Day 14: Canadian Sabbath

Day 14 – Part One. MoTab Tour ❤ Sunday 1 July 2018 – Vancouver, Canada

On our final morning in Vancouver we awoke to glorious sunshine and blue skies after days of rain. Of course we would only be staying a few hours (wouldn’t you know it! ). Today was Canada Day – (like Independence Day in the USA) so the city was in a holiday mood, and streets were lined with beautiful red and white maple leaf flags.

070118_Vancouver.canada.day
♪♫ O Canada! ♪♫

Since it was the sabbath day, the entire choir, orchestra, crew and guests joined together in the largest ballroom in our hotel to eat breakfast together and then enjoy a special Sacrament Meeting worship service.

070118_Vancouver.motab.sacrament.service
Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra, staff & guests prepare for Sabbath service July 1, ’18

As you can imagine, a large portion of the meeting time was devoted to the blessing and passing of the sacramental bread and water to 600+ people. However, we were doubly blessed to have our presiding area authority Elder John C. Pingree and his sweet wife Sister Ann Pingree share their testimonies and messages of faith with us.

Elder John C and Anne Pingree
Elder John C. Pingree, Jr. and Sister Anne Pingree – photo @LDSChurchNews

The following are summaries of their inspiring messages based on my notes:

Sister Ann Pingree – Spiritual Protection

Sister Pingree encouraged us to maintain three “basic daily gospel habits” in order to have spiritual protection at all times.

1. Prayer –

Make time to pray, morning and night. The Lord has given us some really powerful promises if we practice the daily gospel habit of prayer.

“Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing—yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth.” (D&C 19:38.)

Prayer brings peace, protection from evil, and forgiveness of sins.

2. Scripture Study

Make time to read, study, ponder and “feast upon” the words of Christ.

Sister Pingree has recently been reading each of President Russel M. Nelson’s conference talks which has helped her have more spiritual and positive thoughts during the day.

3. Service

Make time to serve others through small daily acts of kindness. Smiles, saying thank you, a phone call, a text, asking people how they are doing and then listening. Our Heavenly Father gives us so many ways to serve others each day if our mind and heart is open.

These three daily patterns will help us survive spiritually in an increasingly difficult world. The goal is not to “check the box” but rather be closer to our Savior who will be our rock in the storm.

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. – Helaman 5:12

mormonad-firm-foundation

Elder John C. Pingree  – God’s Perspective

Elder Pingree told us that he had spent a lot of time preparing a certain message, but this morning he felt impressed by the spirit to share a completely different message, which we all felt was incredibly inspired, and was an answer to prayer for many in our company.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve went through an emotional process learning that a mortal experience meant there must be opposition in all things. We must have good and evil, light and dark, health and sickness, and all manner of positives and negatives.

When trials and heartache come – and they always do at some point –  Elder Pingree suggested that instead of “saying ‘Why is this happening to me?‘ we can focus on five faith building principles.

1. We have Heavenly Parents who love us.

We lived before we were born, and we have a divine heritage. The reason why God placed a “veil of forgetfulness” on our minds when we were born is “to prevent us from being agonizingly homesick every day.”

2. God has Perspective that we do not have. 

“and all things are present with me, for I know them all” –Moses 1:6

When Elder Pingree was serving as a young missionary in Peru he got so ill that he had to return home. He loved his mission. He loved the people of Peru. He had expected to serve the entire two years he had been called and having to return home early devastated him. At the time, he could not understand why this had to happen to him. Many years later, Elder Pingree was called to serve as a Mission President. From time to time a young missionary serving under his care would have to leave their mission early and return home. Now Elder Pingree finally knew how his experience earlier in life was meant to bless others. He was in unique position to personally empathize, counsel and help them. He learned that God really does have a wonderful, eternal perspective. Things that happen to us now may not make sense until years later. Or, perhaps not until after this life. But, our loving Heavenly Father can see the big picture, and He always knows why.

3. Just Trust Him

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways, saith the Lord.” – Isaiah 55:8

Elder Pingree told a story of a pioneer woman who had to bury two babies as she made her trek west. It takes all of our faith and trust to “turn our wagon toward Zion, and walk on.”

4. Our God is so loving and so wise He sent His Son for us 

“And [Jesus] shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people… that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” – Alma 7:11-12

We don’t need to fear adversity or pain. Our Savior has suffered all of it so that he knows how to help and comfort and “succor” us. In this life, none of us will ever be complete or whole. Things will happen to us that will invite us to rely on the Savior and draw closer to him. He has promised us to “fear not” for he is with us. Always.

Elder Pingree emphasized that we should “always rely on the Savior, and never try to change His will.”

5. God sends us to help others in their trials, to become like the Savior

Everyone needs help. If we don’t need help right now, we will. Our Father in Heaven gives us some “times of rest” in our life when we can not only rejuvenate but also to reach out and help others around us. Mosiah teaches that after we have gone through “much tribulation” we can be made an instrument in he Lord’s hands.

…after much tribulation,the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands.” – Mosiah 23:10

At the close of Elder Pingree’s moving remarks the congregation sang a closing hymn. I thought it was very poignant that the selection made prior to this meeting was Come Ye Disconsolate. The lyrics were so perfectly aligned to the message we had just heard.

Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal
Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot cure.
Earth has no sorrow but hea’vn can remove.

What a blessed morning!

And the day was just getting started. – MoSop

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