We are honored this week to bring awareness to our loved ones, who have passed while serving in the armed forces. We also want to call attention in remembrance for all the heroes, seen and unseen, who impacted our lives and made possible the freedoms under which we live life as we know it here in this country.
And what about the heroes that didn’t serve in the military, but did, nonetheless, impact our personal lives through direct relationship, their reputation, and/or their positive impact on race consciousness. Our brothers and sisters in the military do not consider themselves to be heroes. But neither do most heroes. They do the work that needs to be done by them. And that is what we can learn to do.
Remember our Affirmation from last Sunday:
I Am inspired to do the work that is to be done by me.
One freedom I am particularly attached to is the Freedom of Religion. The Universal Principles we teach in Unity are not necessarily allowed to be spoken of in many parts of the world today – nor even in our own corner of the world if it weren’t for the basic rights our founding fathers wrote into the constitution. Praise be.
Continuing in the vein of good fortune, we have Veteran Rick Arnold speaking this week at Unity of the Sierra. Rick is not only a Veteran of the armed forces, he’s a veteran of Unity, and we couldn’t be in better hands. I look forward to his insights!
Until then, I googled “In Memoriam”, Rick’s talk title, and came across Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem of the same name. I’ve copied just the Prologue of the poem here which is followed by the SparksNotes interpretation of this section. Here you go, In Memoriam . . . .
Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;
Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.
Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.
Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou.
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.
Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.
We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.
Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,
But vaster. We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.
Forgive what seem’d my sin in me;
What seem’d my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.
Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.
Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.
The poem begins as a tribute to and invocation of the “Strong Son of God.” Since man, never having seen God’s face, has no proof of His existence, he can only reach God through faith. The poet attributes the sun and moon (“these orbs or light and shade”) to God, and acknowledges Him as the creator of life and death in both man and animals. Man cannot understand why he was created, but he must believe that he was not made simply to die.
The Son of God seems both human and divine. Man has control of his own will, but this is only so that he might exert himself to do God’s will. All of man’s constructed systems of religion and philosophy seem solid but are merely temporal, in comparison to the eternal God; and yet while man can have knowledge of these systems, he cannot have knowledge of God. The speaker expresses the hope that “knowledge [will] grow from more to more,” but this should also be accompanied by a reverence for that which we cannot know.
The speaker asks that God help foolish people to see His light. He repeatedly asks for God to forgive his grief for “thy [God’s] creature, whom I found so fair.” The speaker has faith that this departed fair friend lives on in God, and asks God to make his friend wise.
In Loving Memoriam for those that have gone before . . . .
Toni King, Spiritual Advisor