I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. –John 15:11
Dear members and friends,
As a pastor of a small church, which belongs to a very tiny denomination in North America, from time to time I entertain thoughts about the current condition of our church: why is it so small? Whenever I share why and what I believe in Swedenborgianism with visitors to the church, one of the most common reactions I receive is, “Wow, that is so true!” Despite their enthusiasm, few actually bother themselves to show up on Sunday morning, let alone end up joining the church community as members.
When reflecting on this trend, I was not overly concerned about why the people are not joining our church – the Swedenborgian Church – but rather about why people actually need to cultivate their minds with religious principles. I realized the truth that believing in God is not automatically the same as joining a religious community or organization. And, neither is the spiritual cultivation the same as obtaining membership of a renowned congregation or institution. For instance, simply because one joins a Christian church, it does not automatically that the person truly believes in God. Or if one refuses to join a Christian church, it does not automatically mean that the person does not believe in God. All religious institutions were made by humans for the sake of their own fulfillment.
One thing that surely makes a small change in our own individual lives is to acknowledge oneself as a spiritual being and thus to start providing nourishments for one’s spiritual growth. There are many matters, issues, ideas, and teachings influencing our minds at any given moment. However, the ones that actually make a difference are those that we acknowledge as true and thus are willing to implement in our lives. For instance, Jesus teaches in John, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” Wouldn’t it be great to experience this complete joy that Jesus promises? The first step toward this complete joy is to acknowledge that Jesus’ teachings are true!
May our God lead you to inner peace, joy, fulfillment and security.
Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee