(PALM SUNDAY) - WHERE THERE IS INJURY, LET ME SOW PARDON
If you have already been with us this month, you know that in the month of March, we are exploring and embodying the profoundly beautiful and timely prayer known as the Prayer of St. Francis.
As I have said in past weeks, whether we came from a Catholic background, a Jewish background, a Buddhist background or no religious background whatsoever, this prayer has a message for us -- a message that is particularly important for us especially at this time in the history of the evolution of humankind.
And so to make sure we are all on the same page, let me recite it -- but this week I am going to recite it with your help. You get to fill in the missing words -- I know you can:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy . . . [peace].
Where there is hatred, let me sow . . . [love];
Where there is injury, . . . [pardon].
Where there is doubt, . . . [faith].
Where there is despair, . . . [hope].
Where there is darkness, . . . [light].
Where there is sadness, . . . [joy].
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to . . . [console],
To be understood as to . . . [understand],
To be loved as to . . . [love].
For it is in giving that we . . . [receive];
It is in pardoning that we are . . . [pardoned];
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
Well done!! Remember, a copy of this prayer is available in the foyer if you would like to have one.
As we explore different lines in the poem each week, I have asked that we commit, truly commit, to being instruments of God's peace * love * pardon * faith * hope * light * joy not just this month -- but from this moment forward.
Today, we are going to look at being instruments of God's PARDON: Lord, where there is injury, let me sow pardon.
The words "injury" and "pardon" are used in ways different from what you might initially think. In fact, they are St. Francis' way of expressing his desire to heal the sick and bring recovery to the wounded.
St. Francis was a healer of the sick. His presence among the injured brought about miraculous cures that were inexplicable to the physicians of his time. He believed that being this healing presence was part of his purpose on earth.
In his book, There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, Wayne Dyer writes: "St. Francis is asking, in this line of the prayer, to unite himself so completely with Spirit that body and universal mind become one. He prays for the perfection of God's consciousness to permeate his body so he can convey this spiritual energy to those who appear to be less than whole."a
Joel Goldsmith once wrote: "The world is not in need of a new religion, nor is the world in need of a new philosophy. What the worlds needs is healing and regeneration. The world needs people who, through devotion to God, are so filled with the spirit that they can be instruments through which healing takes place."b
Maybe we are not destined to be Saints or Jesus (although who knows), but think about the possibility of opening yourself to an instrument of healing --- an instrument of healing for yourself and for others brought about by your deep connection to Spirit. Wow -- what a concept!
Wayne Dyer writes: "The closer you stay in harmonious bliss in your thoughts to God, the more you facilitate this one power of the universe in flowing energetically through you. Your thoughts and low energy patterns can activate an ulcer and so can they activate the flow of chi to remove that imbalance. The mind-body connection is real, but the God-body connection is the essence of all healing. To see yourself connected to the highest spiritual energy vibrations and to work at staying in that place is to see the underlying principle of healing at work."c
In her marvelous book, The Physician Within You, Dr. Glaydys McGarey relates a conversation she had once with her son Carl, who had just finished his internship and was specializing in orthopedic surgery. After he had told his mother of his fears about having people's lives in his hands, she said: "Carl, as a surgeon you may pull an incision together and suture it well, but you cannot make it heal. If you think you are the one who does the healing, you have a right to be scared. But if you understand that you are a channel through which healing moves, and that you are contacting the healing force within your patients, you have nothing to fear. You will have awakened the physician within them and sent them on their way to heal themselves."d
So how do we sow pardon where there is injury -- For ourselves and others? Well, a couple of ideas.
1. FIRST, USE YOUR THOUGHTS TO KEEP YOUR ENERGY ON HEALING RATHER THAN ON DISEASE.
It is pretty common to place energy on what is wrong and what you don't want. How many times have we said, or thought, things such as:
"This cold is going to get worse,"
"There is nothing you can do, it's flue season and it's going around,"
or on a more serious note:
"Diseases such as AIDS and cancer are incurable" OR
"Once you have arthritis, you just have to live with it and manage the pain."
These are all ideas that will help us manifest more of that which we do not want. What we think and say affects our physical well being and collectively the well being of humankind!
An article in the July 29, 2002, newspaper: "Optimism may lead to long life, study says." "Think positive; it could postpone death. The latest study confirms previous research and found an even greater impact. According to the findings, research subjects with positive perceptions of their aging processes lived an average 7-1/2 years longer than those with a negative self-perception."e
The 600 people studied were age 50 or older at the time of questioning in 1975 by Miami University researchers in Oxford, Ohio. They were asked a variety of questions, five of them relating to aging -- questions such as "As you get older, do you believe you are less useful?" AND "As you get older are things better, worse or the same as you thought they would be?"
More than two decades later, scientists analyzed the answers to those questions. Then they compared the answers with death records to see how long the subjects lived. The researchers controlled for factors such as overall health, age when surveyed, loneliness, gender and socio-economic status. Taking all this into account, it was statistically verified that people's perception of aging predicted the length of their lives.
How or why that worked is another matter. Researchers could not attribute it to a single psychological or biological mechanism.
That's because first it's a spiritual mechanism!! As the Bhagavad Gita says: "Curving back within myself, I create again and again."f
Regarding your physical wellbeing, here's a vitally important question: Can you afford the consequences of your thinking?
2. SECOND, REALIZE THAT THERE IS A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HEALTH AND PURPOSE
In her book, The Architecture of All Abundance, Lenedra Carroll suggests that when we feel we are serving our purpose for being here, the joyfulness that ensues provides an environment in the body in which a virus or bacteria cannot take hold.g
True, we are constantly bombarded by germs and pollutants, but they have specific wave frequencies. The vibration of joy creates a wave that acts as a shield, so that constant bombardment has no effect.
Grounding ourselves in the knowledge that we are here on purpose provides an anchor for bringing rhythm into our lives. This assists the body to go through our growth and changes gracefully.
Basic purpose of each one of us: To express God; to express Love. Secondarily -- how do we do that individually? What are the dreams of your heart? Listen to them! Feeling like you are on purpose and living your dreams are good for your health. And supporting and uplifting others as they live theirs, is good for theirs!
3. AND FINALLY, REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE!
As you seek to bring pardon to the presence of injury be aware that the presence of the injury is an indication of a belief in spiritual separation. Don't use this as an opportunity to feel guilty, or weak, but to remind yourself to shift away from your sense of being separate from Spirit. The moment that you use your mind to see yourself as connected to Spirit, you begin the process of revealing your spiritual perfection.
In How to Use the Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes wrote: "No healing can be permanent, no treatment, no matter how well-intentioned, is adequate unless the consciousness of the individual is awakened to the realization that the individual life is God manifesting as that life."h
He said over and over again: "An awareness of the Presence of God is the secret power of our work."i
Talk about "healing an illness" vs. "revealing the spiritual truth." In The Isaiah Effect, Gregg Braden writes: "The fundamental tenet of Essene healing is that we are already healed. Within each moment of our time in this world we make choices either affirming or denying the life that already exists in our bodies."j
Treat and demonstrate -- pray and manifest - there is no great or small. Go for the things that make life more congenial; enjoy and appreciate the things of beauty and comfort. But above all, continue to work for the Consciousness of Wholeness, of oneness -- work for the healing that lasts.
So, there are a few ideas on how you can be an instrument of God's pardon. How you can be a force for healing/revealing in this world:
1. Be mindful, ever so mindful, of your thoughts and words around illness and disease;
2. Get about being on purpose and uplift and support others as they get about theirs; and
3. ABOVE ALL, remember who you are and that there really is nothing to be healed -- only who you (and others) are to be REVEALED. And in just a few moments, we will have our traditional Palm Sunday Rose Blessing to remind you of who you are!
And I trust this week, and from this moment forward, you will take me up on these ideas, and not treat them like the old mountaineer treated his doctor's advice.
After a thorough examination, the doctor gave the old man instructions about what he should eat and how he should exercise. As the patient got up to leave, the doctor said "That will be $50." "What for?" asked the mountaineer. "For my advice," replied the doctor.
"Then I don't owe you nothing," said the mountaineer, "'cause I ain't gonna take any of it."
Take this advice, my friends, and be instruments of God's pardon. Namaste.
ROSE BLESSING CEREMONY
This Rose Blessing symbolizes, in ceremony, our recognition that the human is immersed in the Divine -- that we are all truly ONE in God and that we live in the all-embracing circle of Divine Love.
We recognize today that each one of you comes forth from God, that each of you is a Divine Creation, and that this Wholeness is the very being, the very life, the very essence of you. Truly you are made in God's image.
In a moment, Maxine and I will individually bless those who so desire, by dipping a rose in water.
The water symbolizes the flow of life, the flow of clarity and the flow of wisdom through you.
The rose, always a symbol of love, today symbolizes Divine wholeness from which you were born and which you are in mind, body and spirit.
Blessing for each congregant:
You are spiritually perfect, whole and complete
just the way you are.
May you live this day
Compassionate of heart
Clear in word
Gracious in awareness
Courageous in thought and
Generous in love.
Prayer of blessing for the entire congregation:
O gracious God, I ask that you bless Unity Church of Castro Valley and enlarge our border, and that your hand might be with us, and that you would keep us from hurt and harm.
I pray for the spiritual and emotional healing of this congregation. May your Spirit so fill us that we are able to forgive those who have hurt us and leave behind old quarrels. Inspire our hearts to new levels of love and trust so that we may become a living and visible example of your Love.
May all who worship with us find the peace, love, comfort, and strength that are ours as your beloved children.
aThere's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, Wayne Dyer
dThe Physician Within You, Dr. Glaydys McGarey
eJuly 29, 2002, newspaper
gThe Architecture of All Abundance, Lenedra Carroll
hErnest Holmes How to Use the Science of Mind, p. 149
jThe Isaiah Effect, Gregg Braden