Have you ever heard of Sundayitis?
It’s a thing.
Not to throw my dad under the bus, but he got it quite frequently. Every seventh day to be exact.
You might know the symptoms: a touch of laziness, accompanied by perfect health, that somehow turns into an imaginary illness which prevents you from going to church.
I think many suffer from Sundayitis, but hopefully after learning of this man, they find the cure.
This is Amos Abplanalp.
Amos passed away after battling Stage 4 colon cancer for over a year and a half. Up until a month before his passing, he was Bishop Abplanalp to those of his congregation in Florence, Arizona.
During the last six months of his service as bishop, Amos had all the reason in the world to skip every Sacrament, Priesthood, Leadership, and Ward Council Meeting there was, but he rarely did. Amos wanted to be faithful to his calling and his wife, Hillary, knew the Lord would care for them as they put their best foot forward.
In fact, Amos felt strongly that as bishop he needed to be the one to teach Mission Prep. One Sunday evening he was in so much pain he asked his wife to call everyone to cancel the class. She told him that they wouldn’t need to because he would be given the strength and ability to do what God had asked him to do.
He faithfully agreed and painfully greeted the young pre-missionaries who came to the door. From the moment of the opening prayer to the end of the closing prayer that night he felt no pain and was able to direct a powerful lesson. The moment the closing prayer ended, his pain returned.
On another occasion during a particularly rough week of chemotherapy treatment, Amos was feeling very weak and ill. At one point during Sacrament Meeting he had to leave the stand to go into the bathroom and vomit because of his weakened state.
Bishop Abplanalp gained the love and respect of his ward members because of his diligence and humility
One night Amos had some temple recommended interviews that had to be held in his bedroom which had been converted to a hospital room. He told those who would be coming for interviews that they didn’t need to dress up since he wasn’t. They did anyway. They loved their Bishop and honored his mantle of leadership.
When Amos was released as bishop, he spoke to the members of his congregation in sacrament meeting from his hospital bed over the stake president’s cell phone that was held up to the microphone. I can only imagine the impact that talk had upon those ward members.
A few months ago I woke up with Sundayitis. I was sure that I was feeling something that would prevent me from attending church. I was going to stay home.
But I couldn’t.
As I stood up and looked in the mirror, I thought of Amos – a man who was battling cancer and made no excuses to skip church. I could not in good conscience act like I was sick when I knew Bishop Abplanalp would be silently and faithfully suffering on the stand.
Since that time, there have been other occasions where I’ve thought of Amos on a Sunday morning, and I’m sure I’ll be thinking of him again in the future. When I do, I’m going to stop pretending like I’m sick, put a smile on my face, and be glad that I’m alive and have the freedom to worship.
The next time you wake up Sunday morning in full health with an invented illness, do the same.
Think of Amos.
Get on your Sunday best, thank God that you are alive, grab the keys, and go to church.