By T.F. Stern
The first Sunday of the month is set aside as a Fast for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; at least that’s the plan. It’s called Fast Sunday; imagine that. I always wondered why they called it that. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way; but I’ll get to that in a bit.
Fasting means different things to different folks. For instance some fast to loose weight; depriving themselves of certain forms of nourishment in order to achieve a more perfect physical body while others associate fasting with an opportunity to become more spiritually in tune. When linking Fasting with Church the latter is desired.
I remember sitting on the back row at church many years ago on a Fast Sunday and recognizing my back was trying to go out. Fortunately I kept a prescription handy for sudden attacks and sent my daughter out to retrieve the magic little pills; the little pills that are supposed to be taken with food.
About fifteen minutes later my head was “buzzin”; that’s how you can tell you’re from Texas. If you were from California or maybe New York it would have been “looped”, “stoned”, “wasted” or something else; you get the idea.
I tried to explain the effect to my wife and a peculiar observation came to me. Each time I spoke it was as if there’d been someone behind me who’d spoken and I was doing a lip sink; most disconcerting to say the least. I kept looking behind me to see who it was; did I mention my head was “buzzin”? Lucy wasn’t impressed.
I made it through the day and vowed not to ingest powerful narcotics on an empty stomach. Lucy drove us home from church.
That brings us to the present, this being the first Sunday of the month; it’s also Fast Sunday.
Our meeting hours change at the first of the year from starting at 2:30pm to much earlier, 8:30am. We share our building with several Wards and to keep everyone on their toes we swap meeting times each year; next year we’ll begin at 10:30am and so on.
My health took a hit this past week and I’ve been on pain medication nearly around the clock. I’d have to skip Fasting this time and enjoy spiritual experiences shared by others as they stood at the pulpit to bear their testimonies.
I should also explain that testimonies are supposed to be short expressions which validate the truthfulness of the Gospel, that Jesus is the Christ or similar concise articulations of a personal nature.
That said, often times folks stand at the podium and talk on and on about vacations that made them happy or other events unrelated to sharing a testimony. Sometimes it gets awkward as folks in the congregation start looking down at their shoes wondering, “How much longer can this person talk?”, only to find they can talk on and on; seemingly forever. By the time we’ve had the book of Isaiah explained as it pertains to semi-automatic assault weapons; well, so much for the Spirit being present…
I’d intended to bear my testimony this morning, an expression of gratitude for all the many blessings the Lord has presented me, something along the lines King Benjamin shared.
“I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.” Mosiah 2:20-21
During the night hours the pain medicine played tricks with my mind; here’s a glimpse into what went on in the shadows.
Upon reaching the pulpit I began singing an old Mac Davis tune, Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble; not making this up, that’s what happened in my dream. I even had the congregation join in as if we were doing a concert version.
Lucy’s wasn’t impressed. Make a note; quit listening to the classic Country radio station while taking pain medication. We stayed home from church this morning to recuperate.
The Moral Liberal’s Senior Editor, T.F. Stern, is a retired City of Houston police officer, self-employed locksmith, and gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.