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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 the divine design (4)


Meditate | Expanding Love

“Everything good in the next life expands without limit… Life bounded by the body is such that we can’t progress any farther than loving our neighbor as ourselves, because we’re wrapped up in bodily concerns. But when these concerns have been laid aside, love grows purer and purer until at last it is angelic. Angelic love is to love one’s neighbor more than oneself” (Secrets of Heaven 548).

“The whole of heaven and its inhabitants without exception trace their origin to the Lord alone, in general and in the smallest particulars. This is the source of order, unity, of mutual love, and of happiness, because this is what causes individuals to look to the health and happiness of all, and all to that of every individual” (Secrets of Heaven 551).

It feels good to recognize that this is the order the Lord has written into life—the more bodily concerns are set aside, love is “programmed” to grow, expand, and become purer and purer until it is angelic. It reminds me of the passages in the Word about not needing to worry about what we’ll eat, wear, etc.—a.k.a bodily concerns. The Lord makes it possible; he teaches us a way to move toward angelic love while we live in the world. One way I can participate is by not worrying about my bodily concerns so much—practice putting them secondary to serving and loving others. At the same time, I get a lot of joy out of taking care of my body so I can better serve others and live in my life, do my work. So maybe that is a balance—managing my time so that I meet the needs of my bodily concerns sufficiently so that they don’t need to be central in other times of my life. And a boon to this practice is to trust in the Lord that he is providing everything that I need in order to do his will, in general and in particular, in my life at all times. 


Meditate | Me, My-self, and My-Self

“Human self-hood is nothing but evil; presented in visual form it is extremely ugly. But when infused by the Lord with charitable love and innocence, it appears virtuous and lovely.

Love for our fellow humans and innocence are what excuse self-centeredness, or a person’s evil and falsity. Not only do they excuse it, they almost eliminate it, as anyone can see in young children. When toddlers show love to each other and to their parents while glowing with childish innocence, what is actually evil and false in them does not seem so and even gives pleasure. This shows that no one can be let into heaven without some innocence” (Secrets of Heaven 164).

So, we are nothing but self-interest. Self-centeredness is what our ‘self’ or outer being consists of, whereas the Lord possesses the will, our true will, in our inner being (see Secrets of Heaven 105). This sense of self really makes for such a dangerous dynamic in our lives. Our self-hood is at once our damnation and the very vehicle through which we come into heavenly marriage with the Lord. This to me is a very powerful example of the amazing feats the Lord’s divine love and wisdom are capable of. 


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 | Building Houses; Walking on Water

“The role of the intellect is to hear the Word, while the role of the will is to do it…‘Everyone who hears my words and does them I compare to a prudent man who built his house on rock. But everyone who hears my words and does not do them I compare to a stupid man who built his house on sand’ (Matthew 7: 24, 26)” (Secrets of Heaven 44).

Prudent = rock; stupid = sand. Prudent = hears Word and does it; stupid = hears Word and doesn’t do it. Rock and sand are made of the same thing, but rock is stuck together. Rock is held together while sand is all broken up into tiny particles. So to live what the Lord teaches is the glue that makes the truths we know a true foundation. This is such a perfect symbol but I never thought very deeply about it before. It doesn’t matter how much you know—how much sand you have—it won’t do you any good as support you can live on unless it becomes glued together through living what you know is true.

This meditation of mine happens to go very well with an idea presented in yesterday’s adult Cathedral service. There, Rev. Grant Odhner gave a sermon about the story of the Lord and Peter walking on water.

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