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!