Reverence was not a top priority for my 12 nieces and nephews visiting the Missionary Training Center on a February Sunday afternoon. We had just finished attending a sacrament meeting where their grandpa, after several years of service, had been released as a branch president. The children had already endured, I mean enjoyed three hours of meetings. Spring may not have been entirely in the air yet, but it was definitely in their bones, and many of them had a most difficult time sitting—some more.
After the meeting closed we proceeded down the wide hallways lined with beautiful religious pictures reminding passersby of what missionary work is all about. The interest of the children in the pictures was plain to see. These life-sized replicas they had only seen in magazine articles or on the walls in their church buildings seemed to have a great impression on each child. They were definitely more interested in the pictures than they had been in the meeting. Their less than reverent voices rang through the very still, grownup filled building. “Aunt Nan,” one voice called out. “What’s that one called?” Skipping down the hall another child shouted out, “I’ve seen that one before! Is that one by Carl Block too?”
Then came the high point of the day when without provocation, several of the children made a beeline toward the sculpture of the Savior, an image of His upper body sitting on a wooden pedestal. “Oh no!” I thought. “Not the statue!” But there was no stopping them. My mother assured me that the statue was well fortified, and my worries turned to awe. The beautiful image of the Lord was just the right size for this batch of little ones. They gently wrapped their arms around His neck. They touched His cheek. They looked in His eyes. They got right up close. There was no arm’s length between these little children and Jesus.
Our Savior said “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” In the grand scheme of things are we not all little children. This was a living breathing picture of what He wants us all to do— Seek Him. Come to Him. Run. Skip. Just come! Don’t hold back. Draw near to Him. Look into His eyes. Love Him. Touch Him, and be touched by Him.
The scriptures also say, “And a little child shall lead them” (2 Nephi 21:6). I left the MTC that day knowing I had been led.
By Nannette W.
Posted May 18, 2014
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