It's always nice when I can start a newsletter with the words, "I'm writing this from my room at Unity Village..." I'm here to serve as a mentor minister for those entering our Field Ministry educational program, the updated version of the ministerial training program through which I was ordained. It's cold and cloudy here - snowflakes the day I arrived, mornings in the 20s, and a high expected this afternoon of about 40 degrees.
Last fall, I heard a quote from Christian mystic and writer, Thomas Merton.
He states that if we write for others, we may bring someone a little joy and maybe even make a little money. He goes further to say that if we write for ourselves, we'll probably become disheartened and miserable at the results. However, if we write for God... "you will reach many men and bring them joy".
When I first hear those words, I realized, with some sense of overwhelm, that it aptly reflects my intention for each of these messages. I don't write "for" God in the sense that I expect approval from an anthropomorphic deity, but with the intention and belief that, as expressions of Wholeness, our work is to express That-Which-We-Call-God. In other words, we are the humans with hands and feet and voices who are charged with being Spirit in the world.
If you were really going to speak for God, what would you say? Once again, I don't mean to give a presentation directed at an external deity who will judge our presentation and give us a grade. I mean, if you really consider what Spirit-expressing-at-the-point-of-you would like to say, what is the message?
I think this is an important question. I think this is what we mean when we talk about the power of the Word. We're told that "God is Spirit", and we're told that we are the manifest expression of Spirit. WE are Divinity expressing in human form. If we choose to do so, ours are the voices speaking Good in the world, and doing Good in the world, Being Good in the world.
Obviously, somewhere along the line, I decided (or realized or chose) to teach spirituality as best I can. When I heard that quote from Merton, I understood that part of my work is to say in human words what it is I believe needs to be said, to be a voice for Spirit in the world. Certainly not the only voice, but a voice. There are lots of human voices saying a lot of things, many of them in direct opposition to one another. Each of those voices is claiming to be speaking for God, and that's truly okay. I believe that we each have our own dialect of the heart, and it is imperative that we become able to know and hear the voice with which our own heart resonates.
The Baptist dialect taught to me as a young child did not resonate as helpful within me. After quite a bit of exploration, I discovered New Thought, and it - for the most part - made sense. As I have continued to explore and learn and grow, I have found that New Thought with a Buddhist accent is even more helpful. I'm also intrigued by neuroscience and Integral Spirituality. You may find a blend of New Thought - Course in Miracles - Abraham teachings to be helpful.
But back to my original question: if you were charged with speaking for God, right here and right now, what would be your message? We are each living fully in this world, with our feet planted firmly on the ground, experiencing the current political/cultural influences and our own socio-economic position. What does Spirit expressing at the point of you want everyone to know and to understand? What does Spirit expressing at the point of you want to accomplish. What does Spirit expressing at the point of you really want to BE in the world?
I do not believe this is a random universe. I believe there is a creative, intentional, infinite, Intelligence expressing at the point of each of us. When asked to sum up his message, Gandhi said, "My life is my message." What is the message of YOUR life?
The aspiration I hold for the message of my life is one of willingness and integrity. As I sit here, writing for God (however audacious that may sound) my message is simple: Choose to respond with Love. Choose to be willing to pause, breathe, and respond to whatever seems hell-bent on triggering you with Love. No matter what, it is possible to craft a loving response. We must never respond to hatred with hatred. We must learn to speak with Love TO those who represent everything we think is wrong in the world. We must learn to speak with love ABOUT those we feel are not loving in their actions or intentions.
We must learn to sacrifice (make sacred) our human tendencies and desires to return hatred for hatred, and instead give Love, period. Give Love. See Love. Be Love. Our co-founder Chas. Fillmore told us we must center our I AM in God, and from that place of Truth speak True words. What True words will you speak for God?
I'll be back this Sunday, and look forward to seeing you! You are a unique, unrepeatable and necessary expression of Spirit. I am blessed by your presence in my life.