Celebrating 175 Years of Sacred Stories

27 06 2011

President Stephen M. Veazey's message honored the past and offered hope for the future.

by BARBARA WALDEN, Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation

As I listened to the bustle of ushers, worship participants, and sound checks on March 27 in the Kirtland Temple, I looked out a window.

I saw hundreds of eager guests, waiting outside the doors. Their weekend of activities was about to culminate in the Sunday-morning worship commemorating the 175th anniversary—to the day—of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.

The deep-blue sky, budding trees, and colorful crocuses scattered across the Temple lawn seemed to reflect growing excitement as the crowd waited for ushers to throw open the Temple doors.

The group must have been similar to the one that gathered 175 years ago. People then also waited with bated breath for the doors to open.

Where they were eager to dedicate the “House of the Lord,” we found ourselves eager to celebrate their sacred stories. Stories of sacrifice, generosity, perseverance, and missionary zeal.

We took our seats that morning in the historic pew boxes that have held generations of Saints. We enthusiastically listened to Richard Clothier tell the story behind each historic hymn. We received inspiration from President Stephen M. Veazey’s powerful sermon and were touched by Evangelist Steve Davidson’s testimony of growing up in the shadows of the Kirtland Temple.

We felt grateful for 15-year-old Tina Davidson’s artwork on the program cover, and we found comfort in Presiding Bishop Steve Jones’ pastoral prayer.

As more than 300 members lifted their voices in “The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning,” they joined generations of Saints who have shared our journey with Christ to build the peaceable kingdom.

The service ended, and the congregation slowly left through the Temple’s large, olive-green doors. We knew our lives had been changed.

May we always be reminded that we are stewards of a rich heritage. May our sacred stories continue to be a timeless blessing.




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