A Year of Love

Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Featuring: Rev. Richard Rogers
Week #1 of a New 7-Week Series, "A Year of Love"

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Okay. So we’re now solidly in 2022. How’s your year going so far? What are we now: 12 days in? [Congregant: Perfect!] Perfect? Great!

Okay. So I’ve got a question for you: how does your life get better? Because, for most of us — or many of us — we’ve been taught that the way that our life gets better is for us to get smarter. That if we get smarter, then we make better choices. And if we get smart enough, we can solve all of our problems. Right? And really the mass appeal is: how do we help people get smart enough to make better decisions. Right?

But the other way to look at this one is that maybe it’s not about just getting smarter. Maybe it’s really about becoming more loving. And when you look at your best decisions and your worst decision, was it based on … Was your worst decision based on the fact that you were just stupid? Or you didn’t know? Right? And was your best decision based on the fact that you were just so much smarter than everybody else, and you just made this terrifically “right” decision?

See, what I want us to really begin to see is that we have this cultural belief that, “If I can get smart enough, I can outthink life. I can outthink the world. I can outthink the people around me. And if I can just get smart enough, I can solve every problem.”

But I really believe that, if we’re going to heal ourselves and our world, that it really is an issue of love. That I believe that, when you were making your best decisions, you felt guided by love. You felt called in a direction, and you trusted love. And you made the decision. And your best decisions were really when you trusted that love was guiding you and directing you and calling you into a greater reality.

And what’s interesting about this year that we’re in now is: it’s a “triple-2” year. Right? What does that mean? Well, 2 often represents relationships and love. It’s about coming together. Right? And the first millennium — the first last thousand years — before the last 22 … The first last thousand years, it was a 1 millennium. Now, what does that mean? A 1 millennium is about the individual. It’s about supporting the individual. Right? And if you look at the … from the beginning of AD to 1999, it was a journey — if you look at in in the big context of history — it was the journey of the individual. Like, when we began the last thousand years, right? It was a journey of the individual discovering their own identity and power. And most of the millennium, there was a dominant person in charge, whether it was religious or political. There was one person in charge, and they were in charge of everybody.

But as we moved through that first millennium, we watched as the individuals — the collective individuals — actually in political systems and religion, that one king or one person in charge system broke down over and over again. And it became more collective. Right?

And then … Now we’re in the second millennium that is all about relationship. It’s all … We moved from the “I” of the first millennium to the “we” of the second millennium.

So the second millennium is all about: how do we work together? How do we create collectively? Not just how do we create as individuals, but how do we create together to create a world? Like, to create experiences for family, for friends, for the whole thing. How do we do it as a “we”?

And, when you’re used to being an “I,” moving into a “we” can be challenging. Right? Because when you’re an “I,” you think about everything from the point of view, “What’s in it for me?” Right? But when we move into a “we,” it then becomes a collective opportunity. It becomes people working together to create something. And we look in the church how the church is a demonstration of a “we.” That we create it together; this place survives because of a greater “we.” Right? It’s a “we” that builds this.

So this year we’re in a “triple-2” year. And if you add the three 2s together, you get a 6. And I want to … And I love these numbers things! So if I’ve gone too “woo woo” to start this year, God bless you, but you know I’m going to get “woo-wier” as we go. So here we go.

In numerology, the personal year 6 is [laughs] known as the marriage or divorce year. Because 6 is the vibration of love and relationships. This is the major theme of this year also for individuals. So, because this is a triple-relationship year, things are going to get much better or they’re going to start breaking down. Does that make sense? And I’m not predicting anything; I just … It is the marriage year. So it’s a “triple-2” year that everything is coming up.

With each year there is a light and a shadow side representing the highest vibration and the lowest vibration that we can experience. On the light side of a 6 year is the ability to tap into higher ideals of love, strengthen relationships, and heal our deepest wounds.

And I really want to speak into that, right? Because in a “triple-2” year, if there’s something in your life that you’ve been dragging into every new experience, this is the year where you want to take on healing your deepest wound. If there’s an issue from childhood, there’s an issue from your family, this is the year where we have three levels of 2 — three levels of love — to heal every wound that we are still carrying with us.

So I want to speak into that, because my desire for all of us is that we take on this year healing whatever it is that you’ve been dragging along with you. Right?

So I have this belief, right? That says that we come into this life experience whole and complete and lacking in nothing. We come into this life experience really just this pristine experience of God. And what I want is: I want you to leave this life experience in that same condition. And this is the year — individually and collectively — where we can heal at a very deep level. Alright? So that we can heal our deepest wounds.

Going on … But on the shadow side, the 6 year can also bring about a lot of shame, difficult emotions, and pressure to carry out responsibilities that we didn’t even realize we had. Right? So the shadow side of this is: all this stuff’s going to come up, not to bury us, but that so we can heal it.

So I want you to take a deep breath right now, and I want you to be willing — as we move into this year — to open a space for a greater experience of love. Because love is the key that’s going to heal it all. That whatever you’ve been carrying with you — whatever the pain has been, whatever the past has been — this is your year to heal it.

Gary Zukav wrote this: “Eventually you will come to understand that love heals everything. Love is all there is.”

So this our year! This is year to heal, to take our relationships higher, to restore those things that have broken down or been disappointed. This is our opportunity to heal individually, but because this is a “triple-2” year, this is our opportunity also to heal every relationship. This year’s wired for us to heal at our deepest level.

Laura Kaye said this in the book, Ride Rough. She said, “Love is the only thing that doesn’t hurt. So many people are afraid of it. I think I was five years ago. Afraid that loving would hurt me, one way or another. But love doesn’t hurt. Abuse hurts. Loneliness hurts. Jealousy hurts. Lies hurt. But love? Love heals. Love puts back together things that we thought would be broken forever.”

So here’s where we’re going to go, right? I’m going to invite you this year … I’ve done it personally and for the Wednesday night service, I’ve dedicated this year to love. That we’re going to move into this experience of love, and we’re going to open it up so that we get to heal whatever is going on. And that applies to you people who are watching us online. Whatever is going on, we’re going to take this, and we’re just going to move it forward in a profound sense of love so that we get to heal at a deeper level than we’ve ever known before.

So let’s begin with: What is love? So love … Many people say, “I love you” in a romantic way. Or to their family they say, “I love you.” And, in reality, God is love. Right? So God is infinite love, and each and every one of us are channels of that love for ourselves and for each other.

So the way that we express love or experience love is that we have to open our hearts. Right? If our heart isn’t open … because we have free will. If our heart isn’t open, love isn’t happening. Right?

So as we move into this year, I want us to be really mindful of opening our hearts so that love happens. Because, for most of us, our opening of our heart is happening very unconsciously. Like, if we see a cute puppy or a kitten, or whatever. Our grandkids or whatever it is. We see a cute Budweiser commercial on TV with the puppy and the Clydesdales, or whatever it is, our hearts just leaps open. Right? And the moment our heart leaps open, this unbelievable amount of love begins to flow through us.

But unless our heart is open, love is not happening. Like, sometimes we say, “Well, I love you, but I don’t really like you.” [Congregation laughs] Right? Or, “I love you, but would you get out of my way?” Right? And as soon as we make a judgement about anything or anyone, I want you to see that your heart automatically closes.

So love doesn’t happen with a closed heart. And what’s amazing about love in your heart — not your biological heart, but your spiritual heart … What’s amazing about your spiritual heart is that you can literally, tactically feel it when your heart is open. If you put your hands on your chest, most people can tell if their heart is open or closed. Because they can literally feel the energy moving through their body, moving through their soul, with an open heart.

I want you to practice this for a minute, okay? Because there’s no point of having a whole year of love if we’re not doing it. Right? If we’re just thinking loving thoughts, it isn’t loving. It’s nice, but it’s not love. Right? So I want you to think about someone or something — something in your life — that you just love. And I want you to put your hands on your chest, one or both, and I want you just to feel love flowing through you. I want you to feel how much love can flow through you.

Now I want you to think of somebody who you’ve been in conflict with, you’re upset with, maybe you don’t like very much. And I want you to feel how quickly your heart closes. Because we can’t be in judgement — we just can’t be in judgement — with an open heart. Because the moment we move into judgement, our head shuts down our heart.

Now think about someone you love again. And just feel your heart open again. And you can literally feel it!

This year I want you to be conscious of how much time you’re spending with an open heart. Because my guess is: you’re not spending near the amount of time that you think. That most of us, when we’re at work or we’re driving or we’re getting things done, we kind of close our hearts when we’re being busy. Because it just … It’s not necessary. We’re not loving; we’re just getting stuff done. We’re driving. We’re at work, or whatever we’re doing. We just close down our hearts.

And what I want you to see this year is: I want you to do more and more activities with an open heart. And I want you to be so good at opening your heart that you can open your heart bigger than you ever thought was imaginable. That you can see that your heart has the capacity to expand, to open, to be just absolutely enormous. And the more that you open your heart, the more of God’s infinite love flows through you. Right?

But now, the interesting thing is that your heart not only has a gate that opens outwardly; it also opens inwardly toward you. That, if you want to heal your deepest wound this year, not only are you going to have to open toward the world, but the real kicker is going to be when you open your heart toward you. When you open it from the inside, and you allow the pure love of God to fill your being. To fill your body, your soul, your essence. When you open your heart inwardly, then the flow of love: it’s for you.

And some of us do that really very sparingly. Like, if we have a really good day, we open our heart to us; we open it just a little crack. But we’re not living with a big, wide open heart for us. For many of us, it’s easier for us to have a big, wide, open heart for everybody else, and we’re still a little chintzy when it comes to ourselves.

And what I want you to do this year — what we’re going to practice — is: how big can you swing the doors of your heart open for the world? But also: how big can you swing the doors of your heart toward you? Because, for most of us, we’re just not being generous with love for ourselves. So that we can’t heal our deepest need if we’re not being generous with love.

So take a deep breath, and I want you just to imagine opening your heart fully toward you. I want you to have every ounce of love that God wants to bestow upon you. I want you just to open your heart all the way and just let your entire body be just drenched in pure love. And feel what that feels like: just to be that generous with yourself. And then open it toward the world, and feel what it feels like to open your heart all the way to everyone around you.

This is what Jesus said. Luke 6:

“But I say to you listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. And if you love those who love you, what credit is that? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to only those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. And if you lend money only to those people from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, because you are children of the Most High; for he is kind to the grateful and the wicked. He is merciful for the just and the unjust. For he is the Father of mercy.”

I mean, that’s a big commitment! Right? And because we want life to be fair, because we love thinking that life should be fair! And if life is fair, then I give to the people who give to me. I’m kind to the people who are kind to me. I love the people who love me. And if they don’t love me, it’s fair that I don’t love them back. Right?

But that just keeps us in a finite world. It keeps us in a world of lack and limitation. That when I go the extra mile, and when I open my heart all the way, and I really experience it open to the infinite, then I really discover how infinite God is. And that’s the power that we’re in right now. That love can heal everything.  But not with a closed heart! Not with a chintzy spirit! Not when we’re counting every nickel. When we’re worried about what’s in it for you and who’s giving to you and who’s generous enough and who’s kind enough and who’s loving enough that is worthy of your love.

This is the year where we just pop it wide open, and just allow love to flow through us. And get so deep in the flow of the infinite, that we become more blessed than we’ve ever been before. This is our year to really take a huge spiritual step forward! And it all happens in love. It happens when we learn to love in bigger and bigger ways. In ways that are transformative.

Okay, so are you ready for your homework for this year? And this year I have five [laughs]. I know; I usually give you one homework assignment. This year I have five homework assignments. If you want to take notes, get a pen out. Or you can just … maybe we’ll put it on Facebook tonight. Here it is: your five homework assignments for this year.

The first one [laughs] is: DON’T ADD CONFLICT. Now you think, “Well, that doesn’t … That seems kind of easy.” Well, sometimes we like to add conflict! Sometimes we want to just “zing” somebody, and we just kind of want to “ungh.” You know, and sometimes we just want to, well, speak in love, and then we just want to “zing” a little bit. Right?

This year, if we fully move into a 2, we are not going to add conflict. Right? We’re not going to absorb it. We’re not going to watch media that is about conflict. We’re not going to move into conflict. We’re not going to just worry about what “those” people are doing to us, or what “that” person said. We’re just literally not going to gossip. We’re not going to worry about all the little petty things. We’re not going to add conflict. Alright? Are you willing to make a little pinky swear with me?

So our pinky swear — get your pinky swear out! We’re going to do a pinky swear. And to the best of my ability, I will not add conflict this year. Together: [with congregation] “To the best of my ability, I will not add conflict this year.” Right? To the best of my ability!

Now, you know, if somebody cuts you off, just, you know, to the best of your ability. Right? [Congregation laughs] If somebody says something that’s not very nice to you, to the best of your ability. Right? And some days, you know, if your blood sugar’s dropping, they might get a double dose. But to the best of your ability, do not add conflict this year! Right?

Two: LIVE OPEN-HEARTED. So this year, we’re going to practice living more open-hearted. We’re going to practice opening our heart as we’re driving to work, as we’re running errands, as we’re doing our work, as we’re cleaning the house, as we’re doing whatever we do. We’re going to intentionally, consciously practice opening our heart, filling whatever it is we’re doing with love.

So the laundry is just going to be the most loved laundry you’ve ever seen before. And when you’re waxing that table or changing the oil, or when I’m going to the Ford dealership tomorrow to get my oil changed, hang on, man! That Ford dealership is going to sparkle because I’m going to be loving them the whole time I’m there! [Congregation laughs] Right? And it’s not one of my favorite places. Right? But I’m going to be intentional about opening my heart and filling it with love. And I think that there are probably situations in your life that you’ve decided are not your most loving places. Right? And I want you to just open your heart and see if you can be intentional with your open heart.

Three: I want you to PICK A PERSON OF LOVE. And what is a person of love? Well, I’ve given this example before, and I come back to it over and over again. This year I want you to pick one person that you’re going to consistently practice loving in a bigger way. It could be a family member. It could be a boss or employee. It could be a neighbor. It could be somebody that just you see on TV. I want you to pick one person that is your person of love. And this person maybe somebody who challenges you: somebody that it’s hard for you to love. Somebody that you don’t want to love. Somebody you may not even like. Right?

And your job for your person of love is to open your heart and love them. Like, if you have a neighbor that just always, like, cuts their bushes or parks in your spot, or their dog does his duty on your lawn. [Congregtion laughs] Or whatever it is, right? Whatever that is, I want you to pick that person and practice. He or she this year is your person of love. And this is the way you are going to practice mastering love. By seeing how much you can love them.

Now, if you love them, will that change their behavior? It may, but it may not. And you’re not doing it to change them; you’re doing it to change … Like, we’re doing it to change ourselves. Right? So number three: I want you to have a person of love.

Number four: I want you to LOOK FOR WAYS THAT YOU CAN ADD MORE LOVE TO THE WORLD. I want you just to be mindful of situations, of moments. And those moments are important, and I don’t want you to miss those moments! I want you to look for ways that you can add more love to the world. And that you’re on a secret mission now. Right? You’re a “double-0” love. [Congregation laughs] And you’re on a secret spy, and your job is to add more love to the world. Look for ways to add love.

And the fifth one is … This one is 100% just for you. I want you to BRING LOVE TO THE PLACE WITHIN YOU THAT HAS FELT THE MOST WOUNDED this year. I want you to bring love. I want you to send love. I want you to accept love. I want you to receive love in the place in you where you have felt the most wounded. Because I literally want you to come through this year and have your deepest wound healed.

Like, for many of us, there’s something that we’ve been carrying with us a long time. And we just kind of put it out of our mind. We put it behind us. We don’t think about it. We try not to worry about it. We just kind of keep moving. And this year, whatever you have felt like has been your deepest wound in this lifetime, this year we’re going to just keep bringing and loving that part of us. We’re going to keep bringing that up. We’re going to keep inviting God and love to go right there. We’re going to heal that thing so that we get to move through this year whole and complete and lacking in nothing. Are you willing?

Will you take a deep breath and join me in prayer?

And I invite you to open your mind, your heart, your soul to the activity of love. That only love dwells here now. That pure love dwells here now. It’s within you; it’s all around you. And tonight we open our hearts all the way. We open our hearts inwardly, and we allow that infinite love just to bathe us. And we open our hearts toward the world. And we truly begin to experience the infinite love of God. That we are here to be deeply transformed this year. To move from an “I” mentality to a “we” mentality. To build collectively. To build together a world that works for everybody. So in the name and through the power of the Living Christ, we give thanks. And so it is. Amen.

Copyright 2022 Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center/Rev. Richard Rogers

CLICK HERE to view Rev. Rogers’ guided meditation during the service.

Location and Contact Information

Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center

1500 E Greenway Pkwy
Phoenix, AZ 85022
Phone: (602) 978-3200

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