Divine Worship in Heaven

OUTWARDLY, divine worship in the heavens is not unlike divine worship on earth, but inwardly it is different. People there too have doctrines and sermons and church buildings. The doctrines agree in essentials, but those in the higher heavens are of deeper wisdom than those of lower heavens. The sermons are in keeping with the doctrines; and just as they have homes and mansions (Sections 183–190), they also have church buildings where the instruction takes place.

The reason things like this exist in heaven is that angels are constantly being perfected in wisdom and love. They have volition and intellect just as we do, and their intellect, like their intentions, is by nature constantly striving toward perfection—their intellect by means of the truths that constitute intelligence and their intentions through the values that constitute love.

However, the essential divine worship in the heavens does not consist of going to church regularly and listening to sermons but of a life of love, thoughtfulness, and faith in keeping with doctrine. The sermons in church serve only as means of instruction in how to live.

I have talked about this with angels and have told them that people in this world believe that divine worship consists solely of going to church and listening to sermons, taking communion three or four times a year, and observing other rituals according to the church’s regulations, as well as making time for prayer and behaving devoutly. The angels have told me that these are outward matters that are worth doing but that they are ineffective unless there is something within from which they flow, and that this something within is a life according to the principles that doctrine teaches.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 221, 222

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