Find the Difference

I remember looking at magazines as a child and looking at two very similar pictures and being asked to find the differences in the image. Maybe children today aren’t given as many magazines, but a quick search tells me that there are still lots of apps and games that have these same ideas.

From a young age we are encouraged to look for the differences. Circle or click on the ways these things differ. Emphasize what makes them unique. This one has a cloud. That one is missing a fence post.

There is nothing wrong with being unique. There is a children’s book called The World Needs Who You Were Made To Be. And it talks about all the special qualities people bring to the world. The world does need people with different skill sets. It would not be useful if everybody wanted to be a fireman when they grew up. The world needs variety, and people performing different uses. Indeed, heaven is made up of infinite variety! It couldn’t be heaven without it!

“The angels of any one heaven are not together in one place, but are divided into larger and smaller societies in accordance with the differences of the good of love and faith in which they are, those who are in like good forming one society. Goods in the heavens are in infinite variety, and every single angel is as his own good.” (Heaven and Hell 41)

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Have a Blessed New Year!

While our world has been all tumultuous chaos this year, I have been reading through Divine Providence with some friends. Throughout the book, I have been reminded of the STEADINESS of our Savior. The steadiness of Him and of His purpose. Below I am sharing one of my new favorite comfort passages: Divine Providence 332.2-4. I hope you enjoy! And I pray you have a blessed New Year!

Simply consider a fruit tree. It is first born from a tiny seed as a tender sprout, is it not, and gradually grows after that into a sapling and spreads its branches, and these become covered with leaves, until it puts forth flowers and bears fruit, and in them places new seeds by which it provides for its perpetuation.

The same is the case with every bush and with every herb of the field. Do not each and all of the constituents in them proceed from first end to last end constantly and marvelously according to the laws of their order? Why not the primary end likewise, which is a heaven from the human race? Can there be anything in its progress which does not proceed constantly according to the laws of Divine providence?

Since a person’s life has a correspondence with the growth of a tree, let us draw a parallel or comparison. A person’s early childhood is comparatively like the tender sprout of a tree shooting up from its seed out of the earth. A person’s later childhood and adolescence are like the same sprout growing into a sapling and its little branches. The natural truths with which every person is first equipped are like the leaves which cover the sapling’s branches (leaves have just this symbolic meaning in the Word). A person’s initial introductions into the marriage of goodness and truth, or spiritual marriage, are like the flowers which the tree produces in the spring. Spiritual truths are the petals of those flowers. The first stages of the spiritual marriage are like the beginnings of the fruit. Spiritual goods – the goods of charity – are like the fruits themselves (they are also symbolized by fruits in the Word). The propagations of wisdom from love are like the seeds, as a result of which propagations a person becomes like a garden or paradise. A person is also described by a tree in the Word, and his wisdom from love by a garden. Nothing else is symbolically meant by the Garden of Eden.

A person is, indeed, owing to his seed a bad tree, but still possible is an engrafting or insertion of shoots taken from the tree of life, which turn the sap drawn from the old root into a sap producing good fruits.

We draw this comparison to make it known that, since the progress of Divine providence is so constant in the growth and rebirth of trees, it must be utterly constant in the reformation and rebirth or regeneration of people, who are of much more value than trees, in keeping with these words of the Lord,

Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than… sparrows… .

Moreover, which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow?. (That) if … God so clothes the grass in the field, which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you people of little faith?

Luke 12:6-725-28

The Babe leaped for Gladness…

“And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

And she exclaimed with a great voice and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!

And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

For behold, as soon as the voice of thy greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for gladness.

And happy is she who has believed that there shall be a performance of those things which were spoken to her from the Lord.”

Luke 1:41-44
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Teach Me To Remain Humble

In New Church education remains is a sort of buzzword amongst teachers, parents, and ministers. There are entire books written on the importance of remains and education. I invite you to consider whether educators or any people for that matter, actually contribute to remains being implanted. If the answer is yes, how can teachers ensure they are giving their students the best access to remains? If the answer is no, and it is the Lord alone who gives us remains, why is this topic so heavily emphasized in discussions of New Church education? 

Let’s start by discarding some common misconceptions about remains or remnants. Some people think that remains are simply good memories preserved from our childhood such as a warm hug from a parent, dancing in the rain, the sun on a warm summer day. Though these are nice ideas and happy memories they don’t really encapsulate what remains are. Remains are far more than good memories, they are “…everything good and true that the Lord insinuates into man from infancy even to the end of his life” (Arcana Coelestia 2280:1). We can see from this that remains are not limited to childhood, in fact later in this passage it is explained that the best remains are the ones we receive as adults. This teaching is not included to undermine the importance of childhood remains but to remind us that they are the foundation for better future remains. 

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