Earth Day Celebration Service

I am a follower of Dewitt Jones. You may not know him but for years he was a photographer for National Geographic Magazine, author and film director and has a website called Celebrate What’s Right with the World. He posts some of his extraordinary photography along with a positive message. You probably picked that up just by his website title.

Many years ago, when we had a ministry in Virginia Beach, we had Dewitt come and he was wonderful. Now you are probably wondering where I am going with this and I am about to tell you. I want to celebrate what is right in the world of Unity Center for Spiritual Growth. This past Sunday we had the largest viewership to date. The reason for that is because you are sharing when watching our service. Keep up the good work!

I also want to celebrate the music Deana provided on Sunday. The comments from so many were to let us know how much you appreciated the selection of music as well as how much you appreciate Deana and her beautiful calm presence and soothing voice. These are just a few of the things that are right in our world. I invite you to take stock in your own life right now and celebrate what is right in your world.

Today is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Another thing to celebrate. On Sunday I dedicated the service to Earth Day. I applied Earth Care with our five basic principles.

1st Principle: “Oneness of All Creation” (One Presence & Power)
There is One Source of Life, absolutely good, all powerful, all knowing, All Spirit. Everywhere always in all Creation.

2nd Principle – “Being in Relationship” (Spark of divinity)
There is Absolute Awareness of perfect unity and relationship in every aspect of Creation. Human beings are conscious of this awareness.

3rd Principle – “Speaking Spirit to Spirit” (Law of Mind-Action)
All Creation emanates from One Source of Divine Mind. Thoughts held in mind reproduce in Kind.

4th Principle – “Befriending Silence” (Affirmative Prayer/the Silence)
Through affirmative prayer & meditation, separation from Creation is dissolved and Unity of Divine Mind is affirmed.

5th Principle – “The Flow of Life” (live the Truth we know)
Divine Mind transforms the Created World through each demonstration of Truth.

I did expand on each of these and you can hear that when you watch the service.

For the meditation I used an adapted version from Living in Balance: A Dynamic Approach for Creating Harmony and Wholeness in a Fragmented World by Joel & Michelle Levey.

I ended by a speech attributed to Chief Seattle in 1854:

The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land.

How can you buy or sell the sky, the land?

The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air or the spark of the water, then how can you buy them?

Every part of this Earth is sacred to my people; every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect.

All are holy in the memory and experience of my people. We know the sap that courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins.

We are a part of the Earth, and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle: these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and the man all belong to the same family.

“Will you teach your children what we have taught our children: that the Earth is our mother? What befalls the Earth, befalls all the sons of the Earth. This we know: The Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the Earth.

All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the Earth, he does to himself.

One thing we know: our God is also your God. The Earth is precious to him, and to harm the Earth is to heap contempt on its creator.

The complete message is in today’s video. You will hear the closing song that got so many comments. It is Colors of the Wind by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz for the Walt Disney movie Pocahontas.

In celebration of Earth Day and in the kick-off of our Season for the Earth, Anna Ritchie and I have been chatting about our gardens this year. Anna has a vision and here is an excerpt from her email to me:
”…but I’ve been meaning to email you to see if we could do the gardens and potentially expand to be ‘victory garden-ish.’ Gardens feel safer than grocery stores right now 😉 and planting seeds is a message of hope and journey for a future, which I think we can all use.”

If you are interested in hearing more about the project and how you might be able to help, let me know and I will then set up a Zoom call for us all to vision and plan for feeding our own and others.

Have a great week… find things to celebrate and know you are not alone; we are in this together.

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

The Power and Glory of Easter

Happy post Easter! At the beginning of this year I signed on to be part of a self-care group with other colleagues and so I decided not to schedule anything on Monday and Tuesday following Easter as my self-care days and it has been a wonderful sabbath for me.

I look forward to the time when we can look at this pandemic and speak of it as post-pandemic; however, we are not there yet. Where we are is staying home to stay safe and healthy. For the first few weeks, I felt totally unsettled and having little ability to focus. I was doing just what I needed to, and it took all my energy. I am slowly coming out of the fog and I am thinking that may be true for many of you as well.

Up until we started staying at home, writing this for Heart Thought was about recapturing the message on Sunday; however, now with us going live on Facebook and having the live video on our webpage I feel called to a different format. 

What seems most important is to connect and share how we are moving through each day and to ask you to do the same. Rev. LeRoy and I are spending our time together in the morning, as we have for 30 years, doing spiritual readings and meditating. We schedule a walk the days when the weather cooperates, and we do an afternoon Yoga Nidra for Relaxation meditation. It does just as it says, relaxes me. I, like you, often have a difficult time quieting my mind, but with this meditation my mind is quiet.

Rev. Airin Wolf Minister of Prayer

Rev. Airin Wolf
Minister of Prayer

I recently read something that Rev. Airin Wolf wrote to one of my colleagues and I asked him for permission to share it with you… I think you will see how important the Unity teachings are to his work. The title of the writing is “Chaplain Work During COVID-19.” He begins with this quote:

“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” ~ Og Mandino

At the hospital I work from 20-30+ hours a week depending on what my boss, Tia, needs. He calls me his ninja because he knows he can count on me to cover a shift, day or night. It is pretty intense, especially right now with COVID-19. Entire PT floors have been moved to a new location in the hospital and we have two new floors that just got completed in time that have intensive care capability. They are two state-of-the-art oncology floors but during COVID-19 one has become the temporary location of all the ICUs. Anyway, I could go on and on with all the changes. They are all measures to keep patients and employees safe.

So, for patient care, I use the Prayer for Protection that I have Christine print on a card for me. It gives so many people comfort, now more than ever, along with the prayer that Patricia Bass, (Interim CEO of Unity Worldwide Ministries) sent out. This one, staff members practically took it out of my hand and was in gratitude for it. I have titled it “for fear and anxiety.” I use my own prayers too, of course. The relationships that we have built with the staff as chaplains is paying off now in the COVID-19 castle areas of the hospital. It is negative pressure in the entire unit so it can’t spread to the rest of the hospital. It gets sucked outside.

When a COVID-19 patient dies and we are called there outside the room to say a prayer for the family who can’t be there, everyone stops what they are doing in the unit and pauses, even the doctors, and that usually never happens in normal hospital patient visits.

That’s all I have time to share for now. Maybe I needed to write about it, no coincidence. Thanks for listening.

Thank you, Rev. Airin, for the blessing you are to everyone in the hospital.

If you have an experience you would like to share with others, please send to me and we will get it out.

Speaking of getting information out to others, I would like to enroll your help. We are expanding our reach with Facebook Live and you can help us to broaden it to a greater extent. It is easy… when you join us live for any of our events, please click the Like button, Follow and Share. You can also do this when looking at any of the postings on our site… You are the Best!

Join me this Sunday, April 19, at 10 a.m. for our Earth Day message.

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

Palm Sunday Service

This Holy Week will go down in the annals of history as an anomaly… who would have ever dreamed that we would be experiencing the likes of what we are. That being said, I pray that you and your loved ones are healthy. So much is being written and spoken about COVID-19 that I feel exhausted and in overload, and I probably am not alone.

I want to thank everyone who has been joining us via live stream during the week. A shout out to Rev. Elizabeth for her dedication to the early morning prayer at 6:30 a.m. and supporting me in the Midday Faith Lift, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 12:10 p.m.… Deana for doing a Tuesday evening mini-concert at 7 p.m. …music is soothing to the soul… and Rev. LeRoy’s Wednesday evening meditation at 7:10 for his calming presence and message.

I have spoken with many of you and had Zoom calls as well. Please reach out to any of us if you would like to connect. We know this too shall pass but, in the meantime, you can be supported.

palm

Sunday was Palm Sunday, and the message I gave found Jesus in the garden at the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus in the evening after his ride into Jerusalem earlier in the day, reflecting on the experience. Although we cannot know what he was thinking, could it be it dawned into his consciousness what could be called the splitting of the atom, the great idea of the divinity of humankind, the awakening to the realization each person contained within them the individualized expression and experience of the divine?

He also could be thinking that in Jewish tradition, in his own background, was this recognition of the coming of the Messiah and the many prophetic utterances that led to this coming of the Messiah? He knew that the Messiah was not a person that would come, but a state of consciousness that would be awakened within all persons, each one individually. It could be at that moment he understood his role and thought, “I will accept the mantle of Messiahship; I will be the one to demonstrate the potential sonship of all persons.”

Most thought he came to tell of his own divinity, separating himself from the race and making him the great exception. They couldn’t seem to understand that his desire was to help people to know their own divinity; therefore, to show himself as the great example of what every person could do and be. And he said, “Remember all these things that I do, you can do too if you have faith.” If you understand this divine presence within yourself. That our goal is to discover the power within each person, this dynamic power of the Christ self.

During these extraordinary times we have the opportunity to be the example of the Christ in how we show up and respond to those we are interacting with daily and to all of humanity. 

You can watch the service live each Sunday morning at 10 a.m. by going either to Facebook or our home page.

My friend, be well, stay home and take more time for prayer and meditation. There is immense value in prayer, and this is a good reminder. This comes from one of my daily readings from Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood, which was written during WWII but is as relevant today…

”You have undertaken a homeric task, for the world and all in it are suffering from soul sickness; the air you breathe is full of it, of anxiety and pain, of hysteria and savagery; but those who can find safe haven in the spiritual awareness of their own godhood, awareness of the Spirit within them, not only stand near to the love of God but lift the race with them. Whenever you draw near to the secret place you do not go entirely alone, you take mankind with you. It is one way of serving your neighbor. It is never a selfish thing, for by the healing and renewing of your own spirit you send out light to all consciousness. This is as scientific as the fact that in the physical world you cannot lift your hand without vibrations caused by your gesture being felt throughout it. How infinitely more is felt the victories of the inner you, into what far reaches of darkness in another may your light shine without a spoken word!”

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

March 29 Sunday Service

This quote from Pema Chodron caught my attention: “…in trying to help others, we might come to realize that compassionate action involves working with ourselves as much as working with others.”

I am doing my best to remember this and sometimes I am better at it than at other times. I am finding it difficult to step back and just be. However, that is not totally true. Rev. LeRoy and I are taking extended spiritual time in the morning, which is welcomed and needed.

I saw a New York City ER doctor being interviewed this week and she said this: “It used to be when my shift was over I couldn’t wait to go home; now when I am home I want to be at the hospital.” I can identify with what she is saying; we just want to help alleviate the pain and suffering. Even if we are not infected with the coronavirus, we all are, energetically. Collectively we are all feeling the loss and grief. Jack Seery sent me a great article that was written by a member of the Harvard Review Board on the grief we are all experiencing. 

I look forward to Sunday morning when I get to go to the church and walk around and feel you there… where I have the privilege to use the amazing technology, we have to do a live service and be with Deana, Christine and Don. It brings to me a sense of normalcy.

This week was the second step of a six-step series called The Six Steps to Spiritual Maturity. The step is: I surrender my will to the power of the Christ within.

In the Unity book The Quest written by Richard and Mary Alice Jafolla, their definition of the Christ is: “Christ is God individualized in each of us. It is the name of the divinity within us. It is our pattern for perfections. ‘Christ’ is not the name of someone born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. The Christ is an aspect of God. It has existed since the beginning of time. It is the identification of our highest degree of spiritual potential. The ‘real’ you is your Christ self, your spirit.”

This step is aligned with Unity’s second principle that we each have the divine spark within us. We are individualized expressions of God. We have the same Christ Spirit within us that Jesus had and we are all inherently good.

So how do I apply this principle in my life? We apply this principle when we recognize the divine in each person we encounter. But even more important is the knowing that the divine is also in me. This brings me back to the quote I opened with… we might come to realize that compassionate action involves working with ourselves. Not only do I express love, kindness and goodness to you, but I do to myself as well.

KEEP GOING

Strong people can feel weak
And brave people can feel afraid
And light people can feel dark

Lost people can be found and
Hopeless people can be healed

Keep going
Keep going

Keep going

It is never too late
To turn things around…

Nakedwriting …Sunday Paper reflection

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday so join us as at 10 a.m. on Facebook Live…

Just a reminder we have several ways to connect during the week with Facebook Live or Zoom. To join the Zoom session, you will receive a link in email. If you are not a subscriber, use the sign-up form in the right-hand column.

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

No Social Distancing from the One Presence and Power

“My house cleaner called to tell me she is working from home, and she’ll send me directions about what to do!” This came in an email this week to offer some levity to the coronavirus situation and it reminded me how important it is that we don’t lose our sense of humor. It is also important to thank those who are working in grocery stores, pharmacies and other places that you find yourself for their being on the front lines.

Although our lives and the world seem to be in a tailspin it is important to establish as much of a daily routine that we can. There is a lot we can’t control; however, there are some things that are within our control and our daily schedule is one of them, if you are sheltering at home. I am finding I am getting out to walk which nature is such a great grounding for me, and Rev. LeRoy and I are playing cribbage just about every afternoon and it keeps me in the present moment and we laugh a lot, which is great for the immune system.

The Leadership at Unity Center for Spiritual Growth is also focused on keeping things as normal as possible for your spiritual nourishment. Therefore, we are having virtual Sunday services at 10 a.m. on Facebook Live. You may have tuned in this past Sunday and noticed that the order of service is consistent with what you would have if you were sitting in the sanctuary. We are still tweaking the presentation and you will see some new features next Sunday.

A Course in Miracles is meeting via Zoom starting this Sunday at noon and will be continuing each Sunday ongoing. Subscribe to our email (box on right side of this page) to get Zoom access.

The Tuesday book group is meeting via a conference call at 10:30 a.m. each week and the Prayer Partners are meeting via Zoom as well.

Rev. Elizabeth Peterson and I will be offering prayer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 12:10 p.m. via Facebook Live. This is a time for you to fill your well so that you can continue to support your family, friends and coworkers.

If there are other services you would like to suggest, please contact me. Our highest intention is to keep folks connected. This is a very difficult time for everyone, and our hope is to alleviate some of the anxiety and fear. Should we be in this for a season we cannot slide into complacency. It is important that the practices we are doing now will sustain over the long haul.

I was moved by this poem:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”

In the talk on Sunday I gave gratitude as one step we can focus on to stay connected to Source. I am forever grateful to Unity Center for Spiritual Growth for being the light on the path for so many souls…if it wasn’t available when I was seeking, I don’t know what my life would be today. As much as we are seeking to keep things normal, one area that I especially hope is kept normal and stable is our financial giving. If you have not opted to sign up for automatic giving you can do so now. You can contact us and we will get back to you to take your information and get you signed up. You can also donate through our website. Remember you cannot out-give God.

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