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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 relationship with the Lord (7)


Meditate | Blessed

Meditate is a monthly column in which insights gained from meditating on the Word are shared. We welcome your insights, too, in the form of comments, or better yet, your own article. Contact us if you'd like to write a submission for this column. -Editor

When I read Psalms, I often find myself identifying with the psalmist in ways that I wouldn't expect with a sacred text. Psalms that express lamentation of his situation or a wish for revenge on his enemies sound petty and whiny. One way that I come to terms with this is in thinking of it not as a literal prayer, but as an expression of spiritual state. The destruction of my enemies makes more sense if it refers to the evils I struggle with, as opposed to my neighbor.

But in this Psalm, I think there is value in a surface reading. It outlines a process that is humbling, but helps with a lot of frustrating self-talk.

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Meditate | In and Out of Control

Meditate is a monthly column in which insights gained from meditating on the Word are shared. We welcome your insights, too, in the form of comments or even your own article. Contact us if you'd like to write a submission for this column. -Editor

Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”

Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.  Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick. (Luke 7:1-10)

I have been working on trusting the Lord in my life and contemplating the place of control. What strikes me in the story of the centurion’s servant is how the centurion trusts in the Lord’s power because he has experience being in power himself. And it is this faith that the Lord praises for its greatness.

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Meditate | Trusting the Word

“And Jehovah God commanded the human concerning it, saying, ‘From every tree of the garden you are definitely to eat’” (Genesis 2:16).

To eat from every tree is to depend on perception in order to know and recognize what is good and true; a tree is perception” (Secrets of Heaven 125).

“If we do not rely on the world for our wisdom, on the other hand, but on the Lord, we tell ourselves at heart to believe in the Lord, that is, in all that the Lord has said in the Word, because those are reliable truths. This is the principle in which we base our thinking. We use rational argument, factual knowledge, sensory evidence, and physical phenomena in confirmation, but whatever fails to confirm the Word we put aside” (Secrets of Heaven 128).

Definitely eat of every tree in the garden; depend on perception from the Lord to know and recognize what is good and true. For me I read, “TRUST;” trust the perception I get from the Word.

In Secrets of Heaven 128 it teaches that we should use worldly knowledge to confirm perception and not the other way around; and if something doesn’t confirm our perception, to put it aside. So often when I read the Word, the loving, true ideas in it directly oppose false ideas I’ve been holding onto (…go figure). It’s almost laughable how hard it is to cast these false ideas aside and let myself believe something more loving and promising of my eternal happiness: like the simple message that I don’t need to worry! The Lord’s thoughts are not my thoughts. I want to trust the Lord’s thoughts, which are available in the Word. So I’ll work on trusting for now and maybe eventually my trust will turn into a continual reliance on what I hear the Lord telling me through the Word. 


Meditate | Expansion of the Center

 “In every subsequent church, the inmost part, closest to the Lord, has also been the Sabbath. The same holds true for all regenerate people when they develop a heavenly nature…

‘If you turn your foot back from the Sabbath by not doing your own desire on my holy day; if you refer to those things that belong to the Sabbath as pleasures honoring the holiness of Jehovah, and you honor [the Sabbath] by not going your own ways and not gaining your own desire or speaking a word [of your own]; then you will be a pleasure to Jehovah, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth and will feed you the inheritance of Jacob’ (Isaiah 58: 13, 14).

Heavenly people act not on their own desire but on the Lord’s pleasure, which is his desire. So they are blessed with inner peace and happiness (their being ‘lifted up on the heights of the earth’) and at the same time with outer calm and enjoyment (their being ‘fed with Jacob’s inheritance’)” (Secrets of Heaven 85).

The first part of this passage is reason for meditation—to connect to that inmost part and experience the Sabbath there.

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Meditate | Exquisite Order

This week's meditation is a welcome addition submitted by Alanna Rose, who has contributed also to the main Essays Column of New Church Perspective previously and whose article was the inspiration for this column. As a reminder, I welcome you to share your insights from meditating on the Word and have them published in this column; to submit, simply follow the instructions above. -Editor

“They were told that unless they possessed a faith inspired by love, entering heaven was as dangerous as walking through fire; but they still insisted. On reaching the ‘front entryway’—the lower realm of angelic spirits—they received such a blow that they went tearing off in the opposite direction as fast as they could go. From this they learned how much danger there was in merely approaching heaven before the Lord had prepared them to feel the emotions that come with faith” (Heavenly Secrets 538).

“In a word, every whole has an unlimited number of parts, organized in the most perfect way; every one of those parts is alive; and every one of them affects us, all the way to our inmost recesses. For the inmost recesses is where heavenly joy comes from. I also perceived that joy and pleasure seemed to come from my heart, gently permeating all the inmost fibers of my body and all the bundles of fibers” (Heavenly Secrets 545[2]).

Sitting with my eyes closed, my back relaxes and expands as I open to the breath.  The back body is associated with trust in the greater whole. It is incredible that there is a world as exquisitely vibrant as the one described in the above passages that is protected by the very order of its form. It is so merciful that the Lord prepares us to feel it. It is hard to describe, but I feel a deep trust in this goodness. I can trust that the Lord is preparing me to harmonize with this order, that nothing can move the love that maintains this process, and that all good things will be shared and protected to eternity. Envisioning this, I feel for a moment I have already arrived.


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.