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Days of Significance

Monthly Reflections

Days of Significance

21 March: Jedi Creed Day (International Earth Day)

\"The global celebration of Earth Day on March 20, the first day of Spring, is a matter directly related to St. Francis and the amazing results of his vision and life. Were he here today, he would undoubtedly focus all his prayer and effort on achieving Earth Day's original purpose.

Earth Day is on the March Equinox, which determines the annual date of Easter. (Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon following the March equinox.)

Not only that, the equinox is also the New Year in Iran and other Islam countries, which makes possible attention for a common purpose - the sustainable care of Earth, with justice and peace for all.

This will help us show real love for our world neighbors and the web of life that covers our globe.

ST. FRANCIS AND THE BIRTH OF EARTH DAY

The first Earth Day was inaugurated in San Francisco - The City of St. Francis. I had long been familiar with the Prayer of St. Francis: \"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love...\" In 1969 we obtained backing of the Mayor, city officials, churches, schools, businesses - a really all out event with massive coverage in media. While the event was backed by Franciscans and Catholic churches, participation included synagogues and many other denominations. The Red Cross delivered plants to schools for children to take home.

In succeeding Earth Days at the United Nations, we demonstrated that people of diverse creeds and cultures can leave room for their differences and come together for \"peace, justice and the care of Earth.\"

A factor in the choice of the date was my own history. In 1957 I obtained global attention for an editorial in my weekly North Carolina \"Toe Valley View\" newspaper. The first Sputnik Satellite had just been launched on October 4th. None of the media seemed to note that this was the \"Feast Day of St. Francis.\" And launched by the then Godless USSR! (The person who chose the date must have been a secret Christian.)

My editorial called for a visible \"Star of Hope\" satellite. It would be launched as a symbol of hope to further understanding and peace on our planet. It obtained front page attention around the world.

My own study and prayer life led to the conviction that we needed a common purpose that would appeal to people of all creeds and cultures - and a way to get attention for it. We needed something that would end history's terrible record of war and injustice.

These thoughts planted the seeds that led to Earth Day.

Another factor was my efforts in 1963 to get global participation in a daily \"Minute for Peace.\" I was responsible for the Minute for Peace on radio world-wide, which followed the period of mourning for President Kennedy. \"Peace begins in the mind.\" We asked for a one minute radio spot on all stations that would carry the sound of a bell and a thought or prayer for peace. We invited all listeners to join in this special minute - to deepen their commitment and increase their efforts for world peace.

Minute for Peace became the centerpiece of Earth Day. When we ring the UN Peace Bell we invite people world wide to join in two minutes of heartfelt prayer that we will overcome \"doubt with faith\" and strive to be a responsible Trustee of Earth.

Pray that every year St. Francis Day and Earth Day will bring a new sense of identity with the whole human family and a commitment to see peace through understanding and love -- the love that Jesus revealed. And may we put feet to our prayers with action to help make it happen.\"

St. Francis and the Birth of Earth Day by John McConnell

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25 May: International Jedi Day

The International Day of the Jedi is an \"annual Star Wars fan holiday\", started on the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars film... The International Day of the Jedi is ment as a celebration of the entire Star Wars saga. The observance of International Day of the Jedi in May coincides with the release months of each Star Wars film. The date of May 25th was selected because the original Star Wars film, A New Hope, was released on May 25, 1977.

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31 October: Youngling Day/Vocations Day (Halloween)

\"A vocation as defined in a religious environment is an occupation for which a person is suited, trained or qualified. Often those who follow a religious vocation have a inclination to undertake the work, often called a calling. This type of vocation is either professional or voluntary and can include many different religious backgrounds.\"

A Jedi Vocation can be seen as fulfilling the spiritual need of a potential Jedi, and explains the specific task for which that Jedi is specifically gifted, and usually implies that this same Jedi in question has a form of \"calling\" for the task. \"The word \"vocation\" comes from the Latin vocare, meaning \"to call\"; however, its usage before the sixteenth century, particularly in the Vulgate, refers to the calling of all humankind to salvation, with its more modern usage of a life-task first employed by Martin Luther.\"

Appart from its innate serriousness as a Pagan feast day, Halloween presents an opportunity for kids and adults alike. In its liberating spirit this day was chosen to reflect our Jedi Youngling Day and Vocations Day.

It is a day for us to honour our future and pass on our legacy and traditions. A simple tradition of making a child smile, and for one day putting aside all the normal rush and routine and spending time with our future.

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25 December: TotJO Anniversary Day (Christmas)

Today, we not only celebrate TOTJO anniversary but also the community of people who meet here.

Today we are celebrating everyone who visits and are members here no matter what walk of life they may come from nor in what way they may participate.

In the Force each individual is unique in his own image where everyone has different talents. And just like the ingredients in a recipe we all bring different elements into the community.

In addition to celebrating all the different groups and people who are part of our present community, we also remember the people who came before us. We remember the people who founded this Temple years ago and we remember the people who built this Temple site 4 years ago.

The purpose of this remembering is not to dream nostalgically about the past, but to thank the Living Force for the life, work and witness of those people. We remember how they lived and the love and the concern they showed to us, and we acknowledge all of that before Community and Force.

Human relationships are not always easy, and the difficulties we have are part of being human and part of the risk of being a member of a community.

Relationships are at the heart of what it means to be human. Some relationships are easy and some are difficult. Some take a lot of effort and some very little effort.

TOTJO has shown that our relationship to the Force can be like that too: sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes, our relationship to the Force flows swimmingly for weeks, months, or years, and other times we struggle: either with faith, with closeness, or with perceiving the presence of the Force.

But to acknowledge the difficulties as well as the goodness in our relationships is a truthful thing, and an authentic thing. And the best relationships are the ones in which we are free to be truthful and authentic. Because, when we acknowledge our differences, our disagreements and even our faults, we can make amends and start to move forward constructively.

We can learn to forgive and we can learn to be forgiven.

There is one group of people here not mentioned yet. We’ve mentioned the people who are part of our community today. And we’ve mentioned the people who have come before us. But we’ve not mentioned the people who will come after us.

As we think about who we are now and who we want to be in the future, some of us will have different ideas; I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some disagreement, but all of that is OK.

Let us be mindful as we move forward into what is for us a new year, that the Living Force will move with us and give us the strength to continue to be a community which is forgiving and forgiven.

May the Living Force open our eyes and our ears to it`s work in our lives and in the world and help us to respond as we are each called.

May The Force Be With Us!

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31 December: Day of Reflection (New Year's Eve)

This is a day on which we honour the secular festivity called New Year`s Day. We clarify once again in our mind`s eye our place in the world and the context we live in. It is a constant reminder that we are given opportunity on each day of the year. So it does not really matter when the year or for that matter the month or week starts. It is the day, it is the now which matters. We want to honour that which the Force has made possible. We as a part of history are still moving with the times. Ironically history is becoming our future.

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Monthly Reflections

January - Reflecton: Tradition, yet Originality

February - Reflection: Attachment, yet Freedom

March - Reflection: Despair, yet Hope

April - Reflection: Cowardice, yet Courage

May - Reflection: Ego, yet Humility

June - Reflection: Chaos, yet Harmony

July - Reflection: Corruptibilty, yet Integrity

August - Reflection: Fickleness, yet Discipline

September - Reflection: Iniquity, yet Justice

October - Reflection: Foolishness, yet Wisdom

November - Reflection: Recklessness, yet Responsibility

December - Reflection: Greed, yet Generosity

The Reflections are dichotomies of, for lack of better terms, 'vices and virtues' human nature. One cannot reduce all the variables of the human experience into 12 dichotomies of vice/virtue, nor insist that these are the most important. These periods encourage reflection, whether that be on a vice and virtue they promote or a vice and virtue not listed. They serve as reminders to the Jedi that we shall never be 'more than' human, which should be embraced not regretted

As reflections on human nature it is important that we remember not only the goals we strive for, but the shortcomings that hold us back, we accept this fact, about all of us, with humility. We should recognise all variations of human nature, we would not wish to forget or reject charateristics which many in society organise their lives by. While these dichotomies are complimentary opposites the limitations of language encourage us to see them broadly, to see the nuances and extended meanings behind each of them and how they have, do and might apply to us in the past, present and future.

Reflect and learn.

Reflections

"To everything there is a season"
- Ecclesiastes 3:1
- The Byrds, Turn! Turn! Turn!


Our religion is syncretic in nature, meaning it is based in part on existing traditions. The Temple keeps (and often neglects) a calendar of feast days, many of which are drawn from other faiths; but often these religious festivals take their inspiration from broader trends related to the passage of the year. The passage of the seasons is familiar to people the world over, albeit at a six month remove depending on which hemisphere you reside in: the hope and promise of new life in the spring, the heat and light of summer, the autumn harvest, and the cold and dark "death of the year" in winter. Humans live on one planet, and this cycle of seasons is part of us all.

As we move through the months, religious, spiritual and folk festivals remind us of a variety of sentiments and call on us to reflect on a wide range of values and ideas. From New Year and the familiar resolutions to change our ways, through Valentines Day and its emphasis on bonding, ultimately to create life, moving into the stories of hope in both the Easter and Holi festivals of Spring; then on through the year, the courage reflected by both Passover and Vaisakhi, the harmony enshrined by the summer solstice, integrity at Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah and its focus on judgement; and as the Autumn evenings begin to draw in, the celebration of the light of wisdom at Diwali, a recognition of human conflict and our responsibility around Memorial Day, finally into the period of Advent with its focus on generosity. The flow of these festivities is common to us all, whether we choose to join with them or not.

Whether we remember to consider these very human traditions on given days seems less relevant than remembering to reflect on each of them at some point of the year. As such, the Clergy of the Temple have voted to replace the existing and oft-forgotten Feast Day calendar with one based around monthly seasonal Reflections.

These Reflections take their inspiration from the passage of the year described above, and like our Code and Creed are based around apparent dichotomies in human nature. We are all familiar with phrases such as "emotion, yet peace", or "where there is doubt, faith". One reason our values are presented in this way is that we recognise that humans are not perfect. We may be peaceful one day and emotional the next. We do not seek to deny or ignore emotion - just to prioritise and cultivate peace. The Reflections follow this same pattern, and Jedi are asked to consider these related ideas, "sliding scales" or paths, in their own lives.
 
Rather than repeating the formula of single-date Feast Days which can be missed or forgotten about, we have instead dedicated whole months to particular Reflections - seasons, if you like, for considering particular topics. These encourage Jedi to reflect on specific values relevant to the prevailing moods of the season. The Clergy intend to have services/sermons at the start of each month to introduce the Reflection in question, and invite focus, discussion and meditation on the topics presented in the weeks that follow.