Three Sermonettes Focusing on New Church Day

What the disciples preached in the spiritual world on June 19th, 1770 by Rev Alan Cowley

Every year on the 19th of June, we celebrate the birth of the New Church. We use this date because of the statement above from True Christian Religion, telling us that on this date, in the year 1770, the Lord sent His disciples out into the spiritual world to proclaim the gospel once again.

Imagine being someone in the spiritual world when this proclamation was made. What might these statements mean to you, if you were an angel hearing these words, no longer as a prophesy, but as a reality: “The Lord God Jesus Christ reigns and His kingdom will last for ages and ages! Blessed are those who come to the wedding feast of the Lamb!”

Well, to our natural ears we may just think of this as a proclamation. We might just think of it as a statement about something that has happened. But to angelic ears, this meant that they were now, more than ever, able to do their favourite thing! This is because angels love nothing more than to lead people to heaven! “Angels want nothing more than to help people, to teach them, to lead them into heaven. This is their highest joy” (Heaven and Hell 450).

So, imagine that you were an angel on the 19th of June, 1770. For a very long time, the pathway to human minds had been clouded and obscure. In the natural world the power of hell prevailed in human minds, and so the truths angels use to teach and lead people could not be used without them being perverted and twisted by hell, causing people to profane the Word (see Doctrine of The Lord 61; Cannons 25). But, from this day on the balance was re-established! And this balance will last for ‘ages and ages’ because ‘The Lord God Jesus Christ reigns’.

So as we celebrate the birth of our beloved church, let us remember what the point of that church is. The New Church and its teachings are now open to the world to lead people to heaven. Let us join forces with The Lord and His angels to invite people to the ‘wedding feast of the Lamb’. Not all people will accept this invitation, but those who do will be blessed with eternal life in heaven.

The 19th of June by Chuck Blair

The 19th day of June is a yearly celebration in traditional New Church congregations. What is it?

As a day, its roots go back to theologian Emanuel Swedenborg’s notation that on that date, in 1770, a spiritual event occurred – one with great spiritual symbolism. On that date, Swedenborg held that the 12 disciples of the New Testament regathered to again proclaim the message that the Lord God Saviour Jesus Christ reigns. The message they had lived on this earth was again claimed but this time in heaven.

Just hold the core of that statement for a moment. What it means is that the New Church proclaims that Christ is alive and active in the world, and ours is to celebrate this living reality. Was Swedenborg really given to see those things? That is for the individual to decide but just “test drive” the message for the moment.

What the message means is that the anticipated “Second Coming of Christ” has occurred through the understanding of the real heart and soul of the bible – a testimony centred on love. This what Swedenborg wrote of. That Second Coming, is not, from a New Church perspective, just “good news” (Gospel) for Christians but for all faiths given the strong teachings in this church that any form of faith, if lived sincerely, draws one to heaven. The New Church then, in a sense, is just one of many facets of this “Second Coming”, an event far more about the gift of spiritual freedom than of dogmatic pietism squashed into an assembly of “The Elect.” Saying “Christ reigns” from a New Church angle is like saying “All are blessed.”

And that salvation entails taking on the work as individuals and institutions of continual self-critique and self-renewal, aka “resurrection.” Paradoxically, this in turn only works as we do the work of faith – the not to do list and the to-do list. Individuals and institutions, including churches themselves, can become self-centered. Faith is about moving beyond those imprisoning constructs and moving towards agapé forms of love – agapé as in “self-sacrificing.” We do that through rigorous honesty of self-critique and the loving service foundational to self-renewal.

I certainly have witnessed people living this “Second Coming” including many who would not define themselves as “Christian” or “New Church” in the traditional sense. The sign of the Second Coming really are changes in our own hearts – not “end times” or the ceasing of history. That breaking open of the world anew is an individual endeavour, true, but one we can support and celebrate as a Church. The 19th of June is a good time to celebrate it!

Spiritual Independence Day (writer undeclared)

To people of ALL religions, June 19, 1770, marks the beginning of humanity’s return to the days of spiritual peace, the long-expected age which has been predicted in essentially all ancient stories, religious literature and myths of our history.

To people of all nations, this day opened the door to true individual freedom throughout the world. Because our spiritual freedom has been restored, humanity has entered into a new era of governments. Today, progressive democracy continues to break down the lingering vestiges of repression.

To scientists and others who desire a different way of understanding the Creator, this represents the opening of access to the deeper mysteries of life – the window into the next world which will allow us to explore its wonders while in this world – before we die.

Most importantly, to all denominations of Christians, this is the celebration which marks the beginning of the long-awaited Lord’s Second Coming, and what is anticipated from these words: “I have yet many things to say unto you…”. To some Christians, this day is called New Church Day, to reflect that the New Jerusalem is descending from Heaven to usher in a new future, which will blossom into an Age of peace and enlightenment.

Two hundred and fifty years ago (in 1757), a great judgement began in the spiritual world – the place where we all go after death. Centuries of man-made misconceptions and harmful church politics managed to totally repress spiritual freedom throughout the world. As those who loved to dominate other people entered the afterlife, they continued to control and deceive as they did while on earth. Their false churches which they set up in the world of spirits appeared to newcomers to be the heaven which religions on earth have taught about. The philosophy of these fallacious heavens dominated common thought so strongly that they blocked off essentially all influx from heaven into the minds of men and women on earth. These misconceptions continued until the deceptions were exposed and humanity was able to clearly see the lies. This was done by a Divine judgement which restored equilibrium in the spiritual world, resulting in a new spiritual freedom in the minds of humanity.

Because of this, untold knowledge has been given to us about the life after death, the existence of God and our place in this universe. We have been given the opportunity to learn what the spiritual world is like and to fully understand the Judeo-Christian Bible. And what is significant, the opportunity has been provided for people of all religions to fully understand their own holy books and doctrines through the Universal Theology of the New Heaven. We can now enter into the deeper spiritual knowledges which we could not previously understand.

 

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