Embrace the Mystery
When watching someone dance, it is often obvious if they are dancing with confidence or tentatively. This is not necessarily a result of actual skill. There are very competent dancers who dance tentatively, and some who are less adept who dance with great confidence.
In part five of her six week series Dare to Dance Again, Rev. Joanne tells us that the umbrellas onstage serve as a reminder that we have the protections of our practices to dance, no matter what is occurring. We have the cover of prayer, faith, love, understanding and the power and presence that is God within us.
Knowing that for some people dancing is an unsure activity, at a recent family wedding Rev. Joanne tells us that to aid in “dancing sure,” a series of simple dance moves were created, shared and called out to dancers so that they could participate in the dancing with confidence. She tells us that in life, there are rarely simple formulae like this to allow us to be sure of our steps. Each situation is different and requires something different from us. Unity does not provide any such formula. Instead, she says, Unity invites people to come join in community, to learn, grow, accept and transform. When we allow ourselves to be moved and in that way, with experience, we will become sure of our steps.
These ideas that help us to dance surely do not apply to only our own time, but have done so throughout human history. Rev. Joanne explains that the three Epistles of John in the New Testament were written for the purpose of explaining to the community of followers of the teachings of Jesus, who Jesus was. Written perhaps as many as sixty years after Jesus’s resurrection, disagreements had arisen among those followers. But the need for such an explanation was not new. We read in the Gospel of Luke, that when Jesus appeared to the disciples right after his resurrection they were still unbelieving. From 1 John 3:1-3:
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Now, nearly two thousand years later, we are still asking, ‘what is in that story for us?’ To provide some context, Rev. Joanne tells us that in 1 John 1 we read that God is Light, and if we follow the light then we will be the light, that we will not sin.1 In 1 John 2 we read that God is Love, and if you are born of God, then you are love. She tells us that acting in light and love is how others will know that you are disciples of the way that Jesus camw to show us.
In this passage we read that the reason that the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Rev. Joanne tells us that the time was then within that community (and ours) to dance surely in togetherness, and to know that they were light and love and to live that example, but they world did not see that in them. She asks, was that because we have not been dancing in light and love or that we have been but the world is not seeing it that way? That is not always easy to know. There may be times when one or the other, or perhaps both, are true.
As we continue in this passage we read, beloved, we are God’s children now. That we must do something first to be a child of God is an illusion, Rev. Joanne explains, because scripture tells us that we are God’s children now. How will we know we are dancing surely? When we are dancing like Christ – dancing in love, wisdom, understanding, forgiveness, peace – with the community drawing to each other, not pushing each other apart. Then it will be “revealed,” as the passage says, who we are. We are the Christ because we see it in each other.
Sometimes being able to dance requires that we first release that which no longer serves us, such as negativity, error thoughts and judgment. Then we will be able to act in ways that faith is calling forth from within us.
The idea that faith means that we “know” is an interesting concept, Rev. Joanne says. So many wars have been fought because we “knew” what was true. Is that faith, she asks? Faith, she says, is about not knowing. If we knew, then we would not need faith. So rather than faith being an opponent of questioning, she says, it is actually being willing to live in the question, to be willing to say I do not know, but I am willing to find out.
When we give ourselves the permission to step out in faith and not knowing, when we arrive on the other side we must be willing to release any ideas that conflict with what we have learned in the process of discovery. We must guard against our biases not to reject things we learn that conflict with what we may have already believed to be true. If we do not, we are not stepping out in faith, but remaining in a place of “knowing,” which as Rev. Joanne says, is the opposite of faith.
In Unity, Rev. Joanne tells us, we place our faith in Truth. So, what is Truth? Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore (1854-1948) wrote in Christian Healing2:
The truth is, then:
- That God is Principle, Law, Being, Mind, Spirit, All-Good, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, unchangeable, Creator, Father, Cause, and source of all that is;
- That God is individually formed in consciousness in each of us, and is known to us as "Father" when we recognize Him within us as our Creator, as our mind, as our life, as our very being;
- That mind has ideas and that ideas have expression; that all manifestation in our world is the result of the ideas that we are holding in mind and are expressing;
- That to bring forth or to manifest the harmony of Divine Mind, or the "kingdom of heaven," all our ideas must be one with divine ideas, and must be expressed in the divine order of Divine Mind.
It is important to be aware, Rev. Joanne tells us, that dancing in faith does not mean that we will always see clearly and know exactly where we are going. We might know some things, but there may be mystery. And yet God is here and we have divine ideas and bring them forth into expression step by step, and in that dance what will be revealed is light and love. Dancing in faith does not mean that we know all the steps, but rather with absolute assurance that God is here.
Following her retirement at the end of July, Rev. Joanne tells us that she will be dancing into her own mystery. She says that she will be dancing surely during this time of not knowing what is to come, because she knows without a doubt that doing so it part of the process, and when moving in faith we need only remember Fillmore’s four points about Truth.
Beginning in August, we will also being moving forward in faith as a community. In Divine Mind consciousness we know there is a perfect divine idea for us in this moment and we have faith in that, and all we need to do is to hold that possibility together. When God is guiding our steps, Rev. Joanne reminds us, we can dance surely in any given moment, without knowing.
Each week throughout this series, Rev. Joanne has shared a story about a person who exemplifies the ideas being discussed. This week she shares a poem from Langston Hughes (1901-1967):
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
We too can, and should, hold fast to our dreams. With God guiding our steps, we can step out in faith and be open to the possibilities that life presents us.
Now Go and Be the Light.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
We are like Jesus, living in the example he set, as we live in the assurance that God is here moving in, through and as us each time we make the choice for love. How can you be a witness for love this week? In what way are you being called to stretch into new understanding that you are love? Affirm throughout your week: God is love; I am love. Take loving action every day this week.
1In this sense, sin is taken to mean “missing the mark” either in actions or in error thoughts.
2Fillmore, Charles, Christian Healing, Unity School of Christianity, 1917.