Easter (Pre-Recorded): Celebrating the Good (3.30.21)

Background of fireworks against a night sky, black text, Celebrating the Good, Rev Valerie Mansfield

I am light. I am wisdom. We are light. We are wisdom. We are more than our race, our body, and our family's experiences, we are light. Easter is that time of illumination of the resurrection of Jesus. And for us, it's the illumination of ourselves and our own spiritual awakening. That is a celebration because we are no longer bound by the law of materialistic things, no longer bound by our thoughts. We are light. We are spirit rising up to begin a new way, a new pattern, a new life, affirming the good and celebrating. I know that this last year has not been what all of us dreamed it might be. That's okay. It really is okay, because we are the spiritual awakening of our own rising consciousness. We are moving out of that tomb of humanity's materialistic existence.

Jesus told us that he came, that they have life, and may have it abundantly. I think that we forget that that's from John 10:10. He didn't come to save us. He came to show us because really we have nothing to be saved from except our own thinking, our own creative, imaginative illusions of life. He came so that we may have life, an abundant life. When we let go of whatever it is that has us attached as individuals, or even as a community, then we're allowing ourselves to rise up because we've broken those chains. We rise up in that mind, in that body, and in spirit, all in harmony into what we call Christ Consciousness, that upper room guided by infinite wisdom guided by that connection of life and wholeness.

We don't just get to do this on Easter Sunday. We can do this any time we recognize and realize eternal life. Eternal life is that part of us that allows our soul to move on. In this last year, we've had a lot of souls that have moved on. I want to make it really clear that I know that it's been difficult for a lot of people for a lot of reasons. We can let the challenges keep us down and keep us tethered to the ground or we can look for the good in even the darkest of circumstances. When we lay down our thoughts of limitation, which have bound us in the tomb of that false law of life, we see the good, we see the light, and know that death has come many times and sickness has come for a lot of folks in a lot of different ways. You know, I lost my aunt early on in COVID and the light that I see is that she's no longer suffering - because she did suffer for 15 years with diabetes. I know that it's a tragic loss for her children. And yet I also that it's a weight lifted. They can rise up and now see their mom in a different light in that eternal life. We're here to live a life of bliss and that highest form of illumination. Sometimes it takes the physical death for us to see that it doesn't have to, but many times it does.

Let us celebrate each day of living grateful for all the good that we receive, grateful for the smiles on the street, grateful for the children playing outside, grateful for the experience of being alive and doing the work that you're here to do, whatever that is. The past year has been extremely hard on our spiritual communities, not only here. We've come through this with the shining grace. So many communities have not made it through the last 12 months. We have not only come through here at Unity of Louisville, but also at Unity of East Louisville. When I look at other spiritual communities and what they've gone through, and I see us, I say, "Thank you God, for the guidance and for the staff and for the board and the volunteers and the congregation who kept giving their tithes. Even though we weren't physically in this building together, that's a great blessing. Even if they lost their jobs, people gave something, that's a miracle."

That's what Easter is all about. I see the good in this last year, because when COVID first hit, I was working out of the house virtually, trying to figure out how you run out of your home with staff in their homes, not being able to talk to each other, not being able to have eye contact. Body language is a big thing in communicating. I can't imagine how other people felt, but I know how I felt. It was a real awakening experience. Once I realized the gift that I was receiving from this new pattern of forced change - none of us like change and none of us like to be forced to do anything - but I began to see it in a different light because the chaos created a peace within myself. I know that sounds crazy. But every day I would go out on the back porch and eat lunch. I don't even know what time lunch is when I'm at the office. But when I was at home, my husband would come in and say, "Hey, it's time for lunch." I'd say, "Oh, okay, that's a gift because I forget to eat." Then I started going back to my daily yoga practice. Every morning I get up and I do yoga. What a gift to my body, what a gift to my mind and my spirit. I used to do yoga once or twice a week. Now it's every day, except for Sunday because I'm here. I love the new pattern.

What new patterns have you found in your life? I've also had the opportunity to assist my son with taking care of his two grandchildren every week. He was working from home and needed childcare on Thursdays. I usually work on Thursdays and I still worked on Thursdays, but working at home was a little different. For those of you that have been in Zoom meetings with me on Thursday, there's usually a curly blonde headed child sitting in my lap or jumping up into my lap, but it's been a great joy to have that energy every week. I would've missed that had I been in the office on Thursdays every week. That's something that I had taken for granted - the joy and the energy of the little ones. Now I see it and I feel it. It's been a remarkable gift.

This year we're celebrating, and it's not something I'm willing to let go of today. As we get back into this new thing, I don't know what I'm willing to change back. Everybody says they want to get back to normal. I want to get back to new, whatever that new affirming life is, what's been created as a new way of being for me for unity. Things are so different than they were a year ago. We don't know the enfoldment of it yet. Sometimes I'll just laugh about it all and it's all good. Even in all the chaos, it's all good. I get to laugh mostly at myself. We've had wonderful gifts. In addition to our community continuing to support us, we got a gift of $35,800 free. It was a gift, because it's been forgiven and right now Chuck is signing the papers today to get additional assistance that will be forgiven.

That's a miracle. Grace working in and through us creates that abundant life with us as a community, which has gifted our employees and their families. We got to continue to work when so many more were struggling. We were able to do this because of our beliefs and our willingness to think in a different way. We haven't had a huge struggle. I'm not saying it's been easy because it hasn't and yet it's been good.

As we let go of our own formation of our thoughts and what we think is real, and strive to be open and receptive to that unlimited abundance as miracles happen, we say, "Thank you for those gifts." We're grateful. I'm so grateful for the good flowing in and through each of us, as we illuminate the path for ourselves and others. This has been a year of change, not only for us, but for our city. We've been a part of that in a way that we never have been before. We've been a part of lifting the light for others to see, to shine the light so that others can go home, so that others can transform their lives.

Leah and her outreach group have really worked taking charge, being open and receptive and asking, "How can we assist? How can we help you? What is it that you desire?" Then they just open the door and let it in and it happens. We have social workers, therapists, people feeding people, people calling them people. It has just been unreal, all the energy that has gone in and through this community. It's because we're ready. We are ready to move forward, continuing to rise up as a community, as individuals to do what is ours to do, which is illuminate the way from the chaos and the night of struggle to build a beautiful city, to build a beautiful community, to be real in life. And to walk our talk, a beautiful community, filled with love, compassion, and understanding, teaching and mentoring others to follow the path in the light of truth, illuminating the mind to rise up, to be the truth and live the truth.

As we rise up from the smoke and build the beautiful city, I think we can do it as we set free set ourselves free from that tomb of lack and limitation. I really, really enjoyed the daily word today, as it said, "I am set free from the tomb of lack and limitation. I follow Jesus into the light of new awareness. A new dimension of life Christ is risen in me." I think what we've gone through in the last year brought us into an awareness of a new life, a new way. As we continue to move forward, let us affirm together: "I am set free from the tomb of lack and limitation. I follow Jesus into the light of new awareness. A new dimension of life Christ is risen in me."

I say, thank you, thank you, sweet spirit for the opportunity to show a different way, a different life as love, understanding, and compassion. Let us rise up and build a beautiful city. So it is.

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