Last week’s activities at Unity Church of the Hills was one of the peak experiences in the entire history of this beautiful ministry. The UCOH community celebrated the retirement of our beloved spiritual leaders for the past ten years, Rev. Steve and Mary Bolen. UCOH has now officially entered a new era in its history and a new stage in its “year of transformation”.
At the beginning of 2017, the UCOH spiritual community established an intention to consciously embrace the changes we would experience and co-create this year as a “Year of Transformation”. To this end, we have established a theme for each of the four quarters in the calendar year to help us focus on key spiritual principles that can facilitate our transformation to its highest good. To date, our spiritual themes have been Wisdom (January – March) and Grace (April – June). We have focused on these divine ideas in our lives and in our community, allowing the power of their divine intelligence to inform and transform our lives.
This coming Sunday, July 2nd, is the first Sunday services of the new third quarter, and the spiritual idea we are focusing on for the next three months is peace. I am honored to be leading the 9:25 & 11:25 a.m. Services this Sunday, and I will be offering a message titled “The Commitments of Peace”. In Sunday’s talk, I will focus on three of the seven commitments we need to make to ourselves in order to create peace in our lives more consistently, more of the time. What follows is a brief glimpse into Sunday’s message.
The First Commitment: Peace
The first commitment we must make in order to create and experience peace is to peace itself. This may sound a little like stating the obvious. However, it is abundantly helpful to our progress to understand and know that without a commitment to live according to the principles of peace, there is no possibility for us to create and experience it. Like all spiritual gifts, we must ask for peace to receive it.
We don’t simply find peace. It is not just laying around on the ground for us to happen upon it once in a while. Additionally, peace cannot force itself upon you from the outside in. No thing and no one outside of you can insure your peace. Peace is completely an inside job.
The only place we can ever experience peace is within our own consciousness. Peace does not just happen. We create peace from within by living according to the principles of peace. But before we can achieve this end, we must make a commitment to the experience of peace. Then, we assume personal responsibility for creating peace in our experience, rather than wait on the world to be at peace before we allow it for ourselves. If peace is going to be, it is up to me.
The Second Commitment: Love
In order to create and experience peace in our lives, the second commitment we must make is to love. As one of the “Twelve Powers” articulated by Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore, the power of love is the harmonizing power. Love is a creative principle that brings everything in our experience into alignment and harmony. Without harmony, peace is impossible.
Peace is not a cause. Peace is an effect. Specifically, peace is the effect or consequence of expressing unconditional love, or agape. There are many aspects to the expression of love in our experience, not all of them lead to peace. In truth, only agape can lead to peace, because it is the only expression of love that is selfless. Agape is a love of the soul in its universal sense, rather than its personal sense.
Peace is not possible without a sense of the universal. To create and sustain an experience of peace in our consciousness, we must be willing to transcend the personal and to become one with the universal. This does not mean we have to deny our personal experiences and expressions of love. However, we need to be clear with ourselves that the personal expressions of our love usually imply attachments to external things, circumstances or even other people.
Attachments are the same thing as conditions. Unconditional love is not possible with conditions or expectations. Peace is not possible without unconditional love. Like peace, unconditional love does not just happen in our experience. Before we express unconditional love, we must commit ourselves to be channels for its expression. Since peace is the effect of expressing unconditional love, there is no peace without a commitment to love.
The Third Commitment: Forgiveness
The third commitment we must make in order to create and experience peace is to practice forgiveness. If there is a need for forgiveness in our experience, it is because we have a grievance in place. All grievances are obstacles to peace, because they temporarily block the expression of unconditional love. It is one thing to forgive past grievances, it is quite another to cultivate a predisposition to forgive any and all potential grievances that we may encounter today.
Without a willingness to express unconditional love, true forgiveness is impossible and so is peace. Forgiveness is necessary to erase any grievances we hold against others, our own selves, or even against God in some instances. Since grievances imply disappointed expectations, they also symbolize the conditions that we ourselves first put in place, before our expectations could have ever been disappointed.
A Course In Miracles reminds us many times that in heaven there is no need for forgiveness. However, ACIM also reminds us that here on earth, in these bodies we walk around in, forgiveness is not only necessary, it is our function. As long as we maintain grievances in any form, peace is not possible. The only way to remove a grievance is to be willing to forgive it. Without forgiveness, we cannot create or experience peace. Like peace and unconditional love, forgiveness does not just happen. To create, experience and sustain peace in our lives, we must be committed to practicing forgiveness in all circumstances.
The Transformative Power of Peace
It is one thing to say that cultivating peace in your experience will transform your experience. It is another thing altogether to actually experience the transformative power of peace in your own life. The good news is that you already have everything you need to create and experience peace within your own life. The variable is whether you wish to experience peace. If so, how much peace do you want to experience? Ultimately, the only limit to how much peace you can create and experience is relative to your own willingness to live according to the principles of peace.
As the UCOH community continues to move forward in this “year of transformation” we are collectively experiencing together, we must each ask ourselves: what am I willing to do to create peace for myself, my community and ultimately the world itself? If you desire to create and experience peace more consistently in your life, then I invite you to join me this coming Sunday morning, July 2nd, at the 9:25 and 11:25 services to explore together the commitments necessary to bring peace into our lives and into the world.