Pick up the Broom
Ryan C. Tittle of Sumiton, AL, USA
Give ear to my words, O Lord;
give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. -Psalm 5:1-3
J. V. was a servant. Each Sunday morning at our congregation, he would be sweeping the stairs. Into his eighties, he took time to make sure the pathway into the church was free of any debris. He had been a disciple since boyhood. He might have been a bit slower in body; but his mind was sharp; and his sermons had great power. More importantly, his heart was ticking just fine, a heart tuned toward the care of the body of Christ and full of faithful love and devotion to his Creator.
When I first came to the Birmingham congregation, it was apparent to some I had a ministry. When I was asked by the pastor if I would deliver a sermon, I accepted; but I knew there was some rumbling from Brother J. V. I assumed that this older member was not comfortable with this “young pup” who was not a priesthood member delivering a Sunday message. Months later, when my calling as priest was discerned by our pastor and I accepted, I found out how wrong I was. J. V. leaned over to me, grabbed my arm, and said, “Every week, I’ve been telling the pastor, ‘The young man is called. When will he be called?'” To my amazement, it was not that I had not been ordained; it was that J. V. knew I had a calling that lent itself to God’s priesthood.
We lost J. V. in May of this year after a short illness. At his memorial service, an elder who grew up with him told the story of how it was his and J. V.’s job in their youth to sweep the American Legion hall where members of our church would meet, as Birmingham had no meetinghouse. He began his Christian service sweeping, and he kept it up till the end. He was the embodiment of Paul’s admonition to the Galatians, “through love become slaves to one another” (Galatians 5:13b NRSV). He will be missed, and it is my time to pick up the broom.
Let gratitude show you the way (Doctrine and Covenants Section 165:2b).
Gratitude is an important spiritual practice that invites us to see all of life as a gift. We give thanks for our breath, the food we eat, people we love, and all that we have that truly matters. We remember that we are connected and sustained by a web of relationships with creation, God, and other people. Take time each day this month to practice giving thanks and to consider-for what am I most grateful?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.\xe2\x80\x83