Pastors’ Blog

Weekly reflections on religion and what's going on in the world.

Community

Rev. John Odhner

8/16/22

In a few week, we will have our first community worship service at the Cathedral. Instead of our custom of four separate church services aimed at different parts of the
congregation, we will gather in a single service designed to bring us all together. We have had whole community worship services on Thanksgiving Day and New Church Day; now we have an opportunity to have a similar celebration every month.

Many of us are familiar with the idea that “love is feeling the joy of another as joy in oneself” (Divine Love & Wisdom 47). When the whole community gathers, we may feel the joy of many others as joy in ourselves.

The angelic state is such that everyone conveys his or her own blessings and happiness to others. In the next life, there is a communication and keen perception of all feelings and thoughts, so that in the sharing of joy each communicates to all and all to each, which essentially makes every individual the center of all the rest. This is how heaven is set up. As a result, the more people there are to make up the Lord's kingdom, the greater the happiness is; it increases as the numbers increase. This is why heavenly happiness is inexpressible. (Secrets of Heaven 459)

The happiness of everyone in general is communicated to each individual in particular; and the happiness of each individual is communicated to everyone.... People who reciprocate the love of others find their supreme happiness in the opportunity to share with others what they themselves receive, and to do so from the heart. (Secrets of Heaven 2057)

I think of this community service as a way for us to share with each other our joy in the blessings the Lord has given us, and that shared joy is greater as it involves a larger community. That is one reason why “Love for a community is a fuller form of love for our neighbor than love for a single individual” (True Christianity 412).

One of the ways we share the blessings and joy the Lord has given us is through useful service. Our hope is that these community worship services will inspire more people to actively participate in serving others. “Heavenly love is a love for usefulness because it is useful; it is a love for the good things that we do for our church, our country, human society, and people in our area because they are good things to do.” (True Christianity 400.5)

If you are inspired to make these events an even more joyful celebrations, check out the community worship services on BrynAthynChurch.org/worship/community, or contact Nina Dewees, our Volunteer Coordinator, at Nina.Dewees@BrynAthynChurch.org, 215-947-6225 x206.