Living From the Heart
June 20, 2010
Welcome to today's worship service by the on-line Swedenborgian community
LIVING FROM THE HEART
Open a Bible
Light a Candle
Let the River Run
FROM THE BIBLE
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going."
True Christianity, #772
That this second coming of the Lord does not take place for the purpose of destroying the visible heaven and habitable earth, has been shown in the preceding section. That it is not for the purpose of destroying anything, but to build up, consequently not to condemn but to save those who since His first coming have believed in Him and also those who may hereafter believe in Him, is evident from these words of the Lord.
Living From Our Hearts
One of the cable stations recently had a marathon of the Left Behind movies. Are you familiar with them? They are a gripping and dramatic fictional presentation of the “second coming”, when Christ will return to the earth. They present a particular theology in which Jesus returns to set up his kingdom in two stages. The first is that Jesus will “rapture” his believers—take them out of the world—before seven years of tribulations. After that, Jesus returns with his believers to set up a new world.
As these events unfold in the novels and movies of the Left Behind series of books, we see people suddenly disappearing from the world because they are true believers. Those who remain face extremely harsh circumstances on the earth.
These ideas of the second coming are not new. The authors have been influenced by the preaching of Irishman William Nelson Darby, an Anglican priest in the early 1800’s, who came to believe in the idea of “rapture.”
This concept, however, is a very different perspective from that of Emanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborg’s view of the Second Coming” is celebrated on June 19th, New Church Day. When Swedenborg completed True Christianity, he wrote:
Note: After this work was finished the Lord called together his twelve disciples who followed him in the world; and the next day he sent them all forth throughout the whole spiritual world to preach the gospel that the Lord God jesus Crhist reigns, whose kingdom shall be for ages and ages …. This took place on the nineteenth day of June, 1770 …
The second coming of Jesus has occurred, and is occurring, and will continue to occur! The “2nd coming” is taking place in our hearts, and from our hearts we can take it into the world. We can take into the world a new concept of community, the New Jerusalem. It is not something that we await for a future event; it is something we are creating ourselves every day by how we live our lives.
Steve Koke wrote:
For Swedenborg, the central meaning of the Christian millennium, the Second Coming of the Lord, was a coming of new light and consciousness through an awareness of the multiple levels of meaning in the Word and therefore, in the human soul that it covertly models.. and The millennium in which the saved shall reign with God for a thousand years was for Swedenborg not a thousand-year period, but a state of conjunction with God.
Being "New Church," means helping to create heaven on earth; a world where all religious paths are accepted-- not by their beliefs, but for how people live their lives.
So how do we create this heaven on earth?
Swedenborgian psychologist and mystic Wilson Van Dusen talks about “pristine awareness” which he says is “like a mirror that you can pick up and turn all ways to see all things. The mirror merely reflects, as pristine awareness reflects the eternal. …in pristine awareness you feel meaningful engagement … ‘you cannot meet pristine awareness until you are open to being influenced and rearranged.
Van Dusen looks to Buddhism to find some stories to illustrate his point:
“A student is in a hurry for satori [enlightenment]. He says he will do thus and so, and the master says then it will take five years. The student promises much more effort and the master says then it will take ten years! Effort lengthens the process and it makes it harder.
A student asked ‘Where is the Buddha nature?’ The master answered simply ‘The tree in the courtyard.’ .. The answer to the question, ‘where is the Buddha nature is ‘nearby, in sight. It is the life you .. you are overlooking as you ask the question.
Perhaps what is most important is simply that love be present in our lives, and acting on hatred. We can't actually strive to do life right. The more we "try" in the usual sense of the word, the more stuck we will feel. We need to let go of whatever stands in our way.
This is an emphasis on living now – in the moment. Heaven is not a future event; it is something to create every moment of life.
Shalem Institute writes about "contemplation" and says:
Stated simply, the classical tradition understands contemplation as a loving quality of presence in which one is open to things just as they are in the present moment.
Where does action fit into this?
In this understanding, contemplation is in no way opposed to action. In fact, our sense is that truly effective, responsive action in the world needs to be undergirded and informed by contemplative awareness.
Also, although silence and solitude play a role in the contemplative life, contemplation does not mean withdrawing from the world. On the contrary, it is a responsive, participative presence in and with God, oneself, one's neighbors, and all creation.
So, if we ask “what do we do on a daily basis?"” we’re asking the wrong question. Perhaps it’s about BEING every day. Being in relationship with the Divine and with the entire web of existence. And allowing the "being-ness" to guide us into the world to live out who we are. That's what the New Church is all about. It's not waiting for a future coming of Jesus or a heaven of the after-life. It's about being present with Love day by day, so that we are creating heaven in the world each moment of each day.
Day by Day
Extinguish your candle
Close the Bible
Go forth; knowing that you are creating a new world from your heart.