Monday, May 30, 2011

Now Let Us Rejoice!

I was a bit amused while sitting in Sacrament Meeting yesterday.  We were singing the opening hymn.  It was Now Let Us Rejoice!  The chorister had a pleasant, happy smile, but the Bishopric and a member of the Stake Presidency each had a somber, resolute, and heavy browed expression on his face as we sang those thrilling words.  They did not appear to be rejoicing.  They looked as if the weight of the world lay upon their shoulders.

Several weeks ago we were singing There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today when I noticed the same phenomena and a Counselor in the Bishopric happened to notice my amused smile.  He misinterpreted it to mean that I had sunshine in my soul.  Actually, I was just tickled at the huge contrast between their expressions and the words we were singing.  When he stood to conduct the meeting he drew attention my countenance as it related to the bright and cheerful song and I was a bit embarrassed that I had been smiling for the wrong reason.

Since that day, I have tried to be in the moment as we sing the hymns and to think more directly about what we are singing.  Often the songs we sing in our worship services are positive, bright, happy, rejoicing songs.  They should be sung in a positive, bright, happy, rejoicing sort of way.  They are much more fun to sing in that manner.  The key, I suspect, lies in being in the moment.  Who knows where the thoughts of these fine brethren were as that song was being sung.  Perhaps the Bishop was concerned about someone he saw, or didn't see, in the congregation.  Perhaps the First Counselor was concerned about getting the tithing counted quickly so he could get home to spend time with his visiting relatives.  Clearly, they were bearing burdens that weighed heavily upon them.  Or at least they were so accustomed to doing so, that such expressions had cast, that most common countenance, as the default expression on their faces.  Happiness, rejoicing can only be experienced in the present.  It is likely that while their mouths were singing the words, their minds were far away, actually carrying the burdens of their callings and concerns.  My heart goes out to them.

After yesterday's meeting I spoke with another fellow and commented on the dark circles under his eyes.  "I haven't been sleeping lately," was his reply.  When I asked if he wasn't feeling well he answered, "Dealing with a lot of stress lately."  He too appears to be carrying the weight of the world.

In John 16:33 Jesus said:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have  overcome the world.
Here in this verse the Savior gives us a commandment we seem reluctant to obey, "Be of good cheer."  Jesus carried the weight of the world so we don't have to.  That is why there is sunshine in my soul today.

I don't wish to pick on the leaders in my Ward.  They are wonderful people.  There is no question about their sincerity, integrity, courage or faith.  I just think they are taking a bit too much upon themselves in their earnest desire to serve the Lord by serving us.  It is time to be of good cheer!   Come on Latter-day Saints, now let us rejoice!  When Jesus shows His smiling face there is sunshine in my soul.  How about yours?

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