The Enduring Power of Love
The message every week is love. In this sixth and final part of her series, Sacred Earth, Sacred Work, Rev. Joanne says that in her more than twenty years of giving Sunday lessons, the basis for every one comes down to love.
In the first week of the series, we are reminded that we are born not in original sin, but in original blessing. In week two, Rev. Joanne tells us that when we understand that everyone is born in original blessing, we have a much easier time of hold each other in compassion. She then presents to us in week three, the four paths of the mystic – via positiva, via negativa, via creativa, and via transformativa. We learned about moving our thinking from a more limited either/or perspective to a more inclusive both/and mindset in week four. And in week five, Rev. Joanne told us about sacred creative vocation – here I am God, use me.
Reminding the congregation of last week’s spiritual practice, when Rev. Joanne asks if anyone would like to share their experience, Dale shared three things he did to demonstrate that he is willing to allow God to use him for sacred vocation. First, he volunteered to help lead community prayer calls. Second, when speaking at the dedication of the West Park library, he asked people to consider the opportunities libraries provide for knowledge about others that leads to understanding, which ultimately leads to peace and wellbeing. And on a personal level, he took the time to acknowledge a neighbor on her birthday with more than a simple “happy birthday,” but to thank her for being a wonderful neighbor and to express his appreciation for her. Dale said that doing these things was easy because he allowed spirit to guide him. These simple things may not seem like great world changing actions, but they have a cumulative effect and can only make the world a better place.
As our opening song tells us, Rev. Joanne says, “we are called to be healers for all humanity.” She would go further than that, she tells us, to say that we are called to be healers for all of creation. The complexities of being human mean that we have many different types of relationships that we may need to work on healing. The three types that Rev. Joanne discusses in this talk are 1) healing our relationship with ourselves; 2) healing our relationship with others, broadly speaking, and; 3) healing our relationship with planet Earth.
Often, we are our own harshest critics. Sometimes, Rev. Joanne says, our internal self-talk is so severe that we would not dream of saying such things to another person. One of the concepts upon which the Unity movement was founded was the idea that we must know that the Divine power and Presence within us is the Truth of us, and that we are here to transform the ideas we hold in mind so that we can show up as that Truth. This is a fundamentally important step in the process to transforming the world, Rev. Joanne says, but we must not stop there. Extending the healing process by reaching out to others in a loving way paves the way for a more inclusive world that honors people for the divine individuals they are. But how exactly does that manifest in the outer? A core question we must ask ourselves, she says is, “How am I extending grace to others so that a healing can take place?” We do this by first healing ourselves, and because we have done that the overall collective consciousness has been uplifted. Then, we can show up to do the work that is ours to do in the other and be love expressing.
Finally, we may choose to enter into a healing relationship with our planet. Unity Spiritual Center has participated in an Earthcare Ministry for the past several years. Sandra, one of our congregants, has demonstrated her commitment to a healing relationship with the planet by being a steward for a eco-friendly grow tower that is maintained in the Unity Spiritual Center facilities. Using less water and energy than conventional agricultural techniques, the grow tower is one way people can chose to have a positive effect on our environment. As they mature, the vegetables grown in this grow tower are available for sharing to anyone in our congregation. Other ways we may chose to engage in healing our relationship with our planet may be simply driving less, recycling more, and wasting less food – your mother was right when she told you to clean your plate!
These concepts of healing relationships with ourselves, others and the environment are not unique to Unity, of course. Some things are simply universal truths. Love is one of those things. Here are a few examples of others sharing their wisdom:
Healing our relationship with ourselves:
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi
Healing our relationship with others:
Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another. - George Eliot
I think everybody longs to be loved and longs to know that he or she is lovable. And, consequently, the greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they're loved and capable of loving. Fred Rogers
Healing our relationship with the environment:
In loving his own productive, generative, generous love, God loves all those ways in which that love can be realized in creation. Rowan Williams
There isn't any formula or method. You learn to love by loving - by paying attention and doing what one thereby discovers has to be done. Aldous Huxley
Now Go and Be the Light.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4:11-13
We live in sacred relationship with every other living thing. Our food, our health, our homes, our vocations are all part of an interconnected community. Creation hangs in the balance when we forget this connection. We acknowledge that our species and the entire earth community depends upon the healing of harm already done, moving toward sustainability for the future, and harmony that offers live-giving coexistence for all. How can you embrace your responsibility to healing relationships this week? What is one way you can show up differently? Now is the time.