I love Sacrament Meeting. I leave it each week feeling renewed and ready to go. No matter how bad the previous week was, I feel I can go home and do a great job with the life I’ve been given. I’ve always considered it the start of my work week, a starting-over day. As a new member, it took a great deal of experimenting to figure out how to make sure I got the most out of my meetings.
Preparation for this experience begins before I leave the house, however. In fact, it starts the day before. Children often sing in their meetings a song that tells them that Saturday is special because it’s the day to get ready for Sunday. They learn that they should do as much preparation for Sunday as possible on Saturday—cleaning, laying out and preparing clothing, and finishing up anything else that could be a distraction to the worshipful purpose of Sunday.
When the chores are done and the meals for Sunday are planned ahead, and perhaps at least partially prepared, I come to church with far fewer distractions on my mind. I don’t find myself wondering what we’ll eat when we get home if I have dinner in the slow cooker waiting for us. It’s easier to bring the spirit of church home with me if things are reasonably tidy and under control.
Study ahead for the classes you will attend and finish any work for your callings before you go to bed.
Keep Sunday mornings simple. Skip the big breakfast unless it is something you can prepare ahead. Have church bags packed, clothing set out and children scheduled, so they know what to do and when. If you find yourself consistently late, get everyone up a little earlier, testing until you can arrive on time without rushing. Try to find time to pray and read scriptures before you leave.
Setting the mood in the house can also help everyone to arrive with the spirit intact. I find it helpful to be the first one up, so I can have time to prepare my own spirit before trying to guide everyone else to a spiritual beginning. Putting on quiet, spiritual music can remind family members it’s a reverent day and set the tone.
Keep the drive to church peaceful. It’s not the time to scold or lecture, although, of course, gentle reminders about appropriate behavior are appropriate. Instead, choose a gospel topic to discuss as you go to church or play spiritual music.
Once at church, go to your seat early and listen to the prelude music. Read scriptures, contemplate the gospel or study the words of a hymn while you wait for the meeting to begin. By the time the service starts, you will be ready to feel the spirit.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.