Thursday, July 9, 2009


Throughout my journey here in the Holy Land, there has been a funny rule in which the students in the Jerusalem center program are encouraged not to become romantically involved with each other. I have often been frustrated with this rule/encouragement because I quite enjoy dating and communicating to girls that I am interested in them. Lately this has reminded me of something that one of my religion teachers at BYU taught us in a class about scripture study. He said this:

"Our relationship with the words of Christ determines our relationship with Christ Himself. And our relationship with Christ, determines our relationship with everyone else."

Think about it for a minute. I have been thinking about it the last few days and I often think about it when my scripture study is not at its best. When scriptures are neglected, I can feel it in my life and I can feel it in my relationships with others. I was talking to one of the girls here in the center about this and how one must have Christlike love or their relationship/marriage will never survive. The only way to succeed is having Charity or Christlike love for your spouse. I am not married, but it just seems to make sense.

In a seventeenth century book called The Temple, by George Herbert there is a poem called "Love" that I believe paints a picture of the power of the atonement and the love that Jesus Christ has for us all, and His power to forgive and His allowance for even the vilest of sinners.


Green text: the sinner
Blue text: The Lord

"Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guiltie of dust and sinne.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack'd anything.

A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkinde, ungratefull? Ah my deare,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made these eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame?
My deare, then I will serve.
You must sit down, sayes Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

I think of the vendors here who try to get me to come into their restaurants on the streets of the old city. The image of Jesus saying to me, "come in, eat!", and then I say, "oh I don't think I can afford that, I am not worthy to go into such a place; plus, I am all dirty and your restaurant is white and clean". Then He says, "Andy, don't you know? it's already paid for. Just come in and eat." Then I say back, "but of all people, me?" Then the Lord says, "You must sit down, and taste my meat." Then I sit and eat and taste of the unconditional love of Christ. We must sit and eat of His meat. If we do, all other relationships will be in order and we will not worry.

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