For the Love of All that is Holy
I have mentioned before on my blog that I am a Mormon.
In the Mormon religion we partake of the Sacrament (pieces of bread and cups of water that symbolize the sacrifice made by the Savior for all of mankind to pay for our sins both on the cross and in the Garden of Gethsemane) every Sunday. This is the primary purpose for our main Sabbath Day meeting rather appropriately named “Sacrament Meeting”.
In a typical Sacrament Meeting this is how the Sacrament ordinance would go:
The young men line up near the Sacrament table. One young man sitting at the table blesses the bread with an established blessing. Then the lined up young men take the bread trays and disperse amongst the congregation passing the trays down the aisles in a reverent and organized manner.
The members of the congregation upon being passed the tray take a piece of bread, eat it, and pass the tray down to the next person, all the while pondering upon the Savior and taking the opportunity to renew baptismal covenants with humble hearts and clear minds. This process is repeated for the water.
It is a special opportunity to think of our Heavenly Father and Savior and to partake in the power of the Atonement. It SHOULD be a sacred, quiet, peaceful time where hearts and minds are focused and open to the whisperings of the Spirit.
And then there’s how the Sacrament goes for our family:
As the Sacrament prayers are being given Jeigh is turned around almost standing on the pew to look at the people behind us. Elle is yelling, asking where her elephant has gone. Dee is whining that he’s ready to go home. Never mind that we have been at church a whole of ten minutes. The baby is probably the best behaved out of all four children…
Until…the trays come by. Then she is squirming, twisting, and reaching to grab a hold of the trays as they come down our pew. As I wrestle her back with one arm and hold the tray steady with the other I feel as if I know what it must be like to be a calf wrangler.
She’s simply a curious baby and this wouldn’t be so bad if Dee wasn’t taking his sweet time figuring out exactly which tiny hunk of bread is destined for his tummy and eternal salvation. He likes to study the tray, wiggling the fingers on both hands in the air with the anticipation. Obviously it is crucial to get the RIGHT piece of bread as sometimes he grabs one and tosses it back after a moment of examination. If I weren’t holding a near screeching baby back I would grab one for him and shove it in his mouth, but this is wholly impossible. Instead I choose to cast him a dirty glance, dripping with maternal meaning. Finally he chooses the one piece of bread that is farthest from him requiring him to reach over and around the tray, nearly knocking the entire thing to the ground.
The three year old is much faster at picking her bread. But in her haste and hunger she usually grabs a good handful of bread instead of the one piece and crams it into her mouth before I can stop her. Maybe she’s hoping to be forgiven of extra sins.
As I pass the tray back and try to bow my head and close my eyes hoping to salvage some of the opportunity to commune with my Heavenly Father, a finger pokes my side. I look over at Dee who has chewed up his bread and spread it all over his teeth like a set of those cheap Halloween hillbilly teeth. I just stare at him unsure if I should puke or punish.
After the water tray comes and goes Jeigh is loudly swishing her reserved water through her teeth. The baby is happily kicking the hymn books against the pew in front of us. Elle is still in a dire and vocal search for her toy elephant. Dee is slumped over and sulking after being pinched with church appropriate chastisement. My husband Joe is rolling his eyes and muttering threats under his breath. I have broken out in to a sweat from embarrassment and effort at “helping” my children to learn how to behave appropriately during this sacred ordinance.
As the Bishop stands up to announce that the Sacrament is over I am feeling anything but Christ-like. Quite the opposite actually. Every Sunday I find myself wondering if the Sacrament still counts when you have visions of knocking a few heads together in the middle of it. Surely there is some kind of addendum to the Atonement for mothers of young children…
P.S. Of course I say this all very tongue-in-cheek. In my heart of hearts I KNOW it is important for my children to be at this meeting and learning about the Atonement and the Savior. I KNOW it is important for me to be there as well, knocking heads together or not (I kid, I kid. Kind of...) One day we will get this right. And in the meantime, we have been given the wonderful opportunity to repent, partake of the Sacrament, and try, try again.