Monday, February 11, 2008

Messages

A family that taught me by example about charity and hard work.

Some thoughts before I sleep.

In my creative writing class today, a classmate read an essay he entitled "Messages" about a few experiences on his mission. One of the things that lingered with me was a discussion the class had about his title. He originally had his title "Messengers," but changed it to "Messages" because he wanted to focus on the fact that it is the message that is important. I agreed with him at the time, and I think I still agree with him now, but my opinion towards the importance of the messenger is also starting to change.



When talking about the gospel, of course it's the message that is the meat--it's the message that Christ lives, that He atoned for our sins and redeemed us from death ,that carries power. But the messenger, both the Holy Ghost and the teacher (whether it be a prophet, missionary, or best friend) wields so much influence on the hearer that a true testimony cannot be gained without it. That's why it's so important to have the spirit when teaching or learning about the gospel--and also why it's so important that we gather often to bear testimony, pray, renew our covenants, and listen to direction of our leaders. It's why good examples in our life, people that inspire and motivate, exhort and correct, are so important. We take the message to heart because of the way we feel when we are around the messenger. One of my favorite poems illustrates the effect a good leader and example can have on an individual (and on a family). Matthew Arnold wrote Rugby Chapel as he was sitting at his father's graveside, thinking on the life that his father had lived. It's a long poem, so I won't quote the whole thing, but here is a portion that I think is applicable.

But thou would’st not alone
Be saved, my father! alone
Conquer and come to thy goal,
Leaving the rest in the wild.
We were weary, and we
Fearful, and we in our march
Fain to drop down and to die.
Still thou turnedst, and still
Beckonedst the trembler, and still
Gavest the weary thy hand.

If, in the paths of the world,
Stones might have wounded thy feet,
Toil or dejection have tried
Thy spirit, of that we saw
Nothing—to us thou wast still
Cheerful, and helpful, and firm!
Therefore to thee it was given
Many to save with thyself;
And, at the end of thy day,
O faithful shepherd! to come,
Bringing thy sheep in thy hand.


Ok, it's a smaller portion than I wanted (RC is a long poem...) but I think it helps clarify my thought that, really, those examples and influences in our life are, at times, almost as important as the message, because with out them, the message's meaning is lost in the "noise" of the world around the hearer.

2 comments:

Nellie said...

Wow, Dave...........Your excerpt makes me want to be a better mesenger!

amy said...

dang, how do you think this deep right before bed? once the lights are out so is my brain. haha