Sunday, May 13, 2007

“This Do in Remembrance of Me” by Elouise Bell

“This Do in Remembrance of Me”

Blinking out into the April brightness
One Sabbath after church,
I heard a Saint expound to a politely listening friend,
“With us, the sacrament is just a symbol.”

“Just a symbol.”
All the sunlong day and starlong night
Those slippery words shadowed me.

True enough: the bread but bread.
Yet the body offered up was real,
Its shattered nerves most verifiable
As pain spiked along the net.

Right enough: the water nothing more
But the shed blood pulsed power-poor,
Streamed swift, then slow, to dry and cake
Down racked arms and flanks.

How pallid the bread when pale the memory.
Yet sweet the nourishment when we his Spirit summon
By rich remembering.

Every symbol has two halves.
But to us falls the matching.
What match we, then, in sacramental token?
What fit we to the water, and the bread?
--Elouise Bell

Mom used this poem in a Seminary lesson one day, and gave us each a copy to keep in our scriptures. I lost mine eventually, and asked her where she'd gotten it so I could use it in a lesson at church. I was very pleased to find out that it had been published in the April 1980 Ensign, since that meant I didn't have to feel bad about using an outside source in my lesson.

What I like best about this poem is the last stanza. It is the best reason for scripture study. Every symbol has two halves--it's up to us to know what those two halves are so that we can properly match them together -- otherwise it's meaningless.

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