How Great the Wisdom and the Love

Happy Indian Independence Day! This morning I went to church for the flag-hoisting and breakfast. They were starting a volleyball game when we left to go and e-mail our families.

The scripture passage for this week is Exodus 35:4-36:7. http://lds.org/scriptures/ot/ex/35?lang=eng I found it Friday morning during my personal scripture study… I don’t want to say how I ended up moving from reading about the sacrament to reading Exodus 33-36… suffice it to say that I’m far too easily distracted by patterns in the word of God. But what I noticed in these chapters is the beauty of the desire of the people to participate in building the tabernacle, a desire that I think came in part from the Lord’s commandment that the offering should be brought only by those with a willing heart… in this case, those given such a choice overwhelmingly chose to contribute, to participate, to give in gratitude to the Lord. I’d also like to note the role of the Spirit in providing certain people (women and men) with wisdom to do the work of God.

The hymn is “For the Beauty of the Earth”, which is my sister Elisabeth’s favorite. http://lds.org/churchmusic/detailmusicPlayer/index.html?searchlanguage=1&searchcollect ion=1&searchseqstart=92&searchsubseqstart=%20&searchseqend=92&searchsubseq end=ZZZ

I’ve gained a much greater respect, since I started my mission, for the films produced by the Church. I guess I used to look at them largely from an artistic or entertainment perspective, and so I liked them but some seemed a little cheesy and some just not very well done… and then I started watching “Finding Faith in Christ” (one of the ones I was most embarrassed by) on a fairly regular basis with people who are either know very little about Christ or who know a variety of things about him but have questions like “How can we have faith in someone we haven’t seen? Why should we have faith in the face of tragedy? Why Christ in particular?”

And cheesy as it might seem, this movie helps them. A lot. In many cases, watching the film and seeing moments from the life of Christ touches their heart in a way the words I say have not. It helps people feel peace, make decisions, and feel the word of God start to grow in their hearts as they get a sense for who Jesus Christ really is. This week I watched it twice, once with a man who was totally amazed by it, and who kept asking questions about the stories, who wanted to know more about everything, and once with a man who turned to me almost halfway through, a man who has had no strong connection to any religion at any point in his life, and said to me “Trusting Jesus Christ is the most important thing.”

The form matters much less to them than the substance, and the substance is Christ and his message.

The form matters less than the substance, and the substance is Christ and his message…. I want to think about that a lot more this week. May it be true for all of us.

Love you all,
Elder Mattathias Westwood

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