Moroni is still building upon the essential ordinances we need to come unto Christ. Chapter 2 introduced how the higher priesthood is given by the Holy Ghost. Chapter 3 showed how priests and teachers were ordained. And now Chapter 4 shows the ordinance the priests and elders participate in for the benefit of the members.
He gives the exact wording to be used in “administering the flesh and blood of Christ unto the Church.” (1) First, they are to kneel and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.” (3)
Let’s break this prayer apart to study it further.
O God, the Eternal Father…
They address Elohim, our Eternal Father.
…we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ…
He is our Intermediary with the Father. We are not worthy to go before Elohim on our own, but our Savior has paid the price for us. He has interceded on our behalf and therefore has the right to stand before God and plead for us.
…to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it;
The bread is blessed and sanctified. Sanctify means to set apart as holy or to purify something. So the bread is blessed and purified to help make our souls (our whole being) holy when we worthily partake of it.
…that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son…
We commit to remember Jesus’s great and infinite sacrifice for us when we take of the bread. We remember how He laid down His life for us, so that we might rise up again and be united with our Heavenly Father once more. He suffered great pains in His body by doing this for us. The least we can do is remember what He went through for us.
…and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father,
We witness, or commit to action, before the Eternal God of heaven and earth. That is a serious commitment we are making, and we should not treat this ordinance or our part in it lightly.
…that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son…
Here is what we are committing to do. We are willing to do the following. Willing is defined by Merriam-Webster to be: inclined or favorably disposed in mind; prompt to act or respond, accepted by choice or without reluctance. So we are prompted and wanting to take Christ’s name upon us without reluctance. We are favorably disposed to do this. To me, that means I will not do things that bring a smear upon His name or reputation. Since He is holy, I should only do holy things, that would reflect well on Him, if someone were to judge Him through my actions.
Since it’s impossible to be perfect, as Jesus was, repentance is crucial in our lives. If I think I can go through the week not doing anything that doesn’t reflect badly on Him—a God!—I am sorely mistaken. That is why the scriptures declare for us to repent over and over and over and over again.
We must repent to be worthy to take His name upon us. When we fall and smear His name intentionally, accidentally, or by omission, we must repent. Immediately and often.
…and always remember him,
This is our second covenantal promise we make to God. The first was to take Jesus Christ’s name upon us. This one promises that we will ALWAYS remember Him. Think of the power that could come into our lives if we kept this promise more intentionally.
If someone cut you off on the freeway and you were remembering what Christ had done for you in your life or recalling how He conducted Himself when He was upon the earth, would you be so quick to yell or flip the offending driver off?
If your child disobeyed or showed disrespect and you were remembering Christ, would you be so quick to be sharp with him or her? Or would that memory of Christ make you more gentle and loving, more merciful and just?
…and keep his commandments which he hath given them…
We covenant that we are willing, or wanting to keep God’s commandments. All of them. We do this the best we can, and repent when we falter. Then, through the Atoning enabling power of Christ, we get up and do better. We keep improving. We keep becoming more like our Savior through this process.
…that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”
We promise to be willing to take Christ’s name upon us, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. And God, the Father, promises to give us the gift of the Holy Ghost to be with us always. That is a phenomenal gift, one that will comfort us, guide us, warn us, teach us, inspire us, improve us.
Each week, when we partake of the ordinance of the sacrament, we have the gift to recommit to our covenants and feel God’s assurance that He is still blessing us for doing so.
- Do we take advantage of this sacred moment each week?
- Are we prepared to recommit to these sacred covenants?
- What could we do to invite the Spirit to be with us more powerfully during the sacrament?
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