At the beginning of 2019 the church rolled out a new curriculum that emphasizes scripture study in the home as individuals and families, with Sunday lessons supporting what is learned.
Every member and household was given a curriculum/study manual to help us by outlining the readings, accompanied with questions to ponder as we study together at home during the week. This study guide is called, ‘Come Follow Me’.
We had NO idea then, how meaningful it would be to us just 15 months later when gatherings of 50 people or more would be prohibited because of health/safety concerns. All of our church meetings have been cancelled until further notice.
With all of these daily announcements and changes we look to our Prophet and local presiding priesthood to give us further directions in how to proceed. With ‘Come Follow Me’ in place it made the concerns of how to handle the Sabbath easy and seamless. We all have exactly what we need to help our families to keep the Savior at the center of our worship. Sunday School lessons are not something we’ve had to worry about at all the last two weeks. It’s been a great comfort.
The Sacrament is an ordinance in which Church members partake of bread and water in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice. This ordinance is an essential part of our worship and spiritual development. Through this ordinance, we renew the covenants we made with God when they were baptized.
The scriptures explain exactly how the sacrament is to be administered. Members of the Church meet each Sabbath day to worship and partake of the sacrament (see D&C 20:75). The sacrament is administered by those who hold the necessary priesthood authority. A priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder breaks bread into pieces, kneels, and blesses it (see D&C 20:76). A deacon or other priesthood holder then passes the sacrament bread to the congregation. Then the priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder blesses the water, and it too is passed to the members.
Since all church meetings have been cancelled we waited to hear from our Bishop to see if we would have permission to administer the Sacrament in our homes.
When we received the email we were so thankful and excited! In all of my years I have never had the opportunity to have the Sacrament blessed and passed in my own home. What makes this time even sweeter, is that Jared, Walker, and Eli are all able to participate in the preparing, blessing, and passing the Sacrament.
“Until we begin holding sacrament meeting again, all worthy Elders and Priests in our ward are authorized to administer the sacrament to their own family beginning this Sunday. Deacons and Teachers may assist according to the responsibilities of their office. In cases where there is not an Elder or Priest in the home, ministering brothers are authorized to administer the sacrament to their assigned families and should ensure that each family has this opportunity if desired. Priesthood holders should review the instructions in section 18.9 of the Handbook before administering the sacrament and follow the principles as closely as possible in a home setting. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/general-handbook/18-priesthood-ordinances-and-blessings?lang=eng#title_number27 “
I can’t quite even put into words how sweet and tender the Spirit was in our home the first week we were able to do this in our home. As I bowed my head and listened to Jared and Eli bless the Sacrament at our kitchen table, and as I watched them pass the bread and water on a small dinner plate and unmatched larger than normal cups instead of the bread tray and cute little water cups we are accustomed to, somehow, that made the experience all the more sweet. It made my heart swell and brought up such strong emotions of gratitude for the Gospel.
And again this week, as we gathered together and prayed, sung hymns, partook of the Sacrament, and learned about the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5 (Jacob quotes Zenos’s allegory of the tame and wild olive trees) for our lesson and studied about how much the Lord loves, nurtures, and never gives up on His people, my heart was full.
I will prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it, that … it perish not” (Jacob 5:4).
“It grieveth me that I should lose this tree” (Jacob 5:7).
“What shall we do unto the tree, that I may preserve again good fruit thereof unto mine own self?” (Jacob 5:33).
“I may have joy again in the fruit of my vineyard” (Jacob 5:60).
It was another testament to me that the Lord loves His children and knows what lays before us at all times. He has given us a Prophet Russell M. Nelson, who speaks to us today and continues to give us revelation for our time. He provides ways like ‘Come Follow Me’ to help us to continue to study, learn and grow in our faith and relationship with Him in our homes, long before we knew why we’d need it. He is always aware of us and our needs. <3