In the teachings for the New Church, we are told of Swedenborg’s conversations with angels about the future state of the New Church after the Last Judgment had taken place in the World of Spirits. This Last Judgment has been foretold in the book of Revelation. The apparent massive destruction it describes was really a revelation of a reality that had been twisted by evil fantasies.
The angels were quite clear that they did not know what was going to happen for the New Church in this world. The Lord alone knows the future. But they did know that the nearly inescapable slavery and captivity that had previously filled so many people’s hearts and minds in the Christian world had been taken away. Because of the Judgment that took place in the life after death together with the establishment of the New Church, people in this world have been better able to perceive the deeper truths necessary for living a wise and useful life. For those who seek it, this life is now possible (Last Judgment 74).
The Lord wants each of us to grow in our wisdom and love. He wants us to consciously work to make better decisions in what we do and do not do, and how we work to help others. He wants us to seek His help in breaking old habits of thought and action, and forming new ones.
We can also have a longing to know the future of this congregation, but likewise it is known only by the Lord. We do have many opportunities to play a role in what happens. We are invited to use the best understanding we can and seek the wisest values from the Lord to guide what each of us will and will not do. The Doctrine of Life opens with the assertion that all religion has to do with the way we live our lives and that the life of religion is to do good and useful things. While we are not a perfect community, I am uplifted by the observations I hear from people who have come to know about this congregation and sense that there is something special about Bryn Athyn. I hope we can continue to be a congregation that seeks the Lord’s love and wisdom as we live our lives and serve each other. I have been grateful for all the people I get to work with on this cause. I look forward to seeing the energy, insight and caring that I believe Derek Elphick will bring to his role as head pastor.
One thing we can be sure of this is that the Lord wants the New Church to grow and thrive in this world. He wants people to be guided by the true ideas He has revealed. The Lord wants us to take good care of each other. Through our efforts, in cooperation with the Lord, we can bless others and be blessed ourselves. Could we wish for a better future?