All of my life I have always been someone who liked to go to church. As a child my family and I would always talk about the sermons at Sunday dinner. We laugh when the new National Geographic would come out. Predictably, if we had read it we knew that Reverend Scorgie our cool, hip, young minister, would reference some story in there. Dad used to tell us, “You are not required to listen to the sermon. It is good for all of us to sit for at least one hour a week and be quiet with our own thoughts.” I just love my Dad!
When I returned to the Bay Area from San Diego in the Spring I did not feel like attending Glide where I have been a member for years. I did not feel like going to any of the Unity or Church of Religious Science or any churches with people. My heart needed to worship with nature and my friends the redwoods were my new ministers. I needed to sit quiet with my own thoughts as Dad had taught me long ago to value. And, as all things do, my needs changed.
After Labor Day my desire to ‘go back to school’ had me again out early on Sundays to meet, greet, and celebrate Spirit in community with others. On Sunday September 26th I woke up early and wanted to go to The East Bay Church of Religious Science to hear what Rev E had to say. Reverend Eloise Oliver always has good things to say and I was ready to listen.
She started her sermon with riffing on MLM’s or better known as Multi-Level Marketing opportunities. Rev E got distracted from what she actually was going to preach about. I love that ability to go with the flow. Multi-level Marketing is a way that people are able to receive passive residual income by creating a network of members that sign up under them to sell a product or service. Rev E compared our relationship to God and our spiritual path the same way. She was out right hysterical and so very funny, and very right on!
Rev E said that when someone joins an MLM, they invest in the business by signing a contract and writing a check to order the product. They are sold on the idea that this path to riches is easy. It can be theirs if they join the MLM and enroll others around them to do the same. Then after a time, they see no money walk in the door so they begin to complain. And, they feel justified in complaining because they bought the promise of the rewards. At the same time, the product sits on the office floor, or in the garage. And they have done nothing to get others to join them on this path to happiness and wealth.
Our relationship to consciousness and faith is often the same says Rev E. We believe, we sign up, then, we ourselves do nothing. We do not work it, and therefore, reap what we sow. Some how people believe that just belief in the promise it is enough. Reverend E gave me a whole new appreciation of this business model. It is another living waking dream symbol of the reward comes only from the action not from the intention. Intention is necessary but we are physical beings living in a material world. We must work for the richness of faith not just hope for the rewards.
During the service Rev E asked if any of the Church of Religious Science Affirmations spoke to us, and if one did, to stand up and proclaim it to everyone in the room. I was moved to stand up and affirm, “My past has no power over me!” After the celebration was over, when walking out of the church, I saw Rev E and spoke to her. I thanked her for the opportunity to be witnessed by so many and how this affirmation due to my brain surgery was so potent. The fact I have the recovery on my face is because I had to WORK IT! It was not just given to me because I hoped and prayed it would happen. I had to do something…well, a lot of somethings.
Reverend Eloise asked me to come back and share my story. She wanted me to give a testimonial to this faith in action concept. She wanted me to remind those gathered in faith that they are responsible for their lives to make them better. Faith gives us a way and a direction but it does not walk the walk for us. I of course agreed and returned then 2 weeks later on October 10th (10-10-10 🙂 )to share my story. I went to the early worship service. I was nervous because I had not spoken in front of a large gathering since I gave the commencement address from my Graduate program at Naropa West the University of Creation Spirituality in 2001. Knowing that the first service is a smaller gathering of souls, it felt safer to me.
At the beginning of her sermon she asked me up to join her. It was thrilling to stand in front of an audience of approximately +150 people and be at Reverend E’s side. The EBCRS is a very alive and alove community. They come back again and again because Reverend E just tells life like it is. She is the voice of truth and delivers it with humor and humility. I told the story of my brain tumor removal also taking the function to the right side of my face. I told about how the doctors told me it would never function again. I could feel the energy in the room get more quiet but also more rich.
We worked the podium well together and the words of my story touched her community to a standing ovation. I was reminded again that this is what my life is built for. I was reminded that this is why courage is necessary. We are all given, I do not believe God tests us, but challenges us to champion the ‘growth opportunities’ that come in our path. Then by being fearlessly honest, by sharing our stories and the wisdom we have gained, we can help someone else when they need it most. We cannot heal them but we can share how we conquered the challenges in our own journey.
Reverend E was so impressed with what I shared, she asked me to stay then for the second service. Though I did not share the same examples of how I chose to heal my face, the results were the same. I got a second standing ovation from this larger audience but this time I was not so afraid. I took a breath and let in the love. I felt present, witnessed, honored and acknowledged for just being me. It was wonderful and filled me with such joy.
Thank you East Bay Church of Religious Science for hearing my testimonial of faith and seeing the truth on my face. We all have the same power to heal ourselves and our world. It is the love we begin our lives with, that carries us along our path, and that we return to when we die. Thank you Reverend E. You are a shining light reflecting the love in all of us and reminding us we have had it all along.
Blessings Be! Sally