Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the making of me {chapter 8}

although the title {parish house for the center church on the green} may give one thoughts that we switched religions and joined a cult, i assure you it was only the designated meeting place for the mormons in the hood. everyone told us indeed this is where the mormons gather at 10 a.m. on sunday. so, we decided to join them.

downtown we went. in our car, and never did i think i would have to pay for parking to go to church. but it seemed our only option. the lot across the street was our only parking option and we were relieved when someone in passing told us you didn't have to pay on sunday.

we were greeted at the door with missionarie(s). not one, of course, not two, but there were 8 elders in our ward! the flood gates opened, my utah narrow view had never seen so many missionaries in one place beyond bidding farewell to family members at the MTC. my heart was full, and somehow this reassuring presence calmed my entire body. i felt so safe, they shook my kids hands and then greeted us. we gathered in a beautifully sunny, open area with folding chairs all set up in neat rows. a stage was before us and 3 chairs were next to a microphone. people were gathering and i realized sacrament must be first. i had never experienced this before. then, moments before this meeting was to start, a scramble of sorts. yes, indeed a scramble to see who was skilled at tickling the ivory's. a simple piano sat to the left of this stage and microphone. someone was gathered and we commenced singing the opening hymn.

isn't it funny? gathered there so far from home, something warm and familiar felt like home with the music sung and the prayer offered. again weepy. my memory recalled gathers the following experience and forgive me if it is off by a minute here or a detail there.

it was the 5th sunday and our ward had decided to dedicate 5th sunday worship to missionary. period. work, help, discussion - you name it. this sunday's program featured the elders and the ward mission leader at the time. when brother hutton spoke, "winds of love" kept insisting "shrek" had come to church. no, no honey, he just talks like him. their accents are the same. he was gray around the edges, sparce hair on top, and his middle full and jolly. he spoke about his excitement for the gospel and truly i had never seen excitement like this in my rocky mountain growing up. he spoke of full conviction to the point that by the time he's done at mcdonalds everyone knows r. hutton loves the gospel of jesus christ. how touching, i thought, he really believes this with all his heart and he didn't grow up in "zion" per say. it was my first tangible experience with members that didn't need hoards of people supporting them to know the truth they claimed on sunday. although a concept i knew existed, i had never had the opportunity to see it. everything said in that meeting that day came at me full force, with power and strength to get me through the week, whatever it held.

then..

they, the elders and brother hutton sang, "redeemer of israel".

if you are not familiar with this hymn, it was adapted for the LDS hymn book from Joseph Swain by William W. Phelps. it was included in the first LDS hymnbook in 1835. this song is strength to me and i always think of strong men in my life when i hear it. so as these great men belted out the following text a cappella, my mind was a flurry.

redeemer of israel our only delight
on whom for a blessing we call
our shadow by day and our pillar by night
our king our deliverer our all

restore, my dear savior, the light of thy face
thy soul cheering comfort impart
and let the sweet longing for thy holy place
bring hope to my desolate heart

while listening to the force and power of good men living strong lives, the faces of good men flashed thru my head. 2 brothers in south america serving missions that took great sacrifice to attain, a grandpa whose whole life reflected the principles this text was based on and a dad whose strength surely comes from the above mentioned text. i felt "home" all of a sudden. warmth rushed to every part of my feeble body, spirit and mind. the fear and loneliness slowly dissipated for this particular sunday. my whole spirit was renewed.

later on in the worship, i was able to venture to the relief society meeting for women and again, i was touched. this gathering of saints was unique because there were two languages, two cultures assigned to this gathering. it was an english/spanish congregation. our lesson that day was given by a spanish sister. she was using spanish and a sweet bilingual sister, one of the few who in this congregation, translated. i can tell you i didn't know a lick of spanish, still don't. but, there was something about the way this hispanic sister presented this lesson. i knew what she was telling us before the translation came. i could feel her eagerness to know the savior and to live a life in such a way that everyday would cause a closer bond with him.

as we were walking out of the building, i was introduced by my husband, to a couple that was in our same boat. the husband was to be a classmate of his and how ironic out of 30 class members, 2 of them were from utah and attended the same religious services on a sunday? it was a very good day.

1 comment:

coty said...

i was just about to ask you what happened to the "making of me" posts...it's like you knew, lol.
i will have to read it thoroughly later tonight (kiddies sleeping, helps with comprehension)
...it's a date, i'm bringing popcorn.