Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Best Description of the Sacramental Ordinance I Have Ever Read

From LDS Worship - Part I (Brad - By Common Consent) - Excerpted part by Neal Kramer:

At the appointed time, young men stand before the sacrament table, the symbol of the table on which our Master’s body lay while in the tomb. These young men stand as witnesses of his resurrection. They are symbolic of the angels who announced, “He is not here. He is risen.” In sober respect, these young men remove the symbolic burial clothes. The clothes reveal the Lord’s absence and His presence in the emblems. Other young men, members of a quorum of as many as twelve members, represent the disciples, emissaries, yes the Apostles, of the Lord. They bring us the holy, blessed emblems of His death and invite us to partake. As we accept the emblems and partake, we bear witness to all present that we desire to remain bound to Christ, in reverence of that sacred holy offering. The symbols bring us in spirit before the angels and disciples. We accept their news and their gifts, in remembrance of Him. Our hearts are filled with sober joy and the hope of peace.

So our worship freely binds us to the Lord. We humbly present ourselves before him and in silent adoration, awe, and love partake. Our worship at least begins and renews itself this way each week. It is simple and profound. We are cleansed. We love him with all our hearts, which He has made clean and pure.


ji said...

I appreciate the respect with which this person wrote, but I would me more cautious about extending the symbolism beyond what the Lord himself intended. The bread and wine have symbolism from the words of the Lord. The writer's symbolism of the table and the covers is nice, and is instructive, and is illustrative, and serves a useful purpose in meditation. But the Lord didn't extend the symbolism of the sacrament to the table and the covers, and I suggest caution in our doing so in a dogmatic way. The writer here isn't being dogmatic, but is sharing an observation, and I appreciate that. But it seems that too many times, someone will read something like this and start teaching the illustration as dogma. That's too bad.

Papa D said...

ji, I agree that it shouldn't become "the interpretation" - and I also agree that lots of people tend toward that. I really like it, though. *grin*

ji said...

I have reflected on this a little more, and I still appreciate the respect with which the original writer wrote this illustration. And the illustration might work in a meaningful way for some. But it doesn't work for me.

For me, I don't see the sacrament as evidence of the resurrection. I don't think of the chapel as symbolic of the tomb, and I don't think of myself as sitting in the tomb watching the angels lift the burial shrouds. No, I see the sacrament much less mystical way.

All the way back to Adam, men of God have offered sacrifice -- animal sacrifice for thousands of years. The Lord Jesus Christ offered the last and greatest sacrifice of body and blood, and since then we use the bread and wine (or water) in remembrance of His sacrifice of His body and His blood. The sacrifice is offered by priests of the Aaronic order, as in days of old.

In early days, there was no cloth covering the bread and water. The bread was a loaf or two, and the water (or wine) was in a pitcher. Somewhere along the way, we started to cover the emblems, probably to keep the flies away or to keep the bread fresh. And this simple practical act of covering the emblems cannot become symbolic and mystical in itself. In my mind, there is no religious symbolism in the covers or the table.

This is how I see it. Every Sunday I see the sacrament as a reminder of the Christ's last and great sacrifice of His own body and blood, shed for me.

Heather@Women in the Scriptures said...

I really love this. Some of this are thoughts I've had myself and they have totally changed the meaning of the sacrament for me. It is easier for me to treat the meeting with the reverance it reserves when I remember that we have symbolically laid out Christ's body before us. Whether or not the cloths are necessary I appreciate them because they help me visualize it better.