Sunday, November 20 — For What Are We Grateful?

With Thanksgiving next Thursday, this Sunday the Fellowship celebrates a day of gratitude.  When hearts are open in thankfulness, individuals open themselves to the presence of God within, for gratitude is an expression of hope and joy and love.

Giving thanks isn’t just about having the things desired in life or knowing that needs are being met, though.  Giving thanks is about recognizing one’s true Identity and purpose.  It is knowing that God loves everyone, and allowing that love to flow freely, as an expression of gratitude.

Gratitude is found within, regardless of external circumstances.  One might recall the stories heard of people who are grateful even in prison or in the midst of war.  They’re not deluded; rather, they simply recognize the truth.  Let’s start our own thanksgiving by opening to God’s love, and by remembering what gratitude is really all about.

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Sunday, October 9 – How do we “Go With the Flow”?

It’s become a somewhat tired catch phrase:  “Go with the flow.”  There’s something almost romantic about it, as though you could almost visualize yourself floating on your back down a gentle stream, not a care in the world.

On the other hand, through overuse and abuse of this phrase—“Hey, man, I’m just goin’ with the flow”—we have also come to associate it with people we think of as slothful or lazy, or with people that are afraid of making a commitment.

Yet, perhaps there is a greater “flow” with which we could be going.  Perhaps the flow—the path, the journey—of God’s way is one that would bring us true serenity, and, would lead us to live lives full of passion and energy for our work, our relationships, and the greater good.

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Sunday, September 25 — What is Your Sense of Self?

Too often one can find oneself waxing poetic about “the way it used to be,” or idly fantasizing about a mythical perfect future – as they say, “the grass is always greener on the other side.”  Yet, the spiritual path, although looking to a brighter future, is about living fully in the present, so that the future can be all that it is meant to be, not because we wished it so, but because it just is what it is.

God is in the present, here and now, and simply asks His children to accept this moment as it is, and as we find ourselves.  God wants us to live to our full potential in this moment, not waiting around for a better time, not wishing things to be different.

This Sunday, the topic will be an exploration of acceptance: accepting the present moment, accepting ourselves, and thus, accepting God.

FOLLOWING THE SERVICE:  Join in the fun at the 3rd Annual Fellowship Picnic!  Bring a small dish to share.  Brats and burgers will be provided, along with beverages and tableware.  Directions to the private ranch location will be available at the Sunday Service only.

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Sunday, September 11 — Emptiness

This Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil.  We will offer blessings and prayers in remembrance of this day.

The philosopher emperor Marcus Aurelius is quoted as saying:

“God, whose love and joy are present everywhere,

can’t come to visit you unless you aren’t there.”

The concept of emptying oneself is found in many spiritual traditions, the most familiar being in Buddhism.  There is no space for God or truth if we are filled up with ourselves—that is, our selfish interests and agendas, our judgments and resentments.

In order for us to discover the love and compassion that is within us, God’s presence within us, we must make room.  We must empty ourselves and allow God to fill us up, or, in reality, allow God to help us rediscover our identity that has been hidden beneath the identity we have made for ourselves.

This Sunday, we’ll explore what it means to create space for God.

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Sunday, August 28 — What Is “Life”?

Reverence for all life.  What does that mean?  To the devout Jainist, it means that even the tiniest ant should not be crushed, or that respect be given to a germ coursing its way through our veins.  To some, it means abortions are immoral.  And to some, it simply means enjoying the beauty of nature.

The little-known faith of Jainism will be our window through which we explore the spiritual principle of reverence for life.  This faith celebrates one of the most sacred time periods on their calendar starting today.

How does God see reverence for all life?  God’s understanding of what “life” is, is far deeper than our own; therefore, God’s notion of reverence for life is far more profound than our own.  Come this Sunday to talk about what this implies about how we treat life, our own and others’, and how we can more fully embrace living to our fullest potential.

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Sunday, August 21 — Real Courage: What Is It?

What does it mean to be courageous?  We too often associate courage with those who throw themselves headlong into a battle or that face a dangerous situation as a superhero might.

But real courage – that state of mind that enables one to face a challenging situation “no matter what” – is this not something all of us have within us?

This Sunday we’ll explore what real courage is all about.  We’ll take a look at some of our heroes, too.  How do their stories of courage inspire us on our personal journey?

We welcome you to Sedona Interfaith Fellowship!

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Sunday, August 14 — Transformation and You

In August the Christian community around the world commemorates the transfiguration of Jesus.  The symbology of this event is a powerful metaphor for the spiritual seeker, as Jesus is literally transformed before the eyes of his disciples into a radiant being.  Part of the strength of this image might be seen in Jesus’ relationship with God, in that, he was not afraid to let his life be completely at one with God’s will.

How can one truly let go and let God?  How can the power of transfiguration and transformation be unleashed in the seeker’s ordinary life?

These ideas and more will be explored this Sunday at the Fellowship.

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Sunday, July 31 — What can we learn from Sufism and Islam?

Sufism is the mystical path of the Muslim faith, and with Ramadan beginning next week, it might be helpful to explore a little of what these faiths are all about.  In a continuing effort to examine various traditions in the spirit of interfaith, participants will take a brief look at the historical background of Islam and Sufism, and receive some inspiration through the lens of Sufi tales and anecdotes.

At the Fellowship this Sunday, attendees will have the opportunity to see how this age-old religion can offer a fresh perspective on what it means to walk the way of God.  This should be stimulating for anyone interested in broadening their outlook on spirituality.

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Sunday, July 17 — Interfaith Celebrates 15th Anniversary!

Sedona Interfaith Fellowship is having its fifteenth anniversary celebration this Sunday. The Interfaith model calls for a respect of the many ways in which the truth comes to all people, keeping in mind that God, by whatever name we practice, is within us, around us, guiding us, loving us.

This anniversary celebration will be a time in which we will honor the Source of truth that is in all of us. It will be a time of singing some of our favorite songs and chants, sharing in fellowship, meditating, and hearing stories and words of faith and wisdom.

The message will be based on a Zen story about a monk who gives away a part of a statue of the monastery’s sacred Buddha, to the dismay of his followers, and what transpires.

Following the service, we’ll head over to a congregant’s home, for a Celebration BBQ. Bring something to grill, and a small dish to share. We’ll supply the fixings and the rest! There is a pool as well, for those that would like a swim. Maps are provided at the Service.

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Sunday, July 10: The Highest Wisdom — Kindness

There is a Jewish teaching in the Talmud that says, “The highest wisdom is kindness.” Five simple yet profound words that sum up one of the greatest spiritual teachings, like those of the Golden Rule.

Kindness is a quality that is undervalued in our culture. With a little bit of focus, it might actually bring some of that elusive happiness everyone searches for through worldly success, comfort, and relationships.

It’s a difficult principle to practice, because it means one must step outside of oneself at least long enough to notice that there are others around them deserving of a little love and support. It’s not all about self, in other words.

With so much unrest and conflict around the world, wouldn’t it benefit everyone to practice a kinder and gentler way?

This Sunday at the Fellowship we’ll explore this often undervalued spiritual principle.

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