Last Sunday, we gathered at the Glendale New Church, informally, for our service. Lay leader Maggie Panyko, read from a New York Times story. The family in this story lost their son to a drunk driver and was given a chance to meet the man who had taken their son’s life. We explored ideas of forgiveness and how it can lead us to love. We shared our own experiences of dealing with difficulty and what the role of forgiveness is in our lives. We grappled with how to handle situations of abuse: where is the role of forgiveness in those situations? Where does it leave those who are the victims of abuse?
We also heard writings on love from Swedenborg with interpretation by the Swedenborg foundation.
The Sick and the Prisoners – Loving the Angry
What are the spiritual equivalents of sickness and imprisonment? Dr. Werner shares that through her understanding of Swedenborg’s teachings, loving the sick and imprisoned is like helping people break out of the prison of destructive behaviors and mindsets that consume their lives.
“The sick are people who acknowledge they have nothing but evil in them, and prisoners, or people in jail, are those who acknowledge they have nothing but falsity in them.”—Secrets of Heaven 4956
How can we love and help the spiritually sick and imprisoned without getting hurt or taken advantage of? It’s true we should love everyone, but we have to become wise about how to help in the most useful way for all involved. To do this, you can love and support the good in a person, but not the bad in them.
Why should you love? The short answer: Because it connects you to God and his wisdom.
“Love has power only through wisdom.”—True Christianity 748
When we tap into our natural state of love, we tap into divine wisdom. Those who show love through action and live in a loving state—as opposed to just saying the words—can feel and understand spiritual truths more clearly because all wisdom comes from love and all love comes from God. The wisdom we receive through love allows us to fulfill the needs of others as described in scripture:
“Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave me food; I wasthirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and yougave me clothing; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” —Matthew 25:34-40
We listened to musical selections from Mavis Staples “What are they doin’ in heaven today” as well the Colorado String Quartet, and Jack Johnson; “With My Own Two Hands”.
Please join us for informal and formal services in the future.