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“Come, let us anew”

Come, Let Us Anew (Hymn 217)

Come, let us anew, our journey pursue,
Roll round with the year and never stand still till the Master appear.
His adorable will let us gladly fulfill,
and our talents improve by the patience of hope and the labor of love.

Our life as a dream, our time as a stream
glide swiftly away, and the fugitive moment refuses to stay;
For the arrow is flown and the moments are gone.
The millennial year presses on to our view, and eternity ?s here.

Oh, that each in the day of His coming may say,
I have fought my way thru; I have finished the work thou didst give me to do. ?
Oh, that each from his Lord may receive the glad word:
Well and faithfully done; Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne. ?

(Text by Charles Wesley)

This is a hymn that is often sung at this time of year, and it ?s one of my favorites. One morning years ago, I woke up with the tune in my head. I knew it was a hymn but I could not think of which one it was, and I sat at the piano and played through all of the hymns I wasn ?t familiar with until I found it. At the time, I wondered why that tune was in my head when it ?s a not a hymn that is often sung, and as I read the words, I felt like the answer for me was because these words hold a message that I need to give heed to.

Since that time, at least at the beginning of every new year I ?ve tried to contemplate what in my life needs to change. How can I better spend my time? How can I improve relationships with those I love? How do I be a better mom ? a better wife ? a better person? What can I do to grow closer to Heavenly Father this year?

To be honest, this has been kind of a painful process for me this year. Most years, my goals are lose weight ? or read my scriptures ? or pray daily ?. But this year, the spirit has been telling me that there are things that need changing in my life which are deeper than that. I feel that for me this is a critical year, where I either take the opportunities before me and improve myself ? or let them pass me by and stay the same old person stuck in a rut. While I think sometimes we as LDS women expect too much of ourselves, I also believe that where much is given, much is required. I realize that I have been given a lot, and that I need to do something more with it.

Last school year, I attended my daughter ?s Suzuki violin lessons with her at her elementary school. Her lesson was at 1:00 p.m., ending at 1:30, and as I would come out of the lesson I would see cars lined up to pick up children at the end of the day. Now, this would not be so surprising had it been that school was dismissed at 1:45 or even 2:00, but our dismissal is at 3:30! Same people every week, lined up two hours before school ends. I was honestly flabbergasted, especially after substituting at the school one day and being assigned duty at the pick up ramp ? and finding that the whole process to get every child in their parent ?s car only takes about 15 minutes! Some were waiting 2 hours or more to be first in line, while those who came right at 3:30 were out of the parking lot only a few minutes later than those who had waited so long.

This was a lesson to me. Each week I would walk by and try to see what people were doing while they waited. One lady who was always the first one in line was always either reading or sleeping. Another one was often doing knitting. I couldn ?t help but wonder what good they might do if they would just park their car and go in and help in their child ?s class during that time instead. Or even just stay at home and pursue something worthwhile? Not that reading, sleeping, or knitting aren ?t worthwhile endeavors, but sometimes I reflect on Elder Oak ?s recent conference talk and wonder is this the best thing to do with the time? Is there a better way? While you are not doing anything bad while sitting in your car, are you doing anything good? Good, better, best. It made me think about how I use my time.

Don ?t get me wrong, I definitely have plenty of wasted time every day, mostly on the internet. This is why re-prioritizing at the beginning of this year has been eye-opening and difficult for me. I ?ve realized all of the hours I ?ve let pass without really contributing anything, or improving myself, or serving another person. It ?s not that I ?ve been doing bad, I just haven ?t necessarily been doing good ? or at least not as much good as I ?m capable of. I ?m resolving to do better.

Today we had a wonderful stake conference broadcast from Salt Lake City to the Gulf Coast stakes. Elder Holland ?s talk especially touched me, as I was contemplating writing this article this afternoon and being kind of hard on myself as I realized all of the many ways I am falling short. He spoke of forgiveness. More than anything, he spoke of forgiving ourselves ? for things we ?ve done, or things we haven ?t done, or things we know we could be better at. Resolve to do better and forgive yourself and move on. Forgive others their shortcomings as well. Take this opportunity at the beginning of the year to resolve the things in your life that aren ?t right, forgive yourself and others, and try just a little bit harder this year. That is the message I took from his talk today, and it is one I needed to hear as I consider, Come, let us anew. ?

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • facethemusic January 11, 2009, 6:22 pm

    Lovely, thoughts Angie!
    That whole “Good, Better, Best” talk really permeates everything, doesn’t it?
    Like you said, alot of what we do is good– but often there IS something “better” we could be doing, even if what we ARE doing is “good”. Sounds like a very thoughtful resolution.
    We sang this same hymn last week in Sacrament meeting, and I was “substitute” directing.
    (Which is practically becoming a fourth calling for me since our conductor is absent more often than not) It wasn’t until I started leading it that I realized I hadn’t ever led the song before, and had probably only sung it once before. It’s a little tricky to conduct a song you’ve hardly ever heard when it’s filled with all those fermatas! And I must admit, when we got to the line “His adorable will, let us gladly fulfill”, I was like….. “adorable will?????” With the thousands of words in the English language, surely Mr. Wesley could have come up with a more fitting 4 syllable word than “adorable”. Then I chalked it up to 18th century verbiage. 🙂
    On the other hand, the second verse kind of hit me… the whole idea of this life passing swiftly away, and before we know it, “eternity’s here”. (Although, I also realized there’s no “pretty way” to sing the word “fugitive”— poor Mr. Lucas– I’m glad it wasn’t me asked to put that word to music. 🙂

  • mlinford January 11, 2009, 7:58 pm

    This really hit home, Angie. I have been in a similar mode for the past while. It’s hard to be that honest with myself, but I really do grow and feel strength and peace in my life when I do try to make changes to my soul.

  • Ray January 11, 2009, 10:46 pm

    Wonderful post, Angie. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 12, 2009, 7:46 am

    Angie, this is such a timely post and an important topic.

    I feel that for me this is a critical year, where I either take the opportunities before me and improve myself ? or let them pass me by and stay the same old person stuck in a rut.

    I understand this sentiment so well. As I get older I am so aware of the frighteningly quick passage of time and how refusing to make the needed changes really puts me “out of the running” for some life-changing kinds of things.

    Thanks for the needed reminder.

  • Lewis_Family January 12, 2009, 10:49 am

    I personally loved this talk because you were the one who inspired me to make a list of resolutions from your blog, and my resolutions focused on time, so to come and read this was quite humbling because you were throwing the spirit so well that I was able to catch it and not even know it 🙂
    Thank you!

  • davidson January 12, 2009, 10:12 pm

    This has always been a special song to me, Angie. Thank you for your wonderful post.

    Every time I hear it now, I feel just a little silly. In the early 1990s, there was a weekend when I had the flu really bad. I couldn’t get comfortable, and in the middle of the night, I came out to the couch to sleep, hoping to rest a little better. I had the strangest experience.
    Suddenly, in the middle of the darkened living room floor, there was a big patch of light. It had “twinkles” rising from it, a sparkly mist that moved and shifted. Odd. I looked to see where the light was coming from, and I couldn’t find a source. There was no moon and no outside light shining in the window. I thought, “I must be dreaming, or maybe hallucinating because I’ve been so sick.” So, I pinched myself, hard enough that it hurt, but nothing changed. I felt a presence near, and then I was given an impression: “Thou hast finished the work I have called thee to do.” I kept watching the patch of sparkly light, and it disappeared as suddenly as it came.

    I thought back over my life and realized that in the weeks preceding, I had actually offered my life to God in exchange for an opportunity for my father to accept the gospel. I wondered if I was being called upon to make the offer good. That was an interesting week. I recovered from the flu, but I kept wondering if those would be my last days on earth. I did my best to live carefully and do things the way I would want them done, with limited time. It was a good week. The phrase rang in my mind, “Thou has finished the work I have called thee to do.” It seemed that perhaps I’d heard it in a hymn, so I went searching for the hymn and finally found a line similar to it in “Come Let Us Anew.” It wasn’t a hymn I was familiar with, and I wrote the words in my journal.

    The week came and went, and I didn’t die. I was, however, extended a release from my calling as a Gospel Doctrine teacher to the 14 year-olds, a release that was difficult for me. I wasn’t being replaced by anyone; I was just being released. Another calling was not offered to me at that time; I was just being released. I questioned the bishop about whether or not he was happy with my service, and he said yes, the kids had really grown under my stewardship, and he knew that they had enjoyed me and I had enjoyed them. He had no reason, and I felt so. . .rejected. Even by my Heavenly Father. I couldn’t understand it.

    Eventually an inactive couple was called to teach the class. A year later they were asked to speak in Stake Conference about their journey from inactivity to full activity. They went to the temple in that year, and the husband was called as the Elders Quorum president. He was an excellent president. They said their activity in the church came to be because an inspired bishop had called them to teach Gospel Doctrine to the 14 year-olds. They learned the gospel through teaching the simple and beautiful lessons to the youth, and the youth helped them understand things they didn’t understand. The time for the change was right–even though it was a very difficult time for me.

    It finally made sense! That calling needed to be vacated so someone else could take it and achieve needed growth, just at the time when they were ready to grow! I learned that the man’s mother had been praying for 30 years that her son would come back to full activity in the Church. I felt selfish about the soul whine I had been putting forth. And I realized that the Lord in His tender mercy had known all along, had made a special point to send me the message that I had finished the work He had called me to do, so I wouldn’t be so upset by the suddenness of the change. I even misunderstood His effort to comfort and prepare me!

    It was a good lesson, one I needed. I didn’t die. I learned something about callings and releases, and I remember the lesson every time I hear that wonderful hymn, “Come Let Us Anew.”

  • Alison Moore Smith January 12, 2009, 11:00 pm

    davidson, thank you for sharing that!

    Posted By: davidsonIt had “twinkles” rising from it, a sparkly mist that moved and shifted.

    I have to tell you that the first time I read this, I read, “It had twinkies rising from it ?” I suspect that would have been ever more odd, eh?:smile:

  • mlinford January 13, 2009, 12:22 am

    davidson, lovely.

    But what a difficult test of faith, twice. You sound rather calm for someone who thought she might die. I don’t know that I would have been so calm.

    And it’s hard to be released from a calling without some apparent reason.

    I have a new saying: You just never know. I’m trying to trust more the painful things in my life, thinking that maybe they often have more purpose than we might think.

  • mlinford January 13, 2009, 12:31 am

    BTW, Angie, a link to this post was included the other day on Mormon Women: Who We Are. :bigsmile:

  • agardner January 13, 2009, 6:07 am

    Cool Michelle. Thanks.

    Lewis and Davidson, thanks for sharing. Your experiences and thoughts touched me very much.

    As I was reading your experience Serena I kept thinking that sometimes we will get impressions and we just never really know why. Things happen that make no sense to us, but the Lord knows. While I’ve never seen lights and twinkles, I’ve definitely had times where I’ve had an impression that something is going to change, or a song or scripture will keep going through my mind. When events fall into place as they will, it all makes sense.

  • Ray January 13, 2009, 7:36 am

    When events fall into place as they will, it all makes sense.

    That is the root reason for enduring to the end of trials and difficulties. If you don’t endure to the end, you can’t look back and understand your suffering.

  • davidson January 13, 2009, 9:06 am

    Thank you for your comments, all.

    You know, Alison, if there had been twinkies rising from the mist, I wouldn’t have told you the story, because I would have eaten all the twinkies and been too ashamed to ever mention that story to anyone again. . . .:bigsmile:

  • Alison Moore Smith January 13, 2009, 11:22 am

    :rolling: Kindred spirit, sister. Although I think I would’ve preferred Ding Dongs.

  • Lewis_Family January 13, 2009, 11:43 am

    mmmm… ding dongs, and zingers and any other mass produced cake like product, sound sooo good 🙂

  • Alison Moore Smith January 13, 2009, 3:15 pm

    OK, I’ve actually never tasted any of them. I think my mother thought it was a sin to feed her children preprocessed food of any kind (except “Kraft dinner” but she even “doctored” that). But they looked good. It’s the chocolate factor to me. I’m guessing my mom’s chocolate was better anyway.

  • Michelle D January 13, 2009, 11:37 pm

    Congrats on the link at Mormon Women. You earned it with such a wonderful post, Angie! There have been great comments, as well.

    I feel that for me this is a critical year, where I either take the opportunities before me and improve myself ? or let them pass me by and stay the same old person stuck in a rut.

    I have also felt the need to contemplate my own personal “good, better, best” situations and how I am using the opportunities before me.

    As for Twinkies, Ding Dongs, et.al.I decided long ago that they tasted better as a child than they do now. Maybe my taste buds have just finally grown up… :rolling:

    When events fall into place as they will, it all makes sense.

    That is the root reason for enduring to the end of trials and difficulties. If you don’t endure to the end, you can’t look back and understand your suffering.

    Ah, Ray, you know how much I need to hear that…

  • mlinford January 13, 2009, 11:50 pm

    Michelle! Your nativity post was *supposed” to be linked at MW as well. Sorry that didn’t happen. Sometimes there is just too much for us to manage with real life and all, ya know?

  • Michelle D January 13, 2009, 11:53 pm

    Wow, thanks, Michelle. It’s okay. Life does get in the way of the fun we’d like to have, huh.

  • davidson January 13, 2009, 11:54 pm

    I’ve talked with my tastebuds. They refuse to grow up.

    Actually, I didn’t like Twinkies very much even when I was a kid. Chocolate all the way.

  • facethemusic January 14, 2009, 6:35 pm

    “good, better, best” situations and how I am using the opportunities before me….. As for Twinkies, Ding Dongs,et al

    Sorry, I can’t help myself…

    Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Krispy Kreme = Good, Better, Best :tooth:

  • Ray January 14, 2009, 8:07 pm

    face’s comment is a good example of the incorrect traditions of an apostate world. The obvious Celestial order is:

    Krispy Kreme, Twinkies, Ding Dongs

  • Lewis_Family January 14, 2009, 9:32 pm

    Hello, zingers?

  • Ray January 14, 2009, 10:03 pm

    I don’t think they will answer, but I think they can call to us.

  • Lewis_Family January 14, 2009, 10:56 pm

    ha!

  • davidson January 14, 2009, 11:03 pm

    Yes, yes, they call my name regularly. And by the way, the true celestial food is European chocolate truffles. None of that other stuff.

  • nanacarol January 15, 2009, 12:29 am

    I hate to disagree because they all sound heavenly, however there is a Sciclian Lemon Bar made by Thortons Chocolate in England that is far superior to anything you all name. Just ask Kiar and half the gals in my ward. Served them a year ago for a cooking activity at my house and recently I had one of the gals ask when I was going back to England or have more sent—please!!!! They send you to the moon and back!!!! Now–how can i go to bed on that thought!!!!

  • mlinford January 15, 2009, 12:31 am

    I’m sorry, folks, but fake cake treats make me feel ill. Twinkies are the worst, imo.

  • Michelle D January 15, 2009, 7:09 pm

    Hot-off-the-rollers Krispy Kreme donuts will have a place in heaven, I’m sure of it. Right next to the chocolate mansion!

    I agree, Michelle. I think that’s why they don’t taste as good as they did as a child. “Fake cake treats…” My 6 year old would say, “Hey, that rhymes!”

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