Friday, November 16, 2012

FRIENDS


Jesus described his life experience as this:
John 15:13 Greater love; no man can experience; until he will voluntarily lay down his own life; for his friends.
What is that greater love he is talking about? I perceive it is the “higher love” pertaining to the love of God that in some way pertains to the promise of exaltation.   
I have the impression that our experience in learning about friendship was the Saviors experience also. How do we “lay down” our lives for our friends? Is there a friend in whom you would take a bullet for? That’s what Jesus did; he took the bullet for us.

In perspective, who is a friend, and how do we lay down our life?
What is a family; was the answer. Who is a friend; was another answer.

In the book of Mormon, in the book of Ether, there is a record of a people and their friendship toward one another. It’s about a people who are together because of a common adversity, whether they have been acted upon or were participants in the adversity, we do not know. God blesses us through adversity and the adversities of others. They all came from a place called Babel.
Ether 1:33 Which Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered.
But they appear to be an organized group of people, with an established leader and they seem to have a shared faith that everything is going to work itself out. (I wonder though, how organized a group can be when you have to scatter. Is there time to pack a bag or do you just hit the ground running?)
Ether 1:34-35
34 And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord, Jared his brother, said unto him: Cry unto the Lord, and that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words.
35 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded
So, Jared and his brother can now communicate, but what about the rest of the family? Just think, the ability to communicate is so important in a person’s life. Can you imagine the chaos of thousands of people, running for their lives, screaming at one another in a language that they had never spoken before? How do you talk to your children or your wives or husbands? How do you ask for help, if no one understands you?

 On October 30th Hurricane Sandy blew up the East Coast, tearing down power lines, devastating power plants, shutting down the lights, turning off the heat. On the coast and shores, the wind and waves washed out streets and homes. There were some phone networks down.

During that great storm Katrina in New Orleans, people would take their bed sheets and write on them with paint or markers; messages. The message would say “Please help us”, or even a name of a family and a phone number, so that maybe the news helicopter flying above would see them. During the aftermath of the storm  in New Orleans, many family members were “scattered” and separated from each other; some not knowing where they were, and in the end some were separated and were not reunited in the same place, but in a different state, after many months had passed. I heard stories of people getting on buses trying to escape, and maybe thinking that they were going to a local place, but instead they were taken out of state, some places as far away as Utah and Washington D.C.

The unique thing about the experience of some these people is that they had no way to communicate with anyone. They knew who they were and they could articulate it, but they had no “identity”, no record, and no “language”. Some people were literally homeless, because there was no one to vouch for them, no friend to identify them and save them. I had a cousin who lived in a homeless shelter and traveled to work in another city over one hundred miles away. The company she worked for could not provide housing but allowed her to work at a different location.
Ether 1: 36-37
36 Then Jared said unto his brother: Cry again unto the Lord, and it may be that he will turn away his anger from them who are our friends, that he confound not their language.
37 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord and the Lord had compassion upon their friends and their families also, that they were not confounded.   
A week after the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast, a new storm developed, this one of snow and ice. The people of these communities were devastated to say the least and The New York Post” ran a news story stating:
 NEW YORK - “God hates us,” was the screaming headline of a local tabloid on Thursday as New York and much of the US Northeast dug out from a snowstorm that hammered a region struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
The headline was run by The New York Post, noting that after the devastation caused by Sandy, the region has been hit by snow and ice.The two storms have put the residents of US East Coast under severe strain.Early winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of Connecticut and battered the region with 50 mph winds, plunging 300,000 homes and businesses back into darkness. Bitter cold, rain, snow and powerful winds added to the misery of disaster victims whose homes were destroyed or power was knocked out by Sandy. The storm came ashore on October 29th and caused widespread flooding, leading up to as much as $50 billion in economic losses. The Nation
 Ether 1:38-40
38 And it came to pass that Jared spoke again unto his brother, saying: Go and inquire of the Lord whether he will drive us out of the land, and if he will drive us out of the land, cry unto him whiter we shall go. And who knows but the Lord, will carry us forth into a land which is choice above all the earth? And if it so be, let us be faithful unto the Lord, that we may receive our inheritance.
39 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord according to that which had been spoken by the mouth of Jared.
40 And it came to pass that the Lord did hear the brother of Jared, and had compassion upon him and said unto him:
So, last Sunday was State Conference for us, and it seems that the prevailing theme, much like General Conference was “Save the Children” and “Love one another”. We had a clothing drive and a food drive and a drive to sew scarves and hats and blankets. After the Sunday session, the Stake President asked a favor, “Could we stay and help to organize, sort and box up all of the clothing that had been donated." It seems that the donations came from other charitable organizations and someone volunteered moving trucks and boxes, and they provided volunteers to drive to New York and New Jersey to drop off the needed items. 

There were primary rooms with bags of clothes stacked to the ceiling, the stage in the gym was packed to the ceiling, and it was a contained chaos. But something happened, we were told how to set everything up, tables were piled with clothes and we started to sort, and soon there was such a wonderful spirit that flowed in that room. Everyone was laughing and talking and working cheerfully and efficiently. We completed our task in less than 3 hrs including clean up. What a blessing.

In rebuttal to that scathing headline in the New York Post, God surely loves his people. In Ether 1:41, the Lord had compassion upon those people of Babel, who were probably in the same state as our friends and neighbors in New York, and New Jersey. The Lord saw their affliction and did turn his wrath from them, and allowed them to prepare for a new home. He provided for them food and shelter and most of all friends with whom they could talk to and pray with and love. The first “Family Share Network” was created.
Ether 1:41 Go and gather together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind; and also of the seed of the earth of every kind; and thy families; and also Jared thy brother and his family; and also thy friends and their families, and the friends of Jared and their families.
43 And there will I bless thee and thy seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth. And thus I will do unto thee because this long time ye have cried out unto me.  

YOU TUBE courtesy of Jon Morgan


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