Last August, a group of women gathered for our first Australian New Church Women’s Weekend together. That was such a success that, in early March this year, we did it again! Both times we shared delicious home-made meals, fun ice-breaker games, insightful instruction on a woman from the Bible and other spiritual topics, relaxing & enlightening meditations, a charitable project, fresh air & sunshine and down-time to develop relationships with old friends and new acquaintances. The woman from the Bible whom we studied this March was Rebekah. Below is the essence of what was presented; it’s kind of heavy, but hopefully informative. It might be helpful to read Genesis chapters 24-27 to familiarise yourself with the different parts of the story as it is presented in the Bible.
The internal sense of this story is about the process of conjunction of good and truth in the Lord’s Divine Human. Rebekah represents the Divine truth that was to be conjoined with Divine good (Isaac) of His rational. Rebekah, before they were betrothed, stands for the love of truth from doctrinal things, in other words in thought but not yet in action.
Rebekah’s drawing water for Abraham’s servant’s camels and giving them to drink has to do with enlightenment in a person’s natural level, i.e. gaining factual knowledge. Her being sent away from her family (going with the servant) is about truth being elevated and separated from the natural, which happens when a person doesn’t look from truth to good any more (knowing what is right and doing it), but from good to truth (doing it because she loves it, and recognises it as true). Here’s a concrete example: ‘don’t hate’: first we do it because we know we shouldn’t, and eventually we truly love and believe and live it, not because we’re told but because we love it; it’s lifted out of the natural.
Continue reading Rebekah
When I was little, I told my mom, “Mom, when I grow up, I want to be just like you: nothing.” Some people scoff at these words, but I think moms get it, I think moms understand. Those simple words didn’t mean that my mom was a nobody, that I didn’t respect her or that I wanted to grow up just to stay home and watch soaps and eat bonbons all day (goodness knows, my mom didn’t!). I was expressing the desires of my heart: not be be a career woman, but to be a MOM, just like her.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to bear children and be a mom. I’ve always loved babies. I’ve had other career goals along the way – archeologist, architect, nurse (baby nurse!), doctor (baby doctor!), graphic designer, midwife – but what it all ever came down to was that I wanted to be a mom. You can imagine my EXCITEMENT when my husband and I decided we were ready to start trying to conceive!!!…..
…..Then you can perhaps imagine my utter devastation when my period came, month after month after bloomin’ month. [Who ever expects to deal with infertility, growing up?! I sure didn’t.] We were fortunate to have the means to eventually attempt IVF, and we were gloriously blessed with success on the very first try!! Our son is now 13 years old, and I try to remind myself how so very, very blessed we are to have him.
Continue reading Nothing
I recently visited Cuba for the first time, with a few extended family members. We were there for my cousin’s graduation from med school, and we took some time to see a few sights too, in and around Havana. It was my first visit to a communist country. It was eye-opening.
Having grown up in Canada, Cuba has figured very low on my ‘awareness radar’. Everything I knew about the country, prior to my trip, I’d gleaned from my right-winged American husband. I gathered that Fidel Castro was ‘bad’ and America was ‘good’. I didn’t come across much about Fidel in my first few hours on the island, but during the medical school graduation ceremony I was introduced, albeit in a foreign language (of which I could only eke out a few words and implications!), to what looked to be the Cuban perspective on former president Fidel Castro. “Viva Fidel!” Long live Fidel! (or his ideology, as the case may be, as the man himself is deceased.)
Speakers venerated the man in their addresses, we saluted and chanted “Viva!” in response to their prompts. Wow, what a benevolent leader he was, creating this tertiary institution to benefit the people – which students attend and from which they earn their bona fide title of ‘doctora’ or ‘doctor’ free of charge! In that moment I realised that the image I’d formed in my mind of the oppressive Mr. Castro was incomplete: I’d only gotten half the story, up to that point, the other side, the American side. “Ok, Cubans really do love their leader. I was naïvely fooled into thinking that he was the enemy!” I felt some shame at having developed an opinion without learning the whole story. The rest of that day was spent rejoicing with the graduates and feeling good about their unique opportunity, and about Mr. Castro.
Continue reading Invisible Prisoners
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? It enables us to see and understand so much more about our lives than we might otherwise! It is through hindsight – perhaps much further down the road, but eventually – that we can appreciate that the ‘curses’ in our lives really did have resulting good come out of them. The Lord teaches us that He’s got our backs: His Providence, although invisible to our eyes, surrounds everything we do in order to protect us from ourselves, to help us through our lives and onward to heaven.
Continue reading Blessings In Disguise
We are allowed to see Divine Providence from behind but not face to face, and when we are in a spiritual state, not in a materialistic state. Seeing Divine Providence from behind but not face to face is seeing it after the fact but not before; and seeing it when we are in a spiritual state and not in a materialistic state is seeing it from heaven and not from this world. Everyone who accepts inflow from heaven and recognizes Divine Providence (and especially people who have become spiritual by virtue of their reformation), on seeing events in their amazing kind of sequence, virtually sees Providence from a deep recognition and confesses it. Such people do not want to see it face to face, that is, before things happen, because they are afraid their own volition would interfere with some element of its orderly sequence. (Divine Providence 187.4)