Renew, Remember and Receive…
On March 12, 2020, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the temporary suspension of all church gatherings worldwide in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic. Many faiths enacted similar measures in advance of government regulations restricting religious gatherings. It was not immediately known how long church services would be suspended, and how we could safely be sure that everyone received the vital ordinances and services provided by the church.
Of immediate concern was how to safely provide the sacrament, those emblems representing Christ’s body and blood, of which we have covenanted to regularly partake, and therefore renew our covenants. At the time I was serving as a bishop in the church, and the administration of the sacrament is one of the core responsibilities of bishops. It was a time of deep reflection and pleading prayers for comfort and guidance. I was grateful when solutions were found and we were able to provide this renewing ordinance to all who desired.
Key to partaking of the sacrament and renewing our baptismal and other covenants is remembering the Savior. At His last supper He instituted the sacrament that all may be able to partake and remember Him. He took bread, broke it giving thanks and gave unto His apostles saying, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Then He took a cup saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20). He commanded His followers to partake and to remember Him for what He would do for them, for what He has done for all of us.
It is given in the sacrament prayer that those who take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, remember Him always, and keep His commandments, shall “have His Spirit to be with them” (Moroni 4:3). This covenant between the Lord and His people is a blessing to guide us through life and show us the way to eternal life with Him. To have His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, is a gift of infinite worth, a guiding light through life, showing us a path through darkness and obstacles and helping us to safely return home.
Recently my family and I journeyed from California through Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Such a journey we had never previously taken. Before we embarked upon this road trip, I gathered maps of all of the areas where we planned to travel. Of course I also had the global positioning system (GPS) built into our vehicle and the GPS applications on our smart phones. During our 16 day journey we employed all of these to navigate to and through the places we wanted to see, as well as find fuel, hotels and restaurants. We would not think to leave our home for such a trip without having these tools and devices with us to provide direction, guidance and safe passage home. Most people today would not leave their home to go across town without such devices.
Why would we ever consider daily going it alone without the guidance of the Holy Spirit? If it is as simple as partaking of His emblems, keeping God’s commandments and remembering Him always, would we not do all of those things to have our own SPS or Spiritual Positioning System? It is that simple. We just need to renew, remember and receive.
With the Sabbath day upon us, and this blessed gift at our avail, should we not make every effort to prepare ourselves and partake of the Lord’s supper? Those were hard days in the early weeks of the pandemic when many were unable to partake to renew. Although we know that the Lord paid special care to provide comfort to those without, it was nevertheless a time for longing and holding onto faith that one day we would be able to partake again, and that the Lord’s Spirit would continue to abide with us.
He will continue to send His Spirit to the faithful even if the frequency of partaking becomes one day restricted again. Oh what a blessing it is to partake, that we may renew, remember and receive our Spiritual Positioning System to guide us through earthly life and onto life eternal. For this I will always remember Him and partake in joy His sacred emblems. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.