Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I mentioned last week that our good friend passed away, and though I didn't take any photos of his funeral, my mind took some beautiful pictures and my ears heard several stories that will always be with me. I'd like to share one of them with you this morning.
I know I am not unusual in having a ward family that looks after one another, yet the level of caring and compassion never fails to amaze me. On the last Sunday of a great man's life, the high priests in our congregation were just beginning their quorum lesson when the teacher was inspired that the entire group should leave the church building, drive over to our friend's house, and give him the sacrament. They did so, and about fifteen men arrived at the door to provide that service. They were ushered into the room where their fellow quorum member lay in a weakened state, and they gently assisted him in partaking of the sacrament a final time before leaving this earth. Afterward, they stood around the bed and spontaneously sang his favorite hymn, "O My Father." I am told that our friend was clearly moved, but no more so than his wife, who says she will never forget the spirit of love that filled the room. Needless to say, my husband will regret forever that his attendance at the singles ward precluded his being there for such a beautiful moment. An interesting aside is that a neighbor who is not a member of our church heard the music through an open window and was deeply moved by the sound of male voices singing so tenderly to their brother in the gospel. She felt the spirit of that loving encounter in her own heart and could not believe how many men had come to offer gentle comfort in such a way.
Music is one of the most powerful, uplifting forces in the world. Used in its purest form, this divine medium can ennoble, move, comfort, delight, embrace, energize, and heal us. I spent most of yesterday writing an Easter program for our singles ward, and my internet search for those sacred strains that might bring my words to life was good medicine for a grieving soul. Listening to mp3's of hymns devoted to the Savior and His ministry of service and sacrifice filled every empty space in my heart with joy, reverence, and gratitude. A deepened awareness of the magnitude of Christ's suffering and the glory of His resurrection brought me that peace which passeth all understanding, and music was the conduit.
"...and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall be in your minds and hearts through Christ Jesus. Finally...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:7-8).
Today I am thinking about music, and dear friends, and eternity.
And somehow, all is well.