Happy Mother's Day, Myrtle!

One of the things I have most appreciated about Unity through the years, is its openness to the beliefs of all people. In my understanding, Unity is one of the few spiritual practices that doesn’t say it is the “only way.” In fact, one of the reasons I was drawn to Unity in the first place was that I was told I could continue my study of Edgar Cayce as well as following a guru I was listening to at the same time. But, if I wanted a spiritual community who believed in and practiced prayer, I might check out Unity. A few months later I was told by a disciple of the guru that if I wanted to continue on that particular path, I needed to give up both Edgar Cayce and my Unity prayer practice. When I asked my inner guide what I should do, the answer was quite clear: Giving up prayer was not an option! And so the guru was placed on the shelf of what no longer worked for me, to be picked up or not as a curious reminder of my much younger self.
That, too, was an inspiration for me. When I was at a prayer chaplain training in Arizona, I was privileged to overhear a conversation between a Unity minister and our van driver, a young lady who was passionately a born-again Christian. She was questioning the Unity minister about how Unity thinks about the sacrifice and the blood of Jesus the Christ. She had recently seen the movie, The Passion of Christ, and was deeply moved by it. I, on the other hand, was ready to leap in with my judgments and feelings that she needed to be corrected and told the TRUTH about Jesus. Thank goodness, I kept my mouth shut and listened instead. The minister very quietly listened as well, asking only if her beliefs were working to make her life better. When the woman said yes, the minister only replied “That’s great. I’m glad it’s working.” She didn’t go into the beliefs of Unity or say anything further about the differences. What a lesson for me to learn that sometimes (or often!) ministry does not mean preaching or teaching, but merely listening and responding with love. To quote from a booklet, The Nature of the Unity Movement: “Unity grew out of the teachings based on the conviction that God is readily accessible to all people on the planet at all times. No matter what anyone’s personal circumstances are—location, age, language, culture, religion, history—he or she can communitcate with God directly and receive guidance from that personal connection.”
This is what I believe Myrtle Fillmore did: listened, loved, and then prayed from the divinity within, calling on the divinity inherent in the other person to be made manifest.  Myrtle didn’t engage in lecturing or judging, but instead just responded to prayer requests with love and the willingness to turn it all over to God. Of course, in reading her book, Myrtle Fillmore’s Healing Letters, there are times when Myrtle does respond with concrete suggestions or requests that the other person also turn their life to serving God and praying for themselves. She reminds me of a kind, loving mother, one who holds the light for all the rest of us, but also prods us to do what we need to do to help ourselves.
Myrtle Fillmore was truly the mother of the Unity movement. Having discovered the healing power that resided within herself, she inspired her husband Charles to experiment with prayer and meditation to improve his life and the lives of others. Through her work, they founded what became Silent Unity, the worldwide prayer service that has blessed millions of people for over a century. In addition, they birthed a ministry that began very modestly as an adjunct for people’s usual Sunday church service, then bloomed into its own religious services with more than 600 member ministries throughout the US, Canada, Europe and even into Africa. Somehow, those words, actions and prayers made it to Missoula, Montana, to begin the study group that evolved into the Unity of Missoula we know today. Thank you, Myrtle! We are so blessed!
Love from Linda Andrus, Your Licensed Unity Teacher