This past week marked the passing of civil rights icon, John Lewis, who spent his life getting into what he called, “necessary trouble.” Representative Lewis left us with some powerful words to live by. He said, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
During my time of study and training and to be a minister with Unity Worldwide Ministries, I was told something which attached itself to the core of my being. One of my instructors told me, “Authenticity and vulnerability are two of your superpowers. These two traits, above any others, will help you become an effective, compassionate and successful minister.” I am giving myself permission to call upon those powers in order to express myself today. Otherwise, I may have absolutely nothing to say.
Since I was hired as the spiritual leader here at Unity on Cape Cod on November 1, 2016, I have written a monthly blog. This is it, what you are reading now, the message from the minister. Every single month of my ministry here I have shared my thoughts and feelings on a number of subjects, including the spiritual perspectives we can employ in order to see it all as part of our spiritual awakening and growth as a community. My hope is that you will read my words and take them to heart, and perhaps something I express will also attach itself to the core of your being in such a way that awakens the Christ in you, igniting the inner light which transforms and heals this world, for our need for healing has never been so great.
These are times that can shake the foundation of one’s faith and bring doubt of humankind ever recovering from such unconscious behavior. This is one of those times for me as a minister and spiritual leader that has me asking the question, “What is mine to do? What is my good and necessary trouble?” If I follow the man from Nazareth, who turned over the tables in the temple and who rebuked the pharisees as well as the wind in the storm; or if I speak of men like Gandhi and Martin Luther King as some of my heroes, then isn’t it up to me to find my place of impact upon the consciousness of this world?
I believe I have found that place; but I also find myself on occasion slipping off that place of peace and purpose, and I begin to feel that sea of despair lurking, waiting to swallow up a good portion of the human race. I see a battle between ego’s rage on, while we arrogantly cling to our separate perspectives and continue to harm one another, physically, emotionally and dare I say, spiritually as well. The most vulnerable and innocent and authentic seem to be bearing the brunt of our anger and violent reactions. We continue to pour our resources into war and weaponry instead of investing in the generations to come. Racist, elitist and homophobic ideologies are allowed to masquerade as religion and politics. A global pandemic rages on. Hundreds of thousands of people struggle and suffer deeply and die while the so-called leaders play childish games with our lives.
What do I do? I meditate, find my inner peace, say my prayers, do my lessons in A Course in Miracles, the Daily word, write the Sunday message, another monthly message in the blog, sing another song, quote another philosopher, read Charles and Myrtle Fillmore… I suit up, I show up, and I hold back my tears and swallow my pain, and I stand and sing, “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.” It isn’t enough for me. I signed on to a vision of a world powerfully transformed by the growing movement of our shared spiritual awakening.
I have this idea, If you are not awakening from this dream of separation, I am not doing my job. If you still see people “out there” as the problem in your world, I am not doing my job. If you still cannot tap into the spirit of the living God within you and heal yourself and others, I am not really doing my job. If I lose my faith in the human spirit to overcome these challenges, I am not doing my job. If fear and frustration begin to alter my direction, I am not doing my job. If you are not strengthened by my words and inspired to greater compassion, I am not doing my job. Yes, I am human, I will feel at times this crisis of faith; but I also was also once told by a Unity minister, “if you ever experience a deep crisis of faith, that is because you are doing your job.”
This path I have chosen is the one that gets you in the most trouble, because it requires a constant trust in a power greater than yourself, yet within yourself as well. I really have nothing to rely on but my faith. So, when that faith is tested, I am in the most trouble there is, letting go of everything I know, think, feel and believe, and stepping out into the great realm of uncertainty. I not only do this for myself, but as a spiritual leader I also ask you to come with me, to take that leap of faith, trust in the eternal love of God to guide us as we discover a reality previously unknown to us, that which only comes to those willing to relinquish their personal mortal self in favor of the Christ within, the identity of light.
John Lewis also said…
”You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates… Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.”
I know there are those in the world that will mock and beat and deny and crucify the one who accepts this kind of trouble; but as Jesus (Yeshua) would say, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither be afraid for I have overcome the world.” And, I can say from experience, there are also those who will celebrate you, they have been waiting for you and will welcome and cherish your light. Remember my friends, you are the light of the world. Hide not your light. Shine that that light into the world, make that light known, lift it up so all may behold your brilliance and experience your love. This is what powerfully transforms the world.
Rev. Tony Cryer