To those reading, thank you. Who knows where we'll end up, but it will be an adventure!
Here at the beginning, I'd like to make a special dedication:
To my sweet wife, who makes this "lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isa. 35:6). I love you.
A New Commandment
The only way we'll arrive at the New Earth is to live the New Commandment.
In order to be renewed, the earth requires a new kind of love.
A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
For me, charity is the gift to see the good in others and help draw it out of them. Or, as Thomas S. Monson said, “We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become.”
No wonder charity is connected to faith and hope: it requires a lot of courage to see the divine in others, and in ourselves.
The Ewe of Happiness
When I was ten my dad purchased a small flock of sheep for our little farm in northern California. He brought the sheep home in the back of his old blue Chevy pickup truck that had a rusted stock-rack in the back.
My brother and I helped him unload the animals, corralling them into the pen and checked their tags. Dad told us that we could each “adopt” one of the ewes, so I selected the finest looking one I saw, with a good shape and thick rambouillet wool.
My brother picked a sheep and, because it was my duty as a younger sibling to tease and torment him, I made fun of his choice, telling him his sheep was so ugly they would be mistaken for twins.
His sheep really did have an odd appearance. I remember its neck was non-existent, swallowed by all that wool, and I began to call it, “No-Neck, No-Neck!”
My brother went over to his sheep and rested his hand on her back, then he leaned down and hugged her. He stood, smiling, and said, “I’m going to name her The Ewe of Happiness.”
And so after that her name stuck and the whole family called her The Ewe of Happiness, capital 'T' The.
Well, we came to love that sheep above all the others: somehow, whenever we called her name something magical happened. It was like a self-fulfilling prophecy. She made us happy.
At the outset, The Ewe of Happiness was just an ordinary ewe. She was not special. In fact, to this day I still maintain she was below-average and would not have won any blue-ribbons at the county fair.
Yet my brother (older, and I must confess, wiser) gave her something that made all the difference: love. It made us see her in a different light, and so we treated her differently, too.
She became special to us because she was special to him.
The Point of this Story
Every flock has its misfits (join the club: chances are, if you are reading this, you are one); but along comes the Savior, who calls us by a new name and cherishes us as only the Good Shepherd can.
And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.