Midweek Faith Lift
December 18, 2019
An Advent of Love
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
This is the Sunday of Advent that celebrates Love, the Advent of pure Love embodied in the Being of Jesus. We have explored hope, identifed as “Heart Open, Pure Energy” which we experienced in the story of Mary, mother of Jesus. We have that hope expanding into Faith that carries us through all challenges to a deeper and higher understanding of our true spiritual nature. When we are able to open our hearts to that pure energy of Spirit, then we are able to be Peace and embrace that path of Peace that we are learning to walk.
We are on a spiritual journey of Faith; a faith that our human nature is able to catch up to our spiritual nature and fully express that power of Love that Jesus embodied. Every Advent season is an invitation for this realization to be born in us again and to be expressed ever more deeply so that we live it every day; the invitation is to embrace the Light by loving, accepting and embracing our human selves, shadows too.
So what does this business of Love have to do with it? I feel like Tina Turner—What’s Love Got to Do With It?” It’s just a second hand emotion, and who needs a heart when a heart can be broken??? Good questions, Tina! Why does Love get a Sunday all to itself? Well, the reality is that we forget who we really are and we need to take time aside to remember. We remember that in love, we engage one another rather than use one another. We remember that in love, we embrace one another rather than judge one another. We remember that in love, we accept one another with unconditional positive regard rather than merely tolerating one another.
And yes, in our human understanding of love “ a heart can be broken.” However, with our spiritual understanding, we know that it is only when our hearts are broken—broken open, that the transforming energy of all that God-Love is can be seen and felt and received. It only comes alive through the broken places in us, so we shift from heartbreak into heart-broken-open, pure love, right here, all the time! I just didn’t see it and now I do! That is the transforming power of love. It breaks us open to a greater reality and awareness of what love really is and it never fails us if we allow ourselves to be transformed.
In Unity we claim Love as one of our 12- Spiritual Powers. Love is likend to gravity: it holds us all together even though we can’t always see or feel it. Like gravity we know it is there because we experience it; that is the power of Love. And like gravity, which holds everyone, no exception, Love is an energy that holds everyone, no exception. You don’t earn or deserve gravity, it just is there, doing its thing! Likewise, you don’t earn Love, it is for and in everyone, no exception.
We also teach that as a spiritual power, Love attracts, harmonizes and unifies which is something we can confuse with the human experience of belonging. When we identify with the message of a group and our feelings and beliefs are in harmony with that group, then we have a sense of belonging, a human sense of being loved. That’s what made the Hippies so attractive it was easy to belong, the bar was pretty low! And we have that artificial sense of belonging now in our political domains where we “belong” to one camp or the other. However, this is not true belonging or the Spiritual Power of Love because the Spiritual Power of Love leaves no one out; NO ONE! Love is not when we unite against a common foe. It can feel good, it can feel like belonging, it can feel like love and it can be an intoxicating feeling that we begin to crave at all costs.
But here’s the catch! It is not really love, it is “pseudo-love.” In fact, it is more like addiction. In order to belong, to be loved, we have to take the pledge and not question any of the requirements for belonging; we just have to believe. It is when we begin to question that we find out where the “limits” of love are in the group we have chosen to love us. So if we come out as gay or we get a divorce or we speak up for inclusion and reparations for racism, or human rights, we begin to learn where the edges to loving really are.
And lest we feel self-righteously better than all “those people,” let us reflect that we in Unity can build limits around what is acceptable as well. Is it really ok to question some of Unity teachings? If we start asking what was in your consciousness that attracted that cold, or that circumstance, are we not putting up a barrier to what is a good Unity student and what is not? Who are we to judge others and evaluate what is in their consciousness….but we do it every day! What were you THINKING??? Perhaps learning to love is about taking down our own walls, once we can finally see them! A bit like removing that log in your own eye before you begin analyzing the speck in your neighbor’s eye!
Remember the Rumi poem, Clear Bead from last week:
The clear bead at the center changes everything,
There are no edges to my loving now,
There’s a window that opens from one mind to another;
If there’s no wall, there’s no need for the window or the latch.
Now this poem does not say there are no boundaries, it just says there are no walls. When we are in the throes of addiction, we have no boundaries, just co-dependence. In order to maintain my sense of self, I have to see the clear bead at the center of my being. That is what changes addiction into transforming love. I have to see my own connection to Spirit that is a connection of love that is not dependent on you loving me or my loving you. And here is the kicker. For the most part, we as humans, learn that we are loved and loveable because some other human loves us. So we learn a human version of love and what is required for us to be loveable without ever learning the truth that we are loved no matter what. We are loved and loveable no matter what!
It doesn’t matter to Spirit what we do, who we are, who we love, how we look, and on and on. In fact, all these things matter more to us than they do to God. Right now we are craving a culture of love and acceptance. We went to see the new Mr. Roger’s movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and at the end, people were crying and they didn’t want to leave. They wanted to stay in that energy of love and acceptance that Mr. Rogers lived and created each day on his TV show. They were craving words of understanding, acceptance and respect; words of love.
Words of wisdom from Mr. Rogers:
~Love and success, always in that order. It’s that simple AND that difficult.
~If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.
~I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes,’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to someone else.
~Love is like infinity: You can’t have more or less infinity, and you can’t compare two things to see if they’re ‘equally infinite.’ Infinity just is, and that’s the way I think love is, too.
~Real strength has to do with helping others.
All the world’s major religions have tried to speak and teach us about love, but without much success. What is it that gets in the way of our ability to love? I believe real love is about what we do and sometimes we just “overthink” it rather than just doing it. Love isn’t easy; it is simple, but it is not easy. It is a bit like recovery from addiction, because it is a process of surrender, not will-power. It is a process of learning to recognize boundaries and to honor them, your own and other people’s. It is a process of allowing yourself to make a lot of mistakes and missteps, because in recovering from addiction, that is how we learn. It is learning that loving yourself is not the same as indulging yourself. It is learning that loving yourself is learning to tolerate the discomfort necessary for growth.
I believe we are all at Step One of the Twelve Steps:
We admitted we were powerless over our addictions—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Or as the Paul expressed it in his letter to the Romans:
“I cannot understand my own behavior. I fail to carry out the very things I want to do and find myself doing the very things I hate . . . for although the will to do what is good is in me, the performance is not. (Romans 7:15, 18)
I want to be a loving person, and yet again and again, I fall short. So I pray, “Let me love myself as God loves me. Let me see myself through the eyes of love, as God sees me. I am God’s beloved human in whom she is so well-pleased. I am God’s beloved child in whom she is so well-pleased. I am God’s beloved in whom she is so well pleased, and by the grace of God, I manifest that love in all that I do, in how I show up, granting mercy and grace to all whom I encounter, practicing again and again until it becomes second nature, and then first nature to how I show up.” Amen.
May it be so this Advent season, may I know that I am love and by the grace of God, of the Christ within me, may I leave a bit of love in every interaction during this Christmas season.
Blessings on the Path,