From Rev. John Odhner, Assistant to the Pastor
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 died and those who lived through their efforts to bring that peace. The teachings for the New Church tell us that a soldier who looks to the Lord before a battle, wanting only to defend what is good, may die—dying in the Lord; or live—living in the Lord (Charity 166), either way belonging to the Lord (see Romans 14:8).
Millennia-old prophecies tell of a time when war will cease: I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and He shall speak peace unto the nations (Zech. 9:10). They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3) We might expect that the Second Coming of the Lord would bring a more peaceful world. Yet the goal of a peaceful world seems terribly elusive. The Writings explain: “The future state of the world will be exactly the same as it has been up to now; for the mighty change which has taken place in the spiritual world does not cause any change in the external appearance of the natural world. So just as before there will be politics, peace treaties, alliances and wars, and all the other general and particular features of society.” (Last Judgment 73)
I don’t know whether in this temporal world we will again experience an age of political, worldly peace. I do know that the Lord’s goal is to bring us to deeper, eternal peace: Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27) The Lord’s peace touches us on the deepest levels. The Lord is working within us even when we go through troubles and struggles, and are attacked by demons and evil spirits. “Despite this a state of peace exists with us inmostly. But for its presence inmostly we would not put up any fight at all, for in all the conflicts we experience we see that state as the end in view. If that end were not in view, we would never have the power and strength to fight. And this is also what enables us to overcome.” (Secrets of Heaven 3696:2)

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