My name is Solomon Keal. I am a minister for the General Church of the New Jerusalem, which is a Swedenborgian Christian denomination. These are some of my thoughts about the Lord, the symbolic meanings in the Bible, life after death, faith, charity, usefulness, loving the Lord and one's neighbor, the 2nd Coming, Swedenborg's Writings, and other theological stuff.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Joseph: Looking for the Lord in Other People

Here's the audio for a Christmas sermon I gave at the Bryn Athyn Cathedral.  It's about Joseph and his relationship with Mary, and how that can describe our relationship with other people.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Changing Leaves

 I love the Fall for the beauty of its changing leaves. I’m looking forward to that beauty as we begin this new season. What might be symbolized in our lives by the leaves turning colors and falling to the ground? The teachings for the New Church describe leaves as a symbol for the truths in our lives:
 “The symbolism of a leaf as truth is established by numerous passages in the Word comparing us to, or actually calling us, trees. In those places, fruit symbolizes the good espoused by charity and a leaf the truth to which it leads (and charity and truth also function the same way fruit and leaves do). In Ezekiel, for example: ‘Beside the river, on its bank, on this side and that, grows every food tree, whose leaf does not fall and whose fruit is not used up; month by month it is reborn, because its waters are going out from the sanctuary. And its fruit will serve as food, and its leaf, as medicine’ (Ezekiel 47:12; Revelation 22:2). The tree stands for the people of a church that embodies the Lord’s kingdom. The fruit stands for the good that results from love and charity, and the leaf, for the truth that develops out of it. That truth is used for the instruction and regeneration of the human race, which is why the leaf is said to serve as medicine.” (Emanuel Swedenborg, Secrets of Heaven 885) 
 Truths serve to bring healing to our spiritual wounds. Green leaves represent truths that are alive for us in that healing way (see Swedenborg's book: Apocalypse Revealed 401; and Jeremiah 17:8), because the Lord’s life flowing into our natural world takes on a green color (see Revelation 4:3, and Apocalypse Revealed 232).

 I think it’s important to remember the distinction between our lives represented by trees, and the Lord’s life represented by the Tree of Life. The Lord’s life will never die, fail or change. But our lives change all the time, and our understanding of the Lord’s truth is one of those things that changes. “Rational truths are truths which most readily welcome spiritual truths, for a person's rational mind is the first receptacle of spiritual truths” (Apocalypse Revealed 936.3), just like leaves are the first receptacles for the light from the sun. But our own rational truths are simply what our mind is capable of producing and sustaining. They are finite compared with the Lord’s spiritual truths. And so our understanding of the truth changes, the leaves fall, we grow new ones in response to the
Light of the Lord’s Word, and the cycle continues.

 I think there is a special kind of beauty in coming to the humble realization that everything we think we know to be true is nothing compared to the Lord’s unchanging Divine Truth. Our leaves wither and die, but the Lord’s leaves are always green. Our leaves turning gold and red represent the death of those leaves, but the colors gold and red also represent higher forms of goodness and wisdom (Apocalypse Revealed 167, 232, 912), so there’s a special and good autumn beauty in that wise humility. As we come to the beautiful and humble realization that we know nothing compared to the Lord, we take on a special glow, we gently lay down our old concepts, and humbly acknowledge our need for the Lord’s light and heat. And then we can begin to form new concepts which bud in the Spring of our new spiritual life.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Externalize the Lies; Legion and the Pigs

Here are links to a sermon I gave at the Bryn Athyn Cathedral.  The subject is how to "Externalize the Lies" in our heads.  It's based on the Gospel story of "Legion and the Pigs," when Jesus cast the Legion out of the possessed man, and into the pigs.
Listen to the audio of the Family Talk here.  
Listen to the audio of the Adult Sermon here.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Overcoming Negativity

Here's the link to an article I have in the magazine "New Church Connection."  It's about Overcoming Negativity.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Video of my Dissertation Presentation

My theological school dissertation is entitled: "Comparing the Divine, Heavenly and Natural Marriages," and this is my presentation of that dissertation.  It compares the marriage of the Lord and the Church with the marriage of our hearts and minds, the marriage of goodness and truth, and the marriage of a husband and wife. This study is based on the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, and the doctrines of the Swedenborgian Christian denomination known as the General Church of the New Jerusalem. The dissertation can be read here.  The presentation can be watched here: Part One, Part Two.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Facing Freedom

A Family Talk at the Bryn Athyn Cathedral just before the 4th of July. Audio: "Facing Freedom."  Our bad habits can keep us trapped in slavery.  How do we gain independence from our bad habits?