The Future of Church
This Sunday's Sermon:

The Future of Church:
A Peak in the
World's Amazing Future

Transcript of Last Sunday's Sermon below:
Love is Not Enough
Zoom Video Call in at 5pm EST
Greetings!
Happy Juneteenth, Father's Day and New Church Day.

T his Sunday I'll be taking us for a peak into the my understanding of the incredible future the Lord has in store for us. I'll be explaining why June 19th is called New Church Day and how our own church was named Church of the Holy City and what it means in each of our lives. It is an optimistic future.

Book Clubs for July and August

Two book club interest have emerged for July and August when the pastor is off duty.

Neither group has decided on their book. One will Swedenborg's theology hosted by Dr. Peck contact aandmpeck@comcast.net and the other is focused on ending racism lead by Annabel Park annabelspark@gmail.com .

Please contact the person most aligned to your interest.

ZOOM CALL SUNDAY

We'll use Zoom again on Sunday.
Here's the info for our upcoming service:

Link to include in the newsletter tomorrow:

Call-in Number:
+1 646 876 9923 US

Meeting ID:
823 5672 3668#

Recording of Last Service:

Recording of Service Before Last on Resilience:


Thanks again to Kateryna Pyatybratova for her help each week!

I will be online starting at 4:30 PM if want to work out any challenges getting on. If you aren't sure, get on early and meditate.

Social Hour is Discussion Hour
Discussion Hour continues to be a high point in the week for me with such thoughtful discussions.

Guidelines for a Good Discussion
This week I'll be speaking about ways your faith can help you be resilient in challenging times.

Come to the discussion time with a curious mind. Be less interested in sharing what you know and more curious about what you want to learn.

Feel free to share differing viewpoints than what you heard in the sermon, but begin you comments with phrases, such as,
"While I found what you said interesting, I came out with a different perspective. Can I share that?"

Use your comments to encourage learning and participation. We are unique among many services that we hold discussions, so avoid combativeness and embrace curiosity.

Remember there's no need to agree with differing viewpoints, but it is important to demonstrate respect for all viewpoints.

Summer Services
In past years, Memorial Day would be the final service for the summer due to the heat in the church, Because we are online and in this crisis, we've decided to continue Sunday worship through June.

Service Order
Please save this newsletter and use the service order on the right-hand side.

Please take a minute and send in an offering by using our new link to GoFundMe


We need each other. Please consider joining our church. Let me know if you're interested.

Hang in there. I know these are challenging times. I’m glad we have each other and the Lord.


Physical Distancing

Social Outreach

Spiritual Connection


Your Pastor
Rev. Richard L. Tafel

richtafel@gmail.com









LAST WEEK'S SERMON:


Love is not Enough--We must be Wise
 
I recently had a dinner with a friend to catch up and hear how things were going. He asked my advice on a personal legal issue that he was involved with a real estate where the other person took his money and spent it instead of depositing it as promised. He wanted to know, should he press further on it or just let it go?
 
Before I could answer, he said, “I know what you’re going to say, pastor. Forgive and forget. There’s more to life than money. All you need is love.”
 
“Actually, no,” I responded. “You should demand the money back. He took your money for one purpose and kept it for himself. If he doesn’t pay you should engage the authorities and let him know you are serious about it.”
 
His eyes grew wide, “What about God is love? What about loving your neighbor? I’m surprised at you, pastor, but I’ve got to say I’m happy to hear it. That was a lot of money he took. I need it.”
 
“Be wise as serpents, and gentle as doves,” I said.

He responded, “Wow, that’s a cool phrase. I like it. Where’d you get that?”
“Jesus,” I answered.
 
Though he grew up with the church, he didn’t believe me because it sounded harsh, and I had to eventually show him the passage to prove it. He then proceeded to fight to get the money back.

All You Need is Love
We’ve all been taught by no less than the Beatles that “All you need is love. Love is all you need.” Each Sunday in my sermons I stress the purpose of our lives is to love God and love our neighbor. Swedenborg says we are what we love.
 
If all that is true, then isn’t love enough?
 
By unique interpretation of this text and this is not a common interpretation, but I think Jesus is teaching his disciples as they go out in the world loving others and acting strategically. He marries gentleness to wisdom.
 
Love is not enough.
 
The way I see it, our compassion must always be married up to wisdom. Love is the "why," Wisdom is the "how." I’ve heard it described that Love is the art; wisdom is the painting. Swedenborg compares this relationship to our heart as love and lungs as wisdom, while separate, they simply don’t work without the other. Love and wisdom require each other.
 
At Church of the Holy City we’ve been leading with an idea called spiritual entrepreneurs seeking to develop our inner life, so they move in the world from a deep place of love, but marry that to the wisdom and practical strategy to have an impact.
 
Love without wisdom, leads to no action or thoughtless action.
 
On the other hand, wisdom without love is when we clearly know the rules, but have no space in our heart of reality.
 
Love and wisdom together provide the complexity of how things really work effectively.
 
Politics
At times our political system shares this polarity with some more on the truth side and others more on the compassion side. When they work together, we get better results.
 
I’ve been involved with numerous public policy movements in my life. What I learned was there were those that thought simply because they were leading a good cause they would win the day, without thought on how to change the rules. They lacked the wisdom of getting things done. Others thought simply because they were wise and spoke the truth to those idiots on the other side, that would be enough, but they lacked compassion.
 
Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves, became a guiding Biblical passage for me.
 
When we give money to someone who asks and is killing themselves with drugs or alcohol, we know our funds will likely contribute to their downward spiral. But we want to feel good about caring. That’s compassion without wisdom.
 
When we lecture a young person, who makes a mistake on how bad they are, for example, accidentally getting pregnant or making mistakes all young people do, we miss the chance to show compassion and share that we too have made mistakes.
 
Government programs to help the poor, yet perpetuate dependence and loss of dignity are compassion without truth, and they don’t work.
 
Policies that put children in cages because of their immigration status point to the truth of immigration law, but lack any compassion.
 
Concerning the recent racial protest, an African American dean of Stanford, Brian S. Lowery , wrote a powerful Washington Post-op-ed today titled “ To my white friends, the time for talk has passed. Now is the time for work,” saying:
 
“Maybe you believe the  diverse activism  on display nationwide will make things right. But sincere concern and time have not fixed our problems. They are not enough to protect any of us from the influence of the malignant system we all live in.”
 
Compassion without wisdom.
 
This current moment on the battle to end racism requires leaders leading with love and guided by wisdom. These leaders are hard to find.
 
I joined a group of clergy leaders this week discussing strategies to address racist policies. We had a chance to hear The Reverend Jeffery Brown, a Baptist pastor from Boston whose engagement with the police and gangs there, lead to the Boston Miracle, which brought down gang violence. He spoke to us about what he learned, and what church leaders can do.
 
I was particularly curious to hear him. Jeffery and I go way back. He went to my college and was class president a year ahead of me at East Stroudsburg. I’m guessing we are two of the few ministers who graduated from that college. I ran into him again when I was at Memorial Church and attended his Baptist Church in Central Square Cambridge MA. I hope we can do something together at Church of the Holy City.
 
Though all of his comments were interesting, what stuck with me is when he spoke to the fact that he succeeded by marrying his compassion to understanding and teaching about the complexity of what was happening. For example, when he met with police, he told the story of each young person in the community in all of their complexity.
 
Through his teaching the truth, that “thug” police officers saw, transformed into a human being with a complex life story. Rev. Brown married wisdom to compassion and compassion to wisdom all leading to action that reduced violence by 79%.
 
In a paradox, leaders today must revive complexity in a time of false simplicity while embracing simplicity in our lifestyle in times of complexity.
 
Religions need to find this balance as well.
 
In our own Swedenborgian tradition, we see this split. In our branch, called the General Convention, we emphasize more in teachings from compassion, and we are, often, less knowledgeable and less interested in the deeper study of Swedenborg’s teachings. Stronger in compassion and inclusion, but less strong in wisdom.
 
In our other branch, the General Church, they are, I would suggest, often more knowledgeable theologically, but continue policies that discriminate against women and gays. Stronger in wisdom, but less strong in compassion.

We could each learn from one another.
 
When love and wisdom separated, they lead to simplistic solutions that lead to extremism, which often leads to evil.
 
Cancel culture is on the rise. Rather than finding ways to respect each other as we disagree, we gather our mob who destroys people whose viewpoints we disagree with.
Compassion with wisdom embraces complexity and can see issues from numerous perspectives. Love with truth takes the demand for change and builds the coalition that changes laws and the culture.

Love is not enough. Wisdom is not enough. Action is not enough. Love must be married to the wisdom that leads to action in our own lives and in the world. That marriage and balance of love and wisdom must begin within us.
 
When we feel ourselves judgmental and sure that we are right, we can take a breath and ask God’s help for more compassion.

When we feel moved by caring to the point of no boundaries, we can take a breath ask God’s help for more wisdom.
 
It starts with us.
 
When we do this, we can more deeply care about one another and act wisely to solve system problems we face.
 
When we embrace both love and wisdom, we can be both wise as serpents and gentle as doves.
 Amen
The national Swedenborgian Convention is online this year and Rev. Tafel is teaching one of the courses based our our church's role in fostering civil dialogue.
Order of Worship

Prepare
Light your own candle.

Set up your Bible or holy book at home.

Opening the Word
Open your Bible at home.


Welcome from Rev. Tafel

Rev. Tafel will greet everyone and ask for readers of the texts.

Confession
Read at home.

All: Eternal God, in whom we live and move and have our being,
whose face is hidden from us by our sins,

and whose mercy we forget in the blindness of our hearts:
cleanse us from all our offenses,

and deliver us from proud thoughts and vain desires,

that with reverent and humble hearts we may draw near to you,

confessing our faults, confiding in your grace, and finding in you our refuge and strength;

Amen


Minister:
May almighty God have mercy on us,  forgive us our sins,  and bring us to everlasting life,  through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Readings

New Heavens and a New Earth
Isaiah 65:
17 
“See, I will create
    new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
    nor will they come to mind.
18 
But be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
    and its people a joy.
19 
I will rejoice over Jerusalem
    and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
    will be heard in it no more.


Revelations 21:1-4, 22:1-2
A New Heaven and a New Earth
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, a  for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  2 I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying:
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man,
and He will dwell with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them as their God. b
4 ‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,’ c
and there will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain,
for the former things have passed away.”

22
1 Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb  2 down the middle of the main street of the city. On either side of the river stood a tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit and yielding a fresh crop for each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.


Swedenborg Insights

4. Since the Lord’s time the Christian church has passed through the several stages from infancy to extreme old age. Its infancy was in the lifetime of the apostles, when they preached throughout the world repentance and faith in the Lord God the savior. That this is what they preached is evident from these words in the Acts of the Apostles: Paul testified, both to the Jews and to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). It is a noteworthy fact that some months ago the Lord called together his twelve disciples, now angels, and sent them forth throughout the spiritual world, with the command to preach the gospel there anew, since the church that was established by the Lord through them has at this day become so far consummated that scarcely a remnant of it survives...
790.  There is a full description of what this church will be like in Revelation, which deals with the end of the former church and the rise of the new one. This new church is described by the New Jerusalem and its wonders...


Matthew 28:16-20 New International Version (NIV)
The Great Commission
16  Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.  17  When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.  18  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


Sermon

Discussion
We will save the discussion for after the service in our discussion hour.

Click link to make an offering



Mail to checks to: 1611 16th St NW WDC 20009


Community Prayers
Here you can simply say your intention with a word or phrase. There's no need to explain details. The Lord knows what's on your heart. All of us will respond together after a prayer is made by saying,
"Lord Hear Our Prayer."

Pastor Prayer

Lord's Prayer (in unison)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11  Give us this day our daily bread.
12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


Benediction


Discussion Time
Please stay as long as you like to update each other on how you are doing. Rev. Tafel will stay until the last person has shared. You can ask the minister anything!
On 19 June 1791: Opening of New Jerusalem Temple in Birmingham, the first ever purpose-built Swedenborgian place of worship, with a curious Joseph Priestley in attendance. The temple was threatened with destruction just a month later when it became a target in the so-called Priestley Riots that were directed against religious dissenters. The mob were bought off with a few coins from the offertory and went away shouting ‘Huzza to the New Jerusalem forever’. Image: Architectural drawing for the New Jerusalem Temple, Birmingham, New Church History. (below)

Juneteenth order found in archives. (above)
Drawing of the first Juneteenth gathering
Clip of a video by the American Enterprise Institute on how to create more civil discussion between faith and policy shot in our church.
Pastor in front of church
Police on bikes around the city
Elfa's church gardening is flourishing.
Apple Store at old Carnegie Library Downtown (above)


Below
We've added our two most recent pastors to our portrait room. Rev. Jonathan Mitchell and Rev. Andy Stinson.


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