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

Standing In Faith in Uncertain Times

https://www.facebook.com/UNITYGREATERPORTLAND/videos/2428571467455320/

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Friend, we are in unprecedented times… the flow of information is coming in fast and furiously. How are you doing? Before I go further, please reach out to me if you need support… it may be just the need to hear a voice other than your own. I don’t know about you, but I can be heard talking to myself out loud. I am also hearing the voice in my head.

We don’t know how long it will be that we will be doing social distancing and staying at home; however, as long as it is, you can attend the 10 a.m. service via Facebook Live

Clarissa Pinkola Estes says: Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

I share how to let your light shine, using words from Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. Faith is the prescription to keeping your light bright:

They did their works through faith.
They soared beyond their works through faith.
They were teachers through faith.
They were healers through faith.
They were builders through faith.
They were overcomers through faith.

Many, many times in the history of Unity they came to a place where it seemed that they could not go on, yet they went on through faith. They taught that God is a help in every need and they prayed in this simple faith. They never lost faith.

Once Unity was in serious financial straits. Bills that had to be paid were piling up, and there did not seem to be money enough to meet the payroll. The Fillmore’s called their staff together to pray about the matter. One of the staff said, “Let us pray that the money holds out.”

“Oh, no,” whispered Myrtle Fillmore, “let us pray that our faith holds out.”

Again, please join me on Sunday morning at 10 a.m., and from time to time during the week you may find me doing a short Facebook Live check-in. I will send out an invite ahead of each event.

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

Moved by Compassion

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

The plans for Mirabai Starr’s visit have been in process for a year and in ten days she will be here in Maine. There are still opportunities for you to experience her either on Friday evening at the University of Southern Maine, Saturday at Saint Joseph’s College or on Sunday here at Unity. At both USM and SJC we have expanded registration by offering live streaming at the events.

For the day-long retreat the cost is $35, and if you want lunch (which we recommend) it is an additional $7. To register go to our “Donate” button before Monday, March 9.

On Sunday the message was on compassion, “Moved by Compassion.” In Unity we see Jesus as our teacher and wayshower and the message was focused on how Jesus handled the healing of the leper. It comes from the Gospel of Mark 1:40-45.

Jesus is moved by compassion and stretches out his hand and heals the leper. The important significance of this action is that Jesus is breaking the law, violates the tradition, turns over all the cleanliness rules, is excommunicated and kicked out of society.

What does this scripture teach us? The leper shows the proper attitude toward Jesus, by kneeling down and asking for Jesus’ healing touch. There is a part of each one of us that is like the leper, that needs healing from Jesus. Each one of us has leprosy of the heart, or the soul. We need to go to Christ in our brokenness, our weakness, our frailty and vulnerability and ask for help, and keep going to him, and he will be moved by compassion, stretch out his hand, touch us, and heal us.

Jesus’ teaching of the lepers is that of compassion and we are his followers which means we must become people of compassion, too. Compassion breeds compassion… once we accept it, then we will want to show compassion to each other and to everyone on the planet.

Unfortunately, we are not that different from the people of Jesus’ time. We have a whole new set of lepers today whom we ostracize, whom we exclude and excommunicate and declare unclean and push aside.

Like Jesus, we must side with the lepers of our time,
• cultivate a heart of compassion,
• stretch out our hands,
• touch them,
• heal them, and
• welcome them back into the community.

We must reconcile with everyone everywhere. From now on, like Jesus, we are a people of infinite compassion.

I have given you just a snippet of the message here. You can hear the complete message in the audio file of Sunday’s service.

Let me conclude with this quote from Chief Seattle:

This we know, all things are connected.
Like the blood which unites one family, all things are connected.
Our God is the same God, whose compassion is equal for all.

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

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