#ThursdayThoughts: Faith, Doubt & Fear

Readings to think about for Sunday:

There are those who are in doubt before they deny, and there are those who are in doubt before they affirm. Those in doubt before they deny are those who incline to a life of evil. When that life sways them, they deny things spiritual and celestial. But those in doubt before they affirm are those who incline to a life of good. And when they allow themselves to be turned by the Lord, they then affirm things spiritual and celestial and think about them. AC 2568

The only faith that endures within us springs from heavenly love. Those without heavenly love only have knowledge that is empty, for believing in truth and the Word is not faith. Living faith is to love truth by willing and doing it from an inward affection for it. H&H 482

Following the death of Jesus, 10 of the disciples hid in the upper room out of fear. Jesus had already told them to go forth and proclaim the Good News. But Thomas was the only one who listened and understood. Swedenborg noted that among the disciples, it was Thomas who was blessed.


[2] The form which charity takes is so plainly visible in the next life that charity itself is that which produces the form, as well as being that which is portrayed within it. Indeed that form is such that the whole of an angel, especially the face, is so to speak charity – charity which is visible to the eye and perceptible to the mind. When it is beheld that form is one of indescribable beauty which stirs with charity the inmost life itself of the beholder’s mind. Through the beauty of that form truths of faith are displayed in a visual image from which they also are perceived. People who have lived in faith in the Lord, that is, faith that inheres in charity, in the next life become such forms, that is, forms of beauty. All angels are such forms, endlessly varying; and it is these forms that constitute heaven.~~Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, n. 553 (Elliott, trans.)

Rebirth in a New Year

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“Conception, giving birth, being born, and generations mean spiritual events that are matters of what is true and what is good, or of love and faith … . Begetting and being born mean regeneration and rebirth by means of faith and love.”

~ Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell, (Rose, J. S., ed.; Dole, G. E., trans.), §382g.(note)

Faith and Caring

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As we near the end of this second week of Advent, we ponder the meaning of Faith, the symbolism of the second candle in the Advent wreath.

“Real faith is simply recognizing that something is so because it is true. This means that people who are devoted to real faith both think and say, “This is true, and that’s why I believe it.” That is, faith is dependent on truth, and what is true is the object of faith. ~~ Emanuel Swedenborg, Life-Faith, §2, George Dole, trans., Swedenborg Foundation

“ … [p]eople who have an inner recognition of what is true are those who have a spiritual love for truth.” ~~ Emanuel Swedenborg, Life-Faith, §4

“ .. [f]aith and truth are one and the same; and this is why the ancients, who thought more about truths than we do because they had a longing for them, talked about “truth” rather than “faith.” This is also why in Hebrew the same word—for example, emuna, and also amen—can mean both “truth” and “faith.” ~~ Emanuel Swedenborg, Life-Faith, §6

Swedenborg goes on to explain how caring has its origin in true faith:

“Caring originates in a desire to do something good. Since what is good loves what is true, this desire leads to a desire for truth and therefore to the recognition of what is true, which is faith. By these steps, in proper sequence, a desire to do something good takes form and turns into caring. … We can see from this how love, which is a desire to do something good, brings forth faith, which is the same as recognizing what is true, and by this means brings forth caring, which is the same as love acting through faith.” ~~ Emanuel Swedenborg, Life-Faith, §13

Therefore, “the ‘Inner Recognition of Truth’ that is Faith is found only in people who are devoted to caring.” ~~ Emanuel Swedenborg, Life-Faith, p. 62


A Place at the Table #Communion

As people of faith we are called to look for and see the light around us, see the place that God is at work in the world, particularly in the faces of those we meet. It is not always easy to see God’s light in each other’s eyes, often we are clouded over by our own prejudice or anxiety or fear. And yet, Christ promises to be that light that shines in the darkness and is not overcome. On Sunday we will explore together how we can stay open and welcome this light into the world and see others through it.

~Rev. Anna Woofenden