“Swedenborg’s Birthday”

Every birth is a miracle, so every birthday party is a celebration of something wonderful that the Lord has accomplished. We celebrate Emanuel Swedenborg’s birthday, on January 29. Swedenborg himself worked no miracles, wanted no attention, and published anonymously. Yet the Lord used him to accomplish wonderful things.

When the Lord opened the eyes of a blind man or brought back to life people who had died, His disciples were amazed. “It never was heard that anyone opened the eyes of one born blind!” (John 9:32) Yet Jesus said to His disciples, “You will see greater things than these” (John 1:50). And, “He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12).

Is it possible that we could do greater miracles than the Lord? Of course not. Yet the Lord Himself can do greater miracles now that He has fully united His humanity with His divinity. “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.” (John 5:20)

But what could be greater than opening the eyes of the blind or waking the dead? Not to raise Lazarus and others to a few more years of life in this world, but to raise them and many others to eternal life in heaven. Not to open the physical eyes of a few blind people for a few years before they would shut forever, but to eternally open the spiritual eyes of billions more. These “greater works” the Lord accomplished “by means of a man, who is able not only to receive these doctrines in his understanding but also to publish them by the press” (True Christian Religion 779).

“The manifestation of the Lord, and intromission into the spiritual world, surpass all miracles. This has not been granted to anyone since the creation, as it has been to me.” (Invitation to the New Church 52). By means of this man the Lord has given new vision and life to countless people. It is the Lord’s work, that He accomplished by means of Swedenborg’s observation and publication.

Yet the Lord also works His miracles by means of every person who receives and applies His teachings. The Lord calls all of us to be His servants, so that in learning, living, and sharing His teachings we can cooperate with Him in working His miracles of bringing spiritual light and life to us, and by means of us to all to whom we speak truth and do good.