Wow, Stockholm. It feels as curated as the Apple store Jeffrey works at, and similarly I can’t get over the beauty of every stone: from the cavelike, mossy subway walls to the cold facade of the royal palace. Everyone speaks english, and to such an extent that foreigner’s guilt has been quite foreign. Even the cold is strangely a nice change from the endless spring of the Bay and our winter gear feels like the appropriate mantle for our expedition.
Yesterday we visited some of the beautiful folks at Stockholm’s Swedenborg Memorial Church. They serve as appropriate early mentors for our cultural immersion – embodying openness and kindness as they describe how they decided to join both Swedish Swedenborgian denominations: working for positive change from within through example and activism. The church itself is much like the cathedral in Bryn Athen, designed to represent various aspects of our theology with an emphasis on the deeper meanings of nature and how Goddess speaks to us through scriptural metaphor.
Speaking of Goddess speaking, our devotional this morning was led by our denominational president, the Rev. Jane Seibert, on spiritual portals. As I look through the portal from my room in our boat hostel the Chapman, I’m reminded to clarify that by portals Jane meant all the ways that the Divine communicates with us. Although we Swedenborgians tend to emphasize specific “correspondences” and metaphors within scripture, one of her points was that God approaches us through whichever doors we open for him. Swedenborg viewed the universe like a hologram, with nature and mundane processes representing deep, spiritual truths and methods of Divine transformation. Goddess is much less interested in a specific method of interaction or religion than she is in its positive arc and the end result – a transformed heart and mind, reoriented toward impactful love and embodied wisdom.
It’s been a whirlwind tour and I’m still trying to get my head around it. My gratitude to Devin, CSS and our donors is tremendous. I can’t quite get over the fact that I’m finally out of North America, in Europe, and walking through these historic streets and halls. I’ve only mentioned a drop in the bucket, but what a drop it is! If you look closely you may make out a universe, with an arc toward love and justice gravitationally grounding us, bringing us all closer to water, to peace, to each other.