by Annmarie Worthington
What an incredible sacrament meeting we had this morning. I learned from everything, beginning with the hymns. At my ward, one of my callings is the chorister. I love music, so getting to share music about my faith is wonderful. The only downside is my exposure. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, so the challenge for me is not to give away every private thought on my face while leading the music. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I do not. I think only once have I broken down in tears during a song….at least publicly.
Today’s sacrament hymn spoke to me greatly. I intensely felt both my failures and my desire to do more, to be more like Him. We sang #191 Behold the Great Redeemer die. Aside from meditating on His sacrifice and grieving for the pain my sin has caused, there were a few phrases that challenged me greatly. As soon as I sat down from leading the music, I began to jot my thoughts down furiously.
The first was the statement, “No murmuring word escaped His tongue.” With everything the Savior went through, and it is more than any of us ever will, no matter what our circumstances, He never once uttered a word of complaint. I have had my fair share of pain, but never once has Heavenly Father forsaken me. Although, I’m sure I’ve wrongly accused Him of that before. The Savior, however, did have to lose His Father. God had to forsake Him as part of the atonement.
Can you even begin to imagine the agony that brought Him? We’ve never been without either the presence of God or the redeeming influence of both the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost. What an all-encompassing loss. And yet, He remained without sin. When the religious leaders, along with the throngs of the populace, were abusing Him, spitting on Him, and slandering Him, He never once retaliated or complained. I Peter explains why.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:”
--I Peter 2:21-23
If I would remind myself that God is a righteous Judge, not only of His children, but their circumstances. God allows things into our lives for a reason. Committing myself to Him means trusting Him, submitting to His desires, even if they are contrary to my own. It also means trusting Him. Remembering He is a righteous judge. Also remembering that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. I need to remember there are blessings ahead and not just focus on the challenges and pain of my present.
The second thing that spoke to my heart was, “Father, from Me remove this cup. Yet if Thou wilt, I’ll drink it up.” Oh! What a heart! I want to say that. I want to be like young Mary, in the book of Luke, who said, “I am the bondservant of the Lord, be it done to me according to Your word.” Why do I find that so hard? I let my dreams get in the way. Again, I’m focused on the wrong thing. Instead of planning my dreams, I should be learning and planning His. No matter what they are. That is hard for me. I have things I long for, and a deep loneliness that I cannot explain to others in a way that makes sense. I long to get to the place where I only desire whatever He wants.
Finally, the phrase, “I’ve done the work Thou gavest Me.” How many of us can say that? Not me. There is so much yet to do. Of course, we can’t do all of it ourselves. I think the key is “Thou gavest Me”. I need to be sure all I do, is what He had for Me, and not just get busy doing things. I try to remember to everyday ask how He wants me to use my time that day, but many times I still get caught up in my own agenda. What I want to do is make sure I’m fasting and praying and studying to know His will. That way I know I’m expending my energy on what He has called me too. And then, once I find out, make sure I “do the work”.
There may never be a Sunday…or Monday…or Tuesday…..where I don’t see how far I have to go, but it is such a joy going there. I wish I were more like our Great Redeemer.