Over lunch Sunday, my brother Mike asked, “How was church?” We were at the beach this weekend and had rendezvoused for lunch. “Great,” I replied. Then I went into a spiel about what I’d heard, seen, and felt. This evening I feel inclined to do it again, this time in writing and with a little more detail.
Before Elizabeth and I even heard any of the talks, I glanced to my left and saw Wilma listening intently as she faced forward. Immediately, I remembered how she used to begin all of her prayers with the same words, words that spoke to my soul with their simple and earnest message. “Thank you, God, for waking us up in our right minds and sending us on our way.” I like a lot of things about Wilma’s prayer, especially the way she begins with showing gratitude.
The first speaker spoke of the importance of making correct choices, the kind that will affect our present and our future in positive ways. He reminded us of how important it is to forego the good in favor of the better. As an everyday example, he said he really enjoyed McDonald’s food, but that if given the choice between McDonald’s and The Melting Pot to celebrate his birthday, he’d opt for the latter. It’s the same with how we spend our time, whether we exercise, how often we study the scriptures, and so forth.
The other youth speaker spoke of talents and referred to the scriptures about hiding vs. using talents. The problem is, however, that some people just don’t know what their talents and abilities are. Maybe they’ve never heard words of encouragement, or perhaps they just haven’t been in situations that would evoke those gifts.
The final speaker talked all about love. Love for God, our family, our fellowman, and even ourselves. He stressed the importance of loving those who might not look, act, or speak the way we do. Regardless of a person’s skin color, social status, or religious affiliation, he or she is still a child of the same Heavenly Father. He commands us to love one another, and in the New Testament (John 14: 15) we’re told that, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” I’m both amazed and saddened when I hear people talk about how much they love God, and yet not lift a hand to help a brother in need if he has a foreign accent or shabby coat.
Elizabeth and I left after Sacrament, edified and uplifted by the hymns, talks, prayers, and opportunity to mingle with friends and fellow worshippers. It looks like I’ll be there again this weekend, and as much as I miss being in my home ward, it’s wonderful to know that the church is basically the same everywhere.