Meditate is a monthly column in which insights gained from meditating on the Word are shared. You could write for Meditate, too! Contact us if you'd like to write a submission for this column. This week Brian Smith is our guest writer. -Editor.
I'm busy right now, which makes a meditative approach to revelation much harder to come by. But I've been reading over Divine Love and Wisdom 333 and 334 a couple times and thinking about the seeming conflict between receiving life as a gift from the Lord and working within the appearance that we are responsible for everything we achieve.
The things we typically try to achieve – food, clothing, shelter, recreation and enjoyment – are all mirrors of what are called the the “uses of religion and worship.” The text says that all the uses of religion and worship “are given by the Lord according to the acknowledgment that all the bodily things are also from the Lord, and that man is only a servant and domestic administrator appointed over the goods of his Lord.” (Divine Love and Wisdom 334)
The next paragraph explains that angels have an easier time making this acknoweldgment because they see the things they need created for them in accordance with their states of love and wisdom.
““But people do not see this because their harvest is yearly and not in accord with the state of their love and wisdom, but in accord with their diligence.” (Divine Love and Wisdom 334).
So we receive the uses of religion and worship (our spiritual necessities) when we are able to accept that everything good is from the Lord, and yet we live in a world where everything seems to come from our hard work and cleverness. I feel like I'm working hard. I feel somewhat overwhelmed by my work but I hear these paragraphs asking me to hold my work differently, more gratefully perhaps. A large extent of the time I see my work and payment as connected with my diligence. This is the appearance. But the teaching seems to be that spiritual nourishment, shelter, clothing and recreation is directly correlated with humble gratitude for all the natural world parallels.
Brian might be a lot of things. Right now he wishes he identified more strongly as a father of two and husband of Janine than as assistant pastor of Olivet New Church and principal of Olivet's school. But these things eventually balance out, right?.