September 29, 2012
Lessons from Scripture and the Heavenly Doctrine
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139: 1– 8– 23, 24).
O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, You who set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honour. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth (Psalm 8: 1– 9)!
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
There is no searching of His understanding.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).
“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ And He said to him, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live’ (Luke 10:25-28).
“‘Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light’” (Matthew 11:28-30).
“‘And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.’ Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:12-14).
“In heaven those who are moved by mutual love are constantly approaching the springtime of their youth. And the more thousands of years they live, the more joyful and happy the springtime which they are approaching. This process continues for ever, constantly bringing increases in joy and happiness in proportion to the advance and upward progress in mutual love, charity, and faith. Those of the feminine sex who had died worn out with age but who had lived in faith in the Lord, in charity towards the neighbour, and in happy conjugial love with their husbands, as the years pass by come more and more into the first freshness of youth and early womanhood, and into a beauty that excels every idea of beauty which the eye can possibly behold. In fact it is goodness and charity forming and producing a likeness of itself, and causing the joy and beauty of charity to shine out of every individual feature of the face in such a way that these too are forms of charity. When some people have seen these they have been dumbfounded” (Arcana Coelestia 553).
“....when partners [on earth] tenderly love each other, they think of their covenant as being eternal and have no thought whatever concerning its end by death; and if they do think of this, they grieve; yet, at the thought of its continuance after death, they are revived by hope” (Conjugial Love 216e).
May 26, 1921 - August 2, 2012
Memorial Service - Sept. 29, 2012
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (JOH 14:2,3)
Throughout His earthly ministry, the Lord spoke many parables about the kingdom of heaven. He likened it to a vineyard, to a harvest, and to a wedding feast. He tried very hard to tell the people who came to hear His preaching that there was nothing to fear in death, for it was only a step into new life. He also prophesied many times about His own death, warnings that the disciples completely misunderstood until they were able to look back at them after the events of Easter weekend had sunk in.
The Lord permitted Himself to be crucified, He refused to use His miraculous powers to come down from the cross because He knew it was His mission to show us the way to spiritual life by allowing His physical body to die, and by then returning in the spirit, showing that He had power not only over death and diseases in others, but that He could raise Himself from the dead. He allowed all these things to happen to Him, even though He had the power to prevent it, so that He could literally go and prepare a place in heaven for each of us, a place that we can earn if only we have the courage to follow Him.
The scriptures speak very often about death, but it is interesting to note how often a death is immediately followed by a new life. We say, “The king is dead. Long live the king” indicating that although we mourn the end of one era, the death of the king is also the start of the new era. In schools and universities the ceremony where diplomas and degrees are handed out is called “commencement” because it at once signifies the end of school and the beginning of the next stage of life. We are told in the doctrines of the New Church that whenever anyone is reading in the Word about death, the angels who are present with that person do not think about death, but about resurrection into eternal life instead. We should learn from this that since the end of one state is always the beginning of the next, we must look past the death of the body to the resurrection and release of the spirit that is the result! (See AC 3492)
The physical body was created by God to be the home of the spirit while it sojourns in the world of nature. We become quite fond of our bodies, and the bodies of our friends because we cannot see the spirit within. We think the body is the person that we love. But the spirit can only remain in the body while it functions correctly, while the heart and lungs are able to perform their uses. This is because the heart corresponds to the will part of a person’s mind, while the lungs correspond to the understanding part. Just as a person cannot be considered human without both a will and an understanding, so the body cannot function as the home of the spirit without both heart and lungs.
When, due to old age or disease, the heart and lungs begin to fail the spirit is gradually withdrawn. The person whom we love slips into a deep and peaceful sleep while angels, especially sent by the Lord, keep them in lovely thoughts about the life after death. The spirit takes about three days to be withdrawn fully from the body, and it is then the delightful duty of the angels to awaken the spirit into new spiritual life. This is done ever so gently, and with the most tender care for the feelings and needs of the new spirit. Although it seems frightening to those of us who have not been through the experience, we must remember that we were specifically created to live to eternity in heaven. The God who would plan heaven for us would surely make the transition into that life as easy and gentle as possible. I go to prepare a place for you (text), He said.
Our friend Marion Walker was born on May 26, 1921 in Kitchener, Ontario where she grew up and attended the Church of the Good Shepherd. She graduated from Kitchener and Waterloo Collegiate in May 1939.
As a young woman she helped with her mother’s baking business, as her father died when she was 16. Later, Marion apprenticed with a dress maker for 6 months and then went into business for herself. But Marion had an appetite for things that were more technical and challenging, so she enrolled in night school courses to learn to read blueprints for products, inspect materials, measure quantities to make sure that they followed specifications.
Her skills in this area were extremely useful as Canada entered into World War II. She was given a wartime job as a government inspector in a factory that made artillery shells in Ajax. She was injured on the job and went back to school at Central Tech in Toronto to study industrial chemistry - not a typical course for a woman in those days!
She met Pat, her future husband, while attending the Convention Church on College Street in Toronto. He, like so many members of the Royal Air Force, has been sent to Canada for training and was based at Trenton.
For the last year of the war she worked at DeHavilland Aircraft doing chemical analysis of products used in the production of aircraft, and also worked part-time in the metallurgical lab doing microscopic analysis. When the war was over she returned to Kitchener to work as a chemical analyst for Lang Tanning.
Marion and Pat were planning to be married, but he had to return to England with his unit and had been unable to move to Canada after the war because of the immigration quotas. If he was married to a Canadian, he would be able to enter the country, so in October of 1946 Marion went to England to pursue the relationship and perhaps get married. While in England she worked for Bell Punch company in the payroll department, and then moved to Leeds and found an office job with Prices Tailors. On April 23, 1947, Pat and Marion were married, and in March of 1948 they returned to Canada.
After returning to Toronto, their daughter Barbara arrived followed three years later by their son John. In 1965 the family moved to Etobicoke to be near to the Olivet Church and School.
The family enjoyed being part of the Olivet family, attending the school, church, and Wednesday doctrinal classes.
Once the kids were grown and out of the house Pat and Marion moved to a condo in Brampton where they stayed until Marion had a stroke. The stroke necessitated a move to Tyndale Nursing home where they stayed until Pat died in 2001. After that, she moved to Erin Meadows in Mississauga for the last 9 years of her life.
These are the bones, the structure of her life, but this is not the whole story.
After this service, when you join the family for refreshments and an opportunity to remember this fine woman, you will see more than 70 petit point pictures. When John was a boy, he saved up from his allowance and bought his mother a kit as a gift. She enjoyed making it so much that she bought other kits. Not only did she did the stitching, but as her interest and skill grew she learned how to do the mounting and built her own frames. In the later years, according to John, she was doing everything but cutting the glass.
The last few years must have been difficult for her. She missed her husband, and her physical mobility was limited by the effects of the stroke and other illnesses. And yet in spite of all that, to visit with her was uplifting. She would talk about how much she looked forward to being with Pat again, and how she felt he was close to her. She would talk with great joy about the Lord’s presence in her life, the blessings that she received, and even the spiritual work that still remained for her to do.
One of the sources of that cheerfulness, that confidence in the life to come was the teaching of the New Church that the love between a husband and wife in this world is not something that can be ended by the death of the body. We read:
“Those who are in true conjugial love, after death, when they become angels, return to their early manhood and to youth, the males, however spent with age, becoming young men, and the wives, however spent with age, becoming young women. Each partner returns to the flower and joys of the age when conjugial love begins to exalt the life with new delights, and to inspire playfulness for the sake of prolification. The person who while he lived in the world had shunned adulteries as sins, and who has been inaugurated by the Lord into conjugial love, comes into this state first exteriorly and afterwards more and more interiorly to eternity. As such continue to grow young more interiorly it follows that true conjugial love continually increases and enters into its charms and satisfactions, which have been provided for it from the creation of the world, and which are the charms and satisfactions of the inmost heaven, arising from the love of the Lord for heaven and the church, and thus from the love of good for truth and truth for good, which loves are the source of every joy in the heavens. A person thus grows young in heaven because he then enters into the marriage of good and truth; and in good there is the [desire] to love truth continually, and in truth there is the [desire] to love good continually; and when the wife is good in form the husband is truth in form. From that [desire] a person puts off all the austerity, sadness, and dryness of old age, and puts on the liveliness, gladness, and freshness of youth, from which the [desire] lives and becomes joy” (AE 1000:4).
Human bodies are just vessels created to receive and hold the life that inflows continuously from the Creator. In time the vessel wears out and can no longer hold that life. When that happens, the natural body is put off and the spiritual body that was hidden within takes over, and we awaken into spiritual life.
We lose nothing of our essential personality by the death of the physical body, and that includes our memories and our curiosity. New spirits seek out their friends and associates from the life of the body and meet and talk together as long as they wish. And of course, the meeting of husbands and wives are most joyous. It’s good to think of Marion and Pat together again, after such a long wait.
And even more wonderful than that, under the Lord’s care and guidance, together they will be instructed and prepared for her life in heaven. As her spirit from the encumbrances of her worldly life, she will begin to change in her appearance as her spiritual body changes to reflect the changes made in her mind and heart; she will gradually appear younger and younger until she will be seen in the flower of adulthood, yet with the light of her considerable wisdom shining from her face.
We will miss Marion because we love her, and she brought something special and wonderful into our lives. We will feel our separation from her as sadness, but we should not feel sorry for her. Her body was worn out from a long battle and she has now found blessed release from her pain. We wish her peace, and look forward to the day when we shall meet again on the other side. In thinking of her today, we remember the Lord s words in the gospel of Luke, Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (LUK 12;32) Amen.
A man is clothed in wisdom; he breathes by pow'r of truth divine
A woman is the warm affection of a beating heart
Conjoined they form an angel
An image and reflection of the Lord's divinity and love
An echo of His Word.
The angels in the heavens have all their beauty from the married love
Of man and woman who are joined within the Lord
Whose will and understanding
Are blended in a blessed union, a mutual desire
Of heart and mind to love the Lord
So Lord, we ask Your blessing upon this couple reunited
Form them into vessels of Your wisdom and Your love
Give them the grace of angels
And guide them in the world of spirit
To know their love and choose a heavenly path
Surround them with Your angels
And hold them safely in Your keeping
That in conjugial love, they may become Your angel