Thoughts on some New Testament stories

So this was a simple weekly assignment we have for our Pearl of Great Price class where we are asked to write a 600 word paper about our feelings about what we read during the week. I liked it so I thought I'd put it up here. (Note: I am not nor ever will be an English major so don't judge my writing skills :) 

Thought Paper            September 22, 2015             Eliza Shumway   Word Count: 664
                In my studying of the scriptures over this last week I’ve been reading in a few different places throughout the standard works. I’ve studied out of the book of Luke in the New Testament, Jacob through Mosiah in the Book of Mormon and the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. In this paper I will discuss my feelings about my readings in the New Testament.
Reading and studying the scriptures daily has become something necessary for me to do first thing in the morning – along with sincere prayer - and throughout the day so that I am able to do happily everything else I need to do in my busy life. I have found that without proper scripture study and prayer in the morning, I am less motivated and excited about doing school work and anything else. My productive day doesn’t start until my scripture reading and prayer have been done properly.  
                Luke shares of many of Christ’s miracles He performed, the parables He told, and the lessons He taught. Among many favorite scriptures during this week’s reading of chapters 7 through 9, 21 and 22 are the parable of the sower and healing the woman with the issue of blood in chapter 8.
                The Parable of the Sower has always been of special interest and importance to me. On my mission (to Portugal!) I would think about this parable a lot while evaluating the progress of my investigators and recent converts. I would pray that they would be ‘falling on good earth’ and that their testimonies would grow and develop over time; that they wouldn’t be offended and leave the church quickly or not put God first (the seed falling on stony ground or among thorns). This week in church however, the speaker in Sacrament Meeting talked about this parable. He helped me realize that not only does this parable apply to recent converts but of course applies to me, and those of us who have been in the church for a long time, there are no time limits on when those seeds are being planted- or when we are receiving the words of God. I always need to be on my look out to make sure that as I am receiving the word of God that it is being planted on good ground, taking care that I am not offended or putting anything in more importance than Heavenly Father and Christ.
                Christ’s healing of the woman with the ‘issue of blood’ is always a tear-jerker for me because of what He said to her (in verse 46) – “Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” The word ‘virtue’ comes from the word virtus, meaning power. Normally associated in the church with a young man or usually a young woman’s righteous moral character, Christ using this word as a synonym for power is very meaningful to me. Even though Christ probably meant it to mostly exclusively mean “power”, the view of virtue meaning chastity to me all becomes the same thing: virtue is power and is chastity.  

                I truly love reading about what the Savior did in his daily life during his earthly ministry. Reading the New Testament, especially the passages before his Crucifixion and Resurrection, where we get to know Him almost personally is where I like to go to read and ponder when I feel like I miss Him. In the Portuguese language there is a word that better fits this emotion I feel when I miss Him: that word is saudade. Even though most of us have never met Him personally in this life, me included, saudade is what I feel which to me is the longing for the feeling of comfort that His physical presence surely brings. So, for me, reading in the four gospels in the New Testament helps me feel closer to Him when I’m feeling that saudade.

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