Resurrection with Mystics
WELCOME TO TODAY'S WORSHIP SERVICE
April 8, 2012
THIS YEAR'S THEME: The Year of the Lord
THIS MONTH'S TOPIC: Union with the Lord
TODAY'S MESSAGE: Resurrection with the Mystics
Open your Bible
Light a candle
1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
The state of glorification is also the state of union. He was in this state when He was transfigured before His three disciples; and also when He wrought miracles; and when He said that He and the Father are one, that the Father is in Him and He in the Father, and that all things the Father had are His; and when the union was fully completed, that He had "power over all flesh," John xvii. 2; and that He had "all power in heaven and in earth," Matt. xxviii. 18; besides many other passages to the same effect.
Morning Has Broken
Resurrection with the Mystics
Psychologist Carl Jung felt he had a quest to find the deep truths of existence, and his dreams led him to the ancient tradition of alchemy. Alchemy was based on the premise that ordinary lead could be transmuted into gold. Jung felt that alchemy was actually about changing the lead of ordinary experience into the gold of the mystical union with God.
Evelyn Underhill and other mystical scholars tell us that many alchemists were on a spiritual quest to find union with the Divine. They were trying to find an integration of matter and spirit.
Many images of the alchemists were based on Christian symbols of the Cosmic Christ – the union of human and divine. Most alchemists saw seven stages, ending in union with the divine.
Swedenborg, too, had seven stages of regeneration leading to union. This 7th stage was demonstrated by the resurrection. For Swedenborg, the resurrection was about union of humanity and divinity.
Jesus lived both in times of “emptying”, when his human ego needed to be let go, and times of “glorification” – or union with the divine. The cross was the final emptying of his ego state when he felt abandoned by God. If you are abandoned by someone, then there are two of you – one does the abandoning of the other. When you become one, there can be no abandonment; only union.
That is how there is union between humanity and divinity. Swedenborg called it the “Divine human” or the “God-man”. And that is what Easter is all about: showing us the union between human and divine that unite us.
Much of the poetry of mystics throughout history has been about finding this union between divine and human -- sometimes called the "mystical marriage
Since I have heard of the world of Love,
I’ve spent my life, my heart
And my eyes this way.
I used to think that love
And beloved are different.
I know they are the same.
MY BELOVED ONE IS MINE
I gave myself to Love Divine,
And lo! My lot so changed is
That my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.
John of the Cross:
8. I abandoned and forgot myself,
laying my face on my Beloved;
all things ceased; I went out from myself,
leaving my cares
forgotten among the lilies.
The heart of creativity is an experience of the mystical union; the heart of the mystical union is an experience of creativity. (Julia Cameron)
The concept of "union" in mystical poetry is expressed differently in this poem by William Blake:
To see the world in a grain of Sand
The universe in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the Palm of your Hand
And eternity in an Hour
George Dole says that that verse by William Blake seems to reflect this statement from Swedenborg:
The Divine is the same in the greatest and the smallest things.DLW, 77]
Dole was thinking about this concept when he started reading Karl Pribram and David Bohm. They said that the new physics showed the universe to be a hologram. Dole wrote,
The result of all this is that I am coming to see Swedenborg’s theology different than I did before. I am coming to see it composed of a central holographic concept …[Sorting Things Out, 77]
New physics talks about how the universe consists of both particles and waves. The particles are the solid matter of the world that we can touch. The waves are energies that can’t be seen or touched. Dole sees the waves as Swedenborg’s “inflow.” We have inflows that come to us internally and some externally. Our conscious self is at the center – at the interference of the two waves. This is basically how one makes a hologram – a flow from a single source is divided into direct and indirect flows. They meet in an interference pattern. That means that the whole universe is in every grain of sand – and in every cell of our bodies.
What does that mean for my life and your life? Dole writes:
Perhaps the central ethical import of the Swedenborgian of the holographic model is to point to the possibility of moving beyond the need to define ourselves by excluding others, which for me gives a particular clarity to the injunction that I love my neighbor as myself.
Holography shows a process over time. Jesus was in a process between two states of being. In his human state on the cross, he felt abandoned by God. But this was followed by the state of union.
“After this state comes a second one, the state of being in a partnership with God. In this second state, we do basically the same things, but now we do them with God. We no longer need to attribute to God everything good that we intend and do and everything true that we think and say in the same way as we used to, because now this acknowledgment is written on our heart. It is inside everything we do and everything we say. In this same way, … The Lord glorified his human nature [meaning that he made it divine], in the same way that he regenerates us [meaning that makes us spiritual].”
A Swedenborgian perspective on resurrection is that we are in union with the Divine; humanity and divinity cannot be separated.
It is also about how we are part of the wholeness of each other and all of creation.
Today is about reminding us of these realities.
What does it mean for how we live each day, knowing that we and God are in union? Perhaps we will treat ourselves with more respect, knowing that God is part of who we are. Perhaps we will have greater awareness of the power of our presence in the world, knowing that we are part of God.
Perhaps, too, we will honor all of creation more deeply, knowing that we exist in holographic oneness.
The miracle of Easter is that it is not a miracle. it is a statement about everyday reality: we live in oneness with each other and we are all part of God.
It is so easy for us to forget this basic joy of earthly life. We are part of eternal oneness. It is not about being "saved" from something or for something. It is about claiming the very essence of life itself. We are one. Hallelujah!
Let us pray.
Inspiration & Prayer for April 8, 2012:
What is your practice to become one with the lord? Do you practice it daily? Are you having trouble remembering to do it daily? On this Easter Day let yourself renew your commitment to yourself and the Lord.
Holy Lord, fill my heart with only you; fill my mind with thoughts of you; fill my voice with words from you; fill my life with acts for you. May I be totally yours every day. AMEN.