Aloha Dear Ones,
It’s very early in the morning on Maui. The need for rest and reflection has been foremost since Christmas Eve.
I’ve been a Unity Church chaplain for almost 10 years. About a week before Unity’s Christmas Eve service, I was asked to give the opening prayer. I immediately said yes, then the scope of the responsibility set in. I wondered if I could show up the way that was needed, if I could be available to that deep edge of my being that allows the Holy Spirit/evolutionary impulse to come forth. I didn’t want my own personality conditioning, or my human mind, to write and deliver a prayer that would just sound good–I wanted a truer voice to speak.
Unity Church on Maui (unityonmaui.org) started having the chaplains give opening prayers for Sunday services about six months ago. We tend to follow a format for affirmative prayer used by many, “new thought,” groups, such as Religious Science. This form of affirmative prayer, sometimes called, “five-step prayer,” focuses on acknowledging divine presence, aligning with this holy presence, affirming one’s intention, giving thanks and releasing the prayer to divine outcome.
For the past few months, my prayers have increasingly included evolutionary language and concepts. I find myself saying things like, “Beloved Presence, we know that there is not only this now moment–there is also this now moment, becoming–we lean forward, together, into the edge of that becoming, into the space between us, for in the space between us, there is an awareness emerging of our essential unity, of a deeper, higher love that is our true nature, a sacred reality that is so much more powerful than any challenge we might face on our own, that is becoming stronger each day.”
I pray with my eyes open, looking into the eyes of people around the room. When my prayers at Unity became more evolutionary, some people whose heads were bowed began to look up at me, with an expression both surprised and curious. As I continued to pray, I saw people’s faces soften, open, then seem to brighten, with a quality of hope. I especially noticed that when words of, “leaning together into the space between us, where we are more available to consciousness emerging, where there is a love and wisdom awakening between us that is so much stronger than any trial we face alone,” that some people sat straighter, some began gently crying, all appearing to release isolation, to embrace connection.
Together, with my brothers and sisters, I felt the sweet comfort of being one heart , and with that experience of unity, a deeper motivation to do the right thing–for God, for myself, for these people who are part of me, and who, with me, are all part of God.
Each time this happened, I was left with a feeling of amazement. I would come with a frame for the occasion on any given Sunday, but never write a prayer, always allowing it to unfold in the moment. I grew to trust that a greater presence would show up, in this new, exciting way, and felt a precious alignment with our small congregation.
On Christmas Eve, attendance is always much larger. Unity moves its service to the Iao Theater in Wailuku town, which seats about 500. A wide range of people come, mainland visitors from traditional churches, new age Mauians on a variety of paths, and locals. I felt some trepidation about giving the opening prayer with this bigger group, with such different beliefs and expectations. The concern was about my egoic conditioning. Could my personality self get out of the way enough to express as the evolutionary impulse? Or would the false self feel compelled to put on a show on this bigger stage?
My ego wasn’t my only concern. There was a call on my heart to truly honor Jesus as the birth of God’s love in form, as God’s love made manifest for humanity.
Unity was founded by a passionately Christian couple, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. Their intention was to explore Christ consciousness under a big umbrella, accepting that all paths lead to God, welcoming people of all faiths to come together to study and celebrate a greater truth of being and living. My experience in Unity was that while every effort was made to acknowledge the beauty of all paths, there was at times a reluctance to speak of its Christian roots. There was a sensitivity to the number of, “recovering fundamentalists,” in the Unity movement, those who had been wounded in conservative Christian churches where they experienced condemnation, and who could be offended by the mere mention of Jesus’ name.
I get this–and, there is an expanding awareness that allows us to heal, to hear with the ear of the heart. My former Unity minister, Rev. Mary Omwake, told me about a conversation she had with Rev. Michael Beckwith, of Apage, in Los Angeles. He said, “Maybe we are healed enough now to start talking about Jesus again.” Amen.
So, how do I honor Jesus on the night we celebrate his birthday, on a Unity platform, being available as the evolutionary impulse, without my ego staging the gig? What would you do?
This post is becoming so very long–I need a little food and a walk along Ma’alaea Bay. Can I tell you tomorrow what happened? Thank you, Beloved.
Love and blessings,
Tags: affirmative prayer, Agape, chaplain, Charles Fillmore, Christ, Christmas eve, consciousness, counseling, counseling from Maui, enlightenment, evolutionary community, evolutionary enlightenment, evolutionary impulse, evolutionary relationship, evolutionary spirituality, find a spiritual counselor, finding a spiritual psychologist, God, Hawaii, Holy Spirit, integral, integral enlightenment, integral spirituality, intuitive, Jesus, Julianne Hanson, love, Mary Omwake, Maui, Michael Beckwith, Myrtle Fillmore, phone counseling, Prayer, Psychology, psychotherapy, Relationship Advice, relationship counseling, Skype counseling, spiritual advice, Spiritual Counseling, spiritual psychologist, spiritual psychotherapy, spiritual relationship, spirituality, transpersonal psychologist, Unity, We space