The Mediator / Super Bowl Svithe


I remember watching this video as a teenager and being very moved by it:

I still think it's pretty good.

And I'm using President Packer's story in my Sunday School lesson tomorrow ("inspired by" this).

We'll start with reading John 3:16 in honor of the Super Bowl, and take turns saying the third Article of Faith. The, the assigning of parts. Then,
Narrator: Let me tell you a story—a parable. There once was a man who wanted something very much. It seemed more important than anything else in his life. In order for him to have his desire, he incurred a great debt. He had been warned about going into that much debt, and particularly about his creditor. But it seemed so important for him to do what he wanted to do and to have what he wanted right now. He was sure he could pay for it later. So he signed a contract. He would pay it off some time along the way. He didn’t worry too much about it, for the due date seemed such a long time away. He had what he wanted now, and that was what seemed important. The creditor was always somewhere in the back of his mind, and he made token payments now and again, thinking somehow that the day of reckoning really would never come.

Listener: But?

Narrator: But. As it always does, the day came, and the contract fell due. The debt had not been fully paid. His creditor appeared and demanded payment in full. Only then did he realize that his creditor not only had the power to repossess all that he owned, but the power to cast him into prison as well.

Debtor: I cannot pay you, for I have not the power to do so.

Creditor: We will exercise the contract, take your possessions, and you shall go to prison. You agreed to that. It was your choice. You signed the contract, and now it must be enforced.

Debtor: Can you not extend the time or forgive the debt? Arrange some way for me to keep what I have and not go to prison. Surely you believe in mercy? Will you not show mercy?

Creditor: Mercy is always so one-sided. It would serve only you. If I show mercy to you, it will leave me unpaid. It is justice I demand. Do you believe in justice?

Debtor: I believed in justice when I signed the contract. It was on my side then, for I thought it would protect me. I did not need mercy then, nor think I should need it ever. Justice, I thought, would serve both of us equally as well.

Creditor: It is justice that demands that you pay the contract or suffer the penalty. That is the law. You have agreed to it and that is the way it must be. Mercy cannot rob justice.

Narrator: There they were. One meting out justice, the other pleading for mercy. Neither could prevail except at the expense of the other.

Debtor: If you do not forgive the debt there will be no mercy.

Creditor: If I do, there will be no justice.

Listener: So both laws can’t be served?

Narrator: They are two eternal ideals that appear to contradict one another.

Listener: Is there no way for justice to be fully served, and mercy also?

Narrator: There is a way! The law of justice can be fully satisfied and mercy can be fully extended—but it takes someone else.

Listener: And?

Narrator: And so it happened this time. The debtor had a friend. He came to help. He knew the debtor well. He knew him to be shortsighted. He thought him foolish to have gotten himself into such a predicament. Nevertheless, he wanted to help because he loved him. He stepped between them, faced the creditor, and made this offer.

Mediator: I will pay the debt if you will free the debtor from his contract so that he may keep his possessions and not go to prison.

Creditor: Hmmm.

Mediator: You demanded justice. Though he cannot pay you, I will do so. You will have been justly dealt with and can ask no more. It would not be just.

Creditor: Very well.

Listener: And what did he say to the debtor?

Narrator: He said—

Mediator: If I pay your debt, will you accept me as your creditor?

Debtor: Oh yes, yes! You’ve just saved me from prison! Shown mercy to me!

Mediator: Then, you will pay the debt to me and I will set the terms. It will not be easy, but it will be possible. I will provide a way. You need not go to prison.

Narrator: And so it was that the creditor was paid in full. He had been justly dealt with. No contract had been broken. The debtor, in turn, had been extended mercy. Both laws stood fulfilled. Because there was a mediator, justice had claimed its full share, and mercy was fully satisfied.
Having reached this point, I will point out that President Packer himself has said that any metaphor will break down if you take it too literally, and there is one way in which I think this story is particularly weak.

At which point we will read and discuss the following:
2 Nephi 9:7–9, 21–22

Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19

2 Nephi 2:4

2 Nephi 10:24
And, for the record, a Boston team and a New York team? I could not possibly care less who wins.

previous svithe

1 comment:

  1. Ah, well. Living where we live, we care very much who wins.