Various religious denominations have captured news headlines with revelations of misconduct, abuse and disagreement within the organizations. In the wake of these news headlines, I find my thoughts gravitating to why Unity is important to me and what I expect from faith leaders. Indeed, I expect myself and other faith leaders to live what we teach, to live by the sacred texts and to practice the life we suggest others live. This is a life which for me, includes a devoted practice of prayer, meditation, forgiveness, mindfulness, compassion, and gratitude, along with any other practice that draws me closer to the Divine. Contemplation, introspection and self-awareness are also important components of my spiritual life.
The reality is those who are called to ministry, those who are called to be faith leaders, are still oh so very human. Ministers, pastors, priests, nuns, monks, and any other persons duly called and recognized by their faith tradition as a leader are living out their spiritual and religious call expressing in human form just as all others are.
We can, by the news headlines, clearly see that we are all spiritual beings, living this human experience. We are occupying a physical body, learning and growing, reaching and stretching to realize our highest spiritual potential. We are all fallible as we express both our divinity and exercise our free will. We are all capable of both the extreme good that is within us because we are born in the image of our Creator. Remember, that when human was created, we were declared “good, very good” with dominion over the rest of the earth. We are also endowed with the gift of free will. As we exercise our free will from our human consciousness, we experience moving from that spiritual discernment of choosing from our divinity to human discernment, choosing from our free will.
When I hear the words “for all have sinned [missed the mark] and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), I know that I sometimes, ok often, miss the mark of living from my highest consciousness.
Should we expect our clergy and spiritual leaders to live from a high standard of behavior? Yes, absolutely yes. I am also compelled to recognize that we are all in physical form, living in this human world, confronted with the choices and moving from either our human self or divine self. I am, we all are, capable of living the beauty of our divinity and the darkness of ourselves.
In Unity I have come to learn and greatly appreciate the acceptance and self-love of my humanity while I continue to raise myself to the spiritual realm. We all do this each time we pray. We consciously connect with the Source of all life. I am drawn to Unity teachings and I appreciate the acceptance of the goodness of all people. We may be expressing our humanness, acting out of pain, yet, within all of us is that which is divine. I appreciate that in Unity a conversation of people includes honoring the experiences of each other while calling them to remember the truth of their being. I appreciate that I can fall short, pick myself up (or call for help), dust myself off, and begin all over again. I appreciate the practical living of our Unity principles. Most of all, I appreciate a spiritual community that exists on the foundation of divine love. Love that always embraces, always honors wherever I may be spiritually. I appreciate a love that calls me higher and higher into itself and asks that I love humanity with the same fervor.
I often recite to myself the blessing we share with our children and they with us, each Sunday
God loves you and accepts you, just the way you are.
I love you and accept you just the way you are.
I behold the Christ you are.
These are powerful words that encourage me, lift me up, and call me to remember “I am made in the image and likeness of God”.