Monday, January 19, 2015

Spiritual Gifts and Talents

This past summer my family went to a family reunion about 2 hours away, and we got to attend a small local church.  Our family literally doubled the number in attendance, and got to really participate.  The lesson was on gifts of the spirit, but the congregation interpreted it mostly to be about talents, and offering to share talents with the church.  The take away was that there, if someone had a talent, it'd be a good idea to speak up about it and let it shine.

In my ward here, growing up there were few pianists, so since I was 12 or so I had an opportunity to play in church, whether it were just for the Young Women, or sometimes in sacrament meeting.  As a college student home on summer break, I would once in awhile get asked to play the organ (not my main instrument), and learned to adjust.  But it's been almost three years since I had a music-based calling, plus a cross-country move, and people have moved into our ward and most people forgot that I even played, so it was a surprise to a lot of folks when I got called as an asst. organist a few weeks ago.  I get to trade off and on with another organist.  

Well our building got upgraded a few years ago, and I'm not trained on the new organ, with 50+ buttons and stops.  (Who knew it was desirable to play the English Horn on your organ???)  So since the start of the year, I've been up there trying to just find out where the volume pedal is, and kinda feeling like a buffoon when I couldn't even get the basic sound I wanted.  Someone offered to get a more experienced organist up to help me figure things out, and while I didn't want her to know how ignorant I was, I accepted the offer.  So this seasoned organist shows me a few things, and WOW, what a difference!  From there on I was able to go to town, and really enjoyed playing.

Again yesterday, another organist friend (also a counselor in the Stake Presidency) was around and I asked him to help me find the buttons that the lady had shown me previously (yeah, I forgot from week to week!  It turns out the buttons toggle on both the top AND bottom.  I was only pushing on the top...)   Again, had even more of a blast.  Playing the organ!!!  I never thought it was my my thing, but I seriously loved it.

I'm sharing this because I really loved an example I heard Denver Snuffer share about mowing the lawn in Zion.  (Can't recall if I saw it on his blog or read it in a book.)  In Zion, he explains, one might feel inclined to mow the lawn, and love it so much that he keeps on mowing into his neighbor's lawn.  And so on and so on until he feels content and pretty much mowed the whole neighborhood and then some.  Can you imagine if that were how church were?  To sit and play music and learn/master a new instrument, just because you feel like it?  Or to stay at the church, studying scripture or visiting as long as you want, without worry of vacating the space?

What would you do, if you had all the time in the world, and no worries or pressure?  What gift or talent or service would you volunteer to go to town on?  And is this remotely related to any calling you have now?  How would church be, if it were small and quaint like the one we visited last summer, and you had to stretch and grow in the service of a calling that you chose, because you simply desired it?  I really love this idea.

For added fun, I must share.  Two Sundays ago, I realized if I really wanted to master the sound, I'd have to learn to start playing the pedals.  The only problem was that I couldn't see them because of my skirt.  So guess who's wearing pants to church!!!  First time in my life and I have never had such a fun time at church as I did yesterday.  I almost sat Indian style in Relief Society too, but didn't want to make my friend jealous that she had to sit in a skirt.  That is, after all, my favorite way to sit.  Maybe next week.

And for your viewing pleasure, a most amazing organ performance.  Enjoy!


  1. Amazing organ performance! I played the organ in my last ward for about five years. I had only played the piano before that, and not very well. It took me around 20 hours a week when I first started to get three hymns half-way decent by Sunday. I almost never used the pedals. I used what was called a "bass-coupler" to imitate the rich sound produced by those of nimble enough mind to use all four of their limbs and all ten fingers. I loved it for the first few years. I loved creating a variety of sounds, alternating the music to keep it interesting. My favorite was the Christmas song Silent Night. For the introduction I started with one note with just bells, and gradually added in the rest and then building the sound with each verse. It was yet another enjoyment of mine that was strange to most others. But I appreciated the appreciation of those who came to thank me. I could at times feel "at one" with the congregation, like a single instrument, voice and organ together which took the right frame of mind for me and the right motivation from them. It was more of a spiritual thing, than just singing synchronously or in tune.

    1. You are SO right Micah! And that's awesome you had the same calling!!! I seriously wish we could spend 90% of our worship time singing and doing as you mentioned at the end. At Christmas they asked me to accompany the choir/congregation with some other instruments, plus two men at the piano. There was a bass violin, 2 violins and I think a clarinet or flute (?), and it was seriously the most awesome time in the world. Exactly the most "oneness" I think I've ever felt in worship. So true!

    2. Bass Coupler! That's the one I couldn't figure out how to get to turn on! lol!


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