The Greatest of These


As I surveyed the elderly people assembled for the nursing home sacrament meeting, I was worried. Several patients appeared to be asleep. One woman cried over and over, “I want to go home.” Most of those who were awake stared vaguely through clouded eyes. I wondered why the young men and young women of our ward had come to present this sacrament meeting. Other than giving these elderly Church members the opportunity to partake of the sacrament, why did we bother?

One of the young men conducted the service. It would be like any other sacrament meeting, with an opening hymn, an opening prayer, a sacrament hymn, the passing of the sacrament, speakers, and a closing hymn.

As we sang “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” I noticed one frail sister who, until this moment, had remained perfectly still, staring off into space. Now she sang every word from memory. When the sacrament was passed, almost every patient partook. I began to realize that the patients knew what was going on.

Following the sacrament, Shawna, the Laurel president, spoke on enduring to the end. I wondered how her words would affect people who had endured more than we could possibly imagine.

I was distracted from my thoughts by a very real presence in the room. I felt the Spirit as strongly as I’ve ever felt it before. Then I noticed that nearly all of the elderly brothers and sisters had their eyes focused on Shawna. The Spirit had linked us together as brothers and sisters, children of our Heavenly Father.

A scripture came to my mind: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Cor. 13:13).

There may have been many reasons for that sacrament meeting, but the greatest of them was charity, the pure love of Christ.

[photo] Photograph by John Luke