Orison in Zoom: Building a Community of the Spirit

Tuesday, April 07, 2020 2:47 PM | Ariana Horn (Administrator)

By Ari Horn, UUI Board Member

Accounts of disruption to everyday living, devastation to the economy, and human casualties caused by the coronavirus have become as ubiquitous as the virus itself, yet directions on how we can meaningfully support each other in this time of cataclysm are few. Made all the more peculiar by necessary social distancing, the present moment challenges us to translate the lessons of The Urantia Book into action.

Rising to the occasion, schools, companies, and families have creatively adapted to these challenges by moving in-person education, business, and meetings online using Zoom—or other online video conferencing tools like Skype, GoToMeeting, or Gchat. Likewise, institutionalized churches and informal groups of believers have suspended gathering in physical houses of worship. The social and pastoral needs of congregants are met by holding worship services, study groups, celebration of life events, and remembrances online. While UUI already offers online courses and Thought Leader Forums, we concluded that we could do more to meet the social needs of Urantians.

The call for community inspired the UUI Café, a place where Urantians can get together in supportive and Spirit-affirming discussions based on the spiritual truths of The Urantia Book. The Café is open at different times each day (Monday through Saturday) to accommodate our friends living in different time zones. By providing this daily opportunity to grow in spiritual awareness, friendship, and loving ministry to others, we are helping Urantians establish everyday spiritual living habits.

Each conversation is guided by a passage in The Urantia Book and/or searching prompts. In the past week, UUI Instructors have facilitated conversations ranging from spirit formation, divine sonship, handling cataclysm and illness, to the conditions of effective prayer.  These conversations are meant to inspire dynamic faith, rather than intellectual analysis of the text. In a recent session, a longtime UB reader revealed the fruits born from his ongoing pursuit to align his will with the will of God. He realized that he had been talking about The Urantia Book for fifty years, but in the past few weeks, he had been living the revelation. Jesus told us “[t]o become acquainted with one’s brothers and sisters, to know their problems and to learn to love them, is the supreme experience of living (130:2.6).” Through the simple and loving act of calling to check-in on older members of his church, he has attained a greater understanding of the divine nature of coming to know and love others.

I have been struck by the honesty, sincerity, and hope expressed by the Café’s global participants, who herald from six of the seven continents. The desire to do, and not just think about, the will of God is palpable. “Thought gems” fall effortlessly from the lips of participants, nourishing and edifying all others in attendance (121:8.13). One participant from Florida said “Faith is an inducer, changing our entire being on a molecular level…faith turns fear into fearlessness and hate into love. From the heart center, faith induces spiritual transformation.”

I find that participation in the Café uplifts my soul. The act of listening, the purposeful worship, and the gratitude expressed give me the fortitude to face the challenges of each day. For me, these conversations are Orisons in Zoom. The word and idea of orison—a spoken prayer, or meditation in the mystical tradition—captures the poetic sentiment I think is needed to vivify the online environment, which tends to evoke sterility and remoteness. UUI Café and all of the worship services taking place each day online amplify our orisons. Connecting each bejeweled soul to a global community of the Spirit exponentially increases their power. The online network encircuting Urantia is helping us pool our respective spiritual possessions (160.2.2). We are actualizing a family of God, connecting spiritual brother to brother and sister to sister.

Beyond fostering goodwill among man, mainstreaming the idea of daily “worship breaks” and making a habit of renewing the spirit through communal worship can transform society. In orison, we ennoble human relationships, build a community of the Spirit, and may well inspire a cultural shift.

For those of us who know the kingdom of God is within us, remaking civilization to align more closely to sublime spirit reality is not a utopian ideal, but an attainable goal. Together, we can uplift religion with active faith, philosophy with spirit insight, knowledge with experience, science with idealism, leadership with conscience, community with public service, politics with principles, industry with morality, work with dignity, and recreation with purpose.

Let us come together and spread another kind of contagion—love.

Let us motivate each other to turn yearning for the kingdom into actions to establish the kingdom.

Let us live faithfully each day as contributing members of the community of the Spirit.

Let us reveal the true nature of God the Father through loving service to others.

See you in Zoom!

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