Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday thoughts

I didn't want another week to go by without my Sunday thoughts, so I'm posting them on Monday.

When we were in Vail, we attended a bilingual branch there -- half of the meeting was in English, half in Spanish. (At least my dad could understand everything!) The talk in English was given by a visiting high councilman and it was excellent. It really stuck with me and has been on my mind ever since. The subject of his talk was angels, and he referred to Elder Holland's talk from last October's General Conference.

I re-read it, and the whole talk is wonderful, but I'm including some excerpts:

I ask everyone within the sound of my voice to take heart, be filled with faith, and remember the Lord has said He “would fight [our] battles, [our] children’s battles, and [the battles of our] children’s children.”10 And what do we do to merit such a defense? We are to “search diligently, pray always, and be believing[. Then] all things shall work together for [our] good, if [we] walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.”11 The latter days are not a time to fear and tremble. They are a time to be believing and remember our covenants.

I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us, and in my case, one of them consented to marry me. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind.

My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.”13 On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.

May we all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord’s promise as contained in one of President Monson’s favorite scriptures: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, … my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”14 In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith and “the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.”15 Perhaps then we can be emissaries sent from God when someone, perhaps a Primary child, is crying, “Darkness … afraid … river … alone.” To this end I pray in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, November 2008

The speaker also said that one reason we don't see angels more frequently is that we see what we are looking for. He cited some very interesting scientific studies demonstrating that fact, that somehow our brains are wired to quickly scan our surroundings and decide what information is most germane to our situation at any given time -- that we see only what our brain deems relevant for us.

He then referenced 2 Kings 6:

14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his aeyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and bchariots of fire round about Elisha.

I love that. Not only legions of people to help them fight their battle, but also horses and chariots!

The speaker also reminded us that, even when we have turned our back on the Lord, he still will send us aid.

I have to say, I have never really given much thought to angels before. But as I have pondered this, I have seen much evidence of angels in my life. I have no other explanation for our being spared huge accident and injury during our recent road trip incident. And so many people have been angels to me, providing service when I was in need, doing things for me that I could not do for myself. So many times I have been rescued. I so want to be available to render that kind of service to others.


Jill said...

This is interesting to me because I never really think about angels either, but I do believe.

patsy said...

This is an amazing talk & message here.
I do believe in angels, earthly & otherwise.

Very thought provoking -

rebekah said...

i think that many Mormon don't think about angels, myself included, because they seem almost like a taboo subject, you know? like saints -- something that those 'other' religions believe in, but we don't. maybe the name makes us uncomfortable, or maybe the fact that otherworldly beings are around us, but it's a beautiful truth of the gospel.

shannon said...

Wow!--what a powerful talk...
no wonder it has stuck with you...

It's an interesting topic...not one that I've ever heard spoken of this way...

I love hearing the scripture "I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your Spirit shall be in your heart, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."--

Such comforting words...

Marie said...

I love this talk about angels- I have thought about angels alot and I think they are near us more than we know. I have felt their protection when I needed it most, and and some have called me when I was sick and lonely and just needed to hear a friendly voice!

The idea that we only see what we expect to see reminds me of one of the Narnia books (I can't remember which one anymore), but they go into a shack or cabin and some of them see a beautiful paradise, while others only see the four dingy walls and the dirty floor.

Thanks for your Sunday thoughts Michelle, you always inspire me to be a little better and pay a little more attention in Sacrament meeting!

crystal said...

I loved this entire post. Every word.

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