Brian is such a sweetie! Not only did he get me my favorite flower at school on Valentines Day (Gerber Daisy!), he also surprised me by making me this awesome snack bouquet! After going to court, this just totally brightened my day! He said he did it because I'm always on the run and never have any food... it will be the gift that keeps giving! I love him!... and not just because he gave me this bouquet haha. Hope everyone had a great V-Day!
I also had the amazing opportunity to speak in church about the sacrament on Sunday. I really do love speaking. Here is the rough draft for my talk (I wrote it out just to organize my thoughts but then didn't even really follow it - I hope that means I followed the Spirit and said what God wanted me to!). I do love and appreciate the sacrament though. What a great thing! Yay for church. Sorry these notes are a little scattered... but I hope you get the idea!
So much I still don’t understand – but I am learning how to make it more personally meaningful.
How to make the sacrament a more personal experience. Interestingly enough, one of the first things that came to my mind when Brother Westfall told me that was going to be the topic was the word “delicious”. I’ll tell you why. When I was a missionary I had a lot of different experiences with the sacrament. I saw people who really understood the importance and sacredness of the sacrament and those who… did not. That brings me to the word “delicious.” We had some new investigators came with us to church one day. We had taught them about what to expect at church, but it soon became apparent that we had not prepared them well for the most important part of the meeting – the sacrament. The bread came around and the wife looked at the bread excitedly, took a piece, put it in her mouth and said, “mmmmm! DELICIOUS!” And this was not in a quiet, church voice either. I start wondering where we went wrong in our preparing her for church when I see her take another piece… and another piece…. And pass it on.
Now, maybe she was hungry and maybe the bread did taste really good, but I remember that it made me stop and really reflect on what attitude I brought to the sacrament. How did I treat the sacrament? Was it just a mid-meeting snack or was I truly making it a spiritual feast? Was I making it personal to me? I remember another girl I worked with on my mission who took the sacrament so seriously. She was so excited for the Sunday after her baptism because she got to renew her covenants. I remember sitting on her row, watching from the corner of my eye as she listened carefully to the sacrament prayers, said prayers of her own, and reverently took the bread all the while pondering what it represented. What a joyful moment for her! The sacrament was really “delicious” for her – it was delicious to her spirit.
So, I would like us all to just take a moment of reflection and think about today. A few minutes ago… What did you think about today as you took the little piece of bread and tiny cup of water? Did you think about how to improve from the past week? Did you think about repentance? Did you think about your baptismal covenants? Did you think about Christ?
TESTIFY ABOUT JOY.
I believe that the sacrament can be a truly joyful event. One of my favorite parts about the gospel is that it is focused on progression and on helping us be happy. We are happiest when we are closest to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We are happiest when we are clean from sin.
Mosiah 4: 10-12 – King Benjamin
It is SO GREAT that we get to renew our baptismal covenants weekly. We renew our baptismal covenants – to remember Christ, to keep the commandments, and take Christ’s name upon us. In return, we will have the Holy Ghost and the promise of comfort and guidance that comes along with that. I would like to focus on two things for the remainder of my talk. Two ways that I get the greatest joy out of those short 10-15 minutes of sacrament meeting is to use that time to think about first, my promise to stand by Christ. And second, His promise to stand by me.
– to stand by Him. How do we use our precious moments during the sacrament to better stand by Christ. To be His disciple.
– What does it mean to stand by Christ? To follow His teachings? Obey His commandments? Defend His name? To remember Him?
– "In the simple and beautiful language of the sacramental prayers those young priests offer, the principal word we hear seems to be remember." Jeffrey R. Holland, "“This Do in Remembrance of Me”", Ensign, Nov. 1995, 67
– I think that is all part of it. How we decide to follow Christ is very individual and unique to us. We know if we are following Him. Taking the sacrament is a public way to express our desire to follow Him even better. Every week we get to recognize that we aren’t perfect, that we need His help, and that we are willing to change.
"Now is the time to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, which means accepting His invitation to 'come, follow me' (Luke 18:22). This is the decision we made in our premortal lives. Now we must make it again here in mortality, every day, in every situation by taking the Savior's name upon us, remembering His atoning sacrifice, and keeping His commandments. This we covenanted to do when we were baptized, and we have the opportunity to renew those covenants each week as we partake of the sacrament." - Robert D. Hales
I know that we will be happier if we can weekly evaluate what kind of disciple we are being for Christ. The closer we are to Him, the closer He is to us. It’s interesting how that works, huh?
Lately I have found great comfort in the sacrament. As long as I take the sacrament and try my best to do my part, I can be confident that I am never alone.
This period of our lives is interesting. To say the least. We have decisions, trials, new adventures, and self discovery. The sacrament reminds me that I am not alone in all of this.
It is a reminder of the atonement.
… because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: “I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].”
The sacrament is a reminder of God’s mercy and our potential. We are reminded every week that we can be happier, better, more full of the spirit if we let Christ change us.No institution, plan, program, or system ever conceived by men has access to the redeeming and transforming power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, while the Lord’s invitation to follow Him is the highest of all, it is also achievable by everyone, not because we are able, but because He is, and because He can make us able too. “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind [everyone, living and dead] may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” 20
The Lord’s way is not hard. Life is hard, not the gospel. “There is an opposition in all things,” 21 everywhere, for everyone. Life is hard for all of us, but life is also simple. We have only two choices. 22 We can either follow the Lord and be endowed with His power and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love, and joy, or we can go some other way, any other way, whatever other way, and go it alone—without His support, without His power, without guidance, in darkness, turmoil, doubt, grief, and despair. And I ask, which way is easier?
He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; … and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 23
Life is hard, but life is simple. Get on the path and never, ever give up. You never give up. You just keep on going. You don’t quit, and you will make it.
There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. Jesus Christ is the Way.
Evidence of the Atonement
"If you have felt the influence of the Holy Ghost today, you may take it as evidence that the Atonement is working in your life. For that reason and many others, you would do well to put yourself in places and in tasks that invite the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost works both ways: the Holy Ghost only dwells in a clean temple, and the reception of the Holy Ghost cleanses us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. You can pray with faith to know what to do to be cleansed and thus qualified for the companionship of the Holy Ghost and the service of the Lord. And with that companionship you will be strengthened against temptation and empowered to detect deception."
Henry B. Eyring, "Gifts of the Spirit for Hard Times," Ensign, June 2007, 23