Friday, November 18, 2016

More Thoughts on Worship

While choosing which conference talk to share while visiting teaching this week, I was led to the one by Bishop Dean M. Davies - The Blessings of Worship. "Worship" is a subject I've returned to again and again; there's always something for me to learn. I loved how Bishop Davies tied worship to faith, hope and charity, and turned it into a perfect thought for November by mentioning gratitude and thanksgiving at the end.

The topic of worship came up again as I studied John 4 (the woman at the well story) for seminary and came across this quote:

True and perfect worship consists in following in the steps of the Son of God; it consists in keeping the commandments and obeying the will of the Father to that degree that we advance from grace to grace until we are glorified in Christ as he is in his Father. It is far more than prayer and sermon and song. It is living and doing and obeying. It is emulating the life of the great Exemplar.

It comes from an excellent talk by Elder Bruce R. McConkie - How to Worship. If you read it, you can find out what cows and crocodiles have to do with worship. I love the list of concrete examples he gives because it helps me understand the subject better.

I have more thoughts, quotes and scriptures over here on this post.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Second Coming

I just wanted a place to gather some thoughts/quotes on the subject, mainly because of a comment made in Sunday School this week. A visitor mentioned that Elder Christofferson visited their stake conference recently and said that the world doesn't necessarily need to get any more wicked in order for the Second Coming, but that the righteous need to become more righteous. I'm summarizing and paraphrasing, but it got me thinking a bit and I wanted to see if I could find an "official" source for that thought.

I didn't, but I did find two other non-official ones -  from an Elder Black in Argentina in 2014 and from a Sister Moss in Missouri in 2015. I, too, felt the change of perspective that Sister Moss mentions.

I also learned something from a good friend of mine who recently went to a mission conference with D. Todd Christofferson. He said that many people think that the SecondCcoming will come when the world is wicked enough. But this is not the case! The world already is wicked enough. The second coming will come when there are enough disciples that will accept Christ when he comes. We are not on the mission to show Heavenly Father how wicked these people are. We are here to find the righteous and prepare them for when Christ comes. - Elder Black

One night, a few sisters and I were talking to one of the senior couples in the VC and talking about the world. With the whole same-sex marriage supreme court thing, we were talking about how the world is becoming more and more wicked. And I just asked, why can't the Second Coming happen? Why do we have to wait, isn't the world wicked enough? Elder Phillips said that Elder Christofferson said that the world is plenty wicked for the Second Coming, but we are not righteous enough. That changed my perspective SO much. We have to be more righteous right now because we are literally paving the path of Christ to come reign on the earth. And we aren't righteous enough for that to happen. Elder Phillips said that President Vest told them we have to "crank our testimonies up". We got a lot of work ahead of us, people. - Sister Moss

Elder D. Todd Christofferson did give a conference talk that showed up in the Google search - Come to Zion, - in 2008. In it he said:

Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. Remember, “the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard. It will be necessary (1) to become unified in one heart and one mind; (2) to become, individually and collectively, a holy people; and (3) to care for the poor and needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us. We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen—Zion will come only as they happen.

Yes, we do need to prepare; we need to work on increasing our personal righteousness on a daily basis. Here's the link to an old seminary video that really impressed me the first time I saw it - The Gardener. It's a good question to ponder frequently - "Am I ready for the owner to visit his garden today?"

The Gardener

Visitor: Well, for not knowing when he's coming you certainly keep this place beautifully. You'd think you were expecting [the owner] tomorrow.

Caretaker: No. Today, sir, today.

Adding a couple more quotes:

"How do you prepare for the Second Coming? Well, you just don't worry about it. You just live the kind of life that if the Second Coming were to be tomorrow you would be ready. Nobody knows when it is going to happen. . . . Our responsibility is to prepare ourselves, to live worthy of the association of the Savior, to deport ourselves in such a way that we would not be embarrassed if he were to come among us. That is a challenge in this day and age."

President Gordon B. Hinckley, 
Utah State Devotional, 1997; 
quoted in Church News 2 January 1999, 
or D&C Teacher Manual page 115

"We face some difficult days, the like of which we have never experienced in our lives. And those days are going to require faith and testimony and family unity. . . There should be no doubt . . . that the human family is headed for trouble. There are rugged days ahead. It is the time for every man who wishes to do his duty to get himself prepared - physically, spiritually, and psychologically - for the task which may come at any time, as suddenly as the whirlwind."

Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, page 106-108