Prayer for Freedom
As we gather here today, let us take a moment to reflect on what true freedom is.
In this world, we are all slaves to suffering.
Everywhere we look there is pain and dissatisfaction.
Let us look within for true freedom
Where no pain can reach.
I believe in Peace, which gives me perspective.
I believe in Knowledge, which gives me choice.
I believe in Harmony, which gives me balance.
I believe in Serenity, which gives me safe travel.
And, I believe in the Force, which gives me Love.
The natural key to unlocking freedom within each of us.
It’s all Spiritual,
Sermon by Rev. Connor L.
I wanted to begin this sermon with a short story. I was watching a show on Hulu called “Little Mosque”. It is a comedy show about a Muslim community in small town Canada. It’s quite hysterical, but I like the show mostly because it provides wonderful lessons in tolerance and spirituality. As you can guess, the show delves into religious topics. While I don’t know all that much beyond a cursory understanding of Islamic tradition, I find the lessons taught to be very applicable to people of any (or no) faith. So, I recommend it.
In this particular episode I was watching, the Imam, an Islamic priest, was attempting to spend his day in spiritual peace. He put a “do not disturb” sign on his office door, and set out to pray and study the Quran. However, every few minutes, he would receive a disturbance from somebody in his congregation. They would rip him away from his spiritual time and pester him into solving problems in the Mosque. He dealt with feminist issues, menial tasks, and everything in between. At the end of the day, he was resting outside the Mosque when the pastor of the Anglican church walked by to sit beside him.
The imam asked the pastor: “Why is it that I can’t just sit and have my spiritual time? How am I supposed to be a good spiritual leader if I can’t study the Quran?” The older pastor smiled wisely and said: “It’s all spiritual.”
As I was watching, I found myself nodding along with the pastor’s sagely advice. See, the imam had a fixed idea of what spirituality was. He thought that he was only being spiritual when he was studying the holy books, praying, and being in a state of worship. But, this is not so. All the various services the imam performed that day… those were spiritual too. Every breath he took was spiritual. There is no separateness. The idea of this separation is what creates religious fanaticism, causes people to think they aren’t spiritual enough for a belief system, and lots of imaginary problems that do not exist. I bet some of you think that you are “less” of a Jedi because you forget the 16 basic teachings. Maybe you do something you feel is not accepted by the teachings, and you smack your head and say: “Man, if I only I was more of a Jedi, I would do better…”
But, this conscious tapping into the Force, remembering the teachings… these are icing on the cake. If you can take a moment to remember that you ARE already a Jedi… that you ARE already spiritual… that you ARE already a luminous being, not this crude matter… then, you can stop being so hard on yourself and begin training more.
This is the service and sermon that begin the month of February, and as such we are shifting our focus from Tradition; yet Originality to Attachment; yet Freedom.
Attachment is this idea that we don’t want to let things go. This is what spiritual people might call living in the past. When we have an attachment, we are clinging to the shadows of what was. This is different than love and joy, which are not attachment. Jedi encourage love. It is in the doctrine:
“Where there is hatred I shall bring love;”
But, love is here. Love is an action, not a reaction. This is what true spirituality is: Action. It is the practice of intentional living. This is why Jedi practice meditation. We are constantly training ourselves to be here instead of there. If we are there, we cannot love. If we cannot love, we cannot battle hatred. And, when we are not loving in the moment, we are forming attachments to the things that once brought us love. We might hold on to things that used to make us happy. Maybe one might find solace in video games. Just as an example. I don’t mean to imply that video games are bad. But, maybe you used to play video games for fun. Now, you’re older, more tired, and your job is no fun. You put a band aide on by coming home and picking up Halo 3. This is an attachment. You are not fixing the problem.
This is related to what I was speaking about in the story earlier. The imam felt like he needed to be in a certain place in order to feel happy and spiritual. But, this was an attachment to a state that cannot always give him peace. He relied on outside circumstance to create an environment of spirituality.
Our temples are within.
It’s ALL spiritual.
When we learn to let go of our attachments, we can love.
When we can love fully and without judgment, we can be free.
When we use freedom to make amazing choices, we find spirituality everywhere.
And, when that happens, we are filled with intense joy.
May the Force be with you, always.