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Lucky, blessed mom of four, wife of one. Its the best day ever!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday Talks

Since we moved into our new ward we were asked to speak this past Sunday. Our topic was the sacrament as we read about it in 3 Nephi 18. Here is my talk as I wrote it.
Introduce family. Moved in Oct 24th. 12th Sunday in the ward, so far really like it

Before Christmas, I read a blog post by a lady I only know online. Her name is Sister Killian. Her words were very meaningful to me then, and they are again now as I was asked to prepare this talk on the sacrament. Here is what some of the blog post said:

Tradition: Part of the Blessings of Motherhood
It is this idea of traditions bringing us closer to our Heavenly Father that really stood out to me. When we were asked to talk on the sacrament, I wanted to focus on the fact that the sacrament is very traditional. By participating in this tradition, we draw nearer to Him, remember Him, and in turn are blessed to always have His Spirit with us.
On the night before His Crucifixion, Jesus Christ met with His Apostles and instituted the sacrament. In Luke 22:19–20 we read:

19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

It is in this same order that we now partake of the sacrament, first the bread and then the water.

The exact words of the sacrament prayer are not given at this time in the New Testament like we have them in the Doctrine and Covenants, but after His Resurrection, we know He went to the Nephites to teach them and minister to them. One of the many great and important things he did while visiting the Nephites was to institute the sacrament among the Nephites. It is after the same manner that he taught the Nephites, that we now use for our sacrament.

We read about this ordinance in 3 Nephi 18.

First he commanded his Disciples to bring him bread and wine and he had those in attendance sit around Him. Then he blessed the bread, gave it to the disciples, and had the disciples give the bread to the multitude.

Then he taught them that there would be some ordained to administer this ordinance among them, “Unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name.” And he tells them to do it in the way He has shown them.

Then in verse 7 he teaches, “And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.”

This is slightly different from the Last Supper when it is recorded in the New Testament as “This is my body.” We do not believe that the bread and water are Christ’s actual body and blood, but an emblem to help us remember Him.

Then continuing in 3 Nephi 18:8 and 9 they repeat the same steps with the wine. When they had finished administering the sacrament, Jesus said in v10 and 11,

“Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you.
11 And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.”

It is in this same manner that we partake of the sacrament today. Our partaking of the bread and water is fulfilling His command to always remember Him and His atoning sacrifice. This ordinance is also a witness unto the Father that we are willing to do that which He has commanded us. In taking the sacrament we are entering into the covenant with our Heavenly Father, and we are promised that the Lord’s Spirit will be with us as was promised to the Nephites.

This ordinance is an essential part of our worship and spiritual development. Through this ordinance, we also renew the covenants we made with God when we were baptized.

The prayers said in exactness each time the bread and water are blessed formalize language used by the resurrected Savior when he visited the Americas.

It is by adhering to this tradition that we walk in His way, and draw nearer to Him. When we keep this tradition of the sacrament with our families, we grow even stronger together.
My mom has often related a story to me about a young man in our ward that was blessing the sacrament and having an extremely hard time getting through the prayer without messing up. I know you can probably remember a time when you listened as a young man struggled through giving the prayer with the exactness that is required. It can get uncomfortable and you hope the young man isn’t feeling too embarrassed. You really start to feel for them and hope that they can just get it right. In this particular case though, my mom found herself listening more intently each time, really hearing the words of the prayer and taking them in. In listening to the words and really taking them in, the prayers became more meaningful to her and she really heard them, instead of just letting the familiar words wash past her. After what seemed like at least 10 attempts, the young priest finally slowed down, concentrated on each and every word, and got it all out without error. I think everyone in that congregation had a new love for the sacrament prayers and for the tradition of saying those prayers with such exactness. You could definitely hear it in the young priest’s voice.

Now, we must not just listen to the prayers and just partake of the sacrament. But we must also do as the Nephites did and follow the doctrine of Christ, which is to believe in Jesus, rely on him, repent of our sins, take his name upon us by being baptized in his church, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and faithfully follow Christ all of our lives. Taking the sacrament is an outward action that reminds us of all we have committed to do.
We must also be worthy to do so. Elder Groberg shared a story once of the importance of being worth to partake of the sacrament. I’d like to share that story now.
Some years ago, a young couple we will call the Joneses visited with their bishop about a problem the wife had. The details are not important, but through the direction of the Spirit, the bishop’s decision was that, among other things, Sister Jones would not partake of the sacrament for a period of time while she worked out some attitudes and problems.
With lots of love and support, she continued to attend meetings with her family, and few but her husband and the bishop were aware of the situation or even noticed that week after week she did not partake of the sacrament. At first she didn’t feel much difference; but as time went on, she became more and more desirous to be worthy to partake of the sacrament. She thought she had repented before, but as the real soul-searching deepened and as her desire to worthily partake of the sacrament increased, true fundamental changes began to take place in her life and in her actions and in her thinking.
More time passed. Finally, during one sacrament meeting, the Spirit bore witness to the bishop and to Brother and Sister Jones that the time had come for her to again partake of the sacrament. “Next Sunday,” the bishop said.
Next Sunday came, and Sister Jones sat again with her family, nervous, yet excited and full of anticipation. “Am I really worthy? How I want to be!” she thought. The sacrament hymn was more meaningful than ever. She sang with such feeling that it was difficult to hold back the tears. And the sacrament prayers—how profound! She listened so intently that every word sank deep into her soul—to take his name, always remember him, keep his commandments, always have his Spirit. (See D&C 20:77, 79.) “Oh, how I desire this,” she thought.
The deacons began to move up and down the aisles, and the trays were passed from person to person across the rows. As one young deacon got closer and closer to her row, her heart began to pound harder and harder. Then the tray was coming down her very row. Now her husband was holding the tray in front of her! Tears streamed down her face. There was a barely audible sob of joy, “Oh!” as she reached for the emblem of the Lord’s love for her. The congregation did not hear the sob, but they did notice the tears in the bishop’s eyes.
Life and hope and forgiveness and spiritual strength had been given and received. No one could be more worthy. Sister Jones truly wanted to have his Spirit. She wanted to take his name upon her. With all her heart, she wanted to remember him and keep his commandments. She wanted to repent, to improve, and to follow the guidance of his Spirit.

It is my prayer that we all want to take the sacrament worthily. We will want to listen to the exactness of the prayers and that we will want to teach this tradition to our children.
In closing I would like to leave you with one quote I found online on lds.org. It is this:
“The Sacrament prayers invite personal introspection, repentance, and rededication, yet they are also communal, binding individuals into congregations who jointly and publicly attest to their willingness to remember Christ. This shared commitment to become like Christ, repeated weekly, defines the supreme aspiration of Latter-day Saint life.”

I hope as a ward we can feel this communal bonding every week as we draw closer together in upholding the traditions of the sacrament as taught by our resurrected Savior to the Nephites.

I have a strong testimony that the sacrament does have the power to draw us together with our Savior, with our families, and together as a ward. By partaking in the ordinance of the sacrament, we will “come unto Christ and be perfected in him”


Friday, January 8, 2010

The Las Vegas Bowl

I forgot to post these pictures, but I think you can tell just how cold it was at the Las Vegas Bowl! It was fun though, and BYU did win.

The Haircuts

The Before

and The Afters