This month in youth Sunday School, the kids are talking about ordinances and covenants. The lesson outlines aren't as clearly delineated from one another as they seemed to be last month, and there is a lot of redundancy built in. The result is that I've read many conference talks this month on the sacrament. The recurring theme I have noticed over and over is the idea of "remembering." I was pondering this word a lot on Sunday. During my lesson, the Spirit was very strong, and the kids were really getting it. I don't know that they were a lot more forthcoming than usual, but there was a definite difference. They were more attentive, brows were more furrowed, and there were even a few glistening eyes. Then, boom, without it being according to plan, there was an account from my mission I felt impressed to share. It was a little thing really, seemingly unimportant, but somehow it was exactly the right thing at the right moment. It was a thing that hadn't been part of my preparation or even conscious thought for some years.
But it was a thing that helped my precious young class to see that their gospel preparation and knowledge is serious . . . and those years between baptism and the temple are vital. The moment was sublime and reminded me of every good reason we come to Church. I felt humbled and grateful that the Lord had put me in a place where I might make a difference.
And I understood something I've never quite seen before.
Though it doesn't appear on any list, remembering, in its many and varied form, is itself a gift of the Spirit. Remembrance takes so many forms and meanings, each of them vital to gospel living.
Remembering past blessings makes us grateful and humble.
Remembering is how we keep our covenants as we take the sacrament.
Remembering the Savior gives us the integrity to keep our covenants when we are away from Church.
Remembering our own weaknesses can keep us from judging others.
Remembering our ancestors helps us honor our religion and our liberty.
Remembering preserves our spiritual and familial traditions.
My simple, unheralded event from my mission, came back to my memory in the very moment that my class needed to hear the words. If this is not the Spirit working, then I don't know what is. When I teach my class this week, I am going to ask them to pray with all the energy of their hearts that the Spirit will bless them with remembrance, so that it will be a shield and a protection to them against a world where everything changes and drifts into decay.
In the words of Teryl Givens:
"I believe remembering can be the highest form of devotion. To remember is to rescue the sacred from the vacuum of oblivion. To remember Christ’s sacrifice every Sunday at the sacrament table, is to say “no” to the ravages of time; to refuse to allow his supernal sacrifice to be just another datum in the catalogue of what is past. To remember past blessings is to give continuing recognition of the gift, and re-confirm the relationship to the Giver as one that persists in the here and now. Few-very few-are entirely bereft of at least one solace giving-memory. A childhood prayer answered, a testimony borne long ago, a fleeting moment of perfect peace. And for those few who despairingly insist they have never heard so much as a whisper, then know this: We don’t need to look for a burning bush, when all we need is to be still and remember that we have known the goodness of love, the rightness of virtue, the nobility of kindness and faithfulness. And ask if we see in such beauties the random effects of Darwinian products, or can we not perceive in them the handwriting of God on our hearts?"
That almost sounds like poetry to me.