Saturday, May 5, 2012

Quality company in celestial glory

These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn. (D&C 76:67)

There are some neat things in this verse that I learned as I was pondering it.

who have come to an innumerable company of angels – How neat is it that qualifying for celestial glory will bring us among angels!  Sometimes, when I have eyes to see, I can look around our congregation and see that my fellow ward members are already becoming angels to each other, bringing messages of hope, comfort, and inspiration.  They also help each other in times of need, in small but nonetheless extraordinary ways.   There have been times when I have been helped by my ward, and when I look back at those times, I think that if an angel from heaven had come down, they would have done exactly the same thing as those ward members did.  

And just think of someday joining an innumerable company of angels!  I grew up in Illinois, where members of the church were few and far between.  I remember what excitement I always felt when I got to go to Especially For Youth and meet so many Mormon youth who held similar standards to me.  Those were watershed days for me, and I was always sad when it had to end after a week.  When I went to college at Brigham Young University and I got to be with a whole university of students and teachers that shared my beliefs, it is hard to describe how wonderful that was to me.  I figure that when I come to the innumerable company of angels in the celestial kingdom, I will have that same sense of excitement.

who have come…to the general assembly and church of Enoch – Did you ever think that we will mingle with Enoch and his people?  When I first read this, I kind of took it for granted—duh, we’re Zion, right?—but as I thought about it, I realized how neat it will be to fraternize with them, even though several thousand years separated our respective generations during mortality.  It brought home to me that there are no generation gaps in the celestial kingdom.  Living the same principles of the gospel and partaking of the Spirit of God brings all the generations of Saints together.

and of the Firstborn – If we remember the Biblical practice, the firstborn inherited a double portion from their father.  In the Abrahamic covenant, the firstborn inherited the birthright blessing with authority in the patriarchal order.  In the Mosiac covenant, the firstborn were to be given to the Lord’s service, or else redeemed with a sacrifice.   The Bible dictionary enumerates the ways Christ was the Firstborn:

  • Firstborn of the spirit children of Heavenly Father
  • The Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh (first and last)
  • The first to rise from the dead in the resurrection

Faithful Saints will inherit all things the Father hath, through Jesus Christ, just as if they were also “firstborn,” so they become the church of the Firstborn.  In Genesis, Joseph received the inheritance from Jacob, even though Joseph wasn’t the firstborn.  So did Ephraim, even though he wasn't the firstborn.  In these stories I see a type and shadow of the promise given to us that we will inherit all the Father has, if we are faithful.  We can become firstborn.

Here’s something else I was pondering: 

They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace; (D&C 76:94)

That bit about how they “see as they are seen, and know as they are known” takes some probing to understand and appreciate, at least for me.  One way to rephrase it might be, “they see and are seen, and they know and are known,” which to me implies full participation and honor in the celestial society, that every individual knows, recognizes, and appreciates every other individual and receives the same themselves.    How many of us feel like we are not fully known by others?  How many of us feel like we are not fully appreciated and recognized for all the talents we have built, for all the things we can do, for who we are, and for the good we have done?  Someday all of that will be made known, everything will be rewarded, and we will truly KNOW each other and see each other for who we really are.

I really look forward to that day.  I really want to know my fellow Saints better.  There is so little time to talk it seems, and I’ve gotten to the point in life where I realize there is so much more to every person than what meets the eye, so much that each person has learned by experience and study, so much wonderful variety in talent. 

So now I ask you, dear reader, what is something about you that you wish people could know and appreciate?


chococatania said...

I'm not sure what I wish people would know and appreciate, but I will say that I had a really interesting experience last summer - along the lines of what you're saying - about knowing and understanding people.

I have realized that there is so much I don't know - even about the people I'm closest to, like my family.

I love the members of my family dearly, but there are times when we don't see eye to eye on things. Last year, I had to take a cross country trip - to the funeral of my youngest brother. My sister drove out with me. The situation was stressful, and I was worried about the whole trip. I asked my husband for a blessing before embarking.

I was instructed, in the blessing, to try to better understand so I could better love her. It was surprising because I had never questioned my love for her, but at the same time, I instantly saw my imperfection in my love for her. I acknowledge that I still don't totally understand her, but I'm seeking to.

Because of this instruction, I've tried hard to change my perspective and, most of all, assumptions. It has helped me to be kinder and more loving. Above all, it has helped me to be more patient.

I'm finding that when we try to understand other people, we can forgive easier and love more purely.

Michaela Stephens said...

Chococatania, thanks for sharing that experience. It shows me that we have to make just as much effort to understand our family members as anyone else.

Isn't it a neat feeling that priesthood blessings can give such specific counsel when we need it?