Sunday Message – October 15th, 2017

Led by Professor Alastair.

Good morning, and blessings this day in the Light. We give thanks today for the breath in our lungs, the stars in our sky, and the unfolding horizons that remind us there is still more than we know. We are each on a path in this life, one we have no map for, and one that will lead us through all manner of treacherous places. There will be times we feel alone in the midst of crowds, and times when the world frightens us with its chaos and truth.

The Light leads each of us, and weaves the story of our lives into tapestries we may never see. Our days are full of fateful intersections. There is something new to learn in everyone we meet. Sometimes the voice of a stranger can break a lifetime of silence. A single act of compassion can leave life-changing ripples in its wake. We must always leave our doors open to the world, for it is only through making connections with others that we grow.

At times, our paths will require us to take great leaps of faith, to risk trusting in others, to make ourselves vulnerable to the effects of love. The future is nothing but a nebula of possibility, and is there anything more frightening than the unknown? We will never know everything, and can never hope to do everything right all the time. We can only do the best we can with what we have, and continue to choose love over hatred, Light over Darkness. I believe for as long as we choose the Light, the Light will guide us, and our paths will cross with those we need, and those who need us. In our travels and meetings, we become the people we are meant to be; we must only be brave enough to follow the path.

Amen and namaste.

Sunday Message – October 8, 2017

Led by Professor Alastair.

Good morning, and blessings this day in the Light. We give thanks today for the crisp air and pale sky, inviting our reflection and reminding us we are alive. We give thanks for the blazing colors, brushed across our landscapes by the Divine Artist, and in this time of change and transformation, we invite the Light to show us new paths, and bring us into our true colors.

Our lives intersect in ways we will never see the full scope of, leaving ripples in the lives of others as we move through the world and time. We may be, as Carl Sagan said, “a pale blue dot… a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam,” but the very atoms of our beings have power and meaning, exerting our individual energy on our surroundings. We are each connected to the greater whole. To reach out and make a difference to one is to make a difference to everything. In the words of Christ, “That which you do to the least of these, you do unto me.”

It is not necessary we each become world-reknowned or the best in our fields. We must only show up, be engaged, and be invested in making change for the good in the world around us. Walk with kindness, choose peace wherever possible, and ask questions of everything you see. Trust the divine spark inside you, form your own thoughts, remember love in everything you do. To close with Whitman, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.”

Amen and Namaste.

Sunday Message – September 24, 2017

Led (and piano’d) by Professor Alastair.

Hail and good morning this day in the Light. Happy Autumn to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. We give thanks for the turn of seasons, the burgeoning of summer into harvest. We remember that “to everything there is a time,” and autumn has a way of reminding us of the passage and beauty of time.

It always been my favorite season, perhaps in part because it is bittersweet– the colors I wait a year to see will last but days; the flaming reds and smoldering golds will soon enough be scattered ash to winter’s winds. Autumn reminds us of the inherent need to let go, and allow things to pass. Time changes all of us. A year from now, no one will be the same person they are today. The passage of time is natural and inescapable. To survive, we must continually let go; shed like leaves the things no longer necessary on the tree of our life, things that hold us back, thoughts and behaviors that are no longer useful. Sometimes this isn’t easy. Habits are hard to break, thoughts hard to eradicate, situations hard to escape, and people hard to walk away from– sometimes I believe that is why autumn has such color: letting go, shedding our Darkness to find the strength to let go, is often a fiery process, both in our souls and in the outside world. But there is beauty in the fire, the resurrection from the ash, as there can be beauty in pain, transformation and survival.

Autumn, for me, has always been a time of stories. The longer nights, the crisper air, and glassy transparency of the sky seem to beg for words, memories, and dreams. I have confessed more to the autumn wind than I’ve ever spoken to another soul, and perhaps it should be that way. We each find God in our own ways, and no two of us will relate to God in the same way. As you reflect this season, I hope you find the hidden threads of the Light in your story– they are there, I promise. Each of us is a leaf on the Tree of Life, and for as long as we breathe, we remain connected to the Light, the source of all Life. The fact you have survived this long is a testament to the strength of your will and the need the Light has for you.

We are all only here temporarily– seasons will change, we will know love and loss, delight and grief. No one can change as fast as Life does, but we can choose to follow it, to keep our eyes open, to fashion ourselves as the best we can be for the world around us now. Let us then be open to change, find joy in the colorful splendor of time, beauty in the ephemeral seasons of life, and rise like fire to meet each day that is given to us.

Amen and Namaste.

Sunday Message – September 17, 2017

Led and piano’d by Professor Alastair.

Good morning and blessed be. We give thanks to the Light this day for the life in our veins, and the fire in our hearts, which keeps us walking even in the darkness. At times, it seems the world demands too much from us. It is difficult to keep watching the scene unfold, or to summon the courage to step out the door into it. I would remind you, though, it is not necessary to be perfect, nor to be the best. We are, each of us, perfectly imperfect. It is what makes us individuals, what makes us distinct among the stars, what makes each of us irreplaceable. If you wait until you think you are ready and perfect, you will never make your move or your mark. How many opportunities pass us by because we think we are not the right person at the time?

But you are the right person somewhere, else you wouldn’t be here now. The world isn’t waiting for some finished version of you. There is no finished version. We are continual works in progress– change is the only constant– and the moment we stop letting ourselves change and grow and learn is the moment we die. Do what you can with what you have, with what you are. Learn from what is around you. Ask questions, always. Guard your heart, and make sure the thoughts in your head are your own, and not just the echo of what you’ve been told. Assume everyone is your teacher and your guest, until or unless they prove otherwise. Life isn’t meant to be static– life is about motion, momentum, and adventure. The best stories are never about being comfortably ordinary. Why wish for a normal life? There is no such thing, when we are each unique. Whatever it is you are, do it well– do it with love, in the name of the Light, and for the sake of making life better for someone else, even briefly. We are but fellow travellers here; let us be kind to one another.

Amen and namaste.

UCFW Sunday Message – September 10th, 2017

Led and piano’d by Professor Alastair.

Good morning and peace to you this day in the Light. Let us give thanks for the breath in our lungs, the opportunities of each new day, and take comfort in the fact that we are all here together. Sometimes that’s not a comforting thought– sometimes it may seem like life would be easier if certain individuals were not in it, but we each serve a purpose, even seemingly antagonistic people. It is not necessary we like everyone, but it is necessary we respect their life here. We are each born of the Light, and while some wander astray, I still believe that for as long as there is life, there is the possibility for change and reconciliation.

I don’t believe Heaven has gates. I don’t believe Heaven is a place, per se. Rather, I think Heaven is true freedom of the soul; by very definition a Free Heaven cannot have gates or walls. I don’t believe there’s a man sitting at a door with your life’s scorecard, waiting to count your good points to see if you make it into the club. Whether or not you “make it to Heaven” is strictly between you and God, and is no one else’s business. No one else can get you into Heaven, and no one else can deny you entry. How you choose to define God (whether you want to include Christ in your concept, for instance) is up to you, but nonetheless, your fate lies with you and your relationship with the Light.

I also don’t believe one has to define God in any particular way, complete a specific series of tasks, or adhere to a certain set of rules. Rather, I believe if one desires the fulfillment of the soul and the freedom of Heaven, one must only turn one’s face to the Light. Reach for God, and God will reach back for you. The transformation that happens as a result, what you do with the power of knowing God and the courage of having the Light at your back, is up to you. My God is a loving God– a loving God doesn’t care what you call Him (or Her or Them), nor whether you did everything right. You are only human; God doesn’t expect you to do everything right. A loving God cares about one thing: Love— do you have Love in your heart? Is there Love enough for God, humanity, and yourself? If there is Love in your heart, you need fear no Darkness, for where there is Love, the Light is with you. Love is what ties us together and ties us to God. Heaven is where all who know Love unite. I imagine there will be some surprise to find out who is there and who isn’t, because sometimes Love is hard to see, and other times great deeds are done in the name of loving altruism but are motivated by self-serving greed. Only true Love makes us immortal. Act by any other motivation, and you do not act in the name of God.

Do not worry about the fate of your soul; worry about the needs of the people around you, worry about the presence of hatred in the world, worry about how you will reach the people who need you. This is worthy worry– this is the worry of Love, and if this what worries you, your soul will be fine. If you look at what is happening to your fellow man, and you feel pain somewhere in your heart, then you know Love: act on it. Love cannot be passive. The Light is not passive. We, as agents of the Light, cannot be passive. We must turn our pain and our Love into action which spreads Love. Love is a cumulative and contagious force. Let us pursue it boldly, and may our lives be mirrors to reflect the Light.

Amen and namaste.

Sunday Message – September 3rd, 2017

Led by Professor Alastair.

Good morning, and peace to you this day in the Light. We give thanks for the breath in our lungs, the earth below our feet, and the stars above us. We give thanks for the life we have lived, the things we have learned, and we look with hopeful eyes toward the horizons we’ve yet to reach.

I want to speak today about fear. It is a personal subject, a darkness which brushes each of us indiscriminately. Fear is a tool of survival, and should be nothing more. Fear is one of the last remaining chains on humanity, what keeps us from “boldly going,” and from healing the open wounds in the world around us. Fear is what makes us distrustful of one another. Fear is what stokes war, and perpetuates prejudice. Fear is what keeps people silent when they should speak, keeps them home when they should take up the banner, keeps their heads down and their eyes blind.

All around us are reminders to fight fear. In ‘Dune,’ it’s, “Fear is the mind killer.” FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is Fear itself.” In Star Wars, fear is a path to the Dark Side. In the Bible, the most repeated phrase is, “Fear not.” Every great story involves the mastery of fear– because it is so important to becoming the powerful forces we are meant to be.

What is fear to us? Why does it hold such sway? The root of all fear, I believe, lies in the fear of death– either literally or the metaphorical loss of what one considers one’s life. While the means by which death might find us can be frightening, death itself is only frightening if you think it means the end of you. Death marks the end of the body– your atoms and borrowed energy will be returned to the Earth and recycled in the ongoing ecosystem of life– but death does not mark the end of the soul, merely the release of it. The part of you which is not of this world, the part capable of thinking beyond it, the part which feels the pull of the Light and the threat of Darkness, the part which longs for connection, knowledge, and meaning– this part of you was not born of the Earth. Therefore, what is fear to a soul of Light? Whatever this world may do to you, keep your heart turned toward the Light, and there is nothing that can touch your soul.

When we consciously work to put fear in its place, to remind ourselves it is a part of our survivalist brain, and not part of our greater being, we can become powerful forces for Light. There is a reason we are commanded not to fear, for fear is what keeps us from being the Light’s hand in the world. We are soldiers and peacemakers, seekers and teachers; there is no place for fear in a life of Light. Fear will keep us from reaching the ones who need the Light most. Fear will keep peace from taking root. Fear makes us distrust anything that is different, and in this wild and varied universe, everything is unique– to fear difference is to fear everything. The brilliant variety of Life is its strength, just as the diversity of humanity is what makes it enduringly beautiful, despite its pain. We are each part of this marvelous expanse. Let us reach for it with wondering and compassionate hands, lest fear be met with fear.

Amen and namaste.

Sunday Message – August 27, 2017

Led (and piano’d) by Professor Alastair.

Good morning, and peace to you this day in the Light. We give thanks for the small mercies and blessings in our lives, and the glimpses of beauty and kindness, which remind us of the Light’s presence. In times of division, it is important to remember we are all part of the same tapestry of life; children of the same creative being, regardless of what name or story you choose to ascribe to it. From the same Maker’s hands, from the same Light, taking part in the same glorious expanse of Life, we are each connected to the other, and everything else.

The noise of the angry world makes it easy to lose sight of these connections, but without them, it is difficult to trust anyone, and more difficult still to make peace. It is to the Darkness’s favor to have us squabbling amongst ourselves over things, each so convinced we are right, everyone has forgotten how to listen.

I believe silence is an integral part of life. Without it, you’ll go mad with the noise of living. It is in the silence that we are able to hear God, and hear others. Without pausing to listen we will lose sight of the inherent connection we have with the world around us, and our ability to make peace with those who are different from us. If we do not take the time to listen, observe, and understand, we will be lost in the chaos ourselves.

Being silent requires a dash humility, for it allows as how one does not already have all the information. Every person in the world knows something you don’t. We are both teachers and students in our time here, crossing paths with others who give us opportunities to share ideas and learn something new– things we cannot do successfully if we close ourselves off to the rest of the world.

Let us look, then, with wonder on the world around us, and not with fear. The Light is with us, and we were made to be part of this grand scene of creation. Though there is rage aplenty, let us walk with peace, and offer an open hand to the clenched fist. Let us be the first to offer silence, a chance to listen and learn, a refuge from the noise. Let us show our strength by the depth of our love, the force of our kindness, and the peaceful endurance of our hope.

Amen and namaste.