New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 64

The Non-Appropriation of Evil A Sermon by the Rev. Geoffrey H. Howard Lessons: Psalm 141:1-4; Matthew 15:10-20; Arcana Coelestia 6206 When [Jesus] had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a person; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a person.” (Matthew 15: 10,11) T he Lord, in His parables and teachings, frequently used images familiar to people living in this natural world to illustrate truths of a higher degree. He used the symbolic language of correspondences to raise our minds and help us think on a higher plane; to uplift us into the realm of spiritual thought. Our text is a case in point. There He speaks of the mouth, comparing what goes into it, and what proceeds out of it. The Writings tell us that “the mouth corresponds to the thought, as do all things that belong to the mouth, the lips, the tongue and the throat.” (Arcana Coelestia 8910) All of these component organs are necessary in making human speech possible. But what does our speech convey? Through our speech we convey thoughts that flow into the mind and bring them to the ears of our listeners. Many thoughts come into our minds daily. But have we ever questioned where those thoughts come from? In order to answer that question we first need to begin from a fundamental revealed in the Word. That premise is the truth that we have all been created by the Lord. We live from Him. He is the giver and the sustainer of all life. Without the influx of His Divine life flowing into our soul, into our mind, and into our body we could not live. Everything of life flows in from Him. But this creative and sustaining life from the Lord flows into us through two distinct channels. One is directly into the soul and then into the cerebellum of the brain. This, the Writings call “immediate influx.” It directs all the involuntary functions that take place in the human body – the beating of the heart, the respiration of the lungs. It vivifies every living cell in the human body. None of these life-sustaining functions is dependent upon human thought or control. 130