Lectionary: July – September 2019

July 7 – Working For the Good of All
The Wisdom of Quaker Theologian Phillip Gulley
If the church were Christian, gracious behavior would be more important than right belief…The tendency to value orthodoxy over grace is still with us, still misshaping our lives and the lives of others, still leaving us insensitive to human need, and still causing many kind and thoughtful people to reject the church as a compassionate community to which they might belong. Several years ago I [was having lunch with an atheist; at one point he said], “I don’t believe in God…Would I be welcome in your church?”
“Certainly,” I told him.
“Would I eventually have to believe in God in order to stay there?”
I thought for a moment before answering him…“I don’t think belief can be compelled. I only care about your beliefs insofar as they affect your behavior. Given that, I would prefer a congregation of kind atheists over a congregation of hateful Christians. But,” I added with a smile, “if you became a kind Christian, I would not be disappointed.”

The Wisdom of the Apostle Paul (Galatians 6.2-10)
Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads.
Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher. Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.
If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

Prayer after readings: Let us not grow weary in well-doing. Let us work of the good of all. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: I am becoming kinder, more generous, happier, and more serene. And so it is.

Stewardship Thought: “To give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Saints of the Week: St. Veronica (first century CE) – When Jesus fell carrying his cross bar to his execution, legend says a compassionate woman, Veronica, rushed to him to wipe his face with her veil. Tradition insists that Jesus’ face left an imprint on the veil. “Veronica” may come from the words “Vera” (true) and “Icon” (image). Whether or not the story is historically factual, it does proclaim the enduring truth of the power of kindness.

Peace Pilgrim (1908 – 1981) – born Mildred Lisette Norman, was an American spiritual teacher, mystic, pacifist,
vegetarian, and activist. She walked across the United States, speaking with others about peace. Between 1953 and 1964 she had walked over 25,000 for peace and stopped logging miles after that (even though she definitely continued walking). She wrote, “Our institutions and our leaders reflect our immaturity, but as we mature we will elect better leaders and set up better institutions. It always comes back to the thing so many of us wish to avoid: working to improve ourselves.” Her pilgrimage (walking for peace) spanned almost three decades beginning in 1953 (during the Korean War). She continued walking for 28 years (which included the Vietnam War years). Her only possessions were the clothes on her person and a few items she carried in her pockets. She had no organizational backing, did not carry money, and didn’t even ask for food or lodging. She had taken a vow to “remain a wanderer until [humankind] has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food.”On July 7, 1981, while being driven to a speaking engagement near Knox, Indiana, Peace Pilgrim was killed in an automobile accident. At the time of her death, she was crossing the United States for the seventh time.

July 9: Augustus Tolton (1854-1897)—First African-American Catholic priest. Tolton was born to Catholic slave parents who escaped during the Civil War. From an early age he felt a call to the priesthood. He studied in Illinois, and later in Rome, before being returned to the US to be ordained and work with struggling Black Catholic congregations. Though frequently marginalized by the establishment, he exposed racism in the church and worked for integration and equality.

July 12: H. Emilie Cady (1848 – 1941) – author of spiritual texts, including Lessons in Truth, one of the most widely read books in New Thought spirituality. She was a homeopathic physician. In one of her books she declared, “’I AM’…is God’s name…I AM cannot be weary, or faint, or powerless; for I AM is all-life, all-power, All-Good…’I AM’ spoken upward, toward the good, the true, is sure to out-picture in visible good, in success, in happiness.”

July 14 – Divine Life Within Us
The Wisdom of Rabindranath Tagore
“The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.
It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers…
I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

The Wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Within us is the soul of the whole; the wise silence, the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal One.”

The Wisdom of the Psalter (Psalm 82)
God has [joined] the divine council; in the midst of the gods [our God] holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?
Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk around in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
I say, “You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince.”
Rise up, O God, judge the earth; for all the nations belong to you!

Prayer after readings: May the divine Power within us express through us in beautiful ways. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: God is life, love, wisdom, power, and presence. God is forever with me and expressing through me. Amen.

Stewardship Thought: “The measure of a life is not its duration, but its donation.” Rev. Peter Marshall

Saints of the Week: July 14 – Kathleen Besly (1858 – 1946) – Divine Science minister who wrote the classic, The Divine
Art of Living, in which she writes, “We cannot fear anything or anybody if we have the full realization that God is
everywhere, that God is Love and that Love is the great power of life.”

July 16: Our Lady of Mount Carmel – Mary is said to have given the Scapular to an early Carmelite, Saint Simon Stock.

July 20: St. Wilgefortis – a noblewoman who was a devout Christian, Wilgefortis’ father betrothed her to a non-Christian king. One night she prayed to be spared from the marriage and the next morning she woke to discover he had a full beard. The king canceled the wedding, and her father, furious, had Wilgefortis crucified. Her cult can be traced to the 1300s, but images of a crucified bearded woman (or a man in woman’s dress) from the 11th century have been found. Wilgefortis was removed from the official roster of Catholic saints in 1969 but remains popular in some regions. She is considered a “folk saint.” Wilgefortis is embraced by some who self-identify as transgender, gender queer, gender non-conforming, or intersex because the story of Wilgefortis challenges to gender binary norms.

July 21 – Seeking to Love and Live like Jesus
The Wisdom of Quaker Theologian Phillip Gulley
Jesus was a monotheistic Jew who did not see himself as divine. He saw himself as a rabbi, probably a prophet…But I certainly understand the personality of God through the person of Jesus. That is, I believe God’s priorities were also Jesus’ priorities, and those priorities were to care for the poor and the marginalized…
If I use any divine language in regard to Jesus, I tend to use the language of [the] Quaker tradition, which talks about ‘that of God in all people.’ This understanding allows me to celebrate God’s presence in Jesus, while affirming that same divine reality in others. Perhaps Jesus lived more fully in this presence than most, but within everyone there exists the potential to live as he did.

+ The Gospel According to Luke (10.25-37)
A lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
And Jesus said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Prayer after readings: Dear Jesus, we seek to love and live a little more as you did. We seek to commune with and express God as you did. May it be so. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: Love and compassion guide me and express through me; and so it is.

Stewardship Thought: “This church cannot survive without your faith, your confidence, your enthusiasm, your generosity. Its destiny, the larger hope, rests in your hands.” Michael A. Schuler

Saints of the Week: July 21: Albert Luthuli (1898-1967)—Zulu chief, Nobel laureate. An important early leader in the struggle against apartheid, Luthuli was a Zulu chief raised in a Christian home. He became a principle leader in the African National Congress, and was frequently imprisoned for leading strikes and boycotts, and burning his passbook. In 1960 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The driving force in his work was his personal faith in God and belief that, despite how things looked in South Africa, justice would one day prevail.

July 22: St. Mary Magdalene—“Apostle to the Apostles.” Mary of Magdala (near Capernaum) was one of a group of women who traveled and worked with Jesus. The Gospels report Jesus healed her by casting out seven evil spirits. Her life was forever changed, and she followed him all the way to the cross, even when the men had fled in fear. She has long been the subject of sacred art and literature, and been an important model for the leadership and role of women in the church. She reminds us that there were many women leaders among Jesus’ first followers. Despite later myths, there is nothing in the bible to indicate she had been a prostitute.

July 25: Apostle James the Greater (d. 44) – one of Jesus’ apostles.

St. Christopher (d. 251) – Patron of travelers. a Canaanite convert and a “giant” (7.5 feet tall), the legend of Christopher says he used his size to help pilgrims cross a dangerous river. One day he carried a toddler who identified himself to Christopher as Jesus (and then disappeared). Christopher was eventually martyred for his faith. “Christopher” means “Christ bearer.”

July 26: St. Anne (50 BCE-12 CE) – According to Christian and Muslim traditions, Anne was the mother of Mary and
grandmother of Jesus.

July 28 – Our Divine Source
The Wisdom of Helen Zagat
Answered prayer comes during the empowered stillness. Outer manifestations follow in the right way, at the right time. Holding to the high vision of Omnipresence, with quietness, places us in the stream of power. The good comes forth according to the eternal action of living Intelligence.

The Wisdom of Nona Brooks
Today I rejoice in knowing that God is my immediate and abundant supply. I trust [God] for my every need.

+ The Gospel According to Luke (11.1-13)
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Abba, hallowed be your name. Your dominion come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?
If you then…know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Parent give the holy Spirit to those who ask!”

Prayer after readings: Dear God, you are our life, and the Source of every blessing. We will trust you, today, to minister to our every need. And so it is.

Healing Rays Prayer: God is the Source of my supply, and my Source is limitless! Amen.

Stewardship Thought: “There must be giving as well as receiving, in order to maintain a perfect balance.” Ernest Holmes

Saints of the Week: July 28: Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II “Rev. Ike” (1935 – 2009) – a prosperity preacher who taught that health, wealth, good luck, harmonious relationships, and protection from adversaries could all be achieved and experienced by those who practiced his system of metaphysics. His seminary taught the “Science of Living” and his business institute was the home of “Thinkonomics.” His church was a large, remodeled theatre in Washington Heights (NYC) and he believed that combining affirmative prayer with generous giving could result in an empowered, joyous, and even opulent life. Rev. Ike taught, “Acknowledge the God in you and ask for guidance” and “Your mind will work what seems like miracles to accomplish the good purpose you give it.” He used such affirmations as “Nothing is too good for me” and “Good health is my divine right.” He liked the bible verse, “According to your faith shall it be done to you.” He called his teaching “mind power”, “self-awareness”, and “self-image psychology.”

July 29: William Wilberforce (1759-1833)—Abolitionist. The life of Wilberforce proved that a politician can also be moral and heroic. Born to a wealthy and influential family, he experienced an evangelical conversion shortly after entering Parliament, where he worked for overseas missions and education. As a member of the House of Commons he supported political and social reforms, most especially his long and persistent fight against slavery and the slave-trade. Slavery was finally abolished in the British empire just weeks before his death. Seven hundred thousand slaves were freed. He was buried in Westminster Abbey as a national hero.

July 30: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany—Jesus’ family of choice. The stories of this household from Bethany (a village right outside Jerusalem) are found in the gospels of Luke and John. They are portrayed as close friends and disciples of Jesus, and are remembered for their hospitality. Martha has come to symbolize the active response to faith, those who get things done, and Mary that of the contemplative. When Lazarus died, Jesus stood at his grave and openly wept. While they are described as brothers and sisters, it has been suggested that Mary and Martha may have actually been a couple who called each other ‘sisters’ in order to pass in society. They are important for modern gay and lesbian people of faith because they represent Jesus’ family of choice —two unmarried women, and an unmarried man. Like many of us today, Jesus defined his family by intentional covenant, rather than biological or legal relatedness.

July 31: St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)—Founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Many modern liberation theologies (in which gay and feminist theologies are rooted) have come from Latin American Jesuits.

St. Joseph of Arimathea – is said to have provided the burial tomb for Jesus.

August 1: Kuan Yin – The Buddhist Bodhisattva of Compassion. She has been known both as a female deity and as a male figure (known as Avalokiteshvara, the Lord of Enlightenment). Because of her identification with compassion and her gender fluidity, Queer religious scholars have seen her as a Queer Christ/Queer Buddha figure, a symbol of enlightenment and compassion for and within the Queer community.

August 2: Malinda Cramer (1844 – 1906) – former Quaker, New Thought Teacher and the original founder of the Divine Science Church. After decades of infirmity, she prayed, “Is there a power in the vast universe that can heal me?” The answer was an enlightening experience whereby she realized God as Omnipresence and all life as part of that Presence. Knowing herself to be one with God, she knew that health and happiness were her natural inheritance. Her health began to improve and she founded Divine Science movement. She once said, “Healing is taking place all the time and we know it is God who is doing the work.”

Aug 4 – The One All
The Wisdom of Irwin Gregg
We read in the scriptures: “One God…of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” This vividly describes the relation or state of unity that forever exists between the infinite Spirit of God and the individual soul. If we are to see outer…good, we must first locate that good within and call it forth out of the Omnipresence though the human soul…Affirmative descriptions of God’s presence, power, and goodness, and our own oneness with this Presence is true prayer, and allows the will of God…to bring forth its dependable results. God is the Great Constant of my life. I know no fear.

The Wisdom of the Pauline Tradition (Colossians 3.8-11)
Get rid of these things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Prayer after readings: God of all, you are above, through, and in us all. We are forever in union with you, and so we rejoice. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: All-in-all, I Am forever part of you, and so it is that I Am strengthened, renewed, comforted, and inspired daily. Amen.

Stewardship Thought: “You can give without loving; but you cannot love without giving.” Amy Carmichael

Saints of the Week: August 4: Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) – Missionary doctor and Nobel laureate A person of many talents and interests, Schweitzer earned doctorates in theology, philosophy, and medicine. He was a noted organist and interpreter of the music of J. S. Bach. His Quest for the Historical Jesus had a radical effect on how scholars approached the life of Christ. His work as a medical missionary founding his own hospital in Africa led to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952.

St. Dominic (1170-1221) – founder of the Order of Preachers (aka Dominicans).

August 6: W. John Murray (1865 – 1925) – Murray had been a Roman Catholic priest before being attracted to metaphysics. He studied with Emma Curtis Hopkins and was ordained by Nona Brooks into the ministry of Divine Science. In 1906 he started the Church of the Healing Christ in NYC. He was so successful as a spiritual healer, he once got in trouble with the authorities for “practicing medicine without a license.”

August 9: Blessed Edith Stein (1891-1942)—Carmelite martyr. Raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, Edith devoted herself to philosophy and declared herself an atheist. After reading the writings of St. Teresa of Avila she was baptized as a Catholic. She continued to attend synagogue with her mother each week. Her academic reputation grew as she taught in universities, but with Hitler’s rise to power she lost her position and entered a Carmelite convent. She was taken to Auschwitz, where she cared for abandoned children —“Pietà with the Christ” she was called.

Aug 11 – Faith
The Wisdom of Elsie MacKay
You can never be separated from that which you are, the spiritual Essence of you…With joy I remember that I AM life…I AM love…I AM peace. I AM one with the Essence of life, love, peace, I and my [God] are one. For this I give thanks.

The Wisdom of Norman Vincent Peale
Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.

The Wisdom of the Book of Hebrews (11.1-16)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.
It was because of his faith that Abel made a better sacrifice to God than Cain, and he had evidence that God looked upon him as righteous…And though Cain killed him, yet by his faith Abel still speaks to us today.
It was because of his faith that Enoch was promoted to the eternal world without experiencing death. He disappeared from this world because God promoted him, and before that happened his reputation was that “he pleased God”. And without faith it is impossible to please God. The one who approaches God must have faith in two things, first that God exists and secondly that it is worth one’s while to try to find God.
It was through faith that Noah, on receiving God’s warning of impending disaster, reverently constructed an ark to save his household. This action…won for Noah the righteousness before God which follows such a faith.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the summons to go out to a place which he would eventually possess, and he set out in complete ignorance of his destination. It was faith that kept him journeying like a foreigner through the land of promise, with no more home than the tents which he shared with his family…For Abraham’s eyes were looking forward to that city with solid foundations of which God is both architect and builder.
It was by faith that even Sarah gained the physical vitality to become a mother despite her great age, and she gave birth to a child when far beyond the normal years of child-bearing. She could do this because she believed that the one who had given the promise was utterly trustworthy. So it happened that from one [unlikely couple]…there arose a people “as numerous as the stars”, as “countless as the sands of the sea-shore”.
All the heroes of faith looked forward to their true country
All these whom we have mentioned maintained their faith but died without actually receiving God’s promises, though they had seen them in the distance, had hailed them as true and were quite convinced of their reality. They freely admitted that they lived on this earth as exiles and foreigners. Those who say that mean, of course, that their eyes are fixed upon their true home-land. If they had meant the particular country they had left behind, they had ample opportunity to return. No, the fact is that they longed for a better country altogether, nothing less than a heavenly one. And because of this faith of theirs, God is not ashamed to be called their God for in sober truth God has prepared for them a city in Heaven.

Prayer after readings: We seek to trust you more completely, O God. We seek to remember and believe in your goodness at all times. May it be so. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: As much faith as you give me, O God, I will use for my good and the good of others. Amen.

Stewardship Thought: “If American Christians were to give from their income generously – not lavishly, mind you, only generously – they could transform the world, starting right away.” Christian Smith, Michael Emerson, & Patricia Snell

Saints of the Week: August 11: St. Clare (1193-1253)—Abbess at Assisi. At the age of 18 Clare heard a sermon by St. Francis that changed her life. A beautiful woman from a wealthy family, she determined to turn her back on the social station offered her. She founded an order that embraced poverty and service. As she lay on her deathbed she was visited by the countless lay and clergy who had been touched by her humility and kindness, including the Pope.

August 13: Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)—Nurse and health care reformer. Raised in an affluent British family, Florence became interested in nursing at an early age. Her inspiration grew from her life of prayer, and against her family’s wishes she found her life’s purpose in addressing the sufferings of the poor and ill. Her work improving hospital sanitary conditions in the Crimean War won her a large following. She was known as the “angel of mercy.”

Emmet Fox (1886-1951) – Divine Science minister and writer who while he lived Fox addressed some of the largest audiences ever gathered to hear one person’s thoughts on the religious meaning of life. He is thought to have influenced Norman Vincent Peale and was popular in the early days of the AA movement. Fox wrote, “The universe is run exactly on the lines of a cafeteria. Unless you claim – mentally – what you want, you may sit and wait forever.”

August 14: St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941)—Polish Franciscan priest and martyr. “Father Max” was a scholar, mystic, and missionary who demonstrated compassionate acceptance for all people, from Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz to the Buddhists and Shinto he worked with in Japan. Arrested by the Gestapo, he spent his time in the death camps comforting others and confronting evil with love. He went so far as to offer his own life to save a Jewish escapee. Sent into an underground bunker to starve to death, after two weeks he was finally executed.

Jonathan Daniels, Martyr (1939-1965) – reared in a Congregationalist home, Daniels became Episcopalian and as a seminarian at the time of his death. A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, he briefly attended Harvard (studying literature) and then enrolled at the
Episcopal Theological School. Answering Dr. King’s call to activism, Daniels went to Alabama to tutor children and help enroll African American voters. On Aug. 14, 1965 Daniels and 28 other protesters were arrested and held without bail in a jail without air conditioning for 6 days. When they were released (without being offered transportation), they walked to a nearby store to get a cold beverage. Tom Coleman (a volunteer deputy) threatened the group and aimed a shotgun at 17 year old Ruby Sales. When Coleman fired the gun, Daniels stepped in the way and took the full blast, and died. A Catholic priest was also shot and wounded. Coleman was acquitted by an all white jury. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to Daniels’ sacrifice as heroic.

August 15: St. Mary —Mother of Jesus. As a young Jewish girl, Mary gave birth to Jesus. She followed her son in his
ministry right to the cross, and was active in the early church.

Aug 18 – Learning What to Look For
The Wisdom of the Prophet Jeremiah (23.23-24)
”Am I a God nearby,” says the LORD, “and not a God far off? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” says the LORD. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.

The Wisdom of Ernest Holmes:
“We must awake to the realization that a Divine Partnership has already been formed between the seen and the invisible.”

+ The Gospel According to Luke (12.54-56)
[Jesus]…said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

Prayer after readings: Help us, Holy One, to see what is good, and what needs healing, and who needs encouragement, and what injustices must be addressed. Help us to see what you would have us see, and to respond with the power of your love. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: Thank you, God, for being with me today and every day; I trust in you. Amen.

Stewardship Thought: “Whatever you want more of, give it away. I am a big believer in tithing…I believe that [what we give] does indeed come back multiplied.” Jack Canfield

Saints of the Week: August 20: St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153) – Bernard was a French abbot who wrote homoerotic poetry about Jesus and had a passionate relationship with Irish archbishop Malachy of Armagh. The two were buried together.

August 21: Georgia Harkness (1891-1974)—Theologian and social critic. Harkness was the first woman to teach in a mainline Protestant seminary in the USA. She was a theologian, pacifist and Christian socialist. She demanded economic justice for all people, opposed racism, and supported ordination for women.

August 24: Apostle Bartholomew – one of “the Twelve.” He may also be known as “Nathanael” in the 4th Gospel.

Simone Weil (1909-1943)—Philosopher and mystic. Born in France to a well-educated, nonreligious Jewish family, Weil had a brilliant mind and was drawn to philosophy. She dabbled in the labor movement and always identified with the suffering masses of humanity.

Aug 25 – It’s Always Time for a Miracle
The Wisdom of the Torah (Deuteronomy 5.13-14)
Six days you may labor and do all your work; but the seventh day is the sabbath…No work may be done then…

The Wisdom of the Torah (Deuteronomy 22.4)
You shall not see your [neighbor’s] ass or ox foundering on the road without showing concern about it; see to it that you help…lift it up.

+ The Gospel According to Luke (13.10-17)
Now [Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But [Jesus] answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie [your] ox or donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham [and Sarah] whom [Misfortune] bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

Prayer after readings: We know, Spirit of Life, the importance of work, and play, and rest, and worship. A balanced life is a joyous life. We also know it is always the right time to offer someone a blessing. May we live joyous lives that bless other lives. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: Please heal me, and others through me, loving God. Amen.

Stewardship Thought: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” Helen Keller

Saints of the Week: August 25: St. Genesius the Comedian (d. circa 300) – St. Genesius is the patron saint of actors, comics, dancers, clowns, and torture victims. According to legend, he performed a series of plays that mocked Christians. During one performance for the Emperor Diocletian where he was making fun of baptism, he had a vision of angels and converted to Christianity right on stage! At first the Emperor thought it was part of the humor, but after he realized the comedic actor was suddenly serious, he ordered him to renounce his instantly embraced faith. For refusing to comply with the Emperor’s order, Genesius was beheaded.

August 30: Louise Hay (1926 – 2017) – Louise had a difficult start to life. She was abused as a child, dropped out of high school, became a model and married a successful business man, but 14 years later he left her for another woman. It wasn’t until she was in her 40s that she discovered the Science of Mind philosophy and studied to become first a Religious Science Practitioner and then a minister. She survived cancer and became a writer, painter, motivational speaker, and publisher. Love, forgiveness, and affirmations were her trademark tools for healing and transformation. Her career as a spiritual leader lasted almost 50 years wherein she gave people hope and courage to face the difficulties in life. At the outbreak of the AIDS crisis, she started “The Hayride”, a popular support group for people diagnosed with a disease that at that time had no treatment. After a long and fascinating life, Louise made her transition about two months before her 91st birthday.

August 31: Aidan of Lindisfarne (590-651) – Irish monk credited with restoring Christianity to Northumbria. He founded a cathedral on the island of Lindisfarne and served as its first bishop. He is known as the Apostle of Northumbria.

September 1: Socrates (469 – 399 BCE) – believed in the mind/body connection. He said, “One ought not to attempt to
cure the body without the soul.” He also believed in the continuity of life beyond the death of the body. Rather than focusing on the Greek gods of his time, Socrates believed in tending to an “Inner Voice.” He was executed (by poison), but said, “You can kill my body, but you cannot kill me.” The story of a noble teacher who is executed but who cannot stay dead is also found, of course, in the Christian gospels!

Plato (427 – 347 BCE ) – taught that there was a definite energy that emerged out of the cosmic nothingness of “mind.” He suggested that this energy was the product of thought and it resulted in ideas which precede manifest form. In fact, Plato believed ideas were the source of life, purpose, and meaning. He believed souls (self-aware consciousness) pre-existed before their human incarnation and that they came to this life with prior knowledge. He believed that everything existed in relation to its resemblance to a Universal Form.

Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE) – believed the universe is governed by [spiritual] law. He defined God as “the first cause and the final cause of all being.” Believing in the perfection of God, Aristotle also believed that everything in
the world aspires to share in that divine perfection.

Philo (circa 20 BCE – 50 CE) taught that it is our duty to offer love and kindness towards others. He seemed to be able to harmonize Plato’s philosophy with teachings of the Hebrew scriptures. He often read the scriptures allegorically rather than literally. He believed that God directs all activity through the Logos (the power of Ideas, Reason, Wisdom).

Sept 2 – Children of God
The Wisdom of Franciscan priest Richard Rohr
…God’s “first idea” and priority was to make the Godself both visible and shareable. The word used in the bible for this idea was Logos, which was taken from Greek philosophy, and which I would translate as the “Blueprint” or Primordial Pattern for reality. The whole of creation – not just Jesus – is the beloved community, the partner in the divine dance. Everything is the “child of God.” No exceptions. When you think of it, what else could anything be? All creatures must in some way carry the divine DNA of their Creator.

The Wisdom of Proverbs (8.1, 12-17, 22-23, 27, 30-31, 33-35)
[Wisdom says to us]: Does not Wisdom call, and Understanding raise her voice? I, Wisdom, dwell with experience, and judicious knowledge I attain. Those who seek me find me. Pride, arrogance, evil, and perverse speech are things I dislike. Mine are counsel and advice; mine is strength; I am understanding. By me…law givers establish justice…Those who seek me find me. God begot me, the first born…From of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth…When God established the heavens, I was there…beside God as a skilled worker, and I was God’s delight, playing before God on the earth, and I found delight in human hearts. Happy are those who keep my ways. Those who find me find life and receive divine favor.

+ The Gospel According to John (1.1-5, 14)
In the beginning was the Logos [or the Word],
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was divine.
The Word was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through the Word,
and without the Word nothing came to be.
What came to be through the Word was life,
and this life was the light of humankind;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us,
and we saw the glory of the Word,
the glory as of a Parent’s only Child,
full of grace and truth.

Prayer after readings: We are all your children, your delight, your beloved ones, dear God. And so we thank you and offer you our love. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: I give thanks for God’s endless and unconditional love. Amen.

Stewardship Thought: “The truth about tithing is that [those who do it]…find that their…fear of poverty disappears.” Emmet Fox

Saints of the Week: September 2: Emma Curtis Hopkins (1849 – 1925) – a student of Mary Baker Eddy’s and for a time an editor for the Christian Science Journal, Emma and Mrs. Eddy eventually had a parting of the ways. Emma started her own seminary in Chicago and taught students who would became the greats of New Thought, including: Helen Wilmans, Myrtle and Charles Fillmore, a Mrs. Bingham (who introduced metaphysical healing to the Brooks sisters), Annie Rix Militiz, and briefly late in her life, Ernest Holmes. Because of her influence over the founders of so many New Thought groups, ECH is often called, “the Teacher of Teachers.”

September 3: Samuel Checote (d. 1884)—Creek Chief and preacher. Checote was born in present-day Alabama and attended mission schools as a child. After the Creek nation was forced to move west of the Mississippi tensions led to the banning of Christian preaching. Checote refused to abandon his faith and interceded with the chief to lift the ban. A Creek Methodist district was established. Checote became a lay preacher, and worked to have the bible and many hymns translated into Creek. He was elected chief three times, and worked tirelessly to overcome racial and cultural differences.

September 5: Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)—Founder of the Missionaries of Charity. As a simple nun from Albania, Teresa felt a special calling to care for the poorest of the poor. She left her convent and took on a simple white sari with blue borders and went to Calcutta, looking for Jesus among the sick and homeless. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, who care especially for the destitute and dying. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

September 8: Nativity of the Blessed Lady Mary

Genevieve Behrend (1881 – 1960) – writer and lecturer. In her life she met Mary Baker Eddy and Abdul Baha the son of the founder of the Baha’i Faith). She also studied with Thomas Troward for two years (the only individual/personal student he ever had). She taught “mental science” which included the use of “visualization.” Her best known book is Your Invisible Power. She said, “Do not fear to be your true self, for everything you want, wants you.”

Irwin Gregg (1904 – 1982) – author of The Divine Science Way. Gregg succeeded Nona Brooks as the Dean of the Colorado College of Divine Science (later known as Brooks Divinity School). In 1957 he was one of the founders of the Divine Science Federation (still operating today).

Sept 9 – Strategic Spirituality
The Wisdom of the Torah (Deuteronomy 30.15, 19)
Today I have set before you life and success, or death and disaster. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today: I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live.

The Wisdom of A Course in Miracles
“You always choose between your weakness and the strength of Christ in you. And what you choose is what you think is real. Simply by never using weakness to direct your actions, you have given it no power. And the light of Christ in you is given charge of everything you do. For you have brought your weakness unto [the Christ], and [the Christ in you] has given you…strength instead.”

+ The Gospel According to Luke (14.31-33)
If the leaders of one country were going to declare war on another country, wouldn’t they first sit down and consider whether, with an army of ten thousand, they could win against an enemy coming against them with twenty thousand? If they couldn’t, they’d send a delegation while the enemy is still at a distance, asking for terms of peace. So count the cost. You can’t be my disciple if you don’t say goodbye to all of your possessions.

Prayer after readings: Give us grace, O God, to choose your wisdom, your will, your ways. Lead us in paths of joy and justice, peace and plenty, hope and healing. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: I allow the divine light in me to shine forth to guide me in the ways of abundant blessings. Amen.

Stewardship Thought: “Giving is a journey, a calling, a way of living. It’s not a separate part of life – it is life, turning your beliefs and values into action and impact.” Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen

Saints of the Week: September 11: Mychal Judge (1933 – 2011) – was a Franciscan priest serving as a chaplain to the NYC Fire Department. Serving in that capacity, he was the first certified fatality of the 9/11/01 terrorist attack on the U.S. He was ministering to the wounded and the dead when he himself was killed by flying debris. Judge was a gay man.

September 12: Holy Name of Mary – In Hebrew, the name Mary is “Miryam”. In Aramaic the language probably spoken by Mary and Jesus, the form of the name was “Mariam”. Based on the root “merur”, the name signifies “bitterness”. This is reflected in the words of Naomi, who, after losing a husband and two sons lamented, ” “Do not call me Naomi (‘Sweet’). Call me Mara (‘Bitter’), for …my life [is] very bitter.” Jerome suggested the Mary could mean “Lady”, based on the Aramaic “mar” meaning “Lord.” The name of Mary is venerated because it belongs to the Mother of Jesus.

September 15: Martyrs of Birmingham (d. 1963)—Four young girls. A few weeks after Martin Luther King has given his famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” and in the midst of an intense summer of civil disobedience and demonstrations, the situation in Birmingham, Alabama had come to a head. The nation watched as fire hoses and attack dogs had dramatized the evil of racism. On a peaceful Sunday morning someone threw dynamite through the basement window of the 16th Street Baptist Church, where four young girls, who had just finished their Sunday School class, were changing into choir robes. In their eulogy Dr. King called them “martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity.”

Sept 16 – God’s Relentless Love
The Wisdom of the Psalter (23)
The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name. Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage. You set a table before me as my enemies watch; you anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life. I will dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.

+ The Gospel According to Luke (15.1-7)
The tax collectors and the [so-called] ‘sinners’ were all gathering around Jesus to listen to his teaching, at which the Pharisees and the religious scholars murmured, ‘This person welcomes sinners and eats with them!’
Jesus then addressed them: ‘Who among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, doesn’t leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and search for the lost one until it’s found? And finding it, you put the sheep on your shoulders in jubilation. Once home, you invite friends and neighbors in and say to them, Rejoice with me! I’ve found my lost sheep! I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.’

Prayer after readings: We rejoice, Mother-Father God, in the Truth that your love will never let us go. May live as the beloved children of God that we are. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: God’s love will never and can never let me go. Alleluia! Amen.

Stewardship Thought: “I like to give willingly; when I give willingly, I enjoy it so much I give again.” Anonymous

Saints of the Week: September 17: St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)—Abbess and visionary. Hildegard started as a simple Benedictine nun, but excelled as an author, prophet, preacher, theologian, musician, composer, poet, doctor, and pharmacist. Her intense visions and ecological and holistic spirituality speak strongly to our own time.

September 18: Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961)—Secretary General of the UN. A skilled Swedish diplomat, Hammarskjöld served for eight years as the head of the United Nations. He was a rare person in that public service was not a means to gain power, but a religious vocation, a way of living out his faith. He was deeply committed to the cause of world peace. His personal journal, Markings, published after his death, revealed his own inner struggles with finding meaning in life. What is still unknown to most people is that he was also a gay man.

September 20: Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)—Priest and spiritual guide. After ordination in his native Holland, Nouwen taught in the US at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard. He was drawn toward monastic life, and became one of the most popular and influential spiritual writers of our time. He is thought to have confided in friends about a same-gender loving orientation.

September 21: Apostle Matthew—Evangelist. Matthew was a tax collector, and as such was part of a group that was hated for being collaborators with Rome. Tradition says Matthew traveled to the East, but we really know nothing of his life and death. Matthew’s Gospel was probably written by an anonymous second generation Jewish Christian in a Greek community. ‘Matthew’ wrote the story of Jesus in a way that addressed the needs of the early church, a central concern to his gospel.

September 22: John J. McNeill (1925 – 2015) – POW (WW2), author, therapist, spiritual director, theologian. “Father John” held a PhD in Theology and was highly regarded in the field of “Queer Theology.” He was an “out” gay may ministering to LGBTQ people and people living with HIV/AIDS. He co-founded a chapter of “Dignity” (a ministry to/for LGBT Roman Catholics) in NYC. He taught at Fordham University and Union Theological Seminary and wrote The Church and the Homosexual; Taking a Chance on God: Liberating Theology for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Lovers, Families, and Friends; Freedom, Glorious Freedom: The Spiritual Journey to the Fullness of Life for Gays, Lesbians, and
Everybody Else; Both Feet Firmly Planted in Midair: My Spiritual Journey; and Sex as God Intended. For his gay activism, he was expelled (by then Cardinal Ratzinger, later to be known as Pope Benedict) from his Jesuit order. He remained a priest but was not allowed to say Mass in a Roman Catholic church. John had been a Jesuit for 40 years. He spent his last years in Fort Lauderdale, an active parishioner at the Sunshine Cathedral. His husband, Charlie Chiarelli, was by Father John’s side (as he had been for 46 years) when he died.

Sept 23 – True Prosperity
The Wisdom of the Psalter (4.6-8)
There are many who say, “O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O LORD!” You have put gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound.
I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety.

The Wisdom of Tyron Edwards
Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action. Actions form habits; habits decide character, and character fixes our destiny.

The Gospel According to Luke (16.10-13)
[Jesus taught], If you can trust others in little things, you can also trust them in greater, and anyone unjust in a slight matter will also be unjust in a greater. If you can’t be trusted with filthy lucre, who will trust you with true riches? And if you haven’t been trustworthy with someone else’s money, who will give you your own?
Subordinates can’t have two superiors. Either they’ll hate the one and love the other, or be attentive to the one and despise the other. You cannot worship both God and money.

Prayer after readings: Infinite Source, we trust you to supply our needs, and we also ask you to forgive us when we focus more on things than upon the Source of every good thing. You are our home, our helper, the Love that sustains us. You are the answer to every wish and prayer; and you are more than enough. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: God will provide for my every need and so it is that I am thankful. Amen.

Stewardship Thought: “I have held many things in my hand, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands – that I still possess.” Martin Luther

Saints of the Week: September 23: St. Padre Pio (1887 – 1968) – Pio was deeply religious even as a child. He also was very ill for much of his life. He had cancer which blessedly was cured with only two treatments, but other ailments such as arthritis would not be so miraculously relieved. He is the patron of Stress Relief. A famous saying of his is, “Pray. Hope. Don’t worry.” Many believed he exhibited the “Stigmata”. It has also been said that he predicted the rise of Pope John Paul II three decades before it occurred.

September 24: Uell Stanley (U.S.) Andersen (1917 – 1986) – self-help and inspirational writer. Andersen believed that the physical world is derived from the mental. He believed that a sustained mental image, backed by faith, would become real in the realm of experience. His writings include Three Magic Words and The Magic in Your Mind. Anderson taught: “Everything which you can conceive and accept is yours! Entertain no doubt. Refuse to accept worry or hurry or fear. That which knows and does everything is inside you and harkens to the slightest whisper.” He was influenced by the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, Emmanuel Swedenborg, and Edgar Cayce.

St. Anna Alexander (circa 1865 – September 24, 1947) – was the first and only African-American consecrated a Deaconess in the Episcopal Church. She served in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia during her entire career, and may be remembered in the Calendar of saints on September 24. Non-clerical deaconess were known from the time of the early Church through the 13th century and experienced a revival in the 18th and early 20th centuries and should not be confused with ordained deacons (whether women or men).

September 27: St. Vincent de Paul (1580-1660)—Apostle to the poor. Vincent began his life as a priest simply as a means
of escaping his family’s grinding poverty. At mid-life he experienced a great transformation as he understood the
seriousness of his vocation and dedicated his life to serving the poor. He founded hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the
mentally ill.

Aimee Semple McPherson (1890 – 1944) – a Canadian born evangelist and radio personality in the 1920s and 1930s who was also the founder of the Foursquare Church, a Pentecostal denomination. She was a pioneer in the use of entertainment media to create a form of religious instruction and worship that appealed to a broad audience.

September 28: St. Wenceslaus (907-935) – Wenceslaus I was duke of Bohemia (and subject of a famous Christmas carol). The carol is based on a legend about Wenceslaus and his page Podiven. According to the story, on a miserably cold night they went out to give alms to the poor on the Feast of St. Stephen, Dec. 26. Podiven was walking barefooted and his feet were freezing, so Wenceslas told him to step in his foot prints. His footprints in the snow stayed miraculously warm, giving comfort to Podivan. According queer religious historian Kittridge Cherry, “The earliest accounts of Wenceslaus’ life mention his page — but not the woman who supposedly gave birth to his son in more recent versions. An account written in the late 10th or early 11th century describes the young man who was a…“chamber valet” to Wenceslaus. The duke was assassinated in a coup by his brother.

September 29: St. Michael and All Angels—While angels (from the Greek word angelos, or messengers) are mentioned often in the bible, only a few are named. The Archangel Michael is described as the captain of the heavenly host who helps humanity in fighting the powers of destruction and injustice. Michael has been recognized as a protector, intercessor, healer, and guardian.

Sept 30 – Good Neighbors
A Sacred Teaching Shared by Many Traditions
Taoism teaches, “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.”
The Sikhs counsel, “Whom should I despise, since the one Lord made us all.”
The Jewish sage Hillel said, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary.”
The Jain religion teaches, “Just as pain is not agreeable to you, neither is it agreeable to others. Knowing this principle of equality, treat others with respect and compassion.”
Hindu wisdom tells us, “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self.”
Confucius demanded, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”
The Baha’i Faith teaches, “And if your eyes be turned towards justice, choose for your neighbor that which you would choose for yourself.”
The Book of Tobit says, “Do to no one what you yourself would dislike,”
And Jesus, quoting the Hebrew scriptures, said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The will of God has been made known through the spiritual traditions of the world.

The Gospel According to Luke (16.19-31)
Once there was a rich person who dressed in purple and linen and feasted splendidly every day. At the gate this person’s estate lay a beggar named Lazarus, who was covered with sores. Lazarus longed to eat the scraps that fell from the rich person’s table, and even the dogs came and licked Lazarus’ sores.
One day poor Lazarus died and carried by the angels to the arms of Sarah and Abraham. The rich person likewise died and was buried. In Hades, in torment, the rich person looked up and saw Sarah and Abraham in the distance, and Lazarus resting in their company.
‘Sarah and Abraham,’ the rich person cried, ‘have pity on me! Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am tortured by these flames!’ But they said, ‘Child, remember that you were well off in your lifetime, while Lazarus was in misery. Now Lazarus has found consolation here, and you have found torment. But that’s not all. Between you and us there is a fixed chasm, so that those might wish to come to you from here can’t do so nor can anyone cross from your side to us.’
The rich person said, ‘I beg you, then, to send Lazarus to my own house where I have five siblings. Let Lazarus be a warning to them, so that they may not end up in this place of torment.’ But Sarah and Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let your siblings hear them.’
‘Please, I beg you,’ the rich person said, ‘if someone would only go to them from the dead, then they would repent.’
‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, ‘Sarah and Abraham replied, ‘they won’t be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead!’

Prayer after readings: We have not always loved our neighbors. We have not always shown kindness when it was needed. We have not always cared about the plight of another. Lord have mercy, and heal our hearts, and let your healing love flow through us today to bring hope to a hurting world. Amen.

Healing Rays Prayer: God help me to love myself more, and then, to love all others as I love myself. Amen.

Stewardship Thought: “People who make it their daily intention to give and serve typically feel fulfilled.” Michael J. Chase

Saints of the Week: September 30: Rumi (1207 – 1273) – Sufi poet from Afghanistan inspired by the love of a mentor and friend (their relationship may have been romantic as well). When his “friend”, Shams, left for Damascus without telling him, Rumi was heartbroken and poured his feelings into his poetry. They were later reunited, but eventually, Shams disappeared again. This time it was believed he may have been murdered. Rumi continued to pour himself into his writing, using homoerotic imagery and romantic phrasing as he pondered things divine. He also practiced meditative dancing which inspired the Whirling Dervish movement. After grieving the loss of Shams, Rumi would love other men.

October 1: Goddard Neville (1905 – 1972) – Neville was born in Barbados and moved to the US in 1922. He was a writer and public speaker. He wrote, “An awakened imagination works with a purpose. It creates and conserves the desirable, and transforms or destroys the undesirable.” He was mentored by a mystic known as “Abdullah” and provided psychological insights into religious themes and texts.

October 2: Guardian Angels – Feast first kept by the Franciscan order in 1500. It was a local feast until it was added to the Church calendar in 1607. More than three and a half centuries later, Pope John 23rd wrote, “We must remember how admirable was the intention of divine Providence in entrusting to the angels the mission of watching over all [hu]mankind, and over individual human beings, lest they should fall victims to the grave dangers which they encounter.” In the 18th century, Pope Pius 6th wrote this prayer: “O Angel of God, to whose holy care I am committed by the supernal clemency, enlighten, protect, defend, and govern me. Amen.”

October 4: St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)—Friar and founder of the Franciscan order. Born into a wealthy family, he sought glory as a young knight, but instead ended up seriously ill and in prison. Encounters with beggars and lepers touched him deeply. He is known for loving animals, hugging lepers, and praying for peace. Some historians note that Francis was called “Mother” by some of his friends. He had a vision of the Holy Trinity and in his vision the Trinity was female. He allowed a woman to enter his all male cloister and he called her “Brother Jacoba.” His partner in ministry was a woman, Clare. And some believe he had a male companion whom he loved dearly.

October 6: Myrtle Fillmore (1845 – 1931) – Myrtle contracted tuberculosis at a young age and spent many years experiencing herself to be chronically frail. She attended a lecture by metaphysician E.B. Weeks in 1886 and learned of the efficacy of affirmative prayer. She started declaring for herself, “I am a child of God, and therefore I do not inherit sickness.” In time, she found herself to be the picture of health. She was so excited about the discovery of the power of affirmative prayer that she started working with others with healing needs. She and her husband Charles went on to found the Silent Unity prayer ministry (and Unity School of Christianity and Unity Village, all of which are still in operation today). At the age of 86, Myrtle made her transition from this experience of life to the next on October 6, 1931.

Troy Perry, founder of Metropolitan Community Churches (1968)—Anniversary of the first service held by Troy Perry, a former Pentecostal minister from Florida (b. July 27, 1940) who had been thrown out of his church for being gay. Troy knew that his experience was not unusual and he felt called by God to start a church where GLBT people would be welcome. He held the first service in his living room near Los Angeles. Twelve people joined him for the first service of that became MCC of Los Angeles, the Founding Church of the Metropolitan Community Churches movement.