For the time being, my work consists of delving into the Word and the Writings, slowly compiling explanations of the internal sense. Eventually — a matter of months, hopefully — this work will be added to a website which will also contain sermons, papers, passages from books, videos and other material explaining the Word. The idea is that people going online seeking an understanding of the Bible — there are about 130,000 a day — will find the site and get some real insight.
The effort is called the New Christian Bible Study; you can learn more on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Christian-Bible-Study/211799595499366
One of the bonuses to doing this work is that I keep running into cool, beautiful little passages in the Writings. Most of the time they are unrelated to what I’m working on, so rather than move on and forget them I’ve been copying them into a “miscellaneous quotes” file in my computer.
Here’s one I found the other day:
“Strictly speaking the eye itself is nothing else than the sight of the spirit itself ‘brought outside’, the specific purpose of this being that from external things a person may see internal things, that is, that from objects existing in the world he may reflect continually on things that exist in the next life, for it is for the sake of that life that he lives in the world.” — AC 1806
What struck me about this is how it completely turns our assumptions around. I mean, yeah, on some level we intellectually “know” that spiritual things are more “real” and physical things aren’t as important, but we don’t feel that on a day-to-day basis. We don’t walk around constantly looking at trees and thinking, “Wow, look at all the truths!” We’re too busy looking at how they’re getting into the power lines or thinking about all those leaves to rake — or most likely not really seeing them at all because we’re thinking about other things.
And if reminded that those trees have correspondences, we’ll say, “yeah! Cool, huh?” and go right back to what we were doing.
But this passage says that those trees don’t just “have” correspondences; they “are” correspondences. The whole physical world is a giant correspondence, our senses are correspondences, and the entire reason for any of it to exist is so that we can see the correspondences and wake up to the real life going on inside. With everything we see, hear, smell, taste and touch, the Lord is seeking to reach through our dead physical senses and reach our spiritual ones.
It makes me think about artists and mystics, shamans, monks and gurus, all in some way trying to reach past the physical senses. They may all be more New Church than they know.