By Branch President Jason Lee
For The Cordova Times
My brother Tim is a nurse at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, serving the area at one of many ground zeroes for this outbreak. From his and other alarms I sensed, I found myself scared, even paralyzed with fear, on what to do. Our lives and our plans were suddenly in complete jeopardy. I remember that fear. But because of that struggle I realized that I was afraid, only because I was unwilling to change or give up things in this life I really wanted.
And so it is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there is so much beyond our control in life, and so many reasons for us to be fearful and fearful for the next generation! However, we do have a choice in whom we choose to listen to and what we choose to let influence us. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we were recently instructed and counseled by the President of our Church, whom we consider a modern day prophet, Russel M. Nelson. He instructed us to “Hear Him.” Him being who we revere as the savior of the world. He went on to teach us: the Savior came into the world not to condemn us, but to teach, help, strengthen, heal and even save us.
So during this Easter season as we celebrate the risen Christ, and find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, it is clear, we live in a very imperfect world. There is pain and suffering all around us. But I know that Christ loves us, and is beckoning us to turn to him. We know the primary prerequisite here in mortality is choosing for ourselves what we will do. Mistakes will be made, and for such there is always a way to fix them through what is called repentance. This can become habit in everyone’s life, regardless of our beliefs or affiliations. But as we choose to “Hear Him,” we can show our love for him by acting in faith. Loving our neighbor, or serving an enemy might not be the easiest thing or even my first inclination, but as we seek to abide his higher law, we will find our countenances changed and our strength sufficient for the day.
We have been promised by our prophet, President Russel M. Nelson, that this pandemic will pass, ‘in due time.’ He has also invited all, once again to join in a worldwide day of fasting and prayer. In his words: “I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened and life normalized… Good Friday would be the perfect day to have our Heavenly Father and His Son hear us.”
I’d like to conclude with a thought that my good friend and first counselor in our branch presidency, Bill Howard, shared with me. After this pandemic passes and life returns to a feeling of normalcy, let us not forget how we feel now. How we feel humbled, and inclined to help others. How our priorities in life may have changed. (They have for me.) And how we suddenly all feel connected, and are “in this together.” Because we are, we are all children of a loving Father in Heaven and we can look forward to brighter days ahead.
In lieu of public gatherings at this time members and nonmembers alike are encouraged to hold meetings within their own homes using the Come, Follow Me, study material found here: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/come-follow-me.
Jason Lee is branch president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cordova.