The Minister's Weekly Message

Rev. Mary Wood is in the office on
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Rev. Mary Wood's Weekly Messages

Please note that Rev. Mary generally updates her message on Wednesday afternoons.  You can use the arrows to move back to previous months to explore more of her blog.

JULY 2017

Date Posted Post
2017-07-18
0:00 am

JESUS, GROUP PRAYER, THEN WHAT'S NEXT?

Welcome to our last week focusing on Eric Butterworth’s inspiring and thought-provoking book The Universe is Calling, Opening to the Divine Through Prayer.

 

 

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So, in this concept of the science of prayer, where does Jesus come in?  Well, this concept of prayer comes directly from the spirit of Jesus’ teachings and loving compassion he demonstrated.  If we want to study the life and consciousness of Jesus, where do we look?  Every person is “essentially” divine, and Jesus was the one who discovered the divine depth as a potential within all people.   Charles Fillmore writes this about Jesus:  “He was more than any other person who ever lived on earth because there came into his humanhood a factor to which most persons are strangers – the Christ consciousness – the mind of God individualized.”  Jesus didn’t come to save the world, but to teach us, one by one, how to find the Christ indwelling and walk by its light.  Jesus is the supreme revealer of the truth of who we are.    He is our teacher and wayshower.

The dynamics, the love and the light of the Christ flowing forth as words, through Jesus, are what this book is about.  Jesus set the inward-out tone of prayer when he said, “Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”  (Matthew 6:6)  Metaphysically - Go into the silence, into our God consciousness, shut the door to our human consciousness, our concerns, and then pray through God, not to God.  The Christ of you and I is divine potential, and the universe calls us to work diligently to release our “imprisoned splendor.”  This is what life is all about.

The universe is calling you and I to awaken to oneness.  And group prayer, whether in church on a Sunday morning or elsewhere, is an opportunity to be part of a buildup of spiritual power that we can give to and receive from.   Butterworth has coined the word worship into worth-ship.  The Sunday worship service is not for God’s benefit, but a workshop for an expanded sense of self-worth.  Remember that old hymn “Take time to be holy!”  Actually, the word holy means whole – we are one. Take time to be established in an awareness of “Oneness” because the benefits are great!  Increased ability to discover decisions, unfold ideas, rise above challenges, improve our disposition and health. 

And when a committed group to oneness comes together, large or small, the group becomes a “group soul,” a consciousness that each person gives to and receives from, and this group can contain the answers to the needs of the people involved.   As we give ourselves lovingly to the group and trust the process, we will receive a great blessing.

Through the lessons, we’ve “stressed” that prayer is not about us attempting to reach God, pleading for help in our human needs, but about our consciousness of God.  God doesn’t have what we need.  God is what we need.  Butterworth writes, “Wherever there is a challenge or need, there is somewhere in consciousness a sense of separation.”  A true healing comes through remembering who you and I are, a spiritual being in a spiritual universe.”

There is a divine mind partner for our human needs.  There is an answer for every problem, substance for every financial requirement, and a job for every willing worker.  Let us realize there is an answer in God-mind even before we ask or claim it.    Don’t try to make a decision.  Our need is to discover a decision.  Then, we can release the pressures of standing at a crossroads, fearing that a wrong choice will be a disaster.  Emerson said that by “lowly listening” we always hear the right word.  Butterworth writes, “And it’s important to know that you can’t make a wrong decision, because the choice we make will lead us into the experience we need, to earn the right to the higher consciousness in which a more productive choice will be made…..  for life is growth.”

So, After prayer, then what?  God has already created you in his image, and endowed you with the possibilities of the Kingdom of God within.  Our need is to believe it, and to act as if we believe it.  Get busy BEING what you have affirmed.  When you pray, move your feet!

Know that waiting isn’t about time, but about consciousness.  We’ve heard the cliché “in God’s good time.” So, if we wait and nothing happens, we think “I guess God’s saying NO.”  We need to get our mind to stay on God, to keep plugged in, and to become a channel for the creative flow.”  The need is not to set things right, but to see them rightly.  Realize that Now Is the Time!  This is the moment!  I accept it!  Yes!  Amen!!  Prayer is about closing our outer eyes, opening our inner eyes of transcendence, and seeing from the highest point of view.  “I have faith in God as the source of all my good, and I bless all the channels through which it comes.” 

And then the next step is to make a commitment to give in some way.  This is one way to know we are giving way to the flow, an important prerequisite to receiving.  And this is a marvelous practice, just like scientific prayer is a marvelous practice.  And it takes practice to make it happen in your life.  Like the man who stopped the great Paderewsky on the sreets of Manhattan and asked, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”  The reply?  “Practice, practice, practice.”

I invite us to remember and practice prayer as an inward-out activity of mind.  It is not putting needs and troubles into God’s mind.  Rather, it is letting God-mind speak the words through you and I.  The universe is calling….. are you listening?

 
2017-07-10
0:00 am

PRAYING FOR OTHERS, AMEN!

Welcome to the fourth week focusing on Eric Butterworth’s book The Universe is Calling, Opening to the Divine Through Prayer.  Butterworth devotes a whole chapter in the book entitled “Great Amen”.  Many times we simply say amen at the end of our prayer – right?  But,  Amen is one of the most powerful words in our language, and its inner meaning has (by and large) been lost.

 

 

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In the King James version of the Bible, Amen is interpreted to mean “so be it.”  It is done, it is finished.  In the first chapter of Genesis, after each day, it says, “And God said, Let there be a firmament, and it was so.”  In the original Hebrew, this statement “It was so,” was written “Amen.”  In other words, this is the truth.  This is what Amen means. 

What we believe about something affects what it becomes to us.  Obviously, we are saying Amen to things all the time.  Butterworth writes, “Whatever you unite your Amen to becomes your master and rules you.”  And as we catch the implication of Amen, we see the error of traditional prayer, for example – O God, I am sick and troubled.  Help me.  Amen.”  Traditionally, prayer has been pouring out all one’s troubles in the delusion and hope that God will have mercy.  But God cannot have mercy because there is no “un-mercy” in God.  God cannot forgive you and me, for there is no unforgiveness in divine mind.  The unforgiveness is in you and me.  When we outline our problems, we deify them and then say Amen to them – This is the Truth that we put on them.  Amen is much more than a word.  Any time we accept something as true, we are saying Amen to it.

Always be sure to put a period at the end of any prayer.  Speak the word of truth, and then Amen, it is done, so be it.  Say Amen to your good.  Put the stamp of acceptance on what we want to see manifest.  We are in tune with health and substance and love and peace.  And to this we say “Amen.” 

And now lets move on to praying for others.  After listening to Butterworth’s words in previous lessons, we may be thinking, “OK, this emphasis on oneness in prayer is good.  I am not to pray to God for help, but to know my oneness, and to prayer from that consciousness.  But how do I pray for others?  Can I change their life, can I change their circumstances by my words, by changing my thoughts?”

Perhaps we should ask ourselves, “Why do I want to change another person?”  It is a great waste of human energy, this frustrated desire or effort to change other people, to help a loved one overcome a weakness or heal an illness, or resolve conflicts.  Changing other people may be meddling in their affairs.  Change is a growth process from within the person’s own self.  Very often, the desire to change other people is the desire to make them into something they are not, or something they don’t want to be, or something we think they should be.  Instead, what about saying “I love you just the way you are……”

And on the other hand, shouldn’t we try to help someone who is hurting?  Isn’t it natural for us to be concerned?   It’s very human to be concerned, but it’s not wise to act impulsively on the concern we’re holding in our human consciousness.  When a concern leads the way in prayer, we’ll fail to achieve positive results. 

The important need is not to try to affect some change in other people, but to make some change in our thoughts about them.  When we love another person, something in that person feels it and responds to it in some way.  When we think about the person we love, there’s a response in that person to that thought.  So, what happens when we put the full weight of our consciousness on their difficulty.  “You are hindering their progress.  You actually become a part of their problem.”

When we want to help someone, the work is to be done in us.  So our work is to change our thoughts, to heal and resolve our concern.  When Jesus stood before the tomb of his friend Lazarus, he didn’t cry out, “Dear Lord, this is my friend, please help him.”  He lifted up his eyes and gave thanks.  He wasn’t looking up to the skies for help but was looking away from the tomb, and by giving thanks allowed the mystic life flow.  His mind was open and receptive, as he spoke the words “Lazarus, come forth.”  And Lazarus walked out of the tomb.

When we want to help a loved one, we “lift up our eyes…  and give thanks” which means we turn away from the appearance and from our sympathetic response.  It’s difficult to pray for our loved ones when they’re hurting physically or emotionally because we love them.  To really help the other person isn’t easy, even for a good student of Truth. 

What do we always need to remember?  The first need is to heal our concern, change our thoughts about the person.  We can go apart in some way, literally or spiritually, get centered, and when we feel at peace, then we’re ready to pray from the consciousness of God, not to God.  We can whisper an affirming truth, always remembering we’re not doing this to make something happen, but to identify with wholeness, and see our loved one in this awareness.

The key is “letting go.”  Because unless we can, we can’t pray effectively for another.  How often should we pray for someone?  As often as we find our anxious thoughts creeping back.  It’s about “changing our thoughts and keeping them changed.  And if we find ourselves taking responsibility and feeling guilty, feeling we should be praying more often, then we’re praying amiss.

One thing to keep in mind when we’re praying for a loved one is “Keep the high watch.”  Keep your loved one in the awareness of wholeness.  Here are Butterworth’s words about this:  “Above all, don’t get into an ‘organ recital,’ sharing information about the condition and a doctor’s prognosis.  If we discuss the problem in a negative way, then our prayers are counteracted, and we are part of the patient’s problem.” 

Always remember, the first step in praying for someone you want to help is to heal your concern.  Let go and Let God be God in you and in the one you are praying for too.  

Next week, I invite you to be with us for our last week focusing on this book, when we’re going to talk about Jesus, group prayer, and where do we go beyond prayer.

 

 

 

 
2017-07-05
8:26 am

SCIENCE, THE SILENCE, AND STATEMENTS

Welcome to the third week focusing on Eric Butterworth’s insightful, awareness opening book The Universe is Calling, Opening to the Divine Through Prayer.   This week’s lesson reminds us that prayer is a science, and from this understanding, we look at the silence and the statements or affirmations we speak during our prayer time.  Getting an insight into scientific prayer asks us to unlearn many attitudes and practices that we’ve become conditioned to over many years.  We, in the Western world, have been conditioned to the perception of God AND humanity.  So, we’ve found it difficult to understand the oriental concept of one basic spirit, one mind, one life substance.  True self-awareness can only come through the realization of oneness with the ever-present divine flow.  We are not “in the flow” – we are the flow.

 

 

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s turning within, touching the depths of our inner self, the point where God is manifesting AS you and I.  This is a vital step in prayer that has its roots in Jesus’ words:  “Enter into your inner chamber, and having shut the door, prayer to the Father in secret.”  Butterworth suggests three basic steps in scientific prayer:  1.  Relax and let go.  2.  Turn inward to become one with the “secret” power.  3.  And then project this power with an affirmation statement or “treatment.” 

 

Imagine a 19th century fire department fighting a fire by passing buckets of water from a well by a human chain, the last person throwing the water onto the fire.  But just imagine if the bucket hadn’t first been dipped into the water.  How foolish the last person would feel as they threw their “bucket of nothing” onto the fire.  So it is with prayer when we rattle off words, without taking the time to touch the inner “wellspring of living water.”  When we let go and become open and receptive, then the divine flow springs forth.  Jesus says, “Go into your room and shut the door, and in praying, do not heap up empty phrases.”  (Matt. 6:6-7)  Prayer is what we experience beyond the words we repeat. 

 

There is an ancient Chinese saying that if a person be absolutely quiet, the heavenly heart will manifest itself.  We’re invited to turn away from our tendency to plunge into prayer by rattling off our repertoires of affirmations.  Unless we become centered in the one source within, we may use affirmations like a cosmic club to beat off the terrors of night and day.  We talk about the power of the spoken word, but words have no power of themselves.  They are wonderful instruments of power when we are in tune with the divine flow.

 

It’s important to take the time to be still and get centered at the still point within.  That is where the focus of the limitless energy of the universe is.  When we are busy talking about who we are not, we never really get out of the way so as to experience ourselves at the point of oneness.  “It is impossible for one who is surrounded with the ceaseless babble of conversation to experience the flow of creative ideas as it is for pure water to flow through a pipe containing crude oil.” 

 

There is never a moment in your life when the guidance we desire or the creative ideas we need are not present within us.  Our desire is to turn away from the confusion of life.  The prodigal son in the far country “came to himself.”  He suddenly realized “I don’t belong here.  I will arise and go to my Father.”  Metaphysically, did this involve going anywhere geographically?  No -  It was a matter of “waking up.”

 

Meister Eckhart went right to the heart of the parable when he said that the prodigal son was in the far country, but the Father was at home…  in the center of his being.  The prodigal in the far country represents living on the outskirts in materialistic consciousness.  But he came to himself; he woke up.  This is the secret of the silence.  Reality is not out there about money, possessions, relationships, and circumstances.  When we “come to ourselves,” we realize the goal is to find it within ourselves.  The answer is in the way of the silence.

 

It might be helpful to write out what you want to pray about.  Then lay the list aside – you can even burn it in a way of letting go.  We should not seek answers in our time of silence, but get centered in the cosmic flow.  Let go of the sense of doing.  Be still and know.  We can begin with a few deep breaths with the thought we are breathing in the life and breath of God.  “God is, I Am.”

 

Don’t go into a silence expecting to have a conscious experience.  The silence is not an end in itself.  It is the means to building a focus of spiritual energy.  Be still…  and in that stillness, we can know that I Am God.  God doesn’t have substance.  God is substance.  When Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is within you” he was saying that everything we need exists as a potentiality with you and I now.  So, the need is not to pray for things, but to become a channel for the release of that cosmic energy that takes form as the things. 

 

Claim your good and become a positive channel for its release.  This is the purpose of statements of affirmation and “treatment.”  Jesus was always affirming the truth for himself and others when he said I am the light of the world.”  I AM was the key to Jesus’ power:  his affirmation and realization of I AM.  Not “I want to be,” or “Dear Lord, make me to be.”  Simply I AM.

 

It’s suggested we take a few moments before prayer to reflect on the truth that God is a healing flow within us.  I found these words from Myrtle:  “Mighty currents of God’s healing love flow through me now.  My body and mind are renewed and restored.  I am whole, well, and free.”

 

We speak affirmative words to become synchronized in consciousness.  We are not praying to God about our problem.  We are getting in tune with the divine process.  Paul says, “Stir up the gift of God which is in you.”  It’s not about stirring God to action, but about stirring up our own awareness.  First comes our awareness of oneness as a mighty potential of life, substance and intelligence within you.  Then we pray from that awareness.

 

We do not speak the affirmative word to make something happen, to get God’s attention.  Affirmative words are how we get in tune and in touch with the divine flow.  We are always ‘praying without ceasing.’  Our responsibility is to choose the level of consciousness on which you deal with the everyday experiences of life.  The divine flow, always within, is an unborn possibility of limitless life, and we have the privilege of giving birth to it.  The Universe is calling.  Are you and I listening?  This is what prayer is all about.

Meditation is turning within, touching the depths of our inner self, the point where God is manifesting AS you and I.  This is a vital step in prayer that has its roots in Jesus’ words:  “Enter into your inner chamber, and having shut the door, prayer to the Father in secret.”  Butterworth suggests three basic steps in scientific prayer:  1.  Relax and let go.  2.  Turn inward to become one with the “secret” power.  3.  And then project this power with an affirmation statement or “treatment.”   Imagine a 19th century fire department fighting a fire by passing buckets of water from a well by a human chain, the last person throwing the water onto the fire.  But just imagine if the bucket hadn’t first been dipped into the water.  How foolish the last person would feel as they threw their “bucket of nothing” onto the fire.  So it is with prayer when we rattle off words, without taking the time to touch the inner “wellspring of living water.”  When we let go and become open and receptive, then the divine flow springs forth.  Jesus says, “Go into your room and shut the door, and in praying, do not heap up empty phrases.”  (Matt. 6:6-7)  Prayer is what we experience beyond the words we repeat. 

There is an ancient Chinese saying that if a person be absolutely quiet, the heavenly heart will manifest itself.  We’re invited to turn away from our tendency to plunge into prayer by rattling off our repertoires of affirmations.  Unless we become centered in the one source within, we may use affirmations like a cosmic club to beat off the terrors of night and day.  We talk about the power of the spoken word, but words have no power of themselves.  They are wonderful instruments of power when we are in tune with the divine flow.

It’s important to take the time to be still and get centered at the still point within.  That is where the focus of the limitless energy of the universe is.  When we are busy talking about who we are not, we never really get out of the way so as to experience ourselves at the point of oneness.  “It is impossible for one who is surrounded with the ceaseless babble of conversation to experience the flow of creative ideas as it is for pure water to flow through a pipe containing crude oil.” 

There is never a moment in your life when the guidance we desire or the creative ideas we need are not present within us.  Our desire is to turn away from the confusion of life.  The prodigal son in the far country “came to himself.”  He suddenly realized “I don’t belong here.  I will arise and go to my Father.”  Metaphysically, did this involve going anywhere geographically?  No -  It was a matter of “waking up.”  Meister Eckhart went right to the heart of the parable when he said that the prodigal son was in the far country, but the Father was at home…  in the center of his being.  The prodigal in the far country represents living on the outskirts in materialistic consciousness.  But he came to himself; he woke up.  This is the secret of the silence.  Reality is not out there about money, possessions, relationships, and circumstances.  When we “come to ourselves,” we realize the goal is to find it within ourselves.  The answer is in the way of the silence.

It might be helpful to write out what you want to pray about.  Then lay the list aside – you can even burn it in a way of letting go.  We should not seek answers in our time of silence, but get centered in the cosmic flow.  Let go of the sense of doing.  Be still and know.  We can begin with a few deep breaths with the thought we are breathing in the life and breath of God.  “God is, I Am.”

Don’t go into a silence expecting to have a conscious experience.  The silence is not an end in itself.  It is the means to building a focus of spiritual energy.  Be still…  and in that stillness, we can know that I Am God.  God doesn’t have substance.  God is substance.  When Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is within you” he was saying that everything we need exists as a potentiality with you and I now.  So, the need is not to pray for things, but to become a channel for the release of that cosmic energy that takes form as the things. 

Claim your good and become a positive channel for its release.  This is the purpose of statements of affirmation and “treatment.”  Jesus was always affirming the truth for himself and others when he said I am the light of the world.”  I AM was the key to Jesus’ power:  his affirmation and realization of I AM.  Not “I want to be,” or “Dear Lord, make me to be.”  Simply I AM.

It’s suggested we take a few moments before prayer to reflect on the truth that God is a healing flow within us.  I found these words from Myrtle:  “Mighty currents of God’s healing love flow through me now.  My body and mind are renewed and restored.  I am whole, well, and free.”  We speak affirmative words to become synchronized in consciousness.  We are not praying to God about our problem.  We are getting in tune with the divine process.  Paul says, “Stir up the gift of God which is in you.”  It’s not about stirring God to action, but about stirring up our own awareness.  First comes our awareness of oneness as a mighty potential of life, substance and intelligence within you.  Then we pray from that awareness.

We do not speak the affirmative word to make something happen, to get God’s attention.  Affirmative words are how we get in tune and in touch with the divine flow.  We are always ‘praying without ceasing.’  Our responsibility is to choose the level of consciousness on which you deal with the everyday experiences of life.  The divine flow, always within, is an unborn possibility of limitless life, and we have the privilege of giving birth to it.  The Universe is calling.  Are you and I listening?  This is what prayer is all about.