Every child of God is entitled to experience “hosanna” moments, when the manifestations of the Spirit prompts mantic celebration.
This speech was given June 29, 1993.
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"I’d like to begin my invasion of your souls this morning by wrenching a bit Elder William W. Phelps’ lyrics of the hymn we just sang, written at the dawning of the Restoration as the Spirit of God had just begun “to come forth” with latter-day, brand-new dispensational intensity:
The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
His latter-day glory pours everywhere forth;
His Spirit and blessings are manifest daily,
And angels commune with his children on earth.
I wish to celebrate this morning the reality of the often ignored and too little heralded but very real outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the believing inhabitants of earth—right now, this morning, in the early evening of the last dispensation. I hope that when I get through this morning we might all leave this meeting with our eternal perspective refurbished and revitalized, and sharing the jubilation of Elder Phelps’ chorus,
We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!2
II. The Example of Sister Olsen
Many of you know what I am talking about when I talk of “hosanna moments,” those transcendent moments in our lives when, without warning, we are overwhelmed by a close encounter with eternity, a surprise of the spirit—those moments when, while engaged in the temporal rhythms of our daily and earth- encrusted lives, comfortably duped by familiar routines, we are suddenly brought face-to-face with the holy, swept by the Spirit of God into a transcendent reality, overwhelmed by undeniable evidence of a literal Father in Heaven who knows you and knows me and is somehow interested and involved in our lives. The “We’ll-Sing-and-We’ll-Shout” moment is that moment when our God, Brother-of-Jared-ing us, reaches his hand through the veil to startle our sensibilities, to reassure, to comfort, to guide, to prod, to change our course. Then our spirits soar, our souls are renewed, and we can never really be the same again.
It is my experience that, in one way or another, these glimpses of eternity come to most of us. Nudging us toward our destiny, his welcome and too-infrequent interventions shout to our souls that our Heavenly Father lives! That his purpose is to bring to pass our “immortality and eternal life” (Moses 1:39); that we “live our lives in the eye of God, and not at the periphery but at the center of His vision” ;3 and that our God “is everywhere present,” as Brigham Young told us, “by the power of His Spirit—His minister the Holy Ghost” (JD 11:41).
The surprise of the Spirit that quickened the life of a young Swedish woman more than twenty years ago illustrates and exemplifies the pattern I am fumbling to describe. Naming her story for you makes it resonate once more in my soul, for it is pure and simple truth.
Sister Ingrid Olsen (not her real name) was a recently divorced mother of a young son and was almost as recently a convert to the Church. The divorce had alienated Ingrid from part of her family, and her conversion to Mormonism had alienated her from her friends. The resulting personal anguish had dampened her initial joy in joining the Church. She felt alone and abandoned and overwhelmed before an uncertain future. In the midst of such turmoil, her prayers seemed futile, and what had initially been a time of spiritual refreshing had become a season of despair.
Bewildered by it all, she welcomed one afternoon the opportunity to visit a cousin in a neighboring village, nearly ninety minutes away by bicycle. She planned to devote the trip to prayer, hoping to receive some indication that her Heavenly Father understood her plight and would give her some needed direction and solace. As she rode her bicycle toward her destination, she was miserably aware that the darkening day and threatening clouds matched her own darkened spirits, and she felt that her prayers were rebounding, unheard and unanswered, from the leaden heavens.
In this state of mind, Ingrid at length reached the distant village and made her visit. Starting on her return trip, she rode her bicycle up a long incline in the face of an increasingly strong wind before which she could hardly make progress."