A Cosmic Relationship
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Luke 10:25-29, 33-34, 36-37
This parable and the exchange between Christ and the lawyer contain a profound and universal truth. One of the most empowering aspects of the cosmic relationship made possible through the Atonement is the fact that God not only seeks to have a relationship with us, but that He invites us to cultivate eternal relationships with all those around us.
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Christ exemplified this principle during His ministry. After going through many towns and villages healing the sick, Christ challenges His disciples to labor with Him in this work:
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Another example is Christ's parable of sheep and goats:
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
"Visit[ing] the fatherless and widow[ed]", "preaching the gospel", "healing every sickness and every disease", "[feeding the] hungry", "[taking in] a stranger", "[clothing the] naked", "[visiting the] sick" or "[prisoner]". These are anti-entropic acts. They restore both body and Mind to higher states of order and function. They bind us to each other, to God, and they allow us to become fellow "labourers" in God's "work" and "glory".
In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, the family is highlighted as one of the central organizations for God's plan for mankind:
...the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children... We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.
The family's role is to create physical bodies for, and cultivate Minds/Intelligences--the thing most precious to God in the universe. What could be more important than that?
In a poem by a 13th century Sufi poet named Rumi, some of these same eternal perspectives on God and family are echoed.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
-'On Children' by Rumi
By understanding man's relationship to Mind, matter, God, family, and eternity, we begin to see the true identity of others as fellow eternal Minds which are likewise God's greatest "work" and "glory" that He invites us to uplift, heal, teach, and learn from.
This goal, to be an anti-entropic force in the lives of all of those around us, becomes the challenge of a lifetime. This lifestyle makes each of us participants in the "tender mercies" of the Lord, fellow "labourers" with God in His "work" and "glory", and binds each of us to our families, communities, and the world through the Atonement of Christ.
The hymn "Have I Done Any Good?", written by Wil L. Thompson, wonderfully expresses this sentiment of seeking to be an anti-entropic force both physically and spiritually in the lives of those around us:
Have I done any good in the world today?
Will L. Thompson
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone's burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, "Sometime I'll try,"
But go and do something today.
'Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love's labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.