Asia Area Presidency Message
Elder Yoke Sang Freddie Chan
Of the Seventy
In the Grand Council of Heaven, Heavenly Father presented the plan of salvation1 to His spirit children. We learned that we could become like our Heavenly Father in His glorious body of flesh and bones. Because we are his spirit children, we could come down to earth to receive a physical body and be tested if we would keep His commandments. If we would be faithful in obeying his commandments, we would return to live with Heavenly Father again. However, because of our imperfections, we would sin and a Savior would be needed to redeem and atone for our sins.
Jesus Christ was chosen over Lucifer because of His willingness to do His Father's will and the glory would be to His Father.
Our Savior's mission here on earth was that He being the only perfect man would take upon Himself the sins of the world and atone for us. He was rejected by His own people, condemned and was crucified on the cross of Calvary. Through His atonement, He redeemed us from our fall and through His resurrection, He overcame death and gave us immortality. In His final week on earth, knowing that His time would soon end, He instituted the sacrament with His apostles to help them remember Him.
The Ordinance of the SacramentThe Ordinance of the Sacrament
The sacrament is one of the holiest ordinances of the Gospel. It reminds us of our Savior's love and sacrifice of His life for the benefit of mankind that all may be given the opportunity to return to live with Him and His Father again. 'And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.' 2it it it it
In our modern dispensation, the sacrament prayers for the bread and water recorded in scriptures 3 remind us of our Savior Jesus Christ, His Atonement and His Resurrection. We can learn the power of His Atonement through our attendance at sacrament meeting as we renew our baptismal covenant with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
We can build faith in Jesus Christ as we seek to understand His Atonement. The Atonement is central to our faith as 'all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it' 4 and that 'For it is expedient that an atonement should be made … a great and last sacrifice … infinite and eternal sacrifice.” 5
Prepare for a Spiritual Experience when Partaking of the SacramentPrepare for a Spiritual Experience when Partaking of the Sacrament
Preparation should begin well in advance, at our home, prior to the Sabbath Day. We should prepare ourselves spiritually by reading and studying the scriptures, focusing on the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. Elder Holland said 'The focus on the Savior and the Atonement needs to begin a long time before we walk into the building and a long time before the priest starts to kneel down. And it will help us I think, to get that focus if we remember that this is an ordinance. And it terms of its frequency, every seven days for the rest of our lives...... This is the most conspicuous and certainly the most repeatable ordinance in the Church and I am not sure if we think of it that way. This is a very personal ordinance. This is the only ordinance that really we repeat for ourselves.' 6
Partaking of the sacrament is a very personal ordinance. We cannot ask someone to partake on our behalf. The covenants we make with God are personal in nature. We should make our partaking of the sacrament each week a personal commitment to God. Thus we have the obligation to renew our covenants and with renewed commitment, take upon ourselves the name of Christ and keep His commandments.
We should also partake of the sacrament worthily.
Take upon the Name of ChristTake upon the Name of Christ
What does the name of Christ and that covenant means when we partake of the sacrament? Elder Oaks said, 'The most frequent single meaning of the scriptures that refer to the name of the Lord seems to refer to His work, His Atonement, His mission... The label is not enough. We must be built upon His gospel....The name of Christ stands for the substance of the Gospel, the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone who covenants that they are willing to take upon themselves the name of Christ is saying I will handle my share of this great mission and my share is what I am called to do.' 7 Let us take up this responsibility in helping our Lord Jesus Christ to continue His work in establishing His kingdom here on earth.
Renewal of CovenantsRenewal of Covenants
Partaking of the sacrament each week gives us the opportunity to renew our baptismal covenants.
Elder Andersen said, 'Spirituality is not stagnant and neither are covenants. And hopefully what we pray is that all of us as members are moving along a progressive growth both in our spirituality and in our covenants, covenants not only bring commitment but they bring spiritual power. We should teach our members moving toward our Heavenly Father. The sacrament is a beautiful time to not just renew our baptismal covenants but to commit to Him to renew all our covenants, all our promises and to approach Him in a spiritual power that we did not have previously as we move forward.' 8
Blessings from the SacramentBlessings from the Sacrament
As we partake of the sacrament each week on the Sabbath, our minds will be more attuned to the Spirit and with renewed commitment to always remember Him, taking upon the name of Christ and keep His commandments. In return, Heavenly Father bless us with His guidance through the companionship of the Holy Spirit so that we can find peace and comfort as we grow progressively in our spirituality and continuous renewing of all our covenants.
Sister Chan and I have many opportunities to teach our 3 sons the purpose and importance of the sacrament. We started when they were young and they learned how to be reverent and dress appropriately to attend sacrament meetings on Sundays. Family Home Evening was a valuable time we used to teach them. We learn to sing church hymns too. We make sure we start preparing ourselves the day before sacrament. We would have everything prepared on Saturday so we arrive at church well before sacrament meeting on Sunday. We always sit together as a family. We love going to church to learn of our Savior and His teachings each week.
I have a testimony that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Through His selfless love for all mankind, He willingly laid down His life to pave the way for us to return to live with Heavenly Father. I know that attending sacrament is truly a privilege and a blessing to us as families and individuals. Let us strive to have a spiritual experience each week as we partake of the sacrament. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. ■
Caption: Elder Yoke Sang Freddie Chan
1 See, for example, Moses 1:39, 6:62; Abraham 3:22-28.
2 Matthew 26:26-28.
3 Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79; Moroni 4:3, 5:2.
4 See Teachings of Presidents of The Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 49; History of the Church, 3:30; from an editorial published in Elders’ Journal, July 1838, p.44; Joseph Smith was the editor of the periodical.Teachings of Presidents of The Church: Joseph Smith (2007) History of the Church, Elders’ Journal
5 See Alma 34:9-10.
6 General Authority Training DVD Presentation on Sabbath Day Observance, April, 2015.