Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Elements of a Divine Role

This is the first installment of a talk entitled The Divine Role of Mothers.
Overview | Next

Brothers and Sisters, the Bishropric has asked me to speak on a specific topic: “The Divine Role of Mothers.” I am at a decided disadvantage in comparison with the previous two speakers, because I have no actual experience as a mother. Moreover, I have made the task even more challenging for myself: I have set a personal goal to address this subject without once referring to either the “sons of Helaman” or their mothers.

The phrase “divine role” reminds me of a principle I taught as a missionary. [Holding up a copy of the missionary discussions] Here is a copy of the missionary discussions, as they were when I was out in the field. The principle I’m remembering came from the sixth discussion. This is Kimberly’s copy; I could not find mine. She had them bound together, but I had kept mine loose. In going out each morning and afternoon I would only put in my bag the discussions we planned to teach that day. This means that my copy of the sixth discussion was in much better shape than the first discussion, because it was used much more rarely---one gives many more first discussions than sixth discussions. Sixth discussions being comparatively rare, I’m surprised this principle came back to me after all these years.

Unlike mine, Kimberly’s copies of the discussions, being bound together, each appear equally heavily used. They’re still legible, but the fact that they’re legible doesn’t mean I’m going to read to you the principle I have in mind. Now, missionaries are taught to present the ideas in their own words as the Spirit directs, and not read directly from the lessons. But that’s not why I’m not going to read it to you. It’s also true that these six discussions have been superceded---the missionaries now teach from a different set of lessons. But that’s not the reason I’m not going to read it to you, either. I’m not going to read it to you because it’s in Spanish.

But I will translate for you, from Principle 1 of Discussion 6.
The Role of Jesus Christ in the Plan of Salvation.

Jesus Christ is the Creator. We have faith in Jesus Christ for many reasons. He is the Creator. In Mosiah 3:8 we read, “And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.” Under the direction of the Father, he created the earth and everything upon it, thus giving us all we have.

Our Redeemer and Savior. He is our Redeemer and Savior, and, through his sacrifice, we can return to live with him and with our Heavenly Father.

Our Judge. Jesus Christ will be our judge and, when we die, will judge us in accordance with our works and desires. He will be our advocate with the Father.
I remembered this principle in connection with my assigned topic not because the scripture it cites mentions Mary, the mother of Jesus, but because it was something I could latch on to in trying to understand what a “divine role” is. Jesus is a divine being; hence his capacities as Creator, Redeemer and Savior, and Judge constitute his "divine role." Now, these aspects of his role have been and will be exercised in the premortal, mortal, and postmortal phases of Jesus’ eternal existence, and they include tasks that only he could perform. Nevertheless, I think the capacities of Creator, Redeemer and Savior, and Judge provide a way to start thinking about what a mother’s “divine role” is.

Overview | Next

2 Comments:

So far, so good, Christian. I'll be interested to see where you go with "Creator"--I often have problems assimilating pregnancy and childbirth to "creation"--but so far you've got a nice framework. (Three-part structures work particularly well for sacrament meeting, I've always thought.) 

Comment by Rosalynde | 5/11/2005 03:13:00 PM  

I can tell you in advance that you probably won't like the Creator part. And I will be interested to hear (again) your discussion against it; I've seen your discomfort with it in the past, but the reasoning behind the discomfort may be worth further discussion, as I haven't been too convinced.

As a silver lining, I try to turn this Creator part to tactical advantage in the second half, so bear with me.

The talk is structured in 2 x 3 ideas, with the first segment of each "Part" introducing a tripartite idea, the second Part roughly paralleling the first. If three-part structures are perfect for sacrament meeting, I guess that explains why this talk was about twice as long as it should have been (even without the surprise additional speaker)! 

Comment by Christian Y. Cardall | 5/11/2005 07:03:00 PM  

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