Today, Sunday School was really the part of church that touched me and the hour where I felt like I actually was able to focus. The discussion in the class was all about family history.
I think the way The Church of Jesus Christ focuses a lot on the family is in many ways unique. Yes, most religions see the family as important and that we should treat our families well, but I feel the focus in our church is pretty unique because we don't only focus on our immediate family but we also extend our focus to those of our family who have gone before us. We are encouraged to keep a record of our ancestors and to find out more about them. We are tied to them and have a responsibility to know them.
The spirit of Elijah is real. In the Old Testament, Malachi writes: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smile the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6) We believe that Elijah came to the prophet Joseph Smith and restored the keys of the sealing power which was mentioned here in Malachi, this power helps us all be sealed to one another eternally. And each of us can have the feeling of closeness and care for our ancestors through this spirit that Elijah has established.
With shows like, Who do you think you are?, where celebrities are looking for their own ancestors, you can also see that people are having their hearts turned to their fathers. This is really happening.
My dad has always been into family history and has done an amazing job in finding information about our ancestors. He has the Spirit of Elijah in his heart as well. This isn't just something that is claimed only by members of my church.
I love hearing stories about my family. I find pride in knowing that Henry came over from Germany to build a better life for himself and that actually had an impact on my life. It's fun to know that one of my ancestors had many children and that he was left alone to raise them, but then married another woman who stepped in and took care of those kids as if they were her own.
We are truly tied to our family and it is important to honor them and remember them.
Reuben and I went to a little Dia De Los Muertos(Day of the Dead) celebration yesterday. Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday where people honor their dead. They have a big celebration to remember those who have gone before. They also create little altars to honor their deceased loved ones. The altars are filled with things to invite the spirit of that particular loved one back. Food, items that that person owned, things that represent their hobbies and interests, and pictures are included on the altar. Seeing all these altars made me want to learn more about my ancestors so I would know what I would put on an altar to honor each one of them. I wonder what would have been on Henry's altar. What did he like to do? What were his favorite foods? What was he really like? Wouldn't it be cool to meet him one day and talk about how he got to America and what made him leave Germany.
The cool thing about that is that I know that I will be able to see him again. That is what is cool about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ died so that we may live together eternally. Cool stuff. It will be fun to get to hear all the stories of those who came before us. Each of us has so many experiences and what a blessing it will be to sit down in the afterlife and hear everybody's stories.
What an amazing blessing to have this faith and to be able to look forward to dying not as an ending but as a transition to eternity.
And there is my spiritual thought for this Sunday. Here are a few pictures of Dia de los Muertos.
And this is how Ellis enjoyed Sunday School.