The Light of Strength: The Power of Stability, Courage, and Tenacity

Mary Reed

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

It has been a very eventful week. Mary Reed, “modern mystic,” came on Wednesday evening and her presentation was very enlightening. On Saturday was the Peace Literacy training for teachers and others who were interested. Kim Cowperthwaite – with the support of Pam Mills and me – did a wonderful job in getting a lot of information out in a two-hour period. The support for doing more was unanimous, so another training will be scheduled soon
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Our community lost a matriarch on Friday night with the passing of Louise Flynt. Louise had been a Licensed Unity Teacher for several years and many reading this probably took the Quest class with her. She was so loving and so loved. We will miss her dearly. As soon as arrangements have been completed for her Celebration of Life service, you will be informed.

I want to take the opportunity to recognize a few people who do behind-the-scenes work to keep our ministry thriving, and they can easily go unnoticed. The bulletin board that has the sign-up sheets on it is decorated each season by Cindy Hildreth. Our plants are watered and the chair backs in the sanctuary stocked weekly by Hilary Hayes. The lawn mowing and other landscaping is shared by Bill Taylor and John Michael Roods. Wendy Thomas puts together and regularly updates our calendar of peace/nonviolence events. Starr Stevens is an on-call person when a special project is needed. A hearty thanks to all these star volunteers.

Talking about eventful weeks… were you caught up in the drama that was playing out on the national stage with the Supreme Court nominee? The topic of this week’s message was perfect timing for what was needed: The Light of Strength.

Divine Audacity is the book being used as a basis for Sunday messages, and the Light of Strength has the powers of stability, courage and tenacity. This describes strength from the book: Spiritual strength is our capacity to stand undaunted in the midst of shifting circumstances, to act courageously, and to stay the course.

We are being called into a place of holding the tension, a place of stability, courage and tenacity, as things shift in our culture.

We are not the first generation to have to do this. Historians tell us that every generation in human history has its share of challenges and shifting circumstances. Although we may be inclined to say “It’s all in divine order” or “I don’t want to talk about anything that is negative” (trust me I know this is tempting) – it is not enough, and it is not the time.

We know the call to action comes from within. We often fail to distinguish between inner messages from ego versus those from our Higher Self. Our ego wants us to play it safe… don’t get involved…  or it wants us to attack those we think of as our enemies. Our higher-self calls us to action. It tells us to engage with whatever challenges are present because it is ours to do.

I share two very important messages that exemplify spiritual strength. One is from Marianne Williamson and the other is the story behind the story of Colin Kaepernick. To hear both, listen to this week’s Sunday message.

In closing, there is much we can do, and we have much to offer. Let’s step out of our comfort zones and call forth our inner powers of Love, Compassion, Strength, and Wisdom. Let us engage from these qualities to bring Love into the process at every level in every way possible. Now is our time.

Let us also hear the words of Abraham Lincoln: Let’s have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.

Our duty is to get out and vote and make sure others do the same.

Join me next Sunday as we continue with the series Divine Audacity. The talk title is The Light of Order: The Power of Organization, Adjustment, and Evolution.

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

 

Teachings for Better Decision-Making

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

“The Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount are Jesus’ blueprint for peace. I urge everyone to study John Dear’s beautiful reflections and join his campaign of peace and nonviolence.” — Jimmy Carter

Fr. John Dear

Fr. John Dear

On March 18, Fr. John Dear will be our guest speaker and workshop presenter as part of our Season for Nonviolence. He will be sharing from his book, The Beatitudes of Peace. John Dear affirms that the God of peace is alive and at work among us, calling us to be his sons and daughters who work for true, lasting peace.

Elaine M. Bourne

Elaine M. Bourne

This coming Sunday, we are blessed to have Elaine Bourne as our guest speaker; she is one of the daughters that John is referring to. Elaine is a good friend of mine and the Director of the Community Mediation Services Program of Volunteers of America, Northern New England, a state-wide program designed to Transform Conflict and Preserve Relationships. She is an experienced mediator, facilitator and conflict resolution trainer. Don’t miss her message and workshop, Listening is an Act of Love. No coincidence that this is coming just ahead of Valentine’s Day.

On Sunday the message was taken from the Bhagavad Gita. The 700-plus verses that Krishna taught Arjuna on the battlefield that makes up the Bhagavad Gita is looked upon as the “manual of life.” Today it is used by many organizations for better management and is even included in the syllabus of some business schools.

Here are some of the lessons that Lord Krishna taught to Arjuna:

“Think with a calm mind: Undoubtedly, O Arjuna, the mind is restless and difficult to restrain, but it is subdued by any constant vigorous spiritual practice — such as meditation — with perseverance, and by detachment, O Arjuna.” (6.35)

“Our mind should be our friend: our mind is our enemy if we do not know how to control it. The first step to gain control on any situation is developing a clear, calm and collected mind.”

“Give up on results: You have control over doing your respective duty only, but no control or claim over the results. The fruits of work should not be your motive, and you should never be inactive.” (2.47)

“Doing our work sincerely and removing the expectations or attachment to results will make our life peaceful. Most of our decisions get affected because we wonder about their outcomes and consequences.”

“Treat everyone equally: A person is considered superior who is impartial towards companions, friends, enemies, neutrals, arbiters, haters, relatives, saints, and sinners.” (6.09)

“But that’s exactly what Lord Krishna says, treat everyone with the same lens of impartiality.”

Here are the rest:

• Be ready for change
• Act with conviction
• Say no to feelings of uncertainty
• Set high standards
• Achieving perfection
• Everything happens for a reason
• Trust your conscience

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

Kindness: Gotcha

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

While I was getting ready to leave on a recent Sunday, a woman who had been at the Course in Miracles (ACIM) group told me something that was music to my ears. She said, “This is a really happening place. I came here several years ago, and it wasn’t like this.” It is a happening place — and almost every Sunday after service a program or meeting is taking place. This past Sunday in Unity Hall there were groups of people visiting at different tables and at one table there were four folks playing cards.

This Sunday will be no different. After the service, per usual, the ACIM group will be meeting. We will also have the workshop “The Courage to Forgive,” facilitated by Rev. Amy Cousins. This workshop will invite you to have the courage to take the idea of forgiveness and change it into the action of forgiveness. Rev. Amy is a skilled facilitator and is passionate about supporting people to be their highest self. Also, you will have the opportunity to learn about becoming a part of the Prayer Partner Ministry. If you are interested, Team Leader Barbara Kowalska will be available to talk with you and answer questions.

Do you know what the side effects of kindness are? We know it feels good to be kind, and kindness is one of the most important ingredients for us to possess if we are to live a spiritually transformed life.

Mother Theresa said, “Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier.”

I found the 5 Beneficial Side Effects of Kindness on a website by David Hamilton Jr.,Ph.D. Here they are:

1. Kindness makes us happier.
2. Kindness gives us healthier hearts.
3. Kindness slows aging (this is my favorite).
4. Kindness makes for better relationships.
5. Kindness is contagious.

To hear the expanded side effects, listen to Sunday’s talk.

If you were at the Burning Bowl Service, you’ll remember I invited you to log at least 5 acts of kindness you either extended or received daily each night. I am again extending that invitation; knowing of all the health benefits, why wouldn’t you want to extend kindness and stay healthy!!!

This Sunday, join me for “Prayer: the Ultimate Lifestyle.”

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

White Stone Ceremony

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

I know that we Mainers are tough and many of you proved it on Sunday by showing up when the temperature was well below zero. As I drove down River Road on my way to the 8 a.m. service my car thermometer was registering -24… yikes… but you all showed up!

What may have motivated you was the service which is always the first Sunday of the new year, the White Stone Ceremony. I love this service because it is a reminder that we have a clean slate in which to create our life… it represents freedom.

This is a quote from John Selby’s book, Seven Masters, One Path: “We can’t hold one thing tightly in our grasp, and at the same time reach out and take something new. We must let go of and put aside what we are grasping, in order to be able to receive something that we want or need much more. All spiritual and psychological growth requires a letting go of a limited belief in order to open up and receive a more expansive belief — or even better, a direct experience of reality that makes all beliefs unnecessary.”

The Burning Bowl ceremony we do on New Year’s Eve and this ceremony set us up to release and then receive or take in the wonders of life.

This ceremony evolved from the book of Revelation 2:17. It reads, “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”

The source of the white stone is from the time of Jesus. When a prisoner was released he was given a white stone to symbolize his freedom and to prove that he had been let go from prison. As long as he had his white stone, he was assured his freedom. It is a symbol of overcoming adversity or an external challenge. And when we overcome there is a shift in consciousness — we grow, we change, and our lives become richer. We become blessed and nourished by new things. A new name is written on it — our experiences of life will be changed because of our new intentions and our new thoughts and beliefs — our shift in consciousness.

If you were not present on Sunday, you can pick up a white stone this Sunday and find your new name.

Listen; listen to what your Spirit is telling you to write on your white stone. What are you hearing or feeling or knowing? What are your intentions? What if Spirit was writing on your white stone? What is it that Spirit will write? Ask, right now. Ask what would be the most helpful name, or what would be the most helpful word to take into this New Year?

Once you receive your word keep this stone as a reminder of this moment and your choice to be free. God bless you and have a new year of renewal and freedom.

Before I end I want to bring to your attention to the Heart-Based Meditation workshop on Thursday evening from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., facilitated by Dr. Paul and Sandra Dugliss. They are returning by popular demand. I look forward to seeing you there.

The following Tuesday evening, the Women Empowering Women group will go in a new direction using the material in the book Traveling with the Turtle. This is an opportunity to deepen your spiritual life and to live a nonviolent life. It will meet the third Tuesday of the month from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. for 13 months. Please join me and others who are on the journey traveling with the turtle.

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

Let’s Get Real About… Personal Transformation

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey.

The reviews are coming in on our awesome Kitchen Team and the fabulous meal that was prepared for us on Sunday. The food was delicious, there was a plethora of pies and the tables were decorated beautifully. It was truly a time of thanksgiving. I looked around the room and the tables were full (Maria told me that 63 meals were served) and the buzz of conversation was electric. Our kitchen team under Maria Lundy’s leadership goes above and beyond each week. They embody our core values of loving, accepting and welcoming.

I’d like to give a shout out to Todd Glacy as well for the wonderful concert he gave on Friday evening: Todd, you are a class act and we are blessed to have you in our midst!

As November is gratitude month, I would be remiss without mentioning our Children’s Ministry under the leadership of Leah Rush. Thank you to that team of dedicated teachers (of which there are openings) who create an energy of love and welcoming each week for our little friends. They share what they learned when they come back into the service and it is always aligned with Unity’s teaching. The lesson is subtly embedded in whatever fun activity they are engaged in — it is a win-win for the children. A high five to Leah and her team.

Without our dedicated volunteers we wouldn’t be able to do what we do at Unity of Greater Portland. THANK YOU to all of you!

This past Sunday ended the series on “Getting Real.” We looked at getting real about personal transformation. We want to experience transformation; however, many of us want it without having to change. In reality, though, change is going to be occurring whether you want it or not. This is probably a phrase you have heard and maybe have even said yourself: “Change is inevitable; growth is optional.”

There are two things certain in life and it is not “death and taxes,” as many of us learned; it is “change and God,” and God is changeless.

Read from Ernest Holmes, founder of Science of Mind, in A New Design for Living:

“We are all living in a world of continual change, a world in which thought, things, and experiences are all in a constant state of flux. It is the very nature of the universe that there should be continual change and variation. It is a living world, the creation of a living creative Intelligence, not a static world. But behind that which changes, behind that which causes the change, we have found that there is something stable and changeless. Something eternal upon which all of the external events depend for their very existence. Behind the endless process of change and the infinite variety of experience and expression there is That which does not change.”

Unity writer Martha Smock wrote in the Unity pamphlet Listen to the Christ:

“In Christ you are calmed and quieted; you rest in His presence and feel strengthened and upheld. Remember that though things change, God is changeless, enduring. God’s love is eternal.”

So, yes, change is inevitable, but behind it there is a solid foundation, which can lead us to the second part of our theme phrase: growth is optional. Again from Dr. Holmes: “Nature will not let us stay in any one place too long. She will let us stay just long enough to gather the experience necessary to the unfolding and advancement of the soul. This is a wise provision, for should we stay here too long, we would become too set, too rigid, too inflexible. Nature demands the change in order that we may advance. When the change comes, we should welcome it with a smile on the lips and a song in the heart.”

And let us remember: In any change, whatever the magnitude of it is, when one door is shut, another opens. When a door closes, and locks shut, we have an opportunity, with the Spirit of God within us, to find an open door. There always is one. When we have patience, faith, and love to look for the open door, we will always find it – and that is where personal transformation occurs.

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