Renunciation (BTW: one of the Twelve Powers) frees us from the weight of negative thoughts and feelings, hurtful memories, fears and/or resentments which can weigh us down, slowing our journey to perfection and taking from our experience of joy in the present moment! As we let go of the past year, we can release, also, its situations, happenings, even people; all those things we would rather not carry into the new one! As we forgive ourselves, others and the past, itself, we open ourselves up to new, brighter possibilities; greater prosperity, better health, a happier life! The Burning Bowl Ceremony is but a physical representation of this inward process. Though we usually celebrate it at the year’s end, we can do this, individually, throughout the year as a reminder that we are NEVER tied to any negative – we can use the cleansing flame of Renunciation and go on from there, lighter, happier; living the Truth of our being!
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are invited to acknowledge that same Christ idea, which He so perfectly expressed, living in each and every one of us! Jesus symbolized the “first-fruits” of those who are coming out of mortal mind, and into the immortal, cosmic mind consciousness. The Christmas story is OUR story! As we follow the “Star of Bethlehem,” we are following that idea that there really IS a divinity inside of us! Our souls are the mangers in which this infant realization lies, awaiting our willingness to nurture it and allow it to grow within us, that we too may be among the new, prophesied race; the Messiah, born in man.
True joy is rooted in principle, and not dependent upon outside circumstances. As an aspect of Spirit, it is unchangeable; the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Too many times we depend on outside circumstances – which are constantly changing – to give us what we call joy. However, TRUE joy is actually a creative power which drives all of our experiences. To be found only within and brought forth, through prayer and meditation and a willingness to experience and express it, joy is the foundation of all things good; health, prosperity, harmonious relationships – ALL things good!
A Living Hope is constant, for it is based on the unchanging absolute. Very much related to, but not the same as faith, hope also relies on Spirit for a better tomorrow. It is about growth; without it, there is no possibility of growth. It is about Truth, for without it we cannot aspire to any more than the present appearances of the material world. It keeps us open and receptive to the Truth of our being, as described in the Biblical verse; “…Christ in you, your hope of glory.” Today, this week – and always – we are invited to BE that spiritual principle, born in us from the beginning; that of Living Hope!
This is the first Sunday of Advent, a Latin word meaning “Coming.” Throughout history, cultures have looked for, hoped for and prophesied the coming of a Messiah – one who would save humanity from this circle of good, evil, good, evil… In Unity, we understand the Messiah to be the the Christ Indwelling, living in and through and as us as unchanging Spiritual Law! All faith is “living faith,” and operates – positively or negatively – according to how we apply it. Fear and worry are examples of using our faith negatively. However, when we KNOW the Truth of our being; when we KNOW that the law works everywhere, for everyone and in every circumstance, we can put our faith, unquestioningly, in that Law! We can direct our thoughts and feelings to be in harmony with those positive experiences we desire, and which we so richly deserve as children of God!
Each of us has our own personal guidance system; the Christ Indwelling, or as we are calling it, this morning, the “Golden Compass.” This guidance will lead us surely, directly to our chosen goal. However, we must, first, know what our goal is! Do we want better health, abundant finances, harmonious relationships? These are all available to us. However, as with any journey – which, by the say, starts with the first step – we need to know where we ARE, if we are to know in which direction we need to travel to reach our destination. We also need to know how this personal compass works. We access it through prayer and meditation, listening closely to that still small voice. It will tell us exactly what we need to do. We acknowledge where we are, spiritually, and where we wish to be. We then lay aside the extra baggage that would hamper our travels; ego-based fear, resentments, self-depreciation, etc., and we are ready to start the journey of a lifetime!
Throughout history, cultures have celebrated the harvest with thanksgiving celebrations. J. Sig Paulson stated, “Gratitude is one of the most dynamic and creative energies available to you and me; in fact, gratitude is indispensable if we are to grow spiritually.” It is a creative power that brings into our experience those things we formerly may have thought out of reach! When God’s law is adhered to, it delivers great blessings to all people. We may not see, clearly, how a blessing can possibly manifest, but we can give thanks for that manifestation, anyway! As we give thanks in advance, in faith, we are assured our harvest of Absolute Good! God is always waiting to give us more! Today is the harvest!
Just as metal nails, used in the building of walls, roofing, or fences must pierce the wood with which we are building in order to do their job, spiritual nails – concepts and principles – must pierce our consciousness if we are to build of it something bigger, better, stronger. This morning, we are invited take action; to use these spiritual “nails” of living in the presence, practicing the Silence, staying centered in Truth, being aware of our inner environment and modifying our behavior to construct a consciousness that will manifest as a richer, fuller, happier life – that for which we were born! We are invited to pick up the hammer – representing our executive powers, take careful aim and drive those nails home!
Rev. Pam left us with the question: “How, then, shall we live?” So, how do we WANT to live? If we wish our lives to change – for the better – we are going to have to live in harmony with Spiritual Principle! This means ACTING on the Truth we know! The Law of Attraction is neutral; it will bring to us that which we send out, according to the energy thereof. We are the masters of our destiny; the ones who choose how it is to be. Today, we are invited to live our highest understanding of that which already is within us; God, the Good omnipotent.
In this, Rev. Pam’s last talk, she shared with us:
In order to grow, we must shed old beliefs, past ways, the status-quo; this means RISK! So, what do we choose? The “safety” of the status-quo, or the opportunities lying in new growth? One thing that must remain the same is this: We MUST continue to live our highest understanding of the principles we have been taught. We MUST put into practice – on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis, at home, at work, on the freeway – the teachings of Unity. If we want a different experience, we must change our thinking; we must raise it to be in alignment with Truth. Part of our Spiritual Journey is being willing to rest in the mystery – not knowing what is coming next. One thing for sure, as an old saying goes: “What do we do before enlightenment? Chop wood, carry water! What do we do after enlightenment? Chop wood, carry water!” So, we pray; prayers of denial, releasing that which is not True, and affirmative prayers of the Truth of our being. And, we meditate, opening ourselves to that knowingness which only comes from communion with God. Chop wood! Carry water!