(Stake Presidency Message week 15)
This morning Joanne and I returned to running. Perhaps not in setting of the pictures, but it was overdue. Throughout lockdown Joanne has routinely participated in online Yoga and fitness classes, bought, and started using a spin bike and generally kept fit. I on the other hand have found every reason not to. After such a long break my mind was getting good at telling my body it didn’t need to run, I found lots of good reasons to rationalise my lack of desire. Some reasons were genuine. At the beginning of lockdown, when we could only go out once a day, we used that slot to take the dogs on long walks. To be honest though, some of my reasons were just excuses!!
We speak a lot of repentance in the church, changing to become better, President Nelson is constantly giving us opportunities to change! As I ran it struck me that some of the changes we have to make are actually returning to things we once did and have either forgotten, neglected or not been allowed to do.
In 2009 Elder Bednar gave a talk about technology entitled “Things as they Really are” As a fan of all things Techy, I find I return to this talk occasionally for a reality check. He outlines some basic doctrines such as this
“Our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character.” Thus, our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and act in accordance with truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies. In the classroom of mortality, we experience tenderness, love, kindness, happiness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, and even the challenges of physical limitations in ways that prepare us for eternity. Simply stated, there are lessons we must learn and experiences we must have, as the scriptures describe, “according to the flesh”
By grand design we are here to have physical experiences, we adapt to our circumstances, we embrace positives that come from the technology of Social Media and Zoom, and yet ultimately, we need human interaction.
Let me level with you, you may have heard the expression FOMO (fear of missing out) some people have a desire to be involved in everything they can. My family say I have the opposite, FOBI (fear of being involved) Home centred church has been such a positive experience for me!! Spirituality, gospel study and none of the social anxiety of interacting with people. I can find lots of reasons why I am happy to keep things as they are. But I think now is the time for me and those of you who feel like me, to start preparing ourselves, for a return to church meetings. We won’t be able to meet this week, we may not be able to meet for several weeks, and only when President Harrott is sure it is safe, but we need to find our “Why”. Mentally and spiritually we need to have a desire to meet even if physically we cannot.
3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.
4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.
5 And the church did MEET together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.
6 And they did MEET together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.
I believe as a stake we have been greatly blessed by an outpouring of the spirit via the use of technology, things have continued in a way that would not be possible without Zoom. Going forward we can take the best of these practices and adopt them into our lives. We may find zoom council meetings are the new norm. But as opportunities begin to arise for personal interaction, to meet as a body of Saints, we must embrace them, even if it is socially distanced.
I love the quote “ We are not physical beings having spiritual experiences, rather spiritual being having physical experiences” it is often used to remind us of our divine nature, but it also reminds us we should be having physical experiences, perhaps not virtual ones.
All the presidency messages can be viewed HERE