Monday, January 7, 2013
Unrecognized Significant Moments
There are many moments in ceremony, and as part of inspired Church programs and actions that have a lot more meaning that we typically ascribe to them. Here are a few I've been thinking about.
Fellowship: When a church member is newly baptized or moves into the geographic boundaries of a ward or branch, the individual's name is presented to the congregation and members are invited to raise their right hand. If you so choose, it might be interesting to think about the implications of that. It could be viewed as a covenant and token of fellowship that you agree to welcome the member into the ward. Raising your hand could indicate your "yes" or agreement to fulfill such an obligation towards them. There are of course other ways to view it, but this one is certainly worth thinking about.
We also raise our hand when testifying in court, or taking public office, so the gesture even in the public sphere carries the same implication, which is that we plan to actually do what we just said we'd do. Whether it's telling the truth to the jury, or welcoming the new ward member. How you view these kinds of things will determine how you act.
Sustaining: It's the same as the above, except it's a sustaining or agreeing to pray for and uphold someone in their calling rather than fellowshipping a new ward member.
Sharing a Meal 3 Nephi 18, Revelations 3:20.
Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. The recognized portion is of course receiving the authority of the priesthood by the laying on of hands by those holding the keys in the Church. The unrecognized portion is the covenant that actually brings "power" in The Priesthood. It involves faithfulness, faithfulness to God, not just completing outward requirements. D&C 84:33. "Whoso is faithful unto the obtaining"... "Magnifying your calling". Our "yes" or agreement to accept the terms would no doubt include answering the "call" or "calling" directly from God to you, then acting according to it.
Removal of Shoes Moses in Exodus 3:5.
Kneeing: Kneeling (obviously in the correct time and setting) could be viewed in context of a covenant. It could constitute the "yes" or agreement to submit to God, to acknowledge him, and his hand, his sovereignty, etc.. It can be viewed as simply as the position in which we pray, or you can take this much further.
Hug, hand to back: Lehi in the Book of Mormon speaks of being "encircled about eternally in the arms of his love". 2 Nephi 1:15.
Personal Revelation. Our "yes" could be that first that we intend to obey what is received. Second, that you agree to not profane what is given to you by sharing it when you shouldn't, or sharing it with those unprepared. Personal revelation at it's core, could possibly be viewed as a form of a covenant. This is just one way to view it. But viewing it this way, may in fact be helpful to getting more of it.
Covenant to Remember The Lord, and Keep His Commandments: Partaking of the Sacrament is our "yes" or agreement to the terms (3 Nephi:18:10). Viewing the sacrament primarily as a renewal of baptismal covenants is a curious development that is not directly what the scriptures say the sacrament's purpose and witness was. It may even distract us from the actual things the scriptures state with regard to the sacrament. More on that here.
I believe if we are willing to recognize and honor more of these types of moments we would see more of them. I haven't gone into the particular promised results of any Gospel covenants but it's easy to find them in the scriptures. We have more chances to obey God, and fulfill promises to Him than we probably have ever considered.