August 16th, 2020 Sunday Service Message: Blessing Is the Release

God the Good, Omnipotent

There is a well known saying that goes something like, “A person is about as happy as they make up their mind to be.”1  Happiness can have many sources.  Among them are giving and receiving blessings.

Once again working from Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer2 by Gregg Braden, guest speaker Donna van Oosten tells us this week about the power of blessings.  But what exactly is a “blessing?”  Merriam-Webster defines blessing as:

1a: the act or words of one that blesses; b: approval, encouragement; 2: a thing conducive to happiness or welfare.

For many people, the word blessing also carries with it the idea that it is something that can only be given by God.  This is not entirely incorrect.  Unity teaches that every person has the Christ within themselves, and when we give a blessing it is from that place of Divine love.

Because we know that thoughts are things, and every action has a thought as its ancestor, being aware of, or mindful, of our thoughts is important.  Donna reminds us that for every person, at all times, life is a choice.  We can choose to think and act from a place of love and joy, or from a place of anger and resentment.  Unity’s first principle tells us:  ‘There is only One Power and One Presence in the Universe and in my life.  God the Good, Omnipotent.’  This means that we need not petition God for favors that is, blessings, but that we all have the power within us to bless all that we encounter.

Many people may think that because they are not God, that they do not have such power.  Donna tells us that a story in the life of John the Baptist speaks exactly to that point.

Now a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification and they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”  John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.  You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’  The one who has the bride is the bridegroom.  The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice.  Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.  He must increase, but I must decrease.”  John 3:25:30

Donna tells us that metaphysically, John the Baptist represents the intellect.  So when he said “he must increase, but I must decrease” we understand it to mean that we must not allow our intellect to get in the way of the emerging divine nature, or Christ, in each of us.  Donna asks us to consider the question, “Are we ready to be messengers of God?”

When we become messengers of God, we cannot be doing anything other than giving blessings to all we encounter.

So how do we know when we are being moved by Spirit?  Donna tells us that Spirit talks to us in the way that we will understand.  Everyone experiences God, Divine Mind, Spirit, the Sacred in their own unique way.  While this is certainly true, the means by which we experience it are, at least in part, culturally determined.  Just as people who live are native to the polar regions have no word for forest, and people from the Amazon basin have no word for snow, when people experience being moved by Spirit, it is within a context of our own upbringing.  If we hold in our minds a concept of angels, then we may hear the voice or feel the touch of the Divine through angels, for example.

The method of our being moved by Spirit is not the important part.  Many who have had such an experience will say that they may or may not have been actively seeking such knowledge, but when it came they were certain that it was from a Divine source.  This is an example of our Power of Faith.

Faith is easy to have when things are going well.  But what about the times when . . . not so much?  From time to time, we all experience a storm or two in life.  We learn from Jesus Calming the Storm, that faith is particularly important at these times:

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.  Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.  The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”  Matthew 8:23-27

When we have faith, knowing that we will be guided by Spirit in good times and in challenging times, we will be able to become a blessing to the world.  Donna reminds us that a single blessing has the power to change the lives of the receiver and the giver.  Some blessings may be large, some small.  Some may be asked for, some may be anonymous.  Regardless of the circumstances of the blessing, we should always hold in our hearts the best for others and for ourselves.

Finally, Donna asks us to bless not only those who are suffering, but also that which causes suffering, and those who witness suffering.  When we include every aspect of the situation, we provide the most effective means of helping the healing process to occur.

The Lord bless you and keep you:  The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you:  The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.  Numbers 6:24-26

Abundant peace and blessings to you.

Scripture:

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1-2

Spiritual Practice:

This week pause throughout your day to notice if your are consciously blessing those around you, or not.  If you find yourself thinking and acting from a place other than love, take the time to consider how you can change your approach, instead offering a blessing.

Greg Skuderin

1Attributed to several people, including Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Frank Crane, Orisen Swett Marden, and Dale Carnegie.  It is one of those sayings that is probably such common wisdom as to have its roots in the oldest of human societies.

2Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer, Braden, Gregg, Hay House Inc., 2006