We Are All Called
Everything is sacred. As we move to week five in Rev. Joanne’s series Sacred Earth, Sacred Work, she reminds us that we began the series discussing that we are created in original blessing, not original sin. When we realize that we are all one with the Divine from the moment of our creation, as we learned in week two, we are able to open our hearts to a spirit of compassion that is able to see the Divine in everyone else. Working on ourselves opens the pathways to our recognition and understanding of this spirit of compassion. In week three of the series we learned that there are four paths in creating a spiritual life: via positiva, via negativa, via creativa, and via transformativa. And last week, we learned how the celebration of the diversity of all of creation enhances our own lives and the lives of those around us.
Our spiritual practice for last week was to become aware of times when we are being limited to either/or thinking, instead of a more encompassing both/and mindset. One congregant, Shirley, shared a recent experience she had with an online seminar. The seminar began in an unexpected and puzzling way. She experienced either/or thinking with, either I can bale out now and go shopping or I can stick with this and see how this turns out. Having already paid for the seminar, she decided to stay with it. As the seminar presenter moved through his talk, it developed in a very interesting and useful way. Had Shirley decided to leave early she would have missed receiving the gift of the knowledge, wisdom and insights learned in the seminar.
Last month we honored our keyboardist, Jerry Cergol, for sixty years of service to Unity Spiritual Center. Engaging directly with Jerry, Rev. Joanne asked him how he started with sacred service as a musician. Jerry shared that the church he was attending as a young teen had their organist resign. The minister asked if anyone in the congregation could play keyboard. Because Jerry was an accordion player, his father volunteered him as a stand in. From there Jerry took formal musical training and developed as a musician, eventually landing with Church of Unity in Lakewood, OH which would later become Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake, OH.
Rev. Joanne also asked Jerry not just about the means by which Jerry was introduced to Unity, but how he knew it was a sacred calling. He said that when one is in the right spiritual mindset, good things will happen if we let them. It becomes a matter of becoming aligned with what is being presented and accepting the changes that follow.
We can come to a place of understanding, both literally and figuratively, voluntarily as in Shirley’s example, or by being “volunteered” by others as in Jerry’s case. Regardless of how are presented with opportunities, we must make a conscious choice to say ‘yes.’
Rev. Joanne asks us to set aside the idea of vocation as a “job.” Instead, she says, open to the idea that at any moment we have the opportunity to share ourselves in such a way as God is using us. Independent of any job that earns us money, we must realize that we are here to be that expression of God that is uniquely us. When we do that, we are demonstrating what it is to live in sacred creative vocation.
Our contemporary experience of “hearing the call” is, of course, not new. In the book of Isaiah, we read the story of how Isaiah came hear the call, and answering it.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:1-8
Unity gives a metaphysical interpretation of scriptures. Rev. Joanne tells us that in this passage, the temple of God represents each of us, and that angels represent divine ideas. The temple filled with smoke represents our ideas about ourselves that we are not good enough. When we feel this way, we have a built-in reason to respond to God’s call with “no Lord, not me.”
The hot coals on our lips represent allowing ourselves to speak the Truth of any situation and of who we are. Fire represents transformative power. In this passage it transforms Isaiah saying “I’m not good enough” to “here I am, send me!”
Too often we think the ones who have “heard the call” are the people we see onstage – ministers, priests, rabbis and prophets. But as Rev. Joanne tells us, the divine is calling all of us, because all of us are divine. Because we are all divine, we all have an expression of the divine to share, a sacred creative vocation that is uniquely ours that has nothing to do with our career.
We are creative beings by our very nature. When we realize this, we cannot help but express that nature in everything that we do. One such path is spiritual leadership, which may or may not manifest as a position that earns a income. But each of us, in whatever activity we engage to earn our living, are in fact expressing sacred creative vocation by being the best teacher, salesperson, admin, factory worker, or any job we hold. Being the best does not necessarily mean that we win awards or earn a high salary, but bringing to our daily activities an attitude of service to others and gratitude for all that we have, all that we are, and all that we are becoming.
Rev. Joanne did take on sacred service in spiritual leadership, and has been an exemplary in walking her talk. But as she tells us, for her sacred creative vocation is not tied to her career position as minister, but rather being aware and conscious of what it means to be love expressing at any moment, in any circumstance, transforming herself and therefore transforming whatever is happening in the process. We see that not only does this have nothing to do with being a minister, but it also has nothing to do with any job. Unless our “job” is to be love in action – which it is. Truly a labor of love.
Now Go and Be the Light.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Made in the image of the Creator, every one of us carries within us the capacity to be a mystic, to be creative, to be visionary, and to be an agent for positive change. It is our responsibility to say "here I am, send me" and to cultivate our capacity to benefit the earth and all it’s creatures. What are we creating in this world that will cause positive ripples into the future? Begin each day with the idea, "Here I am, send me." How can you be a daily expression of God?