Emily started and said Love, so then I said Grace (Love is obviously the single most defining characteristic of God as far as I'm concerned, but with that one having been said I had to come up with another one, and Grace has been much on my mind these past months). Ross said he was gonna say Grace, so then he said Patience.
A couple people didn't seem to really understand the question and were basically like, "Coming to Jesus changed my life. I love Jesus." I recognize that not everyone's cognition powers are optimal, so I don't fuss too much at the talking past each other, but I still cannot grok that conversion experience.
David wasn't present, but Emily was doing the "Father God" thing. Sigh. I get that that's a totally legit way to understand God, but it's such an awkward construction (to be like, "We thank you, Father God, for...") that I can't get past that.
I forget what I said in the thrust of my closing prayer, but I remember saying, "because God is present for everyone."
Unity service is at 11am, so I went to Dunkin' Donuts and got second breakfast and came back and sat outside Unity reading in the bright sun until it got to be too much and I had to go inside.
Roza came in a bit after me (and we hugged like whoa) and we sat together and commented back and forth a little during service and debriefed afterward.
I... I can't even say "church: ur doin it wrong" because the frameworks within which it's operating are so different from any I'm used to.
It feels kind of UU, only it's more Biblically-inflected, and its major theme is the power of positive thinking, which I am wicked uncomfortable with.
On the front wall of the sanctuary, are three quotations:
"All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." -Christ Jesus
"God is love." -St. John
"Dive love always has met and always will meet every human need." -Mary Baker Eddy
There are paraments(?) hung along each wall, each a different color with a different word on each -- Life, Release, Zeal, Order, Will, Understanding, Imagination, Power, Wisdom, Strength, Love, Faith
Statement of Faith: There is One Presence and One Power active in the Universe and in my Life, God the Good, Omnipotence.
Unity Tenet: We create our experiences by the activity of our thought. Everything that appears in our lives has its beginning in thought.
Church Prayer & Blessing: Unity Church of God is a healing, prospering center of loving service. We give thanks God has established it, is directing, housing, prospering and fulfilling it.
Announcements, Welcome & Greetings
This guy Joe (who was one of the people I had met at the potluck following the Interfaith Pride Service) invited anyone who was a visitor to identify themselves so they could greet us, and there was a bit of a pause and I said, "Oh, you want us to introduce ourselves right now. I thought you just meant during the Passing of the Peace." Roza and I were sitting in the center section near the front, and the sanctuary's fairly bare so sound carries fairly well, so I sort of turned around and said my name and that I live up the street and I have a home church but I'm just visiting. (I explained to at least one person during Passing of the Peace that my home church meets Sunday evenings.) And then Roza said her name and that she was visiting with me.
They didn't actually call it "Passing of the Peace" and I got "Happy day" (Jodi) and "Namaste" (Joe?) and such from people. One person commented on my really strong handshake, and someone else asked if I was Episcopalian because of my saying "Peace be with you." I said that Methodism comes from Anglicanism, that Wesley was Anglican, but later I thought, "No, my Presbyterian church also says 'Peace be with you;' this is really not just an Episcopalian thing."
1 Corinthians 4:15
Meditation ended with the singing of a sung setting of The Lord's Prayer -- debts; "leave us not in temptation"
Betty opened by talking about the Declaration of Independence.
She said it opens with a statement of purpose, says why they're doing this, claims independence.
"it's the intention and spirit that leads to success"
"while the British declared war, we declared independence"
She quoted Chesterton: "You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution."
She quoted from Job -- "thou shalt establish a decree ... light will shine." I was really confused as to where this was in Job, and in Googling later I think it's Job 22:28 (do we really want to be quoting anyone other than Job or God in this book?).
She talked about Jesus at the pool at Bethesda and said that the paralyzed guy was "stuck in a lack-consciousness" and you "just need to decide to be well." [I was mentally screaming, "it doesn't work that way!"]
She mentioned that it was against the law to carry your mat on Sabbath, and yeah I always ping a little at the implication that Judaism is all this binding legalistic.
"God Bless America"
I was like, "Are you serious?" Nevermind the fact that it wasn't in the hymnal so those of us who shockingly don't actually know it by heart couldn't really sing along even if we had wanted to. After we'd sung one verse, Jodi suggested that we sing "God Bless The Whole Wide World." Um yes, let's. Couldn't we have just started with !Finlandia?
Blessing of Tithes and Offerings: Divine Love, flowing through me, blesses and multiplies all that I have, all that I give, and all that I receive, and I am grateful.
Prayer for Protection
The Light of God surrounds us;
The Love of God enfolds us;
The Power of God protects us;
The Presence of God watches over us.
Wherever we are, God is;
All is well, and we are richly blessed.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me;
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.
With God as Creator, united all are we.
Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now.
With every step I take, let this be my joyous vow:
To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally!.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
"You Are Mine" was pasted in to the front of the hymnal, which I enjoyed.
We passed through the bookstore on our way to Coffee Hour. They have books like an entire "Millionaires of the Bible" Series!!! (sample) (Later I thought of Cousin Steve -- who gave me and my brother this book.)
We had some food at Coffee Hour and talked with people a little bit, and I made some attempts to problematize their base theology, but I wasn't really prepared (at one point I said, "Prosperity Gospel...only that's not quite the phrase I want") especially to do so in a way that wasn't really insulting/dismissive/whatever.
We got welcome packets right after we introduced ourselves, and we opened them over lunch. I felt a little bit like I'd encountered the Jehovah's Witnesses. One of the booklets had on its cover