Sunday, January 27, 2019

President David O. McKay on the blessings of the sacrament

President David O. McKay (1873-1970) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1906.  He served as a counselor in the First Presidency to Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith beginning in 1945, then then as the president of the Church from 1951 to his death in 1970 at age 96.
"The greatest comfort in this life is the assurance of having close relationship with God. I am speaking to men who know what that experience is. The sacrament period should be a factor in awakening this sense of relationship....
"No more sacred ordinance is administered in the Church of Christ than the administration of the sacrament....
"There are three things fundamentally important associated with the administration of the sacrament. The first is self-discernment. It is introspection. 'This do in remembrance of me' (Luke 22:19), but we should partake worthily, each one examining himself with respect to his worthiness.
"Secondly, there is a covenant made; a covenant even more than a promise.... A covenant, a promise, should be as sacred as life. That principle is involved every Sunday when we partake of the sacrament.
"Thirdly, there is another blessing, and that is a sense of close relationship with the Lord. There is an opportunity to commune with oneself and to commune with the Lord. We meet in the house that is dedicated to him; we have turned it over to him; we call it his house. Well, you may rest assured that he will be there to inspire us if we come in proper attune to meet him. We are not prepared to meet him if we bring into that room our thoughts regarding our business affairs, and especially if we bring into the house of worship feelings of hatred toward our neighbor, or enmity and jealousy towards the Authorities of the Church. Most certainly no individual can hope to come into communion with the Father if that individual entertain any such feelings. They are so foreign to worship, and so foreign, particularly, to the partaking of the sacrament.
"I think we pay too little attention to the value of meditation, a principle of devotion....
"I believe the short period of administering the sacrament is one of the best opportunities we have for such meditation, and there should be nothing during that sacred period to distract our attention from the purpose of that ordinance."
- David O. McKay, "The Lord's Sacrament," Conference Report, April 1946, pp. 111-117
Click here to read the full talk

President McKay teaches us that amidst the concerns and complications of our lives, the "greatest comfort" we can find "is the assurance of having close relationship with God." To recognize we are not alone, and that there is a plan and purpose for our struggles, brings a profound peace and perspective to us. Then he suggests that partaking of the sacrament, and the time during the service that we can ponder and reflect, can be a great key to awakening our understanding of our relationship with God.

Even considering the temple ordinances, President McKay suggests "no more sacred ordinance us administered in the Church of Christ than the... sacrament." That's powerful! It should make us wonder if we sometimes take the ordinance for granted. During those few minutes of the administration, we have a profound opportunity to meditate about our relationship to Deity, to carefully consider our covenants, and to feel His presence cleansing and blessing our soul.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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