Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Religion Matters

There are many reasons. And while I listen to several of my friends and acquaintances discuss how Religion is a great evil...how it is full of hypocrisy and fairytales, I bite my tongue. Not because I am afraid. Not because I am ashamed. But because it is pointless to try to convince someone who has already made up their mind. More than anything...I feel sad. To know that the peace that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings to my life will never be known by some. To understand the deep joy I feel at certain times that I can never put a price on. When I just look at someone, and know that they feel the same. It happens in my family with my sisters all the time. With my nieces, and close friends, with my husband. No words can describe it, and none are necessary.

A few weeks ago, I watched in wonder as an entire religious community made a miracle happen in less than 2 days for a good friend. I have participated in major humanitarian efforts that could never be possible with one person alone. They took place under a banner of Religion. I belong to the largest organization of women in the world...and we constantly do things to make the world a better place. In our own communities as well as in third world countries, and in far away cities where catastrophes have taken place. So what is really so horrible about religion? None of us are perfect. We don't claim to be. But we believe in the ideal, and sincerely strive to reach it. A little better every day. And while we stumble and fall, we try to apologize and recover, and persevere.

I was reminded of this ideal Sunday. Clint turned 12 a couple of weeks ago, and has been able to take part in passing the Sacrament as part of his duties as a deacon. I am very proud of him and his sweet personality and his desire to be a good boy. After the prayer was said and the boys started out with their trays of bread to different parts of the chapel, Jeff whispered to me that "it looks like someone forgot to go up front..." (the bishop is suppose to receive the bread first). The boys were all looking around, when Skylar, one of the amazing older boys, who I love, hurried over to Clint to remind him he was number one, and needed to deliver it to the bishopric. Clint was mortified. He was so embarrassed. Head down, he walked up to the stand while the entire chapel watched and waited until he gave it to the bishop. Then when he was finished, he got in line, and one of the younger boys whispered harshly to Clint to go to the back of the line. I saw him try hard to try not to cry....

Then Jeff elbowed me and pointed to President Williams...our former Stake President. Clint was standing by him, where Pres. Williams was seated. Clint had his head down, but the look of love and sympathy on Pres. Williams face for Clint...how if he wasn't passing the sacrament, he probably would of given him a warm pat on the back and a kind word to say that it was okay...then I looked around the room...and almost every face was exactly the same. Everyone in the entire chapel looking at my little Clint with nothing but concern, and love.

Clint had to go back and finish with the water. He was trying so hard just to keep it together and not cry. He finished. Came back to where we were sitting, and started to cry. Then brother Bowen got up, 1st counselor. And reminded everyone how grateful we are for the boys who pass the sacrament. Stressed how all of us make mistakes, and spoke with love directly to Clint. The 2 speakers that followed also talked about how appreciative they were to the boys who took on the responsibility of the sacrament every Sunday, and of course, the last speaker had his own very cute story about dropping the bread tray when he was a kid.

Love. Pure and simple. Real and True.

9 comments:

Laura said...

That was such a sweet post Rachel. I had no idea what was going on since I was sitting at the back of the room. The comments from the Duncans and from Bro. Bowen were awesome...that is how it should be all of the time, I love it when people are observant to what is going on. Its too bad there are people out there who leave the church or dont like it because they are offended or dont like a church member. We are imperfect, the gospel is perfect.

Joi said...

Rachel, thanks for the post. I wanted to post my comments, but if you feel they are out of line, then, please, feel free to delete them.

I understand exactly how you feel, when you say ' To understand the deep joy I feel at certain times that I can never put a price on. When I just look at someone, and know that they feel the same. It happens in my family with my sisters all the time. With my nieces, and close friends, with my husband. No words can describe it, and none are necessary.'

I feel the same way - but it has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with complete & pure love. Love from a higher power (whatever name is given for that power), that courses through me & makes me feel peaceful, filled with joy & love & gratitude! Knowing that Scott feels the same way, and has the same beliefs is comforting. For me, religion (for the most part), is a facilitator of love & kindness, but it's not 'necessary'. Some days I feel as if I could burst from my heart being so full of joy & love!

There are lots of good things done in the world without being under the blanket of religion. After Katrina, I was in charge of a campaign at our school to collect school supplies for the children in New Orleans. We asked for about 25 backpacks filled with supplies, and in the end, we had 300+! Religion had nothing to do with it, just people wanting to help with a cause that I felt was important.

I have many friends who are deeply involved with their church, and I can appreciate that, but for me, I don't feel the need to be under a blanket of a specific religion. I have many friends who are raising good, kind, loving children who aren't religious in any way. But still find it necessary to teach their children to be kind, loving, compassionate individuals.

I loved what one of the church presidents had to say over conference wkend about love - it was absolutely beautiful.

I hope you don't think I'm being rude by posting this, it isn't my intent. I just thought I would try to explain how those of us that don't follow a religion see things! ;~)

Kristin said...

I never used to pay much attention to the deacons since we'd sit in the back and it was hard to see. Now that Matthew is serving the Sacrament, we sit on the 2nd row every week - right in front of the bishopric. One Sunday I was meeting with my bishop and he mentioned how he can see the pride on my face while I watch Matthew serve the Sacrament. He had an experience like what Clint when thru right after they called a new 2nd counselor to the bishopric - Matthew forgot to go back to that side of the bishop after serving the 1st counselor. He also held the microphone for a baby blessing without knowing how to turn the volume on so the entire thing was done with all of us straining to hear. (which actually added to the reverence of the moment.) So give Clint a hug for me and tell him to keep his chin up. He is such a great kid - we always enjoy having him around. I appreciate the fact that he has the same values and standards as Matthew.

Sonja said...

What a wonderful post, Rachel. I was outside with Libby during the sacrament, so I didn't see what happened. But I always feel bad for the boys who have to repeat the prayer multiple times or that make small mistakes. I am so sad that Clint was having a hard time. He is such an amazing boy. I think we are lucky to live where we do and to have the fabulous congregation that we have.

It would be easier on all of us, if we could look around and see the faces of those around us, when we are at our very lowest. And know that we aren't alone and that everyone has been there. And that we are dearly loved!

Shelli said...

Well Rachel I loved your post too, and it prompted me to write a letter to one of our young priests who had difficulty blessing the sacrament last Sunday. How wonderful to have such a sweet loving ward. You know we believe tha the "higher power" some talk of is nothing other than "the pure love of Christ". One day all will come to fully understand that..."every knee shall bow and every tongue confess" and that will be the best day ever! I love you and Clint..(and of course Jeff and Derrick).

Tom & Michelle said...

Great post. Along with the finding Nemo theme of course I cried. :) Your post made me glad to be a member and to know that the pure love of Christ is still all around us and that even when we fall or have a hard time with life or anything as simple as passing the sacrament, there are still good people who love us and pick us up when we fall. Like you said just plain and simple love.. pure love of Christ. I love you.

Don, Windy, and Bode said...

I was in the lobby and missed it all. I am glad things seem to have turned out ok. You can tell Clint that even though I have never passed, my 6 siblings and I managed to spill the entire bread tray 3 weeks in a row. I thought my parents were going to strangle us. By the 3rd week a sweet lady who always sat near us handed us a bag to clean up the mess with.

Laryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg & Andrea said...

K that made me cry and I just put my make up on! What a sweet story. And Poor Clint I know that must have been very hard for him. I remember we had a boy once who had to bless the sacrament and couldn't get it right. He did it over and over again until finally one of the other boys stepped in and did it for him. So tell Clint not to feel too bad and that he is a great guy for doing a great service for our church.