I’m just back from a wonderful weekend in Dallas TX, sharing with my good friend and former boss, Rev. Ellen Debenport. We talked our way through three meetings together (including two meals!), and then ‘went public,’ presenting ourselves in dialogue for the two Sunday services at Unity in Dallas. I am grateful beyond words for each and every person who attended one or both services, and for the all-embracing love with which you received us. It was a rich and joyful experience.
Our overall theme for the two dialogues was whether we had changed as ministers since our time at Unity of Dallas; and if so, how. We decided to focus at the early service on how we might have changed as ministers, and to discuss at the later service if and how our perspective on spiritual Truth has changed as well. I can only hope that those who were listening got as much out of it as I did while participating.
Let’s take the latter question first. Truth is Truth, of course – eternal, infinite and constant. But if we’re doing the spiritual work we are here to accomplish, it must surely be the case that we are always discovering more about Truth, seeing it each day from surprising and rewarding new perspectives.
I’m speaking only for myself here, but I think Ellen and I both experience Truth today in a more focused, more active way. I’ve been living with Truth for many years now—learning it, studying it, applying it, teaching it. I think it’s now time to stop considering Truth as if from a distance, and to actively claim it as the very essence of my Being. For me this involves being very mindful of the language I use in naming or applying my faith. Language is, by its very nature, dualistic. Nonetheless, I can use it carelessly or carefully. If I use it carelessly, I am allowing ego mind to sneak in some old, familiar beliefs in a God apart, or in prayer as an expression of need. Used carefully, the words I use can state my intention and affirm my Power. We’re not here to learn Truth, pass a test and move on. We’re here to be Truth, to use it as the basis for all our choices.
As for the first topic, Ellen and I both recognized that we now serve spiritual communities much smaller than our Dallas experience. And we’ve both recognized that the power and completion of spiritual community does not depend on numbers—either of attendance or of income. I have stopped worrying about the empty seats, stopped feeling guilty if they weren’t all filled. I try instead to focus on the seats that are filled. Who are these people? What are their passions? What are their concerns? How can we, as community, serve? What role might I play?
Sometimes there are fewer than a dozen filled seats, sometimes many more. Last Sunday in Dallas there were hundreds. Same difference! When two or more are gathered to share and appreciate Truth, then that communal circle is complete. And ‘gathered’ can mean so much more today than in the past. We are gathered right now, you and I and everyone reading this message. We are complete. In fact, we are perfection!