What’s the Difference?

By Barrie Fox of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England

You are a good and faithful people, but sometimes you fail to see the power that is resident in your own story and fellowship. Look carefully, listen attentively, and sense the Spirit among you.  Doctrine and Covenants 162:8a

Many details surround us in our daily lives. Yet we somehow are not aware of them until a particular incident draws them to our attention.

We then find ourselves quietly mouthing the words, “Well, I never noticed that.”

I am thinking of some wonders of nature. We don’t notice them at the time, but perhaps remember them later and are thankful for their blessing.

Acts of kindness done for us but not realized or fully appreciated at the time later are grasped for their significance.

Recently, in a short homily I gave in my home congregation, I used the four kings from an ordinary deck of cards to illustrate this point.

I simply held up the cards and asked the congregation to tell me the major differences between them (other than their color and suit). In the few seconds I allowed, nobody could offer the answers I was seeking.

The king of spades is the only one of the four looking to his left. The king of hearts is the only one that doesn’t have a moustache. The king of diamonds is the only one showing just one eye and not carrying a sword; he carries an ax.

The playing cards are not important, but this simple illustration makes the point that we don’t always notice little differences that might be important.

My homily also discussed relationships and focused on wanting to be more aware of the needs, worries, and concerns of others. We talked about gifts not used to their full potential. Relationships and positive awareness can be valuable in our efforts to serve God and to offer ministry where needed.

Prayer for Peace:

Open my eyes, O Lord, that I may see. Let me listen attentively. Let me sense your Spirit of peace among us.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Embodying God’s Shalom

Find a way to express and embody God’s shalom. Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace. Become silent and imagine you can hear the groaning of the Earth’s peoples, nations, and creatures. Prayerfully open yourself to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom.

What images, feelings, and words come to you? What prayer for peace comes to you from your time of listening? Speak or write this prayer. What small act of justice, kindness, healing, or peacemaking is God inviting you to consider this day, this week?

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will not take for granted the blessings around me.

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