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One God - Over All, Through All and In All.



I love fall and winter. I love the cooler temperatures and everything that comes with the cooler temperatures. I mean, is there anyone who doesn’t love a quality sweater, a hot cocoa, a roaring fire, Thanksgiving and Christmas?


To this day, I love New Years and birthdays and anniversaries, that hopeful consciousness that affirms, no matter what happened then, you can begin again now.


Maybe that’s what someone is reading this to hear today. I don’t know. No matter what happened then, you can begin again now.


And I love the brisk winds. I’m reminded of living in West Germany and walking with my host – this spry energetic woman – who described the air of autumn while shaking her hands in emphasis, “The air is just so powerful!”


For it’s been written that it’s when those cooler temperatures arrive, it’s when those brisk winds pick up, that our wise, deciduous trees begin to recall their life energies back to center.


So, when we see those greens first start to turn to oranges and yellows and reds, when we first start to see the signs of drying and curling, what we’re really seeing is nature bringing its life energies back to center that capital “L” life might restore, renew and reinvigorate its creation again in another season.


And I find myself thinking, there are many for whom today’s world might be likened to something of a spiritual winter. There are many for whom the cooler temperatures of uncertainty, of anxiety, of change have indeed arrived. And there are many for whom the brisk winds of fear, of injustice, even of violence have indeed picked up.


And I suggest that it’s in times such as these that our wise trees remind us that it might be time to bring our life energies back to center.


Now, while that might be a pretty easy matter for a tree, involving words such as sap and water and photosynthesis (that last one is from Mrs. Madden’s 5th Grade classroom, I think). While that might be a pretty easy matter for a tree, for us a bit more complicated, maybe.


What might it mean to recall your life energies back to center that capital “L” life might restore, renew and reinvigorate you again in another season? Now, I don’t suppose I can presume to answer that question for you but I can certainly speak for myself when I say that to recall my life energies back to center is to withdraw myself from conversations that are going nowhere.


As a minister, this translates on a weekly if not daily basis into the decision to continue to offer a message of oneness and equality and possibility and radical inclusivity Sunday after Sunday after Sunday to all who can hear it; and to tithe those who cannot hear it back to God. It’s entirely possible to be so enwrapped in what isn’t, you see, that we lose what is. It’s entirely possible to so clamor after the people who aren’t (shall we say) that we neglect the people who are.


Noting that most of you don’t run spiritual centers, perhaps the most common form of conversations that are going nowhere can be found in your latest social media argument. You know the one. And if that latest social media argument has compromised your peace, your sleep, your balance – if that latest social media argument has sapped your energies – I might be speaking to you. The wise tree might be speaking to you.


Are you giving your life energies to conversations that are going nowhere? Are there some people you need to tithe back to God?


What might it mean to recall our life energies back to center that capital “L” life might restore, renew and reinvigorate you again in another season? Now, I don’t suppose I can presume to answer that question for you, but I can certainly speak for myself when I say that to recall my life energies back to center is to reset the true north of my inner compass from popularity to integrity.


Dear friends, you – like me – cannot be all things to all people and you aren’t supposed to be. Oh, what a relief, right?


I don’t have to pretend to teach bilocation and remote viewing and instantaneous healing and the many other disciplines which I don’t yet grasp (which isn’t to say that I don’t believe in things which I don’t yet grasp). I don’t have to pretend to teach those disciplines which are, quite simply, best suited for others at the present time.


At this point, mine is to offer interpretations of scripture which would pull humanity together and up instead of pressing humanity apart and down. Mine is to remind you in an infinite number of creative ways that you are so much more than your body and that you are deeply connected to the entire family of life; and then mine is to help us practice these ideas.


That’s who I am today.


What if Emerson was right? What if to be yourself in a world that would constantly try to make you something else really is your greatest accomplishment? What if you are here to get really good at being you? What if we might recall our life energies back to center by remembering that a deeply spiritual life will both attract and repel and by just allowing this to be so? Have you ever thought of that?


Have you ever considered the possibility that if everyone seems to like you, you might not be living your most authentic life? That if everyone seems to like you, the egoic self of you might celebrate even as the highest self of you pays the price?


My way of reminding myself of this is to say (and many of you have heard me say it), let me go to bed every night with my integrity because if I insist on going to bed with my popularity, I may never sleep again.


What might it mean to recall our life energies back to center that capital “L” life might restore, renew and reinvigorate you again in another season? I don’t suppose I can presume to answer that question for you, but I can certainly speak for myself when I say that to recall my life energies back to center is to make the difference I can make, right where I am.


What is it about the human mind that gets itself so enrolled in what’s happening in other minds, in other families, in other geographies (in what’s happening out there) that we completely miss the opportunity to make a difference right here? What is it about the human mind that gets itself so enrolled in how the world might better contribute to us that we completely miss the opportunity to better contribute to the world?


What is it about the human mind that would effectively delay a better world by suggesting that a better world should begin somewhere (anywhere) other than where we are?


I can certainly speak for myself when I say that to recall my life energies back to center is to make the difference I can make, right where I am. I might suggest that there are people in your sphere who would benefit from your warm smile today. There are people in your sphere who would benefit from your kind word today. There are people in your sphere who would benefit from your simple wave, your welcoming presence, your generous concession today.


It seems rather self-evident that if God gave us four square feet to manage, we might do well to actually manage it.


If I didn’t believe that a small group of people in Lynnwood, Washington (and a not-so-small group of people across the country) were capable of giving rise to a world in which all authentic spiritual traditions are embraced as tools to bring us together and to lift us up instead of wielded as weapons to press us apart and keep us down, I would go into the autobody repair business right now. I would just satisfy my own artistic sensibilities, rebuilding classic muscle cars while listening to loud disco music and eating Fritos.


But I do believe. I believe the world will be made better by your next kindness, you see. I believe the world will be made better by your next curiosity.


And what might it mean to recall our life energies back to center that capital “L” life might restore, renew and reinvigorate you again in another season? I don’t suppose I can presume to answer that question for you, but I can certainly speak for myself when I say that to recall my life energies back to center is to pause.


There are those among us who can speak far more eloquently than I about the effects of perpetuating a fight-or-flight state, day after day after day. What I can say (and you already know this – this isn’t theory but science) what I can say in my rudimentary way is that it’s not good for you. Perpetuating a fight-or-flight state day after day after day slows development, compromises immunity, and reduces cognition. Said in plain speak, perpetuating a fight-or-flight state day after day after day will make you stuck-er, sicker and stupider.


Accelerated beyond any generation before ours, we are inundated with the fearful propaganda of profiteering machines which would sell that propaganda at the high cost of your individual soul and our shared humanity alike.


Add this to a stew of a pandemic seasoned with uncertainty and instability and the opportunities to perpetuate a fight-or-flight state are many. And yet the tired cliché remains true. If you are simply staring at the oxygen mask that’s fallen from the cabin ceiling of the plane, if you’re to be of any use whatsoever to yourself and to everyone else, you’ve got to put it on yourself first


That means that if you want to be of maximal benefit to your loved ones, you’re the one who has to break that state. If you want to be of maximal benefit to your community, you’re the one who has to break that state. If you want to be of maximal benefit to your world, you’re the one who has to break that state.


If you want to break away from getting stuck-er, sicker and stupider, you’re the one who has to read a book, listen to music, play your guitar, take a breath.


Conversations such as this are what happens, dear friends, when I spend time with a tree, which I did this week.


And while this might seem strange to some, it’s comforting to me to realize that where I would see balance out there (where I would see creatures driven not by a selfish too-much-ness but a divine enough-ness) I might realize this as a call of balance in here for the God of nature is the God of me.


Where I would see wisdom out there (where I would see the magical call of those millions of Monarch butterflies who trek from the plains of the Midwest to Michoacan, Mexico for the Day of the Dead celebration year after year after year), I might realize this as a call of wisdom in here for the God of nature is the God of me.


Where I would see resurrection out there (where I would see the spring bloom appear from the frosted branch; where I would see the morning sun rise from the dark horizon) I might realize this as a call of resurrection in myself, for the God of nature is the God of me.