The Blessings of Priesthood Service
“The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:18-19).
On Priesthood Assignment for Christ
Humbly I sit before the gathering congregation on assignment as a member of the stake high council. To my left sits the bishop, who holds keys of the priesthood to bless this body of Saints. To my right sits my younger companion. We are to speak in this sacrament service. Prelude music washes over this sacred space as families find their familiar places within the chapel.
I enjoy watching the Saints gather. There are many smiles, handshakes, and warmth. Children, dressed in their Sunday best walk hand-in-hand with their parents; others giggle with another, sneaking a few precious moments of association before the meeting begins. The passage of years and life’s experiences has given me some insight into the lives of those before me.
Beneath the surface of that which I observe, I know that among these Saints there are those who long for greater peace of mind; those whose testimonies of truth need strengthening; those for whom a greater understanding of the Gospel would increase faith in Christ. If He were here, the Lord would speak to them with perfect assurance. Can I be an instrument in His caring hands on this day that through me they might hear His voice?
Priesthood Power Qualifies
To entertain such thoughts is humbling, and yet for such have I been called and set apart by those in authority. Priesthood power is mine to draw upon. In my heart, I plead to know my Savior’s will regarding these—His children—and I humbly pray for His grace to empower me as I seek to do that for which I have been called.
I remember President Thomas S. Monson’s oft repeated assurance, “Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies” (“Duty Calls,” Ensign, May 1996, 44). I pray it will be so. I feel assurance for I have been called and set apart to this assignment by those with priesthood keys—“All is well, all is well” (“Come, Come Ye Saints,” Hymns, no. 30).
Perceiving Christ’s Loving Eyes
As I sit in humble contemplation, my eyes wander to my left. Lost in thought rather than my view, suddenly a penetrating set of eyes comes into focus. Transfixed upon them, I am completely disarmed as I realize what I see. Through the chapel side door, I have a line of sight into the library across the hall where hangs a large portrait of Christ. With the unique alignment of the door frames of the chapel and library doors, the only distinct image open to my view on that far wall is the face of my Redeemer. Christ’s eyes seemed to be looking right into my soul.
Just as I am searching to know that which He would have me say to this faithful body of Saints, and as I seek His blessing of empowerment to do His work—these loving eyes are riveted directly upon me. It is as if the veil separating man from God has been parted. I am reluctant to return the gaze but cannot help myself from doing so. I cannot stem the tears as I ponder this unique moment of humility and love which transforms my capacity to see an expanded reality.
I look to my left—and see the loving, nurturing eyes of the Good Shepherd; I look forward—and see His flock. In this moment, because of priesthood authority, I am uniquely positioned to bridge the gap separating these two realities. I am humbled beyond measure, and marvel how God empowers the “weak things of the world” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:19) with priesthood authority and power to be “made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work” (Alma 26:3). By “[embarking] in the service of God, …[we] are called to the work” (Doctrine and Covenants 4:2-3).
Serving and Remembering Jesus
Christ empowers us to be “saviors of men” (Doctrine and Covenants 103:9). Each who answers His call to serve, regardless of the nature of the field of service, in their own way bridges the necessary gap between heaven and earth. “Wherefore, as ye are agents, ye are on the Lord’s errand; and whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord is the Lord’s business” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:29; emphasis added).
The meeting begins. My eyes and my mind wander back and forth in quiet contemplation between the two worlds that I see. We humbly partake of the sacrament in remembrance of Him in whose name we meet. I cannot help but think of Jesus observing as we remember by way of covenant His atoning sacrifice. I partake of the emblems with renewed resolve to bear witness through my actions that I “always remember him” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77,79).
With assurance that Christ is watching over me and this congregation, I deliver my message and feel of His guidance in the words uttered and the testimony borne. The Spirit testifies of the truths spoken—I feel it—I see it in their eyes.
As we sing the closing hymn, I humbly turn again to the embrace of the Redeemer’s eyes. The Spirit whispers to my soul of His love—His all-encompassing love! I feel of His gratitude for my simple offering. I will always be the debtor.
I reflect upon His promise: “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (Doctrine and Covenants112:10). And He does. Of that, I can bear witness, for today I have experienced this reality. As said Ammon of old, I too can proclaim, “I am nothing … [but in God’s] strength I can do all things” (Alma 26:12).
Being a Friend of Jesus
To those on Christ’s errand He has promised: “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:88).
Today I have experienced fulfillment of this promise for we have been warmly received, He has been with us, filling our hearts and bearing us up. We have acted in His name with priesthood power and authority. Gratitude to be under the watchful eyes of Christ while engaged in His work wells from within.
I look again to my left—yes—He is here. Never to be forgotten are the ever-loving and grateful eyes of the Master, the eyes of Him who regards His disciples as “friends” (see Doctrine and Covenants 93:45-46).
David L. Orr, Lethbridge Young Single Adult Stake Presidency