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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 Lord's leading (4)


Meditate | Intense Desire

Good for eating means intense desire. Appealing to the eyes means delusion. Desirable for lending insight means sensual pleasure. These three are properties of our selfhood (or the woman). Her husband’s eating symbolizes the rational mind’s consent” (Secrets of Heaven 207).

“[Human selfhood] is the tendency not to believe in the Lord or his Word but in ourselves and to think that what we do not grasp on a sensory or factual basis is nothing” (Secrets of Heaven 210).

Intense desire, delusion, and sensual pleasure: these are three properties of our selfhood. My mind’s reaction immediately is, “What would get accomplished if I didn’t have intense desire?!” After sitting with it, the answer came: “peace.” My self’s intense desire for things and to know the future is the antithesis of peace—specifically how “peace has in it confidence in the Lord, that He directs all things, and provides all things, and that He leads to a good end” (Arcana Coelestia 8455).

A good end can and will be accomplished if I let go of my intense desire that so often rules, especially when “I’ve” had a good idea. The Lord gives me an idea and then my mind takes credit for it, which is clearly demonstrated by the way my mind generates intense desire for the result. So, instead, I’d like to focus on peace and confidence in the Lord. When I recognize the feeling of intense desire for something through the course of my day, I can use it as a red flag and choose to identify with something deeper than my experience of intense desire, with the truth that there is peace to be had in trusting in the Lord’s leading and provision for my life.   


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 | The Time of Conflict

“The time of conflict is when the Lord is at work (for which reason the prophets call a regenerate person the work of God’s fingers [Psalms 8:3, 6; Isaiah 19:25; 29:23; 45:11; 60:21; 64:8; Lamentations 4:2]), and he does not rest until love takes the lead. Then the conflict ends.

When the work progresses so far that faith is united with love, it is called very good, since the Lord now makes us likenesses of himself” (Secrets of Heaven 63).

For some reason (and I’d be curious to know if it’s the same for others), I often fear that love will never return, that I’ll stop loving the people and things in my life and it will never come back. This is how it feels for me in conflict (internal or spiritual conflict). Conflict is one of the most uncomfortable states to be in; I feel totally alone, stuck, helpless, and hopeless. This passage is extraordinarily comforting for how it assures us that those times of conflict are when the Lord is at work and does not rest until love takes the lead. This is a passage much worth repeating throughout my day as a reminder for how I can trust that the Lord actually is leading me to more genuine love even when I am undergoing conflict.  


Meditate | Evening to Morning

“Every single moment of regeneration carries us forward from evening to morning, just as it takes us from the outer self to the inner, or from earth to heaven.” Secrets of Heaven 24

“’A crushed reed he does not break, and smoldering flax he does not quench; he propels judgment toward truth. [In other words, he does not break our illusions or extinguish our cravings but bends them toward truth and goodness.]’ Isaiah 42:3, 4, 5.” Secrets of Heaven 25

Whatever my life feels like in a given moment, even when I feel stuck, I can trust that the Lord is using everything of me, my illusions, my false ideas, even my perception of “stuckness” to bend me toward goodness and truth, to lead me to peace and trust.

The evening often feels interminable. I am reminded of a time when with a couple of friends on a trip we ended up camping one night along the way. The camping gear we had with us was limited and we didn’t have very good rain protection. It down-poured all night long and our tent, our sleeping bags, and ourselves got soaked through. There was no sleeping and we had no clocks or light; we only could wait for the dawn and trust that sometime once again the sun would rise.

The possibility of the sun rising can feel so distant and hard to believe in on many levels in my life, when in reality the entire evening is not separate from the morning, but rather is in service to it; it is transitioning to morning constantly; it never stops. Even if the false ideas that come with the evening would like to have us think that the evening is independent of the dawn and can convince us that we’re going nowhere, we’re stuck, and that the night is everlasting, even these ideas the Lord uses to bend us to good and truth. The evening is becoming morning. The Lord is carrying us from evening to morning.