Sunday, November 5, 2017

Elder M. Russell Ballard on the sacred sanctuary of chapels

Elder M. Russell Ballard (born October 8, 1928) was called as a Seventy in 1976, and has served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1985.
"Sacrament meeting is a wonderful and glorious time. When we step into the chapel and prepare to receive the sacrament, we should think of ourselves as being in a sanctuary, a sacred and special place where we can contemplate Christ and His great and glorious mission. We put aside the things of the world and think instead of what is eternal. We need to put aside our cell phones and ponder about Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.
"We have just 70 minutes each week to focus on our love for the Savior. If we can start thinking of the chapel as a sanctuary of faith and devotion for sacrament meeting, we all will be blessed.
"As we build the Kingdom of God, I can’t think of anything more important than having a well-prepared sacrament meeting where speakers speak of Christ, testify of Christ, and share testimonies from the apostles and prophets in the scriptures and other sources."
- M. Russell Ballard, "The Chapel: Our Sabbath Sanctuary," from "Speaking Today" posted on the website
Click here to read the full article

In this brief message, Elder Ballard reminds us that the Church has been giving renewed emphasis to the Sabbath Day for three years now, but he believes there is more progress to be made as we come to understand the potential and power of our worship on that day.

The idea of a sanctuary is not quite as pertinent in our culture as in the past. The word originally referred to a sacred or holy place. It came to be applied to a location of haven, such as a physical place of refuge or safety from attack and persecution. In our day, we see it more commonly applied to safe places for animals, such as a bird sanctuary.

Elder Ballard suggests that we consider our chapels as sanctuaries. We should treat them as holy places, where we can obtain refuge from the attacks of the world and of the adversary. Then the chapel becomes "a sacred and special place where we can contemplate Christ" and His mission on our behalf. That would certainly impact our feelings of reverence and worship as we enter the chapel, and in particular as we spend the "70 minutes" each week that include the sacred renewal of our covenants with God.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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