7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye say: Wherein shall we return?
I have gained a greater appreciation this week for the ordering function of priesthood ordinances in our lives. I have been particularly struck by the fact that the critical commandment to come unto Christ, which is far-reaching and non-quantifiable, is made more concrete, more specific, and more memorable, by the ordinances of the gospel and their associated covenants.
In today’s passage, we see that the opposite holds true: a telltale sign that you have distanced yourself from God is an unwillingness to participate in His ordinances.
This passage is part of the Malachi excerpt which the Savior shared during His visit to the American continent. Fortunately, the passage not only tells us how to know that we are far from God but how to resolve the situation. “Return unto me and I will return unto you,” the Lord says. We can return to Him by reestablishing good habits of personal religious behavior, including prayer and scripture study, which will in turn lead us back to the ordinances.
Remember also that the way we participate in these ordinances and practices is as important as the fact of our participation. We don’t partake of the sacrament or attend the temple in order to check a box on a celestial “to-do” list. Rather, we immerse our minds and our hearts in the experience, recognizing that the experience is designed to bring us closer to God.
Today, I will consider how I am participating in ordinances, including the sacrament and temple attendance. I will recommit to participate fully in these activities recognizing that they demonstrate and also facilitate my closeness to the Savior.