Monday, September 5, 2011

The Sabbath and the Sacrament

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I have a lot of favorite things that happen on other days but Sunday is consistently a favorite for me. I just really enjoy going to church, I love putting all of the weekly pressures and responsibilities aside for a day and focusing instead on Jesus Christ and what it means to live His gospel. Of course I do many "spiritual" things throughout the week such as reading the scriptures and praying but Sunday I love to devote wholly to God and focus on and build that part of my life.

From the beginning of time God the Father and Jesus Christ have taught the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. The Old Testament records:

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

"And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." (Genesis 2:1-3.)

Later, the Great Jehovah, even Jesus Christ gave the commandment to the children of Israel to, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy," for, "the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8,11).

To hallow is to make or set apart as holy or respect or honor greatly; to revere (see Dictionary.com). God set apart and made holy the Sabbath day and commands us to respect and greatly honor that day.

In the April 2011 General Conference, Elder L Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a talk entitled, "The Sabbath and the Sacrament," in which he discusses, "three things the Lord requires of us: first, to keep ourselves unspotted from the world; second, to go to the house of prayer and offer up our sacraments and third, to rest from our labors.

Keeping the Sabbath day holy is not merely going to church or spending extra time with family or not going to work or not participating in various recreational activities or not shopping. Keeping the Sabbath day holy is all of these and more. Keeping the Sabbath day holy is a mentality, something that is prepared for throughout the week, and perhaps the best way to worship God. Elder Perry taught that the most important Sabbath-day activity is partaking of the sacrament. In addition to partaking of the sacrament, attending the rest of our Sunday meetings, abstaining from regular weekly obligations and recreational activities, and otherwise avoiding all things that may distract from our focus on the Savior, along with spending time with our families and spending extra time visiting those who may benefit from extra attention are the best ways to respect and honor the Lord's day. The Savior taught that we should do well on the Sabbath.

Elder Perry concludes his talk with his testimony, "I bear my special witness that the greatest joy we receive in this life is in following the Savior." Let us follow the Savior and remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. It is my ultimate witness that keeping the Sabbath day holy brings only happiness and peace.

Jeremy