Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Making Sunday Worship a Temple-like Experience

My whole mission I have wanted to go to the temple, but for some reason or another, it has never worked out.  For most of my mission I have lived too far away from the temple to be able to attend.
I know that the temple brings blessings, and that regular temple attendance strengthens our relationship with God the Father and with His Son.  The temple truly is the house of God, and it should be the goal of every single living soul.  In the temple we learn important truths about who we are, and our relationship with God.
However, as an Elder in my last district meeting said, we live very far from the temple, and right now temple attendance is not possible for us.  So, if we are going to receive revelation, it is going to have to come from Church.  Because we can and do go to church every Sunday.
I have been thinking a lot about this.  Doctrine and Covenants 84:20 says that "in the ordinances thereof [talking about the priesthood], the power of godliness is manifest."  This is something that really hit me when I first went to the temple for myself.  I started studying hard about the ordinances of the Gospel and why they are so important.  I have learned for myself that there really is power in the ordinances.  This is one of the reasons why temple attendance is such a powerful spiritual experience, because it is full of the ordinances of the Gospel.
But as I have been thinking about how I can make my Sunday worship more like the temple, I realized that every singleSunday we participate in one of the most crucial ordinances available.  We partake of the Sacrament.  And unlike baptism and the temple, where we do it for ourselves first, and then every time after we are doing it on the behalf of someone else, standing in proxy for them, the Sacrament is for me each and every time I partake of it.
The Sacrament is every bit as necessary an ordinance as baptism and the temple ordinances, but unlike those that only need to be preformed once (and kept always), we NEED to partake of the Sacrament every single week.  It is a very personal and very individual ordinance that needs to be repeated weekly!
The Sacrament points us to Christ.  It reminds us of His body and His blood which He shed for us.  Or rather, it reminds us of His Atonement, of His Mercy, of His Merits and of His Grace (2 Nephi 2:8).  Could there be anything more important than the Sacrament?  What could keep us from this crucial weekly reminder of our Savior's love for us?
But, the Sacrament, is more than just a weekly object lesson.  It is a personal and sacred experience where we covenant with God that we will remember Him, and keep His Commandments.  And He covenants with us that we will always have His Spirit to be with us.  (Moroni 4-5)  Wow!  Pause a moment and consider the significance of these promises.
They are huge, which such great implications.  I want to be worthy to partake of the Sacrament every week of my life, so that I can covenant with the Father always!
This week I really focused on making Sunday worship become just as significant to me as attending the Temple.  And do you know what?  I felt something very different this Sunday Sunday is special.
As I was partaking of the Sacrament I was thinking of the scripture in 3 Nephi 18.  This is when the Savior introduced His Sacrament to the people of the Americas.  It describes several times that they partook of the Sacrament and werefilled.
I have had this scripture explained to me many times, I have read it many times, and I have explained it to others many times.  The Sacramental bread and water are small.  They could not possibly fill anyone's stomach.  So it must be talking about being filled another way.  Being filled spiritually.
Yesterday, when I partook of the bread, I was filled.  The Spirit filled my soul, and I felt pure.  Then again, when I partook of the water, I was filled.  The Spirit filled my soul, and I felt pure.  Yesterday, I was filled as I partook of the Savior's Sacrament.
I also realized that this has happened to me every single time I partook of the Sacrament, but I wasn't looking for it, so I didn't give it any notice.  Sacrament was just something that I did every week, because that is what you do at church.  And that is good.
But there is a better way.  Let the Sacrament fill you.  This week as you prepare to go to Church, prepare for it as a temple-like experience.  Then, as you partake of the Sacrament worthily, you, too, will be filled.
-Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez

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