Special thanks to Hank Smith for this guest blog post!
Why should I take the Sacrament each week?
I’ll never forget that day in Sacrament meeting. I was in high school and was sitting on the same bench with a family that lived next door to me. They had a daughter about my age and she and I were good friends. Occasionally this girl liked to keep her sacrament cup after the sacrament had been passed; this was one of those days. She had the sacrament cup in her mouth, quietly popping it with her teeth, when she had to cough. When she breathed in, the sacrament cup had nowhere to go but straight down her throat. Her eyes bulged when she realized what happened and she quickly left the meeting with her dad. Fortunately, the cup didn’t cut off her airway completely and after a few tense (and afterwards, funny) moments, she was just fine. The real tragedy of the day was my attitude. I thought to myself, “If only every Sunday could be this cool.” How was it that I had completely missed the true meaning of the Sabbath and the Sacrament week after week?
Read carefully the following quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“…the Atonement of the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh is the …greatest expression of divine love this world has even been given. Its importance in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cannot be overstated. Every other principle, commandment, and virtue of the restored gospel draws its significance from this pivotal event. “ (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 9)
Since the Atonement is the greatest expression of divine love this world has ever been given, then it shouldn’t be a surprise to us that, “the ordinance of the sacrament makes the sacrament meeting the most sacred and important meeting in the Church.” (See Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Nov. 2008 Ensign)
But how can I make sure that Sacrament meeting is a sacred and important meeting to me personally?
I’m going to offer two ways to help:
1. Remember the Savior’s life and Atonement.
2. Remember your baptismal covenants and the role of the Spirit in your life.
First, remember the Savior’s life and Atonement. How you feel about the Atonement is directly related to how we feel about the Sacrament. As the Atonement becomes more and more important to us, the Sacrament will become more important to us also. The question “Why should I take the Sacrament each week?” will change to “Why can’t I take the Sacrament every day?!”
Take a look at the picture and see if you know what it is.
Does it look like a sacrament table to you? Me too. See if you can find that same picture in the picture below:
Does that change how you see the Sacrament table and the emblems of the Savior’s flesh and blood? Me too. Can you see why how you feel about the Atonement is directly related to how you feel about the Sacrament? Read this counsel from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on what you could remember when you partake of the sacrament:
“We could remember Christ’s miracles and his teachings, his healings and his help. We could remember that he gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf and motion to the lame and the maimed and the withered…We could remember that even with such a solemn mission given to him, the Savior found delight in living; he enjoyed people and told his disciples to be of good cheer…On some days we will have cause to remember the unkind treatment he received, the rejection he experienced, and the injustice—oh, the injustice—he endured… To those who stagger or stumble, he is there to steady and strengthen us. In the end he is there to save us, and for all this he gave his life. However dim our days may seem they have been darker for the Savior of the world.” (Ensign, Nov. 1995)
Second, remember the covenants of your baptism and the role of the Holy Ghost in your life.
Think back to the day you were baptized. Think of how the water felt. How you feel about the covenants you made at your baptism is directly related to how you feel about the Sacrament. Read this explanation from Elder David A. Bednar:
“As each of us was baptized, we entered into a solemn covenant with our Heavenly Father…The fundamental conditions of the covenant into which we entered in the waters of baptism are these: we witnessed that we were willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, that we would always remember Him, and that we would keep His commandments. The promised blessing for honoring this covenant is that we may always have His Spirit to be with us (see D&C 20:77)… The Spirit of the Lord can be our guide and will bless us with direction, instruction, and spiritual protection during our mortal journey.” (Ensign, May 2006)
As the role of the Spirit in your life becomes more and more important to you, the sacrament will become more important to you also. I testify that the Spirit really does guide, direct, instruct, and protect us.
I don’t know about you, but I really hate sin. I hate how sinning makes me feel inside. Occasionally, a student will comment to me, “I wish I could be baptized again. It would be nice to feel that clean again.” Mark these lines in your own copy of True to the Faith (p. 148):
You receive great blessings when you keep the baptismal covenant. As you renew it, the Lord renews the promised remission of your sins… If you approach the sacrament with the reverence and solemnity it deserves, it becomes a weekly opportunity for introspection, repentance, and rededication – a source of strength and a constant reminder of the Savior’s Atonement.
Isn’t that wonderful! You can feel that clean again each and every week.
Lastly, how we behave during the Sacrament makes a big difference in how sacred and important it is to us. Read this advice from Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
During sacrament meeting—and especially during the sacrament service—we should concentrate on worship and refrain from all other activities. Young people, it is not a time for whispered conversations on cell 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. (Nov. 2008 Ensign)
As you partake of the sacrament, if you’ll concentrate on remembering the Savior’s Atonement, your covenants, and the role of the Holy Ghost in your life, you are going to feel the promised strength come into your life. It really will become your favorite part of the week!