Center for Spiritual Living™ Bellingham provides spiritual tools to transform our personal lives and help make the world a better place.
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Theme for 2015: Pilgrimage of the Heart
SEPTEMBER MINISTER'S MESSAGE: Atonement
Definition: satisfaction, reparation, or expiation given for an injury or wrong.
Often in medieval times it was customary to undertake a pilgrimage as a means of atoning for a “sin” against an individual, society or the Church. The newly sentenced pilgrim would undergo austerities and then set off on the penitential journey.
Documentation of the completion of the sentence was obtained at every stop in the form of small tokens given to pilgrims demarking the completion of a holy circuit or other ritual unique to the sacred site. The pilgrim returned in a state of grace and completion, presumably transformed forevermore.
We, as modern pilgrims, have a similar opportunity, though a long journey is seldom required outwardly. Our journey of atonement is more of an inward journey. And what is our journey about?
Our journey involves working through and satisfying any regret that lingers in our mind and heart. This is hard work – really important, good work. Living with regret is equivalent to walking, sitting and sleeping with a ten-pound weight. At first it doesn’t seem that heavy, but over time and with the addition of any further regret, the weight can become unbearable. Regret weighs the journey down, slows our steps, steals our joy and creates a negative self-talk that impacts every part of our living. So what do we do to make atonement?
Well, the simple answer is “Whatever we need to do.” And what this means is that the atonement depends on the circumstance – remember those medieval pilgrims? Every stop required a different sacred ritual, and so do our efforts. It may mean writing a letter, making a phone call, saying a prayer, making a donation in honor of – the list goes on and on. The really important part of atonement is the awareness that we are carrying a burden of regret and that we can be released from it.
This is the subject of our Sunday Services throughout September. This topic also coincides with the Jewish High Holy days which also focus on atonement!
Let us join together in support of each other’s work in this way!
Our service on September 6, 2015 - 9:30am
The early service is an opportunity to attend a different kind of Service earlier on Sunday mornings. This Service is brief, just half an hour in length and will include prayer and a message and then lead into our regular fifteen-minute Sunday meditation.