The following guest sermon was submitted by ULC Minister Lori A. Mongillo. All ULC Ministers are invited to contribute their own sermons for consideration/publication. To submit a sermon, please email it to sermons@ulc.org.

So what are you? Are you an Atheist, a Christian, Spiritual Humanist/Agnostic, Jewish, Pagan, Muslim? It is sometimes helpful to feel connected to a particular group, but not in the way they'd like you to believe. If your group/religion dictates a firm and unquestionable philosophy in relation to God and considers themselves the one and only spiritual/non-spiritual path, then you are headed down a very closed-minded and arrogant road that can be fueled by anger, pity, pain, and separation.

In observing the world's religions, the workings of the natural world of creation and the harsh controversial elements of human nature, it is only fair to recognize that the old phrase "I have been blessed by God" is an antiquated and unrealistic way of looking at our good fortune. If one innocent child lives in an environment that promotes good health, education and stability, and the child flourishes because of it, we say the child has been blessed by God. If another innocent child lives in an environment that is devoid of wellbeing, education, and stability, and the child flourishes despite these conditions, we say the child has been blessed by God. If, still, another innocent child is abused and murdered, we are left with where are the blessings of God for this child? Why is one person blessed and another isn't? "I survived the fire and you didn't, therefore I was blessed by God because my beliefs were correct, and you weren't because you didn't believe as I do." This is a very sad analogy, but common. And then there's the question, "How can God allow such atrocities?" The popular answer is that God gave us "free will" and because of this, individuals of evil nature inflict harm on the innocent. So we are taught that God directs us and doesn't direct us all at the same time.

"The Lord moves in mysterious ways". "Something good will come of it. There are many ways of rationalizing God's interaction or lack of it, but there is only one that seems to make sense in this complex and unpredictable world. Albert Einstein said, "In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for support of such views." He kept the door open, but not in the conventional way most view God. He also claimed, "A man who is convinced of the truth of his religion is indeed never tolerant. At the least, he is to feel pity for the adherent of another religion, but usually, it does not stop there. The faithful adherent of a religion will try first of all to convince those that believe in another religion and usually he goes on to hatred if he is not successful. However, hatred then leads to persecution when the might of the majority is behind it." As we all know, Einstein was a wise man.

Spiritual Energy

Being connected to a religion is not a bad thing, but the religion "must be taken with a grain of salt". It can bring about superstitions and false beliefs against others when they may truly be on a very positive and loving path. Religion is merely a humanized way of relating to something that we are not able to fully comprehend, Spiritual Energy. We all sense it on some level, whether we acknowledge it or not. In removing the psychological barricades that keep us from being open, we can learn to recognize the underlying creative force within our religion. We can rise above the primitive prejudices and sometimes questionable teachings that have been drummed into us for thousands of years, leaving us with the ability to focus on the fundamental principles that bring us together, rather than divide, in a positive way. There are positive aspects to be taken from all paths, as well as negative. Learning to discern between them is the tricky part. It can be a psychological cesspool of fears, contradictions, and misinformation that can take a person on an emotional and hateful rollercoaster ride, if they have difficulty navigating the waters.

In rationalizing the workings of what we call God there is only one explanation that makes sense. In hearing the term, "God works through us", this appears to be the truth of the matter. It's not the religion, or lack of it, that graces us with this power. It's just there. The Creative Power of the universe works through every living thing on this planet and beyond. Everyone has been blessed by, and draws on, this Creative Power, whether we know it or not. Some call it Chi, the Life Force, the Source, Spiritual Energy, Christ Energy, Universal Energy, the Great Spirit, and the list goes on and on. We receive this power when we're born, and we live with its flow every day of our lives. It is not partial, it does not judge, it does not bless us beyond our personal gifts which we acquire through our genetic composition and through our initial entry into this world. It is pure in its neutrality. We are the ones that create the polarities of good and evil, love and hate. We are the ones that learn to use the Creative Energies we've been given, or not. And most of us are not really aware of it, or of the potential within it. No matter who you are or what you've done it is always present.

It's hard to conceive that there might be no punishment for our indiscretions and no spiritual elevation for our virtue in the afterlife when we've been taught to think in terms of heaven and hell. Justice is a strong and much-needed tool within our social structure, but it is just that, part of our social structure. We have also been taught by our parents, peer groups, schools, and churches, to be prejudice against various skin colors, gender preference, as well as religious backgrounds. So many of us accept these prejudices as being the truth. They are viewed as being the correct way of looking at the world, when in fact we are simply echoing the indiscretions and lack of conscious evolution of our ancestors. Same old, same old, and we're too afraid, or pressured by our peers, to make the necessary changes. So rather than opening new doors to a deeper universal knowledge, acceptance, and spirituality, we just go deeper into the old ways of thinking. Instead of moving beyond the harmful and dividing philosophies of the past, we are prone to promote and encourage them in our children and in anyone else that is willing to listen and adhere to them. Generally, we do this on a subconscious level, unaware that what we transmit is false. We don't fully understand what it is, where we're coming from and where we need to go.

The Veil of Belief

People will always try to sway your thinking in an attempt to enlighten you to the practicality of their personal and/or group philosophies. They have anchored themselves to a particular path and sometimes become fully invested in it. They aren't able to let it go, even when they come to recognize that the path they've chosen, or inherited, is incomplete and misdirected. If one is invested in their status within a religion, they are reluctant to walk away because the position they've acquired has become part of their ego. Instead of moving on they rationalize it, attempting to mold it to suit themselves. They continue to display the philosophies of the old ways while thinking in another. The conflict within can take its toll when what is being taught is only what the congregation wants to hear.

When the veil of hardened beliefs is lifted there is a sense of freedom that melts into our being. We begin a process of reconstructing our spiritual reality, allowing us to accept others freely and in a loving way. You can actually learn to see the Spirit in all. There's so much more than you know.

25 comments

  1. Carrie's Avatar Carrie

    Religion is false and contains the word lie. Faith is true and personal to each of us.It's been a long road, to get from there to here. it's been a long time, but my time is finally here. And i can feel a change in the wind right now. nothing's in my way. and they're not gonna hold me down no more. no they're not gonna hold me down. 'cause i've got faith of the heart. i'm going where my heart will take me. i've got faith to believe. i can do anything. i've got strength of the soul. and no one's going to bend or break me. i can reach any star. i've got faith, i've got faith, faith of the heart. It's been a long night, trying to find my way. been thru the darkness, now i finally have my day. And i will see my dream come alive at last. i will touch the sky. and they're not gonna hold me down no more. no they're not gonna change my mind. 'cause i've got faith of the heart. i'm going where my heart will take me. i've got faith to believe. i can do anything. i've got strength of the soul. and no one's going to bend or break me. i can reach any star. i've got faith, faith of the heart. I know the wind's so cold, i've seen the darkest days. but now the winds i feel, are only winds of change. i've been thru the fire, and i've been thru the rain, but i'll be fine. 'cause i've got faith of the heart. i'm going where my heart will take me. i've got faith to believe. i can do anything. i've got strength of the soul. and no one's going to bend or break me. i can reach any star. 'cause i've got faith, 'cause i've got faith, faith of the heart... Faith of the heart. i'm going where my heart will take me. i've got faith to believe. and no one's going to bend or break me. i can reach any star. 'cause i've got faith, 'cause i've got faith, faith of the heart... It's been a long road... Source: Musixmatch

    1. Don's Avatar Don

      Sung by Russell Watson, alongside instrumental compositions by Dennis McCarth.

      Plagiarism is not a virtue.

      1. Frank Villari's Avatar Frank Villari

        I always thought "plagiarism" was claiming something to written or spoken by you, and it isn't? The fact is, she is sourcing this, yes? The term, therefore, is not correct for this instance. Though, I have been wrong before.

        1. Kim's Avatar Kim

          Same here although it might have been something to do with copywrites.

    2. Lori's Avatar Lori

      Great words!

    3. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp, MSW, ADS, OM's Avatar Catherine Ohrin-Greipp, MSW, ADS, OM

      Awesome, and thanks for including your source. Since you included the source for the lyrics, no plagiarism exists. Powerful lyrics.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Being connected to any belief system isn’t a bad thing as long as no harm comes to those who don’t hold the same beliefs.

    ?❤️

    1. Lori's Avatar Lori

      So true, Lionheart.

  1. Marvis Brown's Avatar Marvis Brown

    Awesome words of truth and expression of wisdom that only The Holy Spirit can deliver through such a chosen servant of the Most High God. Well said and delivered and also received...Stay and continue in that great great grace that is upon you.

  1. Gail D's Avatar Gail D

    Lori thank you for this. It is about the most aware, open-minded, free-thinking piece I have read here at ULC. To have a brief moment to tap into that universal power and use it for the benefit of another being is the greatest feeling in this world. Embrace life! Love and peace to you, brightest blessings.

  1. Kim's Avatar Kim

    Belief is irrelevant....The validity of such is at the whim of the individual.
    Facts can only lead to other facts....they are conditional at best. Truth is always Truth....It is absolutely singular, universal and incomprehensible beyond human understanding yet intuitively acknowledged to exist by everyone.

    1. Don's Avatar Don

      Facts don't require belief.

      Please name one thing or concept that is "intuitively acknowledged to exist by everyone". We have hospitals full of people who refuse to acknowledge reality.

      1. Kim's Avatar Kim

        Truth for one. Reality for another. Infinity is a third. None of which can be defined as an entirety

        1. Don's Avatar Don

          Please look up terms before using them; that way you won't make a word salad with no meaning. Thanks.

          1. Kim's Avatar Kim

            Show me how you prove the endlessness of infinity dear.

        2. Don's Avatar Don

          "prove the endlessness of infinity"

          If you rephrase that word salad into a meaningful question, I may answer. Until then...

    2. Frank Villari's Avatar Frank Villari

      Isn't faith simply belief in a truth for which there is little or no proof?

      1. Kim's Avatar Kim

        Not really. Faith is action taken based on trust. Not belief.

        1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

          There was a time that Christians “trusted” the earth was central to the cosmos Kim.

          So much for trust!

          I’m glad we don’t rely on action based on trust anymore to prove anything Kim, aren’t you?

          ?❤️

          1. Kim's Avatar Kim

            That was a belief dear. And it wasn't so-called christians.

  1. ~pc~'s Avatar ~pc~

    I am a believer of having a personal, spiritual relationship with our creator, who is a spiritual being of pure love, who has put a piece of itself in each and everyone and thing that has been created by it. We are all one in spirit and that spirit deep inside of us is seeking to be re-united with our source. Called whatever one has been taught or heard as "God" or some form of the word. No religion has brought true peace and love to mankind. The Spirit of Love, teaches us about itself, empowers us to love others, have compassion, forgiveness, and allows us to feel its presence in ourselves, nature, and each other.

    Which should then bring Peace to all, but one must be able to surrender what we call "self/ego" to love to accomplish that goal. To "Love one another and treat one another the way we would want to be treated and loved." Which equals no wars, stealing, starvation, abuse, murder, lying, making fun of others, or putting them down for their beliefs, bullying, coveting another's things or partner in life, the list goes on...Blaming a "god" for unfortunate happenings is an easy way out of not accepting circumstances, that are a part of this life on this planet.

    Most things happen because of an unloving person, who has not learned or was shown love in their life. They only think about themselves and what their needs are..."to hell with everyone else!" Other things, like diseases are a part of this world that attack the flesh part of us. It is dying from the moment we are born. So, it makes sense that we grow and expand the spirit part of us, which lives forever by returning to our source to become and experience whatever we choose. Just like we did before we came here...Do you know why you came here? What you are supposed to learn or achieve? I hope you remember why you are here and from where you have come...The answer is in your own spirit within you, it is constantly connected to our Spiritual source...ask it to bring you knowledge and the power of Love in your life, here and beyond...Or Not, your choice!

    I'm just sharing my experience, Love has gotten me through many things, enabled me to forgive when I couldn't and didn't want to and to accept whatever happened, good, bad, and the frustrating indifference, that those without love smugly throw out at others.

    Love is the answer, but it is the hardest to achieve and give to "All" we meet, even to ourselves. I wish you all can or have achieved True Love, unconditional love, that can bring true peace to Earth and the Universe. Become One with Love...

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Awe....bless his heart. He means well!

      We love you as well pc. Hang in there!

      ?♥️

  1. Kim's Avatar Kim

    The phrase "God is love" isn't a statement on the character of God. It means that love originates from God. Just as a consuming fire shall come from God by the phrase "God is a consuming fire".

  1. Carl Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Elfstrom

    I thought G.O.D. stood for good orderly direction. We can't all get that direction from following the same path. What's right for some is wrong for others. Find what works for you and use it. And let others do the same.

  1. Secretary3rd's Avatar Secretary3rd

    If I do not throw that Virgin into the volcano will the volcano God be mad at me. If I do not bow once a day toward it will I be punish. Will I be punish for not singing its praise. It must be really hard on my soul if I do not please the God. If a Muslim does not bow 5 times a day will God still reward him with his prays. If a Christian does not pray, wave their hands and sing those songs will God still not love them. On the other hand there might not ever been a God of any sorts and all the energy so done is a waste of time. At least I have Mother.

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