I was talking with a friend recently about how so many are leaving the practice of organized religion, yet continuing to hold on to spirituality. It brought up some powerful questions, like “what role does religion play in our lives if we can seek connection with deity on our own?" Or “What is the difference between the Church of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of Jesus Christ?"
Pondering these questions helped me to understand why I make the daily choice to draw closer to my Savior AND the make the choice to stay in His church.
In addition to Elder Gong's address that we're studying this week, THIS TALK from 1984 by Elder Poelman was also super helpful! But here's what it boils down to, at least for me…
We all need Jesus. But because we are human, we often fall victim to selfish thinking and an I-can-do-it-all-on-my-own mentality. And that is one way to go about this earthy experience. But the Church of Jesus Christ suggests there is a better way. It provides a scaffolding through which “we find cause to do good, reason to be good, and increasing capacity to become better. We discover abiding faith, liberating selflessness, caring change, and trust in God.”
We're offered tools and resources that consistently urge us to look up from our own selves and notice our fellow travelers on the path, bruised and weary. We're taught humility and patience, sacrifice and gratitude, enduring love and acceptance. All character traits that have been proven both by science and experience to lead to our most whole and happiest selves. All characteristics of our Savior. The church provides rhythms by which we return to Him again and again, even daily, that we may be known, forgiven, and changed.
And between now and when He comes again, "He trusts us to help make the Inn the place He needs it to be." Warm. Welcoming. Full of grace and rid of judgement. He trust us to “care for one another” as we walk home together, until our Good Samaritan returns.
"We come to the Inn as we are, with the foibles and imperfections we each have. Yet we all have something needed to contribute. Our journey to God is often found together."
"In Him, we find cause to do good, reason to be good, and increasing capacity to become better. In Him, we discover abiding faith, liberating selflessness, caring change, and trust in God. In His Inn, we find and deepen our personal relationship with God, our Father, and Jesus Christ."
I am entrusted to create a welcoming environment in His church, full of grace, so that all can feel His love and discover the fullness of His gospel.