Come

Continuing my reading/studying of hymns….I discovered that more hymns start with the word ‘Come’ than any other word. There are 23 hymns which begin with ‘Come’, and hymns starting with the word ‘God’ are next at 15. I don’t necessarily believe there’s a lot of significance to the first word of a hymn, the people on the church music committee who made the hymn selections had lots of factors they were considering, and I’m sure there were more important spiritual influences at work, or maybe all these ‘Come’ hymns just sounded nice. Who knows. But I do think it’s interesting

The second verse of Come, Follow Me specifically talks about the word ‘Come’ – Come follow me, a simple phrase, yet truth’s sublime, effulgent rays, are in these simple words combined. To urge inspire the human mind.

First of all you’ve got to love any hymn that uses the word ‘effulgent’. Second, to think that sublime rays of truth are contained in a phrase that we hear all the time is interesting. But that’s really what it’s all about. We are constantly coming to Christ, there is never an arrival point, we can’t come far enough…more coming is always required.

References to knocking at doors are used in the scriptures, wherein Christ is the knocker, I stand and knock, and He is seemingly coming to us, as well as references where we are the knockers, knock and it shall be opened unto you. But in either case, a degree of coming to Christ is required of us, whether it’s knocking or coming to open the door.

For my own part, I think I’ve been willing to follow and come to a point, but there are lines I hadn’t crossed. If there’s anything I’ve come to believe over the last few months it is that faith isn’t faith if it’s easy, and if it doesn’t include a little bit of stretching. Continuing to come, despite not knowing or feeling or wholly believing, is what faith looks like for me, and it’s been unbelievably rewarding.

Abiding, Living, and Moving

As I was packing and going through all of my papers yesterday I came across a quote by Marion G. Romney:

“Testimony is an abiding, living, moving conviction of the truth revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

And I started thinking about the three different adjectives he uses:

1. Abiding, which seems to connote permanence. That a testimony is persistently present, which actually makes sense to me. It’s hard to draw a distinct line between something that is fleeting (not abiding) vs. the way testimonies seem to ebb and flow. But maybe the ebb of a testimony just never fades to the point of nonexistence, or ebbs as much as it flows with the right amount of attention. At minimum, it seems that Romney believes it is not a fleeting thing.

2. Living, which could tie into the ebb and flow concept, but is more heavily focused on the flow. The word living seems to imply growth, and certainly in the natural world when I think of living things I think of growing things. In the church our concept of growth is line upon line, precept upon precept. which never really resonated with me, but recently, really in last week’s testimony, I realized what a blessing that is. We don’t have to jump in and know or believe everything at once. I certainly don’t, and I’m not so worried about knowing everything, but believing everything at once is overwhelming. It’s nice to be able to move at my own speed and build slowly.

3. Moving, which is the most interesting adjective I think. Moving could be seen as relating to the emotional element, which testimonies absolutely have of course. We see people “moved to tears” all the time when bearing their testimonies. And that’s an important component because I know, from my own experience, that a lot of thinking or an intellectual approach is not what makes a testimony. The other way to look at “moving” is that a testimony moves us to action. It ought to create change, motivate us to do good, and help us avoid sin. This aspect, I think, is my area of struggle. Sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m an imperfect, lazy person with a testimony or a more imperfect person without much of a testimony.

I have felt more moved by my belief of late, which is progress, line upon line…my testimony is definitely living. And abiding…I suppose there is a case to be made that it is, since here I am after years and years of ignoring, destroying, or avoiding it and yet I find that it still matters to me. So I guess this is another thing I’ve discovered I believe. I believe testimonies are abiding, living and moving. I’m grateful that they are, because it means people like me are never without hope. Testimonies don’t just disappear and even though they might shrivel up, they don’t die and can always be brought back – living waters!

Because I Have Been Given Much

I was surprised and interested to find that Because I Have Been Given Much is listed in the Topical Guide of the hymn book under Missionary Work, but I suppose it’s the third verse, “I’ll share thy love again, according to thy word,” which relates. One of the listed scriptures was Jacob 2:17, “Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance,” which caused me to think about what “substance” I can impart in a helpful way. I certainly won’t be going on a mission, but I think I can share experiences with other people that might be helpful, especially by thinking of ways others might be “like unto” me, as it says, in having similar struggles.

I have by no means arrived when it comes to the gospel or a testimony, but the fact that I’ve worked through some things somewhat, including the spiritually-destructive effects of depression, might mean there are words which Jesus would have me speak or some wandr’er whom I should seek. Even if I don’t find ways where I can be of help, reading this was a great reminder of all the people who have treated me “like unto themselves.” I’ve had so many people who have helped mentor me or shared their experiences with the gospel and life in general, and that has made all the difference. I have definitely been given much.