Thursday, January 15, 2009

33j - The Resurrected Jesus Christ's Ministry in Ancient America

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In the Garden of Gethsemane -by Harry Anderson

On the Cross at Calgary -by Harry Anderson
To read TODAY'S THEME I want you to read the scripture  just below this paragraph. It gives an account of the time when our Savior, Jesus Christ instituted His sacred ordinance of the Sacrament among His Nephite followers. He taught them the meaning of the Sacrament. These two paintings remind of us of that sacred meaning. (For maximum effect I suggest you use the Listen feature of LDS Scriptures.)

III Nephi 18:1-39

In that which you just read (and most likely listened to) you learned that the Lord Jesus Christ attached the utmost importance to His followers taking the Sacrament and doing so as worthy, baptized members of His church.

You are welcome to read and listen to that again right now if you feel you haven't really yet felt the strong impact of what was taught by our Savior to one of His "flocks", the Nephites of ancient America.

In those verses the Savior was speaking to the people of the Nephite Nation who were blessed so greatly that their righteousness extended through their posterity for about 200 years. Taking the Sacrament (of the Lord's Supper) worthily was certainly one of necessary factors in bringing that great history about.

The Lord, Jesus Christ in our day (in 1830) had His first latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, translate the Book of Mormon for our use which includes the use of those descendants of Father Lehi in our day who have been baptized as members of the Lord's re-established church, whose ancestors had fallen away from the truth after those blessed (approximate) 200 years. Leaders and other authorized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was organized in the same year the Book of Mormon was published, learned from the Book of Mormon these sacramental prayers and used them regularly (They were the same sacramental prayers that were offered by His Nephite disciples and others authorized by them.)

Here is the prayer Jesus taught them (and us through the Book of Mormon) in blessing the bread:
Moroni 4: 3 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
And in administering the wine:
Moroni 5:2 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
Later, the Lord revealed to His latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, these identical words of the Sacrament prayers as He did to the Nephites as described above. However, the Prophet Joseph Smith was later instructed, by the Lord for wise purposes, to use water instead of wine.

Having grown up in an active LDS family(See my Post 28) taking the Sacrament has been an important weekly event for me all my life. At just less than one month from my Seventy Seventh birthday I can tell you that my determination to do what the Lord expects of me has been regularly reinforced by the effect the regular partaking of the Sacrament, has had on me. I know why the Lord emphasized the importance of this ordinance from my own personal experience.

While my wife, Melva and I served as senior missionaries for the LDS Church in Finland from 2004 to 2006 we learned to appreciate much more the crucial importance of the sacrament from our experiences we had with Brother Kale Kokkonen, a faithful church member. Because of age-related physical problems,Veli (Finnish for the word, Brother) Kokkonen couldn't attend church at all. We arranged to meet with him in his apartment in Iisalmi, Finland (which is about 70 miles North of Kuopio where we were living and where the nearest branch of the Church to him was located) monthly, whenever it was possible because of our schedule.

Because Veli Kokkonen held the Priesthood as I do, he was able to offer one of the sacramental prayers while I offered the other. There were always tears of gratitude trickling down from his eyes after we had finished the sacrament.

All active members of the LDS Church would tell you the same thing that Veli Kokkonen would, "taking the Sacrament of the Lord's supper is such a privilege." He may not be living now, but I'll always remember blessing and partaking of the Sacrament with him during those special occasions. And I look forward to getting together with him again after I too have passed through the "veil" after dying.

If you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ask a member of this Church, inactive or active presently, how important a blessing it is to partake of the Sacrament. I can't fully predict what the inactive members will say, but I think most of them will reflect to you the feeling that it is an important blessing to those who are worthy of it.

Blessing the Sacrament -photo by

Passing the Sacrament -photo by

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Neil Birch

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