"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 2/3

Our Attitude When Partaking of the Sacrament

Part 2 of 3

1. Before partaking of the sacrament, we are to prepare ourselves spiritually.

"During the sacrament service we should dismiss from our minds all worldly thoughts. We should feel prayerful and reverent. We should think of the Atonement of our Savior and be grateful for it. We should examine our lives and look for ways to improve. We should also renew our determination to keep the commandments." (Gospel Principles, Ch 23: The Sacrament)

Question: What should be going through our minds during the Sacrament time?

2. Elder Russell M. Nelson said, "Those participating [in a Sacrament Meeting] should be seated at least five minutes before the meeting begins so they can be spiritually prepared for a worshipful experience. During that quiet interval, prelude music is subdued. This is not a time for conversation or transmission of messages but a period of prayerful meditation as leaders and members prepare spiritually for the sacrament." ("Worshiping at Sacrament Meeting" Ensign, Aug 2004)

Question: How can I prepare spiritually at the beginning of Sacrament Meeting?

3. Elder L Tom Perry said, "The sacrament is one of the most sacred ordinances in the Church. Partaking of the sacrament worthily gives us an opportunity for spiritual growth.

"I remember that when I was a child, beautiful music was played during the passing of the sacrament. The Brethren soon asked us to stop that practice because our minds were centered on the music rather than on the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior. During the administration of the sacrament, we set aside the world. It is a period of spiritual renewal as we recognize the deep spiritual significance of the ordinance offered to each of us personally. If we were to become casual in partaking of the sacrament, we would lose the opportunity for spiritual growth." ("As Now we Take the Sacrament" Ensign, Apr 2006)

Question: What can you do to centre your mind on the Sacrament?

4. Elder Russell M Nelson said, "Each member of the Church bears responsibility for the spiritual enrichment that can come from a sacrament meeting.... We personally ponder the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We reflect upon the significance of His suffering at Gethsemane and His Crucifixion on Calvary. At this time, each of us is to “examine himself” (1 Cor. 11:28) and reflect upon personal covenants made with the Lord. At this time, we meditate upon the sacred things of God." ("Worshiping at Sacrament Meeting" Ensign, Aug 2004)

Presiden David O. McKay said, "I believe the short period of administering the sacrament is one of the best opportunities we have for . . . meditation, and there should be nothing during that sacred period to distract our attention from the purpose of that ordinance. . . . We [must] surround this sacred ordinance with more reverence, with perfect order, that each one who comes to the house of God may meditate upon his goodness and silently and prayerfully express appreciation for God's goodness. Let the sacrament hour be one experience of the day in which the worshiper tries at least to realize within himself that it is possible for him to commune with his God" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, p. 35-36).

Question: How do I meditate upon the sacred things of God during the Sacrament?

5. Elder Dallin H Oaks said, "During sacrament meeting—and especially during the sacrament service—we should concentrate on worship and refrain from all other activities, especially from behavior that could interfere with the worship of others.... Sacrament meeting is not a time for reading books or magazines. Young people, it is not a time for whispered conversations on [mobile] phones or for texting persons at other locations. When we partake of the sacrament, we make a sacred covenant that we will always remember the Savior. How sad to see persons obviously violating that covenant in the very meeting where they are making it." ("Sacrament Meeting and the Sacrament" Ensign, October 2008)

Question: How can I help my youth and children to focus on things of Christ during the Sacrament service?

6. Jeffrey R Holland recommends, "The administration and passing of the sacrament is preceded by a hymn which all of us should sing. It doesn’t matter what kind of musical voice we have. Sacramental hymns are more like prayers anyway—and everyone can give voice to a prayer!

"It is an important element of our worship to unite in such lyrical and moving expressions of gratitude.

"In the simple and beautiful language of the sacramental prayers [our] young priests offer, the principal word we hear seems to be remember.

"If remembering is the principal task before us, what might come to our memory when those plain and precious emblems are offered to us?" ("This Do in Remembrance of Me" Ensign, Oct 1995)

Question: How can we better invoke our memory and remember?

Please join us for Part 1, which summarises the importance of the Sacrament, 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.