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Sermons

The Adoramus

July 06, 2010

Bible Reading

So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" They said, "The Lord needs it." Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

"Blessed is the king
     who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven,
     and glory in the highest heaven!"

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, order your disciples to stop." He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out."

As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God." (Luke 19:29-44)

Reading from Swedenborg

Adoration of the Lord

And adore Him that made the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters (Revelation 14:7), signifies that the Lord alone is to be worshiped, because He alone is the Creator Saviour, and Redeemer, and from Him alone are the angelic heaven and the church, and all things of them. "To adore" signifies to acknowledge as holy; therefore "to adore," when spoken of the Lord, signifies to acknowledge Him as the God of heaven and earth and to worship. "To make the heaven and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters," in the natural sense, means to create them, but in the spiritual sense it signifies to make the angelic heaven and the church, and all things of them. For by "heaven," in the spiritual sense, is signified the angelic heaven; by "the earth and the sea," in that sense, is signified the church internal and external, and by "fountains of waters" are signified all the truths of the Word serving the church for doctrine and life. Jehovah the Creator is the Lord from eternity, and the Lord the Savior and Redeemer is the Lord born in time, thus as to His Divine Human. Who cannot understand that one God is the Creator of the universe, and that there are not three Creators? as also that creation had for its end a heaven and church from the human race? Hence it is that by "making heaven and earth" is signified in the spiritual sense, to make the angelic heaven and the church. These things are said . . . because by "God the Father" no other is meant than the Lord . . . and because by "Father" is meant the Divine good of the Lord's Divine love. . . . Therefore it is also here said, "adore Him who made heaven, earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters." (Apocalypse Revealed #630)

Sermon

We worship the One God . . .

Central to our spiritual life is the reality that permeates and connects and grounds all of creation. This is the love and wisdom that is the One God. God is the Infinite and the Eternal and the only reality worthy of our worship. We cannot live a spiritually productive or fulfilling life if anything other than God is the focus of our worship. Therefore, we make our commitment to worship not money, not nature, not Swedenborg, or anything or anyone else than that which underlies all of these things--the One God.

. . . the Lord, the Savior Jesus Christ,

Ours is a God known by many names. We acknowledge that every person perceives and approaches God in his or her own way. Some people relate better to God the Creator, or to Jehovah or Allah; some think of God as the Father of Heaven, while others address the Mother of Life. All of these names apply, because the One God is all of these things and more, existing and moving beyond our limited ability to comprehend.

. . . the Redeemer of the world:

We acknowledge that God alone is the source of our spiritual progress, and that without God's love and guidance there would be no possibility of enlightenment. This love and guidance so necessary for our growth come to us freely we do not have to earn them or prove our worthiness. We only have to receive them.

. . . in whom is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit;

The early church was of a notion that there was not one but three ruling consciousnesses governing all of creation. There are even some well-rendered medieval and Renaissance paintings depicting an old man on one throne, a younger man next to him on another throne, and a dove in between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Swedenborg took great pains to communicate that this was a misunderstanding of the Word. There is only one indivisible God which people perceive in different ways. The concept of Trinity describes creation, not God, in that there are three discrete levels of reality, which Swedenborg labeled the natural world, the spiritual world, and the celestial world. The natural world is that of our physical senses; the spiritual world is the realm of good and truth, of thought and feeling; and the celestial world is where God's love and wisdom exist untainted in the purest state.

. . . whose Humanity is divine:

Everything exists in Trinity. We have physical manifestations, minds, and spirits. Objects have atoms, forms, and purposes. Unfortunately, in our daily lives we often forget to acknowledge the spiritual and celestial dimensions of things because the natural is most obvious; it's easy to treat things as if the natural is all that is. When we talk about a Lord "whose Humanity is divine," we're acknowledging that God is equally present at all levels of Creation even the most material and mundane aspects of life have the divine being as their essence.

. . . who for our salvation did come into the world and take our nature upon him.

Here is where we address the work that Jesus accomplished. Before Jesus was born into the world, people had lost sight of the truth and had closed themselves off to inspiration. By choosing their own way in life instead of what God inspired in them, people gradually lost their sensitivity to God's insight.

The barrier between their world and the spiritual world became more established, more habitual, to the point where they did not fully realize they had other options than choosing their own way. The work of Jesus was to open people up once again to the influence of God's love and wisdom.

He endured temptation, even to the passion of the cross.

As you may guess, this was not easy. The world's pull was very strong, and there were times when even Jesus of Nazareth was affected by doubt and uncertainty. During these times he always made a conscious effort to open himself up to the divine reality, even when faced with the most overwhelming temptations to refuse his purpose--"even to the passion of the cross."

He overcame the hells and so delivered us.

Jesus of Nazareth grew out of his own hells and shared the spiritual insights he gained with the people around him, helping them to open themselves to a better way of life. By practicing and applying the love that Jesus taught them, they became more sensitive to the direct influence of God in their own lives.

He glorified his Humanity, uniting it with the divinity of which it was begotten.

He overcame everything in him that separated him from the One God and was spiritually transformed by the experience. The best way I have found to describe glorification is to use a word out of science fiction. In Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein defines the word grok as understanding something to such a degree that you become conjoined--you become one--with that something. Jesus grokked God. Through the same spiritual process that we all undergo--that is, repentance, reformation, and regeneration--Jesus of Nazareth grew in awareness to a point where he was in complete harmony with the Creator and was no longer bound by the limitations of the world. This is the point where he became "Christ."

Without this, no mortal could have been saved:

We refer to Jesus Christ as our "Savior" because without his ministry we as a people would have closed ourselves off completely from the influence of God's love. We were involved in a very strong trend toward making our hells the ruling influence in our lives.

. . . and they are saved who believe in him and keep the commandments of his Word.

Even today, without the influence of God's love and wisdom in our conscious awareness, we are susceptible to becoming overwhelmed by our own hells. These are different for every person we all walk our own path but we also share the common hells that all human beings must contend with. We are exposed to the love and wisdom we need for growth in a healthy church community, in our healthy family relation-ships, in the love extended to us by everyone we meet, and through the truths expressed in the word of God as we perceive it. Further, we are called upon to express the love that we receive so that our connection with the divine will be strengthened and the state of heaven that results can be shared. In the language of the Adoramus: This is his commandment; that we love one another, as he has loved us.

Rev. Eric Hoffman