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  • "Beauty is the secret sound of the deepest thereness of things." John O'Donohue

Sunday, May 25, 2014

SUNDAY SACRAMENTS

“Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings” (Leviticus 23:3).

Today was the Sabbath day.
I experienced a rare joy and treat.

We wanted to attend church, as we do every Sunday, but today was one of the rare days we weren't able to avoid Sunday travel.

We try to plan to "rest," and usually can make arrangements to travel other days. If we absolutely must travel we do our best to remember Heavenly Father's great love for all His children, and the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We therefore try to avoid doing anything that might cause another person to need to work instead of "rest," and have the chance to remember God in their own way.

This means filling with gas on Saturday night, paying for hotels etc in advance, and packing a lunch so we can avoid food purchases.

This morning, after sleeping soundly in a motel about half way to our destination, we located the nearest LDS buildings along our route. 

Most buildings have 3 Wards (sometimes called congregations in other churches) that meet at either 9 a.m., 11 a.m., or 1 p.m., so we decided to drive until about 10:30 and then turn off in the nearest town to attend Sacrament meeting.

As we entered the building, we could hear the sound of the organ accompanying the congregational hymn, "I Believe in Christ" (Hymn 134) to open the meeting. We slipped into a seat near the back of the chapel on a pew with space at one end. 

I found the familiar song a great comfort, especially as it immediately drew my mind to Jesus Christ, despite distractions such as two young missionaries with backpacks arriving soon after we were seated. 

On the stand the Bishop and a counselor looked at each other with questioning faces. They noticed we were not part of their usual flock. I looked around. The building was so typical. The people were so typical. The sights and sounds of Sunday were in them self a joyful experience - a sacrament for my soul in their own right. 

The Sacrament hymn was 173, "While of These Emblems We Partake." You could recognize your own Ward in almost any meeting any where in the world. As we prepared for the ordinance of the sacrament, I looked at the people. 

That alone was a joy. I absolutely almost chuckled aloud as I watched the white haired woman near the front patting a baby doll on her shoulder. It was clear she following directives from the owner of the barely-visible wisp of white-blond hair, and chubby fingers that were the only evidence of a young toddler beside her.

There was a young boy scooting along a partly empty bench, noisily vocalizing gibberish. His mother calmly, but quickly, retrieved and quieted him. His father, wearing a green shirt,  rocked a sleepy infant.  All are welcome at church - even noisy children, and those that may choose to follow different customs of dress or grooming. One of the young priests at the sacrament table had unusually long hair.  

You would notice the girl with the fancy braid in her long hair sitting in the pew two benches in front of us, and her sisters (or were they cousins?) some with braids, some without, but all careful dressed and groomed. 

A little girl in a sparkly dress with bouncing ringlets clearly knew she was gorgeous, and another in pink fluff and ballet slippers evidenced equal conviction. 

A lanky, young boy passing the sacrament trays had almost outgrown his 3 piece suit. Two men assisted the boys. When the Bishop excused them to sit with their families, one of the men sat by that growing boy and put an arm around his shoulders. 

A young couple cuddled off to the left, her head on his shoulder. Behind them a woman had a lesson manual and scriptures open. After a row of angelic looking children (two boys and two girls that looked as alike as blond Babuskas - each one just a bit smaller than another in the set), a woman twined colorful yarn with finger movements so discrete I wasn't sure what craft her handwork engaged.  

On the right a teen sat as far away from the rest of the family as the bench permitted. Behind her a middle-aged man bounced a baby on his knee. An older couple sat behind them smiling.

The rest hymn, "Oh May My Soul Commune With Thee" (123), again refreshed focus to the Savior. We talk of Christ, we sing of Christ, we teach of Christ. The talks also invited us to remember to follow the example of Jesus Christ. 

After a final hymn, "Who's On The Lord's Side Who?" (260) and benediction, we were again in the car with many hours left to travel. The sights and sounds, and feelings of delight from that meeting have remained with me all day. 

I can go anywhere in the world and find the same consistent patterns that lead me to reverence Christ, and pattern my life more like Him. I will hear and see families and individuals that remind me of that every person is one of God's children - my brother and my sister. 

Have you thought of an example of a typical "child of God" that I haven't mentioned? There were as many examples at church today as there were people in attendance. It lifted my heart. It made me smile.  

A loving omniscient Father watches over all. Every Sabbath, I am grateful to be able to refresh that joy in my mind.