So Why a Living Room?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day #39. True to the Truth for Which Martyrs Have Perished...

What a great pioneer day.  We decided to brave the crowds and have the experience of going to the "Days of '47" Pioneer Day parade.  My dad went early and staked out a spot for us and then we parked at my mom's work and walked to where my dad was. The theme of the parade was "Then and Now" and so each float had a representation of how things were for the pioneers and how they are for us today.  One float said on it, "From ink to hyperlink" and the front half was people sitting in old fashioned pews in pioneer period church clothes, with a man preaching to them and a giant quill pen.  The back half of the float had a huge silver satellite, and a family sitting on a couch looking at a huge screen of President Monson in General Conference.  It was neat to reflect on the things that are different and the things that are the same, and how we can each do our part to keep building God's kingdom and sharing the gospel. 

Tonight, I sat out on the back porch and read some more of this book that I am loving so much, "Fire in the Bones," about William Tyndale and the movement to translate and distribute the Bible in English.  I never really realized how much opposition there was to what seems now such a basic idea, and with that, never realized how many hundreds if not thousands of reformers and common men participated in clandestine operations to print and smuggle copies of the English New Testament, as they tried to avoid being punished by the church.  Ultimately Tyndale (and many others) was martyred for all of his "heresy" and wickedness," but he had a vision that was much greater than even his own life. 

"Some men will ask," he wrote, "Why I take the labour to make this work, insomcuh as they will burn it, seeing they burnt the gospel?  I answer In burning the New Testament they did none other thing that that I looked for: no more shall they do, if they burn me also, if it be God's will it shall be so.  Nevertheless, in translating the New Testament I did my duty, and so do I now, and will do as much more as God hath ordained me to do." 

I've sometimes wondered why the Lord "let" the earth be without the truths of the restored gospel for so many years, but I am starting to understand better the divine choreography of the centuries, and how so many people and causes and inventions and even rebellions had to be part of the whole master plan.  I am humbled and grateful for the countless men and women, named and unnamed, who spent their lives doing what God ordained them to do. Each of their little bricks combined together has built a mighty castle indeed.

I sat down tonight to play through my arrangement of Come, Come, Ye Saints in preparation to sing it in sacrament meeting tomorrow, and as I got to the part where I sing "True to the truth for which martyrs have perished" my heart was brimming with gratitude and respect and awe for William Tyndale and others like him who dedicated their lives to truth.  (my eyes were kind of brimming too.) 

I hope the rest of the song will be descriptive of my life, and that I will be able to accomplish the things God has ordained me to do.

"To God's command, soul, heart, and hand
Faithful and true we will ever stand."

Okay, and one more awesome quote from Mr. Tyndale--he wrote this in one of his treatises, but I think it's as good as scripture:

"Also remember, that His Son's blood is stronger than all the sins and wickedness of the whole world; and therewith quiet thyself, and thereunto commit thyself, and bless thyself in all temptation...with that holy candle."

Joy, joy, joy.
That's what I feel when I think about this stuff.


whitney said...

History always helps me to see and understand that very great power that is agency. People who use their agency poorly can completely derail (temporarily) the building of the kingdom (in the case you discuss in this post, the kingdom had been removed from the earth because of poor use of agency). And yet individuals who feel prompting and direction and use their agency to act on those promptings are able to bring about a marvelous work, blessing all who also choose to be a part of it.
Studying the effects of agency on generations is one of the many reasons I love studying history.