Alright, here it is. This is the talk I gave in Sacrament meeting today. Enjoy!
When I was about 10 years old, I asked my mom to teach me how to knit. She helped me pick out some yarn, showed me how to hold the needles, and taught me the basic stitches. I was so excited that every chance I had, I was knitting. Unfortunately, at that point of my life, I did not have a very long attention span, or much patience for that matter. So, after the first couple weeks, the excitement wore off, and I began to see it as tedious. Pretty soon, I stopped all together. A few years ago, I picked it back up. I am still pretty slow, but it is now something that I enjoy. Let me try to describe why.
First, you need supplies: yarn, needles, and a pattern. The yarn is pretty, but by itself it isn’t anything but yarn. The needles come in all shapes and sizes. You choose the needles based on the pattern of what you want to create. So, once you have all of your supplies do you put the yarn in a bag, throw in the needles, shake it up some and hope to pull out a scarf, a hat, or a blanket? No, by themselves they cannot create anything. Someone is needed to put it all together. Someone who knows how to knit. With the knowledge and the correct tools, these ordinary things become part of a bigger whole, something beautiful and useful. What was once separate things are now one.
According to Webster’s dictionary, to knit is defined as this: to tie together, to grow together, or to become drawn together. I like the last definition, to become drawn together. To me this implies action on both sides, not just someone imposing their will on two separate units.
If we turn this around and apply it to us, we may see it something like this. We are the supplies. Some of us may be the yarn, and some of us may be needles. We have been thrown together in a bag, which is life here on earth. But without the master knitter, who is the Lord, we cannot expect to come together to make a beautiful blanket. With the Atonement of the Lord, we become drawn together as one people, united in purpose, with an eye single to the glory of God. Since the beginning of time, the Lord has commanded “that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith...having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.” (Mosiah 18:21)
Unity is defined as the quality or state of being made one, a condition of harmony. It is not just a condition, it is also a commandment. In Doctrine and Covenants 38:27 it says “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” President Henry B. Eyring said in his October 2008 conference address that “The Lord Jehovah will return to those who have become his people and will find them united, of on heart, unified with Him and with our Heavenly Father.” The amazing thing about all of this is the fact that we cannot do it by ourselves. Unity cannot be achieved individually, it requires all of us to look outside ourselves, and to serve each other.
Pres. Eyring also gave us some excellent principles to guide our progress toward unity. The first principle is revelation. I know revelation sounds like a huge thing, but it is fairly simplistic. Revelation is simply the act of communicating divine truth. We are fortunate to have a tool to assist us in personal revelation. We have the Holy Ghost. I think at times, however, we may take this gift for granted. Now imagine for a moment living your life without this marvelous blessing. We have the unique opportunity to have the Spirit testify to our hearts what the Lord would have us do. When we are confirmed members of this church, we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost. We have a direct conduit from the Lord. However, this is based on obedience to his commandments. As we obey, our hearts become knit together in unity and love with the Lord. Here’s another way to think of it. Revelation is a pattern. The Lord sees the whole pattern, but we are only given the part we need to be working on. As we progress, we are given the next step. Everyone has a part, each a different piece of the whole.
The second principle he gives is to be humble. As we humble ourselves, we realize that we are merely tools in the Lord’s hands. We become willing to do His will. The Lord uses all of us. No matter our background, we all have something in common, and that is we are all his children. We are unified in the family of Christ. We are each different colors of yarn, but it takes all colors to create something truly beautiful. To be humble is to be pliable, willing to be put with whatever color the Lord needs to accomplish His design.
The third principle Pres. Eyring gives is to speak well of each other. We all know what Thumper (from the Disney movie Bambi) says. He strokes his ear, and ducks his head, and says somewhat sheepishly, “If ya can’t say somethin nice, then don’t say nuthin’ at all.” In Moroni 7:18 it says: “And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.” We are not perfect. So often we find ourselves holding others up to a standard of perfection when we ourselves are not able to stand up to the very same standard. The Savior does not point out our faults, so why do we continue to do that in others. As we try to see others the way the Savior sees them, we begin to feel the peace and joy that comes from the Light of Christ. That light then shines brighter in us, allowing us to become a beacon of hope and love for others. As those others follow our example of speaking “good will towards men” we all become unified in purpose.
You can’t just pick up a set of needles and some yarn and expect to immediately know how to knit. You have to ask someone who already knows how, like I did with my mom. Prayer is our opportunity for one-on-one tutoring sessions with the Lord. As we pray, Heavenly Father shows us the stitches and technique. We can pray for our families, our roommates, those we home and visit-teach, our ward members, our leaders… the list goes on. As we pray about someone specifically, mentioning them by name, the Lord shows us how we can begin, and continue to be, united with them. Like knitting, this also takes practice. The more we pray for others, the easier it is to obtain the true joy of unity.
It is part of mortality that we will make mistakes. Fortunately for us, the Lord has provided us with a way to fix those mistakes. No matter who we are or what we may have done, the Atonement brings about the same changes in all of us. The Atonement of the Savior is our way to fix the stitches we did wrong. Sometimes, parts of the blanket need to be torn out and redone. This can be painful and time-intensive, but through the Atonement our stitches become even and perfect. Sometimes we may feel like a heap of yarn on the floor, yarn that has been torn out and needs to be redone. At that time, we need to trust the Savior and allow ourselves to be put back together into something better. Sometimes the Lord even uses us as a knitter, helping each other perfect our patterns. As we become closer to our Savior, we will become closer to each other, having been knit together in love. As we become closer to each other, we become a beautiful blanket, ready to be put to use in warming the world with the love and light of Christ.
It is my goal this year to become more unified with my Savior, ready and willing to do my part in this great and marvelous work. May we each strive to become unified as a ward, as a church, and as the people of Christ.