January 17, 2016 – Exploring Compassion

Rev. David McArthur
Exploring Compassion

We are on an amazing journey: learning the power of compassion. A group of Muslim communities raised $100,000 for the sufferers of that gunman in the church in Charleston, and the fires at black churches that followed. After the shootings in San Bernardino, Muslim communities raised $180,000 for those suffering there. The spokesman for the Muslims said, “Just simply say we love them from the bottom of our hearts  and they should know that they are not alone in this calamity. We share their sorrow.”

The Koran most often speaks of “God the compassionate”, more properly translated as “God is compassion.” This beautiful religion shares this with us. Charles Fillmore said compassion was the unifying, harmonizing power. There are billions of people all over the world striving for love and compassion.

Perhaps Jesus’ greatest lesson on compassion was his story of the Good Samaritan. A priest and a Levite passed by the man who was beaten, robbed, and left for dead. It was a Samaritan who took pity, tended to his wounds and at his own expense put the man up at an inn. Jesus then asked which was the good neighbor to the man who was robbed. The lawyer who had challenged him replied it was the one which had mercy on him. Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”

Study Martin Luther King to understand that compassion is transformational. From Gandhi, he learned that power is of two kinds: power can be based on fear of punishment or on love. Power based on love is a thousand times more powerful and effective. How long it has taken for mankind to awaken and learn how to use this power! Dr. King taught that non-violence means not only to refrain from external violence, but also from internal violence of the spirit. “You not only refuse to shoot a man; you refuse to hate him.”

Dr. King stood with people who desired change, resisting with non-violence those with guns and authority; with non-action showing they wished their oppressors no harm. It touched us all, this amazing power over violence and hate. Imagine that you are standing there beside him among those with completely justifiable anger. Now hear the words of Lao Tzu: “The gentlest thing in the world (love) overcomes the hardest thing in the world (hatred, anger, guns and bullets)… That which has no substance (love) enters where there is no space (the closed, hardened heart).”  This is the masters’ way, the way of Martin Luther King, Jesus, Muhammad, the Buddhist teachers.

Respond with compassion this week, when you come upon someone angry or feeling victimized, or the oppressor acting on his pain, This morning we prayed for those in ISIS who are acting out of their pain and fear. They are also children of God. I hold you in the compassion of my heart. For those around us at home or at work, I hold you in the compassion of my heart. And when you find you are the oppressor, or do “OMG! I am a victim!”, I hold me in the compassion of my heart.

What a beautiful way to hold the people of the world! Most importantly, what a beautiful way to hold yourself!

January 17, 2016 – Exploring Compassion

Rev. David McArthur
Exploring Compassion

We are on an amazing journey: learning the power of compassion. A group of Muslim communities raised $100,000 for the sufferers of that gunman in the church in Charleston, and the fires at black churches that followed. After the shootings in San Bernardino, Muslim communities raised $180,000 for those suffering there. The spokesman for the Muslims said, “Just simply say we love them from the bottom of our hearts  and they should know that they are not alone in this calamity. We share their sorrow.”

The Koran most often speaks of “God the compassionate”, more properly translated as “God is compassion.” This beautiful religion shares this with us. Charles Fillmore said compassion was the unifying, harmonizing power. There are billions of people all over the world striving for love and compassion.

Perhaps Jesus’ greatest lesson on compassion was his story of the Good Samaritan. A priest and a Levite passed by the man who was beaten, robbed, and left for dead. It was a Samaritan who took pity, tended to his wounds and at his own expense put the man up at an inn. Jesus then asked which was the good neighbor to the man who was robbed. The lawyer who had challenged him replied it was the one which had mercy on him. Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”

Study Martin Luther King to understand that compassion is transformational. From Gandhi, he learned that power is of two kinds: power can be based on fear of punishment or on love. Power based on love is a thousand times more powerful and effective. How long it has taken for mankind to awaken and learn how to use this power! Dr. King taught that non-violence means not only to refrain from external violence, but also from internal violence of the spirit. “You not only refuse to shoot a man; you refuse to hate him.”

Dr. King stood with people who desired change, resisting with non-violence those with guns and authority; with non-action showing they wished their oppressors no harm. It touched us all, this amazing power over violence and hate. Imagine that you are standing there beside him among those with completely justifiable anger. Now hear the words of Lao Tzu: “The gentlest thing in the world (love) overcomes the hardest thing in the world (hatred, anger, guns and bullets)… That which has no substance (love) enters where there is no space (the closed, hardened heart).”  This is the masters’ way, the way of Martin Luther King, Jesus, Muhammad, the Buddhist teachers.

Respond with compassion this week, when you come upon someone angry or feeling victimized, or the oppressor acting on his pain, This morning we prayed for those in ISIS who are acting out of their pain and fear. They are also children of God. I hold you in the compassion of my heart. For those around us at home or at work, I hold you in the compassion of my heart. And when you find you are the oppressor, or do “OMG! I am a victim!”, I hold me in the compassion of my heart.

What a beautiful way to hold the people of the world! Most importantly, what a beautiful way to hold yourself!

Play

January 18, 2015 – The Beloved Community

01/18/15 Rev. James Trapp
The Beloved Communty

Today’s headlines are the world’s prayer requests—what we need to pray for. They are evolutionary spiritual triggers to move us from where we are to where we want to be. “Invading armies can be resisted,” according to Victor Hugo, “but not an idea whose time has come.” Then, one person can have an idea that changes the world.

Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat and was arrested. So Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. led a 381 day peaceful boycott of the bus company. It sparked a movement that spread around the world. We each have a compelling mission. We all pray for relief from our nagging problems. And then, we say, will we be able to live a better life of giving and love. But we have it backwards. Our mission is to expand our world, our vision, and then our problems will fade to the nothingness from which they came.

Dr. King’s vision was of all people living and working together. Activist Reverend James Lawson called this the Beloved Community. All the great spiritual teachers have taught that this Beloved Community is in the eye of Spirit and we must live it in our hearts. Astronauts tell us they have an epiphany when they see the earth from above: without any map lines, separations among us are false.

It’s easy to love all of humanity, but it’s not so easy loving that particular one that’s on your last nerve. Jesus said we are to love the one “in front of us”. We need to see with new eyes. We must use our imagination to put ourselves in the shoes of another and put our loving into practice, not just intend to. Toleration is a start, but move to appreciation and embracing. Move beyond your barriers. “Turn the other cheek”, which means that when someone gives us one form of energy, we are to return a different form of energy, like forgiveness, love, and compassion. That takes strength. Returning the same energy does not take strength.

A lady, returning to her airplane seat, found the man beside her eating her cookies. She was angry and helped herself to “her own cookies”. Then she realized she was in the wrong seat! She apologized for her behavior, but the man said that he has learned that “when in doubt, share!” Our true theology is what we do, what we put into practice. To forgive “someday” is just a delaying tactic of the mind. Go within; pray. Bring in a higher energy. It affects all people. We are all connected. Stop seeing differences; see the beauty in others. See the many variations of infinite Spirit, which needs variety to express Its infinitude. See the wholeness and unity. Bring in the brotherhood, the Blessed Community. The time is now; the place is where you are. Peace. God bless you!

Play

January 18, 2015 – The Beloved Community


01/18/15 Rev. James Trapp
The Beloved Communty

Today’s headlines are the world’s prayer requests—what we need to pray for. They are evolutionary spiritual triggers to move us from where we are to where we want to be. “Invading armies can be resisted,” according to Victor Hugo, “but not an idea whose time has come.” Then, one person can have an idea that changes the world.

Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat and was arrested. So Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. led a 381 day peaceful boycott of the bus company. It sparked a movement that spread around the world. We each have a compelling mission. We all pray for relief from our nagging problems. And then, we say, will we be able to live a better life of giving and love. But we have it backwards. Our mission is to expand our world, our vision, and then our problems will fade to the nothingness from which they came.

Dr. King’s vision was of all people living and working together. Activist Reverend James Lawson called this the Beloved Community. All the great spiritual teachers have taught that this Beloved Community is in the eye of Spirit and we must live it in our hearts. Astronauts tell us they have an epiphany when they see the earth from above: without any map lines, separations among us are false.

It’s easy to love all of humanity, but it’s not so easy loving that particular one that’s on your last nerve. Jesus said we are to love the one “in front of us”. We need to see with new eyes. We must use our imagination to put ourselves in the shoes of another and put our loving into practice, not just intend to. Toleration is a start, but move to appreciation and embracing. Move beyond your barriers. “Turn the other cheek”, which means that when someone gives us one form of energy, we are to return a different form of energy, like forgiveness, love, and compassion. That takes strength. Returning the same energy does not take strength.

A lady, returning to her airplane seat, found the man beside her eating her cookies. She was angry and helped herself to “her own cookies”. Then she realized she was in the wrong seat! She apologized for her behavior, but the man said that he has learned that “when in doubt, share!” Our true theology is what we do, what we put into practice. To forgive “someday” is just a delaying tactic of the mind. Go within; pray. Bring in a higher energy. It affects all people. We are all connected. Stop seeing differences; see the beauty in others. See the many variations of infinite Spirit, which needs variety to express Its infinitude. See the wholeness and unity. Bring in the brotherhood, the Blessed Community. The time is now; the place is where you are. Peace. God bless you!

February 23, 2014 – Reawakening the Heart of Christianity


2/23/14 Rev. David McArthur
Reawakening the Heart of Christianity

From the African-American church came a new experience. When they came as slaves, Black Americans were “given” Christianity, and were told Jesus died for their sins in great suffering, which made their suffering acceptable. Over the generations, they found the man Jesus. Not The Christ, not GOD, but the Jesus who held them in love just as they were. They found the personal experience of Jesus. From Emilie Cady, Lessons In Truth, “God is the name we give to that …source of all existence. To the individual …He becomes… a personal, loving, all-forgiving Father-Mother.” Out of the experiences of slavery and the personal presence of Jesus came a passion, a consciousness that touches us all. You cannot be bored in an African-American church.

From a culture of constant abuse they chose to love, to live the teachings and create a consciousness so strong that the world could no longer tolerate slavery, or deny civil rights, not because it was taught, but because it was lived. Martin Luther King, jr., said “Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power… that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react… with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.” Rev. King told all the people, “We must meet violence with non-violence… We must love our white brothers no matter what they have done. We must meet hate with love.”

This is really the only message in the Bible! Choose love! I choose love. I choose love. I choose love. Choose love in the office with that one who always gets to you; in the home, with that one in the family you have been working so hard to get along with; on yourself, when you do that thing again!

It overcame separation, segregation, government resistance, tremendous hurt on both sides. It is the choice that won out! Bless you!

February 24, 2013 – Non-Violence and the Other Cheek

2/24/13 Rev. David McArthur
Non-Violence and the Other Cheek

Jesus taught if you are struck on the right cheek, “turn the other cheek”. In the context of the Jewish culture, to be hit on the right cheek meant the one who hit you used either his “unclean” left hand or the back of his right hand. Either was a great dishonor to you. But when you turn the other cheek to be hit, the person can’t hit you in either way. It takes back power where it had been lost. It makes you equal to the other person.

This teaching does not say that suffering abuse is spiritual. Rather, it is the non-violent response which opens us to the flow of divine energy and power, to love. Use the power of love to bring an equal connection with your “enemy”. But how? When someone is in your face, love isn’t your first response.

The civil rights activists in Selma, Alabama heard of the brutal treatment colleagues were suffering at the hands of the authorities. You can imagine the level of anger they felt—a natural response. But their leaders understood the teaching of non-violence. They asked for a call-and-response song that acknowledged love. They sang out “We love Martin Luther King” and the crowd answered, “Certainly, certainly!” The leaders sang out another civil rights leader’s name, and another. Each time the crowd sang back, “Certainly, certainly!” Then the song leaders sang out the name of the sheriff who, with his troopers, had them surrounded, threatening violence. “We love the Sheriff.” The crowd faltered at first, but soon sang, “Certainly, certainly!” They got it. Love has the power to change things! The sheriff said years later that in that moment he realized he had been wrong.

Love gives understanding and compassion, but it also shows us the oppressor, the victim, the self righteous one inside each of us. Healing that is where the power truly is. How do we do it? Recall the Prayer of St. Francis. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” You have the power, because you are the love to do that! And if music does it, sing, “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me!”