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What Comes First?

From Rev. Erik Buss, Assistant to the Pastor
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? Do I need to push myself to do that one more thing, or is this a time to pull back and recruit my forces?

We faced this same challenge this year with whether to try to have the New Church Day pageant indoors or outdoors. Fewer people can see it indoors, and it is a more cramped setting. In the end, what came foremost is the safety of the participants. It is hard to think of putting the bride and two angels up on a metal scaffolding when the weather forecast predicts a reasonable chance of thunderstorms. Another thing that was on top of the list was the need to practice at the actual location of the pageant; hence the need to make the decision early so we can practice inside.

The nice thing is that when you get your priorities straight – safety comes first – the decision is easy. It’s the same with spiritual decisions: The first element of charity is to shun evils as sins (True Christian Religion 329, 535, Charity 1-11). Make sure you are doing no harm, and then look to do what is good. When you get that focus right, spiritual life flows pretty well.

As we celebrate New Church Day this week, I hope you will take some time to reflect on what comes first in your life. All of us could usefully challenge ourselves to make the two great commandments – loving the Lord and our neighbor – more prominent.

John saw the Holy City descending. That’s a powerful image because it depicts how we are all in the process of allowing the Lord’s principles and values to guide our lives. By shifting toward what He teaches us, we truly celebrate and embrace the New Church.

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