Monday, August 15, 2011
I got to thinking today about gestures. A football clip caught my attention. So much can be communicated by a gesture. Some gestures are universal, like a smile. Some are so recognizable to a culture no words are needed at all to communicate the message. Like the above touchdown gesture. Most anyone in the United States will recognize it. Even from a distance.
If you know what a particular gesture means or refers to, you can communicate large amounts of information in a short period of time. Often from a distance. For Latter Day Saints, gestures and symbols are an important and profound part of our faith. They mean something. But you have to know what it's referring to or it will be just a picture, or some gesture, or some random image that doesn't have any particular meaning.
But to the initiated, the gesture or symbol gives a sermon. God uses gestures.
Here are some examples of Christ, Prophets, and True messengers using or receiving sometimes little recognized gestures that open up the mind with careful thought.
3 Nephi 28:12
3 Nephi 11:9
1 Timothy 2:8
The ordinances of the Gospel contain many gestures as well. Baptism, Washing, Anointing, Clothing, receiving sacred knowledge, sealing. All of these involve gestures. Some of them require us to learn about the culture from which the gestures or rituals originate in order to understand the message communicated. All of them require faith in Jesus Christ to lay hold on the reality behind the gesture. Without Him it's all empty and hollow. The action in and of itself looses it's power when we fail to realize the message, or He who is the power behind it. In the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest (D&C 84:20).
The touchdown gesture is meaningless to someone who has never heard of football. They won't know how many points it represents, the work required to achieve it, and what is going to immediately follow (the extra point/two point conversion attempt)..... In this way you can communicate something openly without actually disclosing the meaning. But those prepared will know exactly what is happening, what it means, and what comes next. It can be hidden in plain sight.
The Gospel utilizes this kind of communication a lot. Those who are interested will do what it takes to realize the realty of the symbol or gesture, but those who don't will be amused at best by strange actions and symbols. The Gospel has so much to it, has so many levels, I don't think it could ever be boring. Things tend to be boring when you don't know what's going on. This post today was about understanding what's going on in the Gospel so as to not be bored. There's too much fun and excitement to ever be bored by the Gospel.
Sometimes we need to learn about other cultures, even the culture of Heaven to understand God's gestures. They are right in front of our nose, if we stop to look, ponder, pray and learn.