C is for Covenants
As you know, we come to church to partake of the sacrament and in that way renew our baptismal covenant. We take the sacrament every week, and we cannot take doing so lightly. I recently came across this poem whose author is unknown to me:
There was envy in the glances that a lovely matron cast,
At the coiffure [hairdo] of her neighbor while the sacrament was passed,
And a teenage girl, I noticed, though a timid lass and shy,
Watched a youthful priest intently through the corner of her eye,
As he sat behind the table where the water trays were spread,
She was not remembering Jesus, nor the prayer the priest had said.
There was nothing reverential in the things the Cub Scout drew,
On the pages of the hymn book till the sacrament was through.
Not a thought of Jesus' passion entered careless elders' minds,
As they whispered to each other and the girls they sat behind.
And the high priest's brow was furrowed while he stole a secret glance,
At a checkbook's dismal story of his failures in finance.
There were hundreds in the chapel, but the worshipers were few,
And I couldn't help but wonder what the Lord Himself would do--
Yes I couldn't help but wonder what the Lord Himself would say,
Should He walk into the meeting while His Saints behaved this way.
Would His loving eyes be saddened, would His countenance be grim,
While He there observed and listened to the service meant for Him?
I love those last three words, meant for Him. Somehow, some of us think the meeting is meant for us. . . . All this time, we've been talking about "getting" more from our meetings. Now we're going to move to higher ground. We don't go to church to "get." We go to "give." What do we give? We give our devotion to the Savior, we give our love and respect to our fellow ward members, we give, because we have been given much. . . .
The next time you go to sacrament meeting, I hope you'll notice a few more things. First of all, notice how the priests tear the bread during the sacrament hymn. Why? Perhaps because Jesus' body was "bruised, broken, and torn for us."Jesus said of himself, "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35). Notice also in the words of the prayer, the bread and water are not taken to "nourish and strengthen our bodies," but are blessed and sanctified "to the souls" of all who partake. The sacrament is more than just physical food, it's spiritual food. . . .
When we renew our baptismal covenant, the Lord also renews his covenant with us. Elder George Q. Cannon taught: "When we went forth into the waters of baptism and covenanted with our Father in heaven to serve Him and keep His commandments, He bound Himself also by covenant to us that He would never desert us, never leave us to ourselves, never forget us, that in the midst of trials and hardships, when everything was arrayed against us, He would be near unto us and would sustain us" (Gospel Truth, Vol. 1, 170).
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