This post covers the April 1977 General Conference.
I have always struggled to focus while taking the Sacrament on Sundays. When the kids were small, pondering was an impossibility, but now that they’re grown, I still find my mind occasionally wandering at lightening speed. It’s simply too easy to be distracted. At the recent passing of my daughter, I have a renewed incentive to change my life. There is always room for improvement and I’ve decided pondering the Sacrament is a necessary place to start.
As “The Living Christ” states, “[Christ] instituted the Sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. … His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.” Every week we are given an opportunity to show our love, obedience, and gratitude by laying our sins down on the Sacramental altar. Yes, I mean actually giving away our pet sins. It’s also an opportunity to sit quietly and feel the radiating love our Savior has for each one of us as we battle our sorrows.
I have in my scriptures a note I added years ago that says, “The gospel is made available to all who desire to listen.” The people came prepared to listen to King Benjamin speak, “every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple.” They were ready to listen and heed the counsel given. The Sacrament is the same for us as we sit quietly for a mere fifteen minutes. During this time, we have an opportunity to show the Lord that we are listening, that our hearts are open to receive correction, that we are ready to feel His comforting love and figuratively kneel before Him in our humility.
When something catastrophic happens in our lives, we find ourselves searching out God; either in anger or seeking peace. In my family’s case, peace has come. I will miss my daughter terribly. But even still, I testify that the Atonement is real, that Jesus Christ has put His arm around me and helped me push the fears and doubts of the world away. Our family has been reminded of our priorities that have somehow drifted in the good times. Everything has come into full clarity as we continue to draw upon our Savior’s infinite sacrifice.
[Elder] Howard W. Hunter’s talk, “Thoughts on the Sacrament,” reminds us of this clarity.
“I asked myself this question: ‘Do I place God above all other things and keep all of His commandments?’ Then came reflection and resolution. To make a covenant with the Lord to always keep His commandments is a serious obligation, and to renew that covenant by partaking of the sacrament is equally serious. The solemn moments of thought while the sacrament is being served have great significance. They are moments of self-examination, introspection, self-discernment—a time to reflect and to resolve.”
Because we are imperfect beings we must always be checking ourselves to see if we are measuring up to the covenants we’ve made with the Lord. These covenants are a serious obligation and we forget that when they are broken it is always our fault.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ came running when our family needed them. With solemn, obedient hearts, we have accepted the death of our beloved daughter, and because we believe in the covenants we’ve made, our testimonies will remain intact. We are listening, our hearts will continue to change, we will hold onto our covenants and all that has been promised will be gratefully received, including one day seeing her again.
We should see the face of the Lord Marilyn Nielson
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