BLESS TO BECOME
The concept of cause and effect is fundamental to the teachings of Unity and all New Thought teachings. During the month of April, we will reflect each week upon a state of consciousness that can be the invisible CAUSE to bring about the visible EFFECT we desire for ourselves and for our world. Remember, life does not happen TO us, it happens THROUGH us.
So that we are on the same page, what do I mean by a state of consciousness? I believe that consciousness is a combination of our thoughts, feelings, beliefs (known and unknown!), attitudes (known and unknown!), values (known and unknown!) and actions.
And the four states of consciousness we will explore this month are: Blessing - Trusting -- Feeling - and we already covered Surrendering.
I once read a book filled with advice on giving good sermons. One of the points said: "A really good sermon is similar to a really good sandwich in that it has two ends - a rich and robust bread -- and lots of juicy, succulent meat (or ripe, healthy veggies!) in the middle. However, unlike a really good sandwich, the two ends of a really good sermon should be as close together as possible."
I certainly do not always follow that counsel - but this week I will. I plan to make the talk juicy and ripe in the middle with the ends pretty darn close together because we have something very sacred to do together today - our traditional Palm Sunday Rose Blessing Ceremony.
I want my brief talk today to prepare the way for our blessing ceremony. Preparing the way is, of course, significant today, Palm Sunday, as it was Palm Sunday that prepared the way for Easter. It was the events on that day that prepared the way for the resurrection.
So this morning I'm going to prepare the way for our resurrection of consciousness, our expansion of life, our forward movement into a greater degree of livingness with a few words about BLESSING TO BECOME.
Blessing, which is our invisible cause - or state of consciousness -- to Become, which is the visible manifestation in the world. Blessing to Become - what does this mean, really?
Here's a statement to chew on: Each of us is in the process of becoming that which we already are. Although this statement may seem paradoxical, it contains a deep spiritual truth.
What are we really? Spiritually? We are expressions of God. What does that mean? Made in the image and likeness of God. What does that mean? We are LOVE, we are PEACE, we are JOY, we are WHOLENESS, we are ABUNDANCE, we are DYNAMIC, RADIANT VITALITY!
But, do we always express those things? Of course not. We often express FRUSTRATION and ANGER and WORRY and RESENTMENT and FEAR and JUDGMENT and PETTINESS and BLAME - blah, blah, blah!
I pose to you this morning that the very act of blessing - blessing that which you believe has caused you FRUSTRATION, that about which you are ANGRY, that over which you WORRY, that which you FEAR or RESENT, that which you JUDGE or BLAME, that for which you have had PETTY feelings -- the very act of blessing these outer things calls forth from you those inner Spiritual Truths.
When we bless a thing, a person, an event, a circumstance - particularly those things, events, persons or circumstances which are not showing up in the world like we think they should -- we call forth from within us the LOVE, PEACE, JOY, ABUNDANCE, WHOLENESS, DYNAMIC RADIANT VITALITY that we already are.
So, as we BLESS - particularly when we bless the difficult things -- we BECOME!
I want to be really clear here. It DOES NOT call us to a deeper level of LOVE, PEACE, WHOLENESS when we bless others and situations that we are happy with. I'm not saying not to do that, yes, do do that. Absolutely!
But I am saying, it is not enough! If we want to become that which we are meant to be, that which we already are, we must bless it all! The neat and the messy; the kind and the unkind; the good, the bad and the ugly as I like to say.
Perhaps your forgiveness has to do with a wound from past religious experiences you have had that needs to be healed or even with this church.
New Thought leader Emmet Fox once wrote in his discussion of the Lord's Prayer: "If our prayers are not being answered, check to see what needs to be forgiven."a
Remember - here's how you know if you have completely forgiven: The situation, person, event, experience can pass through your mind unharmed.
And as I already said, I believe there is no higher form of forgiveness than to BLESS. What better way to heal than to bless! And that is what we will do as part of our Rose Blessing ceremony in just a few moments. But for now check into your heart. What is there regarding religious experiences that can't pass through your mind unharmed.
In this and the next few moments, make a conscious decision to forgive. Yes, forgiveness is a choice, a conscious decision.
The daily devotional in the SOM Magazine from March 19, 2008, read:
"We are designed to learn from unforeseen circumstances, but we must do the work in consciousness. That work does not require effort, just clear intention, release and sometimes forgiveness. We are not defined by our previous experiences or by our current circumstances - we are defined by what is within us."b
"We are defined by what is within us." We bring that forth by blessing - which we will do in just a moment.
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.
This moment is a defining moment for each one of you. In this moment you publicly pledge to allow your Christ Light to shine.
In this public moment, yet within the privacy of your own hearts, I invite you now to commit to yourself and to God that you will no longer allow fear, doubt, resentment, unforgiveness or any other false beliefs of lack or limitation to control you.
From this moment forward, I invite you to commit to allowing God to express Itself fully and freely through you, by your choice to align yourself with the Divine Principles of peace, happiness and abundance.
Ernest Holmes wrote: "The Spirit within me makes all things new. Every negative thought or condition is now erased from my experience. I am aware of my union with Good. I am conscious of my oneness with Life. I expect more prosperity, more happiness, more harmony than ever before. I walk in the joy of ever-increasing good."c
In a moment, 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 the Divine Love that is always guiding you from within.
You are standing on the Holy Ground of Being. I bless the fullness and the wholeness of who you are.
I bless all the previous ministers and congregants of Unity of Castro Valley: You are standing on the Holy Ground of Being. I bless the fullness and the wholeness of who you are.
In your mind, bless each other - anyone in the church you have had an issue with. You are standing on the Holy Ground of Being. I bless the fullness and the wholeness of who you are.
Bless this church: Unity of Castro Valley is standing on the Holy Ground of Being. I bless the fullness and the wholeness of who this church is.
bSOM Magazine March 19, 2008, Rev. Dr. Linda McNamar (edited)
cErnest Holmes This Thing Called You, p. 67