Do you ever have Sundays when you lay in your bed wondering what would happen if you didn't go to church today? (Or if you're in Utah or somewhere where you have the option, you think, "I could just go to a later ward," because you don't want to get up.) It's not that you have anything against church, and it isn't because you don't really want to go (although, there are those days too)... you're just tired and not feeling particularly social and churchy or whatever.
Today started out as one of those days. But I got up, got ready in record speed and made it into my seat at exactly 9:00 a.m.
We were having Ward Conference today, which meant that the Stake President and other stake leaders were there. We canceled Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society classes. And had one big combined meeting.
I think it is one of the best Sundays I've had in a really long time.
Our bishop spoke first. I think all bishops have a special love for their ward, but there are some bishops I've had and they say they love you and you think, "Really? You don't know me. How is that possible." And there are some that stand, and with tears in their eyes they say they love you. And you feel it throughout your whole soul. And even though they don't know you, you know that because of their calling and position, and because of the upstanding way they live their lives...or whatever, you know that they mean it when they say it. And that's the case with our bishop. Which I'm really grateful for. Every ward that I've been in has been truly affected by how I got along with the bishop. Anyway, he spoke about surrounding ourselves with good things and some other things that really resonated with me.
After wards, our choir did a really awesome arrangement of Sweet Hour of Prayer. Which made me realize that they probably don't need more altos. (They do need more guys.) But I almost want to join anyway, because they sing more than just from the hymnal.
Here's a video of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Sweet Hour of Prayer. It's not the same arrangement by our choir, but still really beautiful. MoTab is beautiful, say what? Yeah. The organ is gone in this arrangement, and I sort of love that.
After, our stake president got up. Since he's pretty much incredible, I don't think I will be able to portray how awesome his talk was. First, he told us to stop looking at the clock, because since we were combining all the meetings, he wasn't going to end when Sacrament is supposed to end. And then he proceeded to tell us: God knows us. God hears our prayers. This isn't the most profound statement I've ever heard in the church. Especially since I hear it so often. And I believe it. But then he goes on to relate a story... I am going to add the story as a separate post, because it is sort of long. He tells stories the same way I write novels, and I loved every minute of it. And then he went on to talk about his son, who was born crippled and they were told that he would never walk. Not only did he walk, but he's survived over and over and over again - with more trips to the hospital than I think are possible without having some terminal disease - including one for losing an ear! Anyway, the point was, that God knows us. He hears our prayers.
The next two talks were similar. Our Stake Relief Society teacher spoke and said something in her narrative that she "was getting old and was still unmarried." She was 23. I rolled my eyes. But still, the message was that sometimes God has another path for us, or a detour that He would have us take.
And finally, another member of the Stake Presidency spoke, and he taught us about prayer. Prayer. Yes, that elementary principle that we learn in primary and are supposed to continue to use it throughout our lives. Prayer that by his definition means, talking with God. His talk was absolutely exceptional (as it would be, he was a seminary teacher in the past, and I'd venture to say one of the Greats). I think I'm going to put his points in a separate post as well, because this is getting too long.
Anyway, I left church feeling rejuvenated and wanting to change and wanting to be better. And when you leave church feeling edified and after feeling the Spirit, it's remarkable how different that feeling is from when you are forcing yourself to go.
I'm so glad I woke up this morning.