Midweek Faith Lift
December 19, 2018
Love is Born Again
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
Here we are in week three of this Advent Journey as we wait with expectancy for that which is to be born in us this Christmas season. We began our journey with hope, which then deepened into faith. It is the simple, and yet profound faith of Mary saying to Spirit, to the Angel, to the Divine Idea of creation, “Let it be with me according to your word.” And thus we have Myrtle Fillmore’s Prayer of faith in which she holds the light for us to see Good instead of evil; Truth instead of sin; Abundance instead of want; Intelligence instead of ignorance, all of which bring us to peace.
Travelling this path of Faith then allows us to experience Peace, the kind of Peace that is beyond our understanding. Whatever is “out there” we can choose to see peace, instead of this. We are still, and we know that this is the right path, we are on the path of true Peace, and it is the Peace that deepens into healing. When we step into that true healing, it is the kind of healing that puts old wounds and hurts to rest and allows us to heal not only ourselves, but to hold the energy for healing for all beings.
Last week we looked at the healing practice of Ho’oponopono:
“Please Forgive Me....I'm Sorry....I Love You....Thank You.”
I have been using this prayer all week, and what I have been aware of is that in all the places where I have been holding a grudge, thinking that I need to forgive the other person, the deeper healing comes when I ask forgiveness and feel the sorrow that comes with holding on to the hurt, the offense. I had that “aha moment” that when I hold on to the hurt, I “re-hurt” myself again, which only gets me deeper into hurt, not healing. The true “I’m sorry” is for them and for me. This process of forgiveness is the true stepping stone to our Advent word for today, Love. I cannot really feel the full warmth of love until I let go of the hurt and allow it to heal.
All that we have been learning and praying and reflecting on in the first two weeks of Advent have been preparation for the true experience of God-love. We have learned lots of “versions” of love, but that purest, deepest, untainted energy of God-Love often feels elusive. God-Love feels like an abstract idea, not a true relationship. And our human attempts at love are often clumsy, awkward and conditional, trial and error learning at its most frustrating and inefficient. The one love experience I was not prepared for was the sense of falling in love with my newborn child. I truly had a “falling in love” experience that went deeper than anything I had ever experienced in my life. And I loved her just because she existed! That is all that was necessary…her existence and mine, in a love connection/relationship that had no words because she could not yet talk and she had no idea what I was saying! But it was pure love.
In my heart of hearts, I think that is the love that God, Creator has for us as Creation. We are emanations of that Divine Love that seeks expression in and as each one of us. God is delighted with us; that we exist! And all of us are seeking that profound sense of connection with that which is greater than we are, that which loves us just because we exist. Pause and think about that for a moment. God loves us just because we exist. There is nothing we can do to earn that God-Love, it just is. And we can’t lose it, either. We are asked to wake up to it, to see it and to live in that God-Love relationship.
Science has revealed that at our most essential level, all “matter” is energy that is generated in relationship—positive and negative charges. Understanding how that works exactly is beyond my pay grade. However, the mystics throughout history have experienced this sense having their entire “beingness” held in that loving relationship with Spirit. That is an experience of Being Love that the mystics describe as bringing them a sense of freedom, ecstasy and joy that is beyond words.
I am not there yet! I have had glimpses of that when on retreats in Silence for four days, but I don’t yet live there consciously. I do believe that that kind of love is what we are asking to be born in us, to be awakened in us so that we can find our true selves and more fully integrate our Divinity into our humanity. Here is how this relationship is described in Christian Scripture in Acts:
26 From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
29 Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. (NRSV)
We clearly have been seeking to understand for a long, long time in human history what it means to allow ourselves to truly reflect God-Love, rather than making God in our image and likeness. Our vision of God has been distorted by our human emotions and our human experiences. When we don’t also get to experience the sense of unconditional love that is truly God-Love, we can begin to think well, this is all there is and settle for a poor substitute without realizing it. Some of us can even fall into hatred, cynicism and even despair. Sometimes, we begin to see what love really is like by peeling away all that we can finally see as “not love.” It is a process, however we go about it, and it takes time and persistence and patience.
It is essential to me, and I think to all humanity that we choose to travel the high road, even if there is not much traffic on it! I recently watched the funeral service for President Bush, the elder. I heard a statement that I had not heard before that “Hatred corrodes the container it is carried in.” I believe that is true. When we consciously choose to hate “the other” for reasons that seem perfectly justified, to hold the grudge, it corrodes our spirit and the ill will and hateful feelings leak out all over us, and everyone and everything.
We are called to create the container that is called Love. And we are asked to be generous in what we contribute to that creation and put in that container. I loved the reading for lighting the Advent candle of Love, because I have experienced that love does have a life of its own. When we allow our ability to love to expand, grow and change, as those we love also grow, change and expand, then we are moving much closer to that God-Love relationship.
It is the case that in our human experience, we all have different capacities to love. That is not good or bad, it just is how it is. What is essential is that in this learning to love process, that we recognize that those we love or want to love are at different places on the learning curve. That is no big deal. We meet each other where we are with a generous heart. We are called to be very forgiving of our own stumbling around in the dark with the loving process as we also forgive others in their stumbling.
We have received an incredible financial gift from an amazingly generous donor who recognizes that as a spiritual community we are committed to learning what this God-Love relationship is all about. When we come together as a spiritual community on Sundays, it matters that you are here. Everyone’s energy creates that experience of learning to love, to forgive and to heal. We hold the intention to Practice the Presence of God-Love and to notice when we lapse into practicing the absence of God-Love. Clearly, this spiritual community we call Unity Church of Ames is loved and is God-Love beyond what we can even imagine. Our intention is to learn how to live, move and have our Being in the God-Love each and every day, no matter what.
These financial gifts did not come to us because we have perfected our Practice of the Presence of God. That was not required for generosity to pour forth to us. The Abundance of Love that has flowed to us has come because we consciously hold the intention to be in relationship with each other in God-Love. What we have done is create the container of love that can receive and hold this generous outpouring with faith, peace, love and joy in accordance with our Points of Light. Which brings us to the final part of the “Ho’oponopono practice, and that is simply “thank you.” We are so grateful and we say thank you.
I want to close today with a reading from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, lest we think we are finished as a spiritual work in process.
Patient Trust In Ourselves and The Slow Work Of God
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are all, quite naturally,
impatient in everything to reach the end
We should like to skip
the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being
on the way to something unknown,
and yet it is the law of all progress
that is made by passing through
some stages of instability-
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually –
let them grow,
let them shape themselves,
without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today
what time (that is to say, grace and
circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you
and accept the anxiety of
feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
May we walk together in God-Love,