Verse of the Day
for Thursday, February 8, 2018
for Thursday, February 8, 2018
“The knowledges of faith exist for no other purpose than that through them people may receive from the Lord love to him and love towards the neighbor. This is the faith which saves.”
Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia 1176
Copyright 2017, The New Church/General Church of the New Jerusalem. All rights reserved
The hallmark of love is not loving ourselves but loving others and being united to them through love.”
Emanuel Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom 47
“Glorifying God…means to bring forth the fruits of love, that is, to perform the work of one’s occupation faithfully, honestly, and diligently. For this is the effect of love of God and love of the neighbor.”
Emanuel Swedenborg, Conjugial Love 9:4
Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The uses through which men and angels have wisdom
In the Ancient Church, Jehovah was called “God Most High” for the reason that “height” represented and therefore signified what is internal, and thus “the Most High” signified what is inmost. Hence the worship of the Ancient Church was upon high places, mountains, and hills. The inmost also has the same relation to the exterior and the outermost, as the highest bears to the lower and the lowest. The Most High or the Inmost is the Celestial of Love, or Love, itself. Jehovah, or the Lord’s internal man, was the very Celestial of Love, that is, Love itself, to which no other attributes are fitting than those of pure Love, thus of pure Mercy toward the whole human race which is such that it wills to save all and make them happy to eternity, and to bestow on them all that it has; thus out of pure mercy to draw all who are willing to follow, to heaven, that is, to itself, by the strong force of love. This Love itself is Jehovah.
Of nothing can Am or Is be predicated except of Love. From this Love – because in Love, or of Love itself – is the very Being [Esse] of all life, that is, Life itself; and because Jehovah alone is Being of life, or Life itself, as He alone is Love, each and all things have thence their being and their life; nor can anyone be and live of himself except Jehovah alone, that is, the Lord alone; and as no one can be and live of himself except the Lord alone, it is a fallacy of sense that men seem to themselves to live of themselves. The angels plainly perceive that they do not live of themselves, but from the Lord, since they live in the very being of the Lord’s life, because in His love. But yet to them above all others there is given the appearance as of living from themselves, together with ineffable happiness. This therefore is to live in the Lord, which is never possible unless we live in His love, that is, in charity toward the neighbor.
Jesus exemplified love in action. He showed gentleness and humility, but also spoke up courageously for the poor, the oppressed, the lepers, the adulterers, the sinners, and the outcasts. He not only spoke up for them, but he touched them, sat with them, ate with them, loved them, was one of them and didn’t put himself above them. He said, “I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:27)
This is a call to service; we need to treat others well because our actions (and inactions) have a big impact. What Would Love Do offers a curriculum for putting love into action. What kind of love are we talking about? The kind that is not blind, but wise. The kind of love that can survey a challenging circumstance, and offer what is needed. This kind of wise love can be gentle, leading us to admit our faults and ask for forgiveness, or it can be firm, calling us to resist injustice. It is about developing an open-hearted, open-minded attitude so that our actions naturally flow from our love for others.The foundation on which the latest seven-week Journey program, What Would Love Do? is built is a biblical parable told by Jesus found in Matthew 25: 31-45. In this parable, a mighty king appears on a throne. This king gathers all the nations together, and says, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” The people are surprised and ask when the king had needed help. Then the king replies, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
With this kind of attitude, we don’t have to work so hard to do good. Good things will certainly happen if we choose to act from love, and if we have a willingness to be loved by others along the way.
This seven-week program explores each of the ways the king in Matthew 25 tells us to.
Love Serves: “I was hungry and you gave me food.” In a loving environment where we know that our presence makes a positive impact, we gain emotional nourishment. We are surrounded by goodness; this is spiritual food. Feeding the hungry can mean anything from handing a bowl of soup to a homeless person on the street, to helping a friend use her talents.
Love Brings Truth: “I was thirsty and you gave me drink.” Water is essential for life. Just as hunger and thirst are closely related, so are the desire for goodness (hunger) and the desire to know what is true (thirst). The deepest, most urgent questions we ask represent our thirst on an emotional level. Getting good “water” is essential for our mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Love Welcomes: “I was a stranger and you took me in.” We are social beings. We thrive on touch, communication, friendship. Without enough genuine connection we may find ourselves feeling lonely, anxious or depressed. Just as our bodies move from place to place, we are also on an inner journey. This week we have an opportunity to welcome the stranger, both physically and spiritually, by offering the kind of instruction that helps them feel included, known and loved.
Love Comforts: “I was naked and you clothed me.” Clothes keep us dry and warm, and protect us from harsh environments. Beyond that, they represent a freedom of expression, a sense of pride, confidence and identity. Nakedness can represent feelings of self-doubt or shame. Offering spiritual clothing is reaffirming the truth about the person.
Love Visits: “I was sick and you visited me.” Being sick feels awful. Nothing helps us appreciate health more than having to lie in bed with fever and chills. Some people may not have any outward signs of illness, yet they are struggling internally and could use some kindness and compassion in their lives. Maybe we know someone who cheats. Maybe we know someone who treats others like dirt. Can we visit those who are sick in this way?
Love is Present: “I was in prison and you came to me.” Someone who sits behind bars often ranks high on the list of people to shun. Being present for someone who is stuck is yet another way to be a force of love in the world. Jesus tells us to find ways to be there for others who are in prison, either spiritually or physically, and to recognize our own internal messages that keep us trapped.
Love Rejoices: “As you have done it to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you have done it to me.” We reflect on how it is a blessing to be able to be there for each other, comfort each other, and meet each others’ needs. When it comes from love, we’re doing it with joy. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, the choice is ours. When deciding what step to take, we can simply ask, what would love do?
Join us as we explore serving the neighbor in concrete ways! Two world-wide launches, October 5th, 2014 and February 1st, 2015.