J. Reuben Clark said, “We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.”
Now, we’ve all danced at some point in our lives. Some of us may have even tried to swoon our spouses with our super awesome dance skills. But… how many times were you dancing and felt like you had two left feet? You didn’t really know what to do did you?
Imagine just for a second you’re dancing with someone and there’s no music playing. That would be pretty awkward. Now, imagine how different it would be if there was music. Aside from not really knowing how to dance, it’s not so strange. It almost feels normal. What’s the difference; music on or off?
Well, if you look at this in the context of the gospel, no music would be like dancing the steps but not knowing why. While dancing with the music would be dancing the steps with a purpose. The music of the gospel gives us purpose for doing the dance steps. When you have a reason, or purpose, you don’t care if the music is playing or not. Simply because it’s been written upon your heart.
So let’s break this down a little deeper.
The dance steps of the gospel. It’s the things we do. Things like serve, our callings in church, mourning with those that mourn, even helping bear one another’s burdens. These are what we’ll refer to as the dance steps. We know we’re supposed to do them, and for the most part… we do. But, are we doing them just to do them?
What about the music of the gospel? Remember, we need to hear the music to have purpose to those dance steps. So how do we hear the music?
Doctrine & Covenants 8:2 says: “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.”
It’s here that we learn the music of the gospel is written upon our hearts, and it’s done so by the Holy Ghost. When we are able to hear the music, it gives purpose, and brings meaning and understanding to those dance steps.
Jeffrey R. Holland said, “The simple truth is that we cannot fully comprehend the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ and we will not adequately appreciate the unique purpose of His birth or His death.” While that is entirely correct, when the music of the gospel becomes written upon our hearts, we may taste our piece of the atonement. Christ did atone for our sins. He felt every bit of pain, sorrow, and sickness. When we go through our own personal trials, we’re not alone. When we humble ourselves and look to the Lord for help, by the Holy Ghost, we will be able to hear.
It will be written upon our hearts true love. True compassion. True humility.
Speaking from personal experience, I hear the music. Some of you may know, but recently my wife and I experienced a frighteningly all too real trial. Eleven years ago I lost my mother to breast cancer. She fought against it for nine years. I know all too well the extreme end of the spectrum in respect to breast cancer. And, when I got a phone call from my wife that says the doctor found a lump in her breast, I was… needless to say, pretty scared. I thought I knew, but I didn’t. The music had yet to be written. When I was younger, I thought I was dancing all the right steps. I tried to bear those burdens. I tried to serve. I went through all the motions, dancing about life. But it wasn’t until recently that the music was being written. I was feeling the pain. I was feeling fear. And, there was only one person I could turn to. Turning to Christ, I started to understand better the meaning of His atonement. And, how real and personal it was. The dance steps were starting to make sense in relation to the music of the gospel.
Just this week, I witnessed someone go through a mighty change of heart themselves. He didn’t fully understand what was happening, because he hadn’t heard the music yet. It was Monday afternoon, and my friend had just received a phone call that his father was in the hospital coughing blood caused by unknown blood clots. Let the testing begin. A team of 7 doctors had been put together to look at the results and to read and interpret the scans. Tuesday comes around and the doctors are in agreement that what they are seeing looks like cancer. They just couldn’t determine how severe or exactly which type until after they ran more tests and a newer, much better scan. They were going to scan as much as they could. And with it, came a team of doctors at KU Med Center. Together, both of these teams would give the final diagnosis. Wednesday came around and each one of these doctors, standing in the hospital room, delivered their diagnosis. One by one, they said, “I cannot explain what has happened. Everything that we saw at the start of this case, is not there. There is nothing at this time, that we see, that points to cancer. The only thing we can say is that you have blood clots in your lungs and we don’t know why.” Knowing that the Lord works mighty miracles, the music of the gospel started to play in the heart of my friend. He said that as he thought about my mother and how I must have felt, he thought he knew, he tried to understand, but he knows a little better now. And, is able to understand in just a small way, what the Atonement means. He… had a change of heart.
So, how can we bring about a mighty change of heart in ourselves, and in our homes. Let me highlight 2 simple steps that Wilford W. Andersen gave:
First – Keep ourselves tuned to the right station, or spiritual frequency.
Back in the day, we didn’t have the technology we have today. With your phone and a few swipes with your finger, you can hear whatever you want, whenever you want. You used to have to turn a big knob, hold your tongue just right, and hope you land on the station you were surfing for. Today, the difficulty factor is reversed. Because it’s so easy, it becomes ever so difficult to shut out those things that drive away the Holy Spirit.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf warned us during General Conference in April asking: “Are we on autopilot, going through the motions, attending our meetings, yawning through Gospel Doctrine class, and perhaps checking our cell phones during sacrament service?”
We have to stay in tune, walking the walk. We must, as scripture says, ‘Be thou an example.’
Second, when we hear the music we need to be ready to dance.
The more in tune we are, the easier it becomes to invite the Spirit. Is it easy? Does it come all at once? No. And, no. It takes practise and discipline. We have to be disciplined enough and practise the dance steps of the gospel even when there is no music.
James E. Faust said, “We must cultivate our sensitivity to that divine voice… So it is with inspiration. We must attune ourselves to the inspiration from God and tune out the scratchy static. We have to work at being tuned in. Most of us need a long time to become tuned in.”
In these tumultuous times, it is increasingly difficult to hear the music. There are so many distractions, yet, as we continue to walk the walk, talk the talk, and shine forth the light of Christ, dancing the steps, the music will be written upon our hearts.
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