Jan 16, 2008

Charity, the Pure Love of Christ

Charity, aka Pure Love

by Anna Arnett

Sunday we had about as outstanding a Sacrament Meeting as I have ever attended. Perhaps it was the meeting, maybe it was my own attitude, but I think the whole congregation was more than usually impressed. The youth speakers did very well, and the soloist touched our hearts, not only with her beautiful voice and range, but her andante tempo and thought projection. That, in itself, would have been worthwhile.

Then a young bride talked of love—charity, the pure love of Christ. She told it so beautifully, I asked for—and got—her computer-copy. She told of Moses having his arms held up by Joshua and Hur. May I quote her on her next one?

“Our second love story takes place on a quiet winter evening on Temple Square. The ground was covered with snow and the air was frozen so we hadn’t had very many visitors that day. As the day drew to a close, my companion and I were assigned to the ramp and rotunda area and I was enjoying the peace of the room where the Christus statue is located. About half hour before the visitors center was supposed to close, four teenagers slowly made their way up the ramp. . . . The came forward reverently and seated themselves on the viewing benches in front of the statue. After being seated for a moment, one of the girls stood up and approached the Christus. As she reached the base of it, she knelt down and gazed up at Christ as his arms extended down to her.

“My breath caught as I watched her, for I had seen thousands of people approach the Christus statue during my time on Temple Square. Some had come with quiet reverence, some had some with excited expectation, and some had come with unconcerned disregard, but no one had ever come as this girl did. Never had I seen anyone approach the Christus with so much love and humility.

“I went and knelt down beside her because I had to know – what made her kneel down? What made her perform such a beautiful act of love and reverence? What made her understand how to approach the representation of the god that she so obviously loved? One by one, her friends came to join us, and we talked of Christ—the God of the outstretched arms. We discussed how ‘he has commanded none that they should go away, but has commanded all that they might come and feel for themselves.’ . . . . . She and her friends shared their testimonies with me and each other . . . .And in those quiet, twenty minutes of time, five lives were changed because a teenage girl led her friends in love to kneel at the Savior’s feet and learn of him.”

The next day these girls returned to the front desk and left her a gift. Each had written her feelings, and brought her a copy, which she shared with us.

I’ve quoted only from one page of her four and a half page ms.

The next speaker impressed us equally well, especially with his suggestion that we might benefit as he did from a special challenge. If we remember that every living human being is a spiritual son or daughter of God, and that we are commanded to love them as we love ourselves, it ought to be easy to greet everybody we pass with maybe an audible “hello” or a smile and look into each face with the conscious thought, I love you. He told of some real transformations, but the biggest change comes within each of our hearts as we remember this love.

I tried it on my way to Primary. It didn’t seem to make a bit of difference. I already knew and loved the people I met in the hall. On the way back when the next ward filled the halls it was a different story. I smiled at everybody I met, and mentally loved them. Not one of them even looked at me, but passed bt as if I hadn’t been pouring out my heart to them. I saw no flicker of change, or even interest.

But, oh, the change in me! I walked on out to the car feeling wonderful. And the feeling is still there.

I love you.


  1. I tend to gripe alot about being in a very small branch, but your post today reminded me of why it really is a beautiful thing. Everyone knows and loves each other. You can feel it even if you don't see it. You didn't just touch yourself trust me, they felt it too.

  2. What a beautiful experiment upon a true principle! Thanks for sharing, Anna.

    Marsha Ward

  3. Wow, beautiful post, Anna. You are truly a gifted writer.

  4. Dear Anna:
    I will try that last challenge. I've tried the part of smiling and saying hello before, but I've never tried it with the mental thought of "I love you." It will be a great experiment.

  5. I'm going to try to post a comment again...(this is about the 5th try)...I so enjoyed your post, Anna. Then again, I always do! I've tried the smile challenge. And when I learned that a true smile begins in your eyes, I found it works even better. One morning during the holidays I was smiling at people at Safeway. As I left the store and headed into the parking lot, a large, serious looking man headed in. I smiled happily and greeted him as we passed each other. He stopped abruptly, turned around and said, "Did you know you have the best smile? It just lights up your face and made me feel like smiling too!" I think I floated all day long.

  6. It truly is amazing what a smile can do, especially when it truly comes from the heart!


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