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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 rebirth (3)


Having Fun with Snow and Mud

Managing the mud. Wystan uses very tangible images and experiences of early spring to raise larger reflections on the way life unfolds - often in messy ways. Each phase of season comes with a mixed blessing and a lingering resistance to moving into the challenges of the next. Wystan helps us see this in a broader context through a playful exploration of mud. -Editor.

I am thinking about snow and mud. On the one hand, three plus months of grey skies and wet to icy precipitation falling out of it leave us longing for the sunshine, gardens, outdoor games, and morning walks without a parka that are coming. And warmer temperatures means mud.

During every warming trend this long winter I was reminded of this fact. Every weather shift brought two simultaneous and conflicting emotion: “YES!” and “ohhh noooooo.” Muddy footprints cover the floors, muddy eggs fill the nesting boxes, mud-caked shoes pile up on the porch and are strewn through the hall, muddy drying doggie legs shed dusty sandy stuff in piles all night long.

This morning, as I plowed through my reading for Arcana class, the natural phenomenon of mud banged into a spiritual thought as I read

“A life of faith without love is like sunlight without warmth – the kind of light that occurs in winter, when nothing grows and everything droops and dies.” Arcana Coelestia 34(2)
In winter we have light, sometimes glorious sparkling light, and even some heat from the sun - snow melts even in very cold air temperatures when the sun’s angle is right. But all plant life dies or at least is at stasis. Things don’t grow.

And yet, it strikes me powerfully (as I stare at the floors of my house) how handy it is to have everything frozen up solid, compared to the mud of kinder weather!

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Meditate | Where There's a Will, There's a... Choice?

Meditate is a monthly column in which Chelsea shares insights she has gained from meditating on the Word. You can too! Contact us if you'd like to write a submission for this column -Editor.

“Our entire sense of self resides in our will. The first time we are born, the self is evil. The second time we are born, the self becomes good. The first time, we are born of our parents; the second time, we are born of the Lord” (True Christianity 658).

“Because we have the capacity to choose in freedom, we are able either to will something or else not to will it…

All the evils that we have a tendency toward from the day we are born are a lasting part of the will of our earthly self. When we allow ourselves to be influenced by these evils they flow into our thinking. Good things along with truths flow down into our thinking from above, from the Lord… If we choose evil things, they are received by our old will and become part of it. If we choose good things along with truths, a new will and a new intellect are formed by the Lord above our old will and our old intellect. Gradually over time, the Lord uses the truths that are in our new intellect to implant new forms of good on that higher level. Through these truths he also gains control over the evils that are below, moves them out of the way, and sets everything in order.

This also makes it clear that our thought process purifies and excretes, so to speak, the evils that are resident in us from our parents” (True Christianity 659).

The freedom and ability we have to will something or not to will it is a really important truth for me to remember.

So often I feel hopeless about my will. My will is my will—how can I change the fact that I will/desire/enjoy evil things and evil behavior?

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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.