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Sunday, February 19
Sharing & Worship with New Members
The Reverend Junchol Lee
Please join us this Sunday as our newest members share a special reading and message.
Dear Members and Friends of the SF Swedenborgian Church,
The book of Job can be a very challenging book to any intelligent mind. Job, the main character of the book, suddenly lost everything: wealth, family and health. To make the situation even worse, four of his friends accused him of doing something wrong to cause such great misery and suffering. To Job, it was simply unacceptable because he was a faithful and just man. It is confusing to the readers as well because the biblical narrative shows clearly that Job's extraordinary faithfulness to God was the actual cause of his misery and suffering. Though there are many serious questions that come mind when reading the book of Job, the most straightforward is simply, "Why?"
A long time ago, Greek philosopher Aristotle declared that the pursuit of happiness is the purpose of human life. Yet how each person accepts and feels happiness depends on how they define what it means to be happy. Of course, Aristotle insisted that real happiness can only be obtained by cultivating proper virtues. However, without taking a serious philosophy class, there is no way that an individual would reach the enlightening conclusion, "I must cultivate virtues in order to pursue true happiness." It's far more probable that an individual would inadvertently implement principles of virtue into one's life. In other words, most people pursue happiness because it feels good, not for the sake of virtue or with a greater purpose in mind.
According to the Bible, people in general seek out two things to be happy: security and prosperity. Yet we read biblical stories about people who chose to do something that eventually costs them their security and prosperity and brought upon them misery and suffering. Also, it has been confirmed to me many times in my 46 years that somehow, people seem to have a hard time simply being content and happy with what they have and where they are (even with security and prosperity). Some people need excitement. Some people need thrill. Some people seem to seek perilous adventures. My question has always been, "Why?"
One explanation I found is that each human mind seems to be innately wired to pursue a few certain things (or sometimes one definite thing) to feel excited and thus happy. Therefore, for example, even if you are married with a beautiful spouse and have a wonderful career, you may not feel "real" happiness unless you identify and do that one certain thing. The catch is that finding and satisfying this innate desire does not achieve true happiness, but only a kind of selfish happiness. In a way, it seems that a human life is always about making a choice between what is good for all and what is good only for the individual. With a degree of simplicity, our whole life can be seen as a test designed and given by God. The gateway to the true happiness, which is heavenly joy, is only achieved through self-denial and sacrifice of selfish pleasures.
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.
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'I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
'This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
Are You Looking for Me? - Kabir
Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
you will not find me in the stupas,
not in Indian shrine rooms,
nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans,
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me,
you will see me instantly --
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.
The Four Noble Truths
The Four Noble Truths (Sanskrit: catvari aryasatyani; Pali: cattari ariyasaccani) are "the truths of the Noble Ones," the truths or realities which are understood by the "worthy ones" who have attained Nirvana. The truths are dukkha, the arising of dukkha, the cessation of dukkha, and the path leading to the cessation of dukkha.
The four truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, which is dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful. This keeps us caught in samsara, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth, dukkha and dying again. But there is a way to reach real happiness and to end this cycle, namely following the eightfold path. The meaning of the truths is as follows: Dukkha, "incapable of satisfying," painful. Life in this "mundane world," with its craving and clinging to impermanent states and things, is dukkha, unsatisfactory and painful; Samudaya, the origination or arising of dukkha. Dukkha, and repeated life in this world, arises with ta?ha, "thirst," craving for and clinging to these impermanent states and things. This craving and clinging produces karma which leads to renewed becoming, keeping us trapped in rebirth and renewed dissatisfaction; Nirodha, the cessation of dukkha. By stopping this craving and clinging nirvana is attained, no more karma is produced, and rebirth and dissatisfaction will no longer arise again; Magga, the path to the cessation of, or liberation from dukkha. By following the Noble Eightfold Path, restraining oneself, cultivating discipline, and practicing mindfulness and meditation, craving and clinging will be stopped, and rebirth and dissatisfaction are ended.
From the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg
The church of the Lord is with all in the whole world who live in good according to their religious principles.
The church like heaven is in person, and thus the church in general consists of the people in whom the church is. In order that a church may exist, there must be the doctrine of life, that is, the doctrine of charity. Charity makes the church, and not faith separated from charity.
The church is not with people, unless the truths of doctrine are implanted in the good of charity with them, thus in the life. There is no church with people, if they are only in the truths, which are called the truths of faith.
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The Rev. Wilma Wake is the minister of our denomination's first on-line
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or find yourself otherwise homebound, you may enjoy visiting
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