Shauna asked if the sacrament prayers are referring to the Holy Ghost, or to Jesus Christ. I looked back through the Un-Blog, and found, to my surprise, that I had not addressed the power of the sacramental covenants.
The sacrament, what it does for us, and why we do it so often, is not clearly understood by most. We have been taught that we are renewing our baptismal covenants, and we are in a round-about way. Unfortunately, baptism does not include a clearly stated covenant. Mosiah 18 is most often given as where to find the covenants we make at baptism. We find that those people covenanted to:
- Bear one another’s burdens
- Mourn with those that mourn
- Comfort those that stand in need of comfort
- Stand as a witness of God in all places – even unto death
– That ye may be redeemed of God and numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life.
In today’s sacrament prayers we promise to:
- Eat & drink in remembrance of the body and blood of Christ
- Witness that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Christ
- Always remember Him
- Keep His commandments
– That we may always have His Spirit to be with us.
It is easy to see that there is little similarity between what Alma’s people covenanted to do, and what we are promising through partaking of the sacrament. They are different because this is a different dispensation. God led Alma to place his people under a contract to support one another, and to be fearless in being followers of Christ – so that they would have eternal life.
God has an infinitely greater challenge for this dispensation, we are to live so that by taking upon ourselves the name of Christ, remembering Him and keeping His commandments, we can always walk in the light of continuing revelation. Not only must we do all the things Alma’s people promised, but we must do everything Jesus Christ, through the voice of the Holy Spirit, sends us forth to do.
Alma’s covenant is static. It is Law-of-Moses-esque. Do these acts so that you can have eternal life.
The latter-day covenant is living, dynamic and profound. The term “His Spirit” is referencing the Spirit of Jesus Christ. It is the light of Christ, that which we call our conscience, the Holy Spirit, and the Still Small Voice. We are to become creatures of Christ, walking in continuing revelation, going forth in obedience, speaking under inspiration, serving every time we are inspired, acting as Christ would act if He were present; so that all things are done “In the name of Jesus Christ.” This is the greater covenant, and the higher law.
This is the dispensation when only those who have taken the Holy Spirit to be their guide will survive the trials and trauma of these days, and will be invited to the wedding feast at His coming.
“For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
“And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.
“For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver.” (D&C 45:56-59)
This is the extraordinary meaning of the Sacrament covenants. It is that we covenant to become the Wise Virgins, and take the Holy Spirit to be our Guide, build Zion and invite Christ to return and become our king. This is both the tragedy and the triumph of our dispensation. It is a tragedy because we scarcely understand it, and a triumph because in time, we certainly will.
© April 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.