"Relief of poverty, relief of illness; relief of doubt, relief of ignorance--relief of all that hinders the joy and progress of a woman."
--John A Widtsoe

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Making our Sacrament more Christ-Centred 1/3

Making our Sacrament more Christ-Centred

Part 1 of 3

Good Morning sisters. What follows in the next few posts is the text from our Relief Society Inspired Message of December 2012. We started our lesson on Sunday, but it is still ongoing, as we are taking the things we've learned here and are applying it to our Sacrament Meetings for the month of December and beyond. Please join us on our Facebook page for further discussions and brainstormings about what we can do to make our Sacrament more Christ-Centred.

"The sacrament is a very sacred ordinance. Partaking of the sacrament provides opportunity to remember the life, teachings, and Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is a time to renew the covenants made with the Lord at the time of baptism (see Mosiah 18:8–10)." (Family Guidebook, (2006), 18–25)

Elder Jeffrey R Holland said, "...every ordinance of the gospel focuses in one way or another on the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ... surely that is why [the Sacrament] with all its symbolism and imagery comes to us more readily and more repeatedly than any other in our life. It comes in what has been called [by President Joseph Fielding Smith], “the most sacred, the most holy, of all the meetings of the Church” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56, 2:340).

"Perhaps we do not always attach that kind of meaning to our weekly sacramental service. How “sacred” and how “holy” is it? Do we see it as our passover, remembrance of our safety and deliverance and redemption?

"With so very much at stake, this ordinance commemorating our escape from the angel of darkness should be taken more seriously than it sometimes is. It should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions." ("This Do in Remembrance of Me" Ensign, Oct 1995)

L Tom Perry stated, "Partaking of the sacrament provides us with a sacred moment in a holy place." ("As Now we Take the Sacrament" Ensign, Apr 2006)

Are we treating the Sacrament as a sacred moment in a holy place? I do not think we are. This needs to change.

Significance of the Ordinance

“And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;

“For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High” (D&C 59:9–10)

Elder Russell M Nelson said: "[Christ] instituted the sacrament to remind us of His Atonement. As a final and specially prepared Passover supper was ending, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to His Apostles, saying, “Take, eat” (Matt. 26:26). “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Then He took the cup, said a blessing of thanks, and passed it to those gathered about Him, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood” (Luke 22:20), “which is shed … for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). “This do … in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do [proclaim] the Lord’s death” (1 Cor. 11:25–26). "

"We commemorate His Atonement in a very personal way. We bring a broken heart and a contrite spirit to our sacrament meeting. It is the highlight of our Sabbath-day observance (see D&C 59:8–13)." ("Worshiping at Sacrament Meeting" Ensign, Aug 2004)

The Covenants We Renew during the Sacrament

We covenant that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. By this we show we are willing to be identified with Him and His Church. We commit to serve Him and our fellowman. We promise that we will not bring shame or reproach upon that name.

We covenant to always remember Jesus Christ. All our thoughts, feelings, and actions will be influenced by Him and His mission.

We promise to keep His commandments.

We take these obligations upon ourselves when we are baptized (see D&C 20:37; Mosiah 18:6–10). Thus, when we partake of the sacrament, we renew those baptismal covenants.

Question: When we are partaking the Sacrament, what are we doing in that moment to be more Christ-Centred?

Please join us for Part 2, which asks several questions regarding our attitude, and Part 3, which contains a summary and further ideas, as developed during the Relief Society meeting the previous Sunday. Your comments, sisters, on our Facebook page are welcome.