Monday, May 23, 2011

Why can't every Sunday be like this?

I'm guilty of complaining about how church meetings go. Obviously I feel justified (at least at the time) for doing so. It's a little depressing when during 3 hours of church I only hear Jesus mentioned once in a hymn before the sacrament (in mormon lingo sacrament = "the Lord's Supper," Communion, or the eucharist). Granted that is more rare, but frequently we talk about concepts and fail to show how it's related to Christ and/or his mortal ministry. Today was great. Christ and his message of loving and serving on another permeated the meetings.

Some quotes from a talk (sermon) today:
When Christ appeared to his disciples sometime after he was resurrected, He gave them the injunction: "Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep. Feed my sheep." That's always struck me; of all the things he could have said, He just repeated the most important things over and over and over again: Feed my sheep. The scripture was already read about our baptismal covenants and I will not repeat them, but if you notice they weren't things like "if you are willing to pay your full 10%, and abstain from coffee and alcohol, and if you are willing to attend 3 hours of church meetings." It was about lifting one another up and bearing one another's burdens. It was about loving each other and taking care of each other.  
These [home and visiting teaching] assignments should not feel like they're something to check off. It's not about giving a brief message once a month. It's about making sure that we're ministering to each other and watching out for each other.

We've been given the gift of the Holy Ghost and it's not just so we can sit there and get interesting tid-bits out of our scripture study. One of the most important things we can do with that gift of the Holy Ghost is to receive promptings for how we can best meet the needs of one another. 
It was great.

Then our class was on Isaiah and Fasting. It's a message I've often felt needs to be given more in our church since we have monthly Fasts.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
   only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head...
Is that what you call a fast,
   a day acceptable to the LORD?
 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
   and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
   and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
   and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
   and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
 (Isaiah 58:5-7, New International Version)
Is fasting to help us personally?... well, sure it does that, but that's not the main reason. Is fasting to help us humble ourselves and recognize our weaknesses and seek help? ... again, sure, but that's not the real point. The point of the fast is to remind us that others are suffering and then use that minor suffering of going without food to move us to help them. Fasting is to basically do exactly what Christ taught: serve those in need.

I left church today feeling moved to better serve those around me. I felt the desire to seek out those in need. 

It was a great church service.