Friday, August 01, 2014


This week, before leaving on her next adventure, B asked me an interesting question which brought up the topic of the period of peace described in 4th Nephi.

We read that
there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift....and there still continued to be peace in the land. And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus.”

Here is described a cessation of disputes between neighbors, a sense of common stewardship and sharing, diminishment of class distinctions, no war, and miracles of healing in the name of Christ.

But knowing life, and having an idea of what life was like 2000 years ago, I sense that there was still physical, emotional and mental illness as well as injuries and death. Widows were still left to raise children, parents suffered the loss of a child, children grew up without mothers, spouses still had to learn how to live and communicate and forgive, children still worried their parents who had to learn, in their own ways, how to and not to rear them, political and religious leaders had to figure out how to respond to new dilemmas, crops still sometimes failed or houses burned down, and people still made stupid mistakes that they needed to repair.

Knowing Jesus and embracing his teachings, even in the most cohesive group of disciples, will not, in this life, prevent sorrow, pain, concern, struggles, trials or deep grief.

So, I'd change the Primary song.

There's a right way to live and be peaceful.

The gospel doesn't promise happiness in this life. But it does promise peace. Not the peace we usually think of: no worries, no troubles, no sorrow, no anxiousness. But the kind that Christ promised he would leave with his disciples: the kind that, in the midst of the hardest things, reduces our sense of troubledness and fear.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

I believe He is describing a deep undercurrent that, in spite of waves of staggering grief or frightening danger, or deep frustration that we may also feel, settles in our core and carries us as we walk or stumble or struggle through.

It is choosing God's love everyday.

Moroni's admonition, chapter 7: “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him.”

Like Him. Steady. Peaceful. Moving forward. Loving wisely.

For me Moroni's words mean actually praying and specifcally seeking to love both wisely and well the way that Jesus did in our interactions with each individual. It is a lifelong journey. I can't just pray for it in general. I need to also pray for it specifically in regards to specific circumstances, challenges, individuals, groups, locations, times. And when it comes it brings that clarity and calm at the core of my soul as I move forward in those relationships, whether or not my efforts to create goodness are reciprocated. It is peace in spite of the turmoil that may be there. It is vision of the other as God sees him. It is guidance as I figure out how to proceed in a way that loves and helps and serves as He does.

I am learning the teachings of Jesus.

The scriptures. Oh the scriptures. Four whole gospels of watching Him interact. Four whole gospels of his words. And then piles of letters written to people who were struggling through the challenges of trying to figure out how to follow him wisely and well in the midst of all the demands and assumptions of life and culture. And words of prophets trying to explain the glory, joy, equality and power of a divinely lived life and the power and reality of repentance, atonement and the Love of God. Time spent there is important for me on this journey. It is here that I learn the principles by which to live my life and which are at the core of that peace Jesus offers.

They will help me and show me the way...

to find that “peace which passeth all understanding”. I think it's called that because it seems, off the bat, so illogical. Peace that lives on inside not only when circumstances are pleasant, but also lives inside us when we are, at the same time, rocked by waves of grief, fear, worry, loneliness, persecution, frustration, inability, anxiety, loss or want.

I think this was what Paul was talking about when he wrote to the Philippians: every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Thank you, B., for asking the question. We will miss you and J. 

 God, and his peace, be with you both.

1 comment:

BrieAnn said...

I've been singing your version of the song in my head for the last few days. ;)