Happy New Year
As the New Year turns, and we look back on 2022, many of us will remember times of pure joy as well as times of loss and sadness. This is part of the human experience. Yet, as we teach and live in Unity, we are also spiritual beings.
This eternal part of us knows deep within our being that throughout every experience, in every moment, the activity of God as love, life and wisdom is here to guide, comfort, uplift and support us.
When times are easy, we may not think about the activity of God in our lives. We simply get on and enjoy them. Often, it is when life becomes difficult that we suddenly think about God, even if only to wonder where God is.
We are here, in Silent Unity’s prayer ministry, and through Daily Word, our devotional bi-monthly magazine, to hold the high watch of knowing God as good is here in our midst. Always, unconditionally, keeping us close and revealing our good to us, individually and for all of us as a whole.
Whatever is happening in your life, we are here to support you and gently remind you of the constant, unchanging, pure expression of God, with us always.
We are also here to offer ideas and practices to grow our awareness of our spiritual self, so that we don’t just cope, but thrive, whatever is happening. This is a learning experience for all of us.
To help us do this, at the turn of the year we always offer the experience of letting go, to open, claim and give thanks for our good in the coming year.
This year we are delighted to offer this to you in two different formats:
Let us join together in Unity and welcome the deepening of our spiritual identities as we embrace our human experiences. It is truly our honour and privilege to connect with you as we do.
I am thE Light Reborn
If you have been joining us in reading this year’s Unity Advent booklet, you will have noticed that many of the readings, particularly in the last week leading up to Christmas Day, have been inviting us to accept, claim and live as the light in the world.
For many, that has not been so easy this year. Yet, the Light is constant within us, here to express as us, to the extent that we can accept, claim and live.
There is no pressure ‘from on high’ here – no demand that we must do this. It is a simple invitation, one that our soul took up when we were born into this world, to know the Light and be the Light.
Jesus, as our Way-Shower and guide, knew this. Yet he also said, do not call me good, for only my Father in Heaven is good. Thus, claiming the light is not an ego trip. In truth, it is a surrender into Spirit, into God, into Pure Love and Wisdom. As we surrender our humanity, the stories of our lives, the human identity, the Light becomes us. Moreover, as we allow this transformation to occur, we become, as Jesus did, an example for others to follow, so that they, too, can know the Light within and as them.
Therefore, this Christmas, let us all with grace, accept, claim and live the Light, so that others in the potential darkness of human experience, can hear the call to awaken and rejoice in their divinity.
Take time each day to rest in the silence, making space within heart, body and mind to know the Light. What a perfect gift this is for ourselves and our world, this Christmas.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Daily Word and Silent Unity UK
As we near Christmas we recognise what we can give to others. When we look to the divine with all our heart, we connect with a divine essence. In the Christmas carol ‘ In the Bleak Midwinter, one verse describes being poor and having nothing to give the Christ child. Instead the writer gives the only thing she has, her heart. This is the last verse of the song and we are left with the image of the writer handing her whole life over to the divine. The power of this message is clear even in a few words.
Of course in truth we are never spiritually poor, through giving to God we are richly and abundantly blessed. We tap into our heart and there is the message, the message of God’s love for us, within us and as us. The abundant blessing bestowed on us and the truth that we can never out give God. In the story the writer gives the only thing she can and the most precious thing of all, her own heart. We can be certain that when we truly give our heart to God, dedicating ourselves to this love, we are transformed and receive every blessing. We are filled up, we have enough to give, our cup overflows, we let it flow and we let it bless others.
The story of the Christ child’s birth is a powerful one symbolically, and an image that always stood out for me even as a child was the giving of the gift . Every character in the nativity play has a gift to give; a cuddle toy lamb from the shepherds, a collection of sparkly boxes wrapped up to represent the treasure of the Wise Men.
As a child I often wished that there was a character that arrived without a physical gift. Indeed in some folk versions of the story there is an extra character. Sometimes a poor shepherd boy, other times a holy fool or a young entertainer who makes the child laugh. I learned recently that in parts of southern France they have a tradition of adding extra figures to the nativity set, ‘santons’ or little saints. These figures represent people in the community who they want to honour or thank.
I think this also serves as a reminder that we are part of this story too. We all have a gift to give, to give without expectation or reward, simply with love.
Take a moment to imagine that familiar stable, almost as if we have always known it. The smells of animals, the rough touch of the straw, the sound of hushed voices and angelic singing.
A woman and man stand watching over the manager in wonder. See the figures gathered round, travellers from around the world drawn in by love, a sense of a new hope in the darkness. Overhead we see a bright shining star making night seem like day. A sense of peace, love, and abundant joy. Stay with this image for as long as you wish.
Many blessings to you. Happy Christmas.
Daily Word UK Editor, and Storyteller
Let go and open to wonder
In his talk Rev. Ken Bradley explores letting go and awakening to wonder.
Discussing 'The Golden Key' by Emmet Fox and an affirmation to say if something appears lost:
In divine mind nothing is lost, stolen or mislaid. That which is missing is immediately made manifest, or replaced by something of equal value. The talk is followed by a reading of Daily Word from the archives.
In this podcast we share short talks and meditations from Unity teachers.These include regular 'musings' by Rev Ken Bradley, interfaith minister and Unity teacher, based on Daily Word readings and Unity concepts.
We are the Light
As I reflect more deeply, these lights, small as they are, when connected to each other, bring great joy, fun and enrichment to our lives. Metaphysically (in other words looking beyond the physical experience) these lights represent the true light in us. For, as we teach in Unity, every one of us has this divine light at our core – the Christ light within us, our true and beautiful Self, that shines brightly even in the darkest of times.
It is true that some lights are brighter than others are. Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and so on, are examples of how great people live and share their inner light. Yet we all have this light within us, waiting to be ‘switched on’ as it were – by us. We simply need to know the light, claim the light (with humility and awe) and then live by our inner light.
Another important aspect is seeing how these strings of lights represent our connection to each other and indeed, that we only exist as we do through this good connection with each other. The stronger the connection, the brighter the light.
Not one of us is alone when we help each other. None of us feels alone when we give and share our light, love, wisdom and understanding with life around us.
As we enjoy the Christmas lights this season, let us also take time to recognise the light within us, and connect with each other to help call forth the light within us all.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity Prayer Ministry and Daily Word, UK
What wants to be born in you?
As I listen to the radio, already they are playing Christmas songs. Even though November feels much too early for me, the songs do bring about a sense of cheer and upliftment - well mostly! Which is a good thing. As, for many of us, the year has been a difficult one, with perhaps the thought: how will this change, how can I get through this, when will life get better?
It is all too easy to feel bogged down, especially when the news focuses on problems far more than solutions and all the good things that are happening. As I reflect on this, especially at this time of year, I believe that something new wishes to be born in us. Life is offering us the opportunity to live in a new way, respond in a new way and serve in a new way. The old ways of living, of exploitation, greed and ‘my needs must be met ahead of yours’, is calling to be changed.
This, in many ways, is what Jesus represents; it is certainly how he lived. As a Jew, he was born into a time when their lives were under strict commandments and laws, 613 to be precise. However, any laws, if lived without love, are meaningless. In Matthew 5:17 it is written that Jesus told his disciples, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfil.”
So how do we fulfil the law? With love and wisdom. Seeking to connect with each other and with life in a way where all can be honoured, respected and blessed. This was Jesus’ ministry and it can be ours as well.
As we prepare for Christmas through this season of Advent, to celebrate the birth of Jesus and, as we describe in Unity, the re-birth of the Christ energy within us, we can ask of ourselves, ‘What wants to be born anew in me?’ Take a moment to think about this for yourself. Pausing in our lives, as the Advent season invites us to do, makes space for us to hear the still small voice of God and feel the love that is God, encouraging us and guiding us.
Perhaps there is the desire in you to open your heart more fully with compassion and insight … perhaps there is the desire in you to learn something new to help you serve in a new way … perhaps there is a desire in you to reconnect with the land in a way that is harmonious, inclusive, caring, nurturing and wise.
Whatever it is, God, as the Christ light and energy, is seeking to be born in us, just as this energy was born and lived through Jesus. It may feel like a huge call. However, as we take small steps to enable this, our whole planet will come back into balance and harmony, because we will be living in balance and harmony with each other and ourselves.
So, what wants to be born in you this Christmas? Take time to pray, reflect, listen and realise the Truth that abides in you and how you can live that Truth in your own unique and amazing way. I know, because you are reading these words, that you are making space even now to know this.
My friends, may your Advent season be a time of renewal through faith, peace, love and joy. In addition, may each one of us know the birth of the Christ energy in us more deeply than ever before. This is the calling. Let us each respond. Have a beautiful and blessed Christmas.
Prayer, loving not fixing
Have you had the experience of someone saying ‘I will pray for you’ because something is wrong and needs fixing? Or experienced someone telling you what you should do, or know, in a certain situation? If you have, you may well become defensive, resentful and push away any of the kindness that may be there. Any implied criticism is not prayer – it is fixing, even if we think we have someone’s good in our heart.
However, when prayer is the simple gift of unconditional love; when we recognise that in the midst of human suffering, here is God also, and hold them in the powerful, yet tender, light and love of God, this message of love and support reaches them. In my twenty years of service in Unity’s prayer ministry, this is always the most effective way of prayer. It connects, it loves; it heals us all.
Therefore, whenever we have a concern, whether for another or ourselves, let prayer be the silent gift of unconditional love that heals, harmonises, uplifts and restores.
In Unity we call this ‘praying from the consciousness of God’. That is, not dwelling on a problem or person who needs sorting out, or changed in some way, but in recognition of our Oneness with Pure Being, abiding here with all of us, as our constant source of love, light and healing.
As we take time to let go into the Divine as Pure Love and Wisdom, and open our hearts to All That Is, we truly relax, receive and know the blessings of God.
From this experience of Peace, Love, Insight, we can hold our loved ones in this energy and know, without any sense of anxiety, the highest truth for them as well – they are beloved of God, and one with their good, without dictating what that good is.
Let us share the gift of love with another through Silent Unity, our prayer ministry, and feel the unconditional gift of love and support we can experience together.
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity and Daily Word UK
Yet the good news is that as we begin to accept our humanity, our foibles, mistakes and errors for what they are, our experience as human beings, learning and growing in a human body, we can move beyond identifying with these errors and claim our divinity. We will be able to say with joy that I am, and you are, a beautiful, creative, inspiring being; a blessing in the world.
The invitation, in all of this, is for every single one of us to accept our differences, our human mistakes and experiences, to help us see through and beyond them to Spirit that shines brightly within, whenever we open the door to this experience. As we accept our humanity, we can claim our divinity.
So what can you do this week to deepen the connection with Spirit in you and in those around you?
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity and Daily Word UK
I Stand on Solid Ground
I often use this statement to help me feel strengthened and connected, through faith, with all that is good and true.
It is my reminder to reconnect with the nurturing strength and power of Mother Nature along with the ever-present wellspring of Divine life, love, strength and peace that is flowing in, through and out of me, into the world.
When we feel connected to our Source of goodness, whether described as God, Presence or Universal Love, we find we can withstand whatever is happening around us, or within us, because there is a presence and power here to guide, uplift and transform us. Jesus is the perfect example of this.
Whenever I feel knocked around by life or people, I take a moment to breathe and get still, feel my feet on the ground or earth and breathe in the earth energy up through my feet, to fill me as strength and well-being. Then I focus on the flow of divine light and love, as it were coming in through my head and out through my feet into the earth. Connected in this way, a conduit of energy, I am filled, able to beam love and wisdom out through my heart to those around me.
It is a simple technique, but easy and so effective. Next time you feel knocked off course, try this exercise and let me know how you get on. If you have other techniques that help you, please email me for us to share on our blog post. I look forward to hearing from you.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity and Daily Word UK
The Power of Gratitude
Well … do you feel that there is a lot going on right now – in the UK and around the world? That life is speeding up; pushing you forward, seemingly chaotic, feeling unsure about the future? Perhaps you feel lost and struggling right now. Alternatively, you may feel alive and uplifted, knowing who you are and your role in life.
Either way, there is one thing guaranteed to support us each day – gratitude. Meister Eckhart, the great 14th C. Christian mystic, wrote, “The only two words we need to say in prayer are ‘thank you’”. Pause a moment … does this resonate with you?
Charles Fillmore, Unity co-founder, said: “Gratitude is a great mind magnet and when it is expressed from the spiritual standpoint it is powerfully augmented.”
What is this spiritual standpoint? It is the understanding and acceptance that, with God as our Source and supply, our good is here for us, even if we cannot see it, ready to fill our awareness and experience in a way that we can see and use.
Yet appreciation, gratitude, is more than mere words – it is a feeling. It is this feeling that is like a mighty magnet, drawing even more of universal good into our experience. Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla write in Unity’s The Quest, “Feelings are the catalyst and activate the powers which make the changes and do the work.”
Our part is to lift our thoughts away from the problems, demands, fears and distractions of this world, to connect with a deeper, abiding knowing of, as Jesus said, ‘The Father and I are one.’ From a deepening sense of Oneness, we are led forward together.
Gratitude helps us do this. We can always find at least one thing to feel grateful about. This feeling of gratitude begins to shift our minds and hearts to a deeper faith and trust. There is good here. This enables us to see more goodness around us, and experience within us.
Then, as we make this inner shift, we are able to support others and help them know that there is good here and even more good than we can imagine. Especially when we work together.
Right now on planet earth, we are being called to be better stewards of our planet. To take care of ourselves, each other, our climate and the bio-diversity that is so important in a balanced and healthy world. Yet we can only really do this when we feel connected to something greater than ourselves that is uniting us and working through all of us.
Gratitude will do this. Let us find something different to be grateful for every day through November. Feel into the joy and sense of appreciation and upliftment this encourages. Perhaps journal, with art work, your blessings and joy. (Join our class.) Watch for more things to be grateful for in your life, and know you are being the catalyst for someone else to feel grateful and experience their good.
Together, as we share our abilities, time and gifts with others around us, we will find a way to help bring back balance and harmony in our world. We will support each other in using less, helping more and finding so much joy in doing this, that our gratitude overflows.
This is how life is changed. Let us be the change we wish to seek. Let gratitude be the tool to get us there.
Unity in the UK