Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Purpose of the Sacrament- Doctrine and Covenants Section 27 (1)

Section 27 in the Doctrine and Covenants is all about the Sacrament.

Historically, Emma Smith and a few others had been baptized about two months previous to this revelation. The baptism was cut short because of mob violence and they had not, however, been privileged to receive the Holy Ghost or partake of the “emblems of the Sacrament.” Joseph had been arrested and spent some time in jail and did not have another opportunity until this point to confirm these individuals, including Emma, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As the saints went about to procure some wine to participate in the ordinance of the Sacrament, the Lord revealed some beautiful doctrine regarding the Sacrament itself, and some information about the “last great Sacrament meeting” to come.

Section 27 could be divided into three main parts or principles:

  • The purpose of the Sacrament.
  • The last great Sacrament meeting.
  • How you can be there.

The purpose of the Sacrament.

Verses 1-4

Look for the most important thing you can do when you partake of the Sacrament.

1 Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.

2 For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.

3 Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine neither strong drink of your enemies;

4 Wherefore, you shall partake of none except it is made anew among you; yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.

What do you think “His Glory” is referring to?

The apostle John recorded the Saviors words as He uttered the beautiful Intercessory Prayer just prior to His experience in Gethsemane. It is here that He speaks at length on “glory”.

John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

How can you make sure when you partake of the Sacrament you are doing so with an “eye single to His glory”?

The Savior wanted His saints to understand that what the Sacrament emblems consisted of was of less importance than the condition of the heart of the partaker. (For example, in war torn Germany they used potato skins instead of bread because of the shortage of bread.) The importance of the Sacrament is clearly felt by the individual’s preparation, not what he actually eats and drinks.

If one could visualize the Sacrament table as the altar, with the Priests of Aaron officiating there, the offering or sacrifice, is the one you bring to the altar. It is an offering of “a broken heart and contrite spirit” with an “eye single to His glory”. Humility, repentance, and gratitude are just a few of the conditions that are necessary to partake of the Sacrament properly. Only then is your offering truly an offering in righteousness.

The Sacramental offering you bring to the Altar is similar to the offering the Priest made on the Day of Atonement. It was a double offering, consisting of a “goat” and a “scape goat”. The Children of Israel placed their hands on one of the goats, symbolic of the transference of sin onto the animal, and that goat was allowed to go free. The other goat was the one offered upon the altar for the actual remission of their sins. You bring your offering, which is not a “perfect” offering so it is allowed to be set free, that is replaced with the perfect offering of Jesus Christ, or the emblems of his Atonement. The Sacrament is a beautiful illustration of both justice and mercy.

The actual substance that you take into your body is not as important as what you purge out. What you take into your body is the Atonement of Jesus Christ which is the most important aspect of understanding the Sacrament. For it is “His work and His glory to bring to pass the immortality and Eternal life of man.”

Do you really think about what you are bringing to the altar each time you partake?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great post on the sacrament. I'm using part of it as lesson material for an Aaronic Priesthood class. Thanks!