I watched the priests as they took their places at the Sacrament table. They were smiling and talking. I enjoyed their mutual friendliness. I could tell the tall one in the middle was a jokester. Everything from his mop of curly red hair to his Scooby Doo tie to his broad smile indicated that he didn’t take life seriously. “What a goofball,” I laughed to myself.
As the meeting began, all three young men became reverent. I forgot about them, directing my attention to the pulpit. As we sang the Sacrament hymn, I began to watch them again, as I always watch the bread being broken. I bowed my head as the mop of curly red haired boy knelt to pray.
As he said the first two words, I was hit with such power that my head snapped up, eyes wide open. I could not believe what I felt came from the comedian with the Scooby Doo tie. I stared, blown away by the literal power I felt as he prayed.
“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.” -Doctrine and Covenants 20:77.
I wept. [I’m crying now as I remember it.]
That boy sat me at a Sacrament table in the Garden of Gethsemane and then by the cross at Calvary. As he prayed, I felt Jesus’ love for me and everyone else. I was sanctified.
It happened on Fast Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 while I was visiting my friend’s ward in Puyallup, Washington. I remember where I sat. I remember that prayer.
I received that gift through no special personal preparation, expectation, or request. But I learned what the Sacrament can FEEL like and BE like, regardless of how the prayer is said, if I do actually approach the Sacrament prepared and full of the Holy Ghost.
Last Sunday, while deacons passed the Sacrament, I read the chapter I always read during the Sacrament. It helps my rapid-fire, active mind to focus and be still. I’ve read it nearly every Sunday for 25 years.
As I read John 17, I felt spellbound by the words “I pray for them.”
“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them….”
I imagined Him kneeling in Gethsemane, praying for me. I saw Him praying with the Nephites in America, “And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.”
He prayed specifically, and wonderfully, “Father, I thank thee that thou has purified those whom I have chosen, because of their faith, and I pray for them, and also for them who shall believe on their words, that they may be purified in me, through faith on their words, even as they are purified in me. Father, I pray…because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them.”
How is this done!?! There’s so much in these scriptures that my eyes do not see. But the beautiful truths glimmer from the page and seep into the darkness of my understanding, trying to illuminate my mind with the whole possibility. But what I can comprehend is that Jesus prayed for me. And somehow because of His Grace, and His prayer, I can be one with Him and God the Father.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland defined a sacrament as “any one of a number of gestures or acts or ordinances that unite us with God and His limitless powers. We are imperfect and mortal; He is perfect and immortal. But from time to time–indeed, as often as is possible and appropriate–we find ways and go to places and create circumstances where we can unite symbolically with Him, and in so doing gain access to His power. …
These are moments when we quite literally unite our will with God’s will, our spirit with His Spirit, where communion through the veil becomes very real. At such moments we not only acknowledge His divinity, but we quite literally take something of that divinity to ourselves. Such are the holy sacraments.”
There are so many sacraments throughout our lives because the Lord DOES want us to unite with Him and become like Him. He is happy to give us His power. That truth was no more evident than when that priest prayed with God’s almighty power.
Experiences like those at the Sacrament table remind me of how close He truly is if I look for Him. Jesus said, “draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
So, once again…the outcome just depends on my choice.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.
Once again, a wonderful article Delisa!