So this past week we had a wonderful time at church. Sacrament meeting was quite good. Both Elder Martin and I spoke and then the Stake President spoke. And it was just a great experience all together. The past few months I have been reflecting upon the things I have learned so far on my mission and I was thinking about how my view of Church has changed. Before my mission I, like most kids, just went because my parents told me to and just sorta "went through the motions" and I never understood the why. As I have studied and had the opportunity to to teach people about church my whole view has changed and it has taken a new meaning in my life.
What is the Purpose of Church?
In Moroni 6:6 it says, "And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus" There are many great bonuses of going to church. But above all is to take the sacrament. This holy and sacred ordinance symbolizes the body and blood of Christ. And it is the only thing that we do in church that we can't do anywhere else. Often times here in the South we have people say, "well in the bible it says, were two or more are gathered in my name there I'll be also. So I don't need to go to church"
During Christ's ministry in the Americas he taught the people about this ordinance. "...he commanded that they should give unto the multitude. And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name. And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you." (3 Nephi 18:4-6)
But Why? This is what changed my view. When we are baptized we except Christ as our Savior. And we have our sins washed away and we "become new creatures," being cleansed of our sin. But our life as sinners doesn't end at baptism. We each make mistakes each and every day and will never be perfect in this life, but God says "no unclean thing can enter into his rest" So right there we would be disqualified for salvation if we can't remain clean, but we can. And this is how, each week when we partake of the sacrament and we can in a sense be baptized again. We renew our covenant that we made at baptism. The sacrament prayer on the bread is
"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." (Moroni 4:3) The part about having the spirit is what cleanses us. We learn that the Holy Ghost is the sanctifier, meaning it purifies us and as we receive the spirit we can become clean! Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone once said that "the sacrament is the most holy and sacred ordinance we do in the church" And the reason is it ties us to the Atonement of Christ, and links us to his mercy and allows us to one day live with God our Father, and Jesus Christ and be clean and perfect even as he is perfect.