ten the mastery we seek via outside sources isn’t OVER THIS WORLD but OVER OURSELVES! We read it over and over but it just doesn’t sound right! The trouble lies all “out there” doesn’t it? Surely it’s not ME!!!

I think anyone interested in reading this sermon knows better than that. Verse 26 suggests we not just react to what is “out there” but instead use God energy, the creative force in the universe, to transmute how we react, what we decree about it!

Whether this simple advice comes from somewhere in the Bible, a New Age book, a Wayne Dyer video..it’s always the same. James writes in Ch. 4 v. 8 “Draw nigh to God and God will draw nigh to you.” Or, align, realign with the flow of Divine Mind, Divine Love and Order, and let things come together perfectly. We challenge ourselves to say the words only a Christed Being can say with absolute certainty. “Thy will be done.” No “as long as..” no “but don’t make me…” It’s just an open hand to the universe. Whatever is Divine Order for me, that’s the only thing I want. Scary, right? When we can find the courage to say it and mean it we can transmute any situation into an experience which opens our spiritual eyes to our own infinite possibilities for Christhood.

We are all living this challenge in spades right now. Some days, when we turn on the news and begin to dwell on the tragedies we see, it’s all we can do to stay balanced and centered in love. Then we remember how far we’ve come in our own soul’s progression! Look how close the Epistle of James is to the Book of Revelation! All the inner struggles, dialogues, battles we’ve had with ourselves to get to this point! Every story, every character we have read about in the Bible to this point is us! They are our stories. We’ve done all that work!

Remember the Red Sea in Exodus? How to we remain on solid ground during those times when we are at war with ourselves? We focus on that shaft of light that guided the Israelites out of the slavery to their own old, outgrown beliefs in limitation and lack of freedom to grow as souls.

We are challenged to remember we have been Noah. We have been the Israelites, we have been Job. We have done our 40 days in the desert….How many times?

Our countless times of preparation for each new spiritual awakening are over for now and we can go forward. Our road to awakening the dormant Christ within is paved with natural and spiritual laws to show us the way, like a personal yellow brick road. Isn’t it ironic that L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz, made the brick road yellow? The color of our solar plexus, which governs our personal will? Christed beings say “Thy will, not my will, be done this day.” It is when we surrender our personal will to Divine Mind that we are then “walking the talk.”

It is when we realize that truth of our hearts, not just the truth we read about, that we do what may seem like the hardest thing of all to do today. We get up off our couches, our comfort zones, and we step out into the world. We serve others. We share what we have found to be true to this point in time. We comfort, we listen. We become the people we talk so much about. As we do, we are “blessed in our labor.”

Blessings to each of you on YOUR yellow brick road to enlightenment!


May 24, 2020

“BE STILL AND KNOW”:
SOME THOUGHTS FOR SPIRITUAL CONTEMPLATION
DURING THE CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN 
Rev. Bob Allen / Saginaw, Michigan

In this extraordinary time when we temporarily pause from assembling together physically, we continue our journey in the Path of Spirit, assembling together meta-physically and worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24).

The temptation of living an earthly existence, in a material body, is to give heed to alarming appearances that seem to be presented by our five mortal senses. Many such disturbing appearances swirl around us today, any time we view the electronic media. But Jesus teaches us to judge NOT by appearances; rather, to judge righteous judgment (John 7.24). That is, to judge beyond superficial, outward appearances; to judge not only with the material senses (sight, sound, touch, smell and taste) but with our metaphysical senses (such as hunch, intuition, prayer, clairvoyance, clairaudience and so on).

Every person has two voices in their head. Just as we have a control box to decide which channel we will watch on television, our power of choice and decision gives us the freedom to dismiss the voice of fear which says that you are a physical body; that you can get sick and “die”, and the body’s death is the end of your individualized existence. When we switch to the proverbial God Channel, we can rest in the quietude of knowing that at any moment, we can decide to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Spiritualism awakens us to the truth that in reality, THERE IS NO DEATH; there is only our Eternal Soul and Spirit, and a transition from our material body. Death is nothing more than walking from one room into another.

If we walk with Spirit, however imperfectly or sporadically, we can walk our earthly road confident that nothing – NOTHING – can happen to us that God will not bring us through. None of us can make it through our journey without help and support from Spirit, and our Guides and Teachers. Our human energy is always limited, finite; but Spirit is Infinite, limitless. Prayer, meditation, contemplation, spiritual reading – these are some of the ways that we can connect to this Infinite Source of Good. Like the electrical appliances in our home, we cannot access this Power if we’re not plugged in.

Let go and let God. It may look like a crazy, chaotic world, but the material world has always been that way. Happiness, peace and serenity are found within your own soul. We cannot live on this Earth plane without trusting. We do not know what is coming tomorrow, but we can TRUST that with Spirit within us, and all our guides and teachers and guardian angels, there is nothing that we cannot get through.

The Wise Teacher from Nazareth taught that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Our genuine treasures are the things we do not and CAN not own, therefore they can never be taken from us.

We will find the beauty we seek. Our eyes will be opened, and we shall discern that this beauty is already within ourselves. And as Phillipians 4:8 says, in the version called “The Message”:

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you have learned. Do that, and God, Infinite Spirit, who makes everything work together, will work YOU into his most excellent harmonies.

Peace Be With You!


May 17, 2020

Messages from the Quarantine?
David Byrd-Fournier

Good day, dear reader! I am honored by your choice to take some time today to commune with Spirit and to receive this sermon from me.

As always, let us begin with a scripture reading from George Lamsa’s translation of the Holy Bible.

Scripture: 1 Peter 3: 12-17:

And who is he that can harm you if you are zealous followers of that which is good? 14 But if you suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed; and be not afraid of those who terrify you, neither be troubled. 15 But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts; and be ready to give an answer in meekness and reverence to everyone who seeks from you a word concerning the hope of your faith. 16 Having a good conscience, so that they who speak evil of you as of evildoers may be ashamed as men who belittle your good works in Christ. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, that you suffer for doing good deeds, rather than your evil doing.

(End of Reading)

If you finished this reading with at least one eyebrow cocked upwards, you are not alone. In fact, my usual practice of relying on the Revised Common Lectionary (LectionaryPage.net) led me to a place where I really was not sure which of the readings to use as a basis for my sermon today. I chose this passage, because the wisdom presented within appealed to me as both instructional and challenging, and least likely for me to have to issue apology after apology for the content. And after I decided to use this passage, I went back to the first verse of the first chapter, and then I realized why this particular passage was presented to me at this particular time:

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the chosen one and pilgrims, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, and Bithynia.”

Peter is writing to an audience of scattered people, and so am I!

For the sake of historical context, this sermon was written during the time that much of our nation is still in a self-quarantine to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our church congregation is no different.

The audience for Peter’s first epistle is Christian converts who have been separated from each other and for whom coming together to worship and fellowship with each other could mean persecution and/or death at the hands of the government. Peter writes to show his support for the members of this diaspora, and to encourage them to “keep the faith.” Today, our congregation finds itself in the position of being a diaspora facing the question of when we will be able to worship together with as little risk as possible. To be clear, it is not the government that is the threat

in our case; it is the Novel Coronavirus, and the virus presents a serious and potentially fatal risk to anyone who contracts it.

And so, we find ourselves in isolation from each other. Many of us are working from home—assuming we are still employed and not furloughed. The things we took for granted, like eating out at a restaurant, working out at the gym, and even going to see a movie have all been replaced by the drive-thru or meal delivery, home exercise, and watching our favorite streaming service(s). As far as the things we may have purchased online that we might not have otherwise considered…let’s not go there…

On top of this, we have borne witness to those who would suggest that all of this is a hoax or some nationwide effort at government-sponsored “crowd control.” Some of us may have gotten into heated discussions with others through social media and had to reconsider that relationship (or, had it done for us). We may have witnessed the protests at the Capitol in Lansing and others’ efforts to use the courts to forcibly reopen the state’s economy as other states around us are doing so voluntarily—perhaps prematurely. We may also long for being able to see loved ones in person again and (horrors) actually hug them. So, this time presents a challenge to those of us who have chosen to “stay home and stay safe,” and like those early Christians, we may need some encouraging words like the writings of Peter.

So, going back to the Scripture reading, we can see Peter present an overall theme of “yeah, it’s tough right now, but don’t give up.” We see admonitions to the diaspora to stick with the things that they know are true and to stay centered in the God of their own understanding. Peter encourages his followers to “be not afraid” in the face of fearsome and challenging people and situations. This First Century advice can work in our Twenty-First Century as well.

I believe that this time of isolation and self-quarantine presents a unique opportunity for all of us to reevaluate our lives, our relationships, and what we consider to be “important.” If we choose to, we can consider this to be an “incubation period” where we are being prepared for a “level up” in consciousness.

I did find it personally amusing that almost as soon as some of us were getting restless about staying home, we suddenly read about “Murder Hornets” making their way to this country. And, then last week we experienced