Sunday, July 3, 2011

Faith - Family Home Evening Lesson #2

I was looking out at my garden this evening, and noticed my sunflowers are now about 2 feet tall.  By the end of the season they will reach between 10-14 feet tall.  As I planted the seeds this May I marveled again at the miracle that occurs every time I stick a seed in the ground and nurture it along through our short Alberta summers. 

I thought I'd use this reflection for a family home evening lesson tomorrow night.  This is not a new idea, of course, but is a favorite for a reason.

You will need:  seeds, a measuring tape, and the following scripture reference:  Alma 32:28-43.

"Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.  Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your hear, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves - It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me."  (Alma 32:28)

It's more fun if you pick a big plant, like sunflowers (the variety I planted this year is called Kong, and will grow to 14 feet), or an apple seed which you can look up the height of on the internet, I'm sure. 

Take the time to read through the scripture reference, bringing out the following points:  faith can start with a small seed, or feeling; faith requires nourishment like a plant does; you can neglect your faith (I have had plenty of houseplants over the years that would make a good object lesson on that point!); spiritual knowledge is akin to light; ways you can nourish your faith; and that faith takes patience and diligence; faith will bear fruit. 

Show your family a small seed of your choice, and ask them what it requires to grow (dirt, nutrients, water, heat, light, etc.)  Take the measuring tape and extend it to the height the seed will grow to (either on a wall, or if it's really big, along the floor).  If you can, show them the fruit that comes from the seed as well, and even cut it open to see the new seeds inside.  If you have the space and means, let your children plant a seed and watch it grow.  Help them make the connection between the seeds and planting the seed of faith in your heart.

Keep it simple for little children, talking about a seeds needs and about how they need to keep the commandments, obey their parents, attend their meetings, say their prayers, etc.  Older children can explore the more complex ideas of what makes up a personal testimony, and how you can focus on certain areas of your testimony at a time, and increase your faith in those areas. 

Every year when I plant my garden, I still marvel at the miracle that happens when we put these tiny little seeds of life in the ground.  I'm sure your children will feel the same wonder, and hopefully plant the seed of faith at the same time.


  1. I found the quote from Mormon scripture really fascinating - that it speaks about faith as 'enlarging the soul' and 'enlightening understanding'.

    I think that is a very important insight. Faith does not only bind us in commitment to God but it should be a transformative process within ourselves. I often think about the challenge posed by atheism: 'you cannot prove the existence of God' (nor can you disprove it!). So how do I prove the existence of God? I can't and I don't. The only thing I can prove is how my faith shapes me, how it 'enlarges my soul, enlightens my understanding'. In short, if my relationship with God makes me a better and kinder person, well, then this is the only litmus test I can think of. And that is the best 'scientific evidence' I can muster.

    Isn't there something in the New Testament about the 'fruits of faith'? I think there's a similar idea there. I always love encountering wisdom from other traditions - thanks for sharing! :)

    This Good Life

  2. That particular section of scripture is actually a great lecture on faith, I actually had pulled that verse out of the middle, out of context, which I know we've had a discussion about before. The preceding verse says "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my word.". Verse 35 goes on to say "O then, is this not real? I say unto you, yea, because it is light, and whatsoever is light is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good.... ". These verses are a challenge to arise and seek for light, to expand upon the faith or spirituality you already possess, no matter how small. I think the NT verse you are referring to is the one that says by your fruits ye shall know them (I'm paraphrasing, my NT isn't handy.) I'm interested in your thoughts on this subject, and would love to hear more. Trying to explain the workings of your soul enlarging to someone without faith is like trying to describe what salt tastes like to someone who has never tasted it.