by Marsha Ward
Today is Fast & Testimony Meeting in LDS congregations around the world. That doesn't mean it goes quickly, but that the members gather for worship in a state of fasting and prayer, to share their testimonies of and thanks for the role of God in their lives.
In the LDS Church, we don't have a paid clergyman who gives a sermon each week. After the congregation participates in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, spiritual talks are given by assignment by members of the ward or branch (the former is larger than the latter). However, on the first Sunday of the month, the worship service follows a slightly different format. Talk time is given over to whichever members may be inspired to get up on shaky legs, approach the pulpit, and share their personal testimonies. The shaky legs part comes not so much from infirmities of age, but from nerves or hesitation or being overwhelmed with spiritual emotion. It's certainly not required, but is a frequent state among those who come forward.
I have a bird's eye view of the pulpit, since I play the organ for meetings. I get to see tiny children stretching up on tippy toes to speak into the microphone to witness to others what they know in their young hearts of Jesus and His gospel. I see young men and young women baring their souls in gratitude for a personal Savior. I see adults of all ages brought to tears by their belief in a Heavenly Father who loves them, no matter their trials and faults. They strengthen my faith.
Sometimes, God, this Heavenly Father we love, has messages for us, and sometimes they come as we are moved by the spirit that others share in these meetings. That happened for me today. The message isn't important for you to know. What is important is that I was listening and received it, and acting on it will have an impact beyond my insulated life. How grateful I am that I could hear His message in my heart. It might have passed over me if I hadn't been in a quiet, reverent state, listening to the impromptu speakers with a soul open to a heavenly message.
The people of this world need to do that more: listen, receive, act. Can you find that quiet place today, where God can speak to you?