How Can I Participate More Meaningfully in the Sacrament?

When something significant happens to us, we may refer to it as an “unforgettable experience.” But we all know that nothing is inherently unforgettable. We may always be aware that it happened, but its impact on our daily lives will fade unless we do something to keep it on the forefront of our minds.

When the Savior appeared to the inhabitants of the American continent, He knew that they would never forget the experience of seeing Him and learning from Him. But He also knew that the demands of their lives would begin to occupy their attention when He was gone. He promised them that, if they would always remember Him, they would have His Spirit to be with them. And He gave them the ordinance of the sacrament as a tool to help them remember.

Here are the specific instructions Jesus gave the multitude about how to partake of the sacrament:

  • “This shall ye always observe to do” (3 Nephi 18:6). — A repeated action helps us to focus our minds on important topics. That’s why we have holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and family reunions. We’re not going to forget the most important people in our lives, but we do have a tendency to take them for granted unless we dedicate specific time to intentionally pay attention to them.
  • This shall ye do in remembrance of my body/blood” (3 Nephi 18:7, 11). — We all know that, when we eat the bread and drink the water, we are commemorating the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Savior. But do we always turn our thoughts and attention to that fact during the event? It is so easy for our minds to be focused on other things. The sacrament gives us an opportunity once a week, for only a few minutes, to practice disciplining our minds, avoiding distractions, and paying attention to the most important event in history and its impact on our lives.
  • This doth witness unto the Father” (3 Nephi 18:7, 10, 11). — The act of eating the bread and drinking the water is similar to the act of signing a contract. It is a symbolic act which represents a promise, an intentional constraint on our future actions. We ought to think about what we are promising as we partake: that we will continue to take upon ourselves the name of Christ, remember Him, and obey His commandments. We ought not to take those promises lightly.
  • 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” (3 Nephi 20:8). — Taking the sacrament is a symbolic act. We ought to remember what it symbolizes. As we ingest the bread and water into our bodies, we are really doing something much more significant: absorbing the character of the Savior into our souls.
  • Ye shall have my Spirit to be with you” (3 Nephi 18:7, 11). “[Your] soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled” (3 Nephi 20:8). — It’s important to also remember the promised blessing of the sacrament: the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The morning after the first day of the Savior’s visit, as the assembled crowd awaited His return, they “did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them” (3 Nephi 19:9). Jesus had told them that “the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one” (3 Nephi 11:27). To be close to the Holy Ghost is to be close to the Father and to the Son. Partaking of the sacrament appropriately brings us closer to God.

As I partake of the sacrament next Sunday, I will remember the instructions Jesus gave us about this important ordinance. I will remember the importance of participating consistently. I will take the opportunity to think about the Savior’s sacrifice on my behalf. I will think intentionally about the promises I am making. I will remember that the act of eating and drinking is symbolic of opening my heart to receive the character of Christ. And I will be grateful that this ordinance makes it possible for me to receive the Holy Ghost, and therefore to be closer to God.

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