I was thirty years old when I was first invited to come to a sacrament meeting in a branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Jakarta, Indonesia. Prior to this experience, I was familiar and grew up with two other major denominations, either by birth or by school influence. I remember coming as a stranger, anxious of being judged, but not being treated as such.
I was greeted as “brother,” as if I was part of their family. The members and leaders of the branch showed sincere gratitude for having me there. I felt welcomed and loved.
The meeting was reverent and filled with the Spirit. I could easily follow each step. The talks given by the assigned speakers provided new insights towards understanding the Gospel and how to live it.
I have since attended many more sacrament meetings, and I truly believe what David O. McKay once said: “I feel impressed to emphasize what the Lord has designated as the most important meeting in the Church, and that is the sacrament meeting.”
We learn from scripture, “It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus.” Likewise, I want to invite all of you to come to sacrament meeting for three reasons: to be around your brothers and sisters in Christ, to renew your covenants through partaking of the sacrament, and to remind each other of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel.
“It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus.”Doctrine and Covenants 20:75
Being around the members of the Church helped me to gain a testimony of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ and strengthened my resolve to enter the covenant path.
After I was baptized and was ordained to the office of priest in the priesthood, I was assigned occasionally to bless the sacrament. I felt needed, and the chance to serve others through blessing the sacrament strengthened my faith in Christ.
When I was given my first talk assignment, the preparation led me to learn of the existence of Church resources: scriptures, general authorities’ talks, and many books. I learned how to ponder on my own experiences and share my testimony to strengthen others attending the sacrament meeting.
Jesus instituted the sacrament as the symbol of His atoning sacrifice. “He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled.” The Lord promises that those who partake of the sacrament worthily will always have His spirit to be with them.
Each member of the Church should have in mind the three great covenants that are made by partaking of these tokens:
1. That they are willing to take upon them the name of the Son.
2. That they will always remember Him.
3. That they will keep his commandments, which he has given them.
During the last supper, He also taught not to find faults in others but to look inside, evaluate what we need to repent of, love and serve one another as we ought, and wash one another’s feet.
George Albert Smith said of the sacrament, “We should partake of it in humility, with preparation of clean hands and pure hearts, and with a desire to be acceptable to our Father; then we will receive it worthily and rejoice in the blessing that comes to us by reason of it.”
He also observed that “men and women who go from year to year without partaking of the Lord’s Supper, will gradually lose the Spirit of our Heavenly Father; they forfeit its companionship where they have had opportunity to participate in that blessing, but have failed to take advantage of it.”
I would like to extend President Joseph F. Smith’s reminder to us all that the Sabbath day is set apart for partaking of the sacrament, for renewing sacred covenants. “The Sabbath is a day when, with your brethren and sisters, you should attend the meetings of the Saints, prepared to partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper; having first confessed your sins before the Lord and your brethren and sisters, and forgiven your fellows as you expect the Lord to forgive you.”
1. David O. McKay, in Conference Report, Oct. 1929, 11
2. Doctrine and Covenants 20:75
3. 3 Nephi 20:8
4. Joseph Fielding Smith, in Teachings of the Latter-day Prophets: A Compilation of Statements on Gospel Topics by Men Sustained as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators , 585
5. George Albert Smith, in Conference Report, Apr. 1908, 36
6. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith , 95
7. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith , 232