- Since that upper room experience on the eve of Gethsemane and Golgotha, children of the promise have been under covenant to remember Christ’s sacrifice in this newer, higher, more holy and personal way.
He explains in simple terms what the Saviors sacrifice did for each one of us.
- The Savior’s physical suffering guarantees that through his mercy and grace every member of the human family shall be freed from the bonds of death and be resurrected triumphantly from the grave. Of course the time of that resurrection and the degree of exaltation it leads to are based upon our faithfulness.
He reminds us that every ordinance in the church leads us to the Savior's atonement for us.
- Every ordinance of the gospel focuses in one way or another on the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, and surely that is why this particular ordinance with all its symbolism and imagery comes to us more readily and more repeatedly than any other in our life. It comes in what has been called “the most sacred, the most holy, of all the meetings of the Church”.
He provides guidance on how sacrament time should be conducted. This sacred few minutes is the pinnacle of our worship. We need to make it a sacred experience.
- With so very much at stake, this ordinance commemorating our escape from the angel of darkness should be taken more seriously than it sometimes is. It should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions. As such it should not be rushed. It is not something to “get over” so that the real purpose of a sacrament meeting can be pursued. This is the real purpose of the meeting. And everything that is said or sung or prayed in those services should be consistent with the grandeur of this sacred ordinance.
Elder Holland gives us suggestions on things that we can think about while we partake of the sacrament. This is a long list but gives us plenty of ideas on things that we can do to focus our thoughts and minds on the Savior and his sacrifice for each of us. I have come to realize that this list can make the sacrifice the Savior has made personal in each of our lives.
- We could remember the Savior’s premortal life and all that we know him to have done as the great Jehovah, creator of heaven and earth and all things that in them are.
- We could remember that even in the Grand Council of Heaven he loved us and was wonderfully strong, that we triumphed even there by the power of Christ and our faith in the blood of the Lamb.
- We could remember the simple grandeur of his mortal birth to just a young woman, one probably in the age range of those in our Young Women organization, who spoke for every faithful woman in every dispensation of time when she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word”.
- We could remember his magnificent but virtually unknown foster father, a humble carpenter by trade who taught us, among other things, that quiet, plain, unpretentious people have moved this majestic work forward from the very beginning, and still do so today. If you are serving almost anonymously, please know that so, too, did one of the best men who has ever lived on this earth.
- We could remember Christ’s miracles and his teachings, his healings and his help.
- We could remember that he gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf and motion to the lame and the maimed and the withered. Then, on those days when we feel our progress has halted or our joys and views have grown dim, we can press forward steadfastly in Christ, with unshaken faith in him and a perfect brightness of hope.
- We could remember that even with such a solemn mission given to him, the Savior found delight in living; he enjoyed people and told his disciples to be of good cheer. He said we should be as thrilled with the gospel as one who had found a great treasure, a veritable pearl of great price, right on our own doorstep.
- We could remember that Jesus found special joy and happiness in children and said all of us should be more like them—guileless and pure, quick to laugh and to love and to forgive, slow to remember any offense.
- We could remember that Christ called his disciples friends, and that friends are those who stand by us in times of loneliness or potential despair. We could remember a friend we need to contact or, better yet, a friend we need to make. In doing so we could remember that God often provides his blessings through the compassionate and timely response of another. For someone nearby we may be the means of heaven’s answer to a very urgent prayer.
- We could—and should—remember the wonderful things that have come to us in our lives and that “all things which are good cometh of Christ”.
Elder Holland points out the significance of the Savior keeping the wounds in His hands and his feet and the significance to each of us personally.
- In a resurrected, otherwise perfected body, our Lord of this sacrament table has chosen to retain for the benefit of his disciples the wounds in his hands and his feet and his side—signs, if you will, that painful things happen even to the pure and perfect. Signs, if you will, that pain in this world is not evidence that God doesn’t love you. It is the wounded Christ who is the captain of our soul—he who yet bears the scars of sacrifice, the lesions of love and humility and forgiveness.
Finally, Elder Holland concludes with words of encouragement and direction of each of us. What the Savior asked of his disciples He asks of us today. How will be answer the call is a demonstration of our personal discipleship of the Savior.
- One request Christ made of his disciples on that night of deep anguish and grief was that they stand by him, stay with him in his hour of sorrow and pain. “Could ye not watch with me one hour?” he asked longingly. I think he asks that again of us, every Sabbath day when the emblems of his life are broken and blessed and passed.
I need to work on making the sacrament time more personal to me in my life. This upcoming Sunday, I am going to reference Elder Holland's list of things that we can remember during the sacrament. My thoughts can be better focused on the Savior's sacrifice for me personally and it is my goal to find deeper personal meaning in the sacrament. As I sit at my desk thinking about others that need this message, I shared a passage or two with my family through text messaging. I would encourage you to share this talk with your family and friends. Truly the Savior can change our lives. His sacrifice gives us hope, direction, and a reason to live. Finding personal meaning in His sacrifice will change our lives, make us better disciples, and lead us to a future that is bright and rewarding for eternity.