“There you and your families will feast in the presence of the Lord your God, and you will rejoice in all you have accomplished because the Lord your God has blessed you.”
Psalm 100 (ASV)
1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
“ ‘Jehovah made us and not we ourselves, His people and the flock of His pasture; therefore we are His, His people, and the flock of His pasture.’ Psalm 100:3.
‘Pasture’ in these quotations stands for the truths in which a person receives instruction, here the kinds of things that have regard to spiritual life. For the nature of spiritual life is such that if it lacks that pasture it languishes and so to speak fades away, like the body when it lacks food. The fact that 'pasture' is the goodness and truth that refresh and sustain a person's soul or spirit is plain from the Lord's words in John, ‘I am the door. If anyone enters through Me he will be saved, and will go in and out, and find pasture.’ John 10:9.” (Arcana Celestia n.6078:5)
It becomes impossible to thank the Lord when all the blessings we ascribe to Him must be put in the same column as the curses, natural and man-made. We make such a list because our natural man wants, indeed needs, answers to life’s persisting questions, as Garrison Keillor observes. However, the Writings for the New Church inform us that our natural man is not capable of distinguishing what is spiritual from what is natural. We will be limited to such a confused analysis so long as we do not rise above our natural man’s point of view.
Why is this important to this topic? The evil spirits running amok both times were merely naturally minded, and so couldn’t get that the Lord is pure, infinite love. They only knew that they were being persecuted, cast out and put down. And so it felt to them like a great earthquake, a noahaic flood and a category 11 hurricane. The angels, saddened by the fate of those evil people, were left with paradisiacal gardens, glass-clear lakes, and magnificent homes and cities.
Look up, as you look within, and rise above the natural man’s lusts, short sight and confused wandering. Following the instructions of the Word, assimilating the goodness and truth we find there, will bring us to His pasture, where the family of man will rejoice because we will know that the Lord has blessed us!
Precursor November 2005