On Sunday I spoke at Unity of Payson on the subject of Peace. Being the second week of Advent, it was the natural topic. As I contemplated the subject over the week before, I came up with an acronym for Peace: Presence, Empowered, Allowing, Creative, Effortless. Then everything went flat. I tried and tried to make something happen by talking a little on each of these subjects. It just didn’t feel complete. I texted a friend and told her it felt flat and she texted back “You are guided, you are guided, you are guided.” And I believe I was. In fact, I want to share with you what came to life.
Presence: In Unity’s text book, Your Hope of Glory, Elizabeth Sand Turner says that Mary was born to Joachim and Anna late. They dedicated her to God and gave her to the temple at the age of 2 where she lived and learned until the age of 12. She was very spiritual and illumined in her mind. Mary represents that part of us that is illumined and connected to the Indwelling Presence of God. She represents our ability to hear and know the Presence and hear the still small voice that illumines our mind. This Presence brings a message to us this Advent season saying, ” Greetings favored one, the Lord is with you… you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him
Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” What divine quality, idea, attribute are you carrying in your womb that will be called the son of the Most High, the daughter of God, what attribute will sit on the throne of your being and reign with power and justice?
Empowered: We have within us the power of the Universe. Just breathe that in for a moment, the same power that holds the stars in heaven and created all that is resides in you. How often in our lives, or for that matter in one day, do we forget this Truth, and try to put aside that Divine Idea because we don’t have the money, time, talent, education, social status, whatever to fulfill it? Joseph wanted to put Mary and the baby aside. He too listened to the angel in his mind who told him to be of good courage, take the risk and support this birth. When are we the Joseph for someone else? When are we called to see the Divine in someone else when they cannot see it in themselves?
Allowing: Mary’s response to the angel is “Let it be done unto me as you have said.” Allowing is exercising our capacity for faith, trust, and openness to Divine Order. When we stop fighting what we are against, and stand for what we believe in, we will transform the consciousness of this planet. When we stop fighting ourselves, and looking out there for someone or something to blame for what is, we open ourselves to new answers.
Creative: Our nature is to create and we are creating all of the time. What are you creating through the power of your thoughts? Are you creating more woe and worry? Are you creating more Peace, Love and Joy? Mary and Joseph did not understand the full effect of their yes, and we do not understand the full effect of our yes. Just as they stepped out in faith, we too are invited to say YES. We too have the power within us to step out in faith to live fully as the presence in expression.
Effortless: This is a paradox, because in the story it appears as anything but effortless. Mary travels with Joseph to Bethlehem walking long distances while she’s 9 months pregnant. Stories show her riding on the back of a donkey. I’m sorry, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be 9 months pregnant bouncing up and down on the back of a donkey…. I’d rather walk. This walking represents the journey we undertake as a result of our YES. The key is surrender. When we engage the other steps of PEACE, we are creating a new experience from a place of experiencing the power and presence of God. We know we are not alone. We know we do not need to strive and make it happen; that’s God’s job.
Imagine sitting on a hillside with your buds, and a glorious light appears. An angel is before you and says, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with who he is pleased.” And when the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known unto us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manager.
Jesus came into the world to demonstrate peace not in the way the world understands peace as the absence of conflict, but peace that demonstrates the Presence, Empowered, Allowing, Creative, Effortless Spirit of God active in through and as each and every one of us.