Monday, August 29, 2011

Thoughts on the Sacrament

Restored post
Monday, August 29, 2011

This has been a very frustrating day. Luckily, I wrote the blog on paper before that: these are thoughts I had on Sunday.

This morning, I prayed for each person who would speak in each meeting I attended, and I prayed that the Sacrament (bread and water, for LDS people) would be a power to me.

Today, after the sacrament hymn was complete, the priests were still breaking bread. At this time, a feeling of being in the temple came over me. I was given an understanding that this ordinance is every bit as holy as any temple ordinances. The feeling repeated itself with the water.

We are taught that the sacrament is to remind us of our baptismal covenants, but I don't think this is a true doctrine.

#1 – We let unbaptized children take the sacrament. We don't forbid nonmembers either. Neither has had an LDS baptism to be reminded of.

#2 – When Jesus gave the Nephites, including the leaders He called, the sacrament they were baptized later. They had had an earlier baptism. Theories abound as to why they had to be baptized again. I've never seen someone bring up the idea that perhaps the ordinance had changed, that it was incorrectly done by the time the resurrected Jesus got there. People do have a tendency to change ordinances over time. Even the LDS church has done that. (The whys and wherefores are not for me to judge.)

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

Baptism signifies dying and being reborn – a new creature in Christ. This is the adoption rite wherein Christ becomes our Father. It washes away our sins because we are born anew and people just born have no sins, according the the Atonement of Christ.

Sacramental bread represents Jesus' flesh that was torn during Gethsemane, torn during the beating and mocking, and pierced on the cross. The bread is torn, not cut or sliced. Resurrection? I don't know. We don't put pieces of bread back together and eat them. I think baptism might be more symbolic of the resurrection. Torn bread is not a symbol of resurrection, but of suffering.

The water represents Christ's blood. It was shed in Gethsemane. It was shed during the beating and mockery. It was shed on the cross through the seven piercings. If new wine is truly bitter, it would more effectively connote the suffering of Christ, especially if it is red wine. This cannot represent the resurrection. There is no blood in the resurrection. We don't have blood in our veins as resurrected beings.

In the sacrament, we do not remember Christ's resurrection.

In the sacrament, we remember Christ's suffering, but we don't in baptism. According to the scriptures (both about the sacrament and about Christ), we should eat and drink until we are filled (not the teensy tiny snack we get) to remind us that Jesus filled the measure of His creation, that he fulfilled His Father's will, He drank the bitter cup and it was filled to the brim. Jesus was filled with pain and suffering that included both body and blood. He was overwhelmed by it. There was nothing else in His soul – body and mind – except this terrible suffering. We more fully identify with Him if we can partake of the sacrament as the scriptures direct: bread and wive until we are filled.

I am not suggesting a change in church policy. The Spirit has let me know that Jesus' church is in His hands. If it needs to be fixed, He will do it, and He will do it when He chooses and how He chooses. Argue if you must, about D&C 107:81-84, but I don't think changes like this (water instead of wine) fall under my jurisdiction. God is in control of His church. I am content to let Him guide it, and to let Him deal with it. If the ordinance of the sacrament, for example, was irreparably damaged by the change, I don't think the Spirit would have told me that this ordinance is as holy as a temple ordinance – and I have several witnesses of the holiness of the temples.

As far as church leaders go, these men were called of God. There is no infallibility among them. They are men, not gods. It is our responsibility to listen to them and to so live that we are worthy of hearing and feeling the Holy Spirit. It is our responsibility to discern, via the Spirit, whether the leaders are teaching by the Spirit or from their own understanding. Don't underestimate the importance of your own worthiness, humility, and intentions in this undertaking. The leaders have a tough job. They need and deserve our mighty prayers in their behalf. They do not need our censure and our condemnation. I do believe God will hold us accountable if we condemn them and complain about them, yet have never prayed in their behalf.

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