Here we are in December and the season of Advent, our time of preparation for Christmas.
This means different things to all of us. For some it is super busy with chores and shopping, juggling work and home life. For others it can feel lonely and isolating, especially with the impact of Corona Virus still affecting so many people.
However, whether we are busy or alone, we can take sacred, quiet time, to reflect on the story of the birth of Jesus and what this means to us. There is the act of faith that Mary and Joseph represent, the peace of the stable, the love of the shepherds and the joy of the angels. For all of these qualities reside in us to develop and use.
Why do this? In part of course because we feel so much better in ourselves when we do. However, it can be much more, for in Unity we describe this season of Advent as a time of spiritual preparation for the birth or rebirth of the Christ consciousness in us.
Jesus told his disciples, those that followed his teachings, whatever I do, you too can do, and more (John 14: 12). This is a powerful message, which can feel quite daunting. However, as we develop our qualities of faith, peace, love and joy, and follow the way of Jesus, who taught love and service to others through our connection with God, we connect with the Christ energy in us and we are reborn.
To do this, we come as human beings, with all our foibles, imperfections and regrets, to meet our divinity that is pure, loving, wise and true.
It is a sacred path that until now only a few have walked. The invitation to you today, is that this is the path for all of us. The need is high, the call is powerful, the result is pure, loving wisdom working through us all.
Let us take time each day through this season of Advent, to reconnect with the divine Christ energy that is within you, me and everyone. For as we do, we find new ways to live that bless us and our world. This is the call. Are you listening? Will you respond?
Join us through Advent and Christmas to awaken the Christ energy within and live from this Truth.
Rev. Kimerie Mapletoft
There is the act of faith that Mary and Joseph represent, the peace of the stable, the love of the shepherds and the joy of the angels. For all of these qualities reside in us to develop and use.
We love this new presentation by Unity World Headquarters shown at the Parliament of World Religions. The video features prayers by Unity minsters from all around the world including our own Rev. Kimerie Mapletoft, Director of Silent Unity in the UK. Do take some time to watch and enjoy this beautiful video.
It was so refreshing to learn about being able to express my divinity through my humanity.
I am divinely human when I make a choice that helps to create the kingdom of heaven on earth: to assist a fellow human in a daily activity such as holding a door open, picking up something someone has dropped, giving a smile, a kind word, a hug.
I am being humanly divine when I sit in moments of deep quiet Silence, contemplating the Presence, the wonder of nature, the feelings of love, and the awareness of connection.
I AM one with God, choosing to express as divinely human – and humanly divine.
“Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.” Psalm 16:9
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Join us for our November workshop: The Kingdom of Heaven, The Kingdom of God
Guest post by Rev. Maggy Whitehouse
I’m a minister so it may seem strange that I took it as a huge compliment, last week, when a professor of philosophy described me as ‘more Jewish than all my Jewish friends put together.’
Why? Because it was Judaism which taught me how to heal my broken relationship with Jesus. You know Jesus was Jewish, of course … but did you know that most of the problems we have with the Christian Gospels come from not having the religious and cultural backgrounds of the people who wrote them?
The Kingdom of Heaven for example. When we read the Hebrew Testament in English, we completely miss that the writers used two different words which have both been translated as ‘kingdom’ but have profound differences in meaning. People in Jesus’ day, who didn’t read nor write and whose knowledge of the oral tradition was far deeper than the written scrolls of the Law, would have known instantly from the pronunciation of the word that one was a physical land and the other an inner experience – and one which is available to us all.
Queen Esther, for example ‘came into the Kingdom’ when she prepared to go and risk her life at the hand of the King, in order to save her people (Est 4:14). She was already Queen of Persia so this was not a physical invasion but a spiritual one.
This Kingdom is somewhere we can access quite easily through meditation or contemplation but most of us are only kicked into it at a time of crisis when our everyday comfort is shattered and our resistance is down. We resist the Kingdom of Heaven because once we are there, it’s quite clear that the next step in our development is to reach higher – for the Kingdom of God.
It’s 30 years now since a hospital chaplain told me that my dying husband could not go to heaven because he was an atheist. That crisis ensured that I threw out my inhibiting ‘armchair Christianity’ (the sort where you take your religion for granted and never really think about it). In the chasm that was left after Henry died and my security blanket was removed, I found myself exploring New Age spirituality and using all those alternative words like ‘Source’ and ‘the Light’ because I needed to reject the conventional God.
Eventually, I realised that my anger with Christianity was still suppurating, despite being, figuratively, covered in a pretty pink throw, crystals and tealights. I had to look this Jesus guy right in the face and challenge him, so I went to my local church and lay down on the floor with my arms out in the shape of a cross and prayed, with all my heart, ‘help me to understand.’
Within three months, I had met and fallen in love with a Jewish man and was learning how to live within a faith that taught me the deep mysteries within the Hebrew Testament. I learnt the subtleties of the journey from the Torah (the Law) through the Prophets to the Wisdom literature. It was like shining a light onto the Gospels which had seemed incomprehensible darkness to me.
Twelve years later, I lay on a Church floor in that same cross-like position at my ordination and, as my bishop anointed my hands, I had the first, sublime, experience of the Kingdom of God.
Let me take you there too…
Workshop: Kingdom of Heaven; Kingdom of God
In every moment, we automatically seek balance.
This is true for the baby as it learns to crawl and walk – the child learning to ride a bike – in our latter years perhaps using a stick. Indeed all structures, including ships on the water, need balance to stay upright and secure. Life seeks and requires balance.
At another level, the natural cycle of birth and death is an expression of balance – life makes way for the new. We see this when the leaves fall off the tree each autumn, providing food for the soil to support the tree as it grows in the spring – life progresses and evolves through this natural process.
The tree drops its leaves to rest, so it can more fully take up the nutrients from the ground in the warmer weather. Further, they do this in co-operation with each other, supporting each other through their roots and leaves.
Taking our cue from nature, we can witness that we are evolving too, as we seek balance in the expression of our humanity and divinity.
For most of us, it is unhealthy to sit in meditation all day every day, or continuously strive and stress. We need and seek balance between work and rest and play. We take time to pray and meditate, then follow this with guided action, to do what is ours to do in support of all life, not just ourselves.
Nature surrenders to the seasons and lets the natural order flow. We do so much better, when we surrender our purely human ‘me-first’ needs, to connect with the universal flow of greater good that is always here for us all.
Therefore, although I often speak and write about surrender, encouraging us to let go into Presence, this is purely to allow the divine flow easy expression through us and as us, so that right action can follow. For whenever we surrender whatever is in the way of us knowing our divine and beautiful natures, we are free to live authentic and creative lives, which bless us and those around us.
Further, as we seek balance in ourselves, old wounds can be healed, whether emotional, mental or physical. As we let God be God in us, our pain is dissolved and we are able to help others heal.
So this autumn, as we watch nature ‘do its thing’ without any resistance whatsoever, let us also seek our own balance. Let us take time to rest and play, to be quiet and still, knowing that as we then step forward to act, Spirit is working through us to heal and restore us, each other and our world.
Rev. Kimerie Mapletoft
Elizabeth writes In my family Daily Word has always existed. My mother went to Unity meetings when we lived in Bermuda. When I was 18 I went to England to study to be a nurse. It was there that I met my future husband. Looking back now we weren’t suited. I was young, foolish and a people-pleaser.
I had a stillborn, full-term baby boy and turned away from everything my family and church had taught me. I went through bulimia and alcohol problems trying to kill the pain and the injustice I felt of losing my child.
I felt I was being punished and I was unable to talk about what I was going through. My husband didn’t help me, he didn’t understand my problems. I went for help but was unable to admit my problems of bulimia and alcohol. I also felt my marriage was on the rocks, my husband wouldn’t talk about it, for him everything was fine.
We came to Italy in 1970 just for 2 years. I felt I needed to get away. My husband found a good job and for a period we seemed happy, but I had forgotten God. My husband was a womaniser and I was desperate. I hit rock bottom. At this point I admitted that I had a problem with alcohol and bulimia. I went for help. Fortunately I only needed to talk with a psychologist, no tablets. I recovered from alcohol and bulimia and have never turned back. I realised in the end that it was lack of love and respect for myself. I was destroying myself.
My mother sent me a subscription to Daily Word and that was the beginning of my return to the fold. I had been a lost sheep. That was back in 1988. I had a hysterectomy. I didn’t feel alone. I remember the feeling of arms around me. Silent Unity was praying for me.
Glimpses of Joy
In 2008 I eventually got a divorce and remarried a wonderful person. I was so happy. He unfortunately died in 2013. I was heartbroken but I had Daily Word and Unity helping me.
In 2012 I was diagnosed with an aortic stenosis, it gradually worstened and in July 2020 I was rushed to hospital as an emergency. I went to Careggi Florence on the Monday and on Wednesday 23rd July 2020 was operated on, to substitute the aortic valve. Before the op I was afraid but I kept repeating the affirmations Unity had sent me via a friend who had phoned them. Due to the virus no visitors were allowed.
I was only afraid when the anaesthetist came the night before to see me, making me realise a lot could go wrong. However that night I slept after praying for a good outcome.
The power of prayer
After the op I have made a good recovery. I am still suffering the after-effects of the anaesthetic, but am positive that with time all will be well. My friends and family have been supportive through all these 3 months.
My life today
I live on my own with Goia, my Lagotta dog, she has stimulated me to get back on my feet. I can walk now 5kms uphill and practically do all my housework. Every morning before starting my day I have a Daily Word reading and prayers and am so grateful to have been given a second chance and to be well. Even though I’m 77 there must still be some improvements to be made in my life.
Needless to say, Prayer and Daily Word are and will always be an important part of my life. I have come a long way.
Elizabeth. A Daily Word Reader. 2020.
Reading the Daily Word for yesterday, 26th September, two lines in particular really grabbed my attention.
First: I yield to possibility.
In Unity we talk a lot about letting go and letting God. Indeed it was Unity that introduced me to this practice. Yet so often, our minds do not like anything about this statement. Surely we know what is needed? It is up to us to sort things out ... This was certainly what I was taught as a child. Yet, working within Unity's prayer line, it has become so obvious to me that none of us know what is the very best outcome for ourselves, let alone anyone else!
This idea of yielding to possibilities really opens the door in our minds to the good that is here yet not always seen. What an exciting prospect. There is more good here for all of us than we can possibly know. The first step is to yield to this truth. For God, as universal good, is here for all of us.
The second: We are creating the space for "the dynamic creative energy of Spirit to inspire and surprise us". Perhaps even delight us ...
We do take action of course. After yielding to possibility, and letting the activity of God as good for all of us express through us, anything is possible.
This is the understanding that keeps me positive; for me and everyone on this planet. When we work together for the good of all, great things can happen. What wonder and joy is this.
Rev. Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity and Daily Word UK
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When I feel under attack, or scared about events happening in the world, my personal practice has become more and more about connecting through the heart.
I do this by being present to the part of me that feels hurt, wounded or scared. Not by blaming or shaming but with gentle, loving kindness. This practice opens me to Spirit, to Pure Awareness, that is Love and Wisdom, always present. Suddenly I am present to Self - the Christ within that knows itself as joy, happiness, freedom and wisdom. I know what is mine to do and not do and inner peace grows.
Believe it or not, it takes courage to face ourselves with loving kindness. For we have to be willing to be vulnerable and look at the parts of ourselves we do not like. However, as soon as we do, not to change ourselves because we are wrong, but to love and bless and release, the energy we describe as God, as Love and Wisdom, is deeply felt and known. We are healed of our woundedness and mistaken ways of responding, as Love heals all. As our minds and hearts heal, our bodies joyfully respond.
So, have courage: Be kind and gentle with yourself and also be willing to be vulnerable in a safe and supported place. For as we allow in the light of heart-understanding to bless us in every situation and experience, we are all healed.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity and Daily Word UK
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‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God’. How? What is it? How do you find it? And how does it differ from the Kingdom of Heaven? Is it a physical place, a psychological place, a spiritual place?
In our modern world we have forgotten the reference points that made sense of the teachings of the Bible for the early Christians. Great Unity teachers like Charles and Myrtle Fillmore lived in a simpler era when there was time to consider, to contemplate and to absorb these ancient teachings at the soul level and they lived the Kingdom of God. But we are, nowadays, prone to disregarding these ancient, powerful nuances that made the teachings of Jesus so powerful that they started a whole revolution of peace.
If we understood these phrases better, today, we might have fewer wars, less division and a kinder world. So, let’s find out what the deep inner meanings of these phrases might be, how to access such rarefied states of mind and soul and how this pivotal understanding will help us both to comprehend and follow Jesus’ teachings far more clearly.
by Rev. Maggy Whitehouse
In this video Maggy looks at the psychological state known in Kabbalah as 'Tiferet' - the place of truth and beauty. Also known as the Kingdom of Heaven, this is the place of our true self rather than our ego.
Saturday Workshop : 20th November
Unity in the UK