A Sermon by Rev. Jan H. Weiss
“Thus says the LORD who created you, and who formed you, Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
I have good news for everyone of you. The Lord has a plan, and a reason, and a destiny for your life, that is specific to you alone. Even before He created you, the Lord had a plan and a reason and a destiny for your existence and life. And you have a choice to accept or reject this plan and destiny. The Lord gave you total freedom to do what He has intended for you, or to do what YOU want to do, what feels right to YOU.
If you deny or reject the Lord’s destiny and you choose yourself as the supreme king of your life, then that amounts to denying the Lord’s purpose and His love for you. If you choose to trust yourself and pursue your own goals, you also choose to trust your own intelligence, and you are on your own. But if you choose to trust in God and you accept His destiny for your life, common sense tells you that He will show you the way and give you His intelligence.
The Lord has to show your destiny, and give you earthly signs in such a way that at all times you will feel a free agent. The Lord wants you to feel that you made the choices and you did the work. This excludes input from prophets, psychics and card readers.
The New Church teaches that your God given destiny is a love relationship with the Lord and a heavenly relationship with a partner of the opposite sex, which will last to eternity. You will have a spiritual home in the heavens where you will perform a use to the overall spiritual health of the heavens. Your destiny is filled with hope and excitement.
It is not filled with doom or terror. The earth is not coming to some terrible end. The Lord is in control of the universe at all times, and protects those who are in sink with His goal. This is my general message. Now let’s go into details.
The Lord is infinite love, and from this love He was moved to create beings outside Himself, whom He could love and who could love Him in return. But the essence of His love is such that He will never force or manipulate anyone to love Him in return. Human freedom is inherent in His creation, and all human beings have two choices. They either love the Lord or they love themselves. In this the Lord does not have any say.
If you choose yourself in preference to the Lord you will be in the happiness of self love. The Lord never retaliates if you choose yourself. He does not bring you any retribution or punishment. But loving yourself above all others has its natural limitations in happiness. It can bring frustration, anxiety, and unhappiness.
But if you choose to love the Lord, your possibilities are unlimited. The more you attune yourself to the influx of His love, the more possibilities are opened, and the happier you become. This increase of happiness continues to eternity (that is, in the dimension of time) and in degree (that is, in the dimension of state), so even if you could stand still in time, your love relationship would still become deeper and deeper.
In heaven you are happy because you perform a use to the whole of heaven. All the heavens are before the Lord as a GRAND man. So performing a use is best illustrated with the model of the human body.
If your body is healthy you feel it as one, though your body consists of many substances, parts, organs, and kinds of cells. All these substances, parts, organs and cells perform a use to each other. The life of each one produces something or does something that can be used by all the others. The more you learn about the workings of the human body, the more you can see, that this is true, and how complex the interaction is.
At conception that body begins to develop, but in the process of time this development progresses more and more. An organ has a small beginning, but it develops in time. It may grow first in size , and then later it may renew itself. This illustrates somewhat what I mean by developing in the dimension of time and the dimension of state.
Another useful model for illustration is a company. In each company there are some who function as the brains, others as the muscle, and others as the bones. All are needed to do their part, so the company as a whole can perform a use to a customer, to give a service or a product. In that model we can see people performing a variety of uses. There is a continual effort to perfect this performance, so that if we would abruptly and randomly change people around in the various jobs, the company would fall apart and would cease to exist.
From both models we can see that each human being has a destiny, but there is the destiny of today and the destiny of tomorrow, and there is the destiny far into the future. The more people come into the heavens, the more perfect the performance of each one can become.
So God does have a plan and a destiny, specific to you alone. The destiny of males is two fold. They work in the world in a forensic use, and they perform a use to their wife when they are at home. The destiny of females is also twofold. Her most important use is to receive from her husband either natural seed leading to birth in this world, or spiritual seed (truth) which she conjoins with good leading to the birth of a new use in the spiritual world. But we know that not all wives in the heavens have the same love for children. Some have a great love and care for many children there. Others have little or no love, and therefore care for few or no children. Yet they are all in heaven and therefore all have a love relationship with the Lord and a conjugial relationship with their husband. Apparently it is a matter of temperament. There does not seem to be a difference in the happiness that they receive from the exercise of their love for children.
While husbands in the heavens are forensic, we also see women out in society performing uses. Sometimes they appear with their husband, but sometimes they appear by themselves and independent of their husband. There is a tremendous difference between husbands and the way they perform their use in society and at home. The same difference exists between the wives that are on earth and in the heavens. There are no carbon copies.
So you should not look for your destiny outside of yourself. You should not see it in others or in general principles. You should look for it within yourself. You should look for the Lord’s handwriting on your own heart and soul, seeing His destiny for yourself in your own heart and spirit. Your destiny is unique and different from all others.
One very important point must be made here. Do not look for some supernatural, overpowering and unmistaken sign. The Lord wants you to operate in complete freedom. Unmistaken signs are never given, because these would take away your freedom. You would not feel that you are living your own life, but you would feel the Lord has taken over your life. So you expect to see your destiny gradually, by listening to your own heart, by seeing your own abilities and your own likes. Sometimes you see these in yourself and by yourself, but sometimes you see them in yourself through the eyes of others, who are close to you. You will approach your destiny gradually. Also, your search for your identity is unique. You will find it in your own way, because of your own abilities and your own doubts.
There is no doubt that the Lord wants to help you find your destiny. He first helps you to find the general direction of that destiny, and then He continually helps you fine tune your approach to that destiny, and He will do that to eternity.
The general direction of your destiny is either a state of heaven in which you perform a use to others, or a state of hell in which you exclusively satisfy your own desires. This is the first and most important choice you have to make. You do not need any signs here. It is a decision of the heart.
After that you will have to make series of small decisions, and I can best talk about them and illustrate them with the story of a person entering the spiritual world and going to his spiritual home. When a person arrives in the other world, he/she is first prepared by three types of angels, and after that is set on a path towards the eternal home. Enough of the path ahead is seen so that he/she feels confident to start walking. But the end the path is seen to curve so the final destiny is not seen. This experience is repeated every time the end of the road is reached.
This visual representation illustrates the way the Lord gives you signs to help you reach your eternal destiny. First you have to be prepared, and then you begin to work towards your destiny. In the first state of preparation you are shown your final destination in a dream. Then you wake up to reality, your eyes are opened to reality. In this state you begin to see who you are and who others are. The third state is a state in which you get down to doing what you have been thinking about. This is the moment you set foot on the path and begin to move on the path.
If you did not have a dream, you would not be willing to think about it, or do something about it. But facing the reality of yourself and the world around you, is very important. Our dream may be very unrealistic. You may think you can do something or cannot do something, but you could turn out to be incorrect in either case. Here you have to learn from others around you, which is usually hard on yourself and on the others. You can be very stubborn or you may find it hard to unlearn old habits. You may have a hard time seeing signs, reading signs and acting on signs.
This series of states of preparation and walking is repeated many times. You do not get the dream completely, you do not verbalize your destiny completely, you do not see your own reality the first time around, and you learn only a certain amount when you make a step on the path. It all goes gradually, day by day, and year by year. But this walking, though sometimes frustrating, is also exciting and exhilarating.
Listen how Isaiah describes this walking. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Passing through the waters is coming in contact with falsities in your mind, facing and going through them. Here the Lord is with you every step of the way. Walking through the rivers means facing fantasies about yourself. They will not overcome you. From drowning in these fantasies the Lord protects you. Fire and flames represent selfishness and the foolish desires that arise from these evils. They will not harm you.
At the end of all these experiences is the Lord your God, the One with whom you will have a relationship of love, your Savior, the one who will save you from your selfishness. This relationship will be something very special, and this specialness is expressed by our text.
Thus says the LORD who created you, and who formed you, Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine. If we were to compare the literal sense of the Word to the Lord while He was on earth, this text would correspond to the Lord’s hands. We can see His hands, there is no cover, there is total clarity. He has created you, and He has formed you from infinite love and according to infinite wisdom. He has redeemed you, which means that He has given you freedom to be your own person, and to have your own relationships with Him and with your partner and with your friends. He has called you out of the womb of your mother, but He has not just called you, He has called you by your name, and He has told you that you are His.
When the Lord calls you it means He wants to teach and lead you to His heaven. But He calls you by your name! By name is meant the essence or quality of a person.In heaven a person is distinguished from another person by his quality. In heaven every person is special and unlike anyone else. It is by this quality that you are known, and distinguished from other people. The Lord calls you by YOUR name, so He teaches and leads you according the state of your love and wisdom. So you are very special in His eye, and once you see this, you can also see yourself as something very special. It is in your seeing and following your special destiny that you resolve and restore your feeling of self esteem. This leads you to a new self love, for first you loved and esteemed yourself as you viewed yourself, but after the Lord has called you by your name, you now love and esteem yourself as the Lord views you and loves you. This is a glorious experience. And so I pray for everyone of you that the Lord in His infinite love, will call you, and that He will call you by YOUR name.