I was invited By Sultana Fatima Ali to attend Unity Church of Christianity (4801 Clarcona - Ocoee Road). She was going to be singing two solos this Sunday and I was looking forward to the performance. The church was modest in size set back a way from the road. I pulled into the dirt parking lot up front and made my way to the sanctuary. I felt a little trepidation as I entered but those thoughts were quickly set aside. Unity is not your average church. Their Christianity embraces ideas from Buddhism, Native American Culture and Metaphysics. This more open minded approach is unexpected and illuminating.
The sermon by Robert Marshall was inspiring in ways I didn't expect. His whole sermon centered around the idea of light. As an artist this is one thing I am thinking about all the time, and his sermon offered up the subject with creativity. I liked the idea that we are beings of light, that we radiate light into the world and affect others. He stressed that light is all about motion while darkness is stagnant. Darkness is a manifestation of the world's physical limitations that bind us and hold us back, whereas light brings us peace, joy and illuminates our pure creative potential. When we are filled with light we can experience enthusiasm and we discover and embrace our unlimited potential. He touched on the idea that light can act as a sort of armor that casts away fears and the inevitable thoughts of "I can't". There is an unlimited part to our inner being that just needs to be illuminated. When the sermon was over, I was fired up and ready to unleash my full creative potential. I was of course sketching the whole time he spoke and I worked with a renewed sense of energy and urgency.
Near the beginning of the service people were invited to stand and greet their neighbors. Everyone was hugging and I soon found myself hugging strangers as if I had known them for years. The first song Sultana performed was "Coming out of the Dark" by Gloria Estefan. This tied in perfectly with the days theme of light, joy, enthusiasm and infinite possibilities. After her performance the congregation gave her a standing ovation. This sort of excited outburst was unheard of in the Methodist church of my youth. Sultana's second song, "Just Around the River Bend" from Pocahontas came about from a conversation I had with her once where I pointed out that life can present you with a crossroads and she concurred. She knew also knew that I worked on that film.
At the end of the service everyone joined hands and sang together. I left feeling a warm glow of fellowship. In a back room of the church food had been prepared and I was invited to have some lunch. The amazing scents filled the hallway as I went back. My spirit and body were recharged and ready to take on the world. I actually stayed for the second service since I needed more time to finish my sketch. I had just enough time to finish up.