Thoughts from Rayna
Serving cupcakes and accepting humans
Serving the neighbor is important on this earth and even more important in heaven, but in heaven it just happens because that is the joy of heaven. Everyone who is an angel there serves according to their loves and their part of the Grand Man. On earth though there is great need for people to help others out in addition to doing their jobs and taking care of their families, etc. If the joy of heaven is that of service then all people can have this joy on earth too by stepping outside of their comfort zones and giving of their gifts, time, money, and energy.
A time I have experienced a little joy of heaven is when serving in a soup kitchen called St. Francis Inn down in Kensington Philadelphia.
A group went down from NewChurch LIVE to serve on a weekday evening. The volunteers take people’s “order” and serve like we are restaurant waiters. This is done to demonstrate that these souls, pained by hardships, biting cold in the winter, and the heroin epidemic, are human.
What do we do? We serve cupcakes and accept humans. They may be homeless, but they are deserving of “love and belonging” to use Brené Brown’s amazing concept of service and acceptance. This unique opportunity to go to St. Francis Inn is not only giving to the neighbor and community but is also the physical act of serving food, feeding and caring.
The thought came to me; this is sort of like what Jesus did with his disciples. In the way Jesus washed the feet of his followers I think he calls us to be brave and serve.
Washing feet is an act of service. It involves the willingness to bend down low to do so. It’s an image of humility. Swedenborg says, “to the extent that we can humble ourselves, we are in heaven” (Secrets of Heaven 8678:2).
I got a glimpse of this when I encountered two little girls at the shelter. Kids are my passion in life. I want to work hard so that I can give back and take care of the uncared for. So, seeing two baby girls who had maybe never been given the chance to be children was very moving to me. It was amazing and heart breaking. Like Jesus who knelt to wash the feet of His disciples, I crouched down to get on their level. I asked what their names were. I wasn’t expecting the smaller girl to be able to speak, but I did expect the older one to speak to me.
Sadly, she couldn’t even say her name. I do not know the reason, but my soul was crushed. Nevertheless, as I handed each of them a cupcake, I saw their eyes light up. In that moment my soul opened up and the delight of heaven came rushing in. There I was, sharing cupcakes with two angel babies, and I was feeling their joy as my own.
The brutality and imperfection of human life is a hard pill to swallow, but I will always look back and love those little girls and my connection with them. They were so sweet. The whole way back from Kensington, I bawled my eyes out.
This day, in what is sometimes called the heroine capital of the US, really gave me insight on what people have to deal with in this world and, more positively, how I can help. It was powerful to get to serve, and thinking about it from the teachings of Swedenborg, feel joy while still seeing and experiencing the sadness of these babies’ situation. I love to help people and it is wonderful to know that my delight in helping people is a heavenly one. When I or anyone else serves the neighbor, we are not only experiencing heavenly joy, moral joy, but are also bringing a piece of heaven to earth, bringing the peace of heaven to earth. I can now say, from my own experience, that “the love of serving is heavenly delight.” (ML 18:3)