GOD DOESN'T PLAY DICE WITH THE UNIVERSE
WHAT WE WANT TO LEARN & PRACTICE This is the last Sunday of September and the last Sunday of the Faculty of Order. What we want to learn and practice this week is to align ourselves with the harmony, rhythm, and the order of the Universe. We see ourselves and all our relationships as expressing the Divine Order of things. We agree with the statement of Albert Einstein, "God doesn't play dice with the Universe."a
SACRED EVOLUTION - PRACTICING CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
The sacred evolution is practicing continuous improvement. Today, organizations and businesses work with the practice of "continuous improvement." Innovators, inventors, new ideas, change for the better, and "making waves" to provide better service are applauded and rewarded by the highly successful companies. They don't practice the old protective and lazy attitude - "We've always done it this way." "Making Waves" is an 'in' thing!
We as individuals also do not pour "new wine into old wineskins." We think, work, worship, learn, relate, and live in new paradigms. Teillard De Chardin wrote, "Nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see. On the contrary, everything is sacred."b
GOD'S “PLAN” FOR US
So what is God's "plan" for us. Some religions believe in "predestination." They believe that "It is written" or "kismet." The more all-powerful God is conceived to be, the more they believe God rules and totally controls everyone and everything.
So we need to understand that God is not "powerful" or "wise" or "loving." God is One Presence, One Power. Our divine destiny is always to know our oneness within God. Our good (God) is always within us, seeking to express more fully in, through, and as us. However, we have "free will" and can ignore, postpone, or choose to co-operate with our good. The plan is for us to express our divine potential, but we choose the timing or degree ourselves. So, there is a kind of "predestination," but it is only to have us learn about and express our divine potential for continuous improvement and service.
WHAT LIES BEHIND US AND WHAT LIES BEFORE US ARE TINY MATTERS COMPARED TO WHAT LIES WITHIN US
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."c Here is an exercise that has the ability to re-order, re-prioritize, and re-form your life dramatically and deeply. It takes some courage to face this imagery exercise. Stephen Covey gives it to us:d
Just close your eyes. Now picture in your mind's eye going to the funeral of a loved one. You walk in and hear the soft music. You see faces of friends and family, all gathered to pay tribute and respects to the person who has passed on. You walk to the casket at the front of the room, and suddenly, you are face to face with yourself. These people have come to honor you, to appreciate you. You sit down and hear four people speak:
1. One person representing your family comes forward. What would you want this person to say about your life in your family? What difference have you made on a family level?
2. Another person comes forward who is a friend. What would you want this person to say about you as a friend? What difference have you made in your friends' lives?
3. Then someone from your work or profession comes forward. What would you want this person to say about your professional life? What difference have you made in the world?
4. And last, a person from your church comes up to speak. What would you want this person to say about your spiritual life? What difference have you made in the spiritual community?
OK, open your eyes - literally and figuratively. This purely internal experience can help us see what we want to have succeeded in, achieved, contributed to, and have as our contribution and legacy. We now have the opportunity to create that more fully and completely. The time to do it is now.
WHO I AM MAKES A DIFFERENCE
And the place we start is in telling ourselves "Who I am makes a difference." We enter a different order and realm of self-appreciation and honoring our relationships when we know that each of us is valuable, important, and uniquely sacred.
A true story is told of how a teacher, Helice Bridges, gave her graduating seniors a blue ribbon imprinted with gold letters, "Who I Am Makes a Difference." She tells this story: One young man gave an extra ribbon to a junior executive who had helped him with career planning. The junior executive gave it to his boss, and the boss took a ribbon home to his teenage son, with whom he had been out of communication for some time. The son had become depressed and desperate because he thought his busy, gruff Dad didn't care about him. The son had planned to kill himself, but now told his father that he wouldn't do that.
Each of us is a valuable and significant person. This is not a matter of ego or pridefulness. It is the truth. Let us know that in the scheme of things, everyone counts!
I have a put a gift for each of you in your program. I would like to thank you and honor you for who you are and what you do in the world. Will you accept this? Because who you are makes a difference.
Wear this ribbon or carry it with you to remind you to think good thoughts about yourself and others as often as you can. If you can't, take the ribbon off, turn it upside-down, and then you can say whatever you want to. Once you have gotten your upset off your chest, think of the good things in your life and display your ribbon once again.
I've given you three ribbons so that you can pass them on and encourage that person to pass them on.
If you would like an actual ribbon, go to blueribbons.org. They will send you ten for free.
In (Matthew 10:5-25) Jesus sent the 12 disciples out with the following instructions: - and I will paraphrase them.
"Go to the lost sheep and as you go, proclaim the good news, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Cure those sick at heart and raise those dead to life. You received without payment; give without payment. Find out who is worthy, and greet them.
"See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."e
I would like for you, when you leave here today, to find someone to acknowledge and cheer them on for their dreams. Go through the steps of presenting them with a ribbon, and then give them one to present to someone else.
We may never know the effect that we had on another person's life - with this one simple gesture.
bTeillard De Chardin
cOliver Wendell Holmes