Sunday, December 9, 2007

God and Sinners Reconciled!

Sacrament meeting today was one of the most spiritual meetings I've ever been in. I feel so good right now. A girl in my family home evening group sang a song called "Breath of Heaven." The song in and of itself was nothing spectacular, but you could tell how much it meant to her. When she got to one of the final choruses, she choked up and started to cry. She had to whisper the words, slowing gaining composure until she could sing the final chorus strong again. It was a beautiful moment, but its significance for me had to do with my sister.

My sister has such a beautiful voice, and at my farewell talk before I left on my mission, she sang a Kenneth Cope song called "His Hands." She sang it beautifully, until she got to the part about the men taking Christ's hands and piercing them to nail Him to the cross. Her voice choked and she started to cry. After a moment, she belted out the last part of the song through her tears. It is one of the most tender memories I have. Hearing my FHE "sister" do the something similar today brought back the sweet memory of that spiritual experience I had had listening to my real sister a few years ago.

While I was still reeling from the buzz of that experience, a recent convert got up to recite something he had written. It was beautiful. He talked about the joy the wise-men must have had when they found Jesus. He said that he had lived without Jesus for 22 years, and then had finally found him a few months ago. The joy he had finding Jesus must have been something similar to what the wise-men had experienced.

During the rest of the musical service, my thoughts were uncontrollably focused on the Savior, on previous spiritual experiences I had had, and on how wonderful the whole concept of Atonement was. I felt so utterly dependent on Christ, and so eternally grateful for His birth, sojourn on Earth, death, and all that that means for me. I may be confused about the Church and the role that I play both in the Church and in Eternity, but there is one thing as of today of which I am completely certain. I need a Savior every bit as much as I need a companion and lover.

I believe that God Himself came down to redeem mankind. God Himself condescended, took up flesh, and atoned for all mankind. What I realized today is how truly infinite that sacrifice was. It is a huge, eternal, magnificent, boundless, endless, divine, merciful, glorious sacrifice. God did not give of His life and suffer for sin and pain for Mormons. Nor for Christians. Nor for straight people. No. He came down to Bethlehem for all mankind. I see no limits to that ultimate sacrifice. Everyone needs it, and it is offered, likewise, to everyone.

7 comments:

Peter said...

One thought that I didn't want to include in the post but that I wanted to say is in regards to hypocrisy. Some of you may think that it is hypocritical to be spiritual or to claim spirituality when I am choosing a "sinful" lifestyle. Fine. Whatever. I have noticed in my life that my spirituality and my "gayness" go together. Often it is the gayest points in my life when I am the most spiritual. Sorry to upset you about it, but that's just what happens. The times when I am the most asexual are the times when I feel the most spiritually dead.

Granted, there are times in the past when I have been using spirituality to overcompensate. That was wrong and unauthentic. This is not one of those times.

One of So Many said...

Why can't life just have an individually tailored detailed handbook?

Patriarchal blessings are only so detailed.

playasinmar said...

"God has a plan for each of us not a plan for all of us." -Caspian

biggins said...

I love sacrament meetings with touching musical numbers too. Music is one of the best ways for me to feel the spirit.

"The times when I am the most asexual are the times when I feel the most spiritually dead." I think there's definitely a correlation between the two. I'm certainly not going to judge you for anything, and I'm definitely glad you are still having powerful spiritual experiences. I agree 100% with that last part: "I see no limits to that ultimate sacrifice. Everyone needs it, and it is offered, likewise, to everyone."

Thanks for the post!

J G-W said...

Today, we sang "I Stand All Amazed" for the Sacrament hymn... I could barely make it through the third verse. I am a sinner and in need of the atonement.

I have wondered if we don't make the concept of sin meaningless, when we treat the love between two men as a sin. Once I began to clarify this in my mind and heart the reality of my sinfulness sunk in -- sins of anger, pride, unfaithfulness.

Peter said...

JGW-

thanks. I will confess to thinking that if I'm going to be homosexual and therefore sinful, I might as well really be sinful. What's the point, for example, of going to Church. I almost didn't go to church today because I figured there was no reason. I slept in, but then I felt guilty. I thought, gee, that's strange. I don't feel guilty for having a same gender relationship, but I do feel guilty for not going to Church. Perhaps I need to separate homosexuality from the concept of sin so that I can keep a moral lifestyle. I'm glad I overcame temptation and went to church today. Look at what I would have missed.

Potentate said...

Most Kenneth Cope songs probably shouldn't be sung, ever, by anyone. His Hands is the shining, glorious exception.

One of the most beautiful memories I have of my mother was when she sang that song at someone's baptism.

It's the only one of his songs I own. He doesn't sing it nearly so well as my mamma.

I'm glad you had a good sacrament meeting.