The lightness of spring is in the air! In like a lion and out like a lamb. The chilly winds of winter give way to the milder and gentler breezes of spring. The sights, colors and sounds of new life burst forth throughout all of nature. The buds and blossoms begin to open as the ground gives way to spring green.
This is a time of joyful celebration and renewal as we welcome the return of spring and share in the wonder of rebirth. What better time to celebrate Easter? The message of the Easter story is one of overcoming and rebirth. As we take the meaning deep within ourselves, it can lead us to awakened living.
We are excited that our arrival as your new ministers coincides with springtime and the Easter celebration. Awakening and renewal is the perfect prelude to what we will suggest as the first of many yearlong themes we will be exploring with the Unity Spiritual Center community.
If you have been in Unity for a while, you have probably experienced the challenge of trying to explain to someone what Unity is all about. In some ways, our theology defies explanation because we have little dogma or prescribed doctrine.
Over the years we have found an explanation that is both accurate and thought provoking: Unity is the art and practice of living with nothing and no one against you.
We have also found that this explanation exposes a conundrum. Unity’s foundation principle is: There is only One Presence and One Power active in my life and in the Universe, God the Good.
And then it appears that there are the exceptions. Illness, relationship issues, prosperity challenges, it is not difficult to find apparent exceptions to the principle of Oneness.
How do we use our spiritual principles in order to live our lives in such a way that we can work with those exceptions? This can be our biggest challenge as we walk the talk of demonstrating the principle, One Presence and One Power. Here is the question we want to explore together – what if awakening is about overcoming those apparent exceptions and proving this principle in our daily lives?
We plan to explore this theme of awakened living during our first year at Unity Spiritual Center. We invite you to join us as a community in pursuit of a greater expression of the Divine and truly inhabit the principle that nothing and no one is against us.
Love and Blessings, Jane and Gary
Spring Cleaning is Now! Please donate your purses, jewelry and scarves that are no longer beautiful or useful to you. We have just the right and perfect people to give a love offering and take items to a new home.
Dee Riggs and Judi Grubb are organizing our Reincarnated Jewelry Sale event again this year, so please help them make this the best sale ever!
Collecting through Wednesday, March 25th.
A Seva Star is a stellar volunteer who provides sacred service, or Seva, to our Center. They are shining stars! This quarter, we are featuring Lyla Brekke.
Why do we try news things? For many of us, myself included, we take the plunge because we know someone who’s trying something and invites us along. This is exactly what happened to Lyla Brekke when she joined the Unity Choir. Soon after coming to Unity 15 years ago, Lyla joined the choir because “a friend talked her into it,” she recalls with a smile, and she’s been singing ever since. Lyla is a co-owner of The Scoop with her daughter and is also a librarian at Eastern Washington State Hospital. She pulls from these business talents as she helps support our music program. In 2005, Lyla signed on as our music librarian. The choir and our music collection have grown significantly over the years. Currently, we own over 300 pieces of music that Lyla keeps organized and up to date. She also works closely with our administrator, Terri Lewis-Sander, during our musical revue, Broadway on Bernard, with tickets sales. Lyla loves singing with the choir, and she extends a personal invitation to you to join the fun!
Unit 1: What Is God? The lessons are God Is Love, God Is Life, God Is All-Good and All-Powerful, God Is All-Knowing, Everywhere Present.
Unit 2: What Am I? The lessons are I Am God Expressing, God Shines Through Me, I Am Unlimited Potential!, All of Me Expresses God.
Unit 3: Oneness With All Life. The lessons are God’s Universe Is Orderly and Beautiful, Our Universe Expresses God, All Creation Is Valuable, All Creation Is My Family.
Beyond Easter, lessons focus on Spiritual Practices of the World, and are being created to explore other ways of connecting with the Divine. Do you have a personal experience to share? Or connections to enable us to visit other places of worship? Let me know!
People of all ages are coming together to create another super FUNtastik Kids Week, 9am till noon, July 13 – 17. Continuing with the Jungle Safari theme, we will delve deeper into the WILD place within ourselves to experience our natural state. Designed to be a fun and creative experience for children ages 4 to 11, guided by staff, ages 12 thru 112+. Will you be one of the ones to answer the call of the wild and trek with us? Let me know!
Wikipedia’s definition of Love is “Love is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that range from interpersonal affection (“I love my mother”) to pleasure (“I loved that meal”). It can refer to an emotion of a strong attraction and personal attachment. It can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion and affection—”the unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.” It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self or animals.
On Sunday, February 15th, our new ministers, Jane and Gary Simmons were in town, and Jane’s talk, “What’s Love Got to do with it?” helped me remember how I want to live my life. I want to be Love: a virtue representing human kindness, compassion and affection and living with compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self or animals. When I am irritable, grumpy or frustrated, I’m not giving or receiving Love, and I don’t like the way I feel during those times. In fact, as Jane said in her Sunday talk, when we do not love ourselves, we do not love others. When we do not have compassion for ourselves, we do not have compassion for others. When we do not have kindness for ourselves, we do not have kindness for others. Jane also pointed out the opposite truths. She said when we start by loving ourselves, we’re able to pass Love onto others through kindness and compassion. As I continued to listen to her message, I realized that when I give love, compassion, and kindness to myself, I am happier, lighter, more joyous, and have much more self-respect, and therefore, I find I am able to share these feelings and virtues with others. It’s amazing how Jane’s message helped me on Sunday. It helped me remember that I am Love, and Love is everything. I deserve Love and so do you. I want my garden to be nurtured and grow. I want my dogs to feel loved and special. I want my community to feel warm and loving. I want to be connected to my wife and bring love, emotional safety and understanding to our marriage. So from this day forward, I am going to do my best to bring compassionate and affectionate actions to my service as board president, towards other humans, myself, and all situations. Would you like to join me? I’d love it if you would!
Charlie Ker, Board President
Our very own Youth and Family Minister, Rev. Jackie Green, was one of five local heroes awarded a 2015 Spirit Award. Way to go Jackie! We are so proud of her, and now the rest of Spokane knows just how wonderful, spirit-led and dedicated she is.
Here is what Darin Burt of Prime Spokane Magazine had to say about Rev. Jackie…
On the door to her office at Unity Spiritual Center Spokane is a name plaque reading, “Jackie Green, Director of Family Services.” But to Jackie, it’s kind of a formal title for what she really does: serving as a presence in the church for children, families and adults who work with the young people.
Everybody is a part of the congregation, and everybody is influencing what is happening in the ministry by their presence. It’s not so much that the young people are going to be the leaders of our church community in the future—they’re making a difference right now,” says Jackie, who has been a member of Unity since 1972.
Jackie, 75, began as a volunteer with Unity youth, and in1979 she was hired by the Northwest Region of the Association of Unity Churches to serve as Youth Education Consultant, a role that she continues to hold.
With so much stress and pressure on kids these days, Jackie sees the importance of young people becoming aware of their own unique place in the world, and in taking responsibility for their own actions. Her teaching is to “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
“By the very light that we are when we are born into this world, we are valued, unique and important, and can connect with our higher power. We all have the divine within us . . . it’s not like there’s somebody out there telling us what to do; if we’re listening we’ll know what to do,” says Jackie, who was ordained as a Unity Minister in 2004.
“People often ask me, ‘Are you still working?’ and I’ll say to them, ‘It feeds me and revitalizes me.’ Some of my reward is that I feel like I’m still growing and waking up to the possibilities of life.”
Read the full article here.
There’s a part of every one of us that eventually grows weary of the status quo. Joseph Campbell called the status quo, “the meanest, ugliest, most destructive monster in the forest of life that you and I travel through.”
Eventually, there’s a stirring in us and a hunger for a challenge. That’s because we were born to run, to move, to explore, experiment, climb, create, investigate, pioneer, and discover.
It was novelist Julian Barnes who said, “Perhaps the world progresses not by maturing, but by being in a permanent state of adolescence, and the thrill of discovery.”
Jesus said that unless we become as little children, we won’t get into heaven. Heaven to Jesus was not a piece of real estate in the sky but an open mind and an open heart. The Greek word for heaven is “ouranos” which means expansion. So, if you’re expanding, growing, questing, you are “in heaven.” And if you aren’t, you’re in the other place.
The urge to journey on often works against the urge to stay put, sink down roots, settle down, and raise a mortgage. We also crave certainty and security.
In nomadic tribes (such as the Aborigines of Australia) and in the lives of migrating fish and birds, journeys are taken, but ultimately they lead back home.
Joseph Campbell’s mythical tales of the hero’s journey show the hero taking a journey into the unknown, but then there is a return to home – to what was known. However, the one returning home is not the same and brings fresh awareness and insight back to familiar territory and tells a new story.
Perhaps that’s where our wanderlust leads: home! Maybe we are searching for something we had and lost, which is the very definition of the religious experience. The Latin word is “religare,” meaning “to repair a lost connection.”
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T.S. Eliot
Every now and again, when I’m sitting in my office at home (I call it my “room for improvement”) I look up from the book I’m reading or from my computer. It’s because I have been disturbed by a sound and the feeling it evokes in me. The sound might be wind whistling in the trees outside my window, or maybe it’s the honking of the Canadian geese that frequent a pond where we live. Often at night, I hear a lonely sound of a train’s whistle as it rumbles down the tracks somewhere in the valley.
When this happens, I feel inside myself a call – something that momentarily frees me from my appointed task, my role as a husband, a minister, a writer, even a human being. It frees me from everything that restrains me, and everything that protects me.
Sometimes, I even go as far as getting up, opening the sliding door and stepping out onto the patio. I let the cold wind mess up what little hair I have left, let it bite my skin. I take a deep breath. At that moment, staying warm, staying loved, staying sheltered is furthest from my mind.
I am taken away by this call. I call it The Call of the Wild. In the dictionary, the first definition of the word, “Wild” is “natural”. Natural comes from the word, “nature” and the first definition of nature is “to be born.”
The Call of the Wild is the call to return to our natural-born state. When we talk about being authentic, this is what we are really talking about.
When you and I follow our deepest enthusiasms, our clearest passions, we begin to realize some of the gifts with which Nature has endowed us. The call of the wild will always lead us to become as authentic as animals are to themselves when they climb mountain crags that only they can climb, or dive to ocean depths at which only they can survive.
Every one of us has heard this call, over and over again throughout our spiritual journey.
Wildness is not about acting crazy or being emotionally explosive. It isn’t even about venturing into the wilderness or doing some “wild-man-of Borneo” dance in your living room or at the local lounge.
When you and I try to lock ourselves into a comfortable orbit around some form of security, there is always something that comes to disturb and confound our safe and settled life. It is the passion that comes out of heeding the call of the wild. Listen. Can you hear it?
The 12th Man concept has been around for a long time. It’s not a Seahawks thing. It’s a football thing, starting back in 1900 at the University of Minnesota where they noted “the mysterious influence of the twelfth man on the team, the rooter.”
We’ve talked about Rev. David’s 12th man team here at Unity, his fans and supporters as he works through his cancer treatments and their side effects. We’re here for David. We stand up and cheer for him, pray, bring meals, share a laugh and keep him in our thoughts.
The 12th Man is a very Unity. Two of our basic principles embrace this team spirit: We create our life experiences through our way of thinking. There is power in affirmative prayer. When we root & pray together, and believe deeply in the positive outcome, we’re living these principles.
Keep your prayers coming…
for our ministry, as we transition to new leadership this spring,
for each other,
and for the Seahawks. Why not? Well, unless your a Patriots fan, then feel free to pray for the Pats!