Skip to main content

A Stranger

Ephesians 2:10 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

What does it mean to :

  • love your neighbor
  • welcome a stranger 
  • be generous to a refugee 
  • show kindness to an outlier

The following four paragraphs are from Heidi Swinton in her biography here on Thomas Monson. She explains that his family had humble roots, living in the SLC area after the Great Depression.

"The Monsons opened their doors- literally- to the needy. Because of the Depression, hordes of men hitching rides on the rails came into town looking for work. Living close to the tracks as they did, the Monsons had many transients knock at their door, caps in their hands as they groped for what to say. Finally, out would come, "Pardon me, but is there any work we can do to get something to eat?" No one was ever turned away.

Gladys Monson had no fear. These were not criminals; these were displaced men who had nothing and were trying to make a go of it. She would lead them to the sink and tell them to wash up while she got them some lunch. She would fix exactly what Spence had for lunch - a ham or beef sandwich, potato chips, a piece of cake, and a glass of milk or soda. Then she would sit down and in her motherly manner ask them, "Where are you from?" They were busy eating, and she was busy asking questions; she was genuinely interested in them. They had to listen to her counsel, and she had plenty. "She would lecture each on how he ought to consider returning to his home and how he ought to be a good person while he was riding the rails and how he should write home to reassure those who were no doubt worried about him.

Tommy never understood how they knew just which house to approach. He did know that when he repainted the picket fence, his mother instructed him to leave one slat as it was. He sensed that somehow signaled a welcome to those in need.

Such experiences taught him to be generous and accepting. His father was a man of few words, but when it came to helping others, his actions spoke volumes. Compassion was taught in the Monson home, and the lessons were learned well. "We have no way of knowing when our privilege to extend a helping hand will unfold before us," President Monson has said here. "The road to Jericho each of us travels bears no name, and the weary traveler who needs our help may be one unknown." (Heidi Swinton, p.45-46 To The Rescue, The Biography of Thomas S. Monson.)

New Testament

Matthew 25:38-46 "When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 

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. 

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

I've often reflected on what it means to welcome a stranger. How can I be my brother's keeper? Remember the story of Jean Valjean from Les Miserables? 

I copied this plot synopsis from SparkNotes over here.

"The convict Jean Valjean is released from a French prison after serving nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread and for subsequent attempts to escape from prison. When Valjean arrives at the town of Digne, no one is willing to give him shelter because he is an ex-convict. Desperate, Valjean knocks on the door of M. Myriel, the kindly bishop of Digne. Myriel treats Valjean with kindness, and Valjean repays the bishop by stealing his silverware. When the police arrest Valjean, Myriel covers for him, claiming that the silverware was a gift. The authorities release Valjean and Myriel makes him promise to become an honest man."

I can't remember all the details, and I might be mixing the novel with the stage play, but isn't there a part where the good Bishop tells Valjean that along with the silverware, he'd forgotten two extra candlesticks? The Bishop in this story demonstrates true devotion to God and commitment to love his neighbor. I LOVE that he extends mercy.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Leaving Utah

Norm and I are at a crossroads.  It's time for our family to take the next step.  But first a quick trip down memory lane. We first came to Utah sixteen years ago.  We were young and cute and pregnant with baby #1.  Norm had been accepted as a student.  I had a lot of fun during my first two years of college, and I imagine the admissions board looked at my transcript and said something like, "yeah right!"  (More details about getting a D in organ lessons over  here .) So my first BYU application was rejected.  They let me attend classes as a visiting student, and one day an admissions officer called my phone.  It was a landline, and we were living in BYU married student housing.  He had two questions for me:  Is your husband a full time student?  Yes.  And you live on  campus?  Yes.  End of interview.  A few days later I got my acceptance letter. We finally graduated together in 2004. We bought our first home in Lehi, not too far from Willow Creek middle schoo

believe

  These four books are either written by or about some of my favorite authors of all time. Isaiah , Prophet, Seer and Poet, by Victor Ludlow. One semester during college we did a deep dive into this poet's literary works found in the Old Testament. Someday if I get bored, I want to learn Hebrew and read his stuff in the original language. Neal A Maxwell  is another favorite writer. My favorite book that he's written is called All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, and is a masterpiece on human suffering and why it's necessary in the refining process. Highly recommend. The first time I read through it, it took about a year because I could only digest about a paragraph a day. believe  is such a fantastic collection of quotes on hope. Love it. Eliza  The Life and Faith of Eliza R Snow, by Karen Lynn Davidson and Jill Mulvay Derr. I love this lady so much and she's my favorite poet and pioneer woman. This biography is beautifully written. My favorite poem or quote by

2021 Christmas Card

December 2021  Dear Friends and Family, We love you and and miss y'all that are far away in WA and UT and other places!! This year we skipped our tradition of sending a Thanksgiving card and opted for a virtual Christmas card instead. It saved a ton of stamps and envelopes, but I definitely miss the glitter and sparkle. We hope you can feel our love even through a simple email or blog post. One tradition we couldn't skip was our gratitude tree, where the little leaves are a list of blessings. We are so thankful for God's goodness and mercy every day. Here's the highlight reel:  Cade graduated, made lots of Domino's pizza, read probably a thousand books, and is currently living in Provo, UT as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's heading to Helsinki, Finland in January. We are so proud of him and his hard work, we miss him but are excited for his opportunity to learn and serve. Shad spent a zillion hours with Marcus Ban

Thorns and gifts

We've been reading in the New Testament as a family lately, and Paul has some great advice and counsel that's still applicable today.  In his letter to the church in Corinth, he talks about a thorn in the flesh. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. It's kind of a moot point to speculate what Paul's particular thorn might have been, but I've often wondered. More importantly: what is God's purpose in giving his children such difficult stuff to learn? Why does life have to be so hard?

One More Syllable

It's been a year. One year ago we moved to Texas. One year ago I started asking people to call me Kristina instead of Kristy, thus adding one more syllable to my name. August is our anniversary. Last year we celebrated that anniversary by adding a cool new memory. That day we drove up to our house, found the keys and walked inside with the kids. We spent the night in our house without any stuff. Isn't it funny how places seem bigger when they're unfurnished? And that pool in the backyard? We knew nothing about pools and maintenance but just jumped in carefree. It was great. It was like being in a hotel but with room for everybody to spread out. Maybe it's time to explain the name change. For me, I had decided before moving to Texas that I wanted to quit using Kristy as my nickname. It served me well for many years and I still like it, but it's mainly for simplicity. When I'd first meet somebody, maybe I'd mumble or maybe I don't speak clearly enou

Twenty + One Month

You know how life gets kinda messy sometimes? My version of messy looks like this: Four kids including a teenager learning to drive; a kindergartner learning to get herself ready in the morning; a senior learning about adulting; a middle schooler learning to ride her bike to electives every other day, a mortgage husband's career VIRTUAL PLUS church service pandemic, civil unrest, election year my own personal need for friends and connection even when my schedule looks like a revolving door Our big anniversary was last month and we were lucky enough to celebrate together this past weekend. We managed to sneak away for 24 hours. First I need to give credit where credit is due. There was a very generous friend who volunteered to parent the children during our 'Nelson marriage offsite.' And there was a generous benefactor who donated Marriott points to spring for the fancy room. I won't mention either party by name, but thanks to their generosity we had a great time. I'

Meek Warhorse

Norm's last church talk/sermon in Utah before moving to Texas July 2018, Lehi UT, Traverse Mountain 8th Ward Hello brothers and sisters, it’s my privilege to speak to you today.  I guess this is our good-bye address even though we haven’t moved yet, which I’m taking as a personal sign that the bishopric can’t wait for the next family to move in.  (that was a joke, guys) In my remarks today, I’m going to cover an alternative definition of meekness that really struck a chord with me.  Once I’ve introduced this idea, I’m going to share my supporting argument for meekness as a strength, and then I’m going to talk about how I believe we can develop this form of meekness in our lives. As Kristy told you, our topic is “being meek and lowly of heart” which, in the terms I normally think of meekness or lowliness, is a subject that does not come naturally to me.  I am not naturally what I consider to be meek, quiet or, as Kristy would tell you, all that well behaved.  While I

It doesn't matter where you live, but how...

Thoughts on Houses This is my first post from Texas.  The blog lives on.  August was a whirlwind, September we started settling in, and now it's October.  Most of the boxes are unpacked.  Just last week I found the box that had cookbooks in it, and that makes me pretty happy.  I still haven't made whole wheat bread or cookies since we got here, but maybe I'll do that soon. We spent a lot of time this summer thinking about houses, getting ready to sell our house in Traverse Mountain (in Lehi, on the northern edge of Utah County), and brainstorming on what we'd need in a house in Texas. On the way to Texas, we drove south through Colorado and spent the night at Mesa Verde.  We found the Far View Lodge inside the park and stayed up high on the mesa.  The night sky was pitch black away from the city lights, and the weather was at least ten degrees cooler up high.  I loved it.  The next morning we learned a lot about the Native Americans who lived there.  A man ga

How Controlling Are You?

Life is like Mario Kart. In the early levels, you're driving through Moo Moo Meadows and the grass is green and there's cows and fields and it's lovely. There's an occasional banana peel that gets tossed in the path, and sometimes the cows walk in the road so you try not to hit them. But overall the driving is pretty mellow.  Then later after you've unlocked other levels, there's stuff like Bowser's Castle. It's a maze with lava on both sides of the path, there's fire and brimstone all around, there's stone columns that try to smash you at random intervals. Just to know where to go and how to steer and stay on the path is complicated. Some stages of life are like Moo Moo Meadows. The details are easy-peasy and you just keep moving right along. And then there are years like Bowser's Castle where it's pretty intense and you pray a lot because the fire around you is pretty hot and you're trying not to fall in the lava pit.  During years

Happy Fall Y'all

Over the past year I've noticed a lot of fun and interesting things about Texas.  Call it culture shock or assimilation, but here's an outsider's view of my new home. Obviously I like saying "y'all," and I find it quite handy. From the vocabulary to the climate, from the school traditions to the local hotspots, I'm enjoying this new land even if I poke a little fun at some of the quirks. One of my favorite things about Texas is the people.  They are  nice.  The general default mode is to show kindness, warmth and hospitality. People go out of their way to help each other. I've seen this over and over again. The foundation of this town is built on people who are genuinely decent and friendly.  Language:  I love the west Texas drawl (or is it east Texas?).   At the elementary school, the sweet secretary lady is the nicest. When my son delivered something to his sister one day, she said, "Thank you baby," in a motherly, sweet way.