(This is Part III of a five part series on The Sabbath)
To Go to the House of Prayer and Offer Up Our Sacraments
Elder Perry said, “The Sabbath provides us with a precious opportunity to offer up these—our sacraments—to the Lord.” “Partaking of the sacrament is the center of our Sabbath day observance.” The partaking of the sacrament in our Church meetings should be the most significant event of our Sabbath observance.
“The Sabbath is not a day for indolent lounging about the house or puttering around in the garden, but is a day for consistent attendance at meetings for the worship of the Lord, drinking at the fountain of knowledge and instruction, enjoying the family, and finding uplift in music and song.” You will see this quote again. I really like that President Kimball points out here that the Sabbath isn’t just a day for us to do nothing. I think it is like the Spirit world – we will still be working in the Spirit world, but we will be allowed to rest from care and sorrow. The Sabbath is kind of like that. We still work, but the work is a spiritual work, rather than a temporal work.
The Sabbath is a day for us to worship the Lord, attending meetings and teaching each other and receiving knowledge and instruction. We go to our Church meetings so that we can be instructed in the gospel and most importantly, so we can partake of the sacrament and renew the covenants that we made at baptism. From the Church news article about the three hour block of meetings, one member said, “We thrilled at the opportunity to come to our first meeting of the day (sacrament meeting) fresh, rested, and in a reverent spirit.” That is the kind of spirit we should be having as we come to sacrament meeting – fresh, rested, and reverent.
President Kimball had a few more words to say regarding attendance at Church meetings. “But we do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. It is an individual responsibility, and regardless of what is said from the pulpit, if one wishes to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, he may do so by attending his meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and contemplating the beauties of the gospel. If the service is a failure to you, you have failed. No one can worship for you; you must do your own waiting upon the Lord.”
We have to prepare for our Sunday meetings by reading, studying, and praying, and most importantly by having the right attitude and spirit while we are at our Church meetings. It is not the speaker’s duty to educate, edify, and instruct us. If the speaker is engaging, or the topic particularly relevant to us, or the presentation pleasing, that is fine. But no matter the speaker’s abilities, we can and will receive instruction and edification from the Holy Spirit, who is the true teacher. “You must do your own waiting upon the Lord.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught us how to prepare for sacrament meeting. He reminded us that we are to come to the sacrament table with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. “We are seated well before the meeting begins. ‘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.’” Our attitude toward and our behavior during the ordinance of the sacrament can set the tone for the rest of our Sabbath worship, both in our meetings and in our homes.
Elder Oaks also cautioned against being distracted during the ordinance of the sacrament. “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 cell phones or for texting persons at other locations.” I would have addressed the last comment to “Brothers and Sisters” because the problem is not exclusive to our youth. I have seen members of my own family texting during sacrament meeting, even during the sacred ordinance of the sacrament.
“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.” May we offer up our sacraments and be sincere and serious about the covenants we renew each week in sacrament meeting.
How do you prepare to offer your sacraments to the Lord? Do you find yourself struggling to get something out of sacrament meeting? Do you come to your meetings with an attitude to be taught by the spirit? Or do you rather come to be entertained?