Monday, March 4, 2013

Happy are We!

A couple of days ago, my little brother was sitting at the computer, looking at the blog template I was working on. Amidst the random critique he (very sweetly) offered, one statement stuck with me.

"Calling the blog 'Enlisted' makes it sound like you're in the army or something!"

At the time I just smiled, with a soft chuckle under my breath. "Yeah," I thought, "Enlisted in God's army."

I didn't really give it much more thought that night. But if there's one thing a job as an intern gives you, it's lots of filing, which allows for a lot of time to think.  The thought bounced around in my head all day, and I mused it over. Why did I chose to give my blog that name? What does it mean to me? Well, the first part was easy. The name came from the hymn titled "We Are All Enlisted", number 250 from the LDS hymnbook. The word "Enlisted" carries with it some of the sense of my commitment to following my Savior, and my willingness to serve God's children. But the real power in the word comes from the memories I hold of joyfully singing the song, feeling the sense of empowerment that the Spirit brought into my heart. Because for me, music is so much more than words on a page.

Music has always been a part of how I communicate. I had a song that taught me my first phone number, a song about brushing my teeth, and thanks to the the school house rock songs I still know what happens to a bill sitting there on capitol hill! One of my greatest blessings was to be raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where each week I was taught the children's Primary songs. These taught me that "I am a Child of God", that "Families Can Be Together Forever", that with a prayer Heaven is never far away, and that God loved me so "He Sent His Son." Learning these simple truths from the time I was young helped me to feel love for my Heavenly Father, building a relationship that I now treasure above everything else. And as my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has grown, so has my love for the sacred hymns that we sing. Hymns continue to teach me, inviting the Spirit into my heart and testifying that the words I sing hold truth. 

As I think about serving my mission, there are several hymns that come to mind, each offering a way for me to express the emotions that can't quite seem to be captured by words alone. All are wonderful, but I keep going back to "We Are All Enlisted". The overall message of the song is enthusiastically joining the fight for truth, and following the Apostle Paul's exhortation to "put on the whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:11). Moreover, it describes the happy state of these righteous followers of Christ with exclamations of, "joyfully, joyfully marching", "happy are we!", and "Glad to join the army, we will sing as we go". 

I have felt this joy! What words can describe it better than the spirit that accompanies this sweet hymn? It is the motivating force behind my decision to serve a mission, as well as the small choices I make each day. I know that enlisted in God's army, I will find joy in serving Him. I eagerly follow the path He sets for me, because I know that it is the way to return to live with Him.  I am a beloved daughter in His kingdom, and there is a "bright crown in store". I will joyfully march on, inviting all to "come join the ranks!" Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said, "To think of enduring to the end as 'hanging in there,' doing one's duty relentlessly, is not inaccurate. Yet enduring to the end is more than outlasting and surviving, though it includes those qualities. We are called upon, as was the Prophet Joseph, to 'endure it well', gracefully not grudgingly" (Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1977], 109).  

That is the call. To fight for truth and trust in God. Doing more than tiredly putting one foot in front of the other, but finding joy in the journey! And so I am enlisted in this great cause. I hope that each of you know that I sincerely know that God lives, and that He loves each of us. I am thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to serve the people in São Paulo, and share this sweet message with them!

1. We are all enlisted till the conflict is o’er;
Happy are we! Happy are we!
Soldiers in the army, there’s a bright crown in store;
We shall win and wear it by and by.
Haste to the battle, quick to the field;
Truth is our helmet, buckler, and shield.
Stand by our colors; proudly they wave!
We’re joyfully, joyfully marching to our home.

We are all enlisted till the conflict is o’er;
Happy are we! Happy are we!
Soldiers in the army, there’s a bright crown in store;
We shall win and wear it by and by.

2. Hark! the sound of battle sounding loudly and clear;
Come join the ranks! Come join the ranks!
We are waiting now for soldiers; who’ll volunteer?
Rally round the standard of the cross.
Hark! ’tis our Captain calls you today;
Lose not a moment, make no delay!
Fight for our Savior; come, come away!
We’re joyfully, joyfully marching to our home.

3. Fighting for a kingdom, and the world is our foe;
Happy are we! Happy are we!
Glad to join the army, we will sing as we go;
We shall gain the vict’ry by and by.
Dangers may gather—why should we fear?
Jesus, our Leader, ever is near.
He will protect us, comfort, and cheer.
We’re joyfully, joyfully marching to our home.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully stated. You could use this as your farewell talk. You will be a wonderful missionary. Love you.