It all Begins with a Seed

seedling

For gardeners it is again a time of sowing in hope. Seeds, some of which are like dust, are sown in the hope that they will grow. The gumboot patrol are also finding that there are thousands of unseen weed seeds in the soil which are now growing into plants. I am amazed at the tenacity of these tiny forms of life. They can grow in very inhospitable places, such as cracks in concrete and in the bark of trees. Despite this, they survive and even crack concrete and the tree becomes a host. For me they are a wonderful testament to the resilience of the Lord’s life, for each seed is a vessel of His life.

“… like a tree, a person who is being born again begins from a seed, which is why in the Word (Bible) ‘seed’ means truth obtained from goodness. Also, like a tree, he brings forth leaves, then blossoms, and finally fruit; for he brings forth the kind of things that belong to intelligence, which again in the Word are meant by ‘leaves,’ then the kind of things that belong to wisdom, which are meant be ‘blossoms,’ and finally the kind of things that are matters of life, namely forms of the goodness of love and charity expressed in action which, in the Word, are meant by ‘fruits.'”

This quote from Swedenborg’s ‘Secrets of Heaven’ takes my thoughts further and gives me hope that the Lord’s truth can lie hidden in the most unlikely places of human hearts and minds and yet show the same resilience as a seed. Like seeds, those truths can be so small as to remain unnoticed within us, until the time is ripe for the Lord to flow into them and bring them to our awareness. As with the innumerable seeds in any patch of soil, so there must be innumerable ideas of truth in any person and community waiting for the right conditions to grow. I remember driving past the remains of bombed out buildings after the war and seeing them come alive with all kinds of so called weeds.

I take hope from these plant seeds that in all lives there are wonderfully resilient seeds of truth which the Lord has placed there which can change peoples’ lives for the good.

As in the story of the sower, seeds of truth can grow for all kinds of reasons: self-interest (I need to be accepted), short term enthusiasm for them, etc. The Lord uses these reasons to eventually, with our permission, lead us to love these truths because of the unselfish, honest and life of integrity they bring us.

The Lord’s church’s role is to help Him plant His seeds in peoples’ lives and encourage them to grow into beautiful and fruitful human beings.

With every good wish, John.

 

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Springtime

daffodils

I always get a lift when spring is in the air. Flowers, new green leaves, the fragrance in the air, the sight of newborn lambs, the buzzing of bees, and the sun shining through. After the grey of winter, I can’t help noticing the beauty of nature in the springtime and giving glory to the Creator of it all.

“A force is instilled into everything that has been created. However, that force does not do anything on its own; it depends on the One who instilled it … Look at a silkworm or a bee or some little creature and examine it, first physically, then rationally and, finally spiritually. If you can think deeply, you will be stunned at everything. If you listen to the inner voice of wisdom, you will exclaim in amazement, “Can anyone fail to see Divinity here? These are the marks of Divine Wisdom!”

Beyond this even, if you look at the functions of everything that has been created, you will see how they follow in sequence all the way to humanity, and from us to our source, the Creator. You will see how the connectedness of everything depends on the Creator’s union with us. And, if you are willing to admit it, the preservation of everything depends on this as well.” (a quote from Swedenborg’s Divine Providence)

The natural world is a theatre representative of God’s spiritual kingdom. There is deeper meaning in the changes of the seasons and also in the growth and development of plants through all their stages. These reflect our own spiritual growth- our reformation and regeneration- the process of becoming the person we were created to be – our being made all new. We don’t have to know all the details to appreciate God’s handiwork in all of His creation. However, knowing that there are messages for us in what we see enhances our appreciation of it. We can see heaven in a single flower!

Jenny

Knowing Where We Are

Starry sky

I have only used GPS once. GPS navigation aid depends on four or more of 32 satellites being able to have an unobstructed “view” of the car’s receiver. Each satellite continually emits a signal of its time and position. Our receiver can calculate where it is by amalgamating the four signals. It is all very clever. However, as some have found out, it is not completely fool proof. One woman was sent 900 miles out of her way, others trusted and ended up in rivers, or stuck on bike or railway tracks.

Someone has pointed out that there is a big difference between using GPS and using the stars. Imagine travelling to a destination on a dark night. GPS tells you exactly where YOU are but not where anything else is. (Sounds totally self-centred). With the stars you are looking up and know where you are and in which direction you need to go. (Okay, stars do not work on a cloudy night and GPS does). There are also maps and map readers; “Turn left here. Oh, sorry, that should have been right.” Yes well, human beings are fallible.

I wondered what these ways of finding our way could illustrate about spiritual guidance. What could GPS stand for? It is a wonderful trinity of letters for spiritual things: God’s providential stream; God’s planning scheme, God’s personal salvation. Well that’s a few to start with. You can add your own.

Perhaps GPS does not illustrate anything to do with God. It relies on man-made guidance which we are asked to trust and follow. So it could stand for Growing Personal Self-satisfaction. M’mmm well, spiritually that really is fraught with the likelihood of ending up in the wrong place. Like my GPS receiver, it will be very self-centred. Looking up to the heavens and observing its GPS; God’s Planets and Stars, really alters my view of my place in the scheme of things. Stars used to be the only way to find our way across the earth. Some people belive they determine people’s fate. Spiritually they represent higher knowledges of truth. These ask us to look up above our loves of self and the world and seek guidance from God. The world has been gifted with many forms of higher truth. Almost without exception they contain the essence of the ten commandments and the two great commandments.

Many in the world seem to have lost a sense of life’s true purpose and direction. They follow man made guidance. Sometime in the future the world will once again look up and behold the work of the hands of their loving and wise creator.

With all good wishes, John.