May 13, 2018
What follows is a copy of the talk I gave this morning, Sunday, May 13, 2018 at the Center for Spiritual Living West Georgia.
Sermon Mother’s Day:
Welcome to Mother’s Day and it’s celebration at the Center for Spiritual Living West Georgia. I am happy to be here on this glorious, sunny day.
Last year when I spoke on Mother’s Day, I used as my text quote “We believe in the eternal goodness, the eternal loving-kindness and the eternal givingness of Life to all.” unquote
which is one of the Universal Spiritual principles that Earnest Homes wrote and I, also,- expanded the definition of mother.
Today, we are going to use a different text and expand the meaning of mother a little bit more.
Mother’s Day was founded by activist Anna Jarvis way back in 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia. Anna did this to honor her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, who was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War.
Because Mother’s Day was founded by an activist to celebrate the life of an activist, Mother’s Day is a call for activism. It is a day to do what Saint Paul said and put love into action.
Mother Teresa told us that “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
In the secret place of their heart, mothers disagree with Mother Teresa. All mothers want one specific great thing.
The flowers, the cards, the candy, the special lunches and dinners are nice, but what mothers really want is for all of us to commit to having a better world for all children everywhere.
It is as this teaching says: there is no us and them; there is no our children and their children; there is only children, our children, the children of all of us.
Mothers want us to really hear what Ernest Holmes, the founder of what has become Centers for Spiritual Living, said about love and then to act from that place of understanding.
Ernest Holmes said, quote
“Love is within us. It cannot be destroyed.
However, it can be ignored. To the extent that we abandon love, we will feel it has abandoned us.
Denying love is our only problem, and embracing it is the only answer.” Unquote
As always, when considering the words Ernest Holmes left for us, there is much wisdom to let in.
That first line—love is within us. It cannot be destroyed—gives us enormous freedom.
We can stop seeking love. We can stop making bargains for it, stop earning it, stop buying it because we already have it.
We simply have to stop being teenagers and denying that this is so.
Even more important, love cannot be destroyed. There is no action, no thought, no belief, no attitude, no rebellion that can take it from us.
Our only choice in the matter of love is to ignore it.
We can choose to believe that we are unwanted and unloved; we can place ourselves with the lost of this world or we can do what is done on this day:
We can choose to celebrate love, both the love that is within and the love that is outside of us.
Today is the day we embrace the love that comes from the outside, from all those who nurtured, supported and empowered us and all those who continue to do so.
Today we focus on the one person on the outside who loved us best, our mothers. It doesn’t matter if this person was male or female, a member of our human family or from our universal family.
It doesn’t matter if this someone was part of our daily life or someone we never met but somehow greatly influenced the person we have become.
After arriving on this planet, someone kept us alive and did their best to raise us to be good neighbors. Someone gave us guidance and encouragement.
Someone was our cheerleader, picked us up when we fell, and shielded us from those who ignore the love that is on the inside of them.
Someone was active in our life and active for the good. That someone or someone’s is/are mothers.
Today, we honor our mother. This includes all the persons who we might not call mother, but, in our heart of hearts, we know we should.
So. Who are these persons who influenced us enough to be called mother?
They are the people who understand the second part of the Ernest Holmes quote of this talk: quote “However, love can be ignored. To the extent that we abandon love, we will feel it has abandoned us.” unquote
These are the people who are determined not to ignore love.
They are the people who allow love of self to flow out of them into the Universe.
They are the ones who loved themselves so much that they found truth and were eager to share this truth with the rest of us.
These people are mothers; all of us can claim them as one of our many mothers.
One of my mother’s is Dr. Kennedy Schultz, the founder of the Atlanta Center for Spiritual Living. During the years I was his student, he did what mothers do: he nurtured, supported and empowered his students.
In other words, he loved us.
One class time, I happened to be walking past him and another student when I heard Dr. Schultz say, “Whatever you call someone else, you call yourself.”
Dr. Schultz was reminding the student that we all come from the same source, are made of the same substance. Each of us is some aspect, some piece, of the Creator. We are all connected to and of the One.
Dr. Shultz’s words–“Whatever you call someone else, you call yourself.”—
became part of my North Star. In other words, these words are part of my moral compass.
Whenever I find myself thinking “me and them”, when I find myself thinking poorly of someone, when I find myself listening to “he’s not one of us, he’s one of them”, Kennedy’s words float into my awareness and I quickly make a correction.
Hang around this teaching long enough and you, too, will understand that there is no “us” and “them”; there is only us.
Dr. Schultz’s words– what you call others is what you call yourself– are so much a part of me that I cringed when I heard folks calling the Parkland, Florida school shooter a monster.
They did not know they were calling themselves “monster”.
As more information comes out about school shooters, it becomes obvious that we, the community called America, do not recognize that all of us are called to be mothers; all of us are called to let the love on the inside of us greet the love on the outside of us.
When those two forces meet—our inside love and the love from the outside—a powerful, unstoppable force is formed.
A force we can direct to do love. A force that can solve problems.
A force that can help us keep our commitment to all mothers: that we will be activist for a better world for all children everywhere, because all children everywhere are our children.
The research coming out about school shootings confirms what Ernest Holmes teaches: the problem is the denial of love; the answer is the giving of love.
This is what mothers do: they give love in the form of a new human life.
The truth is that anyone who has brought forth a new business, a new friendship, an invention, a construction project, a creative piece and anything else that is new to this planet is a mother.
Kennedy Schultz fits this definition of mother. He brought forth newness: he brought forth this teaching to an Atlanta audience.
Dr. Maria Montessori is another of these kinds of mothers. She brought forth a new way to educate and care for children. She is another of my mothers.
Dr. Montessori was a medical doctor who became concerned about children placed in mental health facilities and then became concerned because her so called abnormal children when taught the Montessori way learned more than so called normal children.
Dr. Maria Montessori lived at the same time as Ernest Holmes. Her writings are filled with New Age ideas applied to children and education.
She taught us to see and treat children and ourselves as spiritual beings.
In our day, she would be called a social activist.
Another person who is not only one of my mother’s but a mom to thousands of Americans is President John F Kennedy.
He is a mother because he did what mothers do: he expanded our North Star, our moral compass.
He showed us a new path to consider.
I was in high school January, 1961 when President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask instead what you can do for your country.”
Like thousands of other young persons, I pondered these words and made them part of my North Star.
President Kennedy did what mothers do: he caused us to consider and choose careers of public service, a mindset of giving and a determination to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
We who answered President Kennedy’s call to act did the third part of the Ernest Holmes quote for today: Denying love is our only problem, and embracing it is the only answer.”
We refused to ignore the call of love from the outside and the push of love from the inside. We refused to abandon love.
Even though there are many who deny the good done by those who answered President Kennedy’s call, that good cannot be taken from us.
Nor can that good be taken from this country or our world. The good denied yes; the good covered up yes, but that good destroyed. Never.
Ernest Holmes spoke truth when he said “Love is within us. It cannot be destroyed.
However, it can be ignored. To the extent that we abandon love, we will feel it has abandoned us.
Denying love is our only problem, and embracing it is the only answer.” unquote
So, this Mother’s Day let us acknowledge the truth of these words.
Every time we see a problem, let us recognize that it is a denial of love.
Immigration problem—denial of love
Money problem—denial of love
School shooter problem—denial of love
Minister problem—denial of love
And, every time we desire a solution, let us embrace love.
Let us allow our inside love to greet the love from the outside.
Let us become a powerful, unstoppable force for the good.
Love requires many hands to do its bidding.
Let our hands be among those that answer the call of love.
Let us be mothers to all children and all people everywhere.
And so it is.