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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Charity never faileth

The ultimate contrast to politics is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I've been preparing to talk in church for a coming Sunday about the story of the prodigal son - the one about a young man who squandered his inheritance and destitute and humbled, returned home to be welcomed with open and loving arms by his father, but with jealousy by his brother who had done his duty all along. We have a lay clergy in the LDS Church and the congregation all participate in speaking to each other at times, also acting as teachers, musicians, etc.

In my preparations I just read LDS apostle Jeffrey R. Holland's sermon entitled "The Other Prodigal," given in a General Conference address to members - and anyone else interested - in 2002. In it, he says:
The scriptures are replete with the promise that God’s grace is sufficient. 9 This is one arena where no one has to claw or compete. Nephi declares that the Lord “loveth the [whole] world” and has given salvation freely.
“Hath [He] commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness?” Nephi asks. No! “All … are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden [at His hand].”
“Come unto me all ye ends of the earth,” He pleads, and buy milk without money and honey without price. 10 All are privileged, the one like unto the other. Walk peacefully. Walk confidently. Walk without fear and without envy. Be reassured of Heavenly Father’s abundance to you always.
As we do this, we can help others, calling down blessings on them even as they make supplication for us. We can cheer every talent and ability, wherever it is bestowed, thus making life here more nearly what it will be like in heaven.
It will help us always to remember Paul’s succinct prioritizing of virtues—“Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 11 He reminds us we are all of the body of Christ, and that all members, whether comely or feeble, are adored, essential, and important. We feel the depth of his plea that there be “no schism in the body, but that the members … have the same care one for another. And [when] one member suffer[s], all the members suffer with it; or [when] one member [is] honoured, all the members rejoice.” 12 
Why are the parables or stories Jesus taught long ago important today? Because they teach us to remember who we are - children of God - and to act as such. With pure and Christlike love - charity.

* His reference to Nephi is unfamiliar to those who have not read the Book of Mormon. Nephi was a prophet of God who migrated with his family to the Americas at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem around 600 B.C.

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