Wherever you are in the world right now you are being affected in some way by the COVID-19 Pandemic. You may be hearing about it in the news, but it seems to be something happening far away. Or, you may have already weathered through the worst – your city’s social restrictions are already being lifted. Some of you are in the middle of the battle, struggling mightily to survive from hour to hour. Some of you are ill – or, grieving. Some of you have lost your employment, wondering how you will make ends meet. Some of you are sheltering-in-place, praying for the threat to pass over your home and your community quickly, hoping life will get back to “normal” again… but, not sure what the “new normal” after this pandemic will look like.
All of us are feeling vulnerable, and living with uncertainty.
How can we hold it all together and weather this crazy, baffling, completely unexpected storm?
For the past 3 weeks I’ve been sheltering-in-place with Jeff and Daughter Bee, blessed to all be able to work from home. I’ve been looking out my window a lot. It’s a simple and extraordinary joy I’ve been deprived of for over a decade of working in a basement office. Today, I stared up at a perfectly blue sky, with wispy white clouds drifting lazily overhead. The sun was cheerfully shining down on my neighborhood. The snow-capped mountains were standing firm nearby, like comforting guardians.
I took a long moment to drink in that view, and hear Nature practically shouting excitedly “I know nothing feels right, but look! Everything’s great!”
“Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast and immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].”1 Corinthians 15:58 AMP
It brings me comfort to know that these mountains have been “steadfast and immovable” through eons of time. They’ve witnessed many other earthquakes and plagues. They’ve seen terrible times of destruction, war, starvation, and unrest – also times of comfort, peace and plenty. They’ve been beaten down by mighty winds and frozen through by icy blasts… yet through it all, they have weathered each storm, and waited patiently – steadfastly – for the sun to rise and shine again, as it always does.
This weekend – while you are staying safely in place at home [and probably feeling uncomfortably “immovable“] – you may be seeking some peace and comfort. So, I invite you to join my watch party of the General Conference of my church. It is being broadcast free to the world all weekend! It doesn’t matter what creed you follow, or whether you consider yourself a person of faith or no faith, you are welcome and I’ve got a comfy virtual chair for you, with lots of cushions. I don’t know exactly what will be said this weekend during our global watch party – that is part of why I’m so excited and anxious to be watching – because what I do know is that heaven is going to be speaking to us, through the messages and the music. I expect messages from God that will be filled with hope and love. I also expect some unexpected messages. And of course, there will be lots of beautiful music. In fact, if you look close, you might even spy me singing in the choir (safely prerecorded, of course)
I have been on this earth for 104 bi-annual General Conferences. This weekend will be my 105th. As far back as I have memory I’ve looked forward to “Conference Weekend”! But this time it is different – it’s like I’ve been holding my breath for weeks, yearning to breathe this in! I can tell you that every single Conference in my life I have heard something that became my unique message from God – something that felt it was meant only for me. Sometimes, the message comes as a feeling in my soul during a song, or a thought in my mind that inspired me to do something I’d been needing to find courage for. Whatever it may be, or how it may come, I’m looking for that unique message to happen this weekend. I’m eager to know what message my Heavenly Parents want to give me right now in such an unsettling and confusing time in my life.
I’m very anxious for everyone to get their own special message from heaven. Don’t we all need that?
What do you think God will say to you this weekend?
Our leader, President Russell M. Nelson actually announced at the end of the October 2019 Conference that the April 2020 conference would be “very different” than any other Conference. Of course, none of us [probably including President Nelson] ever expected that statement to be so dramatically prophetic. A “different Conference” is an epic understatement. For the first time, it will be held entirely virtual. There will be no large masses excitedly crowding into the 22,000 seat Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City, and filling all of the overflow spaces. Temple Square will be quiet and empty. Along with our temples, all of our chapels throughout the world will also sit quiet and empty – not filled with families watching the Conference broadcasting on a large screen. A deadly pandemic has sent us all into our homes. And yet, perhaps that is part of what can make this “very different” Conference a very precious gift. We have the opportunity to sit quietly, pray, listen, and commune with God. No fanfare. No distractions.
As Jesus said; “Peace, be still” – because when we are still, that’s usually when peace has a chance to catch up to us.
No matter what happens this weekend, what is spoken, or unspoken, what is heard or felt, this is going to be a very special weekend that we will be able to tell our children and grandchildren about. So, I hope you will tune in and join my informal watch party from wherever you are! I would love to hear about your Conference experience – where you watched from, and what God said especially to you.
There are many ways to watch and listen to the Conference. I’ll make it easy – you can simply click on this video link below to start live streaming it on Saturday April 4, 2020 at 10:00 am Mountain Time.
Stay safe and well my friends. Be steadfast, and immovable. You are loved. – Holly