Wednesday, January 16, 2013
What I Learn in Church
Well, I too have been well fed over the years, and not just by my amazing Mum. Just how well-fed I am spiritually was brought home to me when a friend from another church visited my LDS ward one week. She commented with awe on just how much teaching and learning time we had during the Sunday services. Think about this, brothers and sisters. During Sacrament meeting we have two or three talks totalling at least half an hour. We then have almost an hour of in-depth Scripture study (something very few other churches do, certainly not for the entire congregation every single week) followed by another hour of more practical teaching about how to apply our faith in our daily lives. Two-and-a-half hours of learning. Plus Firesides, Seminary or Institute, and our own personal study each day.
So about this time last year I took inspiration from another dear friend and decided to take notes in the Sunday meetings. Like my father (from whom I inherit it) I have a terrible memory, and began to suspect that I was taking in many wonderful truths each Sunday morning, only to forget them all over lunch. I found that taking notes really opened up the meetings to me. It forced me to listen more carefully not only to what the speaker was saying but to how the Spirit was interpreting it for me and opening up new truths. Each Sunday I ended up with at least a page of notes of uplifting and edifying new things I had gleaned from what was said, personal revelation and inspiration.
And then one day I decided that what I had gained deserved to be shared, so I put a summary, called "What I learned in church today", on Facebook.
That seems to have been a good idea, because it's become very popular over the last few months. Several people look out for it eagerly each Sunday, often reminding me if I'm late with it. I have had comments from people who are housebound and love reading my summaries because it makes them feel they haven't missed church, and many who say that they have gained something important from what I have shared. I've had discussions about some of the points in the comments, and it's even been mentioned from the stand a couple of times by speakers who say they hope to appear in my status later.
Some people have started to do the same, putting a "What I Learned in Church Today" summary on their Facebook status each Sunday afternoon, and many of them are Christians from other churches. I love reading their thoughts because it shows just how much learning really is going on out there and how vibrant and alive the churches are.
It's a great missionary tool too because it reminds my many non-Christian friends that I don't just go to church because I'm expected to, or I'm in the habit, or I think it's good for the children, or I have nothing better to do on a Sunday morning(!). I go because I learn. I am uplifted and edified, but most of all educated and brought closer to God. Despite almost ten years of attending the LDS church weekly I still learn several new truths every single Sunday which help me in my Christian journey. I expect that's true of lifelong members too.
That's not to say that I don't sit in Sacrament meeting every Sunday worried that no one will say anything worth noting down. But thus far, even on Primary Presentation day, I have ended up with too much and have had to condense it in my Facebook summary.
I've decided that since not everyone is friends with me on Facebook I shall copy my Sunday Summaries to my blog too. So from now on you can read them at www.annajonesbuttimore.blogspot.com. As President Lorenzo Snow said, "In this system of religion that you and I have received there is something grand and glorious, and something new to learn every day, that is of great value."
Posted by Anna Buttimore