Virtual R.S. Lesson - Christmas, Pardoxes, Pandemics

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Virtual R.S. Lesson - Christmas, Pardoxes, Pandemics

Post by AmyJ » 14 Dec 2020, 09:01

I taught our branch Relief Society yesterday. I also had the privilege of having my mother and parent-in-laws attend.

Overall, I think it went well. We have a lot of sisters with children trying to hold it all together, and a lot of grandmas:)

I started and ended with asking them to silently consider and answer these questions:
"What do you personally need to change?"
"What do you personally need to celebrate?"
Last edited by AmyJ on 14 Dec 2020, 09:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: R.S. Lesson - Christmas, Pardoxes, Pandemics

Post by AmyJ » 14 Dec 2020, 09:12

After asking those questions, I pointed out how the birth of Christ was both a point of change and a point of celebration and gave specific examples.

QUOTE – President Holland First Presidency Devotional
“He was the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 21:6) in the great plan of mercy who would eventually ‘preach good tidings unto the meek; … bind up the brokenhearted, … proclaim liberty to the captives, and [open] the prison to them that are bound,’” (Isaiah 61:1).

To accomplish that mission, Elder Holland said, “He would tread the wine press of redemption utterly and entirely alone, with no mortal companion who would aid Him and no heavenly companion who could. In bearing all the sins and sorrows of mortality, He would bring the incomprehensible gift of salvation to the entire human family from Adam to the end of the world. In the full course of His journey, He would be the Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls (1 Peter 2:25), the Great High Priest of our Profession (Hebrews 3:1), the free-flowing Fountain of all Righteousness (Ether 8:26).”

All those duties and demands would be met. “But not this night,” Elder Holland said. “Here He was just a baby in the arms of a mother who adored Him, watched over by a father who was gentle and strong.”

QUOTE – Sister Reyna Aburto 2018 General Conference Talk
“Let us all remember that our Savior, Jesus Christ, “[has taken] upon him [our] infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know … how to succor [us] according to [our] infirmities.” He came “to bind up the brokenhearted, … to comfort all that mourn; … to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

- Reyna Aburto: Through Cloud & Sunshine Lord, Abide with Me

We talked about some of the paradoxes going on in our lives today. I think that for women, the increased executive functioning load of "getting Christmas together" - the Nativities, the caroling, the presents, the meals, the everything increases the contrast between disconnect and connection, tension and peace, growth and regression.

QUOTE – President Holland October 2020 General Conference Talk

What are some of the verbs – actions in this quote from President Holland? These verbs can guide us in the decisions we make dealing with the more extreme paradoxes we find ourselves in. NOTE: I have italicized some of the ones we reviewed in class.

“How long do we wait for relief from hardships that come upon us? What about enduring personal trials while we wait and wait, and help seems so slow in coming? Why the delay when burdens seem more than we can bear?”
“So, we are not the first nor will we be the last to ask such questions when sorrows bear down on us or an ache in our heart goes on and on. I am not now speaking of pandemics or prisons but of you, your family, and your neighbors who face any number of such challenges. I speak of the yearning of many who would like to be married and aren’t or who are married and wish the relationship were a little more celestial. I speak of those who have to deal with the unwanted appearance of a serious medical condition—perhaps an incurable one—or who face a lifelong battle with a genetic defect that has no remedy. I speak of the continuing struggle with emotional and mental health challenges that weigh heavily on the souls of so many who suffer with them, and on the hearts of those who love and suffer with them. I speak of the poor, whom the Savior told us never to forget, and I speak of you waiting for the return of a child, no matter what the age, who has chosen a path different from the one you prayed he or she would take.
Furthermore, I acknowledge that even this long list of things for which we might wait personally does not attempt to address the large economic, political, and social concerns that confront us collectively. Our Father in Heaven clearly expects us to address these wrenching public issues as well as the personal ones, but there will be times in our lives when even our best spiritual effort and earnest, pleading prayers do not yield the victories for which we have yearned, whether that be regarding the large global matters or the small personal ones. So while we work and wait together for the answers to some of our prayers, I offer you my apostolic promise that they are heard and they are answered, though perhaps not at the time or in the way we wanted.”

-President Holland “Waiting Upon the Lord” ... d?lang=eng

We talked about balancing our actions - learning when to go full speed ahead and learning to wait (which is another paradox of sorts).

FINAL QUOTE - Connecting the sisters back to R.S.
I first heard the women’s voices whispering to me from the pages of an old minute book. “We are going to do something extraordinary,” said one. Another said, “We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in heaven together.” A third recorded, “the spirit of the Lord like a purifying stream, refreshed every heart.” The words sunk deep into my wandering soul.” ... y?lang=eng

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Re: R.S. Lesson - Christmas, Pardoxes, Pandemics

Post by Minyan Man » 14 Dec 2020, 09:49

Excellent. I wish I could attend your RS class. (I'm the wrong gender.)
It sounds like your ward or branch attendance is in person? Our meetings are still "virtual".

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Re: Virtual R.S. Lesson - Christmas, Pardoxes, Pandemics

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 Dec 2020, 21:32

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: Virtual R.S. Lesson - Christmas, Pardoxes, Pandemics

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Dec 2020, 05:32

My wife does the Zoom RS meetings and usually I'm in earshot (although I have made some effort not to be of late). This is nothing like what they do. You're in a lucky ward Amy.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Re: Virtual R.S. Lesson - Christmas, Pardoxes, Pandemics

Post by Roy » 16 Dec 2020, 15:43

This is wonderful!
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Re: Virtual R.S. Lesson - Christmas, Pardoxes, Pandemics

Post by AmyJ » 17 Dec 2020, 04:46

DarkJedi wrote:
16 Dec 2020, 05:32
My wife does the Zoom RS meetings and usually I'm in earshot (although I have made some effort not to be of late). This is nothing like what they do. You're in a lucky ward Amy.
I make the lessons lucky by bringing myself to the table and focusing on creating inspiring spaces for everyone - including my quasi-agnostic self :D

As a personal thing, I make sure to include at least 1 quote from a female church leader every lesson - it is R.S. after all. Our female church leaders are at least Subject Matter Experts in being female and receiving revelation. With so many wise words from the brethren over the years, it is easy to not find time to include quotes from sisters or to do so only sometimes.

That aside, I am lucky to have these sisters who join in conversations and a R.S. presidency who looks to support me. They could have given me a hard time bringing my daughter to R.S.

My former branch president knows of my faith journey, and could have pulled me from being called to teach. As near as I can tell, he understood that I was not going to bring dissent to our branch and has supported me in letting me participate on my terms more than anyone else's.

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