Greetings From Ben H. Swett
Greetings From Ben H. Swett
This is one of the papers in a sampling of what I have found in my own exploratory, experimental approach to spirituality. I know my way is not the only way to learn about spiritual life and growth and ministry, and it may not be the best way for you. Therefore, all I am doing is offering my experiences and insights for your consideration.
I was asked to include a bit of information about myself, so people will know where I’m coming from, but I am reluctant to do that, as a matter of principle. As a reader, I’m not overly impressed by a writer’s credentials. I think that whatever is written should stand or fall on its own merits.
Suffice it to say, I am a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, but I do not subscribe to all the doctrines of any religion, including the ones that now bear his name. Perhaps I’m a maverick–or a heretic–but I know what I believe, and why I believe it, because my beliefs are based on my own experience and personal research. Thus, I consider this entire collection to be an empirical research report.
An earlier version was circulated in 1993. Much of the feedback was positive, but several people refused to read it after taking one look at the table of contents. Some said, “This is obviously not Christian,” and others said, “This is obviously too Christian.” So … Okay … I’ve heard those comments before.
I’m not trying to prove anything or sell anything. My purpose in releasing this material is simple: some of my friends told me that none of it was doing any good buried in my files, and I should make it available. So here it is.
If you find anything useful or interesting, well and good. If you want to copy all or part of it, go ahead–you have my permission. Each paper has my name on it because it was originally intended to stand alone.
In any event, you have my best wishes for your spiritual journey. You will find what you seek; may you seek what you need to find.
Ben H. Swett
Some Christian churches teach the doctrine of the resurrection of the body — that the physical bodies of all the dead will rise from their graves at the end of the age and be restored to health and wholeness, but Saint Paul wrote to the early church at Corinth: “The body that is sown [buried] is perishable; it is raised imperishable … it is sown a natural [physical] body; it is raised a spiritual body.” (I Corinthians 15: 42-44) Here are some indications that this can happen now and not only at the end of the age.
Jimmy was old. He fell in his bathroom and broke his right hand. It didn’t heal properly and remained badly crippled, drawn up like a claw. Several years later, he died, and I went to his memorial service. I thought I saw him sitting in his usual place in church. After the service, I went outside to smoke my pipe. When I looked back at the church, I saw Jimmy smiling at me through the glass door. He knew I saw him, and grinned, and held up his right hand in the World War Two “OK” sign (tip of forefinger against tip of thumb to make the O, with the other three fingers extended and flexed to make the K). It was only later that I realized the significance of what I saw — his hand isn’t crippled anymore.
Remember yourself young and strong
While my son, Bruce, and his wife, Laura, were visiting a nursing home, they saw the ghost of an old woman who probably died there, all crippled and hunched down as though she was still in her wheel chair. They tried to speak to her, but she was unresponsive. They didn’t know what to do, so they prayed for her. Bruce was inspired to say to her, “Remember yourself young and strong.” Both Bruce and Laura saw that crippled old woman suddenly transform into a beautiful young woman and go dancing up into the Light.
My mother’s little brother, Ross, was badly crippled with spinal meningitis as an infant, and she took care of him. He was very brave about it and said to her, “Someday Rossie walk.” He died of influenza shortly before his third birthday. She was grief-stricken and found no comfort. Many years later, he came to her in a dream when she hadn’t been thinking about him. He was running toward her through a sun-lit field of what looked like daisies in bloom, and he said to her, “See? Now I can walk and run!” When she told me this, she added, “He seemed to be older than he was when he died, maybe ten or eleven. I wonder how that could be.” I said, “That probably is how he thinks of himself. I have read of cases in which someone’s grandfather came to them, but he looked much younger than he was when he died, so apparently our spiritual bodies conform to our own self-image.”
Razz Rountree’s brother
Razz’s little brother had sickle-cell anemia. When he died, her mother went into deep depression, could not be consoled, and almost lost her mind. She fantasied about digging up his body and keeping it with her. This went on for many months, and then suddenly stopped. She came out of depression and went on living as she had before. Razz noticed this change and asked her about it. She said, “I saw him. I was just sitting here in the living room when the other corner of the room suddenly lit up and I saw him standing there, in that light. He was smiling at me, and he said, ‘Look, Ma! I’m all well now!’ So I know he’s Okay.”
A message for his mother
Olga Worrall, the spiritual healer of Baltimore, Maryland, was talking with a doctor when she suddenly said, “There’s someone here who says he’s your brother.” The doctor said, “I had a brother. He was killed in World War Two.” Olga continued, “He is holding out his hands toward me and turning them from side to side, and he says, ‘Tell mother. Tell mother.’” Neither Olga nor the doctor knew what to make of that, so they went back to what they had been talking about. The next time the doctor visited his mother, he told her what Olga saw and said — and his mother burst into tears. Only she and the escort officer knew that her son’s hands were missing when his body was returned for burial.