I have read quite a few comments from people decrying a lack of emphasis on Christ in our Sacrament Meetings. They acknowledge the prayers in his name and the sacrament itself, but they are concerend about how often the talks are not focused on Jesus or Heavenly Father in an obvious (or even implied) way.
I have been in such Sacrament Meetings, and I understand that concern. I even agree with it to the extent that it happens, which, I agree, is too often. My response is pretty straightforward, since I believe the "solution" is quite simple.
The central issue is not at "The Church" level. It's an issue in individual wards and branches, since the Branch Presidents and Bishops are the ones who are responsible for the topics assigned as Sacrament Meeting talks. Too many of them still don't understand fully what it means to have a meeting set aside as a worship service - and too many of them still assign topics for Sacrament Meeting that will be addressed in Sunday School and/or should be reserved for the third hour in Priesthood and Relief Society meetings, but when they catch that vision and "get it" with regard to Sacrament Meeting, it's wonderful. I've lived in wards where that happened, and I've visited wards and branches where that happens, and there is a marked difference in those congregations that spills over into other areas, as well.
For the last few years, I have had the good fortune of being in a position from which I can mention that to local leaders and be taken seriously, and I have done so and will continue to do so. It sounds simplistic, but I believe making Sacrament Meeting a true worship service (a "revelatory experience" - as Elder Bednar said in the recent CHI training) can do more for a ward than just about anything else - and it certainly is the simplest and purest of the options.
Enid v. The … 8/27/2014
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