Over the past weekend, my wife volunteered to prepare a Sunday Supper at an Orthodox Christian Church in honor of a co-worker who recently died of cancer. This was a service project her friend’s church participated in regularly and was always dear to her heart.
This church invites the poor and homeless to come in off the streets every Sunday to enjoy some warm food. Even more importantly, these impoverished individuals share the meal with everyone else in the congregation and engage in all sorts of conversations, including weighty discussions.
As my wife shared this experience with me, I suddenly felt myself being magically transported to a table at this same event—where I found myself sitting across from a homeless man with many missing teeth. The other people at this table started a discussion about Easter. The homeless man looked in my direction and asked me “What is Easter?”
Rather than pontificate on this topic, the innocent sincerity of his question had strangely made me go silent and take a new view of the situation. I instinctively felt that this individual was coming from a deeper place than from my ordinary and habitual state of consciousness. The man was looking for more than a mere mental explanation of Easter formed from words plucked out from the data of my memory.
This man was not to be ignored!
As I studied this person, I was given the impression that he was not better or worse than me, smarter or dumber, but that he was somehow more real. After all, since he had no home, personal belongings or education he was incapable of pretense. His mind was not clogged up with learning and information that was superfluous to his inner level of being—which he was fully in touch with.
I realized I would not be able to offer him a meaningful answer unless I could explain how Easter sincerely affected my own heart (anything else would be an artificial answer). I suddenly found myself engaging in introspection to see if I had any kind of relevant and non-bullshitty answer for him at all.
As a follower of the theological ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg I perceived that this homeless man was connected to his “remains” (a mental plane in the human subconscious or internal natural mind where God’s heavenly influence secretly flows in) and he wanted to feed this deeper level with actionable information. (According to the scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, this approach would also ensure that his knowledge would not be taken away after death when he enters the spiritual realm.)
This vision of a homeless man gave me a new insight towards my religious worship. And, I am indebted to my wife for sharing her recent experience with me.