The Spiritual Needs and Natural Needs

From Rev. Eric Carswell, Head Pastor
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 goals. However, if this means that people are not giving wise attention to natural issues or considering what they are or are not doing on a daily basis such people are deluded about what pursuing spiritual ideas and goals means. Everything that the Lord has taught us is intended to help us better live our lives in this world. Spiritual ideas and goals, when properly understood, call us to wisely consider our daily actions and to realize that this is the arena in which they have to affect our priorities, and our decisions, large and small.
In the same way, we can recognize that this congregation, as a church, is dedicated to spiritual goals. But those spiritual goals will not be real nor will they have an effect on us individually or as a group, or on those we seek to serve unless they are lived out. This means that there are some important natural needs that we as a group need to make provisions for. As you read this issue of the Bryn Athyn Post many things will be happening at the Bryn Athyn Church School to prepare for another school year. There are lots of very tangible natural things necessary for a school to do its job: classrooms have to be ready, books and supplies ordered and available, and teachers need to have done considerable planning on what they will teach. Without this planning, and these natural preparations and provisions the spiritual goals of New Church education would not be able to be achieved.
Similarly, in many homes preparations are taking place for the beginning of another year. Clothes and shoes have been purchased. New class lists have been eagerly studied to see who will be in which classroom this coming year. In some homes, efforts have occurred this past summer to help children continuing their reading skills. All of these things are natural but can have both short-term and long-term spiritual goals behind them.
Each of us in the Bryn Athyn congregation can have a role in supporting and providing for the natural needs of the Bryn Athyn Church School and of this congregation. What we do helps the Lord bring His Kingdom more fully to this world. What we support by time, effort, and money helps His Church grow in this world – very powerfully through the New Church education we provide through many other programs and activities of this congregation. Our commitment to these goals cannot be real if they remain mere matters of thought. They must be lived in many tangible natural ways. May we all be blessed through our efforts to seek the kingdom of heaven in our lives and for others.

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