New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 21

      they must now go beyond that and love the neighbor more than themselves. On hearing these things they have been speechless, for during their life-time they had heard something of the sort but had not believed it. Even though they had heard that they were to love the neighbor as themselves, they have been amazed that such love exists in heaven, and that it is possible for anyone to love the neighbor more than himself. They have been informed however that in the next life all goods increase without limit, whereas life in the body is such that they cannot progress beyond the point of loving their neighbor as themselves, because they are engrossed in bodily interests. Once the latter have been removed however, love becomes purer, and at length angelic. And this is loving the neighbor more than themselves. (Arcana Coelestia 548:1-2) If the Lord is our king we need to ask for and seek His help in developing a love for Him supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. The presence of the Lord as king comes to us by means of the spiritual quality meant by a donkey. We need to turn to Divine revelation, read it, hear it taught, and reflect on it to see its meaning for our lives. We welcome that the Lord is king by means of the spiritual quality of loudly spoken praise, by creating a pathway for this king by laying down what is meant spiritually by our outer garments and palm branches. The shouted praise is an acknowledgment in heart, mind and life that the Lord is our king and God. The clothes and branches mean the wise kindness that guides each of our thoughts, words and actions. This wise kindness is a gift of the Lord. It is what He means by true charity toward the neighbor. It isn’t just an external pleasantness and helpfulness. It is a deep and thoughtful concern for the welfare of the individuals around us, the community in which we live, the country that provides so much for all the people who live in it and are served by it, and still more broadly the cause of the spiritual welfare of all human beings in this world – which is the Lord’s kingdom in this world in its widest sense. This is how we welcome the Lord as king within 87