Tonight I watched a youtube video of Andre Bocelli singing "The Lord's Prayer" with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. You can watch it here and now, if you'd like!
I will start by saying that it wasn't until I was about 9 or 10 that I even learned the words of The Lord's Prayer, found in the New Testament (Matthew 6: 9-13). Oddly enough, my friends and I would recit it while standing in the dughout of the Harkers Island Elementary School ballfield, of all places! We'd recite it before most every game I participated in, while in my youth. I'm no expert now on all things related to this passage of scripture, I admit... But I will say - I don't think I understood, or had a respect for, most of the words then, quite like I do today.
Might I take just a moment to express my thoughts on one small part of this text, tonight. As you can probably guess by the title of this post, I have chosen the words "Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." I am particularly moved by these words tonight, as something happened only days ago that caused me to be even prouder than before of my intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father. In short, I was judged. Judged as both a Mormon, and as a Christian. You see, I feel quite strongly that what motivates me to be the best Mormon I can be, and what motivates you to be the best Catholic or Methodist you can be is exactly the same thing - Faith. Faith that what you've chosen to believe in IS the truth. I make no apologies in admitting that I wish I could share my strong testimony and convictions with anyone with ears to hear! I wish that God would place directly in my path - SOMEONE (or even better - MANY someones!) who is ready to listen to what I have to say about God's Plan of Happiness! I feel that way because IT. IS. THE. REASON. I. AM. HAPPY! It is the reason that I delight in being a wife and mother, and why I know that everything I do here on this Earth is to PREPARE me for a great reward - Eternal Life. And by Eternal Life, I mean a lot more than just "living forever!" I mean living with God as my Father, Jesus as my elder brother and friend, and my Earthly family as my Eternal Family! Yes - that's what I mean. No apologies.
The incident was brief, and to the other person, probably fairly inconsequential. I was having a conversation with this person about our congregation (known as a "ward"), and how the ward boundaries have recently changed. This means that a map of the greater Raleigh area, which had been cut into oddly shaped pieces to define a sort of district, had lines erased and redrawn, so as to accomodate a new "ward." The reply from my friend was, "You mean they TELL you where you are to go to CHURCH!?" "Yes," I said. "I am happy to do it, too - because I know that the leaders who have made such plans have done so, BECAUSE of their duty to God, to do as He would have them do. I have FAITH in the organization that is our Church. Yes." But here's what I didn't say...
I believe - that in the year 1820, with a backdrop of great religious excitement in upstate New York, Joseph Smith prayed to know which church to join. That he was visited by God and Jesus Christ in a grove of trees and was told to join none of them...
I believe that in due time, he would restore the true church as a Prophet of God. Fast forward 80 years... I know that when the Mormon Missionaries healed my great-grandmother Bertha, it was through the power of the priesthood of God, which had been restored through Joseph Smith, and then had been passed on through other worthy men, through the laying on of hands.
I know that in last 180 years, a "Marvellous work and a wonder," as spoken by the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 29:14, has come forth, and is sweeping the whole Earth... And with one solitary goal in mind - to DO on Earth - as it is DONE in Heaven. My brothers were once those missionaries knocking on doors, and I know that one day, so will be my 3 sons. No apologies.
Think of those who have died - whose bodies have expired, and whose spirits have moved on to another place. Those people are not vanished into a twilight of eternal nothingness! It is my belief that the veil between this life and the next is a great deal thinner than most of us realize!!! And those spirits are in fact STILL with us - urging us onward to always do what is right, so that we may be reunited one day.
I say all this because - when I sustain my local church leaders as men of God, I do not do so lightly. Oh, I really hate this word, just because the connotation is SO extremely offensive - but I am NOT BRAINWASHED into following people who have an ulterior motive. My Bishop, my Stake President, my Prophet - they are men of God - who serve Him - and who wish for nothing less than the salvation of souls. They do not seek for pride, riches, glory, or any other worldly fame or acknowledgment. Salvation of souls, friends.
"Thy will be done" ... In other words, "God's wishes for us"... I hope and pray that my example of a Mormon and as a Christian is forever firm and immovable, and that no one can ever say that I acted in a way that would cause my Savior any shame for my being His sister, and His servant. I wish to do God's will, and if that makes you laugh at me, then so be it. No apologies.