Search this Site

(Enter your email address)


 Subscribe in a reader

You can also subscribe to follow the comments.

Join us on Facebook


New Church Perspective
is an online magazine with essays and other content published weekly. Our features are from a variety of writers dealing with a variety of topics, all celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas. For a list of past features by category or title, visit our archive.

Entries in cycles (3)


Meditate | Eventide

“When spiritual people (who are now the ‘sixth day’) begin to turn heavenly (a process first alluded to here), they have reached the eve of the Sabbath. In the Jewish religion, this was represented by the commencement of the Sabbath observance in the evening” (Secrets of Heaven 86).

I am glad to be reminded that evening happens even when we reach the sixth day. We have to go through the evening. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the idea that, “if I’m becoming more heavenly, then shouldn’t things be getting easier?” But no, cycles are essential and there is an evening before the morning of even the sixth day. This is the divine order.

Your thoughts?


Meditate | Water from the Sanctuary 

"'Beside the river, on its bank, on this side and that, grows every food tree. Its leaf will not fall, and its fruit will not be used up. Month by month it is reborn, because its waters are going out from the sanctuary. And its fruit will serve as food, and its leaf, as medicine' (Ezekiel 47:12).

'Water from the sanctuary' symbolizes the living energy and mercy of the Lord, who is the 'sanctuary.'" Secrets of Heaven 57

I love the image of being a tree planted on the bank of the Lord’s river of life. It says the Lord is the sanctuary, which I’m guessing is the origin of the river, and so the river of life emanates from the Lord and creates all things, including each one of us. I could see the tree as an image of the Lord giving food to people—heavenly people, or the tree could be a symbol for a person, which is a more striking image to me in this moment. The message I get from this passage is about being reborn every month, or every cycle (see my earlier meditation on cycles), and how it’s by having our roots drawing nourishment from the Lord that there is a new dawn, a new beginning at each turn of the cycle. When I go through hard or dark times, through temptation, it’s my own selfishness that’s getting thrown in my face. It definitely has been true in my experience that the quality of the Lord that really saves me and brings me through the cycle is mercy—forgiveness. Likewise, our ideas, preconceptions, and understanding of other people can be reborn through mercy—which is a living energy, a life-giving energy from the Lord, the sanctuary. We can give others new life in our own minds by seeing them from a place of mercy and forgiveness; it is at this point that our fruit can be food and our leaves medicine for them.    


Meditate | It's Not About "Getting There?"

Spiritual and heavenly things—as a group and individually—go through cycles, for which the daily and yearly cycles are metaphors. The daily cycle begins in the morning, extends to midday, then to evening, and through night to morning. The corresponding annual cycle begins with spring, extends to summer, then to fall, and through winter to spring.

These changes create changes in temperature and light and in the earth’s fertility, which are used as metaphors for changes in spiritual and heavenly conditions. Without change and variation, life would be monotonous and consequently lifeless. There would be no recognition or differentiation of goodness and truth, let alone any awareness of them. Secrets of Heaven 37

In an earlier passage than the one cited above, Swedenborg explains how for those whose love and faith are united, as is the case in heavenly angels, their love reveals all religious knowledge to them (34).This strikes me as a very powerful idea. A life focused on loving the Lord and the neighbor is capable of providing all religious knowledge, and yet all things, even spiritual and heavenly things go through cycles like the days and years. Cycles are inevitable or else we would have no way of being aware of goodness and truth (I write this from a feeling of amazement more than conviction). The day and night and the seasons are on account of variations of heat and light; there are different levels at different times, but it always leads to morning and it always leads to spring.

So it all comes back to morning and spring, but there is wisdom to be found—a deeper awareness of goodness and truth—by going through every part of the cycle, including the night and the cold of winter. In a lot of ways the complexity of how the Lord leads us in our levels of love and truth and takes care of our evil and falsity is beyond me; but it is enough for me to remember and hold at the front of my mind that change and variation—even in heavenly and spiritual things, which I take to mean things in myself, in my will and intellect, that have to do with loving the Lord and the neighbor—are essential and inevitable. Continual change and variation in spiritual and heavenly things in my life is an essential part of the process.