Sometimes, when I talk to people of other religions, they seem intrigued by our church until they hear it lasts for three hours.
Immediately, they get a little less interested at the idea. I mean, why would someone go to church for that long?
I love church. There are Sundays where the three hours seem to last a long time, but usually it goes pretty quick for me. Those days when church seems to drag on is usually because Kevin didn't want to sit still and was getting pretty grumpy.
For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. Mormons) church meetings are separated into three parts.
The first meeting is the most important meeting. We call it Sacrament Meeting. This is where we partake (eat and drink) of the emblems (the bread and water) that renew our covenants (promises) that we made when we chose to be baptized. This is a ordinance, so it is performed exactly the same way every Sunday. When we eat and drink of the bread and water in remembrance of our Savior, we are promising to always remember him, keep his commandments, and take his name upon us as disciples of Christ. It is a very sacred thing, and the main reason that we meet together. Each Sunday, following the Sacrament, we also have a couple speakers (regular people from the ward, there is no paid clergy), and some musical numbers.
The next meeting is Sunday school. We are separated by age. Eighteen and up goes to the adult class, while the kids younger than that are separated by year in primary. In this class we learn about the scriptures and teachings of the prophets. This year we are studying the Old Testament. The younger primary kids (3-8) meet in a large group and have a lesson and music time, while the older kids meet in age group classes.
The last 50 minutes are spent in classes separated by gender. I love this hour a lot! The women meet in what is called Relief Society, the men meet in what is called Priesthood, the teenagers meet in Young Men's and Young Women's, and the kids in primary switch with the kids 8-12 now meeting in the larger group and the younger kids having class.
There is also a class called Nursery, which is for toddlers age 18 months to 2. When they turn three they go to primary. Kevin isn't quite old enough for Nursery, but they told us we could start taking him in anyway. He's only a couple weeks away anyway. He loves it for the most part.
Yesterday I was playing piano for primary. During the third hour, the lady who was leading the music asked me to go with her to nursery for singing time. I wasn't sure if I should because Kevin was in there, and it might make him sad for me to come in and then leave, but finally I said yes. They're just so adorable, I couldn't help but want to come.
Kevin did cry, but he stopped crying long enought to sing a few songs, and right before we left they pulled out the snacks and I was forgotten. It was good to see him doing so well.
Each of these meetings are important for different reasons. They unite us as brothers and sisters in Christ and help strengthen my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When my grandparents were kids, they spread these meetings out throughout the week. However, at one point, they felt that it would be easier on everyone to just have them in a solid chunk, and I agree. I would rather go to church once then have to come back later in the day for a second meeting.
It allows more time on Sunday for family time, and we love that.
I know that church is important. Some people think that they can gain all the spirituality they need on their own, but I disagree. My testimony is strengthened when I hear the testimonies of those around me. It is a fantastic opportunity to hear what others have to say and learn from them.
I'm grateful that we have so much church. It helps me be a disciple of Christ all week long and not just on Sunday. I want the Spirit to be with me all the time, and not just at church. In going to church for three hours, I make a habit of giving my time to the Lord, and I know that I am blessed in return.
I go to church for three hours because I love my Savior, and I love to learn more about Him.
Why do you choose to go to church?