As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we have the opportunity to gather weekly for worship services. And while it is one of the greatest blessings of the week, attending has turned out to be one my family’s greatest challenges.
Little did we realize the feat it would be to keep three restless kids preoccupied and quiet during Sacrament Meeting, the first hour of worship service. To prepare for this meeting we fill the “church bag” with an assortment of snacks: fishy crackers, fruit snacks, marshmallows, pretzels, fruit roll-ups — eventually rendering my wife’s purse more a vending machine than a woman’s accessory. Next we stuff in the church books, a few small toys and in some cases suckers which are reserved for the “worse case scenarios” (i.e. all three kids are screaming and Mom was just called to give the closing prayer). Upon arrival we enter the chapel, find our seats and situate the kids…and before we know it they are searching for escape routes — under the pew, over our laps, under our legs, or over the pews. Throughout the meeting we do our best to keep them reverent with the prepared snacks or books, but even our best efforts break down and we often end up toting a crying toddler (or two — one under each arm) into the halls.
We often joke with other friends why we even attend sacrament services when half of the time is spent wrestling toddlers or rocking babies. But we always come to the conclusion that there are blessings in being in the right place — and being there together. When attending these meetings its an extraordinary thing to see families gathering together weekly to discuss good values, comfort each other, and worship Jesus Christ, who is the epitome of all that is good in the world.
To me this rings particularly true his in the last hour, Elders Quorum, where all of the men gather to read scriptures and discuss how to be better husbands, fathers, be charitable, humble, and be better members of their community. Anywhere else this practice for men might be considered “weak” or “unmanly.” However, here Christian values and striving to be someone better is the ideal. Truly there is strength in numbers and strength in consistently striving to be a better person.
The beauty of church services is that we’re all far from perfect, but together with Jesus Christ as our Savior and model we can become a little better — and that is what attending church (fussy kids and all) is all about.