Letting Birds Fly; Starting to Live
WELCOME TO TODAY'S WORSHIP SERVICE
Rev. Wilma Wake
Morning Has Broken
FROM THE BIBLE
James 5:13-20 (New International Version)
The Prayer of Faith
13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
17Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica
20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." [Genesis I:20]
the time arrives when we first start to live.
[Heavenly Secrets, #39]
“All the while the Lord is constantly fighting on our behalf against evil and falsity and through these battles strengthens us in truth and goodness. The time of conflict is when the Lord is t work … and he does not rest until love takes the lead. Then the conflict ends.” [Heavenly Secrets, #63].
Letting Birds Fly; Starting to Live
The hospital has big glass windows overlooking the water. What a blessing to have such serenity in the minutes before a surgical procedure.
All four of your parathyroid glands grew big--not true tumors, but just bigger, juicy, happy parathyroid glands.
Dr. James Norman
HAPPY??? HAPPY??? My parathyroid glands were HAPPY and having fun while I was becoming sicker!
I could understand one poor little gland being sick, and not able to do its job. But I had assumed that all the parts of my body were working towards my wholeness. Clearly the parathyroid glands had been sabotaging my health! Treachery and betrayal from my own body! They were vampires.
Dr. Norman said that his surgery cured the condition by removing these vampires. [Uh, my word -- I don't think he used that term!] He was able to locate the healthiest and nicest [my word] part of a gland that would do its job properly ... and work with the rest of my body to stay healthy! A new mini-parathyroid! I'm calling her Petunia. Petunia Parathyroid.
As we journey on the road towards our oneness with God, we need to pay attention to where there is conflict in our lives. It can be with other people; and it can also be inside of us -- even in our body. Whatever its source, if we let it fester, it can hinder our journey with God. We've been looking at how the 12 steps of AA can provide a spiritual road map that is compatible with our Swedenborgia theology. Step 9 is about making whatever amends we need in orer to restore harmony with God. I realized that amends could even be with one's body.
Swedenborg wrote about conflict in his 5th stage of spiritual growth. He saw us as a completely whole -- a hologram -- in body, mind, and our actions in the world.
All the while the Lord is constantly fighting on our behalf against evil and falsity and through these battles strengthens us in truth and goodness. The time of conflict is when the Lord is at work … and he does not rest until love takes the lead. Then the conflict ends. [Swedenborg, Heavenly Secrets, #3].
Swedenborg says that conflict is not a distraction from our spiritual growth: it is the essence of our growth with God. Conflict is part of our journey to wholeness, and God is hard at work to help us find our way through each one. I'm realizing that each conflict in our lives can interact with all the levels of our being: our relationships with others, our inner harmony, and the functioning of our bodies. As Swedenborg says, we are a combination of love and wisdom and action in the world. Our conflicts are not signs of weakness; they are signs that we are growing.
However, we cannot ignore our conflicts. Our spiritual growth is about facing each one of them. In the 9th step, we are guided to do whatever it takes to make things right with God. That usually includes addressing the harm we have done to others.
This theme is expressed in our movie of the month for September: The Flatliners. In it, medical students want to find out what it is like to die – and then come back. They develop sophisticated ways of crossing that border, and then coming back to tell about it. However, they find that when they come back, they don’t want to talk about what happened. It has churned them up at their very depth; for reasons they don’t understand. They are left with frightening experiences that they can’t understand. [and here comes a spoiler if you haven't seen it yet]:
As they allowed themselves to go more deeply into their terrifying experiences, they found that each one grew out of their guilt for someone they had hurt many years ago. That person was now in the spirit world. The medical students made the amends that were blocking their growth in love. The conflicts were resolved in a way that left everyone more integrated than before they faced it. They could not bring those people back to life on the earth, but they released guilt and fear.
Swedenborg compares this stage of spiritual growth with the 5th day of creation: And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." As we resolve our conflicts we can feel the freedom of seagulls sailing over the water. And we start to live in wholeness. the time arrives when we first start to live.
My parathyroid vampires are out of my body, but that does not necessarily restore my harmony in body-mind-spirit. That will take a lot more effort, with God's help. But I am becoming more sensitive to the role of my body in the wholeness of my being. We don't always have control over how our body functions -- or how other people interact with us. But we can invite God to help us find the places where love can bring transformation.
Where are your conflicts? With friends? Family? With people from the past? Within yourself? In your mind? In your body? With God? Do they seem to be interrelated -- part of your wholistic being?
Have you invited God into those conflicts with you?
On Eagle's Wings
Extinguish your candles