The Heart of the Sabbath
by Kathy Penrod
A few years ago I discovered a fantastic crafting glue. It seemed to permanently adhere any two items together. I quickly learned that once I had glued those two items together with this glue, I no longer needed to worry about them coming apart.
However, unlike the quick set super glues, this glue took a good 24 hours to set. If I were gluing a vase back together and let go of the pieces immediately after applying the glue, they would slip and slide, not sticking at all. However, if I held it together for just a few minutes, the bond, although weak, became just strong enough to hold the vase together until it could set up firmly.
As strange as it may sound, I have been thinking a lot about this glue the last few days. But before I tell you why, you need to know something. My heart, lately, has been very much like a broken vase, needing to be glued back together.
For the most part, life has been pretty easy on me. But the last few months have left me feeling broken. Dumped. Forgotten. I’ve been through hard stuff before; I know the drill. I know what to do to bring hope back into my life. I know that reading my scriptures and saying my prayers keep me from sinking into the tar-pits of despair. I know that having patience and attending church keep me afloat. I believe that. I know that. And yet, I have found myself fighting the daily battle with the Self-Pity Demon. And I was losing.
So, when Sunday morning came, my heart felt heavy. I felt fragmented, shattered in every way. And, I’ll be honest, I really just wanted to pull down the blinds, climb into bed and keep the covers over my face until Valentine’s Day. I had plenty of legitimate reasons why I should be staying home from church.
Thankfully, I was able to feel the gentle nudging of the Spirit that told me to dust myself off and go to church. So, with my sweet children by my side and a forced smile on my face, I made it to church. To Sacrament Meeting.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sacrament meeting is our most important Sunday meeting. It is the time we take, each week, to renew our covenants with our Heavenly Father. We remember the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ by partaking of bread and water, similar to what the disciples did during the Last Supper. I love how Neill F. Marriott has accurately referred to the Sacrament as “the heart of the Sabbath.”
The amazing thing about the Sacrament is that by partaking of it, we can access the power of the atonement in our lives. Christ did not only suffer for our sins, He also suffered for our broken hearts, our wearied souls, our unbearable pain.
He suffered for my broken heart. My weary soul. My pain.
Because He did that for me, He knows how to make me better. He knows what I need to do to have the strength to keep facing each new day with hope – instead of despair. How can I possibly doubt His love when He has already suffered for me – just so I can return to Him?
Even though I know all this, a part of me was trying to shut out the very One who could help me. I was very much like a broken vase with the fresh glue applied, but not set. I just felt so unfixable. I wondered if people could see what was going on inside of me. I hoped if I smiled enough they wouldn’t suspect anything. With my emotions close to the surface, I settled in the bench with my children and the meeting began.
My heart was warmed through the strong chorus of 200+ people singing a Christmas hymn. I thought of how many of them had been praying for me over the last few months. I thought of their children that I have grown to love. I smiled at the small ones patting their mommy on the face or the dad bouncing his newborn baby. I snuggled with my sweet children next to me and I realized people who loved God surrounded me.
The sacrament was passed, the talks were given and musical number was sung. It was a good meeting. We didn’t have a pulpit pounding preacher or an award winning gospel choir, but there was a softness to the meeting – a gentle feeling of peace. A peace that began to settle on my broken heart. That gentle feeling carried me through the next two meetings and then, eventually, home.
Some people think that miracles are always big and amazing. They think that unless the earth shakes, it isn’t a true miracle. But I believe differently. I have seen too many to deny God’s hand in even the “small” miracles.
As I left church that day, I realized a miracle was taking place in my heart. I no longer felt fragmented. I felt as if my heart had been glued back together and the glue was beginning to set. Maybe it wasn’t firmly bonded but it was enough to get me through to the next week. And, over time, I know that my heart will be healed again; stronger than before because THAT is the power of the Atonement. THAT is the power of partaking of the Sacrament.
I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that provided a way for us to be whole again. He didn’t want to leave us alone on this earth with no compass back to Him. He is ready with the “glue” we need to hold our hearts together so we have the hope and courage we need to continue forward – forward to Him. I am glad that I listened to that tiny feeling of hope inside of me that propelled me to go to church, instead of the loud noise of despair that would have me still hiding under my covers.
My problems haven’t disappeared. I am not sure if or when they ever will. But, I have re-learned that by renewing my covenants each week, I can have the fortitude needed to navigate this crazy world.
The most wonderful truth of all is that Heavenly Father wants this for ALL His children. He doesn’t care that you’re not perfect. He doesn’t care that maybe you haven’t been to church in 11 years. He doesn’t care that you can’t seem to shake that addiction. What He does care about is YOU. He wants you to have the chance to overcome ALL the trials you are faced with. Christ has already paid the price; He has already paved the path. When you feel forgotten and broken, remember that God would have you back. Just like the glue, with time, God can bind you to Him permanently. He loves you infinitely more than you know. The power of the atonement IS available for YOU.