The Trip to Bethlehem – Week 2

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

Donations are still coming in from Giving Tuesday. We are getting closer and closer to our goal of $10,000. We are less than $2,500 away. This is a living example of what happens when you set an intention and get the energy behind it. Thank you for the wonderful thoughts and energy you have put forth for our success.

As you read this, we are just two weeks from Christmas. My prayer for you is to not overdue and stress yourself out so you miss the joy of the season. It is a time for nurturing relationships and less about the outer fixings.

Sunday’s message has some important points to pay attention to. We are on “The Trip to Bethlehem.” It is from a book written by Unity author Hypathia Hasbrouck. She says, “The trip to Bethlehem is a round trip during which Mary and Joseph undergo a profound change. They leave Nazareth as a couple and, because the Child is born while they are away, they return as a family. A newborn child is almost always the center of attention and the factor which transforms a couple into a family…the Christmas story is archetypal, for it illustrates the inner rebirth process through which the higher Self emerges… and transforms the individual.”

She reminds us that the journey is about first going inward “to an invisible point beyond space or time where we become aware that God is the all-providing substance, life, and intelligence… and then back to our world ready to express our whole nature in daily life.”

If this sounds familiar it is because this is what our mission is, which is “to reach in to reach out.” It’s classic Unity, by the way: We take the inner journey through prayer and meditation and then turn outward to put those inner revelations into practice in our world. We call that “Practical Christianity,” and it’s the cornerstone of what the co-founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, thought and what they taught.

There is a lot packed into this message. You can look at each element of the Christmas story as it symbolizes something that can or does exist within you. This is a story of surrendering to faith and using your power of imagination to begin to realize a new reality that is available based on the omnipotence and omnipresence of God.

Surrender to faith represents the inner journey we must make in our thoughts and feelings to honor that which is Divinely ordained within us.

We are all filled with the potential to live as Christ or to remain in our outer world of materialism. If we choose to birth the Christ, then we will find ourselves giving “GLORY TO GOD” for our new life.

Join me next week as we continue our journey!

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

The Trip to Bethlehem – Week 1

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

What a day we had yesterday… GIVING TUESDAY… thank you to all who contributed to our mission for this community. We are still tabulating but as of this writing, we have received $6185.00. We are only $3,815 away from our goal. If you didn’t have the opportunity to give and want to now, we can reach the $10,000 by December 15. To give you can go to our website and click the donate button and designate Giving Tuesday, mail in a check with Giving Tuesday on the memo line, or you can give on Sunday with a special donation. Once again THANK YOU!

Take a moment and use your power of imagination and visualize a backpack. You will need this for the next three weeks as we take a “Trip to Bethlehem” which is the title of the book I am using for the Christmas Advent series.

Here are the essentials we will need in the backpack. A good understanding of the traditional Christmas story. A good understanding of mysticism and metaphysics. Then an understanding of the difference between facts and Truth and lastly, we must remember to pack faith and prayer.

So, what do we know about the Christmas story? It is only documented in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The Gospels of Mark and John do not even mention the birth. Now Matthew was written some 50 years after the death of Jesus and Luke 90 years later. Based on that how accurate do you think their accounts are. Remember everything was conveyed orally. Then you add in the later years when Christians created traditions of their own.

So why do we celebrate Christmas and the birth… Hypatia Hasbrouck the author says, “Each year, the traditional Christmas story stirs all of us because the Christ Child represents the higher Self, the true Self, of everyone. We know at some time we are destined to take the mystical trip to our own inner Bethlehem, the birthplace of our own higher Self.”

What about mysticism and metaphysical? Mysticism in Unity means one-on-one connection with Spirit or the practice of the presence of God. On the metaphysical level, the story invites us on a mystical journey within where we can find both our full humanity and full divinity. When the one-on-one connection is all we seek.

So how much of the story is fact? More importantly, how much is Truth, with a capital “T?” Each of the Gospel accounts almost certainly is incomplete. But blended together, along with the additions and traditions that have been incorporated since then, the two form a story that points to the Truth.

Check out some of the facts and Truths… like how many shepherds were there… and why is Christmas is December 25th…listen to this week’s audio file to hear the rest of the story…

This Truth becomes a guide for transformation, a spiritual map for our trip to Bethlehem. We must take this map with us on our journey, or we risk losing our way.

Medieval monk Angelius Silesius, who lived from 1624-1677, reminded us of this opportunity when he wrote, “Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, if he is not born in thee, thy soul is still forlorn.”

That’s the bottom line: If the Christ consciousness is not reborn in us at this time of year, we miss the entire meaning of Christmas. I invite you to continue our journey to Bethlehem throughout this season of Advent with me.

Our Adventure next week addresses this question: “Where Are We Going?” We’ll continue the journey inward as we consider the metaphysical meaning of the theme, the time, the place, the people – and yes, even the animals in this story. See you next Sunday.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

Gratitude & Thanksgiving Prayers

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

As you receive this on the eve of Thanksgiving, many hands will be busy peeling, cutting, baking and preparing to welcome family and friends for dinner tomorrow. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

This past Saturday and Sunday, this is what was happening at Unity Center for Spiritual Growth. With the able hands of Ingrid Avery and Dee Capoldo in our kitchen, along with many other helpers, we enjoyed an awesome Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. I don’t have a final count; however, I believe over 65 people were served.

Serving lunch on Sundays is one way we fulfill our mission of creating community. It is here that folks get to know one another and share their spiritual walk. I am so grateful for our folks in the kitchen and if you want to play with a great group join their team.

The service on Sunday was outside the box for me and the community. It was the close of the Season for Inter-spiritual/Intercultural Celebration and, to highlight this, we had gratitude prayers from the major religions, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American and Christianity. You can read them here.

At our last community meeting, there was a request to have a service where we had an extended period of “sharing the good news” so this Sunday was the perfect service to do that… the gratitude prayers were interspersed with sharing from our friends in the service.

Join me and others this Saturday as we transform the sanctuary into an old-fashioned Christmas. The time is 9:30 a.m., and I am told there will be an atmosphere of festivities, with hot chocolate and hot cider along with Christmas cookies. Come and get into the spirit of Christmas.

Advent begins on Sunday, and as we celebrate each Sunday, we will be taking a “Trip to Bethlehem” based on a book written by Unity author Hypathia Hasbrouck. The basic assumption of the book is that the traditional Christmas story is based on the fact that Jesus actually lived. In Unity, we believe there was such a person, and that he did, indeed, walk this earth.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey