Wave Your Banner with Gusto and Joy

By Kerry (Guest Blogger)

Forty-three years after I left BYU, I’m back.  Going back to school is really hard for me, but I love the Book of Mormon class where I am really studying the scriptures and learning so much. One of my assignments this week was to watch a video clip of President Hinckley’s October 2003 conference talk: “An Ensign to the Nation, a Light to the World.”

I love President Hinckley and decided to listen to the entire talk, and I wanted to share some thoughts I had about his testimony concerning the mission of the Church. President Hinckley says the mission of this Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is to stand as an ensign to the nations and a light to the world.  An ensign is a standard, an emblem, a flag or banner that can stand as a symbol of something great.  We are now studying 2 Nephi, those really tough Isaiah chapters that have always been so hard for me to understand.  In 2 Nephi, 12:3 it says:  “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob’ and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”  Surely the temples that dot the earth stand as an ensign to the nations of the teachings and blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I think of Moroni, who stands atop each of these temples, with his trumpet outstretched, seems to be call to the world to come and hear the good word of the gospel that will bring joy and happiness, meaning and purpose to the lives of those who do heed that call.  I also think of the army of missionaries, young men, and women, and senior couples who boldly go forth throughout the world to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, bringing his light to the entire world.

This is the great mission of the church, but how does this apply to me personally, and to the youth and to each of us?  How can we, as we go about our daily tasks of school, work, taking care of families, etc., be an ensign to the nations and light to the world?  I decided we need to make this call and purpose more personal, bring it in closer to home.

Our “nations” and “worlds” are right here in our homes, families, neighborhoods, at school, work, and wherever we are.  We can, actually I think we must, be an ensign to all those around us of the goodness, the joy, peace, and hope that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into our lives and share, through our smiles, kindness and love, the light of Jesus Christ.   I learned a new word at a Sacrament meeting last week: salubrious, which means to be pleasant, enjoyable, or delightful.  As we enjoy the blessings of the gospel in our lives, I hope we can walk about with a “salubrious” countenance, being a light to all those around us.

I was listening to one of my favorite CD’s this morning.  This will really date me.  It was Carole King’s hit song from the 1970’s, “You’re as Beautiful as You Feel”.  The chorus goes like this:  “You’ve gotta get up every morning with a smile on your face, and show the world all the love in your heart.  Then people are gonna treat you better, you’re gonna find, yes you will, you’re as beautiful as you feel”. When we are smiling, being kind and showing love to all, we’re going to feel great and we will be beautiful to those around us and most importantly, to our Father in Heaven.

Our 2015 mutual theme calls for us to “Embark in the service of your God with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.”  May we go about doing good, looking for opportunities to serve, to brighten someone’s day, to lighten someone’s load a little, to be a friend, to stand up for the weak, and be a shining light to all those in our own little world.

As the hymn goes, “High on a mountain top, a banner is unfurled.  Ye nations now look up; it waves to all the world.” As Sister Elaine Dalton has said:  “ You and I, each of us is that banner.”

May we wave our banner with gusto and joy as we stand as an ensign and light to the world.

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