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Sunday Message for July 23, 2017


Our theme for this month is inspired by the heat of the summer and how we keep cool during it. I've said each week that our response to the physical heat could be a powerful metaphor for how we handle life when it heats up. Each week, we have explored different ways to keep our spiritual cool when the heat is on!

Today begins a 2-parter based on Wally Amos' engaging book entitled The Watermelon Credo. In that book, he set forth a Credo for living, which we will explore this week and next.a

This Credo provides more ingredients for keeping our cool when the heat is on just like a cold slice of watermelon certainly cools us off on a hot summer's day! And there just may be some cool watermelon in our fellowship hall after service today to put an exclamation point on our time together!

So, who knows who Wally Amos is? Yes, of course, Famous Amos of Famous Amos Cookies, some of the best store-bought chocolate cookies ever from a recipe Wally got from his aunt and then tweaked!

Without going into his vast history, and it is vast, let's suffice it to say that he didn't always have such an easy time of it. He found himself with the heat on him many times throughout his life. Growing up in the segregated south in the 40s and 50s, being raised by a single mother after his parents divorced when he was young, as well as business and financial failures as an adult, one of which lost him his name! Well, not quite his name, but his trademark.

Due to financial troubles, he was forced to sell the Famous Amos Cookie Company, and because the name "Famous Amos" was trademarked by that company, he could no longer use it!

But none of that dampened his indomitable spirit, and he went on to do some wonderful things in the world such as being an advocate for literacy and helping thousands of adults learn to read. In 1987, he hosted a television series designed to teach others how to read, entitled Learn to Read.

In addition, he wrote a number of inspirational books, including Watermelon Magic: Seeds of Wisdom, Slices of Life in which he uses things associated with watermelon, including the Watermelon Credo. So, what is the Watermelon Credo? It is an acronym out of the word "watermelon" to offer advice on facing life's challenges. Today we explore the "water" and next week the "melon."b Ready to dive right in?!


W - Whatever You Believe Creates Your Reality

Believe that life is a positive experience, and it will be. Believe it is difficult, hard and challenging, and it will be! Sounds like that came straight out of our Unity teachings, doesn't it?! Well, Truth is Truth no matter where it comes from and this is absolute Spiritual Truth.

So, if (or should we say when) we feel the heat is on in our life - and my guess is that there is at least someone here this morning who is feeling that right now -- where is the first place to start to cool things off? Hint - it's not out there!

Rather, it is within - within our own hearts and minds -- with this question: what are believing about ourselves, about life, about the situation, about others, about . . . (you fill in the blank for yourself)? It all starts with a thought.

Challenging times call for a new perspective. They call us to look at what our beliefs are and whether or not they are serving us. They call us, sometimes in an instant, to rethink how we are doing life and make a change right then and there.

I believe that Itzhak Perlman is one of the greatest violinists of all times. I find this story about him quite inspiring.

On Nov. 18, 1995, he came on stage to give a concert at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has locked braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches.

On this particular night, as always, he walked across the stage one step at a time, painfully, yet majestically, until he reached his chair. Then he sat down, slowly, put his crutches on the floor, undid the locks on the braces, tucked one foot back and extended the other foot forward.

Then he bent down and picked up the violin, put it under his chin, nodded to the conductor and began to play.

This performance began like every performance he gives. But, then something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap - it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do.

People who were there that night knew that he would have to lock his braces, pick up the crutches, get up and slowly find his way off stage - to either get another violin or another string for this one.

But he didn't do any of that. Instead, he closed his eyes. He paused. And with a deep breath, he signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he began to play from where he had left off. And he played with more passion and more power and more purity than he had ever played before.

Now, anyone who knows anything about playing the violin knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that.

Here's what a women who experienced this concert wrote:

"You could see him modulating, changing, recomposing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get sounds from them that they had never made before. When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done. He smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said, not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone:

'You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.'"

If you believe you still have music to make (and you do my friends, or you wouldn't still be here!), you can make it because whatever you believe creates your reality.


Let's move to the "A" in Watermelon. A - Attitude Is the Magic Word

Once again, straight out of our teachings. I'm guessing we will find that to be true throughout the entire Credo, what do you think?!

Again, your greatest asset is your attitude; in fact it is magic!

Did you know that statistically, more heart attacks occur on Mondays than any other day of the week?
Many of us have learned on Fridays to say, "TGIF --Thank God it's Friday."

What if we start this Monday with a different attitude? "TGIM! Thank God it's Monday --I have the chance to create a week out of an attitude of intention, out of design rather than default. This is not a repetition of a week I've ever known before, and I can open up to the magic that this Monday has in store for me!"
And how's this for a magical attitude. Surprisingly, it comes from a Willy 'N' Ethel comic strip:

Willy says to his wife: "We could've lost a freezer full of food when I accidentally unplugged the fridge. But instead, because it was totally empty, we lost nothing! We have to be the two luckiest people in the world!"

Heed this profound wisdom from Charles Fillmore in Talks on Truth: "Pronounce every experience good, and of God, and by that mental attitude you will call forth only the good. What seemed error will disappear, and only the good will remain. This is the law, and no one can break it. The Adversary always flees before the mind that is fixed on the pure, the just, and the upright."c

And with that magical attitude, let's move to the "T".


T - Together Everyone Achieves More

This Credo speaks to the power of synergy, which is defined as: "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

Otherwise, said as there are no limits to what we can accomplish together.

Have you heard of the Ten Tenors? They are ten relatively young men from Australia each one of whom is extraordinarily talented. Each one in his own right, a gifted, gifted singer.

But when they blend one voice with another and then another and then another, something quite magical occurs. The music they make is way more than 10x what one could make on his own. They are a perfect example of synergy and a perfect example of Together Everyone Achieves More!

Now, you know me and know that I am always inviting you to apply what we talk about here every Sunday to your own life, and I haven't done that yet. So, I want to pause for a brief moment, before we get to the "E" and the "R" of "water" and ask you to think about our Credo thus far and how each letter might apply to your life when the heat is on.

W - Whatever You Believe Creates Your Reality
A - Attitude Is the Magic Word
T - Together Everyone Achieves More

What can you take from these three ideas and use right now? Apply them right now to something going on in your life? Think about that for just a moment and then turn to someone and take 30 seconds or fewer to tell them one way - just one - you can use what we've discussed so far. [chime at 30 seconds and indicate they switch and then chime at 1 minute for the end.]

Come back to me and let's do our last two letters for today.


E - Enthusiasm Is the Wellspring Of Life

Amos writes: "There is no limit to what can be accomplished with enough enthusiasm."d

Goes along with Ernest Holmes in Words That Heal Today: "Enthusiasm is the most creative of all the imaginative faculties. There is something light, unobstructed, weightless about it."e

Or one of Charles Fillmore's most famous statements from the Unity Magazine: "I fairly sizzle with joy and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me."f

It's been said that: "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."

But you may say, "How in the world am I supposed to feel enthusiasm when I find myself in the heat of things? Am I supposed to say 'gee, I am so enthusiastic that things really suck right now!?'"

No, I am not suggesting that and neither is this Credo, but how about looking for something even in the midst of the heat for which you could feel some level of enthusiasm? And to do that, simply look for all that is going well in your life. When we are in the middle of the heat, we tend to think that is all there is, and we totally ignore, forget, discount the other 90% that is working perfectly fine.

If enthusiasm really is the wellspring of life, then use that idea to bring some life to you in the middle of the challenge by being enthusiastically grateful for something that IS working!

So right now, think of something that is totally working in your life. And if you can't think of a darn thing, let me suggest that your heart is beating perfectly or your lungs are breathing exactly as they should. Right? Use one of those if you really can't think of anything else. And now on the count of three, all together speak out with great enthusiasm "I am so happy and grateful that . . . ." Everyone at once. Blow my socks off, ok?? Here we go. 3 - 2 - 1 . . .

Wow, I'm sizzling with enthusiasm just hearing all of that.

Let us now explore the last letter for today. The letter "R", which stands for . . .


R - Respect Yourself As Well As Others

Respect - to consider worthy of high regard. We offer a sign of respect each time we say Namaste. "The God in me sees, greets and honors the God in you." Now that's high regard, yes?

Do you consider yourself worthy of high regard? Do you hold others in high regard? What do you suppose our world would look like if just this one Credo were followed? How would you feel about yourself? What do you suppose you could accomplish? Would we have as much domestic violence or drug abuse? Would we have debilitating political divisiveness like we are now experiencing? Would we have war? Would we have terrorism? For just a moment, think about a world where everyone respected themselves and everyone else. Get an image of that in your mind. What does that look like? Tell me. [Invite brief sharing.]

Wow. That's a pretty powerful image, isn't it?

So there we have the first five ideas to help us keep our cool when life heats up. I know it was a lot, so I suggest going back and listening to this a time or two again to embody the five ideas which are:

W - Whatever You Believe Creates Your Reality
A - Attitude Is The Magic Word
T - Together Everyone Achieves More
E - Enthusiasm Is the Wellspring Of Life
R - Respect Yourself As Well As Others

Each one of these, and certainly all of them combined, help us to remember to live from God to God, creating a world that works for everyone even when the heat is on!


aWally Amos The Watermelon Credo
bWally Amos Watermelon Magic: Seeds of Wisdom, Slices of Life
cCharles Fillmore Talks on Truth, p. 107
dWally Amos Watermelon Magic: Seeds of Wisdom, Slices of Life
eErnest Holmes Words That Heal Today, p. 149
fCharles Fillmore Unity Magazine, September 2000, p. 28

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