A Good Meeting

by Allen Hackworth   

February 1997

 

Sunday morning, Kristi, Kris, and I attended a missionary farewell for Jill Samuelson, daughter of Shawna and Scott Samuelson. (Loni was at her campus ward.) This was a profound meeting. Scott and Shawna have eight children, all of whom are intelligent, gentle, and well mannered. Everyone in the family participated in the meeting, either as a speaker or singer.

 

Imagine this setting. Unassuming, perfectly poised archers, one at a time, stepped up to the designated spot and carefully, slowly, evenly, pulled arrows from their quiver. The archers deliberately took aim for a round target. Their hand-crafted arrows floated precisely to the center of the bull's eye. Arrow after arrow were drawn and flung, each shot showing precision, each shot finding its mark. The arrows were the Samuelson's words. One target was my heart.

 

The subjects were so fundamental: faith, hope, repentance, thankfulness, the Holy Ghost, the divinity of Christ and the reality of heavenly love. The words were so well thought out, so well delivered, so tender, so wonderful. I felt all the arrows; the sharp points pierced me with delight, and I knew the words I heard were true. This experience filled me with profound joy and love.  Later, when we met Loni for lunch, Kristi and Kris were full of the same enthusiasm for the talks as they recounted for Loni what each speaker had I said.

 

Because I don't want to forget, I will mention two points made by Scott, the father. Scott, a seasoned college professor, has a confident, deliberate, soft-spoken manner. He said, '"I  have discovered the answer to a mystery about the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is love."

 

Eureka — I knew what he had just said was true. He then systematically named all of his eight children, one at a time, telling them how much he loved them. He mentioned others and some groups of people. (The only mistake of the whole meeting: he forgot to mention his wife.)

 

When we feel love for others, when we are moved by this rich emotion, we are feeling the Spirit of Christ, the power of the Holy Ghost. This was true when St. Francis of Assisi felt love for God and His creatures and wrote. “All Creatures of Our God and King."

 

Later, Scott told about going roller skating recently with his children. When he skates, for whatever reason, he likes to skate backwards. This was a struggle for Scott so his daughter helped. She reached out for her father with her arms and held Scotts hands. From her subtle movements Scott's daughter was able to guide him. She became his eyes. She also helped Scott maintain his balance.  Eventually Scott said, "We are all skating backwards. And the Holy Ghost becomes our eyes in the back of our heads, helping us see where to turn, helping us keep our balance."

 

Later in the program, the Samuelson family sang the first two verses of "All Creatures of Our God and King," and the congregation sang the last two verses." Because of the things the Samuelsons had said, because of their insights and teachings, the song had new meaning for me. I had sung this song for years, but this time, I was spiritually and emotionally connected to St. Francis of Assisi, a man who lived in the late 1100's and early 1200's.

 

I quote his words below. You will read them, but something will be missing. It is the power of the moment. There are two powers: the power of the words and the power of the moment. They must occur simultaneously.  This happened for me this Sunday. The experience was one of light and connection.

 

All creatures of our God and King

Lift up you voice and with us sing,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

Thou burning sun with golden beam

Thou silver moon with softer gleam,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

Thou rushing wind that art so strong

Ye clouds that sail in heav'n a long,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice

Ye light of evening find a voice,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

Thou flowing water, pure and clear

Make music for thy Lord to hear,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou fire so masterful and bright

That gives to man both warmth and light,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

Dear Mother Earth, who day by day

Unfoldest blessings on our way,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

The flowers and fruit that in thee grow

Let them his glories also show,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! OH PRAISE HIM, Alleluia!