Midweek Faith Lift
June 7, 2023
Quantum Leap-Unity of Ames
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
May 26, 2023
People in Japan, like the rest of us, have spent the last few years covering their faces and, now that mask-wearing mandates have been lifted, many say they have forgotten how to smile. Hence, there is a boom in “smile-training seminars.” Researchers say when we connect in a physical way – like sharing a smile – our breathing and heart rates sync up.
“When there are two harps in a room tuned to the same frequency, if a chord is struck in one, it fills and infuses the other with the grandeur and beauty of its resonance and brings it into harmony.” – John O’Donohue, Beauty: the Invisible Embrace
Affirmative prayer: With an awareness of the One Life in which we all live, move, and have our being, I recognize the beauty and loving-kindness of each human soul. I connect, seeing the Divine wholly present in my sisters and brothers. In this pure essence, we are united and in sync. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Friends we have been in a prolonged period of what I would call “Covid Reactive Disorder” and it is time for us to take a deep breath and remember all that is good and true and beautiful and bless all of that! In our first meeting to vision the future of Unity of Ames, we spent time appreciating all that we have here that is of great value to us. It is a process called “Appreciative Inquiry” and as we concluded, we felt uplifted and inspired to build on what we already have. When we remember that the word “Appreciate” also means to increase in value, then we can easily realize what a blessing Unity of Ames has been for us for the past 30 years. It is also true that when you bless something, you confer upon it the capacity to be a source of good in your life. Unity of Ames has certainly been a source of good in my life!
We just concluded a long series exploring 30 of the parables taught by Jesus. As I reflected on that and all the messages we have explored together, it occurred to me that we have been preparing together for UCOA to take a quantum leap. And then Heather shared this book, The Quantum Leap Strategy by Price Pritchett, at our meeting on May 21, which is where the idea of Quantum Leap came from. Thank you Heather! Rev. Heather at this time can best be described as the “Keeper of the Flame” and the Sacred Keeper of the Power of Zeal for Unity of Ames. The idea of Quantum Leap after the long season of “Covid Reactive Disorder” is precisely where we are in consciousness right now. It is both a description and an invitation for us to explore and make real in the life of our spiritual community. Paying off the mortgage is just ONE way that the Quantum Leap energy is gathering, for sure!
So today, as we celebrate the memory of one of our founding members, Joy Munn, it is worth taking time to reflect on where we have been and invite the energy and momentum of where and how we will go into our future. There are two books, which I am going to use to explore this journey: The Quantum Leap Strategy and Unity and World Religions by John Paul Roach. This coming August of 2023, I will be attending the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, Illinois. The very first Parliament of World Religions was held in Chicago in 1893, 130 years ago and Charles and Myrtle Fillmore were there. They attended that First Parliament and learned about all the Eastern Religions and World Religions. This was just as they were beginning to convene Unity as a spiritual path, which officially began in 1889. It is once again a time for new beginnings on all fronts, dear friends!
So to review where we have been and what the purpose of our study of the Hidden Parables of Jesus by Dr. Todd Michael, I went back to Scripture and that place where Jesus describes the purpose of the Parables. It is in Matthew and it reads like this:
The Purpose of the Parables
10 Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance, but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 13 The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ 14 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
‘You will indeed listen but never understand,
and you will indeed look but never perceive.
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes,
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart and turn—
and I would heal them.’
16 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
(NRSV- Updated Edition)
Well, friends, that is such a powerful description of what this Post-Covid spiritual recovery process has been. We see and experience closed hearts and ears that cannot hear and eyes that do not see. There is a cultural refusal to hear, to see and understand the true message of Jesus and the healing that it offers. We just finished with the last of the Hidden Parables, the Parable of the Talents and it had the same message: to those who have, even more will be given and to those who have nothing, even that will be taken away.
What is it that we have? We have been given the capacity to know the secrets of the Kingdom, those processes whereby we open our hearts, open our minds and begin over and over again to hear, learn and understand what love is really all about. That is not an easy lesson and requires tenacity, focus and diligence.
When we get too caught up in “Post-Covid Reactive Disorder” we cannot hear or see what is good, true and beautiful. We forget to smile, to wonder, to explore and we get caught up in mental Chinese handcuffs! We can fall into the trap of focusing on “what we don’t have” and get mentally stuck in “awfulizing!”
What we have learned in our study of the parables is that where we focus our attention is what we will increase! What used to be pre-Covid no longer is, but that is not a reason to despair, it is cause for celebration for we don’t yet know what can be! We can however, believe that it will be very good, and we can hold that belief so that even more can be added unto us! We can be like the young, young child who doesn’t worry about learning to walk. She doesn’t worry about falling down or over-think the “what-ifs” that could paralyze her! She just gets up and walks! And she finds the couch to hold on to, an adult to hold on to as she gets better and better! It is a small first step and a quantum leap for her and she doesn’t yet realize it. But that doesn’t matter, she takes the leap anyway!
What is true of our young child is that she is not yet self-aware or self-conscious. Our challenge is that we ARE self-aware and self-conscious which is a blessing but also an obstacle. What Jesus is constantly proposing to us is that we let go of all we think we “know” so that we are open to even greater possibilities of good. To be self-aware, self-reflective without being attached to what we “think we know”—that is the challenge. To know what we know and also remain in a state of not knowing that allows for Spirit to also act in and through us, that is the essential energy of the Quantum Leap.
Jesus says that the prophets and other righteous people longed for this consciousness but did not have it. As Richard Rohr describes the Prophets, they were calling Israel into a higher level of consciousness. In his blog from May 30, 2023, “Waking Up Our Conscience” he writes:
….we can call the prophets the fathers and mothers of consciousness, because until we move to self-reflective, self-critical thinking, we don’t move to any deep level of consciousness at all. In fact, we largely remain unconscious, falsely innocent, and unaware. Thus, most people choose to remain in that first stage of consciousness, secure and consoled. It’s great to think we’re the best and the center of the world. It even passes for holiness, but it isn’t holy at all.
It is essential that we take this step, and also essential that we don’t stay there, in a place of smug security that we are “right” and we have the “truth.” This is not the path of wholeness, which is what holiness really is. Wholeness calls for humility, which has been one of the major lessons of the parables. When we are in that place of humility, which Covid brought us to collectively like it or not, we can learn to smile again and we can embrace the Quantum Leap.
I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift
- Robin Wall Kimmerer –
I have no idea how the Quantum Leap will evolve for Unity of Ames, but that is what makes it so inviting and exciting! And I am humbly grateful to take this journey with you!
Blessings on the Path,