07.25.2021

Let It Be

Sunday, July 25, 2021
Featuring: Rev. Richard Maraj
Final Week of the 8-Week "Songs of Life" Series

Click HERE to download this transcript.

SOLO
Guest artist Rusty Ferracane sings the message title song, “Let It Be”

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer
Let it be

For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Yeah, there will be an answer
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

[Instrumental]

Oh, Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow
Let it be

I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

[Congregation whoops and applauds]

 

MESSAGE
Rev. Richard Maraj: Whooo! [Congregation applauds] Rusty Ferracane! Whoooo! Mike Gallaher on guitar! Let’s hear it for our entire band! These bad boys rock! [Congregation whoops and applauds] Whoo!

So have you ever been in times of trouble where you desperately just wanted someone to tell you everything was going to be okay? Anybody ever had one of those? How many people would admit that you have a tendency, sometimes, to worry a lot? Anybody worry? [Congregation laughs] And how many people ever have overthunk something so badly that you couldn’t shut your mind off? Anybody overthink? Overthinking? Okay.

So there is this thing called Irish philosophy, and it’s called “Why Worry?” And here’s how it goes. It says, “There are only two things to worry about. Either you’re going to be well or sick. If you’re going to be well, there’s nothing to worry about. And if you’re sick, there’s only two things to worry about ... and that is, you either get better or you’ll die. And if you get better, there’s nothing to worry about. If you die, there are only two things to worry about: you either go to heaven or you go to hell. If you go to heaven, there’s nothing to worry about. And if you go to hell, you’ll be so busy shaking hands with your friends, you won’t have time to worry.” [Congregation laughs] So there’s … really nothing to worry about! [Rev. Maraj laughs]

You know, the fact is: most of us, as human beings, have overactive minds. We often have things weighing on our minds, because we have a tendency to worry about any and everything. We worry about work. We worry about our family. We worry about our finances. We worry about the economy. We worry about the environment. We worry about Covid. We worry about what’s going on now; we worry about what’s going to happen in the future.

A Greek philosopher once said that it is not what happens to us that bothers us; it’s what we think about might happen to us! And when something that we don’t like happens, we often spend more time wishing it didn’t happen, thinking how bad it was that it happened, hating that it happened, thinking it shouldn’t have happened, that it was unfair that it happened, and it was wrong that it happened … So we have the tendency to be so preoccupied with worry and anxiety and stress and just making stuff up. But it’s actually really hard to quiet our minds. It’s actually really hard to calm our thoughts. To relax and to experience inner peace.

So today we’re going to look at: How do you find calm? And how do you find inner peace in times of trouble?

And today we’re going to do it by wrapping up our eight-week “Songs of Life” series with the Beatles’ 1970 hit, “Let It Be,” written by Paul McCartney. This was actually the final single they released before Paul announced that he was leaving the band. He wrote this at a time where he was going through some trouble and challenges and stress and anxiety about his relationship with the band.

And he had a dream – and it was his mother, whose name is Mary. And she came to him in that dream. And his mother had already died several years earlier. She died of cancer when he was 14 years old. And so she came to him in this dream and said to him, “It’ll be alright. Just let it be.”

He was not only comforted, but he was uplifted. He felt wonderful to get this news. And, of course, it inspired this great song. He said this song is really born out of positivity. Because it was his mom trying to keep his mind positive by reassuring him that everything is going to be okay.

When I hear this song, isn’t there a calming, reassuring peaceful energy about this song? I mean, even just using it as a mantra and saying, “Let it be; let it be; let it be.” There’s something so soothing about it. And I love when they say, “Speaking words of wisdom, let it be,” because “Let It Be” – while three simple words, packs a lot of wisdom. I’ll bet every one of us – when we hear the song or say the words, “Let it be” – have some idea that it rings true. That sometimes the best thing you can do for the problems of life is to just let it be.

Do you have a situation in your life that’s troubling and challenging? Where the best thing you might be able to do is just to let it be? You know, the words, “Let it be,” to me, give off an energy of calmness, of reassurance, of peace, of acceptance. The idea to “let it be” shows a great understanding about life and how things work. And sometimes it just needs some time and some space for things to heal and improve.

“Let it be” is actually saying: Don’t worry! Don’t fuss; don’t fret; don’t fight; don’t force or interfere. Sometimes just leave it alone, and everything will be okay. To let it be is not soft and passive. It is actually powerful, empowering and extremely creative.

Let me give you an example. In the Book of Genesis, what does Genesis say God’s first words are? [Pause] Well, thanks for helping me out! [Rev. Maraj and congregation laugh] Let there be light! And, finally, there was … thank you! [Congregation laughs] And so, notice God said, “Let there be light.” Now, if I was trying to create light, I might have said, “Create me light! Give me some light! I want some light!” You know … “Bring on the light!” You think it’s a coincidence the words, “Let there be light” is what God spoke? Because the whole idea of the word “let” is to allow. It’s not to force. It’s not to rush or push. It is not to resist. It is to open a way to allow God’s good to come forth. Just let it be. Let it be.

You know, the word “let” is used seven times in this story of Creation. So the idea to “let” and allow is a part of how things are created and manifested in our lives. We sing every Sunday, “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

Now, the interesting thing is: we live in a world where we’re taught to be aggressive and ambitious and be a real go-getter. Put your nose to the grindstone and keep at it until you get what you want. Success is defined by work, work, work; go, go, go; push, push, push; fight, fight, fight; move, move, move. So “let it be” can kind of seem a little weak and soft … maybe even counter-intuitive to living a successful life. Yet it is words of wisdom, because it really helps our lives unfold and flow in an easier and more gracious and wonderful way.

To “let it be” is, like: slow down. Relax. And connect with a deeper level of the rhythm of life. And move through it. Instead of forcing, let our lives be lived with ease and grace.

So what is the wisdom in the song, “Let It Be,” to help us move through times of trouble easier?

The first one may not make sense for a second, but … The first thing I think it reminds us is to remember. Let me read you the first verse. It says:

“When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be.”

So Paul was about 28 when he wrote this. His mom died 14 years earlier. And he said that, in this dream, having his mom show up helped him remember how his mom loved him. It helped him remember his mom’s love, and it reassured him. It soothed him, and it calmed him.

So the first thing to “let it be” is to remember that you’re loved. To remember your mother’s love. To remember all the people who love and support you. To remember that people care. To remember to them you are important. That you’re invaluable. You know, I believe a mother’s love is ever-present and always available. It’s unwavering. It’s dependable; it is nurturing. I believe a mother’s love is the greatest thing – closest to God’s unconditional love that we experience on Earth.

And so, in the same way, to remember -- he remembered his mother’s love in his time of trouble – we need to remember God’s love. That we are God’s beloved children. That God loves us and supports us. That God has a plan for us.

You know, when we feel loved through troubled times, it makes the troubled times less troubling. That, when we are going through troubled times, knowing that we’re loved – having people with us – makes things easier and better as we move through them.

And so the question is: Do you believe, and are you willing to remember, that God loves you? Even in your darkest hour, are you willing to remember that God is always there?

To remember that you’re loved also moves you to a place to trust that you’re loved. To trust that you’re supported. Because trust is a huge and powerful thing. The Bible mentions over and over again the importance of trust. Sometimes we think, “Well, how do you trust God more? How do you trust more?” And it’s just: practice trust.

Like, right now, you don’t realize it, but you’re practicing and living trust right now. Like, right now, you trust that chair you’re sitting on is going to hold up the entire weight of your body for this whole service! You’re trusting! You trust right now that there is enough air in this room for us to all breathe. You trust that the sun’s going to shine … tomorrow. [Congregation laughs] That tomorrow it’s going to shine. Not today! [Congregation laughs] You trust that, if you take two Tylenol, in 20 minutes your pain will decrease.

So my question is: Do you trust that God loves you? And do you trust God to support your life?

Another thing to remember, besides that you are loved, is: I love the line that says:

“And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines in me
Shine until tomorrow
Let it be.”

And it is to remember the words in the Book of John, Chapter 1, Verse 5, that says: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never overcome the light.” It is to remember there is a light in you, and a light that shines on you, and it is the light of God. It is the light of hope. It is the light of peace. It is the light of strength and comfort and goodness.

And the thing about it is: to not just remember that line, but to remember it by immersing ourselves in that light. Connecting with that light. Meditating and being centered in that light.

And the last thing is to remember that there will always be an answer. I love that! There will be an answer. Remember: there will be an answer. Even if you can’t see it, there will be an answer.

Favorite question I like to ask to prove that there is always an answer is: Can you remember what you were worrying about on this date five years ago? Anybody? [Congregation laughs] Anybody remember what you were worrying about on this exact date three years ago? How about two years ago? One year ago? And here’s the thing: Whatever … Anybody remember what you’re worrying about now? [Congregation laughs] Okay. You got that one …

And so, here’s the thing: is the thing that you’re worried about now – that you just wonder how is this going go work out? Five years ago, you can’t remember what you were worrying about. You know why? Because it worked out. You’re here! One way or another, it worked out. And it’s to remember – even if you don’t know the answer now – there will be an answer. That things will work out for your highest good.

You know, when David was fighting Goliath, Goliath was a giant of a challenge in front of him. But he also had a giant-sized faith! And here’s what he said: “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” And so what he’s saying is: “I remember the answer that God gave. I remember how God worked this thing out. And the God that worked that out – the things two years, three years – is the same God that’ll work out what is troubling me right now.”

Remember that God loves you. Remember there is a light in you. And remember that there will be an answer. Because when you remember it, then you will trust that God loves you. You will trust there is a light in you, and shining for you. And you will trust that there will always be an answer.

The next thing I think this song teaches us to do to “let it be”: You’ve got to learn how to let go.

This guy named Jack was walking around this steep cliff one day, and he accidentally slipped off the edge, and he fell down and he grabbed this branch. And he’s hanging there, and he looked down, and there’s a canyon with a thousand feet below was the ground. And he screamed out, “Help! Help! Help! Anybody up there?” And he kept yelling, and nobody was answering.

And finally someone said, “Jack! Jack! Do you hear me?”

“Yeah, yeah; I can hear you! I’m down here!”

“Jack, I see you! Are you all right?”

“Yes! Who are you, and where are you?”

 It said, “I am the Lord, Jack, and I’m everywhere.”

“The Lord? You mean God?”

It said, “Yeah; that’s me!”

“God, please; please! I promise! If you get me down from here, I’ll stop sinning. And I’ll be a good person; I’ll go to church every Sunday and serve you for the rest of my life!”

“Easy, easy on the promises, Jack; let’s just get you off of here, and then we can talk. Now here’s what I want you to do, and I want you to listen carefully.”

“Okay, God; I’ll do anything! I’ll do anything! Just tell me what to do!”

“Okay; I just want you to let go of the branch.”

“What?”

“Yeah; that’s what I want you to do. I want you to let go of the branch. Just trust me, Jack! Trust me and just let go.”

And there was a really long silence. And then, finally, Jack yelled, “Help! Help! Is there anybody else up there? Help!” [Rev. Maraj and congregation laugh]

Okay; a silly, bad joke. But … [Congregation laughs] There’s a good point! And the point is: For many of us, letting go is not an easy thing. Letting go can be scary and terrifying. We can feel so vulnerable letting go. We think, “Oh! If I let go, everything will fall apart. If I let go, everything will go wrong.”

So we humans have a tendency to always want to hold on. But the problem is: Sometimes we hold on to things that aren’t good for us. We hold on to the past. We hold on to the hurt. We hold on to the fear. We hold on to the regret. We hold on to the grudges and the shame. We hold on to old dreams and unhealthy relationships. We hold on to all sorts of things that are not for our well-being and our highest good.

So I ask you: What are you holding on to that isn’t serving you well? What is it time for you to release? What is it time to unburden yourself from? What is it that you need to let go? Maybe it’s letting go of some woundedness or unworthiness. Maybe it’s letting go of some anger or judgement. Maybe it’s letting go of some old story or old beliefs or ideas. Maybe it’s letting go of control. Maybe it’s letting go of the attachment that we have to certain things.

But the question is: What do you need to let go? Because whatever we need to let go, you know what happens? It’s freedom! And it opens a space for greater possibilities. It opens a space for God! You’ve heard that expression, “Let go and let God”? Well, to let God, you’ve got to let go! To let it be, you’ve got to let go.

So what is it that you need to let go? Because it really frees and liberates us and opens our lives.

And the final thing is to allow. Anybody heard of “the art of allowing?” It’s the whole idea that we have an intention or a desire or something, but we need to not resist it! Because, in life, sometimes we resist a lot. And “allowing” is a powerful thing. And so we need to ask ourselves: How well do you practice allowing in your life?

Let me give you a few examples. How well are you allowing yourself to be happy? In this moment and every moment? How well are you allowing yourself to feel loved? How well are you allowing yourself to receive your desires and your dreams? How well are you allowing yourself to be at peace with you? To be at peace with the people in your life? How well are you allowing life to just be as it is?

You know, sometimes we do resist and block and fight. And here are some ways. Have you ever wanted something, but were afraid to have it? Feel like, “Man; that’s too much! That is too good; I don’t think I can handle that.” Can you allow yourself to feel worthy of that good?

How many people ever wanted something that you forced and manipulated your way, and were aggressive, to make it happen? Or can you allow yourself to just go with the flow, and not resist, and just allow it to manifest and unfold?

See, allowing is between resisting and blocking and manipulating and forcing. It’s that healthy place of non-resistance in between, where we aren’t fighting against life, but we’re actually working with the flow and the rhythm of life.

You know, the way we allow is to get clear with what our intention is; believe that the Universe will bring it forth to us; and then just allow it to happen.

I have an example of it. So how many people have heard of Les Brown? You remember Les Brown? Remember when he was on PBS many, many, many years ago? I was a kid. I was in Toastmaster’s. And I didn’t really have a lot of direction in life. I remember I heard him speak, and I’m, “Man, this guy is good! I want to meet this guy one day! And I want to share the stage with him one day.” Me, a little guy in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. This guy is a big star on TV. And I think that.

So fast forward seven years. I’m at a big conference in Los Angeles in this huge ballroom. He’s one of the speakers … 1500 people in there! And so I thought, “Oh, I’d love to meet him! But I can’t move fast enough to get to him. Probably just be crazy …” So I closed my eyes, said a little prayer. I said, “God, if I’m meant to meet him, let him come to me.”

So I went to the restroom a little while later. And I came out of the restroom, and in this large foyer, who was 20 feet in front of me but Les Brown? And he starts walking towards me. We introduced ourselves; we said we’d stay in touch. We did not. [Congregation laughs]

And so fast forward five years. I’m walking through a casino in Las Vegas, and who comes walking towards me again? Les Brown! This time we exchanged cell phones. We communicated. He came and spoke here many years ago, and we did share the stage!

But the thing about it is: I mean, what are the odds that putting an intention out there …? And there was no resistance. I didn’t try to make it happen. But it just happened and unfolded. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was always so easy? [Congregation laughs] But the fact is: They call it “the art of allowing,” because it’s an art because it takes practice. We sometimes resist. We sometimes hold on. We sometimes get attached. But here are the steps to practice the “art of allowing.”

Number one is: Allow yourself to be happy with life the way it is right now. We are often trying to wait until everything gets perfect before we’re happy. No! The art of allowing says: Allow yourself to be happy right now with the way your life is. Even if your life didn’t change, are you willing to allow yourself to be happy every single day?

Second one is: Allow yourself to get clear about what it is that you really want. What it is that you desire. What do you want to feel? What do you want to experience? What do you want to create?

Third is: Allow yourself to believe that – that desire you have – that the Universe will bring it forth to you. To believe that you are worthy of it.

And the fourth is: Just allow it to come forth. Don’t resist. Just open yourself to it, and allow it to come forth.

I always say life is not easy. We always will go through times that are difficult, that are dark, and sometimes desperate. And the question is: How do we handle that? How do we handle it with ease? How do we handle it with grace?

And the best is to do these three things that we talked about. In the times of trouble, remember that you’re loved. Remember your momma’s love; remember all the people that love and support you; all the people who believe in you. And remember God’s love for you is always there. Remember the light is there for you, and remember there will always be an answer. And the next one is to let go. To release – to open a space – of whatever you’re holding on to, and allow there to be space for God and something greater. And, finally, allow yourself the opportunity to let it come forth. Don’t resist. Don’t fight. Just let it come forth.

And so, in times of trouble, what’s the best way to handle things? Well, it says it right in the song: LET IT BE.

God bless you all!

[Congregation applauds]

 

MEDITATION
Rev. Lori Fleming
: I invite you to close your outer eyes. To make yourself in your seat. To let go of any busy-ness you’ve had so far this morning; just gently release it. And if there’s something heavy on your heart, just give it up to God. God can handle it. Take in a deep, cleansing breath and release it slowly. Beginning to move our awareness within.

As we take in another mindful breath – as we release it – we move our awareness into our very souls: to that place of God’s peace. To that place of God’s power and strength. As we open our hearts to God’s unconditional love for ourselves and each other. And as we open our mind to divine ideas for solutions: new, amazing, wonderful solutions so that we can live better lives.

God is present in us and as us and through us: right here in this Sanctuary. And across the cosmos, because it’s all God. And we participate in that presence of the Divine. Each and every one of us is an unrepeatable expression of the living Spirit of God. Of the loving Spirit of God. And we are all connected – each of us here in this room, and every being across the planet – as God’s beloved children, created for a very important and special reason: to glorify God in ourselves and in each other.

And no matter where we came from – no matter what we look like, no matter what language we speak – each and every person is an important part of the whole. All of the different colors and textures come together in the tapestry of life. And each of us shines with God’s beauty and love.

And so we take just a few moments to move more deeply into the silence, as we feel the presence of God within.

SILENCE

Sweet Spirit, we come in gratitude for this time together of prayer and meditation. Of lifting us up out of the old into a new consciousness filled with your peace and love and joy and prosperity. Thank you for this and all of our blessings. Thank you, God; thank you, God; thank you, God! And it is so. Amen.

 

Copyright 2021 Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center/Rev. Richard Maraj

 

Location and Contact Information

Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center

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

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