Skip to main content

Sunday School Lesson

They are starting to get the new ward organized. We have two Relief Societies, and an Elders Quorum, and they have called Presidencies for both. I am in the East Relief Society, and have been asked to be a Visiting Teaching Supervisor. I'm grateful to have a calling, and considering everything going on with the new job, it should be manageable.

I was also asked to teach Gospel Doctrine this week. I've tried my best to prepare, and hopefully it will go well. The lesson is on Matthew 11:28-30, and Luke 7:36-50, and talks about our burdens can be eased by coming to Christ. My thoughts have mostly been on one of the characters from the story in Luke, known as Simon the Pharisee. In the story, he comes off as proud and judgmental, and gets a bum rap. But I wonder if most of us are really more like him than we think.

In the story, Simon invites the Savior to dine with him. During the meal, a woman who has the reputation of being a sinner, comes into the room, falls down at the Savior's feet, and anoints him. Simon looks at this scene and says to himself "doesn't he know what kind of woman this is?". The Savior senses this, and rebukes Simon for thinking it, and reminds him that he has not behaved very invitingly. The Savior then forgives the woman her sins.

Now based on a brief reading, most of us would condemn Simon. But I wonder though - what is it that causes him to behave that way? Given his background (he was a Pharisee, and a strict follower of the Mosaic Law), and as an observant Jew, he would have kept himself separate from those who were considered to be sinners. He would not have wanted to be tainted by their sins. The law allows for charity, and so the poor and sinners are allowed to come to the feasts to get the left-overs. But they're never invited in with the honored guests. Simon is following both the law and the custom of the time. To those in the city who know him, he's considered a good and righteous man.

The Savior also rebukes him for not following the customary traditions for how to treat an honored guest. But I also wonder - just because he has invited the Savior to dine, does it follow that he has a testimony of Him? Here he is a Pharisee, and the Savior doesn't have a good reputation among them. Perhaps he's interested enough to see what the Savior and His message are all about, but there's no real intent to take any action once he hears it. Maybe he's being careful and prudent, not intending to let his guard down. Maybe he's an introvert, and by not performing the hospitable customs, he's thinking he can get his guest to leave early. In any case, it doesn't occur to him how much he needs the Savior. 

Like Simon the Pharisee, most of us LDS probably don't have a reputation as "sinners". Most of us are probably trying our best to keep the commandments, magnify our callings, work, and take care of our families and friends. In our community and culture, we're probably considered good and "righteous" people. But we can also get so busy that we forget that the Lord is there for us, too, and that by coming to Him, and letting Him share in our burdens, we can find greater peace. 

It reminds me of this quote from Elder David A. Bednar:

Not only does the Atonement of Jesus Christ overcome the effects of the Fall of Adam and make possible the remission of our individual sins and transgressions, but His Atonement also enables us to do good and become better in ways that stretch far beyond our mortal capacities. Most of us know that when we do things wrong and need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives, the Savior has made it possible for us to become clean through His redeeming power. But do we also understand that the Atonement is for faithful men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully? I wonder if we fail to fully acknowledge this strengthening aspect of the Atonement in our lives and mistakenly believe we must carry our load all alone—through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline and with our obviously limited capacities.

It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to the earth to die for us. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to enliven us—not only to guide but also to strengthen and heal us.


Popular posts from this blog

New 'Do

For probably the last 10 years or so, I've had pretty much the same hairstyle. For the most part, it's been long, all one length, and I would eventually put it up in a ponytail almost every day, because I couldn't stand having it in my face. It drove me crazy, but I didn't know what to do with it, and at the same time, I liked that I could basically get up and go every day without a lot of effort. For the past several months now, I've been threatening to do something different and drastic, and finally, yesterday, I did. At the recommendation of Angel, I made an appointment with her stylist. It took several weeks to get in, but finally, the day arrived. Angel went with me, for moral support, and to be the photographer. I went in with some basic ideas, but after some consultation and looking at photos with Francine, this is what I ended up with. First, the "before" shot: In process: And finally, the finished product: I can't remember the last time
Hi, my name's Tracie and I'm a Mormon. That being said, I've provided enough context for the conversation I had with the receptionist at work today: Christy: (Showing me a photo) What picture is this movie from? Me: Mmmm, Serendipity maybe? Christy: should know this. Me: I should? Christy: (Finally) It's from the movie "Charlie"! Me: How would I know that? I don't watch Mormon movies. They're dumb. Now that I've let the cat out of the bag, I guess I should also confess that I also don't listen to Mormon pop music (other than the original recording of The Forgotten Carols), or read Mormon fiction. So sue me. Let's face it, it's not like most of them are of real quality anyway. When it comes to Mormon music, I'll stick with my MoTab and the hymns of Zion.

Triple D Divas Do Northern Utah

Last Saturday, the Triple D Divas met for a day trip get-away to Northern Utah - specifically Logan and Brigham City (with a little touch of Idee-ho thrown in for good measure). We started our journey with lunch at the Bluebird Cafe. Everyone knows about the Bluebird - it's about the oldest place on main street, and is tradition for anyone whose ever done a Logan Temple Trip. We went in to see the Logan Tabernacle, and I snapped this cool picture of the oragn pipes. (Of course, now that we're all in our 40's and have shrinking bladders, the Tabernacle also made for a clean and convenient potty stop.) ...Also a view of the Logan Temple spires from outside the Tabernacle...    From there, it was off to Glossner's Cheese Factory for some squeaky cheese. After that, we went to the Pepperidge Farms Outlet, and the girls all found some cookies and stuff.  But nothing really excited me there.  However, the outlet is located in