There are three parts to what I'm going to talk about today. One: what if God was one of us, two: your assignment from God, and three: what's love got to do with it. I'm going to break down the first two sections, then I'll tie them together with the third section.
What if God was one of us? There is a song called One of Us that was performed by American singer, Joan Osborne, written by Eric Zillion from the rock band called the Hooters. In the chorus, it says, "What if God was one of us? Just a slob, like one of us? Just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home?" One of the verses says, "If God had a face, what would it look like?" Would you want to see if seeing meant that you would have to believe in things like heaven and Jesus and the saints and the prophets?
That song won a lot of awards, and it became the opening song for a TV show that ran on CBS from 2003-2005 called Joan of Arcadia. The show was nominated for four Emmys and won ten awards and a whole bunch of other nominations. It's about a girl named Joan, who is 16. Her family moved to this small town called Arcadia. Her father gets a job as the police chief, her mother is an artist and works at the office at her high school. She has a brother that is 15, who is really into science, chemistry, and math. The kids at school call him a geek and a nerd. I don't know why intelligence has to be geeky. She also has an older brother who was a star athlete. I think he may be around 20 or so. He's at home, but he's confined in a wheelchair because he was injured in a car wreck.
Joan finds herself speaking to God in the form of various, everyday people that she encounters in her life. God gives her assignments and she follows God's assignments - not always quickly. A lot of times she follows them reluctantly - kinda like me telling my daughter to clean her room - it doesn't always happen the first time. She follows those assignments, does what God asks her to do. We see that the tasks eventually have a positive outcome on her life, her family, and the people around them.
When Joan first starts hearing God, she hears a voice calling her name in her sleep. Then one day she was on the local transit bus on her way to school. She notices a boy that is staring at her who looks to be around her age. He gets off the bus with her and strikes up a conversation. He told her that he was on his way to school. She asked him if he went to her school. He says, "Well, I keep a low profile." That's an important point. He then went on to tell her that he had seen her earlier that morning, but she was sure she didn't see him. She did see an older man that was looking at her. He was standing outside her house, looking through her bedroom window - about scared her to death. She thought that he was a peeping Tom. So God apologizes for scaring her. And he says, "I don't always look the same." Another important point.
Of course, at this point, she's like, "Yeah. Right, sure. You're God." He tells her, "I've known you since before you were born." He goes on to name her father's name, his childhood, he told her about her mother, her brother. He even told her about the things that she asked God of when she prayed, when her brother was first injured in his wreck. How could God know those things? How could this young man standing in front of her know these things? "I'm God," he tells her. At one point she asked him again and he says, "Omniscience, look it up." I know all things. I hear you. She looks at him again, and then he tells her, "I don't look like this. I don't look like anything you'd recognize. You can't see me. I don't sound like this. I don't sound like anything you'd recognize. I'm beyond your understanding. I take this form because it's something you're comfortable with."
She relaxes a bit. You can tell that she's kinda like, "Okay, I'm gonna play along." She says, "Well, I'm not very religious." He says, "It's not about religion. It's about fulfilling your nature." Another important point. "Oh, well I definitely have not been doing that," she tells him. "Exactly," he says. As the conversation continues, she starts relaxing to this idea of maybe this is God, or maybe I'm maybe I'm like going insane or something. He tells her that he's not going to look like that the next time she sees him. "Next time, what do you mean next time?" He says, "I'm going to be dropping in on you from time to time Joan." She asks God "Why?" God says, "Let's just say, I need you to do some errands." Another important point. She keeps asking all these questions, "Why this, why me? Why now? Why?" He says, "Do you notice how I'm not answering your questions when you ask why?" He says, "Don't ask why. Do as I ask."
This is essentially the basis of the show. It follows Joan through school, going to her classes. It switches sometimes to one of her brothers going through their lives, their parents, the mom in school, and you have the friends and whatnot. Each day she never knows if she's going to see this or that person claiming to be God. Who's it gonna be? Is it going to be the same person she saw before? What is God going to say? God shows up in the most random, everyday, ordinary people. At one point, God was the African-American lady in the cafeteria serving lunch. Another time it was the garbage man. Then there was a time where it was a little girl, maybe about seven, playing on the playground. The little girl had on glasses and a headband that had like big alien eyes sticking up. She never knows, but they pick up the conversation each time. She always recognized God based on how their conversation continued. As their conversation continued, God began to talk to her about being an instrument, about having pride, about believing, being better, applying herself more, doing better.
So, part one, "What if God was one of us?" Part two, "Your assignment from God." Unity teaches that there is only one presence and one power in the universe and in life, and that power is God, that power is good. Unity also teaches that that power is within us. The essence of God is within us. Therefore we are inherently good.
As I was preparing for this talk, I stumbled upon a Super Soul Sunday conversation that Oprah Winfrey had with Marianne Williamson to talk about her bestselling book, "A Return to Love." There is a part in the book where Marianne is talking about enlightenment and she describes it as self-actualization actualizing the love that is in our hearts. She says that the more we self-actualize, the more that we are fulfilling our true nature, that it accentuates the possibility for others to do the same. She says that that is not just true for people like Oprah Winfrey, people with big social media platforms, or big influence. It's true for everyone. Marianne makes a point that is key to what I'm saying in this part. Every life is a platform. We are all stars starring in our own lives Just like Joan Of Arcadia. We may not have a TV spotlight shining down on us. We have a cosmic spotlight that radiates from within us. "Everybody has an individualized curriculum," is how Marianne described it in her conversation with Oprah, "an individualized curriculum that belongs to just you." A lot of times we might think that we need another relationship, another job, maybe another family, so that we can then be about God's business or for our spiritual path to be happening.
So Marianne's conversation was that "it" is already happening where we are right now. Wherever you are, whatever is going on in your life, your life right now, the people in it, and the circumstances are your platform for God, your assignment from God. Whatever is happening in this moment you're already on your path as an instrument of God, like God with Joan. Are you fulfilling your true nature? Are there areas where you might need to level up level up your beliefs, your conversations, maybe speak with more faith in knowing that all good things can come together? One of the parts about the show that I really liked is that God would tell Joan the most outrageous stuff that he wanted her to do. A lot of times she would walk right past him and say "I'm ignoring you." And he says, "I'm used to it." Or she would say, "I'm not listening to you." And he would say back, "I'm used to it. I get that a lot." But the voice kept getting louder and he kept repeating it.
How many times have we had that in our lives? We feel like we're called to do something. We don't really want to do it. So then we don't do it. And then it gets louder. I've had that quite a bit. So she follows these assignments and runs these errands for God. She doesn't see from her vantage point the synchronicity that is set in place. The ripples happen from her being her true nature with the people in her path, with her family, with her grades, how she wants to apply herself more, and be more creative.
So one, what if God was one of us, two your assignment from God. We're all on an assignment. My path might look different than yours, or it might look different than the person on the street, but we're all on a path. There are opportunities and ways that we can still fulfill our nature. We may not see how the smallest of actions can and do create mind boggling, rippling effects through the people all around us. Just imagine if each one of us in our own lives were doing what our heart feels called to do with the people in our lives. That gets woven into the people around us, the people around them, and then the goodness can ripple out into the world.
Section three, the topic was love. I haven't said a whole lot about love yet. So what's love got to do with all of this? There is a book by Eric Butterworth called "Life is for Loving." There is a Sunday morning group that's been meeting here and that's been one of the books that they've they've been studying. There could be a whole talk on just that book itself, but the gist is instead of talking about love, because in Unity we can be really good about talking about love, God's divine love, and all is well.
In this section, let's practice being loving. So let's take that love and put it into action. Love can be both a noun and a verb. As a verb that denotes action, doing something with it. There may be ways in our lives where we're already being love. We come here, we hug everybody, we love everybody. We may have done a number of things in our lives or with our families, but where are areas where you could grow more, where you can open your heart more, where you can lift your consciousness?
Are you being your true nature? The homeless people that are outside when we walk in the church, are you being your true nature or are you wishing that you can't wait until we sell the building so you don't have to come down here anymore? There is a point where love when we put it into action, sometimes it's not always easy. Sometimes it's not always pretty. Sometimes we may not know how the small act of good that we're doing is going to touch another's life.
How are we ending racism? What are we doing about oppression? What are we doing about our church? I know our church is up for sale, but we haven't moved yet. So what are we waiting for? Are there things in our ministries that we wish our church would do or provide? Are there things that we need help with? Are we volunteering with the Youth and Family department? Are we making calls or showing up? What are we doing? Know that what is yours to do might be different than mine to do. It might be where people see you. It might be behind the scenes. There are a lot of people that serve and volunteer at the church that are behind the scenes. We never see that. It takes a lot to make this church happen and to prepare for Sunday morning.
To sum up what we've covered, " What if God is one of us?" Are you seeing the faces of God throughout your life? Even if it looks distressing or different: different skin, color, different ideology, different, whatever. How could that still be? "Your assignment from God." We all have our individualized curriculum. We are a divine idea in the mind of God and in our lives right now, the situation right now is our path. Three, "The Language of Love." How am I taking that love that I am, that love that I have in my heart, and how am I serving my world? How am I serving my family? How am I serving my church? How am I serving humanity? Just like Joan, we want to be our true nature. Do the errands that are on our heart to do. Only you would know how God is speaking to you, or how God is speaking through your body to you, or through a situation to you. Sometimes it's not just who we see in front of us. It could be a situation or a condition within our body, but we can still make that the path that we are being our true nature.
Thank you. And so it is.