All Things Witness

Thoughts on the mission and power of Jesus Christ


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Depression and Church service.

© Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Christ taught the importance of both faith and works

© Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Christ taught the importance of both faith and works

I was very blessed to have been born into a Christian family. My parents never wavered in their testimonies or Church attendance, and I grew up learning from them the importance of it.

I’m not sure at what point I began to understand the difference between the Church and the gospel – the earthly (though divinely mandate and approved) organisation through which gospel ordinances are performed in our day, versus the eternal principles by which our future happiness is governed.

At some point I did, though. And at about the same time, I also began to notice other principles we often conflate within the Church. Believing versus faith. Doing versus becoming. Reading  – or even studying – versus feasting.

Whichever set of words you look at, they’re both necessary: essential even. But our ultimate aim is always the second. We strengthen our belief until it grows into faith. We study the scriptures until we come to a point where we love them: our soul “hungers”, as Enos put it, and we desire to feast (see Enos 1:4). We do the things the Lord commands until we become a people who would naturally choose those things anyway – even without commandments, and without thinking about it.

It wasn’t until my darkest time of despair, however, that I realised my understanding of these things was intellectual only, a mere grasp of the theory. Continue reading


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Remembering Him

Original photo 'Bread and Wine', copyright ingridhs

Original photo ‘Bread and Wine’, copyright ingridhs

On His final mortal night with His specially chosen disciples, Jesus shared a Passover meal; introducing a new rite with bread and wine. The event itself has become known as the Last Supper. The new ordinance Christ introduced that night continues in most Christian churches today, and is usually called Communion, or the Eucharist. Within the LDS tradition, it is called the Sacrament.

A few months ago I posted a short poem about the Sacrament, but I’d like to spend a little more time sharing more of my thoughts and feelings on this beautiful ordinance, looking more broadly at the ordinance’s introduction before specifically looking at some of the symbolism used. I will specifically be looking at the LDS ‘version’ of the Sacrament, but I think many of the principles could have application in other faiths, too. If you’re not LDS and have questions about any differences, please feel free to send me a message or add a comment and I’ll be happy to reply.

The New Testament account of the introduction of the Sacrament shows us how the Saviour adapted it from the Passover meal, linking so beautifully the old law with the new. Jesus didn’t destroy the Law of Moses when He came. Rather, He brought with Him new light; new understanding; more blessings. It was a transition from one true gospel to a higher version of the same. His teachings of the Sacrament to His disciples were amongst the last He gave. It’s worth thinking about that. He had spent three years ministering, teaching and healing. Over that time He had carefully expanded the spiritual horizons of his chosen Apostles; giving them line upon line. And at the end of that time, when the Atonement itself lay immediately before Him and He would soon depart mortality, He taught them of the Sacrament. Continue reading


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The Holy Ghost and Depression

Sunlight on green fieldsThis post is a little more rambling than usual, so I apologise for that. Hopefully I’ll still be able to make the point I want to.

I often think that when we get to the next life and see things as they really are; when the scales of our mortal blindness fall from our eyes, that we will be surprised with both how much simpler things were than we thought, as well as how much more complex. If that sounds contradictory, let me explain.

We spend our lives running to and fro. We have gadgets that improve our efficiency, but the result is we feel pressure to get ever more done. Our children must be in after-school clubs. We must be available for our employers 24/7. Work is increasingly demanding, while so are the requirements to fit society’s standards of good parenting. And then we add church responsibilities, social activities, and so on, and so on. We spend so much time and effort on these things when our main purpose in life is really the much simpler “Come, follow me.” Not easy, for sure, but simple. I’m sure that when I kneel at a future day before my Saviour and look back at my mortal journey I will say some variation of “Oops”, as I recognise how much time and stress I wasted on things that really didn’t matter. Continue reading


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Pleading

Image from Flickr, by hjukkhj

Image from Flickr, by hjukkhj

Life is hard – really hard.

We all have times in our live when we feel that we are alone.  We may not lose faith that He lives – or that He cares for others; but we lose hope that He cares for us.  Others may be important; just not me.  Such feelings may be fleeting; or they may endure for hours, days, weeks, months, or even years.

It was during a time when I was contemplating this, that I wrote the following.   Continue reading


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the_mighty_healer-661166   A beautiful quote from President Boyd K Packer at the recent conference:

“Those who will repent and forsake sin will find that His merciful arm is outstretched still. Those who listen to and heed His words and the words of His chosen servants will find peace and understanding even in the midst of great heartache and sorrow…. The mercy and grace of Jesus Christ are not limited to those who commit sins either of commission or omission, but they encompass the promise of everlasting peace to all who will accept and follow Him and His teachings. His mercy is the mighty healer, even to the wounded innocent.”


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An Apostle Testifies

Under the glance of His all-seeing eye,-2

As we approach the general sessions of another General Conference of the LDS Church next weekend, I reflect on my favourite quote from the last conference in April.  This one from Elder D Todd Christofferson.  His whole talk was a beautiful testimony of Christ, and I select below, just a portion.

 

“The Savior is not dependent on food or water or oxygen or any other substance or power or person for life. Both as Jehovah and Messiah, He is the great I Am, the self-existing God. He simply is and ever will be.

By His Atonement and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has overcome all aspects of the Fall. Physical death will be temporary, and even spiritual death has an end, in that all come back into the presence of God, at least temporarily, to be judged. We can have ultimate trust and confidence in His power to overcome all else and grant us everlasting life….

[T]he Savior makes all things right. No injustice in mortality is permanent, even death, for He restores life again. No injury, disability, betrayal, or abuse goes uncompensated in the end because of His ultimate justice and mercy…. Continue reading


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Sacramental Altar

Many Christian religions have rituals that remind us of Christ: His life, teachings and atonement.  Within the LDS Church, one of these is the Sacrament – a weekly partaking of bread and water, following the pattern of the Last Supper when He gave bread and wine to His disciples instructing them to remember Him.  In other Christian religions a similar ritual may occur, perhaps called Holy Communion, or something similar.  The Sacrament takes on such an important meaning for us that our main Sunday worship meeting is called “Sacrament Meeting”.

For many years, with a constant stream of small children on laps, at feet, and generally requiring attention, concentrating on the meaning and importance of the Sacrament during our Sunday worship meetings was something of an impossibility.  But now they are older, it can once again (usually) have the attention it deserves.

Sacramental Altar

An altar of wood,
Adorned with emblems
Clothed in white

Tokens of a sacrifice
Made long ago
And made anew

Continue reading


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Of Forest Walks and the Doctrine of Christ

The physical, emotional and spiritual copyI was asked to give a talk (sermon) in my local church today, and I’ve copied the text below.  Some of the themes could be further developed, and I probably will do in future posts.  I begin with a parable that in some ways reminds me of the famous lines from Alice in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

 

Only in this case, it really does matter which way we go…. Continue reading


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A Faithful Perspective on the Problem of Evil (part 3)

The Famished ChildSadly enough… it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.” (Elder Jeffrey R Holland, The Cost – and Blessings – of Discipleship)

This is the third (and final) post in a series on the Problem of Evil, specifically looking at three fallacies that are inherent within the problem (at least as it is usually described). Continue reading