Sunday, March 27, 2016

Considering the Condescension of God?

Easter morning I found myself considering the word Condescension as it applies to mortal men trying to figure out our purpose and relationship with God and His Only Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.  

I’d purchased chocolate bunnies to go along with the Easter Eggs that my grandchildren colored in the front yard; but that has little if anything to do with the spiritual importance of Easter.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines Condescension:

1. voluntary descent from one's rank or dignity in relations with an inferior
2. patronizing attitude or behavior


Most often when you hear the word Condescension it holds a negative meaning.  Someone feels they are above your station in life talks to you in a way intended to remind you that they are above you in stature.  Immediately the hair on your back bristles; you recognize the offensive attitude being presented, similar to how We The People react to those we’ve elected as they develop their self appointed elitist state of mind, a station above the lowly peasants.


But with God, as with His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ; Condescension fits the first offered definition.   God the Father, in his eternal nature and love for all His spirit children made it possible for us to return to His presence through His Only Begotten Son who would make an atonement for each and everyone of us.  The Great Plan of Salvation took into account the need for such a Condescension, a necessary decent from His heavenly throne.


Bruce R. McConkie delivered a devotional talk just before Christmas back in 1969 entitled, Know Ye The Condescension of God?.    While given at Christmas, this wonderful explanation as to our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ could as easily been directed to us at Easter; the two being joined at the hip, so to speak, as to their importance as pertain to individuals going through this probationary state.


Rather than regurgitate the information Elder McConkie presented I’ll leave it to you to enjoy the audio version as provided in the link.   Easter gives us an opportunity to consider the Condescension of God, to express our gratitude for a gift we are unable to fathom.


 (The Moral Liberal is down for construction at this time; but will return with improvements in due time)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Missing Holiday

During Sunday School a question was asked, “Of all the holidays during the year, what’s your favorite?”  This being the third week in March several answered, "Easter", while Christmas, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July were also in the running.  Then the instructor asked if anyone celebrated this coming Thursday; something I hadn’t considered as a ‘holiday’. 

As Easter weekend comes around perhaps this Thursday should be celebrated; if not as a holiday then surely it falls into the category of important and significant.

It was on a Thursday that Jesus and a few of his chosen disciples retired to the Garden of Gethsemane where the Lord could finish out his mortal ministry.   During those long lonely hours the Lord prayed to his Father and took upon himself the sins of the world, sweating, as it were, drops of blood from every pore.

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.    (Alma 7: 11 – 13)

Those who follow the teachings of Jesus desire to one day worship at His feet in the Kingdom of Heaven, having accepted this wondrous gift, the atonement which makes it possible for our sins to be removed since no unclean thing may enter His presence.  

An odd thought entered my mind, something from an old country western tune, “Prop me up beside the jukebox if I die, Lord I want to go to heaven; but I don’t want to go tonight….”   Yes, they still let me attend Sunday School; but they keep a close eye on me.

How a gift is received is as important as how it was offered.  Are we living our lives in accordance with the gospel, avoiding sin where possible and repenting as needed along the way?   The Lord has already paid for our sins if we will accept the gift.   Or, we can reject His offer and face the music, so to speak; pay the price of sin via the same process which caused even the Lord to sweat great drops of blood.
While this Thursday may not be marked on our calendars as a holiday it most certainly should be acknowledged as one of the more important days in the history of mankind, the day the Lord took upon himself our sins.   Perhaps a silent prayer of gratitude is in order.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Growing into our Callings

This morning we were treated to a special Stake Conference presided over by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I should point out that the meeting was held at the Hafer Road building which can accommodate about 900 people, give or take.  A friend of ours got a call letting him know the building was completely full at 8:00 am for a meeting scheduled for 10:00 am. 

The local church leadership had planned for a large turnout by having a secondary location, the Louetta Chapel as an overflow facility where the conference was to receive live broadcast via an internet connection.   Lucy and I are only a few minutes away from the Louetta building and were more than happy to comfortably enjoy the proceedings sitting on the soft cushioned pews instead of the folding metal chairs had we attended at the Hafer building.

We got there early and I was able to help with some of the set up for the broadcast.  The IT specialist showed a couple of us how to assemble a large folding projection screen and position it behind the podium.  

My hearing isn’t all that great so I struggled as the messages were delivered; but I wasn’t alone, for some reason they couldn’t get the volume levels very high…, oh well.   Our Stake Presidency gave talks on basic gospel principles; sure wish they could have made it a little louder…

Elder Oaks didn’t have a prepared message; instead remarking on what each previous speaker had offered and adding his own thoughts along the way; having a General Authority’s insight applied to gospel principles is always gratifying.

At one point he asked how many in attendance had recently been given a new calling; about one fourth present raised their hands.  He then pointed to a young man, perhaps 8 – 10 years old sitting in the third row and had him come to the podium to help with a visual lesson.   Can you imagine how it must have felt to be singled out in front of everyone; but he was up to the task and awkwardly made his way forward.

Upon shaking hands Elder Oaks escorted the young man off to one side of the podium where he could be seen easily by everyone.  Elder Oaks then took off his jacket and placed it on the young man, the size difference was considerable to say the least as the edge of the jacket nearly touched the ground. 

Elder Oaks then explained how many folks feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the challenges of a new church calling; but by applying our efforts along with giving ourselves enough time we’re able to grow into the calling.  

As he spoke I felt tears welling up in the corners of my eyes; Elder Oaks had awakened an old memory, one from when I’d been a new member of the Church.  It was Déjà vu all over again; isn’t that the way Yogi Berra said it?

It was to have been my first opportunity to speak; what used to be referred to as a “Two and a Half Minute Talk”.   I can’t recall what my assigned topic was; only that I felt less than adequate, my being asked to address folks who’d been attending church for many years.  What could I tell them that they hadn’t heard before?

I remember reading scriptures and taking notes all week prior to the assignment; never feeling comfortable with what I’d written down in my notes.   Sunday morning I was up early putting together my thoughts when my two years old daughter came shuffling into the den area of the house wearing one of my police uniform shirts.

The shirt dragged along the floor covering her feet as a huge smile beamed from her innocent face.  Wearing her Dad’s police shirt with the PD’s and badge in place made her happy; didn’t do me any harm either.   Instantly I tossed all the notes taken during the week as inspiration, guided by the Spirit, showed me what I was to talk about later that day.

I knew I had a lot of growing to do as a new member of the Church, much as my daughter wearing that police shirt, there was plenty of room and it wasn’t going to happen over night.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.