sacrament

The Sacramental ‘Wire In The Blood’

TheDiscipleMD

The famous poet T.S Eliot wrote: “The trilling wire in the blood/sings below inveterate scars/appeasing long-forgotten wars.” (“Four Quartets”) Many of the great poets of our time, write in ways that are hard to comprehend. Often their poems are written with hidden meanings and messages. No one knows for sure what Mr. Eliot meant when he used the bizarre term “wire in the blood”, but some have speculated that it metaphorically means that something “impure or unusual” is flowing in the blood of someone. Others have thought that it is simply referring to the “thrill of adrenaline” flowing through the bloodstream, giving it renewed life. I guess terms such as “wire in the blood” hold our attention because the words are simple, but their meaning can be very complex. A long running British television drama series was named after that phrase, interpreting it in a diabolical way.

I have pondered that phrase, and its potential meaning and it’s application to my life. I interpret that phrase in a much more positive way. The disciples of Jesus Christ have in a most unusual way, “wire in the blood”. Not literally, of course, but metaphorically we do. Each week we partake of the sacrament of the bread and water, which represent the flesh and blood of the Savior. When He walked the earth He preached:

“…Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day…He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him” (John 6:53-54,56)

Every Sunday, through the Sacrament, we should, in a way, be getting a shot of spiritual “adrenaline”, which gives rejuvenation, meaning and purpose to our lives. This rejuvenation comes from the spirit of God and it compels us forward, even through hard times. It is our spiritual “wire in the blood”, so to speak! However, this “rejuvenation” only comes based on our commitment to “always remember” Christ and the sacrifice he has made on our behalf. The other half of the sacramental prayer commits us to obedience to the commandments so that his spirit might always be with us.

When each of us entered this life through birth, we inherited its companion; death, and all that comes withit,  which include all that is good in this life, and also all that is bad. However, our Father has provided a manner by which we can receive strength and power to overcome difficult times. He instituted the Sacrament so that we could weekly partake of His spirit, which provids us with the nourishment necessary to go forward day by day. The Sacrament is the Lord’s way of giving us a consistent opportunity to get a little “wire in the blood”, thus sustaining us until we can gain eternal life.

May we avail ourselves the opportunity to receive the Lord’s help through the Sacramental ordinance by, not only partaking, but pondering and asking for the spirit to be with us. In so doing we will feel the spiritual ‘wire in the blood’that God gives to all those who truly love and keep His commandments.

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That’s Life At It’s Best!

TheDiscipleMD

Shortly after my father turned 18 years of age, he read the editorial page from a church magazine where George Albert Smith quoted the following scripture:

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these (material) things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6: 33).

Then for emphasis President Smith added, “Remember to seek the kingdom of God first not last.” The force of this thought has never left my father and he and my now deceased mother attempted to implement this concept in their life and that of their family. My father once gave this sound advice to his children when he wrote:

“The materialistic society in which we live requires that this principle be part of our thinking on a daily basis to have proper priorities in our life. The poet Wordsworth rightly observed many years ago:

“The world is too much with us;
Late and soon
Getting and Spending,
We lay waste our powers.”

Seeking first the kingdom of God means, of course, that on appropriate occasions it has priority over personal desires, professional work, personal relationships, and even family members. The important question to answer is, “What does our Father in Heaven want us to do?” Hugh Nibley once wrote:

“I have always been furiously active in the church, but I have…never held an office or rank in anything; I have undertaken many assignments given me by the leaders of the church, and much of the work has been anonymous. No rank, no recognition, no anything. While I have been commended for some things, they were never the things which I considered most important—That was entirely an understanding between me and my Heavenly Father, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, though no one else know anything about it.”

My father concluded his written remarks:

“Once we understand what seeking first the kingdom of God means within each of our circumstances, we should pursue it with vigor. A wise writer has said: “Each morning we must have unfinished business that causes us to get up from our resting place with enthusiasm to further our goal seeking journeys. That’s life at it’s best.”

sirens song

Escaping The ‘Sirens’ Worldly Song

TheDiscipleMD

Sometimes solitude is hard to find, and finding a place where you can be alone is the best place to ponder and pray. Most of us live in the city; that is, places where the hand print of man is found on almost all we see. As I survey out my office I am surrounded by stores, parking lots, restaurants and gas stations. Looking out my window to the North, South, East or West gives me the same sights; it’s the images of man. It is busy, noisy, and yells out to be worshipped! Because of that I enjoy the peace and quite of the temple. There I have found refuse and solace during my times of angst. But, a temple might not always be available at our moment of need. In a tense moment of our life we might remember that the spirit of the Lord can be found “in holy places”, and those “places” can be most anywhere.

Over the years, I have taken the opportunity to seek out the Lord in the solitude of the woods by my house, in parks and on the grounds of the temple. I have availed myself the opportunity to seek wisdom in local church buildings.  I once sat in the church pews, alone, in the dark, during the middle of the day with no one else in the building. I had a wonderful time. Sometimes, under the right condition, I have communicated with Deity while driving my car, or sitting in my car. And certainly, our homes are places of learning. I have felt the warmth of the spirit while dressed in nothing but my pajamas while kneeling in my house. Mostly, I have learned, that the spirit of the Lord will communicate with me when I take the time to excuse myself from the world. A common denominator to finding the Lord is having faith that He exists, and then taking the opportunity to have a “private” conversation with Him. That means creating an environment where you have no distractions.

We live in busy times and have busy lives! The world is much like the mythical creatures written about in the Odyssey called the “Sirens.” The alluring song of the Sirens, who had the body of a bird and the head of a beautiful woman, captivated seaman who, hearing their songs from the shore, would guide their ship too close to the shore and wreak their ships on the rocks from whence came the “Sirens” sang. The song of the world can be beautiful and lure us to our deaths. We need to take the time to block out the enticing sounds of the world and seek the spirit. All of us need to have “places” to go where we can communicate with the Lord. Some places are better than others, but the reality is, it can be most anywhere, because, His spirit permeates the universe.

arby's

The Arby Goal

TheDiscipleMD

My brother tells the story of how he was driving one of his sons to work one afternoon. At the time this teenage son worked at a fast food establishment. As they were driving along my brother thought he might take the opportunity to speak to his son about goals. As his son was a member of the Boy Scouts my brother took the time to tell him of the advantages of becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in scouting. After telling his son that earning such a rank would be helpful in getting him a job, his son, while tipping his Arby’s hat, uttered this immortal line, “Dad, I already have a job!”

Well, it’s not too unusual for a teenager to not have much vision toward the future but sometimes we, as adults, find ourselves wearing similar blinders. As with most things in life, hard work and preparation pay off in the long haul.It is important to have a long-term “vision” of where we want to be, ten years, twenty years and ultimately, where we want to be in the eternities.

Many years ago Dallin H. Oaks gave a devotional fireside where he said:

“In speaking of weightier matters, I seek to contrast our ultimate goals in eternity with the mortal methods or short-term objectives we use to pursue them. The Apostle Paul described the difference between earthly perspectives and eternal ones in these words: “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18).

If we concentrate too intently on our obvious earthly methods or objectives, we can lose sight of our eternal goals, which the Apostle called “things … not seen.” If we do this, we can forget where we should be headed and in eternal terms go nowhere. We do not improve our position in eternity just by flying farther and faster in mortality, but only by moving knowledgeably in the right direction. As the Lord told us in modern revelation, “That which the Spirit testifies unto you … ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation” (D&C 46:7 emphasis added).

We must not confuse means and ends. The vehicle is not the destination. If we lose sight of our eternal goals, we might think that the most important thing is how fast we are moving and that any road will get us to our destination…the weightier matter of the eternal goal must not be displaced by the mortal method, however excellent in itself” (“Weightier Matters,” Liahona, March, 2000)

The “weightier matters,” as described by Dallin Oaks, entail the ability to look past earthly goals to the higher goals of the eternities. It requires an understanding that rewards from today’s efforts might not be realized in this life. It is the understanding that choosing to love God over all else, will bring long-term happiness and the blessings promised by the Lord. It is having the foresight to see that the big house you have today, will be somebody else’s tomorrow and that the nice car you paid so dearly for will eventually end up as scrap metal. All things physical eventually turn to dust.

The door to getting a job at Arby’s is open to most anyone, and the pay is commensurate. But if we want to earn something of lasting eternal value we must have the vision, set the goal, then do all we can to achieve it. Hopefully, for all of us, our goal is to return to our Heavenly Father. In earning that place, we will be well fed and well paid for our efforts.

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