09/27/15 Rev. David McArthur
Serving From Our Hearts
There are really only four spiritual practices. The first is love—that state of consciousness. 2nd is prayer—every religion has a way to pray. The 3rd practice is meditation, in which we transcend the mind. But they all come together in the 4th practice: service. Service is not just completing a list of tasks. It’s focusing on the feeling of the awareness of the divine, and leaving “I” and “mine” for the “one” of us all. For example, Jesus came to the home of two sisters, Mary and Martha. The women represent two parts of our feelings, one with a list of tasks, Martha, and the other, Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet. Martha complained to him that Mary was doing nothing while she, Martha, was doing everything. Jesus answered that with her focus on the awareness of the divine, Mary had chosen well and that nothing could take that away from her.
In San Francisco, Cary had gotten $200 out of an ATM in the Tenderloin, a poor seedy part of the city when a gust of wind blew his cash and cards and ID all about. A young boy and girl brought back the plastic insert with his photos. Somebody brought him his Medicare card. Others returned more cards and twenties from the ATM. He returned to his hotel room and emptied his pockets on the bed. Everything had been returned to him! Every dollar! Those people had been in service in those moments, responding with compassion to one in a difficult moment. It is a natural part of us. It’s the gift of being willing to be an instrument—a way to respond and touch others.
We always receive so much more than we give! Toby was a college freshman who joined a group that distributed food to a retirement home. He met a ninety-two year old man, Loki, who taught Toby about whittling and even the sacred art of tying flies. Christmas came and Toby took him a present, but Loki had passed the night before having left Toby a letter. Loki explained that his body was tired but his spirit was soaring, because it was time for him to rejoin his beloved Esther, who had passed years before. He told Toby that he had become one of the most important people in his whole life. He said, “You were a good friend… I love you Toby.” Toby said this was life-changing. He went from being a party guy to a young man who knew he could make a difference. Addressing students, Albert Schweitzer once said, “the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
It’s been said, “love one another and help others to rise to higher levels simply by pouring out love. It lifts others to those higher levels.” Move from receiving to experiencing the awareness of the divine presence in others. It’s simple. It takes us from being “Martha” to being “Mary”. Affirm I behold God’s light in you! I behold God’s light in you! I behold God’s light in you! It opens that beautiful light within you! Enjoy doing it!