Latter-day Saint Life

A simple way to stay focused on Jesus during the sacrament

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A simple idea that has led me to have experiences during the sacrament that have very tangible impacts on my life.
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For years, as soon as the sacrament hymn began, I would whisper down the pew to my children:

“Close your coloring book. It’s time to think about Jesus.”

“Put your phone away. It’s time to think about Jesus.”

“Stop poking each other! It’s time to think about Jesus.”

But then, one Sunday, my teenage son challenged me, whispering back, “Mom, you say that every Sunday. Why do you say that? It doesn’t do anything.”

I knew right then during the ordinance wasn’t a good time to argue with him. So I didn’t. But his comment made me wonder—does thinking about Jesus during the sacrament do anything in my life? Does it affect me? The question lingered in my mind for days.

I soon came across a quote from President Jeffrey R. Holland. Upon reading it, I understood that thinking about and worshipping Jesus during the sacrament could have great power, but I didn’t know how to fully access it yet.

A Shift Begins

In his conference address, “Behold the Lamb of God,” President Holland said,

“Beloved friends, as we unite across the globe each week in what we hope is an increasingly sacred acknowledgment of Christ’s majestic atoning gift to all humankind, may we bring to the sacramental altar ‘more tears for his sorrows [and] more pain at his grief.’ And then, as we reflect, pray, and covenant anew, may we take from that sacred moment ‘more patience in suff’ring, … more praise for relief.’”

On reading that, I wanted to deepen my worship during the sacrament. I wanted to appreciate the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement in my life and discover the strength and relief President Holland mentioned. But how?

I prayed about this desire, and an idea came. A simple idea that has led me to have experiences during the sacrament that have very tangible impacts on my life.

Using the Tag Tool

My husband and I currently serve as part-time service missionaries. Our calling is to train people worldwide on how the Gospel Library app enhances gospel study. After that prayer, I had a new realization about how the app could enhance my sacrament experience, too. How? With the “tag” tool.

I started by using the time during the sacrament ordinance to open the Gospel Library app and search through scriptures, conference talks, hymn lyrics, and manuals for passages that explain the sacredness and symbols of this ordinance, the covenants I made at baptism, and how Jesus Christ’s love and Atonement bless me.

I marked passages that resonated with me. When you mark a passage, an action menu will pop up. On this menu, tap the “tag” icon. A tag is like making a personal Topical Guide. It’s a way to categorize the things you love in an easy-to-access grouping. You can add one or many tags to highlighted passages.

I named this tag “sacrament.” It’s filled with beautiful quotes, scriptures, and hymns that keep my mind focused on the Savior, help me contemplate where I can improve, and remind me of His love.

Every Sunday, during the sacrament, I access my tag by opening the Gospel Library app to the home screen and scrolling to the study tools section. I click on tags, then open the sacrament tag I created and read, ponder, and pray.

The Difference in My Life

I’ve been worshipping this way for over a year and have noticed a shift in my sacrament meeting experience. I’m more focused on Christ’s sacrifice and aware of the symbolism of the bread and water as I take them. My heart is softened, prepared to hear what Heavenly Father needs me to know, ready to repent, and more open to feeling His love for me. Many times, as I’ve been reading the passages in my sacrament tag, the exact answers and comfort I need have come through those scriptures and quotes.

Recently, I struggled with a complicated family relationship, wondering how to ease the tension and set things right. During my sacrament worship that Sunday, I read the lyrics to “Reverently and Meekly Now,” which I had tagged. This is one of the few hymns written as if the Savior were speaking directly to us. As I read verse three, these lines stood out like never before:

“Bid thine heart all strife to cease;

With thy brethren be at peace.

Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be

E’en forgiven now by me.”

It was as if Jesus sat beside me in the pew, speaking these words to me, reminding me that as I ate the bread and drank the water, I was at that precise moment asking for His forgiveness. He would gladly give it to me, but through the words of that hymn, He was asking me to follow His example, go one step further, and extend the same gift of forgiveness to my family member. It was the push I needed to move forward and mend that relationship.

What I Would Tell My Son Now

I’ve abandoned the phrase I used to tell my children during the sacrament, “Think about Jesus.” Why? Because I’ve come to understand and strive to teach my children that those few minutes of our Sunday worship is time not just to think about Christ, but to get to know Him better. I can now confidently tell my son that participating in the sacrament does do things in my life, great things.

President Holland’s reflections have become true for me: I have “more tears for his sorrows [and] more pain at his grief,” which has resulted in “more patience in suff’ring, … more praise for relief.” I’m thankful that this simple tool has helped bring those promised blessings of the sacrament ordinance more powerfully into my life.

▶ You may also like: The true meaning of ‘keep’ the commandments you’ve never heard (and will absolutely love)

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