Sunday, October 16, 2016

Thoughts on Sabbath Worship

As many of you might know, Ben was called as the bishop of our congregation back in July. It's a pretty time intensive calling and he has never been one to shirk his responsibilities. So every Sunday he heads off to church a few hours before us and comes home a few hours after us. At church he sits on the stand, so I get the opportunity to keep four kids ages 7 to 7 months entertained and moderately reverent for the hour long sacrament meeting. My calling is the primary chorister, which means I get to spend the next two hours of church singing with the kids in primary and nursery (not the full two hours, but about 20 minutes each with the junior primary, senior primary and nursery classes). I love singing time, because I love singing and I love primary songs. I can think of only a handful of lessons that I remember from primary, but I remember dozens and dozens of songs and they have been powerful touchstones of faith and strength for me. Also, we have kind of a unique ward. It's primarily made up of military families (mostly Navy since this is a Navy base), with a fair number of sailors who deploy for months at a time. It's mostly families with kids and has a high turnover rate. We have lived here six years and only one other family beats us (by six months). We have seen families move in, move out, and then move back in. It's amazing.

So that's the exposition to my thoughts.

Today for an opening hymn we sang, "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief." I love this song, but today as we sang verse 7 (we sang 1-3, and then 7), I was really touched by the Spirit and reminded of the infinite yet personal sacrifice of my Savior. Naught but 15 minutes later, during the passing of the sacrament I was struggling to keep Caleb entertained and Wesley from making crazy noises in his personal effort to entertain his brother. Wesley dearly loves to make Caleb laugh, but his efforts are quite rowdy. And I thought to myself, "This does not feel like worship. I wish I felt more like I was worshiping at church." I thought about how I wished I had a calling that gave me a chance to engage in some more adult level conversation and worship. I was on the verge of a pity party, thinking, "Really, the bishop's wife ought to be exempt from callings that don't allow her a break from entertaining kids." And then I remembered how that simply isn't logistically possible in our ward; there are so many terrific women who bring their families to church for months at a time on their own. And then go home and do everything because their husband isn't even in the country. So that cut short my pity party. And I'm so glad it did, or I wouldn't have been open to what the Spirit had to whisper to me.
The thought struck me, "It's my opportunity to make my time in church, in whatever capacity, more worshipful. In singing time, am I worshiping? Because I absolutely can and should be. As I parent my kids in sacrament meeting, how am I worshiping?" I then reflected on the opening hymn and was reminded that as I do my best to serve others I can remember that then am I serving the Lord. And suddenly it was a little easier to be there, to be patient and be present. And worship.

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