Recordings of weekly sermons at New Church Westville, a family centred New Christian church located in Westville, South Africa.
Stories from Heaven and Hell
In the New Church we talk a lot about the afterlife. A few weeks ago we talked some about the structure and process of the afterlife. But raw information never shows the full picture. Stories of daily interactions and interesting anecdotes flesh things out. That is why we are looking to the stories from the Teachings of the New Church that lay out just a glimpse of what we can expect in the afterlife. This week we will hear stories that take place in heaven and in hell.
Stories from the World of Spirits
Two weeks ago we talked about what life is like after death. We discussed the structure of the afterlife and the succession of states that we go through. This week and next week we want to flesh these ideas out with stories. The teachings of the New Church contain lots of stories about things that happened in the spiritual world. Why were these stories included and what can we learn from them about how things work after death?
Preparing for Easter - the Road to Jerusalem
Easter is still pretty far away (7 weeks, more or less). But the time from Ash Wednesday (17 February this year) until Easter Sunday is generally seen as a time of preparation for the holiday. You may remember that last year we suggested giving up a bad habit or picking up a new spiritual practice in this time period. This year we'll suggest similar ways to prepare. Specifically, this Sunday we'll look at how Jesus' steady ascent from the backwater of Galilee along the road up to the metropolis of Jerusalem and His own death can help us prepare for our own celebration of His resurrection at Easter.
What Do People Do After Death
A lot of people have lost loved ones recently. When someone we love dies we can have a lot of questions. First, how do we know that they are still alive somewhere? If they are alive somewhere, what is their experience like? What do they do with their time? Is it a pleasant experience; is it an unpleasant experience? There is a lot of information about the afterlife in the teachings of the New Church. This Sunday we will scratch the surface of that body of teaching and try to cover some of the important basics of a New Church understanding of what life is like after death.
We put great pride in certain virtues, both as individuals and as a society. When we embody these virtues it is a sign that we are spiritually growing. But virtues are not as easy to identify as we like to believe. Certain qualities that we view as virtuous are in fact unrelated to meaningful virtue. To take a simple example, many people take busy-ness to be a virtue, as if always being busy reflects on their character. In actual fact, being overladen with work says nothing about one’s character: it may be a sign of love for others, but it could just as easily be nothing of the sort. We need to evaluate where we put our worth, and if it is in false virtues then we need to look to the Lord to find the virtues that truly reflect a good spiritual life.
Practicing to Be Spiritual Through Meditation
How do we get better at being the kind of people we want to be? How can we get better at catching ourselves before we do the mindless or hurtful things that we find ourselves prone to doing? The same way that we get better at most things: by practicing. Practicing meditation is one way to practice being more spiritually awake. This Sunday we will talk about a New Church Christian approach to meditation and then we will practice it together.