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  • Rev. Tom Norris

A Message of Hope


[I wrote this letter to Medicine Signs Spiritual Center members in April 2008, but never sent it out. It is still very timely and expresses the frustrations of running a nonprofit church as well as the joy and hope that comes with it. It explains our real purpose.]

From time to time people have wondered why we keep Medicine Signs Spiritual Center going when it has been such a struggle over the past twenty-five years. Certainly, Cathy and I could be involved in for profit enterprises that make money and bring in a consistent income. Like all of you, our talents are not just limited to spiritual work. So, we could talk about how good the church makes us all feel. We certainly enjoy the warmth of our spiritual family and friends. We love the Universalist teachings that expand our horizons spiritually and culturally. We also like to think we are helping people trhough our many services and by giving them a safe refuge for a little while from the normal tumult of daily life. These thoughts are summed up by our basic theology through the Greek words of koinonia (brotherhood and sisterhood, a sense of community); martyria (witness to the wonders of the Creator-Creatress and the message of hope); and diakonia (service and justice done in love). Certainly, all of that is true and absolutely excellent reasons to keep the Center alive. But, it is not the only or even main reason why I will not give up on our adventure; and I know a number of you feel the same way.

So, I thought it was time to explain the real reason for Medicine Signs. Mediciine Signs exists for a purpose beyond our individual and spiritual family’s emotional and spiritual needs. It, like you, has a Higher Purpose, a Mission, a Ministry, a Vision. You have heard me say it before. I believe we are the midwives helping to birth a new and better world. You have heard me say it before. We are here to spread a message of Tolerance, Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. That goes beyond Sacred Circles, Reiki Classes, Tarot Courses, Karma Healing Meditations, Ministry Courses, and church parties. They are certainly part of the process of spreading the message, but the vision goes far beyond that. Literally, the vision involves centers of Universalist learning around the world—healing the wounds, building the bridges, and teaching the message of tolerance, hope, peace, love, and joy. If that sounds too big, too grandiose, too impossible, then I would simply remind you that all great movements started small, and spent many years struggling to survive before their work and their message caught on. I didn’t say it would be easy; I just don’t believe it is impossible. And, it starts with you and me.

I am asking each and every one of you in Medicine Signs to keep this vision in your sights as you go through your daily routines, as you practice your spiritual lessons, as you pray and meditate, as you give someone a smile or a helping hand, as you face your problems and issues. One thing we have all discovered is that our spirituality and learned spiritual lessons have helped us get through—with so much more grace—the depressing, frustrating, and difficult days that everyone confronts. If we have learned this in our personal lives, can this not assist others? Is there anyone who does not believe we and our world desperately need this message and vision? Our people, all of humanity, have such a long history of amazing potential perennially lost in the battlefields of hatred, prejudice, greed, ego, disease, division and war. These battlefields of injustice have blocked us from truly taking care of ourselves or each other (our neighbors) as we could and as we should. It has kept the hungry…hungry, the ill…ill, the exploited…exploited, the beaten…beaten, the lost…lost, and the enemies…enemies. Where are the resources for good? Where are the cures for cancer and AIDS? Where are the peacemakers? Where are the stewards of Mother Earth? Where are the true, compassionate leaders, guiding their people to health, to justice, to literacy, to prosperity, to peace? I could go on and on, and list the usual litany of woes troubling each of us and our world. But, you can get that on CNN or the newspaper any day of the week. What I wish to say is—IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY! Each and every one of us holds a promise for something better. Through this Spiritual Center, we can begin to fulfill that promise in our own lives and in our world.

We are not alone. This is not about becoming the lead in this movement. There are many other dedicated, enthusiastic, wonderful “islands of light”—people and organizations—trying to accomplish much the same thing and we need to work together as a team. There are no more saviors. Each of us is the savior, for there is no ONE person or organization who can accomplish this vision alone. If fact, if any of us go into it with that mindset, we are doomed from the start. Our message has not changed. We have the “GOOD NEWS” also. WE ARE ALL BROTHERS AND SISTERS!

Please join me, Cathy, and our many members from all places and backgrounds, and, most importantly, those millions around the world waiting for this message of hope, in making this dream come true. All we ask is that you keep this vision in your hearts and minds—believe it will be so and dare to dream with us!

Mitakye Oyasin (Lakota for “We are all related.”)

Tom Norris


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