Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Most Desirable Above All Things

"And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the alove of God, which bsheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the cmost desirable above all things. And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most ajoyous to the soul." (1 Nephi 11:22-23)

"And now abideth afaith, bhope, ccharity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." (1 Cor. 13:13)

As I consider the tender mercies of the Lord toward me, my family, my friends and toward all people, there is a song that comes continually to mind.  It comes to mind in part because of the steady diet of cult classic movies upon which I was fed in my youth (think The Goonies, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Beuller's Day Off, etc.)  The song was produced by the great Huey Lewis and the News for the 1985 blockbuster film Back to the Future, and is called The Power of Love.  In this song, Mr. Lewis sang more truth than perhaps he knew: "But you'll be glad baby when you've found, that's the power makes the world go'round".  Whether it be helping others in time of need, showing understanding toward those who differ in behavior or opinion, or simply being merciful to all, there are innumerable ways to exercise the gift of charity.

Fortunately I have also been introduced to some more refined expressions of what the Apostle Paul (see also Waiting on the Road to Damascus) described as the greatest gift, and that which "never faileth".  The first is a Joni Mitchell song simply called Love, and the second is a scene from the Robert Bolt film The Mission, starring Robert Deniro, both of which are based on 1 Corinthians 13:

"1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not acharity, I am become as sounding
brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of aprophecy, and understand all bmysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the apoor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
aCharity bsuffereth long, and is ckind; charity denvieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself aunseemly, bseeketh not her own, is not easily cprovoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in ainiquity, but rejoiceth in the btruth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never afaileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a aglass, bdarkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth afaith, bhope, ccharity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

In a book that confirms the truth of the Bible, the prophet Moroni recorded the words of his father:

"46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But acharity is the pure blove of Christ, and it endureth cforever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, apray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true bfollowers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall cbe like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be dpurified even as he is pure. Amen." (Moroni 7: 46-48)

And in an epistle to his son, the prophet Mormon also wrote:

"16 ...Behold, I speak with boldness, having aauthority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for bperfect clove dcasteth out all fear.
17 And I am filled with acharity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and bpartakers of salvation." (Moroni 8:16)

So what do Huey Lewis, Joni Mitchell, Robert Deniro, the Apostle Paul, Mormon and Moroni each have to teach us? Perhaps nothing more or less than that which modern prophets have recently taught (Elder Gene R. Cook, Charity: Perfect and Everlasting Love, Elder Wirthlin, The Great Commandment, Elder Uchtdorf, The Love of God, Elder Oaks, Love and LawElder Holland, The First Great Commandment) or that which John the Beloved taught anciently:

"18 My little children, let us not love in word, aneither in tongue; but in bdeed and in truth." (1 John 3:18)