“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Friday, 29 April 2016

Delight in Creation

In his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero writes: "On Sabbaths we are called to enjoy and delight in creation and its gifts. ... We are to take the time to see the beauty of a tree, a leaf, a flower, the sky that has been created with great care by our God. He has given us the ability to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch, that we might feast with our senses on the miraculousness of life."

When I read this, I realised that I do this all the time. Most mornings I go out for a two-mile walk, either round the village or up into Salcey Forest. And I always have my phone with me, so that I can snap anything particularly lovely that catches my eye. I am so grateful for modern technology, because the camera in my iPhone takes surprisingly good pictures.

When I'm out and about, I try to open all my senses to the world around me, and walk mindfully, which makes it a quiet pleasure to wander alone in God's world, seeing the natural or cultivated beauty around me, listening to the ever-present birds, and sometimes, being intoxicated by the wonderful smell of newly-mown grass, or the roses in one particular front garden in our village.

I am so very blessed to have such beauty on my doorstep. Yet it is also present in the urban environment, as the photos of friends on Facebook testify. As Wayne Dyer writes, our aim should be to  "Recapture the childlike feelings of wide-eyed excitement, spontaneous appreciation, cutting loose, and being full of awe and wonder at this magnificent universe."

Monday, 18 April 2016

Discovering the Source

In the last couple of days, two memes by very different writers have been posted on Facebook. The first was by Richard Rohr, one of my favourite religious authors, who is a Franciscan monk, and Director of the Center for Action and Contemplation:

"Love is the source and goal; faith is the slow process of getting there; hope is the willingness to move forward without resolution."

(image: Center for Action & Contemplation, shared by Contemplative Monk)

The other was by Geneen Roth, whose books about women's relationships with their bodies have had a huge impact on me, particularly Women, Food and God, which taught me to love my body, rather than hating her. She wrote: 

"You already have everything you need to be content. Your real work is to do whatever it takes to realize that."

(image: Geneen Roth)

It strikes me that they are both talking about the same thing. For me, the recognition that God is Love, and that my whole life should be about growing into a more loving relationship with Him/Her - both source and goal, is a life-changing revelation. 

Having faith is the realization that God *already* loves me, just the way I am - I already have "everything you need to be content". My "real work" will be to be aware of this every day, so that I can grow closer to God, and grow into the sort of person who walks lovingly through life, cherishing that of God in everyone, and in the the natural world..

It will take a lifetime, but now I know where I'm going.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Food, Faith, and Fellowship

I came home from our General Assembly of Unitarian & Free Christian Churches Annual Meetings on Saturday, feeling quite uplifted. The Meetings are a wonderful opportunity to see "Unitarians at their best" - to meet old friends, make new ones, and learn more about our beloved Uncommon Denomination.

When you get 300+ Unitarians together all in one space, there are bound to be differences of opinion (come to think of it, this happens when there are 3!) but this year, there seemed to be a spirit of tolerance and respect around, which was lovely to experience and behold.

The title of the Anniversary Service summed up these Meetings for me - it was a Feast of the Heart. A feast of good food, vibrant faith, and good fellowship. From the Peace Fellowship's Opening Celebration to the investment of Dot Hewerdine as our new President, it was a very special few days.

I know that our numbers are dwindling at an alarming rate, but I refuse to give  up hope. I believe that what Unitarianism has to offer is so special that we need to positively articulate what we *do* believe in - freedom from subscription to a particular set of beliefs; an opportunity to share our spiritual journeys in the company of like-hearted folk, a broad, inclusive, welcoming community, and compassion and respect for those different to ourselves. What's not to like?