The Stream of Providence


From Swedenborg’s Arcana Caelestia 8478:3, 4 we learn that:

Those who trust in the Divine, though concerned about the future, are not anxious or worried. They remain even-tempered whether or not they realise desires and they do not grieve over loss. They are content with their lot. If they become wealthy they do not become infatuated with wealth. If they are promoted to important positions they do not consider themselves worthier than others. If they become poor they areĀ  not made miserable either. They know that for those who trust in the Divine, all things are moving towards an everlasting state of happiness and that, no matter what happens at any time to them, it contributes to that state.

The Divine Providence is over all, that is, it is present within the smallest details of all, and people in the stream of providence are being carried along constantly towards happier things, whatever appearance the means may present. Those in the stream of providence are people who trust in the Divine and attribute everything to God. But those not in the stream of providence are people who trust in themselves alone and attribute everything to themselves.

The whole universe is governed by the Divine Being, who is God. God is love and this love flows out to each and every created thing, bringing joy and peace to those who receive it and allow it to flow through them into the world. With God’s love flowing into us, we need never be anxious because we know that, whatever happens to us in life, that love will sustain us and make us grow to be the person we were created to be. No one needs to fear what the future may hold because, if they trust in the Divine, they will be carried along in the stream of God’s providence, which will take them to a good end.



A Legend Brought to Life

Earth and Sky

As this is Maori language week here in New Zealand, I thought I would offer you a different angle on the Maori legend of Ranginui and Papatuanuku and the solutions that may be drawn from it to address the problems of today.

In the beginning, Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatuanuku (Earth Mother) were united in a firm embrace. But they were forced apart by their many offspring, who wanted space, independence and freedom from their parent. Ranginui’s light shone dimly and coldly with the warmth of his mate, Papatuanuku, who lay in darkness.

The Powerful Ones trampled Papatuanuku underfoot. They stole the cold light of truth from Ranginui and from it formed Authority over the others. They twisted it into harsh Rules and unfair Regulations. This lead to oppression, injustice, inequality, anger, bitterness, and strife among the people, some of which has lasted to this very day.

What is the answer? What can we do?

We must bring the spirits of Ranginui and Papatuanuku back together again. Let Papatuanuku’s nurturing, loving qualities warm and soften the cold light of truth, making it flexible, yielding and fair. And let Ranginui’s light brighten and give direction to Papatuanuku’s love so we can act wisely for the good of all people. May the union of their spirits give birth to new offspring – Forgiveness, Wisdom, Justice linked with Mercy, Kindness, Compassion, Equality, Peace, Harmony, and Freedom. Let us embrace these offspring and become a united people, caring for one another, and each one of us taking responsibility for the care and protection of this beautiful land.


Lessons from the Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel

Do we really want to be the laughing stock of the universe?

Throughout history people have built buildings to symbolise their status, power and wealth. The Egyptian pyramids were examples of such statements. This is why the Twin Towers in the U.S.A. were terrorist targets. They were seen as symbols of wealth, power and oppression. Even churches and temples purportedly built to glorify God were often really built to glorify their sponsors.

The tower of Babel in the Bible represents the way mankind can build a complex of religious beliefs which appears to lead to the happiness of heaven. However, as the story illustrates, man-made bricks were used and not stone. Stones represent God given truth, but bricks are like the fallacious ideas and reasonings created by people and hardened into shape by the heat of their self-centredness and their desire to rule others. The bitument they used instead of mortar represents the evils which bind these ideas together. Through well-constructed, manipulative arguments, people can be united in their belief that this way of life leads to the happiness of heaven. Such a belief structure appears to unify people through many years but, because God loves mankind, there comes a time when He reveals the reality of this false unity. Human history shows how cruel and inhuman ideologies which seem to promise so much eventually collapse because the lies they are based on eventually become apparent to all.

Self-centredness can unify people to a certain point but its true nature is wanting one’s own way. So, although a society can appear to ‘speak one language,’ in reality it is as divided as a den of thieves when it comes to sharing the spoil. Then the confusion of Babel (everyone speaking different languages) is revealed, as everyone wants their own way. At a very worldly level it is like Pyramid Selling, which is based on the false promise that everyone will gain, whereas only those as the top do.

The religions of the world are facing a Babel moment now over who is God. Intuitively, there can only be one God who is Creator, yet so many believe that their particular God is the one. Any alien visiting us from outer space will not be able to believe there is such confusion. We will be the laughing stock of the universe. Swedenborg offers this insight. That there is one God, who is pure Love, pure Wisdom and pure Life, and He has revealed Himself to mankind in different forms to suit different ethnic cultures and temperaments. He has done this so that He can have a relationship with each of us in the historical and religious context we were brought up in. From our tendency to be self-centred, we have tended to diminish the Love and Wisdom of God by making Him small, conditional, exclusive like us. The situation we have reminds me of the words of Shelley’s ‘Ozymandius:’

My name is Ozymandius, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair! Nothing beside remains; round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away.

We can but hope that, in some way, God through His Divine Love can truly unite His very divided people. Then we can truly speak with one voice.

Rev. John Sutton