UNITY OF VANCOUVER
“The Heart of Unity”
Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
July 28, 2013
All Rights Reserved
The Heart of Unity
Today’s lesson is called the Heart of the Unity. If someone asked you, “What is UNITY?”, what would you say? What is Unity to you? It isn’t an easy question to answer because Unity is different things to different people. For some Unity is a church. Others identify more with our Silent Unity Prayer Ministry.
According to its founders, Charles & Myrtle Fillmore, Unity’s primary focus is to serve humanity as a Spiritual Educational Movement based primarily on the 1st century teachings of Jesus Christ & the Bible. But 1 of the wonderful things about Unity is that it isn’t restrictive or exclusive to just those teachings.
Unity honors all Masters, recognizes many sources of Truth & embraces all mystical teachings. Charles Fillmore said, “Unity is a link in the great educational movement inaugurated by Jesus Christ. Our objective is to discern the truth in Christianity & prove it in our own lives. The truth we teach is not new; neither do we claim special revelations or discovery of new religious principles. Our purpose is to help & teach humanity to use & prove the eternal truth taught by the Master.”
We all have things in our lives that we would like to change for the better. But if we need to change something ‘out there,’ Unity teaches that the change always begins within ourselves. The Unity teachings are only life transforming if you live them. As Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
You may have the impression that Unity teaches many things. In reality, Unity teaches 5 basic ideas but we teach them in many different ways.
1. Everything begins with our concept of God, which is: God is absolute good, everywhere present.
2. Human beings have a spark of divinity within them-the Christ within. Their very essence is of God & therefore they are also inherently good. God is individualized within us as the Christ of our being, the Essence of our being. (Essence & Ego)
3. Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought. All activity in this universe, the playing out of this principle of God as absolute good, is done according to the Law of Mind Action which is, “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.” Thoughts are things.
4. Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection to God Mind, & therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity & everything good. Prayer is the connecting link between our mind & the mind of God within us.
5. Knowing & understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, is not enough. A person must also live the Truth that he or she knows. We have to practice what we preach.
These are the 5 basic beliefs that make up the Unity belief system. Everything we teach can be boiled down to these 5 basic ideas & the starting place with everything in Unity is our concept of God. Everything we do in the world & everything we express is a reflection of our understanding of God so we need to get clear on this first. What concept of God did you grow up with? What is your concept of God today? Is your concept of God evolving as you evolve?
Many people grow up with a limited understanding of God & concept of a God made in the image & likeness of humankind. However, Genesis 1:26 says “Let us make man in our image & after our likeness.” You & I are made in the image & likeness of God, which is love. Humankind reverses this & says, “God is good, BUT God is also wrathful, unloving & angry if you don’t do the right thing. We make God in our image & likeness by projecting human traits onto God. We say things like, “God will get you if you don’t shape up.” As humanity evolves our concept of God evolves too. Unity’s foundation statement reflects Jesus’ new concept of God. “There is only 1 presence & 1 power in the universe, God the good omnipotent.”
The idea of a God of good & the idea of our oneness with God & all life is found in the Old Testament. The foundation statement of Judaism is Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is 1 Lord; & you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart & with all your soul & with all your might.” Jesus was a Jew. His Bible was the Jewish Bible, our Old Testament. In the Gospel of Matthew 22:36 Jesus is asked, “Which is the greatest commandment?” He answers, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart & with all your soul & with all your mind.” He then quotes Leviticus 19:18: & the 2nd is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
2. The 2nd point is that this God of good is individualized within you & me as the essence of our being, as the Christ of our being. I didn’t hear anything like that when I was growing up. Children born into positive spiritual teachings like Unity’s are blessed by having these concepts presented to them at an early age. Most of us have had to work our way out of an old, limited concept of God. Unity Minister & Author, Eric Butterworth said, “Truth & finding truth in a sense is really unlearning error thinking. It’s not so much learning new ideas, but unlearning error thinking & upgrading some of the old concepts.”
The idea that God is individualized within us means that God is right here within each of us. We are never separated from God. When we think we’re separate from goodness, which is God that becomes reflected in our lives as a lack or problem. In his Letter to the Colossians, Paul refers to “The mystery hidden for ages & generations.” What is that mystery? “Christ in you, your hope of glory.” When he said this, Paul was combating the teachings of the Greek Mystery Schools & Temple Priests who said that they possessed divine secrets only initiates could know. Paul is saying, “God has a secret too, but it’s an open secret available to everyone.” What’s the best kept secret hidden from ages & generations? “The Christ in you, your hope of glory.” Has it really been hidden from us? Yes, but we hid it from ourselves. According to an ancient story the Gods decided hide the Divinity of Humankind because humankind had abused its power. They considered burying man’s divinity deep in the earth but someone said, “Humankind is pretty ingenious. They’ll find a way to dig down there & discover it.” They considered taking it to the highest mountaintop but someone said, “No they will climb to the top & find it.” Someone suggested hiding it in the ocean but someone else said humankind would find a way down there too. Finally they said, “Let’s place humankind’s divinity in the last place they would ever think to look—deep down within themselves.”
3. Point 3 is the Law of Mind/Action. “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he or she.” This is from the King James Bible, Proverbs 23:7. You won’t find it translated this way in more modern translations of the Bible. What we think, we become. “Thoughts held in mind produce in the outer after their kind.” People don’t always want to hear about the Law of Mind Action. Why? Because many people don’t want to take responsibility for what happens in their lives. When I discovered this idea & realized that I could actually do something about my conditions & said, “Thank God for the Law of Mind Action.” The saying is “As he thinketh in his heart…” Heart identifies & relates thought with the emotional, feeling nature. We don’t make changes just by changing intellectual thoughts or ideas. We have to put feeling into them. Feeling gets them into the heart, the Biblical term for the subconscious mind. When you feel an idea, when it becomes a picture pattern in your subconscious mind, it is automatically expressed in your world. John 16:15 says “All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine & declare it to you.” This can be interpreted as: “whatever power Jesus had, you also have.” John 14:12 says: “The things that I do, even greater things shall you do.” Have you ever stopped to think about that statement? This statement speaks to our inner potential, which is the Christ within us. We bring it forth according to the Law of Mind Action: “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind. So in mind so in manifestation.
4. The 4th idea is Unity’s concept of Prayer. Many people agree prayer is a good thing but what is all-important is the way in which you pray. When you pray, is there a sense of separation involved in your prayers? Do you pray to a God out there? Praying, “Oh God, help me,” sets up a sense of separation. Unity teaches affirmative prayer & praying in the awareness that God is doing whatever it is you want & need God to do for you right now. Affirming, “God is helping me now & bringing to me through me that which I need to meet this situation.” Always put your prayer in the present tense. ”My good is now being drawn forth from within me.” “The activity of God is bringing to me that which I need to do & express right at this very moment.”
Affirmative prayer isn’t asking God to start doing something for us; it’s affirming God is doing something through us right now. Prayer as Jesus taught is aligning our thought with the Mind of God. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God & everything else will be added unto you.” Put yourself in tune with the flow of Divine Mind & it will guide you to your good.
5. The 5th idea is ‘practicing what we preach.’ Decide what you believe & act on those beliefs. In John 13:17 Jesus said, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” In Luke 11:28 Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God & keep it! In James 1:22 the writer said, “Be doers of the word & not hearers only.” James 2:17 says, “For faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” We have to put our faith into action. Do these 5 things by living these ideas & bring a greater measure of the abundant life that you deserve & are entitled to as the child of God that you truly are into manifestation in your life.
© Unity of Vancouver, 2004 All Rights Reserved.