In my youth I remember riding my bike to the nearest church. The denomination did not seem to matter to my child’s heart; I just needed to be at church on the Sabbath day. Since becoming a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my attendance at sacrament meeting and partaking of the sacrament have become essential to my Sunday worship experiences.
I have been privileged to participate in the sacrament ordinance in large wards, with small groups, in a hospital, and in my home. I have often arranged my travels to be in a place where the sacrament was offered. No matter the place or the number in attendance, the opportunity to partake of the bread and water symbolizing the body and blood of Jesus Christ is an intimate interaction to feel heavenly peace, receive strength, and find comfort.
As Elder Claudio D. Zivic testifies: “Partaking of the sacrament is the most important thing we do on the Sabbath day. The Lord explained this ordinance to His Apostles just before He died. He did the same on the American continent. He tells us that if we participate in this ordinance, it will be a testimony to the Father that we always remember Him, and He promises that, accordingly, we will have His Spirit to be with us” (“He That Shall Endure unto the End, the Same Shall Be Saved,” Ensign, May 2018).
Moroni’s Final Bequest
Moroni hid from the wicked Lamanites who were hunting him. He wrote, “I have not yet perished” (Moroni 1:1), suggesting that he is surprised to have survived. Yet in the midst of many dangers, he was determined to “write a few more things” (Moroni 1:4). He decided to record the concluding words in the Book of Mormon that would be of most value for future generations.
Moroni begins by writing about ordinances: conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 2), ordaining priests and teachers (Moroni 3), and administering the sacrament (Moroni 4-5). He chose to share ways to endure, to thrive, to survive all kinds of adversity through the saving power of priesthood ordinances.
As I liken the scriptures to myself, I wonder what the sacrament was like for Moroni? Even though he was alone, the blessings he received from the sacrament must have strengthened and inspired him. This ordinance is a critical part of the covenant path that guides the way to the power of God.
Saved by the Hand of Christ
One way is to ponder an idea taught by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “partaking of the emblems of the Lord’s supper … [is] one of many such moments when we formally take the hand of God and feel His divine power” (“Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments” [Brigham Young University devotional, Jan. 12, 1988]; speeches.byu.ed).
Elder Holland’s words bring vivid images to mind. I see the hand of Jesus extended towards Peter as he begins to sink into the sea.
As the sacrament tray is extended to me, I visualize the Saviour’s hand reaching toward me. Partaking of the bread and water are sacred moments when I can feel the power of God and can be filled with His Spirit. I, an imperfect being, am united with God.
On one occasion when I was a hospital patient, I waited with great anticipation for the sacrament. It was so quiet that I could hear the elder move from room to room administering the sacrament. The hospital felt like a sacred place. When the elder reached my room, he knelt on the hospital floor as he said the sacramental prayers. This was a powerful spiritual experience that filled me with hope, peace, and renewal. I felt as though I were the woman who received healing as she touched the hem of the Saviour’s clothing.
Applying the Words of the Sacrament Prayers
Another strategy that helps me is to think of the word “I” where requests and covenants are made as sacrament prayers are spoken. This helps my mind focus on the sacramental covenants and promises.
Elder Dale G. Renlund noted an idea President Russell M. Nelson shared after partaking of the sacrament during a June 2019 leadership seminar: “A thought has occurred to me that my making a covenant today is a lot more important than the message that I have prepared. I made a covenant as I partook of the sacrament that I would be willing to take upon me the name of Jesus Christ and that I am willing to obey His commandments. Often, I hear the expression that we partake of the sacrament to renew covenants made at baptism. While that’s true, it’s much more than that. I’ve made a new covenant. You have made new covenants. … Now in return for which He makes the statement that we will always have His Spirit to be with us. What a blessing!’” (“Unwavering Commitment to Jesus Christ”, Ensign, Nov. 2019, see footnote #18).
President Nelson’s insight teaches that the gospel can be a living breathing entity in life. Each time I partake of the sacrament, I choose to make a new covenant to take His name upon me, to remember Him, and to keep His commandments (Moroni 4:3).
Blessed Even When Challenged
I presently live with medical conditions that make it difficult to swallow even the smallest portions of food or water, often causing me to leave sacrament meetings. Partaking of the sacrament has become a challenge. Thankfully, my kind and understanding bishop sends priesthood holders each week to administer the sacrament in my home. Because of the quarantine restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am also able to view online broadcasts of sacrament meetings. These are special blessings from a loving Heavenly Father.
Partaking of the sacrament provides each person with opportunities to make new commitments to serve the Lord. The blessings of the sacrament can fortify, strengthen, and unite hearts to the Savior. Through the sacred sacrament ordinance all can be enabled to #HearHim.