And Jesus Wept

By Helen Selee

Print Share

    “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40.)

    It had been several years since Margaret attended a sacrament meeting; and as she walked into the chapel and quickly found a seat, she felt like a stranger. She had let a Word of Wisdom problem keep her away all that time. How often the bishop had visited her and counseled with her to “put the horse before the cart.” He told her that the more often she attended church and the more she prayed, the easier it would become for her to conquer her hurtful habit.

    Though nearly all the ward members were now new to her, Margaret gradually began to feel as though she had come home after a long absence. The main speaker talked of willingness to sacrifice for the gospel, and Margaret determined that this was her answer. Too soon the closing prayer was said and she edged her way out with the crowd. She caught bits of conversations around her, silently longing to be part of them. Then suddenly a whispered voice behind her seemed to scream above all the others and pierce the very depths of her soul: “Well, did you smell the cigarettes? I could barely keep my mind on the talk. I’ll have to be more careful of where I sit.”

    and Jesus wept

    The light drizzle had turned to a heavier rain as Carl drove home from priesthood meeting, hoping the family would be ready and waiting. He had talked to some of the brethren longer than he should have and just barely had time to get Jan and the boys and return to Sunday School before it started.

    On the way home he rounded a curve; and seeing a stalled car, he slowed down. He should offer to help, but if he did they would surely be late. Still, this was dreadful weather to be stuck along the road, and it was nearly three miles to the nearest service station.

    Carl slowed down even more, as if in response to his conscience; but as he pulled close enough to see the driver, he pushed down hard on the accelerator and hurried by. “Just some bearded hippie-type anyhow,” he said to himself. “Let him get wet.”

    and Jesus wept

    Brian hurried through the gym’s swinging doors, throwing his jacket over his shoulder. He hoped he could catch a ride with Jim or one of the other guys. He knew they would all be headed for Taco Town after the game. Even if he were the only Mormon in the gang, the guys were alright, and Brian enjoyed being with them.

    Being in such a small ward gave him no choice but to hang around with nonmembers. Sure, it was hard to live church standards when the rest of the group didn’t, but free agency certainly gave the guys the right to live the way they wanted to. It never seemed to be necessary to voice his beliefs. After all, they were a private thing between himself and the Lord. At any rate he had no intention of preaching to his friends.

    As the boys sat around the cars laughing about the way they had beaten North High so badly, one of them pulled out a six-pack of beer and passed it around. “Here’s to the greatest team in the league,” he said, and everyone cheered their agreement to the toast.

    For a long moment Brian sat frozen. He didn’t want to break the Word of Wisdom, but neither did he want the guys to think he was so prudish that he couldn’t show his loyalty by toasting the team. Then as he quickly tipped the can to his lips, he said to himself, “Who’ll ever know if it’s just this once?”

    and Jesus wept

    Maureen glanced around the room at the Relief Society sisters singing the opening song as she directed them. It was good to see that new Sister Jackson there, although she seemed so lonely sitting by herself. Several times during the song Maureen’s eyes darted to that lone figure on the back row, and she made a mental note to extend a special welcome after the meeting. She could go back there and sit, but that would be awkward when she would have to direct the closing music. And sometimes if there were much whispering going on, it was difficult to hear everything. Then too, Sister Jackson ought to know that she should put forth effort to become better acquainted on her own. She could have chosen a seat next to someone.

    The music was finished and all thought of Sister Jackson vanished as Maureen turned her full attention to the meeting. However, pangs of guilt were sharp when she stood to lead the closing hymn. One look at Sister Jackson and it was obvious that she was fighting back tears. Perhaps she hadn’t been just lonely. It was possible there was a great need to share some problem with a friend. And maybe Maureen had been the only one to notice.

    Absolutely the moment the prayer was said she would hurry back and at least offer friendship. As the “amen” was said, Maureen looked up to see Sister Jackson slip out of the door. “Oh, well,” she said to herself, “I’ll catch her next week.”

    and Jesus wept

    Someone cried because of a careless remark.

    Someone needlessly broke a promise.

    Someone turned away and pretended not to see a wrong.

    Someone was excluded because he wasn’t with the “in” crowd.

    Someone used the Lord’s name in a moment of anger.

    Someone neglected a responsibility he had agreed to fulfill.

    Someone was too busy to lend a much-needed ear.

    Someone carelessly revealed a confidence.

    And Jesus wept.

    The president of the Sunday School had just come into the classroom to introduce sister Carter to the students as their new teacher. For nearly three months the class had been taught by various substitutes, none of whom ever seemed to come back. The boys boasted of having made one sister leave the room in tears. The girls thought Sunday School was a bore and spent most of the time chattering.

    As Sister Carter opened her books and began to talk, someone passed a note around that read: “Don’t answer any questions and don’t give her your right name, and see how quick she gets mad.” Each one snickered and passed it on, and the well-planned lesson was lost.

    and Jesus wept

    Show References

    • Sister Selee, a homemaker and the mother of five children, is a member of the Medford (Oregon) First Ward, Medford Stake.