We are connected through the presence that created the universe
We often open our prayers with, “There is only One Presence, One Power and One Life in this universe.” I want to look at what this means tonight. There's only one presence in this universe. There's only one thing, that’s all there is, and that is God. No matter what we're doing in our lives, how far off track we feel, however distant we feel from God, there is no way we can ever really be separate. We must be part of God if that's all there is. If there's nothing that's outside of God, we can never be separate. We're always part of it.
I believe that we were created to give physical expression to the energy that is God. In one of my favorite songs, “Use Me”,
Ricky Byers wrote, “God needs us to shine Its light as me, as you.”
We are physically manifested expressions of the Divine, of the energy that created this universe.
I don't think our humanness was a mistake. I don't think God planned humans one way, and we turned out a different way. On the back of your bulletin are listed our beliefs as a church family, number three is, “We believe in a loving God that rejoices in our humanness.” We believe in a God that is excited and rejoices in the fact that we are human beings, the fact that we are stretching ourselves and making mistakes. That's part of the process.
There have been beings throughout history that help show us a way that's easier. Jesus was one of those beings, he showed us what a life could be like if we were constantly aware of our connection with God. There is a plan and a purpose for our lives, which includes embracing the fact that we are all constantly connected. There is no separation between us.
When I really get in touch with the fact I'm never separate from God, it gives me a sense of security. Even if I go off and make a decision from my littleness I’m not stuck with it, I’m not ever separate. There is always hope for me to change, to go a different way. I am able to let go and make choices knowing God has a plan for me. When I am able to get quiet enough to hear that Still Small Voice speaking to me, I can learn more of what that plan includes. Much of the time we have other voices in our minds based on fear and what we have been taught about the physical world. They can be so distracting that we don't hear the smaller voice. When we let go of that little rat race that we have created for our lives, we can hear that quieter voice, and we can begin to make decisions that are more in line with what God would have for us.
Even in my darkest times, when I feel the most separate from that presence, I'm not. There's a saying, “If you're feeling distant from God, who moved?” Who is it that moved? The poem about footprints in the sand to me represents my belief of what God is for us. That in the darkest times, God is carrying us through those difficulties.
As we develop our awareness of that constant connection we begin to feel it, not only with ourselves, but with other people as well. My friend told me about a tradition in Turkey he was raised with that I love, whenever he moves from one activity to another, he speaks the name of God. This is such a powerful reminder. So in moving from one activity to another, I can say, “God is with me”, “I am moving with God”, “God is present here with me”, whatever feels right, whatever can remind me, God is with me in this action, whatever I'm doing. As we remind ourselves, we can begin to make different decisions that lead us to happier, more fulfilled lives.
When we begin to move with this awareness, we learn to make decisions by listening to our gut, feeling what's right and what's not. At first it can be hard to trust. Our other beliefs, other fears speak so loudly, it’s hard to hear that voice. It is a practice we can learn, to check in when making decisions, when moving from one activity to another. Learning to trust it and to practice listening for it will change the choices you make.
Image you see two islands; the islands seem separated by water. I often feel like an island, separate from all other people. But if you look deeper at those islands, below the surface of the water, they're connected. They're connected to the earth through the ocean floor. The same is true for all of us. Even though we feel like an island, we are, at the deepest level, connected to every living thing on this earth. We are connected through God. When we fully embrace this knowledge it's very difficult not to follow the golden rule, not to think about how my actions are going to affect someone else. We begin to think of other people first.
There is a story in John, where Jesus comes to a well and he speaks to a woman there. She is a Samaritan and at that time Jews and Samaritans did not associate, they were looked down upon. This woman at the well, not only was she a Samaritan and a woman, but she had also been married five times, and was living with someone who was not her husband. Not only did he talk with her, but it is said, he shared his deepest truth with her. He shared the deepest part of his ministry with her, this Samaritan woman, who had been married five times and was living with someone who was not her husband. This woman, who had all these strikes against her and yet he shared his deepest truth with her.
Over and over again, he crossed the boundaries of social prejudice, of judgment. We can learn to do the same, to not see people by their outer package, but begin to give everyone a chance to share their deepest truth, to listen to what they have to say, to the gifts they have to offer us. We can use the awareness of our connection with the presence and power that created this universe to see that presence in others, to feel our unity with all life, with all people.
We are all one.