Whoa. It has been an amazing week in the MMM household. As you know, we had a wedding Friday, but that is just part of the glorious flurry of events that we are in the midst of experiencing this week.
As I was trying to figure out a way to share them with you, I felt like I need to dig a little deeper. The flowers, the food, the clothes, the friends and family, the pomp and tradition is fabulous, but… we often get consumed by the worldly and material events that culture brings to the table. There is something deeper that can get lost in the whirlwind if we aren’t careful.
There has been a perfect storm of ordinances in our household this week that might happen only once, or twice in a lifetime. It is those ordinances that really matter. The rest is just window dressing and parties.
“As we are worthy, the ordinances of the priesthood enrich our lives on earth and prepare us for the magnificent promises of the world ahead. The Lord said, “In the ordinances … the power of godliness is manifest.” (Elder Neil L. Anderson)
The power of godliness? Have I seen it? Yes. And I have used the word “glorious,” more times this week than I ever have before in my life. Glorious.
On Friday evening, my new daughter-in-law entered the temple and received her endowment. As she made sacred covenants and ordinances were performed, we were there performing them on behalf of family members who have gone on before.
As I quietly sat there, I could look down the row and see three of my sons, my daughter, my two new daughters, and my sweet eternal companion. It was glorious. It was fulfilling. I sensed the power of godliness as the Holy Ghost participated with us.
“In all the ordinances, especially those of the temple, we are endowed with power from on high. This “power of godliness” comes in the person and by the influence of the Holy Ghost.” (Elder D. Todd Christofferson)
There is a singular beauty and simplicity to a temple sealing/wedding. Yesterday, as we waited reverently in the sealing room (pictured above) I studied my wife’s face as I contemplated our almost 30 year union, and our wedding day in a similar sealing room. My heart filled with joy, for the memories, and for gratitude to both her and God. Valentine’s Day got lost in the shuffle this year, but everyday is Valentine’s Day for us. (Don’t believe me? Ask my wife.)
The ordinance of temple marriage is a radically unique concept, but the simplicity, and logic of such a union is so patently obvious that it baffles me that couples aren’t lining up outside to receive these ordinances – if they only understood.
The promises that come with the sealing ordinance are godliness manifest. As my son and his new wife knelt together and became a new family, with the glorious potential of eternity, they sparkled with the brilliance of purity and hope. They are now an “US,” in all the glory of that uniting word and concept.
From my vantage point, I could see my son’s face as it radiated excitement and goodness. Purity is attractive, He also struggled in vain to fight back the tears of joy that welled in his eyes as he stared across the altar into the eyes of his very own EC.
(The Sealer spoke to ordinances and covenants, and if I can get his permission, I’ll share some of his thoughts in a future post.)
Now, at this very moment, I am sitting in the hallway outside the bishop’s office as my youngest interviews with the Bishop. If all goes well…in a few hours I will have the opportunity to lay my hands on his head, joined by his brothers, and ordain him to the office of Teacher in the Aaronic priesthood. That ordinance will provide him with opportunities for service and growth as he learns to understand and increase his priesthood power.
And he is 14. And I get to ordain him. I sense godliness in the father/son pattern as authority is shared. I sense mercy and kindness that the Lord would allow an imperfect father to perform such a sacred ordinance.
But before that ordinance takes place, my immediate family, much of my extended family, and my brothers and sisters in the gospel will gather and collectively participate in the wonderfully individual ordinance of the sacrament.
“We are commanded to repent of our sins and to come to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and partake of the sacrament in compliance with its covenants. When we renew our baptismal covenants in this way, the Lord renews the cleansing effect of our baptism. In this way we are made clean and can always have His Spirit to be with us. The importance of this is evident in the Lord’s commandment that we partake of the sacrament each week.” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks)
What a gift it is to essentially be re-baptized every week! To regain our purity and standing before God! The godliness found in the ordinance of the sacrament is also God’s mercy brought about through the atonement of Christ. And for us, the result is a continued striving for potential godliness in ourselves.
After we participate in the ordinance of the sacrament, my third son will be speaking, as he is due to depart to serve a mission in Mexico. While being set apart as a missionary does not constitute an “ordinance,” it does harken back to the ordinance he received last year when he was ordained to the office of Elder in the Melchizedek priesthood. He will spend two years of his life bringing the ordinances of salvation to others.
As you can see, this month is all about the ordinances. Sure, there have been events both huge and intimate, wonderful reunions, great food, lovely decor, and lots of love and laughter. And photographs, DId I mention those? (And a smidgin of work, worry, stress, expense and fatigue.)
But the overall importance of these days are those quiet moments when an ordinance has been, and will be performed by the authority of God’s priesthood, in the name of Jesus Christ.
The ordinances, and the covenants that attend them are not just “check-list” items. These ordinances define what we are about, what we are striving for, and how we spend our very lives. They are not ever “finished.” They are part of who we are. Most of the key elements in my life revolve around ordinances.
I feel God’s love in the ordinances of the gospel that he allows me and my loved ones to receive. Ordinances that help us grow, help us serve, help us thrive, help us repent, and help us draw closer to Him – all with the ever-present promise of an eternity together.
That is what matters. Now, and forever.