Friday, September 04, 2009

Darn that Caller ID

We no longer have a landline. This doesn't make me hip or cool or young. It just makes me cheap. Mostly I like having just a cell phone, but it only identifies callers if they are already programmed into my phone. This is not an issue really: I only screen calls at meal time, after 8:00, when I'm watching a show I really like on TV, when I'm resolving an issue with the kids, doing housework, if I'm talking to someone on the other line, at the store, in the car, when my hands are full, or if I'm just not in the mood to talk. So, yeah, hardly ever.

Two Sundays ago, the phone rang while Plantboy was at meetings and I was in the throes of getting the Jedi off to church. Sunday morning phone calls are generally of two varieties: a missed newspaper customer or my mother. It was not my mother, and not recognizing the number I nearly changed my mind, figuring it was a disgruntled paper (non) recipient. I answered, trying to keep the note of world-weariness out of my voice.

It was not a paper customer.

It was a member of the Stake Presidency. I was surprised to learn that he actually knew me, though I've noticed in this stake that the members of the SP come out fairly regularly to visit the wards. You know how this goes--when anybody from the stake calls you immediately begin the following in your head: What-can-he-be-calling-about-we-just-got-new-callings-please-don't-be-taking-my-husband-away-for-more-hours. But he did not want to meet with me or Plantboy. Instead, he asked if I would speak at the adult session of Stake Conference next week.

I think people say yes to this sort of thing because it comes as such a shock. With some time and reflection, you might be able to give a definitive yes, or at least come up with an excellent excuse. My answer sounded more like a question, "Yes?"

Now for the reason I'm blogging about this rather ordinary event. The topic has me slightly out of sorts. He said that a few people had been asked to take 10 minutes each to share a favorite scripture--one that had influenced our life somehow. He then said the scripture should be centered on Christ and the atonement as much as possible. Seems more like seminary devotional material than adult-session stake conference doctrine.

I wasn't off the phone ten minutes when ideas began flooding 1 Nephi 3 or 8 . . . or 17 ; the last three or four chapters of 2nd Nephi, the first or last few chapters of Mosiah, and Alma! Where to even begin in Alma? 5, 17-26, 32 . . . I quickly realized my thoughts were only in the very first half of the Book of Mormon and there were so many other great ones! Half of the third Nephi, verse 11 of 4th Nephi would make a fantastic talk, not to mention most of Mormon, Ether or Moroni. There are several incredible and influential scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants too. In Sunday School this summer I think we spent an entire month on just half of section 121. And while not a lot from the Old Testament stood out (Abraham's sacrifice and obedience/Esther's sense of destiny being notable exceptions), there are parts of the New Testament I just love. John 8. Acts 1-10 . . . . excerpts from all the epistles. The entire book of James.

Okay, you definitely get the picture. No doubt with just a minute's reflection you could come up with a similar list. It has really hit me that I don't think I have a favorite scripture. I have passages, stories, chapters that I really love. But a favorite? It's like picking a favorite kid. It just depends on the day, or even the moment.

Now, after some better focused reflection, I'm getting the start of an idea. But as I've been writing the talk, the tendency to sermonize and not just travelogue keeps creeping in. Does that make sense? I don't just want to tell a story; I want to teach a principle. But maybe the assignment just calls for the first? I'm not sure.

So what is YOUR favorite scripture? Either ever or at this moment, I'm not picky, but please give us a reason that you love it. I'm also not going to steal one of yours. I lamented some weeks back about how all of this social networking with a group of such remarkable, like-minded women, kept me from getting on my knees and taking my problems to the Lord. It is not my intention here to do so. Maybe it is that for about fifty un-named reasons this has been a Jonah-week* and I'm in need of some serious uplift. Help me out here, girls.

*Bragging rights to whomever can place the Jonah-week reference!


Sherry said...

Oh! I KNOW! It's one of the Anne of series, but I don't remember which one. And it took me a few seconds of recognizing the phrase before I was able to pin it down.

Oh... favorite scriptures. This is where my real weakness comes in. Even though I am very familiar with a lot of scriptures, I cannot find them unless my scriptures are in front of me. I am miserable when it comes to the actual references, despite being a master of Scripture Mastery in my seminary days. What can I say? I've gotten lazy.

But I do love me some 2 Nephi and Isaiah when it comes to the Atonement/love of the Savior.

FoxyJ said...

The last few stake conferences I've been to seem to be leaning towards the personal testimony format. I like the idea of hearing from more of the 'ordinary' members of the stake, and several stakes I've been in have asked recently baptized members to share their stories. On the other hand, though, I have sometimes wished for something a little more 'meaty' and doctrinal. Testimony really can be valuable and uplifting if done right. In my last stake it did seem like they saved the 'weightier' stuff for the Saturday evening meeting.

Anyways, I don't have my scriptures here in front of me, so I can't remember exact references. But there is one in Isaiah chapter 60 (or so) about how Christ's mission is to give beauty for ashes, dry up tears, set free captives, etc. I've had a lot of experiences in my life during the last ten years that seem like 'ashes' and I've always found such comfort and hope from that scripture.

I also love the one at the end of Moroni chapter 7 (I think it's verse 48) that talks about how we are supposed to pray for the gift of charity. On my mission I finally noticed it, because before I had often thought "I'm just not a loving or patient person", and then after reading it I realized that feeling love for others is a gift and only God can change our hearts to feel it. I'm still trying to work on that, but it's nice to know I'm not hopeless.

Melanie said...

Growing up I always had a favorite scripture, it would often change, but I had a sure favorite. As I've gotten older it seems impossible to put one verse at the forefront of all of the others.

1 Nephi 17:13 was the verse on my mission plaque. I love the imagery of light. Another favorite is D&C 93:1. I love the promise that we shall one day see the face of God. I try not to think of this promise as a "one day" sort of thing, but as something that I should be working toward with diligence and faith every day. Yes, it may be a long time until I actually see God face to face, but if God has revealed himself to man before, then why should I not be working toward the same blessing?!

1tiredmama said...

I really like Helaman 5:12.

It always reminds me that if my foundation is strong and centered on Christ everything will work out in the end. Even though the "mighty storm shall beat upon you", if your foundation is strong you'll come out okay in the end.

It is especially comforting when I feel like everything is falling apart.

Cathy said...

Melanie, I also love that scripture/ promise. I like to pair it together with D & C 97:8 and 97:15-16, and Helaman 3:35. I love the network of steps these verses set up about how to purify ourselves to see Christ, while reminding ourselves that we can be acceptable to him now.Sort of like the question in Alma ch. five about whether you can imagine yourself in the presence of God, with him saying "come unto me ye blessed". Isn't it amazing to think of how much he loves us and wants us with him?