Timeline of Life

It’s been a week of contemplation for me. You see two friends died this week, one young, one older, both from cancer, a thousand miles apart.  It was also the fourth anniversary of the death of a best friend. I have been thinking and pondering my life as I’ve thought about all of their lives.

I had this mental picture of life as a ongoing timeline.  We hop on when we are born, and others join us and leave as relationships wax and wane, and eventually you jump off the timeline when you pass away.   For my younger friend, we spent our time on the line in high school.  None of us know what life will bring or how we leave — of course she didn’t know that cancer would take her, when we were singing in choir and worrying about the problems of youth.  We don’t know that when we join the timeline of life.  That is the greatness of mortality though — we have people, opportunity, good, bad, all of it.  Isn’t life wonderful?

My thoughts also have turned to how I spend my time, and the things I worry about.  I see the madness we’re continually descending into as a society and I am tired of it.  It doesn’t matter what goes on in the news, or who is offended about what.  What matters is that we’re teaching our children the gospel, teaching them to keep the commandments, and preparing them to enter the temple.  Everything else will either work out, or not matter.  The night before I’d spent several hours at a City Council meeting listening to people quibbling over stupid, trivial things.  I didn’t want to be there, but I had to make a statement.  When I was done, I sat down and decided, I was going to remove myself from this local political issue.  I just can’t waste my time on stupid things that have no bearing on eternity.  I want to live my life better, and work on those things that matter most.

“And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:  But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” Acts 5: 38-39.

It was fitting that last night in our family Book of Mormon study we read Alma 32: 21, “And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”

I asked my kids what do we hope for, what do we have faith in?  My 2 year old just shouted out, “Dee-zus! (Jesus!)”  Yes, we do.  We hope for Jesus and the resurrection he made possible for us, and all of the other promised blessing we have access to as we live the gospel, keep the commandments, and really deeply let our covenants surround us and protect us and remake us into what God wants us to be.

This is what I know, I hope for, and have faith in the resurrection, for my friends, and my self.  The Plan of Salvation is real, the gospel of Jesus Christ gives us hope in these things and helps us to make the right changes so that we work out to be with God.

Easter Sunday

If I’m telling the truth, Easter is my favorite holiday of the whole year.  There is no tree, or presents, no parties, no cards to send, and pretty much no stress — at least for me.  All we have to worry about is celebrating the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the glorious resurrection, and the perfect plan of our Heavenly Father.  The Bulgarians call it “Великден” (Velik Den), or The Great Day.  I love that, because it really is the greatest of all days.

Today as I was doing my Come Follow Me study, I read Doctrine & Covenants 138, which is Joseph F. Smith’s great vision of the Christ organizing the spirit world for the preaching of the gospel. Verse 50 was particularly meaningful to me this time, it reads, “For the dead had looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as a bondage.”  As I wrote in my Good Friday post, we were ransomed by Jesus Christ — our bodies will be freed from the earth and elements to be reunited with our spirits.  The scriptures teach us this will bring us joy. Continue reading

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, the day when the Christian world remembers the death of Jesus Christ. I remember as a small child watching the news one Good Friday and seeing throngs of people pushing their way thru the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.  There were even people who had lashed themselves to crosses and who were hanging as a sign of devotion to their faith.  Understandably, it left me feeling very confused.   I asked my mother why did we call it “Good Friday” if Jesus was killed this day.  She said simply, “Because of all the “good” Jesus did for us today.”  As I’ve grown older I’ve been able to learn for myself of the “Good Jesus did for us today.”

Two words I came across this week in my Come Follow Me study that helped me think of the “Good” Jesus has done were ransom and remission.  In Matthew 26, we read about the Last Supper — it’s during this last night together, that Christ finished teaching the disciples about his work on the earth — that he is the Messiah. Christ institutes the ordinance of the sacrament. Continue reading

Maundy Thursday

As we approach Easter, I always become a bit more contemplative on Thursday before Easter. Most of the Christian world refers to this day as “Maundy Thursday“. We don’t in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But the term has deep meaning, all the same. Maundy comes from the Latin word “mandatum” which means “to command”. On this night of the Holy Week, the Savior and his disciples met for one last time, to share the Passover meal and for one last lesson from the Master.

That lesson is the most significant and meaningful lesson, of all of Jesus’ lessons — that is, the sacrament, and the new covenant. “A new commandment I give you, that ye love one another; as I loved you, that ye love one another.” (John 13:34).  Christ loves us with “an everlasting love, and with lovingkindness he hath drawn us to him.” (see Jeremiah 31: 3).  When we love one another it needs to be with that same love, which is charity, the pure love of Christ.  Moroni teaches us what charity is: Continue reading

The Apostles Testify of Jesus Christ

If you’re on social media (have you liked the Millennial Star Facebook page yet?), you might have noticed a lot of activity surrounding the dedication of the Rome, Italy temple in the last few days. All the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 were in attendance at the dedication. There was also a new picture of all 15 men taken in the Visitor Center in front of the Christus and 12 apostles statues.

Today, the Church released this video of our apostles and prophet reading passages from “The Living Christ.The Living Christ was released by the Church in 2000, declaration to the world of our belief in Jesus Christ. Here is the video, I hope you will share it with your friends of all faiths.