The contents of this blog were delivered at the Ordination ceremony of The School of Sacred Ministries in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, on May 21, 2016.
There is one photograph that everyone here has seen, and that everyone can certainly call to mind: the photograph taken by our astronauts of our beautiful blue green planet earth, viewed from the moon. After that photograph, we can never look on ourselves in quite the same way again. From the moon, we do not see the boundaries of individual countries and we do not see evidence of any religious denominations.
Certainly, the world still needs, at this time, caretakers of individual countries, although we question and shift boundaries of those countries all the time. And the world still needs those who pastor individual flocks of believers, although the face of religion has shifted dramatically even over the last couple of generations.
Travel has allowed us to see and experience how interconnected we are. And technology puts us in touch with different ideas and realities at a stunning rate. The genie is out of the bottle and the world is forever changed. People question everything and they are, increasingly, open to Truth wherever it is found.
Most of us, I suppose, were brought up in the religion of our parents, if we were brought up in any specific religion at all. Today’s young people do not consider themselves bound to the religion of their ancestors. They feel free to adopt any religion or no religion.
Let us make no mistake here. Higher Power has not changed; we human beings have changed, not by personal choice, but as a result of evolution. The Truth is still the same- yesterday, today and tomorrow- but how we pursue the Truth will never be the same again.
In one of the universities where I teach, La Salle University, a decision has just been made to essentially eliminate all of the books in the library. The first two floors of the library will be converted into a workout facility; the top floor will be completely reserved for computers and printers. That is where the latest research is taking place. Students still use books for courses, but the books are considered outdated virtually as soon as they are printed. The world wide web is the new library.
In such an environment of unprecedented change, we need a new breed of spiritual ministers who are nimble on their feet and their minds. Their church is without walls.
Those who will be ordained here today embody the spiritual leader of the future. Not ordained to represent any one traditional religion, they have been called to represent Universal Principles that underlie all religions of the world, but also go beyond each religion, to the spiritual core that unites all of us as God’s children.
There is a need for individuals with such a vision. They represent the cutting edge of our evolving world consciousness. As old forms of religion crumble before our very eyes, a new minister arises, open to good psychology and especially open to science. As Jesus of Nazareth put it over 2,000 years ago, “New wine needs new wineskins”, a new consciousness needs new forms. The old forms and formulas do not seem to hold the answers for many people today. Reading the signs of the times, these ministers are responding with their “Yes” to the call of spirit.
As they do so, they will need humility, faith and courage because they dare to tread where few before have dared to go: towards a form of spirituality which respects all religions, yet does not identify totally with any of them.
May you who have assembled here today to be with your loved ones about to be ordained give them your full support. You may not fully understand what motivates them to take this step; perhaps they themselves do not fully understand the meaning of this day. But they feel called to surrender with all of their hearts and souls to what the poet Dante called “the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.” We trust that this love that moves the universe will use our loved ones in a mighty way.
Next posting: Toxic Shame Part One: A Broken Self
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