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Which World?

Which World?

I don’t live in the same world as you. Oh, it’s the same planet of course. The same physical laws: if it rains we get wet, when it’s sunny we get warm, we all need air to breath, water to drink, food to eat. But how we see the world is unique. The world of the mind, the way we interpret our condition is ours alone. How we respond to physical, social or spiritual events is singular. Responses to the pandemic graphically illustrate these differences.

For some the world is a dangerous, difficult place, inherently challenging. They lurch from crisis to crisis, perpetually anxious, worried what a new day will bring, obsess over past mistakes. Others in similar circumstances are undismayed, accept the unexpected, make the best of what they have, understand that life is risky but happily live with it. Most of us are somewhere between the two, but none of us are identical.

It’s the political conference season. A few weeks ago it was the LibDems, last week Labour and this week the Conservatives. Enough hot air to fly a flotilla of very large balloons. The men and women who govern the country, or hope to do so shared their plans, hopes and promises, revealing the kind of world they live in, and the kind of world they would like you and me to live in. I expect few of you followed it all. There’s a vast cynicism for politicians and politics right now, so maybe you didn’t follow any of it! Even so, it wasn’t all bad. Many politicians are public servants doing the best they can. Some have brilliant minds and grapple with complex issues that would overwhelm us. Yet between different conferences and sometimes within a conference the war of conflicting opinions is loud, contradictory, confusing, revealing very different world views.

In the middle of it all, unremarked by politicians, there was a welcome contrast. Last weekend a world conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints occurred. The Eternal God, creator of this earth and everything in it, spoke through his servants. President Nelson, on behalf of Jesus Christ, presided. Peace and calm prevailed. No jockeying for position, no competition for media attention, no conflicting messages. Men and women shared their hearts in unity; an overwhelming feeling of peace, strength and power throughout. A cool refreshing breath of truth dominated. President Nelson has authority for the whole world remember, not just a Church, and when prophets and apostles speak, it’s for all mankind. Their platform is the worldview of Christ that eliminates poverty and leads to universal peace.

During his earthly ministry Jesus Christ fully understood his mortal destiny. He had more in his future to weigh him down than anyone who ever lived. By temporal standards his life’s energy might have been crushed in anticipation of its awful fulfilment in his redemption for mankind. But his teachings reveal a different story.

“if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you . . . Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matt 6:30, 34)

“And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be” (Mark 13:7)

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)

When he finally reached Gethsemane, and the enormous weight of the atonement was about to begin, he said:

“The hour is come . . . Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12:23,27)

Yes, there are demanding episodes in life; we may also have our Gethsemanes, and of course sooner or later we all face death. What Christ teaches is not to dwell on them, because he will help us through our trials. In the meantime, enjoy each moment. Life is not trouble-free but happiness can be the predominant condition. The world for a few is consumed by chronic illness, pain or paralysis — the “infuriating unfairness” of life described by Elder Renlund. Yet even then a measure of happiness can be found. Nothing compares with the infinite pain Christ endured in that garden so long ago and he asks us not to obsess over what has gone wrong or what might go wrong, nor dwell on the evils in the world. Instead trust him, obey his commandments and do our best to be good. If enough of us let our little light shine, each of our separate worlds will become a lighter, brighter place, even for politicians.


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