Is your perception is limited?

Dear members and friends,

Then [Jesus] began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

Luke 4:21-22

About 2,500 years ago, a wiseman in the West challenged people regarding what it means to know. At about the same time, a wiseman in the East taught his disciples about what it means to know as well. Though the way they taught it and the reason for speaking about it were different, their point was the same: people often tend to believe they know without really understanding what it means to make such a claim or what it means to know something. The wiseman in the West was called Socrates, while the wiseman in the East was called Confucius. 

There is a saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” What this often means is that people fail to see the larger picture, because they are focused on a small and narrow spot. This could also be applicable to those who are extremely self-centered, so that they could not see any other perspective but their own. According to Emanuel Swedenborg, people are innately focused on the materialistic and physical way of living and being, and thus are not capable of perceiving the spiritual reality within which their true existence resides. Thus, Jesus teaches, “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63) 

People have a strong tendency to only believe what they can see with their own eyes as real, and what makes sense to their mind. However, the challenge is that the exact accuracy and perception of the human eyes is questionable, and what makes sense to one’s mind is strongly aligned to one’s own preferences and prejudices. According to Jesus, these are all from the flesh, meaning from this materialistic world, which is essentially useless. The ultimate purpose of following Jesus, therefore, is not about expecting to receive blessings for a richer and fuller life on earth, but about learning truth to cultivate spirit and life within which we truly exist. 

My brothers and sisters in God, let us take a moment of reflection on our life on earth. Let us acknowledge and embrace the truth that we are here temporarily. Then, let us pray to our God for wisdom and courage to cultivate what is of spirit and life.   

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee