In the Universal Worship, we turn toward the source of all spiritual revelation and let it shine into our selves, our communities, and our world. Honoring all the wisdom traditions of humanity equally, we join in an ongoing cosmic celebration with all of creation, from the mineral to the angelic.
The Universal Worship recognizes that all religions originate in the same Truth. All of the great teachers and prophets have reflected this truth to humanity in their own way. The same power that inspired them continues to move through and guide our own lives. Through communal prayer, meditation, and practice we engage with the power and energy of this continuous revelation, becoming a radiant vessel of light and truth for the benefit of all beings.
Universal Worship 2017
Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism by Thich Nhat Hanh
January 8th "Openness and Non-attachment to Views"
February 12th "Freedom of Thought"
March 12th "Awareness of Suffering"
April 9th "Compassionate, Healthy Living"
May 14th "Taking Care of Anger"
June 11th "Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment"
July 9th "True Community & Communication -- Truthful & Loving Speech"
August 13th "Protecting and Nourishing the Sangha"
September 10th "Right Livelihood"
October 8th "Reverence for Life"
November 12th "Generosity"
December 10th "True Love"
Read more here.
The lotus flower expresses the awareness that engaged Buddhists strive to bring to their involvement in the world: "A flower is always receiving non-flower elements like water, air, and sunshine, and it is always giving something to the universe. A flower is a stream of change, and a person is also a stream of change. At every instant, there is input and output. When we look deeply at the flower, we see that it is always being born and always dying, and that it is not independent of other things. The components of the universe depend on one another for their existence." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Cherags* Linda Stern, Karen Lindquist, Michael Douglas, Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas.
[photo credit: Michael Ragsdale]
(*Cherag is a Persian term meaning "light bearer." The Cherag performs the Universal Worship - with interfaith prayers, meditation, and readings from the world's religious and spiritual traditions - and commits to doing whatever she/he can to assist in the awakening and enlightenment of all.) Read more here
Below are dates and Message titles of Universal Worship gatherings we offered in 2016 as part of our spiritual discernment for the year: Spiritual Permaculture: Coming into Deeper Relationship with Earth.
January 10th: "Observe and interact"
February 14th: "Catch and store energy"
March 13th: "Obtain a yield"
April 10th: "Apply self-regulation and accept feedback"
May 8th: "Use and value renewable resources and services"
June 12th: "Produce no waste"
July 10th: "Design from patterns to details"
August 14th: "Integrate rather than segregate"
September 11th: "Use small and slow solutions"
October 9th: "Use and value diversity"
November 13th: "Use edges and value the marginal"
December 11th: "Creatively use and respond to change"
Read more about Spiritual Permaculture here.
Messages, Music, and Rituals within our Universal Worship services
at Interfaith Community Sanctuary in 2015 were focused upon
"Restoring Balance to the World: Hoops of Honor." Read more here.
Below are the dates and Message titles for Universal Worship at ICS in 2015:
January 11th: "Hoop of Life."
February 8th: "Hoop of Honor."
March 8th: "Hoop of the Home."
April 12th: "Hoop of the Village."
May 10th: "Hoop of the Nations."
June 14th: "Hoop of the Earth."
July 12th: "Hoop of the Sky."
August 9th: "Hoop of the Universe."
September 13th: "Hoop of All My Relations."
October 11th: "Hoop of Intention."
November 8th: "Hoop of Celebration."
December 13th: "Hoop of the Creator."
Universal Worship services at Interfaith Community Sanctuary in 2014
focused on the following "Principles of Spiritual Activism:"
January 12th "Transforming Our Motivations"
February 9th "Non Attachment to Outcome"
March 9th "Integrity is Your Protection"
April 13th "Don't Demonize Your Adversaries"
May 11th "You Are Unique"
June 8th "Love Thy Enemy"
July 13th "Selfless Service of Others Serves Us Also"
August 10th "Do Not Insulate Your Self From the Pain of the World"
September 14th "What You Attend To You Become"
October 12th "Take Sufficient Time for Retreat, Renewal and Deep Listening"
November 9th "Rely on Faith, and Let Go of Having to Figure It All Out"
December 14th "Love Creates the Form"
In 2013 we expressed our Universal Worship services in this way:
The Universal Worship celebrates the essential unity of all religions. We light lamps and offer prayers to honor all traditions and invoke the messengers of God, known and unknown, who have appeared in all times and all places to serve and enlighten humanity. We allow this one message to enter our lives and change our being.
Bathing in the presence of these living streams of revelation, we express and deepen our interfaith commitment. We explore our relationship to Divine Unity, share songs and scriptures of various faith traditions, learn to recognize the energy of divine guidance in our lives.
Our spiritual focus in 2013 was: "Following the Light: the Dance of the Elements."
Cherag Michael Douglas wrote a book based upon our interspiritual work during the year.
The book is also called "Following the Light: the Dance of the Elements".
Following the Light:
The Dance of the Elements
“There is one holy book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the only scripture which can enlighten the reader.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan
The human being is viewed in many traditions as a reflection of the cosmos, made “in the image of God”. The light of our souls symbolically reflects the light of the sun. Accordingly, we can experience the annual passage of the sun through the zodiac as a cycle of personal growth and transformation. As we move through the seasons, the elements of Fire, Air, Water and Earth merge and separate in harmony with the natural cycle, reflecting both in the weather and in our inner lives. By paying attention and attuning to the rhythm of the year, we ourselves become harmonized and are able to move with more grace and freedom in the world.
The astrological signs are one set of symbols that has been traditionally used to describe this sacred cycle of twelve. Together they form a map of the complete human being. Well before they were used as personality types, they helped us understand the nature of time and creation. What opportunities for change and deepening do they offer us now? When we attune our prayers and practice to these energies, we can use this traditional knowledge to move once again in harmony with the flow of life. Each time of year can be a doorway for inner work and spiritual transformation.
January: Capricorn - cardinal Earth
The Soul of Earth. Re-establishing connection with the soul of the world.
February: Aquarius -fixed A ir
Embodying Our Ideals. How our thoughts create the future.
March: Pisces - mutable Water
The Oceanic Spirit. Transcending individual boundaries. Releasing limitations that inhibit connection.
April: Aries - cardinal Fire
The Creative Fire. The energy of initiating action, of beginning. Life moving forward. Establishing our power to create our lives.
May: Taurus - fixed Earth
The Willpower of Earth. Building healthy structures in our lives. Coming together solidly. Constructing strong but flexible belief systems.
June: Gemini - mutable Air
Reflective Consciousness. Working with the relationship of self and other. Balancing of masculine and feminine energies.
July: Cancer - cardinal Water
Developing Emotional Intelligence. Attaining inner equilibrium. Using the subconscious consciously.
August: Leo - fixed Fire
The Fire of Life. Living in the flames. Digesting the experiences of life.
September: Virgo - mutable Earth
Transforming Our Habits. Responding to our observed patterns with clarity. Moving toward right action.
October: Libra - cardinal Air
Developing a Harmonizing Mind. Bringing all of our parts into balance, so we can be receptive to divine guidance.
November: Scorpio - fixed Water
The Stillness of Water. Becoming aware of the pause between movements. Removing the old to make room for the new to grow.
December: Sagittarius - mutable Fire
The Transforming Fire. Using our passions as fuel for the spiritual path.