Amends Beyond the Grave
Aug. 30, 2009
Rev. Wilma Wake
Amends Beyond the Grave
Open your Bible
funeral mass for Sen. Edward Kennedy
[readings from Sen. Kennedy's funeral mass]
31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. 32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. 34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:
36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. 37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? 39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? 40 And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
1But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them.
2In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure was taken for misery:
3And their going away from us, for utter destruction: but they are in peace.
4And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality.
5Afflicted in few things, in many they shall be well rewarded: because God hath tried them, and found them worthy of himself.
6As gold in the furnace he hath proved them, and as a victim of a holocaust he hath received them, and in time there shall be respect had to them.
7The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds.
8They shall judge nations, and rule over people, and their Lord shall reign for ever.
9They that trust in him, shall understand the truth: and they that are faithful in love shall rest in him: for grace and peace is to his elect.
 As for judgement it is twofold, that is to say, there is judgement from good and judgement from truth. People who have faith are judged from good, but those who do not have it are judged from truth. The fact that those who have faith are judged from good is quite clear in Matthew 25:34-40, while those who do not have it are judged from truth, in verses 41-46. Those judged from good are saved since they have accepted good, but those judged from truth are condemned because they have rejected good. Good is the Lord's, and those who acknowledge this in life and faith are the Lord's, and are therefore saved; but those who do not acknowledge it in life, nor consequently in faith, cannot be the Lord's nor thus be saved. They are judged therefore according to the actions done in their life and according to their thoughts and ends in view. And when judged according to these they are inevitably condemned, for the truth is that of himself man can do, think, and intend nothing but evil, and of himself rushes towards hell insofar as he is not held back from that place by the Lord.
 The situation with regard to judgement from truth is this: The Lord never judges anyone except from good, for His will is to lift all men, however many these may be, up to heaven, indeed if it were possible, up to Himself. For the Lord is mercy itself and good itself, and mercy itself and good itself cannot possibly condemn anyone. It is man who, in rejecting good, condemns himself. As a person has fled habitually from good during his lifetime, so in the next life he flees from it, and therefore from heaven and the Lord. For the Lord cannot be present except within good. He is present in truth as well, but not in truth separated from good. That the Lord does not condemn anyone, that is, does not judge them to hell, He Himself declares in John, AC, 2335
I was a college student watching TV in my dorm when Robert Kennedy was shot. I was shocked beyond belief, as I listened to the press coverage.
Is there anything in our Swedenborgian theology that helps consider the possibility of making amends to a person after their death?
NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES AND SWEDENBORG
Dr. Raymond Moody is perhaps the best know researcher on Near Death Experiences. Did you know he had been influenced by Swedenborg? One good resource for learning more about this is the Swedenborg Channel. Go to the menu item, "lectures," and then Raymond Moody, part, 2
Raymond Moody on Swdenborg:
Moody, Part 2
I have been looking for some NDE's that suggest some kind of amends or reconciliating took place between the experiencer and someone already passed over. Do you have any to add?
These are from the website for the International Association of Near-Death Studies [IANDS]
Here is one where a person met many people from their family:
Met by Mother
After having flu-like symptoms for three days, I realized that I was not getting better and tried to find help where I worked. I was alone in London. Trying to get help I felt like I was walking above everyone. On reaching work they immediately called a taxi, which took me to the nearest emergency hospital. On arrival I passed out at once and awoke hours later in an isolation ward. Several nurses were washing me down with ice-cold water and forcing me to drink iced water. The windows were wide open in the middle of winter. A doctor arrived and told them to stop, as I was dead. At once, my spirit left my body and I looked down and observed the whole scene from above. I could see the nurses had defied the doctor; he slammed the door upon leaving the room.
Almost at once I began a terrifying journey down a black spiral tunnel to an amazingly bright light, the likes I have never seen before or since. On arriving in a very beautiful place, I was met by my mother who had died two years earlier. She told me this was heaven and began to introduce me to family who had died and I had never known. There was a bright light there that I could not look at because of its brightness. After about twenty minutes a man who I did not know came up and told me it's not your time yet and you have to go back.
The journey back was the same, but this time into darkness. When I re-entered my body I was in great pain. I was unconscious for around three days. When I finally came to, I was told about having suffered double pneumonia and surviving a temperature of over 108. They said to date no one had ever survived such a high body temperature. After two weeks in the hospital, I was transferred to a convalescent home for an additional two weeks.
The events are as clear in my mind as if they had happened yesterday. I have told many people about my story and some have said it brought great comfort to them.
Here is one where parents from the other side stopped to pass on some messages they had:
My parents were not overly demonstrative and after they passed away, my father on July 11, 1988 and my mother on January 3, 1989, both of them visited me in a single night.
I went to sleep normally around 10:00 p.m. and sometimes around 2 a.m. I awoke after having a VERY strong dream, more real than dream-like. I was sitting at my mother's funeral with her to my right during the services. As friends and family gathered and then left my mother watched in wonder, smiling and shaking her head. She said over and over again how this was “such an outpouring of love.” After all the crowds of mourners left, she turned to me, patted my right knee with her left hand and said, “I just wanted you to know that I DO love you.” This was a true closure for me as she rarely uttered such words. The scene then faded and I woke up feeling refreshed and washed with my mother's love. There was no sadness, only a great, fulfilling completeness.
I checked the clock (2:00 a.m.) and immediately dropped off to sleep again. Once again, I was at my father's funeral. He sat to my left. He watched the mourners silently and stoically. Then he turned to me, putting his right hand on my shoulder to get my attention and said, “You need to know that I am proud of you.” The scene faded and I awoke. It was barely past 2:30 a.m. My father would NEVER say this while he was alive and I spent the entire 40 years of my life being his daughter trying and failing to get him to acknowledge my accomplishments or to even smile at me. I awoke and felt so completely peaceful and full of love that I know he had a mission to return to me and give me this final message. I slept the remainder of that night peacefully and woke at my regular time of 6 a.m. to go to work.
In these stories, there is no clear example of amends, but perhaps you know of others.
September's movie, Flatliners, will explore the theme further in fiction, as medical students try to achieve clinical death to find out what they will experience.
Of, course, most of us won't have an NDE opportunity to make amends with someone on the other side! But, are there ways to offer amends to souls in the heaven?
MAKING AMENDS BEYOND THE GRAVE
Our family and friends in the spirit world probably know what is happening in our lives. We can behave in ways that show we have made an amend. It may not be to that person directly, but it can be in the general sense of something that person would appreciate.
If nothing else, we can know that we will someday have that opportunity when we, too, are in the spirit world.
Are there people in the spirit world that you want to make amends to? Are there people there who owe you some amends? Have you found any ways to continue your amends even beyond the grave?
I'll Fly Away
Kim Hopper and Dave Phelps