Friday, March 8, 2013

Where Is the Pavilion

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Where Is the Pavilion?, by Henry B. Eyring
First Counselor in the First Presidency

I'm helping the children at church learn (or remember) a wonderful song this month: If the Savior Stood Beside Me. This is a song that is newer than when I was in primary, but it does have a special place in my heart (read more here), and I think it will find a place in the hearts of the children at church, too.

Last Sunday was the first time we sang this song together at church. I had prepared sheets with the words for the children to read as we sang. Usually when I teach them a song, I do it line-by-line with visual aids; this time I wanted to do something different to see if I could help the song's meaning sink in faster. As we read the words and sang I encouraged them to think of the song's meaning.

Here are the words:

If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do?
Would I think of His commandments and try harder to be true?
Would I follow His example? Would I live more righteously,
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

If the Savior stood beside me, would I say the things I say?
Would my words be true and kind if He were never far away?
Would I try to share the gospel? Would I speak more reverently
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

He is always near me, though I do not see Him there
And because He loves me dearly, I am in His watchful care
So I'll be the kind of person that I know I'd like to be
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me.

After we sang, I asked the children if they felt anything while they were singing. I was surprised to see that many raised their hands and wanted to share—through misty eyes—that the felt that they could be nicer, do more things to help, or be a better example.


We sang the song a total of three times, and after each singing I would ask for feedback. I was happy to see that the children were engaged and seemed to feel the message of the song. In fact, I felt so wonderful inside that I told them—a couple of times—that what they were feeling was the Holy Ghost testifying that Jesus is always near them and that we can be whom we want to be: like Jesus.

It was a wonderful singing time.

Earlier in the day, during testimony meeting, a couple of people mentioned the familiar quote: "If you feel farther from God, who moved?" I was reminded of this question as I read President Eyring's address. When our actions or attitudes distance us from God, we may ask where God is hiding (under a pavilion, presumably); however, President Eyring reminds that:

Many of us, in moments of personal anguish, feel that God is far from us. The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are, covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible. Our own desires, rather than a feeling of “Thy will be done,” create the feeling of a pavilion blocking God. God is not unable to see us or communicate with us, but we may be unwilling to listen or submit to His will and His time.

The key in getting us out of our personal God-blocking pavilions is to live by the "Thy will be done" mantra. Easy as it may sound to do this, once we leave the safety of sacredness and are surrounded by the cares of the world, we may find our resolution slip.

And that's why I love the song I mentioned earlier so much. Until I can live the higher "Thy will be done" way of life, I'm trying to live the primary-song way of life: If the Savior Stood Beside Me. I think it's a good way to break down my personal pavilion and find my way back to where I want to be: actually standing beside the Savior.

Until we're standing side by side, I want to live as if we were.


Here's a video of the song, in case you're unfamiliar:

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