Spring seems to have finally come to Edmonton. As I write I am sitting at my kitchen table and looking at my sun-filled back yard. We have put our deck furniture out which adds to the impression (illusion?) of warmer weather. It is 16 degrees (Celsius, of course) and quite pleasant. But we have been teased by warmer weather a few times in the last month and then forced to endure another few stretches of cooler weather including sub-zero overnight low temperatures.
I have described Edmonton’s weather because I know that the weather is vastly different in other parts of this province, let alone in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba. In my twice-weekly “Virtual Visiting Fellowship” meetings, I have been reminded since some time back in March that things are warmer and greener and more “blooming” in BC, but also that rogue snowstorms have happened in southern Alberta and in neighbouring Saskatchewan - storms which never touched Edmonton.
Is this not like so many other things in our lives? Our perspective on many things are affected by the angle from which we view them. The poem of The Blind Men and the Elephant has each man touching different parts of the elephant and each of them concluding that “elephants are like… (different things).” Similarly, our family up-bringing and childhood-through-adolescence experiences affect how we see the world as adults. The generation of which we are a member may affect how we view government and politics, social issues, music, the media, and technology (to name just a few issues). And each of our individual perspectives results in different views on religious faith and belief – also often formed by the generation of which we are a member or by our unique experiences as children, youth, and young adults, or, perhaps, by our educational and even vocational choices.
And yet, somehow, most of the time, it all works. Somehow, we find ways to get along:
The scriptures are full of conflict and eventual reconciliation with the help of the Spirit of God. A recent inspired message to the church provided this guidance:
Listen together to one another, without judgment or predisposition. Do not assume that the answers to matters of conflict have yet been perceived. There is much labor to be done. Reason together in love, and the Spirit of truth will prevail.
--Doctrine and Covenants, Section 162: 5c
And there is the key. Whatever may tend to have us see things from different angles and points of view, whatever may threaten to divide us, if we will only “listen together to one another, without judgement and predisposition” we have hope within the faith and fellowship of Jesus Christ to come to a peaceful understanding. Not necessarily agreement! But at least understanding.
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
If you have any comment or question about this weekly message, please do not hesitate to contact me using the email address provided below.
As always, I pray for you God’s blessings of joy, hope, love, and peace in these challenging times.
Canada West Mission Centre President
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community of christ
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Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537
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