Monday, January 28, 2008

sharp focus

Some events bring everything into sharper focus. President Gordon B. Hinkley passed away last night, beloved prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I woke up this morning and the outline of the sky and the definition of shapes all around me seemed so much sharper. I looked at the people walking past me and wondered how they could not know. I thought of the headlines on the newspapers this morning and how none of them reflected the most important event of the day. All of this walking and bustling to work seemed so insignificant. The thing that stood out most to me were the three homeless men that I saw on my path to work this morning. Three men with needs to be met.

Yesterday at church the two foci that stood out to me were the talks in sacrament meeting about following the living prophet and the lesson in Relief Society about sharing the gospel. The two are so intensely connected. I made a half-explained comment in the lesson about how we get so overwhelmed when people ask us about the church because of the weight of responsibility we feel--and how if we could get around that feeling we might be more effective in offering and sharing what we should share. The idea behind the comment was not wrong, but I am afraid that it may have read flippant, as if I were trying to soothe us all for not always sharing the way we should.

This morning as I thought with reverence about the beauty of prophetic succession and the sure knowledge that I have that our church leaders are called of God, I felt ovewhelmed with a sense of gratitude and blessedness that my confidence and faith in the leadership of the Church need never be questioned. It is not a matter of politics. It will not be months before the next president of the church is called. We have 14 leaders; 12 apostles and two counselors who have been called of God and are all worthy to fill the roll of the head of Christ's church in our day. President Monson, as the member of the Quorum longest called, according to tradition, will become our next president. We know this and honor and love him and know that he holds the priesthood keys and authorities. If for some reason another member of the quorum were callled, we also know that as a quorum, together they hold the prophetic right and responsibility to call another prophet, that these men respond to God's call and work through the Spirit of the Lord, and that they WILL receive revelation and knowledge of who is to lead the Church.

I feel myself open and loving of spirituality in general; I work for an ecumenical organization working for the unity of Christian denominations around the globe (of which my church is not a member) and I also engage in personal study of energy systems and some new age-ish forms of spiritualism. I am grateful for the truths and Christian love and examples that I learn from these various sources. But today all I want to proclaim to the world, to everyone I see and everyone I meet is this: That the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints IS the very church the Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, established on the earth in the meridian of time--and that He has restored it in our day through the honored and beloved prophet Joseph Smith. While working on the inspired translation of the Book of Mormon, and following an inquiry he had regarding baptism as mentioned in the book, John the Bapist and then Peter, James and John all appeared to Joseph and gave him the priesthood as given them by Jesus Christ. Since those events the priesthood of God has been on the earth, never again to be taken away. It holds the authority of baptism and covenants; it holds the right to prophecy for the entire earth. Gordon B. Hinkley was the prophet not only for the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saitns, but for all of humanity. God bless those who were listening.
And so today, that very weight of responsibility rests heavy on my heart. Oh if only you all knew. If only I could tell you all. We have been led by God's prophet. His good and faithful servant has returned home now to his Beloved Father and his wonderful sweetheart and eternal companion whom he has missed. In the words of every eight year old, heartfelt testimony, I know this church is True, and I love it with all of my heart.