Sunday Message – January 28th, 2018

By Professor Alastair.

Good morning, and peace to you this day in the Light. I must apologize for my extended absence, but hope the new year has been bright for each of you thus far. The world we live in is full of surprises, and each new day brings us the opportunity to grow and change. Life itself is change– endless processes of consumption and production, growth and decay, moving forward and backward. Many changes are out of our control, beyond the influence of a single individual. We can only control ourselves, our responses, our outlook.

We must observe constantly, take in information about the world around us and how we fit into it. The universe is a vast and ever-expanding web of interconnectivity. It is complete because we are part of it, and we are complete because it is part of us. What we observe about the universe also tells us about ourselves. What we do unto the universe, we do unto ourselves. It is impossible to ignore or deny our connection to the greater whole, and attempting to do so robs us of our strength, and our potential for wisdom.

We contribute our energy to the universe in everything we do, by giving or withholding, by choosing whether we will heal or hurt others with the energy we expend each day. Let us give freely to the universe, which gives freely of itself to us. We exist to contribute to something– society, the collection of human creativity, the food chain, the welfare of our families, the reach of our organizations– we get to decide every morning where we will contribute our energy that day. Let us make our contributions in the name of Light and Love, so the sum of our lives will contribute goodness to the world, and we can strive to make the inevitable changes of life an upward reaching track toward the Light.

Amen and namaste.

Sunday Message – December 31st, 2017

By Professor Alastair.

Good morning, and peace to you this day in the Light. As we come now to the close of the year, in midst of this bitter chill and these dark evenings, we remember all the Light we have seen and sown this year, all the Love we have shared, and all the hopes we retain for the year to come. Life is the greatest teacher, and each year brings us new understanding.

Let us look toward the year ahead with hopeful hearts. Let us not be afraid of the Darkness, for we have walked in Darkness all our lives, and yet still we live, and still we shine. Each day brings us new opportunities to see the face of love, to be the hands of kindness, and to share the sparks of hope with one another. In the days ahead, let us be vigilant for life’s lessons, both the good and the bad. Our pain and suffering teaches us strength, endurance, tenacity, the stubborn will of Life to survive and triumph. From the fox chasing a hare in the wood, to the collision of stars in the skies, all of life exists in an ebb and flow of peace and struggle, love and rage, madness and clarity. Let us not flinch from the moments of pain, let us look fearlessly upon what meets us on our path, learn from it, hear the words the experience would speak to our soul, and let it pass through us, so that we might continue on our ways wiser and stronger than before.

Life will never be free of pain, turmoil, or uncertainty. These are inextricably woven into the tapestry of life, into the fabric of our beings, because life and each of us are a balance of Light and Darkness. We carry each with us, learn from each, and are confronted with their reality every day. We mustn’t cut ourselves off from the currents of life that connect us to the world outside our doors. Let us reach for one another in the coming year, strengthen the ties between us, and add our light together to the sum of light.

Amen and namaste.

Sunday Message – December 3rd, 2017

Led and piano’d by Professor Alastair.

Good morning and peace to you this day in the light. As the air grows cold, we give thanks for the silhouette lace of trees against a moonlight sky. We give thanks for the stars, and the dark spaces between them that leave room for questions and room for more light still. We give thanks for the wind, which carries the echoes of all the voices that have spoken to it before, and memories of all the lungs which have breathed it. We give thanks, for this reminds that we are alive, we are here, and we are part of this great living web called Life.

To all life there is time, and by time all things are done. Given enough time, a trickle of water can wear through stone. Given enough time and investment of energy, all things can change and grow. With enough time and love, even the thorniest gardens can be brought to flower. Time teaches us to be patient. Love gives us reasons to keep waiting and hoping. In times of uncertainty and darkness, patience is at times our only option. Suffering is unavoidable, but can be endured. Life is an ebb and flow of joy and pain, and it is the intertwining tale of each, and how we meet each moment, which gives our lives meaning. With every second of time given to us, we can embrace the circumstances we have, find ways to do the most good with what we have, and thereby make of ourselves living art, choosing to paint our hearts with the wild and brazen colors of hope and love, and where there is art and love, there is also Light.

The Light goes with all hopers and dreamers. If you can picture a better, kinder, more loving world, then the Light is with you, and gives you tools and talents, and circumstances to use them. Each day presents us with challenges to hone our skills, and moments where we may choose to use them. We cannot meet the need every time, but we do what we can when we can. We choose to meet each day as it comes to us, and do what good we can to spread what love and light we can. Therefore, we must always be watching and waiting in the name of Light and Love.

Amen and Namaste.

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.

Origins of the Universe

The universe is thought to be over fifteen billion years old. Time began with the Big Bang, an explosive release of energy, setting all of life into motion. Over the course of billions of years, elements formed in the forges of stars. Cosmic materials heated and cooled, forming solar systems, and eventually individual ecosystems [source]. We at UCFW recognize these scientific facts, and therefore consider creation stories metaphors for the complex processes needed to form life, and believe the Light set the Big Bang in motion– seven days to the Light could be billions of years to the universe. Time is relative, affected by speed, gravity, and mass [source]. Our perception of time is very different from time on a cosmic scale. Light particles (photons) are capable of moving backward and forward in time [source], and achieving the fastest known speeds in the universe [source]. In light of this (we’re punny folks at UCFW– sorry.), we believe science supports the idea of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Light entity. Something had to trigger the Big Bang, so until proven otherwise, we feel it was by the power of the Light.

As life began to take shape on earth, organisms began to change and evolve in order to survive in their various environments. Life began in the abundance of the sea, and spread onto land over the course of millions of years, diversifying over time into the wild spectrum of life on our planet [source]. Humanity, too, evolved over time. We believe religious creation stories, such as that of Adam and Eve, are representative of when mankind first became self-aware and planted the seeds of our modern identities. The events in the Garden of Eden mark our separation from the rest of the animal kingdom, and the transformation of our species into spiritual, intellectual, innovative beings. The Garden myth also represents humanity’s first encounter with the Dark, signifying that one of the defining characteristics of homo sapiens is the ability to distinguish between Light and Dark.

The Light

The force we call the Light is the ultimate power of Good and Love. The Light is Creator of the universe– the trigger of the Big Bang, if you will. The Light is a sentient force, which guides us and guards us along our way. We are constantly connected to the Light, and therefore to each other. The Light communicates with us through other connections– interpersonal interactions, art, dreams, intuition, etc. We believe, for instance, the pull of single poignant lyric or line of poetry can bring one closer to the Light, because it was created by someone expressing their understanding of the underlying truth.

We believe Christ was a manifestation of the Light, an experiment of sorts. The Light took human form in Christ to communicate with us, to better understand our human experience, and to create an unbreakable dominance over the forces of Darkness.

Mohammed, Buddha, Moses, etc.
We believe the Light communicates with humanity through many avenues, including human beings themselves. Each prophet, oracle, etc. deepens our understanding of the Light, though none presents a full picture or exclusive route of connection.

The Bible and Other Religious Texts
We believe the Bible, Quran, and similar texts are tools to help us understand the Light and ourselves, and provide guidance on how we might strengthen our connection to the Light and increase our contribution. We do not believe that any one of these texts contains more veracity than another, and each is the result of (often centuries!) of human development and editing, so none is 100% accurate or authoritative.