LOVE – BURNING BOWL CEREMONY
This is the third Sunday in Advent. So this week we center on Love. The affirmation is: "I am divine love in expression."
So what is Love? It says in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6:
"Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth."a
Then it says in Mark 12:30-31: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than this.b
Charles Fillmore writes in Metaphysical Bible Dictionary:
"Love is a divine attribute; it is an idea in the one Mind. God is love."c
So let's do today's affirmation. "I am divine love in expression"
And now, we are going to celebrate in a Unity way - celebrating in advance your most amazing 2019, where you experience Christ Consciousness and all that that brings with it in higher and deeper ways.
So let's look at creating some positive spiritual thoughts with our Burning Bowl service. This is a wonderful ritual of release, where we let go of old patterns, old attitudes that no longer serve us and replace them with positive, uplifting ones that free us. And we do this by saying good-bye to the year, 2018 and embracing and welcoming 2019. James Thurber said, "Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness."d Awareness is the key. And we do that by staying present. The present holds the power of now.
Today is about letting go of those burdens that we are carrying around with us. One of Charles Fillmore's most powerful teachings is that, "We must do a mental house cleaning." So we are going to clear out any thoughts or beliefs that are no longer serving us. Some of those things may be Negative thoughts - thoughts about ourselves or others that are not for our highest good.
For instance: unforgiveness, prejudice, hate, illness, disease, guilt, fear, or addictions
Now think about how these things have affected you throughout the years. How long have you been carrying them? That is what we are here to rid ourselves of today. In doing so, I invite you to let go and let God; to trust that you are being supported and strengthened in God's love. It says in Ezekiel, "A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you."e
So just get comfortable where you are sitting. Have a pen or pencil and the paper with the fire on it available. Relax and feel the pew supporting your body, the way God's love supports you.
Father, Mother, God let us accept responsibility for our lives, for our thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions. Help us to now use our will to choose what we will take with us into the New Year and what we will release. We now turn over to Spirit, our negative thoughts, fears, beliefs and anything else keeping us from our good. Through the power of the Christ, we now release and let it all go. We give thanks and bless this ritual that we are about to perform
Now move your focus down to the area of your heart, and visualize a pure white-golden light glowing there, becoming brighter and brighter - radiating outward. You are becoming a being of pure light and love - pure Spirit - feel yourself floating upward and over the countryside - a summer meadow, green and lush.
You see a child playing down there, sitting in a field of daises. As you gaze lovingly at the child, you realize it is your inner child, that little being that lives within you.
There is a beautiful sack beside the child, and you know it is your sack of life. Inside the sack are all of the things you have learned along the way. Ask your inner child to open the sack and see if there are any thoughts, hurts, or experiences that are left in the sack from childhood that no longer serve your inner child. Ask the child if he or she is willing to pull the things from the sack and release them to love. Assure your inner child that the sack will be much lighter when they are able to release the things that bring hurt to your heart ... habits that you developed during this stage that are not useful to you now.
Your child says yes. Gently take the things from her or him and release them in a bubble of pure light as you write them on your paper...
Now, your child turns and hands the sack to a youth leaning against a big beautiful oak tree, watching the bubbles of a dancing brook... The sack has grown larger throughout the years of living, of learning, of experiencing. You realize this youth is your inner adolescent, and you ask him or her to open the sack and remove any hurts or habits from that stage in your life that are blocking your highest good. Let your inner self gently place these memories into a bubble of light and place them into the brook to be washed away as you write them down
Now your adolescent carries your sack to where you are, standing on a mountain where you have full view of all the experiences of your life. The sack has again grown much larger.
Invite your higher self to take hold of the sack and open it. Are there any hurts... fears... attitudes... beliefs... feelings of shame or guilt... unhealthy habits... that are left in the sack from any stage of your life that you are willing now to release? Assure yourself that the load will be much lighter when people and old hurts are forgiven, when habits are let go, when attitudes and beliefs are transformed, when fears are brought into the light.
As your Inner Self shuffles through the bag, you notice a white bird land beside you. This bird is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Whole Spirit of God. You bring out the hurts and fears and feelings and release them to the white bird, to carry them to the light as you write them on the paper.
Let the spirit of God work in you. Know that it is not by might, nor by power, but by spirit, active in you, that transformation happens. Give yourself a silent blessing for being open and receptive enough to become aware of that which is in need of transformation. It says in Psalms, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me."f
Now silently, meditatively, please come forward row by row, to the flame, representing the cleansing action of fire. Touch your paper to the flame to start it burning, and then place it in the bowl.
As you release the paper, release from your mind everything that you've written on that paper, knowing that the Living Spirit of Truth is healing and transforming everything right now. Say to yourself something like, "This is no longer a part of my life. The forgiving love of God in the Truth of Jesus Christ now makes me free." Then silently come back to your seat, and remain in quiet meditation until everyone is finished.
In a few minutes, we're going to experience a meditation to visualize the good you wish to see manifest in your life over the next twelve months - to visualize how your heaven on earth would look.
There are two things that keep us from being in heaven - first that we don't believe it's possible, and second, that we don't think we deserve it. This meditation will be a step in overcoming that. For a few minutes, you need to let go of all belief in limitations of time, money, ability, situation, whatever you think is keeping your good from you. You're going to write a letter to God, but dated December 31, 2019. In it, you're going to thank God for all the wonderful experiences you've had the past year - not the year 2018, which you've just completed; but the year 2019, which lies before you.
I've heard it said that thanking someone for something they've done is politeness, but thanking God for something in advance is faith. Jesus said, "So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."g So that's what we're going to do right now. We are going to put emotion into our belief.
Before we start our meditation, please take the paper that says "Dear God..." and have a pencil or pen ready. After the meditation, we'll take a few minutes to write the letter.
In the letter, you will affirm what you want to experience as if it has already happened; that it's in your life now; not that it will come about or that you're going to do or have something. God works in the now. And if you're affirming something very specific, be sure to include a loophole for Spirit. Write "this or something better, thank you God," so that you're not putting any limitations on your good.
So, I invite you to close your eyes now, take a few deep breaths, let yourself relax, and return to that quiet, inner place of peace. Rest there, held in the beauty and comfort of the love that you are. In this peaceful place, take a moment to appreciate all that you have given and all that you have received in the past year, the year 2018. Thank yourself for the steps you have taken and the lessons you have learned. Recognize the healing you've accepted and the growth you have allowed. Let this gratitude fill your heart.
Picture yourself back on the mountain. Before you is a gateway, the gateway to your future, fresh and open, full of promise and opportunity. Behind you is everything you've experienced, everything that has happened to you in life, which has brought you to this moment, December 31, 2019. Step through the gateway and greet the new year, 2020, with open arms and a clear heart.
Begin to reflect on the past year in a positive and joy-filled way, seeing the pages of the months turning slowly. Allow the ideas and thoughts of a renewed consciousness to come into your mind. See yourself in the positive, loving light of the One Presence, knowing that your emotional, physical, and spiritual health are unfolding into the wholeness of the Christ-perfection right now...
Imagine your life December, 2019 brightly shining with love and blessing, laughter and joy, purpose, peace and grace. Know that this is God's will for you. Believe the scriptures when they say, "for God all things are possible."h
Remember that you are the co-creator of your life - remove all limits and know that the Kingdom of Heaven is now. Imagine your home, the harmony of your relationships, perfect health, a rewarding, fulfilling job, all the time you need, abundance in all areas of your life. Choose to let the Christ see and speak and hear and feel and act through you. This is heaven and it is your choice to live in it. Know that in Truth, you are prosperity, you are love and wisdom. You are guided in right ways, and you are Unlimited.
And now, as Spirit moves you, and remaining in a silent, meditative state, open your eyes and write your letter to God, dated December 31, 2019, thanking Spirit for all the blessings you have received throughout the year, 2019. Affirm the good that you have received for your life, your church, and your world. When you have finished, fold your letter, take it home, and put it away until the end of 2019. Say silently to yourself, "Thank you, God, that this is now so." (write letters)
It is in releasing the old and accepting and giving thanks for the new that true freedom is ours. In the words of Jesus: "Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me."
I look forward to another year full of joyful surprises from Spirit. I see for each one of you, prosperity in all areas of your lives; and my vision for you is for many blessings, may 2019 be the year when all of your inner dreams manifest in the outer realm. God bless you and have a Merry Christmas.
a1 Corinthians 13:4-6
cCharles Fillmore Metaphysical Bible Dictionary