Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lead Kindly Light (Hymn 97)

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life

- Lead Kindly Light (text only)
- Lead Kindly Light (text and music)
- Wikipedia entry about John Henry Newman

This is my favorite hymn. Many times when I am going through very difficult times or when I’ve wanted to find comfort, I’ve sung this hymn to myself. One time in particular that I recall singing this to myself was when I was in Guatemala and was working with Elder Gomez. We worked in the cornfields all day long in the rain while serving some branch members. It was cold and dreary. After working, we tried to catch a bus back to our house, but we missed the last bus. So we hiked in the dark, while it was still raining, back to a member’s house. Their house was more of a hut. They let us warm up by their fire and then we slept on their floor with the little mice scurrying around our heads! I just kept singing the song in my head and thought about how I would soon be back to our “home.”

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Isaiah 53

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her hearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

- Isaiah 53 (see also Mosiah 14)

I’ve tried to read this scripture on a regular basis, especially during the administration of the sacrament. Recently I memorized it. Whenever I read it, inevitably tears well up in my eyes as I think about what Jesus did for me. He did not sin and thus did not deserve to be treated the way he was treated. He did it for me and you and everyone else so that we would not have to suffer as he did. And when I think of him having to suffer because of my sins, I have this strong desire to be better so that in a way, I might alleviate some of his suffering. But I know that no matter how hard I try to be better, I cannot change the fact that he suffered for me. Simply put, this scripture motivates me to live a more righteous life.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Moroni 10:32-33

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

- Moroni 10:32-33

This was my MTC companion’s favorite scripture and so I heard him refer to this scripture a lot. As I have read it over and over again since leaving the MTC, I find that it gives me a very powerful spiritual focus in my life. How can I ever expect to be perfect? I am so imperfect with all my weaknesses and shortcomings. But we learn from Moroni that if we simply approach Christ by doing those things he talks about in the scripture, then we will receive forgiveness and we will be without spot! And if we are without spot, then we will return to our Father in heaven again and always have joy.