The Change and Flow of Seasons

As we prepare for and adjust to the change in seasons, I was reminded of this passage from Ecclesiastes. There is a beauty to the balance that comes with change. There are times and seasons for different things, priorities, jobs and roles. The Lord leaves us in freedom to adjust and rebalance as those seasons move from one to another. Change and progression are a much needed part of life. I feel much of that expressed in these words of Ecclesiastes 3:

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

Want to know more about Ecclesiastes? You can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecclesiastes

How Much Should You Push Your Friends To Go To Church?

Many religions have teachings that encourage people to attend church or a service of worship; the New Church is no exception in this regard. You could ask many New Church members about the importance of church and most would agree that attending church is a good idea, and I agree. A question that is more difficult to answer is whether you should also push your friends to attend church. Does it matter if your friends attend church? Is it your responsibility to push them to attend?

In Apocalypse Explained 696, it talks about how in the measure someone knows the truths of faith and lives according to them they are worshiping the Lord. I think this suggests that you should want friends who learn more truths of faith. Moreover, attending church is an excellent way for people to acquire more truths of faith, apply them to their life and therefore worship the Lord. Therefore, if your friends attend church are they more your neighbor than if they didn’t?

I don’t think this is a straight forward question to answer, but it is nonetheless useful to consider. In the book of Luke Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan is a story in the Word about a man who takes care of someone in need without thought of recompense. I think this story is an example of how your friends are more your neighbor if they attend church. The best way to examine who your true friends are is to judge them by their actions. You know the Good Samaritan is the neighbor by his actions, he helped the man in need, not just in words. I do not believe the claims of a friend who says they love the teachings of the New Church but never practice them or seek to learn more of them. You do not worship the Lord simply by word of mouth, you must practice the truths of faith you learned; that is worshiping the Lord. Continue reading How Much Should You Push Your Friends To Go To Church?

The Spiritual and Natural Growth of an Infant

Last school year as a high school junior at the Kempton New Church School, the final assignment in my Anatomy and Physiology course was to choose a topic related to the human body and connect it to teachings from the Heavenly Doctrines. The following article is a portion of the paper I wrote on the Spiritual and Natural Growth, Development, and Birth of an Infant. If you have further interest and would like to read the full anatomy portion of the paper and/or my sources, click here: Full Paper (PDF).
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Like every other system and growth in the body, the development of an unborn child is caused by the spiritual growth and development that needs a natural foundation. There are many things happening spiritually when a baby is formed and developed in the womb and then born into the world. The spiritual growth most intimately corresponding to the newly forming human being, is the development of the will and the understanding. These are the vessels that receive love and wisdom from the Lord seated in the brain and nervous system that will serve a person after his first breath (Divine Wisdom 3.2). Another correspondence in a larger sense, is the connection between the stages and processes of pregnancy, and the stages and processes of regeneration (Divine Wisdom 4).

In every human being there is the marriage of love and wisdom to some degree, which allows a person to function and act from his will and understanding as an individual (Divine Love and Wisdom 401.3). This marriage can be illustrated by the heart and lungs, and how they function together. In the adult circulatory system the heart pumps blood that has been oxygenated by the lungs out to the body. In the fetal circulatory system, however, the lungs are not yet functioning, so only the heart is beating. This fact is the physical effect of the Lord’s Divine love pouring into the body of an unborn child. It causes the heart to beat, but does not yet open the lungs, because the marriage of love and wisdom has not yet occurred (Divine Love and Wisdom 401.3). Continue reading The Spiritual and Natural Growth of an Infant

Providence and Time

Great peace have they which love Thy law.
~Psalm 119:165

Recently, I have been noticing that it is easier sometimes to pray for others than for myself, to encourage them in their road, to try to help hold up their arms when their battles falter, to see the ring of chariots of fire for them when their eyes are dim with sadness or despair, to believe in the blessings that lie in store for them. In this process, an unexpected blessing has occurred; I can see more hope in my own spiritual battles as I see that my life is the same in the Lord’s eyes as the lives of those I love. It is full of endless opportunities from the Lord each new moment, guided unerringly by the untiring Providence that does not need to be seen to be real and unending.

These are all things I FEEL strongly and KNOW to be true for my friends, and through seeing these, I have to begin to acknowledge MEDIATELY that these are true for my life, too, even if I cannot feel that easily. Hearing of their worries, and feeling hope for them has helped me see, that when I allow despair or impatience in, what I am really doing, is not only not trusting the Lord’s Providence, but is taking on myself the responsibility for timing and success of events and victories that belong to Him.
Continue reading Providence and Time