Sunday evening we were discussing as a family what we wanted to do for FHE, and Birdie got very excited about using the helium balloons that were still floating around the house (we had celebrated Dadguy's 32nd birthday the day before) in an object lesson. She was very excited about how they floated, being symbolic of the goodness of Jesus, and she wanted to do something along the lines of talk about all the good things that we needed to do to return to Heavenly Father and Jesus. Specifically having everyone guess the incremental things that we needed to do to return to Jesus. We all agreed that she would teach the lesson on Monday night, and that I would help her.
I mostly wanted to be her helper, because it really seemed to me that Birdie was missing a very basic principle of the Gospel. It's a common misapprehension that is often found even in adult understandings of the way that things work with Christ. The idea that we can buy our way into heaven with good behaviour, the concept that if we do it right we can do it ourselves.
We can't. No one can.
Yes it's important to be anxiously engaged in doing good, yes we need to pray and read our scriptures, go to church, help others, be kind, keep the commandments.... but that is not some sort of Godly currency with which we purchase redemption. Naw... the price has been paid. It is by Grace alone that the miracle happens, it is our Intercessor that pulls it off for us.
But Birdie wanted to use the balloons, she was really jazzed by the idea of the steps that we need to take to return to the Father. I didn't want to discourage that excitement, I just wanted to refine the object lesson... to teach more, and to teach a little more accurately. I couldn't quite wrap my head around how to do this without discarding Birdies idea until yesterday afternoon I had to go rescue the Mylar balloon, which had lost it's ribbon and was bopping around the ceiling of the girl's room. We had gotten a Macey's balloon bouquet special the day before, which is $4.99 for one screen printed Mylar and five regular latex balloons of your choice, and since they didn't have any Bionicle (the thing that they have decided is better than Legos for Dadguy's traditional "toy" gift) print balloons, we settled on a Superman. So I managed to snag Superman down, and thought about his floating, inaccessibly stringless state as a sort of symbol of God. I snagged a few, regular blow up balloons in the candy jar, and I was ready.
Here's how the lesson went down:
The stringless Superman balloon was symbolic of God, and one of the latex helium balloons was Jesus. They are both perfect and they look like each other, they both float. But God gave Jesus a string, so that we can tie OUR balloons onto his and via HIS power and goodness we can float up to live with the Father again some day. But first we need to do everything in our power to LOOK like Jesus and the Father, and here is where Birdies ideas came in. Every puff of breath that filled our floppy balloon, and made us puffy like Jesus, was an action or activity that WE can do: like baptism, be obedient, etc...
It was exciting, and I think that the girls have the beginnings of the idea of how it works. Sort of.
After the lesson, Dadguy really wanted to set the balloons free. They were his, and he wasn't really excited about having them hanging around the house for another week or so, losing altitude and getting in the way. So we went in the back yard and let them all go, but as they were floating away, one of them wasn't quite as high as the rest, LaLa hollers "AAAAAAAH! Jesus isn't going to MAKE it!"
Dadguy turns to me and says, "your composing a post right now aren't you?"