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Sunday, May 28
Cloudy With a Chance of...
The Reverend Doug Moss
With it being a holiday weekend, and with so many members of our church on retreat in Sonoma, there may not be any children for a Children's Message this Sunday at church. Here is what I would ask them: Where is Jesus buried? And if he wasn't and he isn't, what does that mean for us today? This Sunday's message will lean heavily on New Church's theology.
Dear Members and Friends of the SF Swedenborgian Church,
The notion of a human being as a microcosm -- or an individual as a miniature version of the universe -- is a very fascinating concept. It is from the Greek mikros kosmos, meaning "little world."
Among many ancient Greek philosophers who believed in the existence of the human soul, psyche, Plato is one of the most significant figures in developing the concept of a microcosm. In the Timaeus (29d-47e), he explains how the structure of a human being parallels that of the universe through certain correspondences in body and soul. A human as a microcosm is also found in the Vedic tradition from ancient India. "Yatha Pindae, Thatha Brahmandae" (As is the body [microcosm], so is the universe [macrocosm]) is the phrase that is often used to describe the inter-relation between a human and the universe.
Indeed, human beings are very unique and special beings among all creatures existing on the earth. We cannot say that we are the only ones with intelligence or emotions, nor are we the only ones who use tools. But we can definitely say that we are the only ones who improved our lives beyond the imagination of our ancestors by passing on knowledge and creating effective systems of education. Yet, at the same time, we are the ones who have built a lifestyle that is very costly and even devastating to the entire eco-system of the earth! How do we really justify the extinction of numerous species and the harm done to the natural habitats in the name of supporting our desired lifestyle?
Sadly, one of the most common justification for this selfish consumption of nature has been the blessing of God in the Bible:"Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth (Genesis 1:28)." Yet, Genesis writes an equally important truth: we are made from the dust of the ground. What made us humans (or living beings) was the combination of the form made of the dirt and the breath of life from God.
In other words, what makes us so truly special is not the form, but the spirit within. Therefore, human beings were made for a very special purpose: to ensure the well-being of the whole created universe both spiritual and natural! The cultivation of a human being means, therefore, the cultivation of what is within (one's spirit) and what is without (one's body).
Cultivation of what is within is related to ensuring the well-being of spiritual realm, while cultivation of what is without is related to ensuring the well-being of the natural world. Consequently, if such a special being is focused only on it's own well-being and pleasure, wouldn't that be very selfish waste?
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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Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
thrones were set in place,
and an Ancient One took his throne;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
and its wheels were burning fire.
A stream of fire issued
and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousand served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand
stood attending him.
The court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.
As I watched in the night visions,
I saw one like a son of man
coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
and was presented before him.
To him was given dominion
and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
that shall never be destroyed.
In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. 'This', he said, 'is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'
So when they had come together, they asked him, 'Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?' He replied, 'It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.' When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'
From the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg
Arcana Coelestia §8106
Various places in the Word say that Jehovah appeared in a cloud, that He was clothed with a cloud, or that 'clouds were under His feet'. In those places 'cloud' is used to mean a dimming of truth; in particular the literal sense of the Word is meant, for in comparison with the internal sense the literal sense is a dimmed presentation of truth. This was meant by 'the cloud' when the Lord appeared in glory to Peter, James, and John; when He appeared to the people from Mount Sinai, and to Moses when he went in to Him there. The same was also meant by what the Lord declared so many times, that He would come in the clouds of heaven.
The literal sense of the Word is called 'a cloud' because the internal sense, which is called 'the glory', cannot be understood by anyone unless he has been regenerated and therefore enlightened. If the internal sense of the Word, or God's truth in its glory, were to appear in front of someone who has not been regenerated it would be like thick darkness in which he would see absolutely nothing, and also would leave him blind, that is, with no belief at all.
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