Sermoncitos, a family tradition
The Second Coming
This December we have had snow storms followed by clear, cold nights below zero. Saturday when I came home I gazed up at the great expanse of the heavens in the crisp night air, and thought of Samuel, who prophesied of signs in the heavens that would signify the birth and death of Christ “...that ye might know of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning...díí Jesus Christ, Diyin God biYe’, Yá’™™sh dóó nahasdzáán yiTaa’ nilíinii, t’áá a¬tsoní hodeeyáád££, ⁄yiilaaii doogá¬ígíí, nihi¬ béédahózin biniiyé... (Helaman 14:12).
Alma explained why the creator was coming to earth: “...I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name” (Alma 5:48).
Mormon explained why we need to know of the coming of Christ to the world, and what we need to do once the Spirit has testified to us of his mission. “Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up. Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you” (Mormon. 7: 5, 8)
Moroni goes on to explain that after Christ comes again and rules on the earth, we will be brought to judgment. “And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death” (Mormon. 9: 13).
The times before the Second Coming will test our faith and stamina. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31).
As you gaze at the night sky, ponder the miracle of Christ, and prepare to receive Him.
Woe, Woe, Woe
People are still searching for relatives lost in last year’s hurricanes while the first category fives of this season are preparing to pound the Gulf Coast. Viruses and bacteria are evolving faster than science can develop treatments. Droughts and fires destroy crops and homes over broad areas of the earth. The earth is out of balance, yet the resources of each country are spent on weapons designed to kill ever more efficiently. When John saw our day, he had trouble describing those weapons: “and the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breatplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails; and their power was to hurt men five months (Revelations 9:7-10).
John knew he was writing for our day, not his own day, so his counsel about our relationship to our enemies applies to us: “Brethren I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning... He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him... Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 2:7-10; 4:11).
Jesus also spoke clearly of our day: “and ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars... for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:6-8). Yet during this time of tribulation, people will carry on with their lives and rationalize the signs of the times as natural phenomena (Matthew 24:36-41; 25:1-13). No wonder “I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth...” (Revelation 8:13).
We are blessed if we heed the warnings of ancient time and recognize the signs of our own times. Jesus greatly loved us to give these counsels at his own time of grief. After warning us to be prepared in our own day, he demonstrated by his actions how to be prepared. He gathered his disciples, introduced the ordinance of the sacrament, sang a hymn, and went to the Garden of Gethsemane to bring about the Atonement for us.
As we prepare for the days of trial and tribulation of our day, let us gather to share the sacrament, sing hymns together, and serve one another. It is by accepting the emblems of the sacrament that we ratify our commitment to Christ. As we raise our voice in song, we reaffirm our devotion to Christ and review the doctrines of Salvation. As we accept assignments in the church to serve, we demonstrate our love to one another.
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 3:18; 4:11).