Wisdom of Rosa Parks

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

Today is Ash Wednesday! It is the beginning of the Lenten Season. Traditionally it is a practice of placing ashes on your forehead as a sign of repentance. Have you ever wondered where the ashes came from? My colleagues Bill and Cher Holton wrote in the weekly musing, “The ashes used are gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned. These ashes are mixed with oil, and this paste is used by the priest or minister to make the sign of the cross and each person’s forehead.”

Traditionally Ash Wednesday is to focus on sinfulness, unworthiness, and repentance. Our MetaSpiritual perspective of Ash Wednesday is recognition of our Oneness, our worthiness and our Divinity. The acronym for LENT…Let’s Eliminate Negative Thinking. We resolve to deny the power of anything in the outer that creates the belief in separation from our True Nature.

This past Sunday we held our Annual Meeting and because of some changes we have made it was an abbreviated agenda as we will be voting on issues pertinent to the ministry in the fall as a result of changing our fiscal year to end on August 31.

We took the opportunity to use the time allotted at the Annual Meeting to do a burning bowl and visioning process with those in attendance. It was a very powerful experience and will give the Board of Trustees important information as we plan the vision going forward for Unity Center for Spiritual Growth. Thank you to all who gave of their time and input…it is very valuable.

A shout out to Deana Gurney, our fabulous music director for the choices of songs for the service. She does an outstanding job each week and we are so grateful for her talent and consciousness.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

The talk was in celebration of Black History Month and I featured the “mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” Most everyone knows of Rosa Parks, however, many told me following the service they learned much more than they already knew.

Here are a couple of quotes and my hope is that you will listen to the entire message.

From D. Martin Luther King Jr…“No one can understand the action Rosa Parks took that day, unless we realize that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, ‘I can take it no longer.’”

From Rev Jesse Jackson…“She sat down in order that we might stand up. Her imprisonment opened the doors for our long journey toward freedom.”

From Rosa herself…“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

In an interview several years ago, Rosa Parks was asked if there had been moments in her life when she doubted God. She said, “I can’t think of any time when I actually doubted the presence of the Lord. There were times, of course, when I felt somewhat discouraged, but I don’t dwell on anything negative when it comes to my life. I think negative attitudes are very destructive, so I think positively and have hope in the future and in those people who are willing to live good lives and do the very best that they can to help themselves and other people.” And she continued, “I think the Lord gave me the strength and the courage to resist the way I was being treated.”

Join me this Sunday for the message on “Moved by Compassion.”

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

Claiming Our Awaken Presence

Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

This past week Rev. LeRoy and I celebrated, and it wasn’t for Valentine’s Day. We were three years out from February 13, 2017, which is when LeRoy was admitted into Massachusetts General Hospital after being in and out of the hospital here in Maine since November of 2016. After spending 40 days in the hospital, he was released the day before Easter, and we saw it then, and do today, as his own resurrection experience.

Three years out, we have not forgotten the enormous support we got from this community. We both were in your prayers daily and that kept us buoyed up when test after test didn’t give us an answer to his medical need. The cards, texts, and phone calls were such a source of comfort to us.

Once home he continued to improve, only to find himself back in the hospital in May of 2017 with congested heart failure… nearly three years out from that you are seeing him get stronger and stronger every week. Your love, service, and prayers have been priceless. THANK YOU!

This leads me to the message from Sunday. Over the last four weeks, I have been inviting you to say yes, to let 2020 be the year that you awaken, truly awaken, to the life of beauty and wonder that Spirit intends for you. Rev. LeRoy’s experience reminds us that life is precious, and we have no guarantees, so the time is now to live from our Divine self.

It is time that we live in a conscious space of absolute union with the Divine with no thoughts of separation, no belief in division, no feelings of less than and no self-judgment, self-recrimination or self-doubt.

The 20th Century Indian mystic, guru, and spiritual teacher Osho reminds us of our divinity with this quote: “Drop the idea of becoming someone because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.”

If you were not at the service on Sunday, I invite you to listen to it and to listen to the meditation. It is a great visioning process to assist you to step into your Divine self and let go of any baggage you might be carrying.

Rosaparks

Rosa Parks

Next Sunday, join me as we look at the first lady of civil rights, Rosa Parks, and five unsung heroes of the civil rights movement during Black History Month.

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

P.S. The Season for Nonviolence began on January 30, which is the anniversary of the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi.Each day from then until April 4, which is the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., I am posting quotes and other information pertinent to nonviolence on our Facebook page. I hope you check it out.

Staying Awake While Navigating the Wake

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

A shout out to everyone who made it to church on Sunday. It was -8 degrees as we made our way there for the 8 a.m. service. However, the warmth inside was cozy and comfortable with all the wonderful energy that everyone brought.

If you RSVP’d “yes” to the invitation to awaken in 2020 to the life of beauty and wonder that Spirit intends for you, then continue reading this. This week the focus was on staying awake while navigating the wake. For the water skiers or kneeboarders reading this, you know how important it is to stay awake when you are on the end of the rope. If you take your focus off the present moment you will end up in the water, taking on water. When you stay present and are staying in the middle of the wake, things can be calm, but within a few feet either side, you’ve got this wave of roiling water which can be very treacherous.

At times, we feel like we are living in the wake of pain, upset, challenges and strife. But true beauty, true wonder, true awe, in fact miracles, come when we stay awake even in the middle of the wakes of life!

In the message on Sunday, I quoted from one of my favorite poets, Mark Nepo, from his book, The Book of Awakening. This is a portion of that quote: “Death pushed me to the edge. Nowhere to back off. And to the shame of my fears, I danced with abandon on his face. I never danced as free. And Death backed off, the way dark backs off a sudden burst of flame. Now there’s nothing left, but to keep dancing. It is the way I would have chosen had I been born three time as brave. We are often called further into experience than we’d like to go, but it is this extra leap that lands us in the vibrant center of what it means to be alive.”

Are you being called, right now, further into an experience than you might like to go? If so, my friends, I invite you to stay awake as you navigate through it. Because when you do, the beauty, the blessings, the awe and the wonder that await you, truly are holy!

Please take the time to listen to the message from Sunday and hear about the love and courage of Etty Hillesum as well as the complete piece from Mark Nepo.

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

Awakening My Heart to Grace

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

In our mission statement, we have three areas that determine whether we do an event or not. They are: Is it educational, is it service-oriented, and does it create community? On Friday evening the event was a potluck and open mic. This event fulfilled our criteria. And as icing on the cake, it was so much fun. A shout out to Elizabeth Peterson and all who supported her in making this happen. We ate great food, heard from many within and outside our community with singing, original poetry reading and just plain fun and laughter.

Tami-Joy Palmiter had us join her in singing a song from the 13 Grandmothers called Sing the Water Song. 

(See a video here: Sing the Water Song from Sing The Water Song on Vimeo.)

Stay tuned; we will be having a community event on the last Friday of each month with a potluck and a different fun activity.

As we continued with the theme of Awakening in 2020 — To fully awaken to a life of beauty and wonder that Spirit has designed for you —  the message on Sunday was “Awaken My Heart to Grace.”

What is God’s Grace?

Lowell Fillmore, son of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, helps us understand the concept of Grace when he says, “Remember that the grace of God is God’s love in action. God’s grace is unlimited and so wonderful that words can scarcely describe it. We can use such words as mercy, forgiveness, compassion, goodwill, kindness, inspiration, and generosity to describe God’s grace, but they are hardly adequate to cover the fullness of its meaning.”

Here are other definitions of Grace given by Unity authors over the years:

“Grace is God’s gift of love and mercy, given freely to us whether or not we deserve it. We cannot steal, borrow, buy, or earn it. We can only accept or refuse it” (Handbook of Positive Prayer, 151).

This flies in the face of the following…

Did you hear that you didn’t deserve this grace; that it was completely unmerited. Were you ever told that as a sinful human being, you could not possibly merit or deserve the grace of God because you were so flawed and you could never even earn it because you could never be good enough?

“The grace of God extends to all people, not alone to one sect or creed. All men are equal in favor with God.” (Keep a True Lent, 169).

In Psalms 45:2, it reads: “. . . grace is poured upon your lips; therefore, God has blessed you forever.”

And the Apostle Paul wrote: “By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not our own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of any works . . .”

So, we could say that grace is . . .

* God’s divine love — freely given to all,
* God’s eternal protection — freely given to all,
* God’s ever-present blessings — freely given to all,
* God’s complete givingness — freely bestowed upon all,
* God’s gift of absolute favor — freely given to all.

If this is God’s intention for us, and I believe it is, how is it that this is not how we are seeing people treated in our world today?

“The true nature of God as law is realized not through merit, but through grace — love. No one really feels he has earned love, for love from any source is felt as a free gift, as grace.” (Leddy and Randolph Schmelig, Steps in Self-Knowledge, 89).

In The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, he writes: “Each person is born with an unencumbered spot – free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry – an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by God. It is this spot of grace that . . . theologians call it the soul, Jung calls it the Seat of the Unconscious, Hindu masters call it Atman, Buddhists call it Dharma, Rilke [considered the German language’s greatest poet of the 20th Century] calls it Inwardness, Sufis call it Qalb, and Jesus calls it the Center of our Love. To know this spot [of Grace] is to know who we are, not by surface markers of identity, not by where we work or what we wear or how we like to be addressed, but by feeling our place in relation to the Infinite and by inhabiting it.”

Next Sunday we continue with “Staying Awake While Navigating the Wake.”

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

Heart Thoughts

“You are cordially invited to let 2020 be the year that you awaken, truly awaken, to the life of beauty and wonder that Spirit intends for you.” This is the invitation I extended this past Sunday to all. The question I asked is: Are you ready to RSVP with a resounding “yes”? I put that to all who are reading this as well. The theme for our ministry this year is “Perfect Vision 2020 – Deepening Our Spiritual Journey.” The message on Sunday is the beginning of us doing a deep dive into how we are living this spiritual life….

Continue reading

The Four Kingdoms of Awakening

Note: The video above was broadcast on Facebook on January 19, 2020; the audio file was made during our Sunday service on January 26, 2020.

No one and nothing is against me, not even the weather. The phrase “no one and nothing is against me” comes out of the work of I of the Storm. More on that in a moment. When I say not even the weather, that is absolutely true. The weather this past weekend was for me… it literally pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me to step fearlessly into action in an area that I had wanted to experiment with and never quite had the courage. I went on Facebook Live and did a mini service. Once I got past the fear, I found it was really a lot of fun.

I know that is the truth in almost every situation, that once we turn and face the dragon, the fear, we wonder why we waited so long. I have heard from many of you with kind words and with encouragement to do it more often. I heard from friends and former congregants asking for more, so I am looking at doing a weekly message… stay tuned for day and time. 

As we begin 2020 our theme for the year is “Perfect Vision 2020… Deepening Our Spiritual Journey.” All of the classes and events being added to our calendar will be selected because they support our spiritual journey.

A new class being offered in February will be Spiritual Autobiography. This is a three-week class that begins on February 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m., facilitated by Jack Seery. 

Now to I of the Storm. Please join me at noon January 26 as we explore what it means to live in the I of the storm. We will look at the definition of “wholeness” and what we make things mean. Also, to learn that we have experiences; experiences don’t have us, and how to make friends with conflict. Since learning the principles taught in this book, my life has transformed. I love teaching this material because I know how valuable it can be if you put the teachings into practice in your life.

I also want to encourage you to register soon for the Mirabai Starr retreat that will be on March 14 at Saint Joseph College. I consider her a master teacher who has a wealth of information to share with us. Register and do it soon, as seating is limited and there are five other organizations sharing this with their communities.

This Sunday the talk title is “The Four Kingdom’s of Awakening.” Could 2020 be the year that we awaken, truly awaken, to the beauty of life that Spirit intends for us to live? What would it be like if we were fully awake and present for it all — fully present to the life we now have, fully present to who we are in every moment and fully present and available to the life we are creating? What might that awakened life look like? In the next four weeks, we will explore those questions while we reground ourselves in our fundamental New Thought teachings. This will be a rich and deep experience for all, those steeped in our beliefs and those new to them. Be sure to set the stage for your year by being with us each week.

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

The White Stone Service

Sunday Service with Rev. Pat Bessey

WOW! The concert Julie Thompson and Neil Lamb gave after service on Sunday was awesome. Some of the songs they performed were songs that many of us knew and we sang along. It was a perfect ending to a great Sunday service.

It was the White Stone service, which is a new year’s traditional service. The history of the white stone comes from the book of Revelation 2:17, which reads: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.”

When the early Christian church was being created, most of the area was controlled by Rome and when someone was released from prison, they were given a White Stone. That was all they received, and it was known by all that you had served your sentence and had been released.

So it is fitting that we do the White Stone ritual at the first of the year to signify everything from the past year or more has been released. You are free to start a new life. It is a new beginning from a purified state of consciousness and the ritual is that we are given a new name to live by, which reminds and represents our I AM Christ nature. A new name signifies a new role and a new way of being.

I am going to share my thoughts on the metaphysics of this scripture. I remind you, however, that you are the final authority on what it means for you.

“To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.”

Manna — The bread of life; the Word of God. Represents the realization that the divine substance is everywhere present, in every part of the consciousness.

Stone — Refers to the indwelling Christ, which is the keystone of each human being’s character.

Name — New name, remembering the I AM, the Christ consciousness.

To me, it is Spirit saying, “Come with me, spend time with me.” Choose this way and I will give you spiritual food you know not of. And that food is a reminder of who you are. I am going to give you a new name to live by. Keep it close to your heart.

Conquers — Let us use the word overcoming here… who of us has not had to overcome a problem or weakness in our lives… and so the promise to you is – as you overcome – you will be given some new knowledge – some new understanding of God in action in your life.

If you were unable to attend on Sunday and would like to do the ritual, there will be white stones on the information table in the foyer; pick up one and then listen to the talk and the meditation and get your new name!

Before I lose your attention, I want to let you know that registration is open for the retreat with Mirabai Starr on March 14 at Saint Joseph College. Read more about it and register.

Join me this Sunday along with Julie Thompson. The topic for the message is The Four Kingdoms of Awakening.

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