How do you connect with that vast infinite Presence that pulses through our Universe and beyond?
However you do it, I believe we are being challenged to step up and strengthen that connection with more intention than we may have ever practiced in our lives.
We are being asked to walk our talk—to Love with all our strength, all our hearts, all our minds, all our souls.
Many people in our culture like to begin a New Year with reflection, ceremony, and/or celebration. On Sunday we will be officially welcoming in the new year, and according to the “western” calendar that has been in place since 1582, that is basically the amount of time it takes the Earth to make one trip around the Sun.
This year that day falls on a Sunday. (The last time that happened was in 2006.) We will gather that day for 1 service at 11 AM, to open ourselves, to explore the ever-deeper ways we are being invited to practice our spirituality on this human path, and to celebrate the Presence always with us.
As I wish you a Happy New Year, I hope these words of Thich Nhat Hanh keep resonating through your being:
May we be at peace.
May we know the beauty of our own true nature.
May our hearts remain open.
May we be healed and
May we be instruments of healing for others.
All of us at Unity of Ft. Collins come to this holiday season with different backgrounds and varying holiday memories – some beautiful, others painful. Some of us will be surrounded by family and/or friends this year, others perhaps not. WHEREVER YOU ARE, we sincerely hope that you are able to join our Unity family in one of our celebrations.
On Christmas Eve, Santa will make an appearance at the 6 pm service and there will also be childcare available. The 8 pm service will not have childcare and will be more “grown-up” oriented.
Both services will include candle lighting; bringing light to darkness is a universal theme in all spiritual traditions. Among these traditions, our service will incorporate Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, the 7 chakras, and the Prayer of St Francis!
On Christmas Day, we will have a very informal gathering at 11 AM with carol singing, healing prayer, pancakes – and the really comfortable among us will be wearing our pajamas! So feel free to wear yours too.
James Dillot Freeman, Unity’s Poet Laureate, said:
“…The festival of wonder, Christmas above all celebrates imagination.
“And that is what I hope Christmas will always be, the celebration of imagination, with its power to warm our heart on a snowy day and sprinkle glitter on a dark one, to give us the good will to wish for a merry Christmas even when there might not be much to feel merry about, to give us the faith to believe that life is not humdrum existence, but is capable of holding and providing unbelievable wonder, and in the stable that is the human heart, to know God makes an appearance.”
“There are joys which long to be ours.”
— Henry Ward Beecher
Oh my dear friends,
These are such challenging times for so many! Our hearts are breaking with sorrow for the people of Syria, the people we know in our own community who are struggling with poverty and grief, the polarization in our nation, and the cries of our Mother Earth.
Our emotions are heightened, our senses are bombarded, and many of us are feeling fragile and vulnerable. And at the same time, there is a huge outpouring of Love and connection. And even joy!
How can this be? We live in the mystery of something that is both now and beyond time. We proclaim with songs and poetry and with our whole being: “Fear not! Peace on earth! Hope lives. Love is here. Love goes before us always. Love never ends. Somehow, some way, all manner of things will be well.”
“There are joys which long to be ours.”
May we be open to recognizing and welcoming those joys!
PS – This Sunday’s service is going to be very special, as several members of our congregation perform a radio play by JoEllen Fulton about the real spirit of Christmas. The Catalyst tells the story of a diverse group of people finding common ground together while celebrating their various holidays.
One of the most beautiful acts of healing I have ever seen happened a few days ago, and it was captured on video and can be seen on YouTube. A forgiveness ceremony was held in which military veterans who journeyed to Standing Rock apologized for the harm our country’s history has caused the First Nations. The ceremony was a historically symbolic gesture that acknowledged centuries of oppression against Natives.
The pictures of veterans kneeling down before indigenous elders as they begged forgiveness, and the incredible healing blessing given by Chief Leonard Crow Dog as he then called ALL of us to work for world peace, were powerful beyond measure.
To me, it was a visible glimpse into some of the miraculous things that are happening in these times. Even though we are surrounded with the chaotic energy of bad news and violent words and actions, MIRACLES ARE HAPPENING. We must look beyond the illusion that our problems are too big and overwhelming for us, and remember the incredible power of the Love that is even bigger!
“God” = LOVE. Wherever we are, LOVE is. And as Willa Cather says, “Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”
As we reflect on the power of Love this Sunday, we will be joined by the Tunitics and the band and Will Sherman on cello. We will celebrate our Unity and we will “radiate that Love to the world!”
Divine Love, through us, blesses and multiplies all that we are, give, and receive. Thank you, LOVE!!
We are all instruments in this symphony of life. I love St Francis of Assisi’s prayer: “Make me an instrument of (Your) peace.”
On this 2nd Sunday of Advent, we focus on Peace. How many centuries of humans inhabiting the earth have people longed for peace and yet continued to create war? Even elementary schools teach history through the lens of the wars that have been fought.
When will we learn that violence ALWAYS begets violence?! Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is not “making nice” and pretending to agree with each other about everything. It is not ignoring the pain and sorrow and struggles of life.
It is, however, being willing to look inside ourselves and to become aware of the places where we are creating violence within our own beings. It is our internal violence that manifests lack of peace around us, whether in words or bombs. Martin Prechtel says most violence is caused by unhealed grief.
May Unity of Fort Collins be a shining beacon of Hope and Peace in these challenging times. “Yes, there is peace on earth, and yes, it begins with us!”