“Bear One Another’s Burdens”

 

The Bern Switzerland Temple
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
dedicated fifty-eight years ago today
(Click to enlarge.)

 

 

It was our stake conference this morning.  I enjoyed the entire program, including the choir’s performances (in which I should have been participating), but will highlight just a couple of hymns and a couple of talks.

 

We began by singing W. W. Phelps’s spirited old Mormon hymn “Now Let Us Rejoice”:

 

Now let us rejoice in the day of salvation.

No longer as strangers on earth need we roam.

Good tidings are sounding to us and each nation,

And shortly the hour of redemption will come,

When all that was promised the Saints will be given,

And none will molest them from morn until ev’n,

And earth will appear as the Garden of Eden,

And Jesus will say to all Israel, “Come home.”


 

We’ll love one another and never dissemble

But cease to do evil and ever be one.

And when the ungodly are fearing and tremble,

We’ll watch for the day when the Savior will come,

When all that was promised the Saints will be given,

And none will molest them from morn until ev’n,

And earth will appear as the Garden of Eden,

And Jesus will say to all Israel, “Come home.”


 

In faith we’ll rely on the arm of Jehovah

To guide thru these last days of trouble and gloom,

And after the scourges and harvest are over,

We’ll rise with the just when the Savior doth come.

Then all that was promised the Saints will be given,

And they will be crown’d with the angels of heav’n,

And earth will appear as the Garden of Eden,

And Christ and his people will ever be one.


 

Immediately thereafter, one of the counselors in the stake presidency spoke.  He had been assigned, as his theme, the title of that hymn: “Now Let Us Rejoice.”

 

He delivered a heartfelt account of the things in which he rejoices and for which he’s grateful.  It was moving to me and to many others present because we know that he’s been very seriously challenged by a somewhat unusual but severe cancer over the past couple of years or so.  He and his family thought he had it pretty well under control last year, and, to our great surprise, my wife and I found ourselves seated behind them in an Orlando-area ward late in 2012, while we were out visiting our eldest son and his wife and he and his family were on a celebratory vacation.  But his cancer returned after that, and he’s had a rough time.

 

We also sang “How Great Thou Art,” a hymn that, for unaccountable reasons, I’ve never altogether liked.  I was struck today, though, by some of the lyrics:

 

Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder:

Thy power throughout the universe displayed

 Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee:

How great Thou art!  How great Thou art!

 

When thru the woods and forest glades I wander

And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,

When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur,

And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze,

 Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee:

How great Thou art!  How great Thou art!

 

I posted an entry here a few days ago in which, having shared several photographs of spectacular landscapes that move me, I concluded by saying that, to me, these places seemed perfectly adequate “proofs” of God.  The conclusion was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I assumed (accurately, I still think) that most people would get the point.  It’s rather closely related to the two verses I’ve just cited above.  However, at least one reader was irritated, and he effectively demanded that I exhibit the formal logical syllogism by which those photographs literally proved the existence of God.  (Sigh.)

 

The other counselor in the stake presidency, formerly the bishop of our ward, commented in his remarks on something he’s occasionally heard, in which good Latter-day Saints indicate that they pray to be led to people who need help.  He didn’t disparage that sincere prayer, but he observed that probably everybody needs (or could use) some help or other.  “Just go next door,” he said.  “Your neighbors could use your help.”  And he admonished us to be willing to receive help, as well, that we shouldn’t pretend that we have no challenges, no burdens.

 

He cited Alma the Elder’s invitation to baptism, as recorded in Mosiah 18:8-10:

 

And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

 

I had been thinking already of precisely that passage, and of the commandment in the Doctrine and Covenants (42:45) to “live together in love.”

 

I’m so very grateful that I belong to such a people.  Imperfect, yes.  But very good.  A true community.

 

 

  • Alexander

    It’s Alma the Elder’s invitation to baptism in Mosiah 18, not Alma the Younger’s. Otherwise an excellent and moving message. Thanks for sharing, Brother Peterson. :)

    • DanielPeterson

      Whoops. You’re right. I was being careless.

      The beautiful thing about “publishing” electronically, though, is that things are easily changed.

  • Lucy Mcgee

    “However, at least one reader was irritated, and he effectively demanded
    that I exhibit the formal logical syllogism by which those photographs
    literally proved the existence of God. (Sigh.)”

    What comment(s) are you referring to?

    • DanielPeterson

      The comments were made on Facebook.


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