New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 108

new church life: march/april 2017 a call to the clergy Sometimes in the wake of a tragedy – whether someone taken “before his time” by accident or illness, or taking his own life – we have that comfort of knowing such people are received and tended to by heaven’s loving angels. But wouldn’t these people be feeling anguish too – just like those left behind? After some of the recent tragedies in the Church, a young man noted: “In the New Church we always hear about the deceased waking in the spiritual world and gradually acclimating to their new life, gently guided by angels. It all sounds wonderful and can be comforting, especially if the person was in pain or had other difficulties in this world that they’ve left behind. We often hear talk about the deceased being ‘in a better place,’ with the logical assumption that they must be happier there. “But what about their concerns for the people they’ve left behind on earth? I know there’s no time in heaven, so we are told they don’t have a sense of waiting years for their family and friends to pass on and join them. But they have to know their loved ones are grieving and suffering because of their loss.” People who have left behind a spouse and young children especially must have some feeling for their grief and suffering – and wouldn’t they be feeling this as well? So how do we reconcile all of this with the peace the angels bring? We ask anyone in the clergy with insight into this question to share thoughts with our readers. And we ask readers who ponder their own questions of life and doctrine to pose them so that we might appeal to the clergy for answers. Thank you. (BMH) ‘they know not what they do’ While He was dying on the cross the Lord said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) This shows how essential knowledge of the truth is. And how deadly lack of knowledge can be. Questions of truth and falsity may seem abstract, academic, theoretical – not crucial or of practical importance. But what we believe and think determines how we act, for good or ill. The fact that an evil deed was done unknowingly does not lesson the harm it causes, which can be excruciating. “Ignorance, indeed, excuses, but it does not take away falsity that has been confirmed; for such falsity is bound together with evil, thus with hell.” (Divine Love and Wisdom 350) The Lord is never angry, never condemns anyone, is always merciful. But His mercy operates by means of truth, and without the light of truth, we are more likely to be drawn into one of hell’s devious plots. “Nothing therefore is of more importance than to know what is true.” (Arcana Coelestia 794) (WEO) 174