...people were stirring like a pack of mad mouses. It's the day before we head out, so we're all packing our stuff and getting together the things that we will need for 2 weeks. Fortunately, there will be washing machines and dryers where we are going, which is more than I can say about Japan. Anyway, its time for our annual Lewkowitz Family Christmas, and this year we get to participate in the Uhls family christmas, which is something that I haven't been to since I was 12 years old. Wow, it's been as long as I've been a member. I'd almost forgotten.
Anyway, so, yeah, picked up the rental car today and the vehicle, a Jeep SVU something or other, which is alot better than any of our sedans, because it can drive through snow much much better, and we will be going over Shasta, so that's something good. Interestingly, my sister won't be driving with us, which is the first time ever, but she will be flying out to come to the christmas parties, and then flying back for work. Its crazy but we'll do.
That rental car has a SIRIUS radio system, so I was playing with all the different channels (theres like 180 channels or something) and was getting stuff like news channels, music stations and TV shows. We listened to Trucker Radio, NASCAR, FOX NEWS, TALKLEFT RADIO, Shadey3 (which is the Eminem network) and so on. I'm going to have lots of fun with the radio on the trip.
Other point of interest is that noone has told me what the plan is, just, get ready to leave at 4 am. There's something about going to Stockton and hanging with my uncle, getting some stuff from him and one of my cousins, but that's it. Still a Big Fat NO!!! on the Fresno trip, but that's not really an issue I can continue to argue. Sigh, guess I'll never get to meet those double_dear twins....
Well, at church today, I was the final speaker, which was appropriate because I probably won't be participating in the Canyon Road Ward again...well, maybe in the summer. That's kinda sad actually, because there's this girl (not Eve) there, and she's from Texas, and today at our lucious Linger Longer (we had left overs from the Ward Party) we sat together and talked, and I found out that she didn't have a boyfriend like I thought she did, which meant that she was actually free to go out sometime if I'd just have asked. Dang! I lose. Oh well, I hope we meet up again sometime, since her whole Physics Major thing makes her kinda cute, and I think that her glasses make me think she's really attractive (girls with glasses are attractive to me for reasons that I just can't explain). However, this is girl is attractive, but the glasses just attracted my attention first.
Well, back to my talking at church thing, I wrote a talk, but I didn't give it. Not fully anyway. I changed somethings and made a few more jokes than I wrote here, like my improv opening where I said, "I wish I had one of those Teleprompters from Conference. Those talks are so cool aren't they. They move people, and I've always wanted to move people, but I hear they're expensive, so..." which made some people laugh.
Anyway, I'm going to end my potentially last entry for the year on a spiritual note by including the talk that I wrote. Hope you guys enjoy it. Happy holidays.
1 Nephi 1:1
One thing I get from this scripture is a small glimpse into the family life of Nephi. His parents were goodly, and they apparently taught their children of God, for Nephi states that he had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysterious of God, as well as proclaiming his parents goodly. Nephi recognized that his parents were directly related to his understanding and relationship with God, and thus stated that they had done their purpose as parents. I look into Nephi’s statements and as I realize that achieving goals with someone else requires constant unity, and thus conclude that Lehi and Sariah were United parents.
It’s interesting that in the scriptures we never read about Sariah complaining that Lehi never cleans up the tent. We never read about Lehi yelling at Sariah for spending all their money to go into Jerusalem to buy new shoes. We never see the boys ever trying to moderate an argument between there parents when Lehi comes home from a hard day of prophesying and finds that dinner is not in the fire. We never read about these things, because that’s not what was important to their relationship. It was important that they work together and that they unite in their purpose of bringing their sons and daughters unto God, and thus making their children goodly like unto themselves.
We do read once about Sariah calling her husband a visionary man, but that was only after her sons went off in the Lords errand and didn’t return for several days. This mother was clearly concerned for her boy, who had been required to go into Jerusalem to complete a task that Laman and Lemuel had already convinced themselves would be impossible. No doubt, after they hadn’t returned for many days, Sariah thought they were dead and thus angry at her husband. But when the boys returned, Sariah repented and said:
Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them.
Why is unity important? Who should we be united with? Do we ever need to repent for not being united with them? What blessings come from Unity?
I don’t have a lot of time to answer all these questions, and I’m fairly certain that my nerves won’t allow me to give the proper amount of time to each subject, so it would probably be best if you all pondered these questions in your heart while I skim over some explanations.
First, why is unity important? Well, if we go back through history and look to our very most important role-model, we find ourselves looking into the face of Christ. Here he stood in the waters of Jordan with his cousin, John the Baptist, willing to take upon himself the covenant of Baptism, which is the taking upon himself the name the Jesus Christ, and being cleansed from his sins, eligible to stand at the right hand of God. Christ was perfect, without blemish, without sin, but yet there he stood in the banks of the Jordan. Even John, who had been busy proclaiming the gospel of practical religion, was amazed to find himself standing before the Christ, saying, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou unto me?”
But we all know how Christ responded, don’t we. He said, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” We read in 2 Nephi 31 that the reason behind Christ’s statements is this: that he humbleth himself before the Father, and witness unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments. Christ was witnessing unto the Father that even thou He Himself was perfect and not in need of baptism, that he would fulfill all the commands of the Father, for the two were united in purpose. Their unity led Christ to be able to complete the atonement and achieve that great task of redeeming our souls.
This is our example. This is our mold. Christ and the Father united in purpose, brought to pass the salvation of all the souls of men. They brought happiness into an otherwise dreary world. They brought to the suffering soul, dying in sin without repentance. They brought about eternal life, which was their goal from the outset. The two achieved all that they set out to achieve because they were joined in a union that neither was willing to break.
Like unto the Father and the Son, being united in purpose, we have many people that we too can be united with. First, and probably the easiest to imagine is the Prophet of the Church. Granted, Brigham Young did not intend for the saints to blindly follow him and the subsequent chain of prophets that would follow, but he hoped that all the saints would ask God the Prophet was really called of God, for he knew that if they did so, God would manifest it unto them, and then they willing follow the dictates of that Prophet. And so it is, that his wish still remains, that we align ourselves in with the revelations from heaven and thus have living scriptures in our lives, living dictates from on high. Being joined in a union so great as to move the entire world closer to the kingdom of heaven.
But then, there’s yet others that we should be united with, and most of those I’m going to leave up to your own conscience, because you’re really the one decides who you need to be united with. However, I am going to state that you should be united with your families in their purposes, so long as their purposes are just. My family, for example, has an annual Christmas party in California. Tomorrow, I’m leaving for that party, and won’t be coming home until after New Years. Now, I could stay home, and not participate, as some of my cousins and uncle have begun to do over the past few years, but that would be selfish, wouldn’t it. If I were to choose to separate myself from my family so that I could hang out with my friends on New Years, what kind of reception could I expect next time I want my family to gather with me? No, unity amongst the family is so important as to be part of our eternal lives with our families, since it them who will be part of our eternal existence. Is it really a wonder that the greatest blessing of the Celestial Kingdom is life eternal, or rather, eternal existence with our families? To know God, our Father, and to be like unto him, a Father or Mother ourselves?
If I were to write a book of scripture like Nephi, would the images of my family be the same as his. Or would mine be full of scriptures like, “And thus my mother spake unto my father: Canst thou not see the clothes that are laying on the floor? Canst thou see that the washer is open? Canst thou not see that I have been cooking all the day? Canst thou not do something to help out around here? And again my father spake unto my mother: Woman, leave me be, for I too have been laboring hard these past twelve hours. And thus my father wrestled with my mother”.
Even though this might be a portion of our daily lives, the truth is that when all is said and done, if we were united with those that we should have been united with, true happiness will come to us and to many more than we expect. Like Christ and the Father were united, we have goals, even if we don’t remember them. We’re preparing to meet God, and thus preparing to live eternally with him. Our unity with Him should start here, and now, in our time of probation. Our unity with our friends, our family, our coworkers, our priesthoods leaders and our God, begins within our own hearts during this short time we have to prove our obedience.
We may not know what affect this will have on us in that eternal world, but remember that Amulek taught that the same spirits will possess our souls after that day of darkness. Prepare yourself each day to live in the presence of the Father with the people that you see around yourself. You might think, some of them won’t make it, but then, you might not make either. So prepare, prepare for even the worst among them to be your eternal friend. The only counsel I can offer inclusion before I end my time here in the Canyon Road Ward is “Be united one with another.”
And always remember that there is no I, in Unity. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.