Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Time Out for Women

I enjoyed attending Time Out for Women this weekend with Leanne and Nicole Irwin. We drove to Sacramento on Friday, went shopping in the afternoon at the Arden Fair Mall, stayed at the Hyatt, and attended Time Out for Women in the evening and also on Saturday.

Saturday I left early. Wes picked me up at 12:30 pm, and we drove to Utah arriving there at 10:30 pm our time or 11:30 pm Utah time. On the ride we listened to Eragon so we’ll be ready when Brisingr comes out.

Friday night the speaker was Jim Ferrell from Kaysville. Saturday morning the speakers were Mary Ellen Edmunds and Camille Fronk Olson. I realized our reactions to a speaker tell us more about ourselves than about the speaker. Both on Friday night and on Saturday morning the talks I responded to the most were the opposite of what Leanne liked.

On Saturday morning I particularly related to the talk by Camille Fronk. She spoke about barren women in the Bible who in their weakness humbly relied on the Lord and found strength in him. She focused on the story of Hannah; Hannah means grace. I like how she compared details of our Hebrew version of the story with the Septuagint and the Dead Seas Scrolls versions. She read Hannah’s Psalm in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 and referred to Hannah as a prophetess. During the talk I thought of Wendy’s Hannah and hope she realizes how special it is that she is named after Hannah. Sister Fronk then referred to a story in the September 2003 Ensign, “Learning to Rely on the Lord."

On Friday night Brother Ferrell referred to an incident related by John Bytheway where John had had a conversation with a minister on an airplane. The minister complained that our Savior was a Savior of the Gaps from 2 Nephi 25:23, “it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do.” Brother Bytheway explained that he didn’t believe in such a Savior either. Yes the Savior does cover what we are not able to do, but his grace is all encompassing. The Savior paid the price through his atonement so we may repent and return to him. We cannot merit salvation or exaltation on our own. We believe with the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:7-8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Further on the topic of grace, in a book I bought, Odds Are You’re Going to Be Exalted by Gaskill, he has quotes from J. N. D. Kelly which show that the early Christian views of grace and works were the same as ours. From reading these quotes I realize the importance of our free agency. It is only through its exercise that we can lay hold of the gift of grace. According to Theodoret of Antioch, “There is need of both our efforts and the divine succour. The grace of the Spirit is not vouchsafed to those who make no effort, and without that grace our efforts cannot collect the prize of virtue.”