Talk on the Sacrament on July 17th 2016:
I hope I don't break the spirit of the meeting by saying this but I know that churches are Pokemon gyms so I hope you'll let your Pokemon take a water break and listen, hopefully the spirit will get a chance to teach you something he wants you to know.
Some of my earliest memories of the Sacrament are those of my mother leaning over and whispering in my little ear after she gave me the bread or water, quietly explaining what we were doing. I remember also being impressed as to the sacrament's importance from a very young age because I would sometimes try to talk to my mom during the ordinance but she would ignore me and keep her head bowed and eyes closed. When she would whisper to me I remember that she would say things like "right now we are doing something very special Eliza. It's called the Sacrament. We must be very still and quiet when we do this. When we hear the young men pray over the bread and water we must listen very carefully. We must think about Jesus and say prayers in our hearts thanking our father in heaven for sending Him to us so that we can have a chance at going back home to Him. We must say we are sorry to Heavenly Father for the things we did wrong or that could have done better at during the week. We must think about Jesus Christ and promise him that because we love him we will always remember him and keep his commandments so we can have His spirit to be with us. "
I'll always be thankful for my parents for instilling in my little young heart a love for the Savior and His atoning sacrifice that's lasted until today. The sacrament for me has become a time of reflection and holiness that I look forward to and prepare for during the week. I know that every week there are many things I need to ask forgiveness for and change, and knowing Christ knows how I feel through it all is an incredible blessing and strength to me. Simply having the priceless gift of being able to participate in the sacrament at all humbles and fills me with joy and hope.
As the world gets ever more loud, scary and irreverent, we are blessed while young single adults to have this ward where it is a little bit extra quiet during the ordinance of the sacrament. It is a perfect (and probably one of the few) opportunities we have during the week to take advantage of stillness, peace, and reverence to focus solely on Christ and the sacrifice he offered for us. They taught us in primary that being reverent is sitting quietly, and now for us it is not only sitting quietly but also being reverent in our minds and hearts. By having our phones turned off (or to the scriptures) and willingly giving Christ some of our time that he greatly deserves, in the end is for our own benefit.
In last October's general conference Elder Costa emphasized an important aspect of the sacrament. He said "The sacrament is a time for Heavenly Father to teach us about the Atonement of His Beloved Son--our Savior, Jesus Christ--and for us to receive revelation about it. It is a time to “knock, and it shall be opened unto you,” to request and to receive this knowledge. It is time for us to reverently ask God for this knowledge. And if we do, I have no doubt that we will receive this knowledge, which will bless our lives beyond measure." While pondering the meaning of the sacrament Elder Costa also said "My soul was filled by an overwhelming desire to be a better person. In repentance and sorrow, I fervently wished to be able to dry and avoid the spilling of at least a few drops of His blood shed in Gethsemane."
I want to read kind of a big chunk from 3rd nephi 18 and discuss what we can learn from the Savior about the sacrament. You're welcome to read along starting in verse 1:
1And it came to pass that Jesus commanded his disciples that they should bring forth some bread and wine unto him. Of course we now use water :)
2 And while they were gone for bread and wine, he commanded the multitude that they should sit themselves down upon the earth.
3 And when the disciples had come with bread and wine, he took of the bread and brake and blessed it; and he gave unto the disciples and commanded that they should eat.
4 And when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude.
5 And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name.
6 And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you.
7 And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.
8 And it came to pass that when he said these words, he commanded his disciples that they should take of the wine of the cup and drink of it, and that they should also give unto the multitude that they might drink of it.
9 And it came to pass that they did so, and did drink of it and were filled; and they gave unto the multitude, and they did drink, and they were filled.
10 And when the disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you.
11 And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.
I think it's very special and important to read Christ's words directly to know what He originally taught about the sacrament. He wants us to have the blessing of having his spirit with us, and showing him by our taking the sacrament that we are willing to and are going to keep his commandments.
In my favorite hymn, reverently and meekly now, verse two speaks of the sacrament in a beautiful way.
In this bread now blest for thee,
Emblem of my body see;
In this water or this wine,
Emblem of my blood divine.
Oh, remember what was done
That the sinner might be won.
On the cross of Calvary
I have suffered death for thee.
I know the sacrament is so important for us to participate in and to be worthy of as we need it to renew our baptismal covenants. We aren't rebaptized each week but by taking the sacrament that's essentially what we are doing.
Verse four of that same hymn kind of reminds me of why we take the sacrament and live all of the gospel at all: it says:
At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.
I love the savior and his example and I hope some day to truly comprehend and appreciate everything that the lord did for me and all of us. I love his gospel and for the opportunity to be clean again every week and to never have any sins that are more than a week old.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.