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Sunday Message for February 7, 2016

LIVING IN LIGHT AND LAUGHTER

It is a tradition in February to explore the topic of love, and I know that those not in romantic relationships often cringe at the thought. But, I want you to know that you are safe this month, because while our theme is "On the Wings of Love," it's the Wings of the Love of the Divine we are going to talk about.

Each week this month, we will look at different aspects of the L.O.V.E. of the Divine as we spread our wings and fly into:
* L - Living in Light & Laughter this week
* O - Omnipresence, Omnipotence & Omniscience next week
* V - Vision & Vitality the third week finally
* E - Enlightened Enthusiasm!

Today is Living in Light and Laughter. So . . .
A guy from Arizona dies and is sent to Hell. The devil puts him to work breaking up rocks with a sledge hammer. To make it worse, he cranks up the temperature and the humidity.

After a couple of days, the devil checks in on his latest arrival to see if he is suffering adequately. The devil is aghast as the guy from Arizona is happily swinging his hammer and whistling a happy tune. The devil walks up to him and says, "I don't understand this. I've turned the heat way up, it's humid, you're crushing rocks; why are you so happy?"

The guy from Arizona, with a big smile, looks at the devil and replies, "This is great! It reminds me of August in Arizona. Hot, humid, a good place to work. It reminds me of home. This is fantastic!"

The devil, extremely perplexed, walks away to ponder the remarks of the guy from Arizona. Then he decides to drop the temperature, send down a driving rain and torrential wind. Soon, Hell is a wet, muddy mess. Slogging through in mud up to his knees, the guy from Arizona is happily pushing a wheelbarrow full of crushed rocks. Again, the devil asks how he can be happy in such conditions.

The guy from Arizona replies, "This is great! Just like April in Arizona. It reminds me of working out in the yard with spring planting! I love it!"

The devil is now completely baffled but more determined to make the guy from Arizona suffer. He makes the temperature plummet. Suddenly Hell is blanketed with snow and ice.

The devil is confident this will surely make the guy from Arizona unhappy. He is again aghast at what he sees. The guy from Arizona is dancing, singing, and twirling his sledgehammer as he cavorts in glee.

"How can you be so happy? Don't you know its 40 below zero!?" screams the devil.

Jumping up and down, the Arizonan throws a snowball at the devil yelling, "Hell's frozen over! Hell's frozen over! This can only mean the Oakland Raiders won the Super Bowl."

I thought this joke appropriate for Super Bowl Sunday, plus I wanted you to laugh - perhaps only objective 1 was met, but at least I got a guffaw from a lot of you.

Here is our premise for today's work with Light and Laughter: Humor and lightness are gifts of God's Love. Our ability to laugh in the midst of challenging circumstances and have a light touch on life are indicators of how much we are living into and from this Love.

Let me say that again, because it's pretty good! Humor and lightness are gifts of God's Love. Our ability to laugh in the midst of challenging circumstances and have a light touch on life are indicators of how much we are living into and from this Love.

And the plan for today is to shine Light and Laughter in places that could use a big dose of God's Love. Are you up for that? Excellent. Let's begin.

LET THE LIGHT SHINE

There is a line from a song written by Leonard Cohen: "Ring the bells that still can ring; forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."a

I would make one slight, but significant, adjustment to those lyrics were I writing them, and that adjustment will be reflected in a story - a true story this time - that speaks to the meaning of these lyrics and the power of light, lightness and laughter.

It's a story of a young man who had cancer in his leg and ultimately the only thing to be done to save his life was to amputate the leg.

This was extremely difficult for him to handle. He was young, fit, athletic and now with only one leg. He went through a deep dark night of the soul, but while he was in the physical rehab facility, they also offered him emotional rehab and one thing that helped him was art therapy.

Of the drawings he created early in his therapy one was of a flower vase with a great crack in it. That was how he saw himself. Flawed, damaged, cracked. No good to anyone. No use anymore.

Do you know anyone who has ever felt that way? You may not have lost a limb, but you may have felt flawed, damaged, cracked, no good to anyone, no use at all.

That is how this young man felt, but he persevered in his physical and emotional healing and made great strides in both.

Years after his healings, he returned to the place where he recovered, going there as a compassionate friend to help and support those who were going through what he had gone through.

He was drawn into the room of a young woman who also had had cancer, and to save her life, she had had a double mastectomy.

When he went into her room, her face was turned to the wall and even without a word or gesture from her, he could feel the heaviness and despair coming from the young woman.

There was no acknowledgement that she heard anyone enter her room although surely she did. He spoke to her, tried to connect with her; but she was not available. She wouldn't talk; wouldn't respond in any way to him. She just laid there with her face turned toward the wall.

Suddenly he had an idea and decided to take a risk. He turned on the radio in her room, turned up the volume, took off his prosthetic leg, stood on one foot and started to dance. She slowly turned to him to see what in the world was going on, eyed him suspiciously for a few moments and then said,

"Well, I suppose if you can dance, then I can sing." And that she did, which was the beginning of her road to recovery, both physically and emotionally and, of course, you know where this story goes - down the aisle to the altar where they were married some time later. And that's a sweet end to the story, but it's not the real point of it.

The real point is that on the same day as his visit to his future wife, he also visited the therapist who had helped him through his dark night of the soul, and he looked through some drawings he had left behind.

Among them, he saw the one with the cracked vase, the one that symbolized his brokenness and uselessness. In that moment, he realized that the drawing was incomplete.

So he grabbed a yellow marker and started to draw bright streaks of light coming through the crack, because he saw clearly that without the crack, he never would have become the man he was that day.b

"Ring the bells that still can ring; forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." My revision to that quote would be: "that's how the light gets out!"

And when we realize there is the light inside in the first place, planted there in everyone - EVERYONE -- by the Love of the Divine, that is when we can lighten up about life.

When we can let go of having to have perfect offerings, and rather know that we are perfect in God's Love, then we can bring Light, Lightness and Laughter to our world.

Modern fiction writer Jodi Picoult once said: "There's always going to be bad stuff out there. But here's the amazing thing light trumps darkness, every time. You can stick a candle into the dark, but you can't stick the dark into the light."c

Have you ever been in a place where it's very, very dark and you light one candle, one little candle, and it brings light to an entire dark room? The same is true with one thought of God's Love. It is like a candle in a dark place in our lives. One thought of God's Love can bring light and lightness to a circumstance we are troubled by. One thought of God's Love can bring lightness and light to our troubled cells causing them to relax and remember the Pattern of Perfection that lives at their core. One thought of God's Love can bring lightness and light to our energetic vibration causing us to attract, rather than repel, the good that Life has to offer us. Whenever we are experiencing any dark at all, we can light a candle in our lives with one thought of God's Love.

Our Master Teacher Jesus said "Ye are the light of the world."d Do you believe this? If you are the light, are you not the light -- full and complete and bright right here and now, exactly as you are, even if there is a perceived crack or two?

In his book, Homesick for Heaven, Walter Starcke wrote: "'I am the light of the world' and ever will be and, if you accept this teaching, you will shine as the noonday sun in which there is no darkness at all. 'I am the light' will not permit questions of why or wherefore. It accepts itself as the full radiance of the risen sun. 'I am the light' seeks not for light, health, wealth, success, progress, but knows, That which I am seeking, I am. . . . Sing within yourself, morning, noon and night, "I am the life, the truth, the light." Let a song of joy and grateful recognition surge through your being and know that the divine being is your only being. This being is all-inclusive life, love, substance, law and reality. 'Ye are the light of the world.' As you rest in this consciousness, you will no longer find it necessary to overcome evil, destroy error, battle mortal mind. In and as the light, the darkness vanishes."e

So, say with me, "I am the light." Again. Again.

In and as the light, the darkness vanishes. In a few moments we are going to bring some of that light to a place of darkness. But before that, a little bit more on God's Love in the form of a Lightning Bug. Yes, you heard me correctly, Lightning Bugs.

The Story of Lightning Bugs

What is the deal with Lightning bugs? Here is this rather ordinary looking flying insect, but wait ... it has a glow-in-the-dark rear end! What was God thinking?

Science surely has all kinds of explanations about how this fluorescent fanny is useful for mating and other stuff. But what if, when God was creating all the animals and everything around us, She came up with the idea of the Lightning Bug simply because She knew that we would love it!

We know that God loves us enough to create all the things we need to survive, but could it be that He loves us so much He created some things just for us to enjoy?

Perhaps Lightning Bugs have a purpose after all. They are a reminder of a creative God who loves us so much He'd even light up the rear end of a bug ... just to see us smile....

And then remember this Note from the Universe, otherwise known as a Message from God to You:

"No matter what your faith is, or is not, no matter where in the world you are, I want you to know, even as you hear these words, I'm with you. Behind the eyes of every child, and in the melody of every song. I'm the glimmer in the ice crystals, the rays in the sun, and the stars at night. And with each smile you see, every hug you receive and every laugh you hear, I'll be there, reaching out through another, with blessing and good wishes...... And all of this because I love you, because I've always loved you, and because I always will. And because this has been true, and will be true, every day of your life." And so it is.



aLeonard Cohen
bas told by Heather Martin
cJodi Picoult
dMatthew 5:14
eWalter Starcke (sharing thoughts from Joel Goldsmith) Pg 10



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