Monday, June 20, 2016

Come Back and Feast at the Table of the Lord

                                           Christ with sheep

“To those who have transgressed or been offended, we say, come back. To those who are hurt and struggling and afraid, we say, let us stand with you and dry your tears. To those who are confused and assailed by error on every side, we say, come to the God of all truth and the Church of continuing revelation. Come back. Stand with us. Carry on. Be believing. All is well, and all will be well. Feast at the table laid before you in The Church ofJesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and strive to follow the Good Shepherd who has provided it. Have hope, exert faith, receive—and give—charity, the pure love of Christ.”1

Throughout his life, President Hunter helped many Church members return to activity. Relating such an experience from early adulthood, he said:
“My ward bishop assigned me as a ward teacher to a brother who boasted he was the oldest deacon in the Church. Home teaching was ward teaching in those days. His problem was that he loved to play golf on Sunday. It was discouraging to meet month after month with him and his wife and see no apparent progress. But finally, the right word was said to him and it struck a responsive chord. The word was covenant. We asked him, ‘What does the covenant of baptism mean to you?’ His expression changed, and for the first time we saw a serious side to him. Eventually he came to our classes, gave up golf, and took his wife to the temple.”3
“We are confident that many have longed to return, but have felt awkward about doing so. We assure you that you will find open arms to receive you and willing hands to assist you.” (Ensign, March 1986, p. 88.)
I think all of us were impressed by this magnanimous appeal akin to what the prophet Alma stated in theBook of Mormon regarding an invitation that was extended by the Lord. He said:
What should we do to help those who have lost their way in the wilderness?
The Lord, our Good Shepherd, expects us to be his undershepherds and recover those who are struggling or are lost. We can’t tell you how to do it, but as you become involved and seek inspiration, success will result from efforts in your areas, … stakes, and wards. Some stakes have responded to previous pleadings and have had remarkable success.
f we do this, eternal blessings will come to us.5
Seeking after the lost, the wayward, and the straying is the Lord’s business. … The prayerful plea of Alma is a good reminder of the sacredness of our task:
“O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing [souls] again unto thee in Christ.
Over the years the Church has made some monumental efforts to recover those who are less active. … And all to what end? It is to save the souls of our brothers and sisters and see that they have the ordinances of exaltation.
We are leading toward one objective for each individual member of the Church. That is for all to receive the ordinances of the gospel and make covenants with our Heavenly Father so they may return to his presence. That is our grand objective. The ordinances and covenants are the means to achieving that divine nature that will return us into his presence again. …
Keep in mind the purpose: to invite all to come unto Christ. …
I testify, my brethren and sisters, to his divinity and power to save those who will come to him with broken hearts and contrite spirits. Through the ordinances and his Holy Spirit, each individual may become clean.10

No comments:

Post a Comment