Yesterday the city of Chicago saw the fifth largest snow storm in its history. Due to the “Super Bowl Blizzard” my bishop sent out an email saying that if we couldn’t make it to church on Sunday for Fast and Testimony Meeting (he canceled all other meetings), we could meet in each other’s homes or privately. Where priesthood was available, we had his permission to bless the Sacrament.
I stayed home and held my own little sacrament meeting and it was one of the most sacred experiences I have had in a while.
I started off with an opening hymn. Since on of the things I miss about Catholicism are the different songs played at Mass, I went with a favorite processional hymn (Catholic version of the opening hymn, the celebrant literally processes from the back of the church to the altar).
Gather Us In:
It sounds a lot like “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald”
Following the opening hymn I said a short opening prayer followed by the communion hymn (again, a Catholic term). This time I went with my favorite communion song as a Catholic, “We are One Body.” The song beautifully describes how through the sacrament we become “One Body” in the Body of Christ.
When the song ended I prayed the Sacrament prayers over bread and water and took the sacrament. Taking the Sacrament was a very personal and sacred experience for me this time. I am not sure why, but I could tell what I was doing was holy and set apart and meant to not only sanctify me but to draw me closer to the Saints and to Jesus Christ who gave His body and blood for my own sake. The Sacrifice at Calvary and the Last Supper became very real in that moment. For that instant, no intellectual explanation of the Sacrament, no words spoken over General Conference (and there were multiple at the Oct 2015 conference about the Sacrament) could make the Eucharist, communion, the Sacrament as real, as meaningful, or as down to Earth as that moment on my knees in my living room.
I played one song after the Sacrament to meditate and pray with.
With every Testimony Meeting, I opened up to the Spirit so that I could bare my testimony. There was no one there to hear it, but I recorded it on my phone so that I can have the audio of it. I am not going to write down everything I said (I am planning a post on what I said shortly), but I mentioned the difference between “to know” and “to believe.” One is not greater than the other, but there are things I know for sure and things that I believe and hope for. Does it make me less of a faithful Latter-day Saint for not knowing some thing? I do not believe so. My beliefs, my hopes, things I am not sure about but still hold out for and believe as true all come from my Heavenly Parents as a gift. I live with my knowledge and with my beliefs (as well as unbelief).
Before closing with a prayer I sang two more songs. The fist is my favorite Latter-day Saint hymn, “O My Father.”
This is the original tune the song was sung to.
After that song I sung my favorite Spanish hymn, “Pescador de Hombres” (translated “Fisher of Men”).
You can listen to Saint Pope John Paul the Great sing the song here (Personally, this is my favorite version of the song). The English version of the song, “Lord, You Have Come to the Seashore”, can be found here.
After this, I gave a short closing prayer and then sang a Closing Hymn.
One final thought, I thought it was interesting that all these hymns I played (with the exception of “O My Father”) were about serving God and each other. The songs were about building up the holy and sacred Body of Christ, the invisible Church, or as I like to call it the True Church.