In Praise of Sunday

February 3, 2004 | 5 comments

Testimony meeting was this Sunday. In the right ward, like this one, the best meeting we have to offer.

One graduate student talked a little about the recent futility he had felt as he endured through his studies–to what purpose all this effort? Who benefits, who cares? He had genuinely struggled and, he said, through the help of the atonement had overcome.

I sat up. Futility, I often feel, is the last struggle a Saint faces in doing any good thing, after all the other victories are won. Stay the course, fight the good fight, endure to the end, but how? This brother had asked the same question and found an answer. His answer is now mine. Christ conquered futility.

Christ conquered futility. I’ve no doubt Satan heaped on him, on the cross and on the garden, all the grief of all the failures. All the plans that fizzled, all the weary efforts wisped away. No doubt also the Devil taunted him with visions of the people who turned away from his atonement. What a thing, to wrack one’s soul with agony and think,
‘these pains of Jack, these sins of Jill, nothing will ever come of it. I will hold my hands outstretched, showing the wounds, telling them I have already born it, and they will recede away heedless to bear it themselves. How many finally will be redeemed? So few remain.’
While a wicked voice whispers,
‘if you shrink from the cup, never mind, God is merciful, he’ll find a way to save. Jump, he’ll bear you up.
And even so, not to turn away.

Now, because he endured, we have an answer he did not. Who cares? Christ cares. Nothing now can come to naught if it pleases him in heaven. In this knowledge, plod we on.

Others testified–the convert father, the girl who’s the lone member in her high school. We sang the verse I love:

As testimony feels my heart,
it dulls the pain of days.
For one brief moment heaven’s view
appears before my gaze.

That is Sunday. Now it’s Tuesday. I’ve done much, I’ve much to do. Would it were Sunday. Would it were near, the Sunday of time.


5 Responses to In Praise of Sunday

  1. cooper on February 3, 2004 at 11:33 am

    Adam you wax poetic. Thank you. A gentle reminder of all that is right. I love the scripture in the D&C 122:8. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He? A simple scripture we keep on the fridge to remind us that he has born the burden in our place and it is us that must will it over to Him.

    I needed your words today. Again, thank you.

  2. Adam Greenwood on February 3, 2004 at 11:42 am

    Yes, my poesy might be a little waxy, :), but I’m glad you got through that to the truth we share.

  3. Russell Arben Fox on February 3, 2004 at 1:15 pm

    Futility: sorrow at the dayliness of life. As one sinner put it:

    Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
    To the last syllable of recorded time:
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow; a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    Wrong, of course: life is full of signification. Christ went beneath it all, as Cooper reminds us, and consequently can enlighten it all, and all of us, from within. You’re right to characterize this kind of despair as the final sin, perhaps the hardest one to overcome; to endure, and find the meaning and grace and hope in the endurance.

    Thanks for the thoughts Adam.

  4. Kristine on February 3, 2004 at 3:43 pm

    Well, hey, if this is going to be poets against despair, then somebody better quote Gerard Manley Hopkins!

    Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
    Not untwist–slack they may be–these last strands of man
    In me or, most weary, cry ‘I can no more.’ I can,
    Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.

    But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
    Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
    With darksome devouring eyes my bruised bones? and fan,
    O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?

    Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
    Nay in all that toil, that coil since (seems) I kissed the rod,
    Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, cheer.
    Cheer whom though? The hero whose heaven-handling flung me, foot trod
    Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
    Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.

  5. Logan on February 3, 2004 at 9:02 pm

    Adam, I just wanted to make reference to your statement:

    “Futility, I often feel, is the last struggle a Saint faces in doing any good thing, after all the other victories are won.”

    I think that’s very true. Feeling like there’s no good answer to the question “Does this matter?” has to be one of the very hardest things to struggle with. It’s not a very long road from there to “Does anything matter?”, or “Is God even there?”. Testimony that others have found that someone does care and that doing good does matter can be one of the most powerful and meaningful things to someone who has those questions.


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