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Sunday, June 25
What's Truly Important?
The Reverend Junchol Lee
There are many things that we considered important throughout our life, but only a few things stand out as truly important. On This Sunday, I would like to explore those few things that are truly important to us and the reason why.
Dear Members and Friends of the SF Swedenborgian Church,
Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living," and often wrote about the importance of and wisdom in knowing oneself. But knowing oneself by oneself may sound kind of like nonsense because many of us are convinced that we know ourselves better than anyone else. Yet, all ancient sages seem to agree that the key to obtain wisdom -- which in turn is the key to happiness and tranquility -- is knowing oneself. In other words, knowing oneself by oneself is actually a very hard task to accomplish!
Searching for and finding the true self begins with a huge challenge: by the time one is capable and willing, one is already saddled with a kind of self-image that is either imposed by environment, other people, or both. A conventional belief is that one's self-identity is forged from what one thinks and believes about him or herself, or what others think about them, or a combination of both. However, there is a big gap between true identity and supposed identity which often causes personal dissatisfaction and unfulfillment in one's life. The interesting and sad fact is that many of us work very hard to live a life that we think should be fulfilling for our supposed identity instead of searching for and finding what would actually be satisfying for our true identity.
How do we find our true identity? One classical way suggested by both Socrates and Buddha is to empty one's self to the point of true honesty: the self knows nothing, therefore this self has no power to govern one's life. The true identity of oneself can only arise after the supposed identity has become obsolete. Another way suggested by the Bible is to empty oneself fully before God, one's Creator, and acknowledge and embrace the truth that one is made in the image and likeness of Creator. As one's arrogance, stubbornness, and self-righteousness is emptied out, one's mind is filled with love, peace, and justice from Creator. Then, one may declare before God: You have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.
Reverend Junchol Lee
Sunday Worship Service
Our Sunday worship service starts at 11 AM, a traditional Christian service that usually lasts about one hour.
Join us for our coffee and fellowship hour in the Parish House following service.
Directions to church.
Tell the innocent how fortunate they are,
for they shall eat the fruit of their labours.
Woe to the guilty! How unfortunate they are,
for what their hands have done shall be done to them.
My people-children are their oppressors,
and women rule over them.
O my people, your leaders mislead you,
and confuse the course of your paths.
The Lord rises to argue his case;
he stands to judge the peoples.
The Lord enters into judgement
with the elders and princes of his people:
It is you who have devoured the vineyard;
the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
What do you mean by crushing my people,
by grinding the face of the poor? says the Lord God of hosts.
The Lord said:
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
and walk with outstretched necks,
glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
tinkling with their feet;
the Lord will afflict with scabs
the heads of the daughters of Zion,
and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, 'What were you arguing about on the way?' But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, 'Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.' Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 'Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.'
From the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg
Divine Love and Wisdom #368
Love is highly complex, so complex that its various forms are without limit. This we can tell from the human race on earth and in the heavens. There is not a single individual or angel so like another that there is no difference. Love is what makes the difference, each individual being her or his own love. People think that wisdom is what differentiates, but wisdom comes from love. It is love's form, for love is the underlying reality of life and wisdom is the manifestation of life from this underlying reality.
The world believes that intelligence is what makes us human, but people believe this because our discernment can be raised up into heaven's light, and it can seem as though we were wise. However, any discernment that goes too far, that is, discernment that is not wisdom of love, appears as though it were ours. This makes us seem like intelligent people, but that is only an appearance. The discernment that goes too far is actually a love for knowing and being wise and not at the same time a love for applying our knowledge and wisdom to life. So in this world it either ebbs away over time or waits around temporarily on the edges, outside the contents of memory. After death, then, it is separated from us, and nothing is left but what agrees with the real love of our spirit.
Since love does constitute our life and therefore ourselves, all the communities of heaven and all the angels of those communities are arranged according to the passions that come from their loves. No community and no angel within a community is located by any gift of discernment apart from his or her love. The same holds for the hells and their communities, but that depends on loves that are opposite to heavenly loves. We can tell from this that the quality of the love determines the quality of the wisdom, and that these determine the quality of the person.
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