A couple of weeks ago I was asked to fill in as the music director in sacrament meeting for a few Sundays. Of course I was happy to do that and didn't give it much more thought until Sunday morning came and I remembered my commitment.
I love Sunday mornings. They are usually made up of quiet, reflective, preparing moments that allow me to focus my heart and mind in accordance to partaking of the sacrament. This particular Sunday morning started much the same way as others, but my focus wasn't what it should be. I needed to get to church early so that I could put the hymn numbers on the wall, get the stand and hymnal set up, make sure that I knew how to lead the songs that had been chosen, etc. My mind was preoccupied and very busy.
I led a very rousing Called To Serve as the opening hymn and could hear my primary children's voices sing out. It went well. The sacrament hymn was I Stand All Amazed. The meter was slower. I began to beat the time and wonderful Sis. Lyon accompanied me exactly according to how fast I was waving my arm. As we completed the first verse, I was very aware of how very, very slow we were singing. With that in mind, when we began the second verse I lifted my arm to pick up the pace but as hard as I tried, I could not lead the song any faster. I literally felt a physical resistance on my arm and even glanced over to Sis. Lyon as if to motion to her to play faster. She didn't. She followed my weighted arm and we continued to sing at a very slow meter.
Not sure what to do and confused by what was happening with my arm, I started to focus on what I was singing. "I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine, that he should extend his great love unto such as I, sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify."
As the words passed through my mind and into my soul, I humbly became aware of my Savior's sacrifice and love for me personally, I was worth rescuing, owning, redeeming and justifying. Tears flooded my eyes and I couldn't see the book. A huge lump formed in my throat and I could no longer sing. With my head bowed, I continued to lead that hymn in hope that others were not distracted by my emotions.
The first speaker in the meeting was Pennie Rumsey. She started off by sharing an experience that had just taken place. All morning long she had been doing all the things that is required of a mother of four prior to going to church. Her mind was busy, and anxious in trying to organize her thoughts for her talk. Pennie shared her uneasiness about how slow the sacrament hymn was being sung and how she just wanted it to be done. But as she began to focus on the words of the hymn, she had a feeling of peace and her mind and heart were calmed. She expressed what a sweet experience that sacrament song had been for her.
I was so appreciative she voiced that tender mercy, which in turn was a tender mercy for me. I was somewhat embarrassed about the slowness and my tears and so grateful to know that it was meant for her too.I know that my heavy arm was the result of two (and probably more) heavy hearts that needed to be lifted.
I write that my children may know that preparation for partaking of sacred emblems is an important part of the sacrament. I write that they may also know, that every little facet of our lives is important to the Savior. He stands ready to calm the troubled soul............if we just let him.