WELCOME TO TODAY'S WORSHIP SERVICE BY THE SWEDENBORGIAN ON-LINE COMMUNITY
August 29, 2010
POETRY AS PRAYER:
The Very Poetic Very's
Pt. 2: Jones Very
Light a candle
In the Garden
FROM THE BIBLE
The Vine and the Branches
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
30. The Lord’s heaven in the natural world is called the church;
an angel of this heaven is a man of the church who is conjoined to
the Lord; on departure from this world he also becomes an angel of
the spiritual heaven. What was said of the angelic heaven is
evidently to be understood, then, of the human heaven also which
is called the church. The reciprocal conjunction with the Lord
which makes heaven in the human being is revealed by the Lord in
these words in John: Abide in me, and I in you; . . . he who abides in
me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing
(John 15:4, 5, 7). D.P. #30
Pt. 2: Jones Very
Jones was only 11 when his father died, and he started working at 14 to help support his Mother and siblings. He educated himself, and was accepted into Harvard as a sophomore. He graduated in 1836 with honors. He then entered Harvard Divinity School and studied for the Unitarian ministry. He was a tutor in Greek, and began writing poetic notes to encourage his students. He began to lecture on epic poetry, which brought him to the attention of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson was extremely impressed by his brilliance, ability, and religious fervor. Very became part of the group around Emerson that called themselves “transcendentalists.”
This group differentiated themselves from a Unitarian theology that saw reality and religion as based in rational thought. The “transcendentalists” saw reality as having an intuitive, inner knowing that was based in the Divine.
Very was a deeply religious mystic. He had profound personal experiences of God and tried to be an obedient servant. In 1839, Emerson helped him publish his first book, Essays and Poems. Emerson was extremely frustrated with Very; Emerson tried to edit the work, and Very insisted that every word came from God, and it could not be edited! Emerson’s demanding persistence wore down Very on most of those arguments.
Very’s religious fervor came to alarm those around him. He claimed to be the Second Coming, and then told his students to flee to the mountains, for the end was at hand. He especially alarmed people when he went about Salem baptizing other Unitarian ministers! He was put into the McLean Asylum, where he taught the patients about poetry. His doctor finally concluded that he could find no mental or physical illness in Very, and released him. He stayed for awhile with Emerson in Concord.
Emerson defended Very’s sanity, as did most of the other Transcendentalists.
Very withdrew to Salem, where he lived out a quiet and contemplative life.
Was Jones Very influenced by Swedenborg? We do not know for certain that he even knew of Swedenborg. However, we can assume that he probably did. Why?
The Transcendentalists were influenced by the work of mystics, and they particularly read Swedenborg. Emerson was impacted by Swedenborg. His book “Nature” mentioned Swedenborg, and we know that Very purchased a copy and read it numerous times. Very’s approach to the inner, intuitive way of knowing was quite consistent with Swedenborg. Emerson commented at one time that the work of Jones was quite Swedenborgian.
There is no faith; the mountain stands within
Still unrebuked, its summit reaches heaven;
And every action adds its load of sin,
For every action wants the little leaven;
There is no prayer; it is but empty sound,
That stirs with frequent breath the yielding air,
With every pulse they are more strongly bound,
Who make the blood of goats the voice of prayer;
Oh heal them, heal them, Father, with thy word,—
Their sins cry out to thee from every side;
From son and sire, from slave and master heard,
Their voices fill the desert country wide;
And bid thee hasten to relieve and save,
By him who rose triumphant o'er the grave
Wilt Thou not visit me?
The plant beside me feels Thy gentle dew;
And every blade of grass I see,
From Thy deep earth its quickening moisture drew.
Wilt Thou not visit me?
Thy morning calls on me with cheering tone;
And every hill and tree
Lends but one voice, the voice of Thee alone.
Come, for I need Thy love,
More than the flower the dew, or grass the rain;
Come, gently as Thy holy dove;
And let me in thy sight rejoice to live again.
I will not hide from them,
When Thy storms come, though fierce may be their wrath;
But bow with leafy stem,
And strengthened follow on Thy chosen path.
Yes, Thou wilt visit me,
Nor plant nor tree Thing eye delights so well,
As when from sin set free
My spirit loves with Thine in peace to dwell.
“The Light from Within”
I saw on earth another light
Than that which lit my eye
Come forth as from my soul within,
And from a higher sky.
Its beams shone still unclouded on,
When in the farthest west
The sun I once had known had sunk
Forever to his rest.
And on I walked, though dark the night,
Nor rose his orb by day;
As one who by a surer guide
Was pointed out the way.
'Twas brighter far than noonday's beam;
It shone from God within,
And lit, as by a lamp from heaven,
The world's dark track of sin.
There is a sighing in the wood,
A murmur in the beating wave;
The heart has never understood
To tell in words the thoughts they gave.
Yet oft it feels an answering tone,
When wandering on the lonely shore;
And could the lips its voice make known,
‘T would sound as does the ocean’s roar.
And oft beneath the wind-swept pine,
Some chord is struck the strain to swell;
Nor sounds nor language can define,—
‘Tis not for words or sounds to tell.
‘Tis all unheard, Your silent Voice,
Whose goings forth, unknown to all,
Bids bending reed and bird rejoice,
And fills with music Nature’s hall.
Now in the speechless human heart
Ir speaks, where’er our feet have trod;
Beyond the lips deceitful art
To tell of You, the Unseen God.
FOR MORE ON VERY:
CLOSING SONGGreat Is Thy Faithfulness
Extinguish your candle.
Close the Bible
Go forth, praising God with prayers, poems, music, and/or songs.