|UNITY OF VANCOUVER
3814 FRANKLIN ST. VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON 98660 360-696-0996
Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
February 13, 2022
All Rights Reserved
This is our time to be with God. It is our time to feel that energy that is always with us. There is, within each of us, the ability to center our thoughts and feelings in peace so that we are not moved by outer conflicts. When you find yourself inwardly upset about something, immediately turn to the center of peace within and declare your faith in God to set things right. At the beginning of every day, it is good to condition our minds, our hearts, and our lives to abide in the peace of God. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you."
Peace isn’t something we have to struggle for. It is God's gift to us. Our Divine duty is to receive the peace of God and extend it into all of life. Every day brings the opportunity to make our individual contribution to peace by keeping serene within and affirming God's guidance in the world. Let’s do that now in the silence of prayer. Those whose hearts and lives are ruled by the peace of God are the Peacemakers whom Jesus called blessed and Sons of God. When we recognize ourselves as children of God, made in God’s image and God’s likeness, we act as God acts in restoring peace. God is always working for peace. As we become channels through which the peace of God flows to bless people and conditions, we are abundantly blessed in return. Now, in this moment of silence, I invite you to become a channel of God's peace. Let's rest in the silence of God.
Peace comes as we trust God and rest in God’s Presence. Sometimes we can only find peace when we cease whatever it is we are doing and take time to be still in prayer. Once we break the cycle of frenzied activity that all too often encircles us, we begin to see our lives in a new perspective and attain the peace we seek. When we reach a time of stillness in prayer, the peace of God envelopes us to renew and harmonize every part of our lives. Peace is an all-encompassing spiritual commodity that we can’t afford to be without. It embraces the body, soothes shattered nerves, penetrates the mind and the heart, builds trust and calmness, and puts us in complete harmony with God. It takes control of the emotions and helps us to overcome all thoughts that irritate us or make us unloving. Inner peace equips us to deal with the fears, anxieties, and frustrations of life.
The surest way to have peace is to trust God completely, knowing that God is in control of everything that God creates. Once we put ourselves in God's hands, releasing every single detail of our lives to God’s wise and loving management, the result for us is peace. Solutions to our problems come. Serenity is the evidence of mental trust. It is the outward and visible sign that a person's analysis of self is in good hands. We have nothing to be anxious about. Spiritual trust, knowing that the ultimate and eternal purposes of life--the beginnings and the ends--are dependable. This penetrates your mind and your emotions and your body with a peace that passes understanding. You are a peacemaker. The peacemakers are those whose thoughts; motives and acts tend toward making peace within themselves and in the world. In the Bible it states, "And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who made peace.” Through the power of the spoken word, affirm: “God’s love calms my emotions, bringing me peace and security.” Affirm: “God's love calms the emotions of the world, bringing it peace and security.” God's love is like a soft, warm blanket over the entire world. The planet is feeling God's gentle power and every person acts from that love. In Jesus Christ's name we pray. Amen
1 Corinthians 13:13: "So faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." The person who desires happiness, peace and the fullness of life must learn how to express love toward all if they are to be successful in attaining their desire. The only way that we can truly benefit from the tremendous spiritual power of love is to express it. A large percentage of a human's physical ills are due to mental strain. This condition has at its conception the absence of love, which is a state of fear.
I want to begin with a story about my friend Reverend Bill Fischer. When Bill was in Ministerial School in 1952, he was in a class about love. They were told to love everyone unconditionally. May Rowland was the Director of Silent Unity at that time, and she was also teaching the class. She told the class that if anyone had a problem with loving anyone to come see her.
Well, Bill Fischer went to see her and said, "There is one person in my Ministerial class that I can’t stand. There is nothing about him that I like." May Rowland said, "Go back and look again. Find something that you like and come back to see me when you do." Well, Bill spent the next week and a half trying to find something about him that he liked. When he returned to May’s office he said, "I've really looked and there’s absolutely nothing.” May said, "Well, Bill take another week and look harder! Look over every detail of his life until you do find one thing you like." When Bill came back the following week May looked him in the eye and said, "Okay, what do you like?" Bill said, "Well, May, I like the tie he’s wearing today." May said, “Ok, now, go, immediately and tell him that you like his tie." So, Bill went and told the man, "I really love your tie." In that moment, the man loosened his tie, took it off and gave it to Bill. Bill loved to tell this story because they became close friends and remained so for the rest of their lives. That moment was the beginning of a powerful friendship. May later wrote this about love. “More often than we realize, the lack of love in our lives is simply the lack of expressed love. A person may feel ever so kindly toward people but close themselves in by not venturing to express any of their good feeling. The desire for love is frequently the need to express love toward others.”
A brother and sister were arguing, like siblings sometimes do, over the last piece of pie. Each wanted it and the brother had control of the knife. About that time, mom walked into the room. She said, "I don't care who cuts the pie but whoever does must give the other the right to select the first piece.” So, the little boy cut the pie into two equal pieces.
I want to share another story. A man newly arrived in Heaven told St. Peter how grateful he was to be in such a glorious place. He asked St. Peter to give him a glimpse into Hades so that he would appreciate his good fortune even more. St. Peter agreed to this and poof, they were in Hades. The man saw a table extending as far as the eye could see, laden with delicious varieties of food but everyone around the table was starving to death. He asked St. Peter for an explanation who said, "Everyone here is required to take food from the table only with 4-foot-long spoons. The spoons are so long that no one can put the food from the table into his mouth and therefore each one is dying of starvation."
Quickly they returned to Heaven and poof, the new arrival saw an identical long table, laden with delicious foods. Everyone gathered here around the table was happy and well-fed. He asked St. Peter, "What do they use to take food from the table?" St. Peter answered, "Only 4-foot-long spoons." At that point, the new arrival said, "I don’t understand. Why are those down in Hades starving to death while those up here in Heaven are well fed and happy?" Whereupon St. Peter replied, "In Heaven we feed each other."
Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you that ye love one another." (John 13:34).
Church Tradition tells us that when the Apostle John was very old and bidding farewell to his congregation, he reminded them to continue to love one another when he was gone. They said, "If this is our last time together, please give us a new teaching and a new Commandment." John replied, "Brethren, I write no new Commandment but give you the Commandment which you’ve had from the beginning, that you should love one another.” (I John 2:7 & 3:11).
James Dillet Freeman was the Director of Silent Unity for many years. He is regarded as Unity’s Master poet. He wrote this about love. “To love is to find happiness in making others happy. It is to appreciate the importance of others and to help them appreciate their own importance. Love is the power that links the lonely islands of men's souls, beaten by icy separating seas of ignorance and fear and circumstance. We all have a debt to love one another. This is just as much an obligation as any we incur in an outer way.”
1 John 4:17 says, "Herein is our love is made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in the world." Let's break that down. “Our love is made perfect.” It is from God. But we must “have boldness in the day of judgment.” Well, what is boldness? Well, if “the love is already with us”, then the struggle would be to express that love and to bring our light into all the dark corners of our world and to always let love shine no matter what is going on outside of us. When is the day of judgment? Today and every day is our personal day of judgment. When we go to bed each night, we’re going to have to answer the question to ourselves, "How loving was I today? Is there any way that I could have been more loving?"
Rabbi Julius Gordon once said, "Love is not blind--it sees more, not less. Because it sees more, it is willing to see less. Love may not make the world go around, but it sure makes the trip worthwhile.”
Love is the emotional oxygen that keeps humanity alive. Love is a process not a product. It requires constant practice to develop a loving attitude and a loving behavior. Psychologist, Frances Manley said, "Love is trust, caring, honesty, friendship, respect, loyalty commitment, responsibility, reliability and faithfulness."
Let's talk about relationship love for a moment. We often ask, "What is the difference between romance, true love and infatuation?"
Romance can happen very quickly. Love, true love develops more slowly. It begins as friendship, and it grows into love as the partners come to know and appreciate each other.
Infatuation is different. It involves falling in love with your own creation; what you need (or hope) the other person to be, rather than the reality of who and what that person really is.
Author Eric Butterworth says when learning to love we must begin with ourselves. “Perhaps, there is no other way to be truly loving than to express love through self-love. Take a moment to reflect on this: You cannot give love to anyone, and no one can give love to you. You can be loving, which will create an environment in which others may find it easy to radiate and express love and thus be loving to you. Love is not a commodity to give but a process through which you touch and express your own deeper nature.”
True love is giving each other space to grow spiritually. We don’t manufacture love. Like God, love is. All the love in the universe is basically Divine love.
We must be willing and ready to express Divine love in order to have it show forth in our world. We must be wise enough to circulate it freely as we do our money. We must 'spend' our love to increase the amount of love in circulation.
J. Sig Paulson said, "If love had been lived as often as it has been defined, Earth would now be Heaven."
There's a poem by Lee Hunt called "Abou Ben Adhem" that tells the tale of a good man who awoke one night one saw an Angel writing in a Golden BoBen Adhem inquired, “What are you writing?” The Angel replied, "The names of those who love the Lord." "Is mine one?" he asked. "No," said the Angel. "Then write me in as one who loves his fellow man." The Angel complied and vanished. The next night the Angel returned and showed Ben Adhem the names of those that God's love had blest and lo, his name led the rest. We love God only to the degree that we express love unconditionally in our life. Love is the most powerful force in the universe.
Consider this beautiful true story of what can happen when we love others as God loves us.
Doug Meland was a mid-century, philosopher, translator of the Wycliffe Bible and missionary who moved with his wife into a village of Brazil's Fulnio Indians. When they first arrived, they simply called him "the white man." The term wasn’t a compliment since other white men had exploited them, burned their homes, and robbed them of their lands. As time passed the Melands learned the Fulnio language and offered medical help to them. The people began calling Doug "the respectable white man." When the Melands' began adopting the customs of the Fulnio people, they gave them greater acceptance and spoke of Doug as "the white Indian." Then one day, Doug stooped to wash the dirty, blood caked foot of an injured Fulnio boy. He overheard one shocked by-stander say to another, "Whoever heard of a white man washing an Indian's foot? Certainly, this man is from God!" From that day on, when Doug went into an Indian home, they would announce, "Here comes the man God sent us.”
There is a newspaper for Missionaries called "The South African Pioneer." Missionary life is a hard life. Here is what they said to Missionaries a while back. They paraphrased 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13:
“If I have the language perfectly and speak like a native, and have not God's love for them, I am nothing. If I have diplomas and degrees and know all the up-to-date methods and have not God's touch of understanding love, I am nothing. If I am able to argue successfully against the strange religious rituals of the people and make fools of them and have not God's wooing note, I am nothing. If I have all faith and great ideals and magnificent plans and not God's love that serves and gives and desires to do more and prays, I am nothing.
If I give my clothes and money to them and have not God's love for them, I am nothing. If I surrender all prospects, leave home and friends, make the sacrifices of a missionary career, and turn sour and selfish amid the daily annoyances & slights of missionary life and have not the love that yields its rights, its leisure, and its pet plans, I am nothing. Virtue has ceased to go out of me. If I can heal all manner of sickness and disease but wound hearts and hurt feelings for want of God's love that is kind, I am nothing. If I can write articles or publish books that win applause but fail to transcribe the Word of the Christ into the language of His love, I am nothing.”
At the end of the day, as we're lying-in bed, we must ask ourselves "How loving was I today?"
We might have done a lot of great things in the outer. We might have published books and accomplished great deeds. But the question is: "How loving was I?" If we weren't loving enough, the day was nothing.
Does love make the world go around? The answer is Yes. Your world, joined with my world and with the worlds of many other willing, loving individuals will create an Earth that moves toward Heaven.
I’m closing by paraphrasing Paul. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, I reasoned as a child. But when it became my turn to carry the torch of love’s message, I put an end to my childish ways. For once I gazed through the dark mirror dimly. But in loving, I am given the chance to see face to face what I once only knew in part. In loving, I may know God & you in full and be fully known.”
I love you! God Bless You!
What do you think?
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