A Simple Religion

You’ve probably noticed I’ve not been around much of late. I was fighting off a case of the flu which seemed to be persisting a tad long. I figured it might be a secondary lung infection as I was also having fevers at night. I went to the local Instacare expecting to pick up an antibiotic prescription. Much to my shock, I had an infection but not in my lungs. It was in my heart.

At the emergency room they started doing tests. It turned out a benign mouth bacteria had somehow gotten into my blood and set up shop on my mitral valve. Apparently I had a slight genetic abnormality in the shape of my valve which allowed bacteria to grow there. On the scan of the heart there was a 2 cm growth attached to the valve. The heart valve had also been severely damaged by the bacteria.[1] So I got to spend the next weeks in the hospital with a side of open heart surgery to replace my mitral valve.

All of this is the build up to the actual topic. Church. While I missed all the adventure of combining Elders Quorum with High Priests I did get to take the sacrament. As most of you know various people are called to come to each room in the hospital and administer the sacrament if desired. This is a simple service. Back in my home ward in my youth I’d even done it a few times. Yet as I lay there with more tubes coming out of me than anyone should have to deal with, I realized that was the essence of Church: the sacrament.

I don’t want to say that’s all that Church is. But it’s a big part. I remembered back in my single days doing a big hike with friends in Escalante. We missed a turn on the way back and a 20 mile hike became a bit more. What was supposed to be a fun jaunt and back home Saturday night ended up taking a bit more. We camped in our cars but I wanted to get back in time for sacrament. The next morning I drove everyone who wanted to come to me back to my ward. We arrived at 1:00 wearing dirt encrusted shorts and t-shirts. Sitting in the foyer we took the sacrament.

I’m not sure why, but I always remember that day. Taking the sacrament in the hospital room, it sunk home to me again how simple the gospel was.

1. If you’re curious here’s a video of the valve. The flappy thing on the end of left part of the valve is the biofilm that built up.

10 comments for “A Simple Religion

  1. Clark Goble, I’m sorry you had a run-in with our probabilistic universe that nearly took you out. I missed you, but I’m just an Internet stranger; I’m certain people even closer were doing much more emotional work than missing you.

    I remember you commenting in another conversation a while back that you thought church worship on Sunday was primarily taking the sacrament, and the rest of the block was more social.

    I agreed with you then, and I still agree with that concept now, even though David Green disagreed fairly strongly in another conversation about the personal prices paid by those in the gig economy.

    I echoed the concept, but he argued that the social component was more essential than I was giving it credit. Maybe. I have since been teaching 3rd Sunday in elder’s quorum until the high priests’ integration with the elders last Sunday.

    I’m ok meeting in the “man cave,” as our ward’s high priest meeting room has come to be known.

    But…I lost most of my virtus (model masculine behavior) over the past few years while simultaneously being humbled, made teachable by circumstance, and increasing in personal awareness, understanding, and faith.

    I’m weary of “man” thinking at this point. I’m ready for a gospel less engendered and more personal, and, quite frankly, sacrament fills that gap for me, all due respect to the rest of the sacrament meeting and the block.

  2. I’m glad you’re still with us, brother–and I say that for partly selfish reasons. You’ve been a fountain of knowledge to me–and I hope you’ll be around for a good while yet, continuing to bless us all with your keen insights.

    I have the sacrament administered to me regularly at home. My mental illness has gotten to the point to where it can be, at times, very difficult for me to leave the house. I even had both of my temple recommend interviews at home–even though getting to the temple is very difficult for me right now.

    It’s been a sweet experience to have these things done right in my own living room. The gospel really is a “one size fits all” sort of thing.

  3. Clark, I’m happy you’re well enough to write. I always appreciate your mixture of knowledge, even temperedness, and humility in the comments and posts you make. I hope your recovery is complete and quick.

  4. That is some terrifying stuff Clark. Glad to hear your are on the mend. And yes, the Lord’s Supper.

  5. Correction to my earlier comment: Jonathan Green, not David Green.

    Clark Goble, you may or may not appreciate this, but before I wrote my first comment to your OP, I was musing to myself about King David.

    I may have unconsciously connected the name David to the biblical friend of David in the OT, Jonathan.

    Or maybe sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. :)

  6. I’m doing much better although it still hurts when I cough and don’t get me started on when I sneeze. Starting to go back to work part time. I’ll try and get caught up with all the posts I’m behind on. But it really was fairly recent that I felt comfortable typing. Still it’s less than a month since the surgery so to be doing that much is good. I do a few miles on the treadmills at the hospital every morning hooked up to an EKG and with blood pressure being regularly tested. If I’m managing to get all the rings on my Apple Watch completed each day (setup before I got sick) I guess that’s a good thing. Even if they don’t let me break 120bps in my heart rate. Now if the darn ribs would just hurry up and heal. That’s the worst part of it at this stage. No rock climbing until after July. On the bright side I may get back down to my pre-kids weight after all this although much of that is just loss muscle mass.

  7. Glad to hear you’re doing better. Yeah, I broke a couple of ribs a few years ago–and sneezing was a nightmare. Though, I’m sure–in your case it’s got be like ten times worse than what I went through.

  8. A. I’m sorry. What a rough go.
    B. You’re spot on about that simple beauty.
    C. You get extra credit for calling the vegetation a bacterial biofilm. Strong work.

Comments are closed.