The Minister's Weekly Message

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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.


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0:00 am

Welcome to our first lesson from Practical Metaphysics by Rev. Eric Butterworth.  The Unity movement has often been called “practical Christianity” because we want to learn the teachings of Jesus and apply them in our lives.  Practical metaphysics is about developing and fully expressing our God nature, doing what Jesus suggested we do with our lives, loving your neighbor as you love yourself, and knowing all he did we can do too.



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 Metaphysics is not to be studied, but practiced.  We just don’t have to read about it…..  we have to put it into practice.  The Greek philosopher Zeno said “The most important part of learning is to unlearn our errors.”    Butterworth likes calling this unlearning “a new insight in Truth.”  Metaphysics is a way of seeing life, a way of seeing the universe, a way of seeing spiritual thoughts. 

There is a depth within us.  We can never really know who we are by looking at ourselves in the mirror.  There’s always something more, something deeper, richer and finer.  When I was in school, we learned that metaphysics is defined as “beyond the physical.”  But Butterworth says,  “metaphysics is not beyond the physical at all, but rather an awareness of a higher aspect of the physical.  The physical is also included.  We don’t lose sight of the whole experience.  There’s no such thing as a right or wrong way.  It’s an experience I’m involved in right now and therefore, it’s right for me.”

Butterworth thinks of the great metaphysician as Jesus who taught us about our infinite potential and the allness of God.  Jesus said, “What I have done, you can do too.” Practical metaphysics deals with a “repeatable Christ” –repeating the Christ Consciousness that’s always present. 

You and I are an expression of God.  We are the activity of the love and the substance and the life of God. 

God expresses AS you and I   Be really aware of the word “AS.”  Otherwise we go back to the God that has human characteristics.   God guiding me, directing me, God has the whole world in his hands, God’s ears, God’s hands, God’s feet.  And this is the point that we pray from.   We need a larger thought of God and a new insight of who we are,  God is all Presence, all present, now here.  The way I can know God is to know myself and to find the depth of myself.  Then I will find myself where God is expressing itself as me.  The whole expresses as the one.

No matter what we need or desire, we are never really separated from the whole.  Speaking personally, even when I stuttered, the fluency was always here.  So….Even when you and I are ill, the wholeness is always here.  That’s the key to spiritual healing.  There is a wholeness even within the illness, even within an experience of poverty because we live and move and have our being in a universe that’s whole.  I am whole, I am complete.

Thomas Troward wrote, “Wherever Spirit is at all, the whole of Spirit must be.”  God is here because you and I are here.   The whole spirit, the whole of healing, the whole of substance, the whole of guidance, the whole of creativity is present because you and I are present.  The Holy Spirit cannot be absent because it is all presence, everywhere present, constant.

Emilie Cady in Lessons in Truth:  “God is not a being with qualities or attributes, but He is the good itself coming into expression as life, love, power, wisdom, etc.”  God is not loving, God is love.  If God is love, then you are love in potential. 

God is not a healer.  God doesn’t heal because God is the wholeness of life.  Healing is the experience of leaving the darkness and coming into the light, leaving the confusion of human consciousness and coming into the wholeness that is always present.  The whole of infinite life is present even within the illness.  Our need is not to get God to do the job.  This is an awareness that can take time to accept. 

Myrtle Fillmore’s Healing Letters:   I myself was once an emaciated little woman, upon whom relatives and doctors had placed the stamp T.B.  There were family problems too.  We were a sickly lot, and came to the place where we were unable to provide for our children.  In the midst of this gloom, we kept looking for the way out which we felt sure would be revealed to us.  It was!  The light of God revealed to us that life was of God, that we were inseparably one with the source, and that we inherited from the divine and perfect Father.

I believed myself the child of God, filled with his life.  I gained.  And others saw there was something new in me.  They asked me to share it.  I did.”  And that’s how Unity began.  We can be what we desire to be because our divine potential, the Christ of you and I, is always present within us. 

John 21:1-6:  The disciples who were mostly fishermen, were plying their trade on the Sea of Galilee.  After a whole night of work, they had caught nothing.  At daylight they returned to shore, tired and discouraged.  They came upon Jesus who suggested they try again, but this time “cast the net on the right side of the boat.”  Imagine their reaction!  After all, they were experienced fishermen.  What could the carpenter know?  And yet, after all they had seen, how could they question His insights?  So, they cast out their net as He suggested, and now they were not able to haul it in for all the fish.

Let us note that the fish were always there.  The change from empty net to full nets was not in the habits of the fish, but in the attitudes of the fishermen.  So what side of the boat are you and I fishing from?  The healing stream is an eternal reality. There is a wholeness even within the illness. The whole universe is within you and I, and it is this reality of wholeness that is the key to the constant healing process within the body—even when we do nothing or know nothing about it.

Mark 9:23:  “All things are possible to them that believe.”  Perhaps not today or tomorrow because it takes us a while to wake up, but all things are possible.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said “When you’ve broken with the God of tradition and ceased from the God of the intellect, then God fires you with His presence.  When we stop relating to, pleading and begging from something/someone out there, and realize the wholeness of life, suddenly we become immersed in the presence of God. 

The whole of life is present where you are, in every part of your body, expressing as you in all your plans, your projects, and your relationships.  As you begin your day, quietly turn within and say to yourself:  “I accept wholeness as the divine blueprint of my being.  I live from this truth of my being.”  

This wholeness or Allness is present in your life as prosperity and success, in your relationship with yourself and others as infinite love, and in your body as healing and renewing.  In the beginning, Allness.



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This is our last week focusing on Steven Taylor’s book, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, living life in the Divine flow.  To have a life that goes merrily, merrily along, we start to believe that everything that happens is a doorway that leads to our highest good. 



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I like this quote from the book.  “Everything is good in the end.  If it’s not good, then it’s not the end.”   Choose to see every event as a blessing just about to bloom.  Because God’s guiding us toward our highest good – because this is what God does.  And when we make this shift in our consciousness, instead of telling God what we want, we concentrate on accepting the good.  Do you want to hear God laugh?  Tell her your plans for your life!!

Are you ready to receive what you’re asking for.  To ask in Aramaic means to claim.  What if “IT” showed up in your life today?  Are you ready to make the changes you may have to make?  Are you affirming that it’s possible, that it’s true?  Revealing Word, our metaphysical dictionary, says an affirmation is a positive statement of Truth.  Affirmations need to be in the present tense – because when they’re not, what we desire can always be just beyond our reach.

Affirmations claim what is ours in Truth.  They’re not about persuading God to give us our good.  They remind us to be open and receptive to the good that is guaranteed.  Genesis 1:31 reads, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”  But how often do we affirm negatively?  I don’t have enough money, I can’t find a good job, I can’t take a holiday this year.  This can lead to pleading and bargaining with God.

When we flip from the positive to the negative, the likelihood of us accepting our good is slim or non-existent.    When our mind’s closed to the possibility, our ears and eyes are closed.  We don’t hear the voice within or see the signs that are so often right in front of our face.  Remember, the divine flow fulfills our desires through us more than to us.

Are you an effective transmitter and receiver?  We continuously send messages to Spirit and receive messages and insights from Spirit.  When we’re negative, we shut down the channel, limiting our ability to pick up any messages the Universe may have for us.  Steven  presents an interesting concept.

Negativity has no real power of its own.  We reduce our God-given power to create positively.  For me, this fits in with what Emily Cady in Lessons in Truth says, “Since God is omnipotence (all power) and omnipresence (all presence) put aside your traditional teaching of an adverse power, evil, that may at any moment thwart the plans of God and bring you harm.  Don’t disturb yourself about the appearance of evil or darkness about you, but in the very presence of what seems evil, stand true and unwavering in affirming that God, the good, is omnipresence.  By so doing, you will see the seeming evil melt away as the darkness before the light or as the dew before the morning sun, and good come to take its place.”

Steven Taylor goes on to say, “We don’t have the power to literally attract or draw unwelcome circumstances to us through some kind of negative magnetic force.  However, when we’re in a negative space, there can be undesirable consequences.  Try making your way through your house at night.  Without a light, we can stumble over something.  We didn’t draw that something to us, we just couldn’t see it.  We didn’t attract the collision, but were more susceptible to it because we couldn’t see where we were going.

Most of us aren’t totally walking around in the dark, completely cut off from the light of God.  But….  We’re not totally walking in the light either.  Let’s not dim our light by fearing the power of negativity for it has no power.  If we find ourselves stumbling around in the dark – turn on the light!  Flip the switch!  Take a moment to say thank you, go inside, reconnect to the light of God that’s always on within. 

To row merrily, merrily, merrily is to realize our happiness does not depend on manifesting our good.  Our real, true, long-lasting happiness comes from within.  This happiness is already here – we don’t have to search for it.  We have to allow it for it is at the very core of our being.  Jesus said in John 15:9-12.  “As the Father loved me, I also have loved you; abide in MY love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” 

All the love and joy you could ever want or desire is right here, right now, not out here, but in here.  It is our choice whether or not we feel this in every minute of every day.  It’s not up to your partner, your kids, your boss or your minister to make you happy.  Go within or go without.

This brings us to the last chapter in the book entitled “Life.”  We may have thought that once we reach our goal, we’d be happy.  However, it’s really about realizing we don’t have to arrive anywhere to be happy.    So….  What’s the point of having an intention, a desire?  Emily Cady says desire in the heart is God tapping at the door of our consciousness with His infinite supply – a supply that is forever useless unless there’s a demand for it.

So, if you desire something, pick up your oars and row!  And don’t put off your joy and happiness until you get it.  Life is not about the destination – it’s about the journey.  We’ve all heard that one before.  So, row with the flow.  Let go and let God guide you to your highest good.  To see the good in a situation, we need to see the good that lies within every person in that situation.  When we come from a place of love, we see this and know this. 

It is through love that our conscious mind receives divine ideas and provides fertile ground for them to grow.  I invite you to let go of what you think you know, let go of attachments, judgements, resentments, for these stop you and I from hearing what our heart is telling us.   When we allow love to lead the way, we are in the flow – we are the flow.  We may believe that being loved is what feels good.  When somebody extends love to us, we don’t automatically feel good.  We feel safe enough to love them back.  Loving them back is what feels good.  Being love – not being loved – is the real source of our joy.  When we love, then life is good just the way it is.  We are happy right where we are, wherever that may be.

So go ahead, choose a destination, pick up your oars, and row, row, row your boat gently down the stream.  With God as our guide, the divine flow will lead us to our highest good with effortless ease.  This journey we’re on is not about getting something.  It’s about being something.  Being love every moment of the way, no matter where it takes you.  Experiencing the joy this love brings to our journey, and each and every person we meet along the way

Love one another as I have loved you, the greatest commandment every given, and the greatest destination we can ever desire.



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This month our focus is on Row, Row, Row Your Boat – a little book by Steven Lane Taylor with many wonderful insights how to live life in the divine flow.  Last week, we ended with the thought that sometimes we’ve rowed too hard and too long.  Perhaps we could have rowed gently down the stream…  our lesson for today.



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To row gently means to remain flexible to the flow, and to refrain from forcing things to go the way we think they should.  Have you ever heard or thought – it’s my way or the highway?  Being flexible to the flow doesn’t mean that we don’t make plans or have desires – it’s about not becoming attached to these plans and desires.  In Buddhism, The Four Noble truths teach that attachment to self is the root cause of suffering.  From craving or attachment springs grief and fear – what happens to me if I don’t get what I want.  There is the belief that if our desires are fulfilled, the desires will lead to our lasting happiness or well-being. 

This belief can result in further craving and desires – we want more – and so we repeat the thoughts and activities that we think bring about the desired results.  When we are free from craving and attachment, there is no grief and much less fear.  So, what thoughts or who are you attached to?  .

Here’s a Zen story that illustrates that.  Two monks were on a pilgrimage. One day, they came to a deep river. At the edge of the river, a young woman sat weeping, because she was afraid to cross the river without help. She begged the two monks to help her. The younger monk turned his back. The members of their order were forbidden to touch a woman.  But the older monk picked up the woman without a word and carried her across the river. He put her down on the far side and continued his journey.

The younger monk came after him, scolding him and berating him for breaking his vows. He went on this way for a long time.  Finally, at the end of the day the older monk turned to the younger one. "I only carried her across the river. You have been carrying her all day."  When we don’t have attachments to our thoughts and experiences, we are liberated. 

When we’re rowing our boat, which way are we facing?  We’re facing backwards, and can’t see exactly where we’re going.  If we’re always looking where we’ve been, we’ll never look at where we are or where we’re going.  When we focus on the past, we’re living in the same old stuff.  When we’re really attached to a specific destination, it’s not about taking our next right step.  It’s about wanting to control and manipulate.   We’re using our own will to influence people and orchestrate events so we can get where we want to go.  In that place, we’re on our own.  We’re not letting God be God in our lives.

So sometimes our river ride gets a little choppy.  People just don’t seem to be cooperating with us, supporting us.  It seems we have to work at it harder….  So let’s pay attention to the feelings because it probably means we’re going against the flow.  We might want to ask:  Is it better to make something happen, or is it better to let something happen.  Can you feel the difference in these words?

The central teaching of Row, Row, Row Your Boat is that when the going gets tough, the tough may get going, but the wise stop rowing.  This is not giving up.  This is opening up.  This is taking time to attune to the flow.  This is taking time to Stop, look and listen.  Look around you for any signs and then listen, perhaps the most important one.  Listen during prayer time, during meditation, during journaling, all the time…  because our messages come to us from many places.  Be open and receptive to what you’re feeling and hearing.

When we take time to stop, look and listen, we realize we are in the flow.  We let go of our attachments, our need to control, our fear to try something new.  Very often we want things to be the same because we’re counting on our past to feel safe, we’re counting on something out here to feel safe, rather than going within to know we’re always safe in the presence of God.  Go within or go without. 

We surrender.  Sometimes the word surrender is confused with the word resignation – letting go because we think we should, but still having this feeling we know best.  Surrender can be scary.  We’re not sure we’re going to like what God’s will is.  Then we find out it’s trusting that God’s will for us is only good.  Letting go of our specific ideas of what the good is, and how we’re going to get there. 

Here’s a Sufi tale that illustrates this.   A stream was working itself across the country and experiencing little difficulty.  It ran around the rocks and through the mountains.  Then it arrived at a desert.  Just as it had crossed every other barrier, the stream tried to cross this one, but it found that as fast as it ran into the sand, its waters disappeared.  After many attempts, the stream became very discouraged.  It appeared there was no way it could continue the journey. 

Then a voice came in the wind.  “If you stay the way you are, you cannot cross the sands, You cannot become more than a quagmire.  To go further, you will have to lose yourself.”  “But if I lose myself,” the stream cried, “I will never know what I’m supposed to be.”  “O, on the contrary,” said the voice.  “If you lose yourself, you will become more than you ever dreamed you could be.”    So, the stream surrendered to the dying sun.  And the clouds into which it was formed were carried by the raging wind for many miles.  Once it crossed the desert, the stream poured down from the skies, fresh and clean, and full of the energy that comes from storms.

The stream was bigger than it had ever been before.  It had so much more energy that it had ever had before.  It gave up who it thought it was and surrendered to the voice in the wind, the voice of God.

 Steve Taylor writes, “To row gently is to allow God to lead you to what you need instead of what you want.  It is to be willing to let God guide you in a direction that is different from the one you originally planned on, knowing that it will always lead to your highest good, to your greatest joy, and to the best outcome for all concerned.” 

Even when we’re rowing against the flow – rowing downstream to get upstream -  our highest good is still ahead of us, perhaps a little farther down the stream.  Have you ever taken the long way round to get somewhere?  You still get there.  You’re not going to get stuck up the creek without a paddle!  You’re still in the divine flow that’s always ready to lead you to your highest good, right from where you are.

Taylor believes the difficult circumstances we encounter are not part of a divine plan to help us grow.  These situations can help us learn our lessons, but they don’t turn up in our lives by divine design.  Is it God’s will that we suffer?  I don’t think so.  We suffer when, many times unconsciously, we row against the flow.  We have free will, and our choices can lead us away from our divinely directed course.  But, God is good, all the time – and so this chosen situation is transformed into an opportunity to reach our good. 

When we row gently down the stream, we are in the flow, excited and energized about our destination, wherever it may be.  I don’t need to know ‘cause God knows.  Wherever you are in your journey, know there’s a door that will lead you to your desire, ready to open when you’re willing to see it, when you surrender to it.  Flow gently down the stream…  and join us next week for the last lesson in this series entitled, “Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”