The True Handmaid’s Tale
Leddy Hammock

Bitterness gets me nowhere.

I wander until I remember that God hears my prayers and guides me home.

I am not bitter or uncertain now.  I am a royal child of the Most High destined for unlimited possibilities.

Even when it seems laughable to believe things will work out for me, I have faith that God’s plans for me are good.  There is joy in my heart!

No one owns me.  I am neither angry, bitter, exhausted, lost, or scared.

I am not timid or sad.  I am energetic, fearless, and confident.  I intend to survive.

I persist.  I never give up.  I only let go and let God, for my heart is the handmaid of the LORD.


Responsive Reading for Sunday, October 29

Abram’s name means “father.” Abram’s “wife Sarai [“bitterness”] had born him no children.  Now she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar” [meaning “wanderer”].  Sarah . . . gave her to her husband to be his wife” [Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, whose name means “whom God hears”]. Hagar ran away from Sarai, but “The LORD’S angel told her: . . . Go back . . . . I will make your descendants so numerous . . . that they will be too many to count” (Gen. 16:1-10.).

Bitterness gets me nowhere.  I wander until I remember that God hears my prayers and guides me home.

God “said to Abraham: as for Sarai your wife, do not call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah [“princess”].  I will bless you, and I will give you a son by her.  Her [Hagar] also will I bless; she will give rise to nations and rulers of peoples”  (Gen.  17:15-16).

I am not bitter or uncertain now.  I am a royal child of the Most High destined for unlimited possibilities.

“Abraham fell face down and laughed as he said to himself, ‘Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old?  Can Sarah give birth at ninety?’ . . . . Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac [meaning “laughter”] was born to him.  Sarah then said, ‘God has given me cause to laugh, and all who hear of it will laugh with me” (Gen. 17:16; 21:6).     

Even when it seems laughable to believe things will work out for me, I have faith that God’s plans for me are good.  There is joy in my heart!  

Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, had two wives: Leah (meaning “weary”) and Rachel (meaning “journeying”).  Leah bore him six sons (and a daughter).  Before Rachel bore him two sons, she was worried she wouldn’t have children, “So she gave him her maidservant Bilhah” (meaning “timid”) who bore him two sons.  When Leah thought she couldn’t have more children, she gave her maidservant Zilpah (meaning “tears”) “to Jacob as a wife,” who bore him two sons.  Jacob had twelve strong sons – an amazing story of the soul’s unfoldment. Oy!

No one owns me.  I am neither angry, bitter, exhausted, lost, or scared.  I am not timid or sad.  I am energetic, fearless, and confident.  I intend to survive.  I persist.  I never give up.  I only let go and let God, for my heart is the handmaid of the LORD.

Being Kind
Leddy Hammock

Inspired by words of Nimo Patel in “Being Kind” —

I just sit and pray in silence and God shows me the signs.  I open my eyes and realize we are fine, one small act at a time.

Small acts we do together, even though maybe alone, change the world for the better, so we can call it home.

And this is life: as we know, when our hearts are aligned, the magic that unfolds, one small act at a time.

When I’m kind to others, they pay it forward.  This is how we build trust. Thank You, God, for letting me realize, when I serve humanity, I’m really serving You in disguise.


Responsive Reading for Sunday, October 22

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his kindness endures forever . . . .  Give thanks to the LORD, because his kindness endures forever” ("I Chronicles 16:34-41).

I just sit and pray in silence and God shows me the signs.
I open my eyes and realize we are fine, one small act at a time.

“How precious is your love, O God! We take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
. . . For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light.  Continue your kindness toward your friends, your just defense of the honest heart”
(Psalms 36:8-11).  

Small acts we do together, even though maybe alone,
change the world for the better, so we can call it home.

“One thing God has said; two things I have heard: Power belongs to God; so too, Lord, does kindness, And you render to each of us according to our deeds” (Psalms 62:12-13).  

And this is life: as we know, when our hearts are aligned,
the magic that unfolds, one small act at a time.

“At dawn let me hear of your kindness, for in You I trust. Show me the path I should walk, for to you I entrust my life” (Psalm 143:8).

When I’m kind to others, they pay it forward.  This is how we build trust.
Thank You, God, for letting me realize, when I serve humanity, I’m really serving You in disguise.

Your Crown
Leddy Hammock

“On the day that we met . . . I noticed a crown on the top of your head . . . .I always knew just what your crown meant.  It meant that you were MAGNIFICENT.”

“That means you are grand from your toes to your chin.  Take a deep breath, and let that sink in . . . . and it means, like a star, YOU WERE BORN TO SHINE . . . .”

“Whatever it is you choose to do, no one can do it exactly like you.   . . .  And if you fall down, remember your glorious, marvelous crown.  It won’t flicker or fade.  It won’t dim.  It won’t leave.   ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS BELIEVE.”

“The world is a wonderland waiting for you.  And you get to share it with all your friends, too!   They each have a crown that is faithful and true.  No one’s is brighter, no one’s is duller.  It’s only a crown of a different color.

So sometimes, just every now and then, whisper ‘I believe’ again.  Your crown is your best friend forever, by far.  It tells the true story of just who you are.”


Responsive Reading for Sunday, October 15

“What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them?  Yet you have . . .  crowned them with glory and honor.  You have given them rule over the works of your hands” (Psalms 8:5-7).

“On the day that we met . . . I noticed a crown on the top of your head . . . . I always knew just what your crown meant.  It meant that you were MAGNIFICENT.”

“For the leader. A psalm of David.  LORD, the king finds joy in your power . . . .  You have granted him his heart's desire . . .  For you welcomed him with goodly blessings;  you placed on his head a crown of pure gold” (Psalm 21:1-76.

“That means you are grand from your toes to your chin.  Take a deep breath, and let that sink in . . . . and it means, like a star, YOU WERE BORN TO SHINE . . . .”

“I will set a lamp for my anointed . . . .  On him my crown shall gleam" (Psalm 132:17-18).

“Whatever it is you choose to do, no one can do it exactly like you.   . . .  And if you fall down, remember your glorious, marvelous crown.  It won’t flicker or fade.  It won’t dim.  It won’t leave.   ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS BELIEVE.”

"The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom . . .  She will put on your head a graceful diadem; a glorious crown will she bestow on you" (Proverbs 4:7-9).

“The world is a wonderland waiting for you.  And you get to share it with all your friends, too!  They each have a crown that is faithful and true.   No one’s is brighter, no one’s is duller.  It’s only a crown of a different color.  So sometimes, just every now and then, whisper ‘I believe’ again.  Your crown is your best friend forever, by far.  It tells the true story of just who you are.”

Know U Anywhere
Leddy Hammock

from I’d Know You Anywhere” by Nancy Tillman

If one day we’re walking and talking, just us, and you looked different,
“I might be surprised, but just for a while.  I’d know it was you by your magical smile.”

Even if you had been away for a long time and didn’t look at all like yourself, “I’d say,
‘My, my . . . that is quite a disguise!’  But I’d know it was you by the gleam in your eyes.”

“There are things about you quite unlike any other . . .  
Things always known by your father or mother.  
So, if you decide to be different one day, no worries . . . I’d know you anyway.”

“Yes, without question I’d know it was you.”  “I know you by heart.”
Because, child of God, “I’d know you anywhere.”


Responsive Reading for Sunday, October 8

Two of Jesus’ friends were walking along together, talking about Jesus and how they missed Him:  “And . . . Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him . . . .   As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther.  But they urged him, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.’ . . . And . . . while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him . . .” (Luke 24:13-31).  
    
If one day we’re walking and talking, just us, and you looked different,
“I might be surprised, but just for a while.  I’d know it was you by your magical smile.”

“It was Joseph, as governor of the country, who dispensed the rations to all the people. When Joseph's brothers came and knelt down before him with their faces to the ground, he recognized them as soon as he saw them. But he concealed his own identity from them . . . .  When Joseph recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him . . . .  Joseph could no longer control himself . . . . ‘I am Joseph,’ he said to his brothers . . . ‘I am your brother Joseph . . . . do not be distressed’” (Genesis 4 2:6-8; 45:1-5).  
 
 Even if you had been away for a long time and didn’t look at all like yourself, “I’d say,
‘My, my . . . that is quite a disguise!’  But I’d know it was you by the gleam in your eyes.”

“A certain man had two sons” and the younger son asked his father for his inheritance in advance; that son left home, spent all the money, and ended up working on a pig farm, trying to eat the same food the pigs ate.  “And when he came to himself [realized it was time to go home]  . . . he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and . . . ran” to his son and hugged and kissed him and brought him back home again with him to celebrate with a delicious dinner and a homecoming party (Luke 15:11-20, KJV).  
 
“There are things about you quite unlike any other . . .  
Things always known by your father or mother.  
So, if you decide to be different one day, no worries . . . I’d know you anyway.”

“Whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep . . . and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out . . . .  He walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice.  But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers . . . .  I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me . . . .  My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:2-5, 14, 27).
                      
“Yes, without question I’d know it was you.”  “I know you by heart.”
Because, child of God, “I’d know you anywhere.”

Here for a Reason
Leddy Hammock

from You’re Here for a Reason by Nancy Tilllman

“You’re here for a reason, you certainly are. The world would be different without you, by far.

If not for your hands and your eyes and your feet, the world, like a puzzle, would be incomplete. Even the smallest of things that you do blossom and multiply far beyond you.” . . .

“You’re here for a reason.  If you think you’re not, I would just say that perhaps you forgot – a piece of the world that is precious and dear would surely be missing if you weren’t here.

If not for your smile and your laugh and your heart, this place we call home would be minus a part.

Thank goodness you’re here!  Thank goodness times two!  I just can’t imagine a world without you.  

You are loved.”


Responsive Reading for Sunday, October 1

“LORD,…you know me…you understand my thoughts from afar.  My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar…. Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is beyond me, far too lofty for me to reach….  If I fly with the wings of dawn and alight beyond the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast …. You formed my inmost being….  So wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works.  My very self you knew…”   (Psalm 139:1-14).

“You’re here for a reason, you certainly are. The world would be different without you, by far.  If not for your hands and your eyes and your feet, the world, like a puzzle, would be incomplete. Even the smallest of things that you do  blossom and multiply far beyond you.”

“At dawn let me hear of your kindness, for in you I trust.  Show me the path I should walk, for to you I entrust my life.  Rescue me, LORD … for in you I hope.  Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.  May your kind spirit guide me on ground that is level ….  For your name’s sake, LORD, give me life; in your justice, lead me out of distress . . . in your kindness” (Psalm 143:8-12).

“A kindness, for instance, may triple for days… or set things in motion in different ways.  It travels much further than you’ll ever know… under the tree tops… over the snow….  Till it’s wandered… And fluttered…. And floated…and twirled – making things happen all over the world.  You’re here for a reason. It’s totally true.  You’re part of a world that is counting on you.  So don’t be too worried if some days fall flat.  Good things can happen, even from that.”

“The LORD is a stronghold . . . in times of trouble” (Psalms 9:10).  “You are my rock and fortress; for your name’s sake lead and guide me . . . .  Into your hands I commend my spirit; . . you will not abandon me . . but will set my feet in a free and open space . . . .  Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD” (Psalm 31:4-25).

“Life can be tricky, there isn’t a doubt.  You’ll skin your knees trying to figure it out.  But it works together, the good and the bad, the silly and awful, and happy and sad, to paint a big picture we can’t always see…a picture that needs YOU, most definitely.  Remember that next time a day goes all wrong…. To somebody else, you will always be strong. And that ball that you lose or that kite you let go could make someone’s day– you just never know!”

“How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them!  Were I to count, they would outnumber the sands; to finish, I would need eternity. . . .  God, know my heart . . . then lead me . . .” (Psalm 139: 17-24).

“You’re here for a reason.  If you think you’re not, I would just say that perhaps you forgot – a piece of the world that is precious and dear would surely be missing if you weren’t here.  If not for your smile and your laugh and your heart, this place we call home would be minus a part.  Thank goodness you’re here!  Thank goodness times two!  I just can’t imagine a world without you.   You are loved.”

Security
Leddy Hammock

I am safe and secure, for I know who I am: a beloved child of my infinitely rich and generous Father-Mother God.

I am secure and well-provided, for I know my treasure is in my mind, not in my things.

I am secure in all I do, for I know my oneness with the divine process.

I do not worry, for God takes care of me. I live my life from day to day as if God’s supportive substance were as inexhaustible and dependable as the air I breathe, which it most certainly is.

Even if the branch I am sitting on gives way, I am not afraid, for I remember that I have wings.


Responsive Reading for Sunday, September 27

“. . . I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.   Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.]  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” (Psalm 23, King James Version).

I am safe and secure, for I know who I am: a beloved child of my infinitely rich and generous Father-Mother God.   

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.  But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Matthew 6:19-21).

I am secure and well-provided, for I know my treasure is in my mind, not in my things.

Jesus said:  "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).

I am secure in all I do, for I know my oneness with the divine process.  I do not worry, for God takes care of me.  

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear . . . .  Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? . . . So do not worry . . . .  But seek first the kingdom of God (and his righteousness),  and all these things will be given you besides.  Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself” (Matthew 6:25-34).

I live my life from day to day as if God’s supportive substance were as inexhaustible and dependable as the air I breathe, which it most certainly is.  Even if the branch I am sitting on gives way, I am not afraid, for I remember that I have wings.

Open Windows
Leddy Hammock

Tithing means freely giving a tenth of all that I receive to spiritual works and workers – wherever I find them – and I am always blessed in return.

Tithing to God and God’s workers reminds me that God is my instant, constant, and ever-present Source of all good.

I tithe cheerfully, remembering that God is my Source of all good, and I am blessed many times over!

The good that I give away in the form of tithes and love offerings returns to me multiplied: pressed down, shaken together, and running over, and I always have more than enough.

Thank You, God!


Responsive Reading for Sunday, September 17

“Melchizedek, king of Salem . . . blessed Abram with these words: ‘ Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High . . . .’  Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything” (Genesis: 14:18-20).        

Tithing means freely giving – a tenth of all that I receive – to spiritual works and workers,  wherever I find them, and I am always blessed in return.  

God blessed Jacob in a dream.  “Jacob then made this vow: "If God remains with me, to protect me on this journey I am making and to give me enough bread to eat and clothing to wear, and I come back safe to my father's house, the LORD shall be my God.  This stone that I have set up as a memorial stone shall be God's abode. Of everything you give me, I will faithfully return a tenth part to you" (Genesis 28:20-22).

Tithing to God and God’s workers reminds me that God is my instant, constant, and ever-present Source of all good.

“With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy. Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means.  For the LORD is one who always repays, and he will give back to you sevenfold” [and more!]. (Sirach 35:8-10).

I tithe cheerfully, remembering that God is my Source of all good, and I am blessed many times over!

“Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10, ASV).  Now, hear the words of Jesus:  “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.  For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you” (Luke 6:38).

The good that I give away in the form of tithes and love offerings returns to me multiplied: pressed down, shaken together, and running over, and I always have more than enough.  Thank You, God!

Sunday, Sept 10
Service Cancelled
Leddy Will Be Online @ 10:30AM

Dear Ones,

​Hurricane Harvey in Texas has been a massive challenge — something never seen before.  Unity Church of Clearwater has directed a generous tithe to the American Humane Society and plans to tithe also to Unity of Houston, as the folks at that large and loving spiritual community have stepped up to "be the hands and feet of God" in the work of restoring lives of individuals and also sharing blessings with many other Unity churches in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.  In this way, our spiritual family joins with theirs in taking part in the healing of Houston:  "Love is present.  Healing is here."

As for Hurricane Irma, we are watching the weather station to keep up with reports.  We​ heard about mandatory evacuation for folks in zone A, and the Church is in zone B; Russ and I live in zone C.  We are in the office today and will also be here for Service Saturday, 9:00 AM to about 1:00 PM, serving morning coffee and treats and setting out a sandwich board for volunteers who can safely join us for lunch.

Although we haven't canceled a Sunday service at Unity for — goodness, maybe since before 1957, if ever — we have decided that due to safety concerns, we will not hold a "live" service here at Unity, but will simply LIVESTREAM our service here at 10:30 am Sunday morning over the website (probably just me leading a meditation and a lesson on "The Giving Flow" — based on Chapter  10 of Eric Butterworth's Spiritual Economics, so we won't interrupt our Season of Prosperity series.  So, Team Members and congregants, please say safe and "tune in" to UCC, House Built on Love, online, from wherever you are on Sunday.  That way, we can worship safely together!

Meantime, we are with you in prayer, affirming that ​all safe in the Presence as the storm passes through.

Over half a century ago, when I worked in Silent Unity near Kansas City, May Rowland​, who had studied with the Cofounders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore,​ was our Director.  When told a fierce tornado was heading toward Unity School, May went outside, faced the direction of the looming storm, and loudly spoke the scripture, "Peace, be still!"  The storm instantly turned around and headed out to dissipate harmlessly in the Kansas plains.  ​In her solid Unity belief system, that's how Jesus had stilled the storm and He taught that those who follow Him shall do the words that He did.  Beginning with calming all anxious feelings, we still the storm within and find that we can, truly, weather this storm in the outer.

Rev Judy shared the following classic Unity message in our Wednesday prayer service this week, with a total attendance of only three, for the Christ Mind shines even where only "two or three are gathered together" in His name.  Let us share in this consciousness as we meet all storms together.

Love, Leddy
 
from "Meditation for Harmonizing the Elements"
by Frances Foulks in Effectual Prayer

"Father, I thank Thee for rain in its season, for gentle winds, and merciful clouds . . . all adapted by Thy love . . . .  Let nothing hinder the harmony of the whole, but let [us] and nature work together to restore the perfection of Thy kingdom on earth . . . .

Let  each of Thy children the world over realize that peace must be established in the heart, beauty in the soul, and plenty in the vision . . . and become manifest . . . .  Let us know that we must think thoughts of love and speak words of love, that individual and national clashes must cease, that hatred and cruelty and injustice must be wiped out, that greed and selfishness and jealousy must be overcome, and that the Christ of God must be enthroned in the heart before we can again enter the Garden of Eden.  

Father, I thank Thee for Thy love which fills my heart, for Thy wisdom which fills my mind, for Thy clear vision which sees only the good.  I claim my birthright of power and dominion, realizing that its foundation is in Thine omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.  Fro this consciousness I now speak peace and harmony to the elements, that all nature may receive direct from Thy hands and fulfill its purpose of beauty and productiveness, in the name and through the power of the One who said to the waves and winds, 'Peace, be still,' and had instant recognition and obedience.  I speak to all Thy creation:  'Let the Christ harmony and peace reign supreme in you, that it may be so in the elements'" (pages 140-2).

​See you online on Sunday morning, 10:30!  Be safe and serene, Dear Ones.​

The Giving Flow
Leddy Hammock

I have a “giving heart” –  I give fearlessly and lovingly and I receive abundantly.

I am a giver and my Father-Mother God is generous with me.

My life is God’s gift to me.  What I do with it is my gift to God.

God is my overflowing Source of all good and I am stepping into the flow.


Responsive Reading for Sunday, September 10

“To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away" (Lk. 8:18).

I have a “giving heart” –  I give fearlessly and lovingly and I receive abundantly.     

“Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you" (Luke 6:38).

I am a giver and my Father-Mother God is generous with me.  

“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give”  (Matthew 10:10).

My life is God’s gift to me.  What I do with it is my gift to God.

“Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: 'Rivers of living water will flow from within him'" (John 7:38).

God is my overflowing Source of all good and I am stepping into the flow.

Reverse Adversity
Leddy Hammock

It isn’t what happens to me, but the good that expresses through me, that lasts.

Even when things don’t seem to be working out, there is always some good, working out for me. I don’t have “problems.” I have projects!

Difficulties do not come into my life to stay. They come to pass.

Troubles turns into treasures when I know that something wonderful is happening. If I feel bothered by any irritation or worry, I learn from the oyster and I say to myself, ‘Let’s get busy pearling!’”


Responsive Reading for Sunday, September 3

"Through all your days . . . keep the Lord in mind . . . .  Perform good works all the days of your life . . . . For if you are steadfast in your service, your good works will bring success, not only to you, but also to all those who live uprightly.. . .  you will be storing up a goodly treasure for yourself against the day of adversity” (Tobit 4:5-9).  

It isn’t what happens to me, but the good that expresses through me, that lasts.      

“Be . . . steadfast, undisturbed in time of adversity . . . .  thus will your future be great. Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient; For in fire gold is tested . . . .  Trust God and he will help you; make straight your ways and hope in him . . . . trust him, and your reward will not be lost . . . .  Hope for good things, for lasting joy . . .” (Sirach 2:2-9).

Even when things don’t seem to be working out, there is always some good, working out for me.  I don’t have “problems.”  I have projects!

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God . . . .  If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28-31).

Difficulties do not come into my life to stay.  They come to pass.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,  which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it” (Matthew 13:44-6).

Troubles turns into treasures when I know that something wonderful is happening.  If I feel bothered by any irritation or worry, I learn from the oyster and I say to myself, ‘Let’s get busy pearling!’”

Unity Church of Clearwater
2465 Nursery Rd Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 531-0992