Midweek Faith Lift
A Panel of Preachers
Sept. 20, 2017
Rev. Heather Withers
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis &
Su Podraza-Nagle, LUT
Today our lesson is a Q & A session with our in-house Unity Ministers and our Licensed Unity Teacher. Rev. John Anderson is not able to be with us today due to a health challenge, so we will hold him in prayer and know that he is whole and well.
Our first question was from JoAnn Charlson, who asked each of us how we found Unity and how it got into us!?! I will briefly summarize the questions because I do not want to speak for each person as they spoke so eloquently for themselves.
Suffice it to say, we each came into Unity in a different way and not necessarily willingly. Unity seems to find people when they most need to find it, and it is not always when they are at the top of their game, so to speak. It is often when life has taken a swing at them and knocked them down a few times. My question to you is, “How did you find Unity? What did it mean to you to find it?”
Our second question was from Clark who asked about how Unity would respond to the current refugee crisis and humanitarian issues in our present political arena?
Again to summarize, as Rev. Heather noted, while Unity is welcoming and inclusive, it has largely stayed out of the political arena and the kind of agenda associated with Progressive Christianity and social action. Individual churches get involved as they decide to do so, but Unity as a movement generally has not done so. She is involved with the refugee family that has recently come to Ames from Sudan. Su noted that in Unity, we call Jesus our Way Shower and his example was to include everyone. We do not leave anyone out or exclude anyone as not acceptable or unwelcome. We do not have “rules” about what you have to believe or how you have to live in order to be a part of Unity.
And Rev. Deb noted that in 1983, the Fillmores attended the First Parliament of the World’s Religions and as a result, many spiritual ideas from other religions, especially the Eastern religions, found a path into Unity teachings. Unity can be describes as “Inter-spiritual, embracing the spiritual practices of all religious traditions as leading to the same place- that Center of our Being-ness that we call the Christ within. Unity has not taken positions on political issues and each Unity church is free to embrace whatever issues speak to their community. The recent Climate Statement was an unusual step and while supported by many, there was quite a bit of push back within the Unity Movement as a whole.
The final question was from Mary Cochran and she asked us to share what, if any kind of experience each of us had that felt to us like a direct experience of the Presence of the Divine. Each one of us had a unique and very personal experience. Each one of us had been touched in some way by that experience leaving a profound impression on our hearts. My observation, in listening to our stories is that in these experiences, our hearts were opened, we were changed at depth in some way, and we heard and listened to the deeper voice of Spirit, even as we all continued to struggle with the experiences of our very “human” lives. What that experience brought to me was a profound realization of that very real “Presence and Power” that is Spirit. It happened when I was in my late 30’s and it has taken lo these many years to truly live into what I “saw” in that profound experience at Unity Village. Living from that consciousness that “I am loved by Love Itself,” just as I am right now, has become my lifelong journey. Letting go of trying to “deserve or earn” God-Love is the other half of that coin. Accepting the essential Goodness of myself and all others is the path to Wholeness and peace. It is not always easy, and it asks a lot of us AND it is always joyful when your heart opens to the “Allness” of Love that you are.
Finally, my question to you is the same one. Have you had a direct experience of the Presence of Spirit, of God, and what was that like for you? How has it changed you?
Please feel free to share that with me either in person or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to hearing from you!
The full video of our responses is available on our website: www.unityofames.com
To see the current video, go to the top right hand side of the front page of the website and click on the “v”. This will take you to our Vimeo link and the first one there is from last Sunday. Enjoy.
Blessings on the Path,
Su , LUT