Past Messages

Previous Messages from the Pastors

Peace

Peace

Written by on November 12, 2019

As I write this, it is Monday morning, approaching the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the hour the Armistice was signed ending the Great War 101 years ago. This moment is a time for gratitude that war can come to an end, and a time to remember both those who […]

What Does the Lord Require of Us?

What Does the Lord Require of Us?

Written by on November 6, 2019

The answer to the above question given through the prophet Micah is, “To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) Is this a heavy burden? Sometimes it certainly seems to be one. When we are strongly inclined to do something that is unjust, lacking in mercy, or arrogant […]

HALLOWE’EN

HALLOWE’EN

Written by on October 29, 2019

On Thursday this week, we celebrate Hallowe’en, loved by children because of its costumes and candy. Its origins are Catholic, celebrating the eve of All Saints Day. Here is something from Wikipedia about it: Hallowe’en (a contraction of Hallows’ Even or Hallows’ Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is […]

Finding Innocence

Finding Innocence

Written by on October 22, 2019

When we look at children, we can marvel at their unselfconscious innocence. There is so much charm in their willingness to trust and to see the good in things. The spontaneous affection they can show pierces my heart, as I’m sure it does yours. Children’s innocence is beautiful but brittle because children are helpless to […]

I Will Fear No Evil (Psalm 23:4)

I Will Fear No Evil (Psalm 23:4)

Written by on October 15, 2019

What will tomorrow bring? None of us knows for sure. But each of us has patterns of expectation that color our perspective. These patterns of expectation are fostered by communities of spirits in the next life and can tend to be either healthy and hopeful or destructive and negative in outlook. Our view of the […]

Angels

Angels

Written by on October 7, 2019

This past weekend many visitors came to Bryn Athyn to enjoy Charter Day celebrations. Someone I had not seen in 45 years greeted me with a warm smile and a bear hug. There is something wonderful about reuniting with people with whom we have shared values and faith. It was particularly heartwarming to see the […]

Society Semi-Annual Meeting Reflections

Society Semi-Annual Meeting Reflections

Written by on October 1, 2019

We had a very interesting semi-annual meeting last week and I thought I would highlight a couple of things that came up because they have implications for the congregation going forward. Rev. Eric Carswell raised the issue of quorums at our meetings. Our bylaws state that we need to have at least 150 people present […]

Swedenborg Foundation News

Swedenborg Foundation News

Written by on September 24, 2019

As we officially begin the fall season this week, the Swedenborg Foundation just had its fall Board meeting this past weekend, held at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern. There are 16 board members, plus assorted associate board members and staff. This week we celebrated the fact that Lisa Hyatt Cooper has just completed the translation […]

Led by the Light and Shade of the Lord’s Providence

Led by the Light and Shade of the Lord’s Providence

Written by on September 10, 2019

I’ve enjoyed the warm weather this summer, but as the summer begins its slow change into autumn, I’m looking forward to the cooler weather. My fair skin is easily burned, and during the blistering heat of summer, I often seek out the refuge and comfort of the shade, away from the sun. Bryn Athyn Church […]

Hurricanes

Hurricanes

Written by on September 3, 2019

High winds and flooding have destroyed or damaged 13,000 homes in the most powerful hurricane to hit the Bahamas since records were kept. Along with the 185 mph winds are political storms—debates over whether people have made the weather worse. Some passages from the Word that seem to attribute the storms to the Lord: Thus […]

Free Books

Free Books

Written by on August 27, 2019

At last Sunday evening’s organ vespers, attended by over 350 people most of whom were not members of the congregation, we gave away plenty of books. We have a good supply of books of the Writings in Russian, but we almost never sell any of them. Quite a few people were at the vespers who […]

The Spiritual Needs and Natural Needs

The Spiritual Needs and Natural Needs

Written by on August 20, 2019

The Lord guided Swedenborg to inscribe the beginning of the first volume of the Arcana Caelestia with the quotation: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) Some might think that these words are a call to attend only to spiritual ideas and […]

Celebrating the Sun

Celebrating the Sun

Written by on August 13, 2019

On this very pleasant summer day, I hear the distant drone of a lawnmower and the quiet swish of my dishwasher, but the dominant sounds in my ears are the cicadas, crickets and birds. Crickets make fairly good thermometers. Dolbear’s Law says that you can count the number of chirps a cricket makes in 14 […]

Just Right

Just Right

Written by on August 5, 2019

We all know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Papa bear’s porridge was too hot, and mama bear’s porridge was too cold, but baby bear’s was just right. I doubt many of you would say the weather recently has been just right. It’s been a very hot summer, with records being set all […]

News from the Swedenborg Foundation

News from the Swedenborg Foundation

Written by on July 30, 2019

I don’t know how many readers of the Post are also regular viewers of the “Swedenborg and Life” YouTube series, with Curtis Childs and Rev. Dr. Jonathan Rose. I was excited to see that their YouTube channel now has over 77,000 subscribers, and that a video posted on June 24 has 106,645 views as of […]

Finding Joy

Finding Joy

Written by on July 8, 2019

The theme for Laurel Camp this year is “Finding Joy.” The Lord wants all of us to get to experience joy, because that is who He is: “As God is love itself, He is also blessedness itself… and happiness itself.” (True Christianity 43.4) The Lord wants to share His joy with us forever, which is […]

Independence Day

Independence Day

Written by on July 2, 2019

The Lord said to Israel through Moses, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) Moses said these words when the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the edge of the promised land of Canaan. They had been freed […]

Bryn Athyn Regional Clergy Meetings

Bryn Athyn Regional Clergy Meetings

Written by on June 25, 2019

This past week, after the wonderful indoor pageant celebrating June 19th on a day that was too rainy for a picnic, Bryn Athyn Church hosted the regional clergy meetings. About 25 ministers attended, and there were eleven presentations. The following were the topics discussed: • New Bishop’s Session (Rt. Rev. Peter Buss, Jr.): Pete discussed […]

What Comes First?

What Comes First?

Written by on June 18, 2019

Often in life, we are faced with putting one thing ahead of another and what we choose to put first has a huge effect on all the other things. Is work the priority at this point or is it my family? Is being assertive or accommodating what needs to take the lead in this situation? […]

COMMENCEMENT

COMMENCEMENT

Written by on June 10, 2019

At this time of year many of us are thinking about the end of school and graduation. I’ve always thought it was interesting that graduation ceremonies are often called a “commencement” ceremony–a “beginning” ceremony. The “end” of school is the “beginning” of something new. I think that is an appropriate way to think about many […]

Education and Evangelization

Education and Evangelization

Written by on June 4, 2019

There is a close relationship between what makes for effective education and what makes for effective evangelization. In both, the Lord makes use of what we can do and say to teach and lead young children and teens to better lives, and what we do and say also helps young people and adults who are […]

Remembering

Remembering

Written by on May 29, 2019

We just celebrated Memorial Day, when we honor those who gave their lives in defense of their country. My grandfather died in World War II so this time means a lot to me. It reminds me strongly of my grandmother, of the hard times she experienced as a widow with three children under the age […]

The Expanse Between the Waters

The Expanse Between the Waters

Written by on May 21, 2019

On Day Two of Creation, God created a firmament or an expanse between the waters below and the waters above (see Genesis 1:6-8). “And God called the firmament (or expanse) Heaven.” (Genesis 1:8) The Writings tell us that this represents the way that the Lord creates “a distinction between the inner and the outer being….The […]

Fooled by Spectrum

Fooled by Spectrum

Written by on May 14, 2019

“Fooled by Spectrum” is the title of a talk aired last week by Seth Godin on his “Akimbo” podcast. He says that in 1950, only 9% of American households had a TV but by 1961, 90% of them did. According Godin this changed the world. Conversely, a similar change that has happened since the year […]

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

Written by on May 7, 2019

Perhaps the first effort to establish a day for mothers was by Julia Ward Howe, a reader of the Writings who crusaded to end slavery, oppression of women, and war. Her “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was indeed a battle hymn, inspiring hundreds of thousands to join the fight against slavery. (Another popular war song […]

A Hallmark of Angelic Intelligence

A Hallmark of Angelic Intelligence

Written by on April 30, 2019

In the book Heaven and Hell the Lord makes what might seem like a surprising assertion about what constitutes the chief point of angelic intelligence (Heaven and Hell 59). This hallmark of intelligence is that all of the angels and of the communities of angels that make up heaven, when seen as a functional whole, […]

Making Easter Real

Making Easter Real

Written by on April 22, 2019

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebration this last weekend. In many ways, it is the most important event in the history of humanity. Because He perfected His humanity, the God of heaven and earth became present with us in a way that was not possible before that. He can touch our spirits […]

Glorified

Glorified

Written by on April 16, 2019

At Christmastime, we celebrate the new Light of the Lord coming into the world. The Lord’s Love enters our lives in the form of His Truth. This is a wonderful thing. We can’t really know Love itself unless it takes on a form, which is Truth. That’s when we begin to see the Light and […]

What is Lent?

What is Lent?

Written by on April 9, 2019

When Easter is approaching people sometimes wonder why Bryn Athyn Church does not mention or practice “Lent” and other Christian customs that are part of what is called the “liturgical year.” Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks, ending on Holy Thursday, often called Maundy Thursday. “Maundy” is the […]

Spring Forward

Spring Forward

Written by on April 2, 2019

Internet sources tell us that Daylight Saving Time was first instituted in Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1908. There have been many rationales offered for its adoption in places around the world. The most convincing appears to be the theory that it saves energy. Less lighting and heating are required (according to this contested theory) when […]

Help in Hard Times

Help in Hard Times

Written by on March 26, 2019

I find that the teachings for the New Church are amazingly helpful in all kinds of situations. One teaching has been about the spiritual temptations that are a part of the regenerative process. The literal meaning of the Word does not say very much about temptations. We know that the Lord went through temptations in […]

Finding Hope Event

Finding Hope Event

Written by on March 18, 2019

Saturday, April 6, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm Have you ever been knocked over with grief? Have you ever had that moment when something traumatic has happened to someone you love and you’ve been paralyzed–unsure of what to say or how to help? Have you ever felt isolated because of experiences around loss, addiction, abuse, […]

Naming the Animals

Naming the Animals

Written by on March 12, 2019

In Genesis chapter one, God created the animals, and then said that humanity should “have dominion” over them (Genesis 1:24-28). In Genesis chapter two, Adam gave names to all the animals. And then right after that is the story of the creation of Eve (see Genesis 2:18-24). The Writings say that animals represent our feelings […]

Our Plans and the Lord’s Plans

Our Plans and the Lord’s Plans

Written by on February 26, 2019

We need to plan for the future; we know that. We plan our finances, our vacations, and our fitness goals. We plan for Christmas, for how we raise our children, and for our careers. Bryn Athyn Church is also working on a strategic plan so we can achieve our goals better. But what are our […]

Strategic Planning Committee Survey Results

Strategic Planning Committee Survey Results

Written by on February 19, 2019

Last fall we invited people to fill out a survey giving input on some of the roles and activities that the staff and the board had identified as significant. Thank you to the nearly 250 people who made time to give both responses to how well they saw the roles and activities going, and also […]

Forever Love

Forever Love

Written by on February 12, 2019

Romantic songs often talk about a kind of love that can last forever, or a love that will never die. Sometimes in the struggles that we face in relationships and marriage, we can wonder if that kind of love is really possible. Part of what people love so much about the New Church concept of […]

The Boynton Beach Retreat

The Boynton Beach Retreat

Written by on February 5, 2019

Last week Allyn and I attended the Boynton Beach Retreat, which was held at the Duncan Center in Delray Beach, Florida, and hosted by Boynton Beach New Church. There were about 75 registrants, and we had a great time, with programs in the mornings and free time in the afternoons. The presenters were Rev. Eric […]

When the Going Gets Tough…

When the Going Gets Tough…

Written by on January 29, 2019

People sometimes refer to this time of the year as the “winter doldrums.” Spring is just too far ahead to inspire immediate hope for relief. The cold and the gray skies can send us into a downward spiral. It can be tough going just getting out of bed. So what can be done? There are […]

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

Written by on January 23, 2019

Imagine you had something important to tell a good friend. As you talk with him about it, he isn’t paying much attention to what you are saying. He is caught up in so many personal issues on his mind that the inner conversation in his head drowns out your words. If your concern was important […]

Snow

Snow

Written by on January 14, 2019

It seems we often have a kind of love-hate relationship with snow. It’s very pretty and festive. It’s fun to play in. It sometimes allows for the joy of snow days. But on the other hand, it causes disruptions to us being able to do our jobs; it causes driving difficulties and accidents. And it […]

Lucky Breaks

Lucky Breaks

Written by on January 8, 2019

As long as I have been watching football I have seen coaches call timeouts just before field goal attempts in an effort to “ice the kicker.” The only time that I ever remember it working was at the end of Sunday’s Eagles-Bears Wild Card matchup. By the time we knew of the timeout, Cody Parkey’s […]

The Wisdom of Experience?

The Wisdom of Experience?

Written by on January 2, 2019

As we begin a new calendar year, many people look back on the previous year, reflecting on the changes that have occurred, and on the major and minor events of significance. Sometimes we can gratefully sense “Another year has passed and I believe that I am not only older, but I’m a wiser person.” A […]

Christmas Angels

Christmas Angels

Written by on December 17, 2018

The Lord’s birth was a time when angels drew near the earth with messages of hope, joy and peace. “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid…” (Matthew 1:20) “Arise, take the young Child and His mother…” (Matthew 2:13, 20) “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard…. And you will have joy […]

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree

Written by on December 11, 2018

The Christmas tree began to be used in Medieval and Renaissance times in Europe. Though its use had some connection to pagan rituals, it has some wonderful connection to Christian symbolism as well. Many people decorate their Christmas trees with a star or an angel at the top. These symbolize the star of Bethlehem from […]

The Spirit of Christmas

The Spirit of Christmas

Written by on December 4, 2018

As much as we may love Christmas, it is only natural that feelings of anxiety also play their part in the season. This is true of most important events in our lives. The more meaningful these events are to us, the greater leverage the fears have. It is only natural to have the feeling that […]

Waiting for the Lord

Waiting for the Lord

Written by on November 26, 2018

The New Church asserts that the Lord’s birth and life in this world was a crucial event for each of us today. Although it hardly achieved any historical reference at the time, the results of Jesus’ life had huge and powerful consequences. The faith of the New Church in its universal form asserts the importance […]

New Church Thanksgiving

New Church Thanksgiving

Written by on November 20, 2018

This Thursday many of us will attend the largest regular New Church worship service (with the possible exception of our New Church Day Pageant). All our congregations will gather in one place. A thousand people will sing, pray and hear the Word, to give thanks to our Creator and Savior. In many ways at Thanksgiving […]

Veterans’ Day

Veterans’ Day

Written by on November 12, 2018

This week we honor veterans who have served in the defense of their country. Swedenborg describes charity in the case of soldiers: “If they look to the Lord and shun evils as sins, and if they act honestly, justly, and faithfully… they are doing the goods of use that are goods of charity. And because […]

The Lord’s Patient Leading

The Lord’s Patient Leading

Written by on October 30, 2018

As we get older we often have the uncomfortable experience of coming to realize that the motives that have driven our actions are not as good as we thought. It is painful when we see that pride or a desire to be noticed were much bigger parts of our lives than we had thought. When […]

The Possibility of Bells for the Cathedral

The Possibility of Bells for the Cathedral

Written by on October 23, 2018

Some time ago at a Society meeting, I mentioned the possibility of bells for the Cathedral. A donor has offered to pay the cost of this installation. Initially the envisioned project had some dauntingly complex elements, which have now been eliminated. When the Cathedral was originally being designed and built, the installation of bells was […]

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