Cover image via Gospel Media Library.
A couple of weeks ago my husband was asked to share a spiritual thought in Ward Council. And he shared something I had never considered.
Most of us have heard the Sacrament prayers thousands of times. We think we have them memorized. We concentrate on the words and we silently vow to keep the commandments, to always remember our Savior, and to take His name upon us. In return, we are promised we will always have His Spirit to be with us.
Bob shared a short phrase that’s in the prayer for the water. First he read the prayer aloud, omitting the five words. See if you can spot the omission:
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this water to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, 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.
Then he asked if anyone could spot the missing part. Next, he read the prayer as written, and asked everyone to notice five particular words:
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this water 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.
There is so much to consider in those five words. First, Christ willingly chose to shed his blood for us. He could have stopped the crucifixion at any time, but chose to fulfill this pinnacle, saving act of redemption.
Next, it wasn’t for us as a group. Nor is our Sacrament for us as a congregation. It is for each individual. Singularly. It’s personal. He knows each of our names, has engraved them on the palms of his hands, and thought about each of us while he was there in the garden, bleeding from every pore, and then hanging on the cross.
And why was His blood shed? To pay the price. To atone. To satisfy the laws of justice. To give us the supernal gift of being able to go home again. He paid every last price in full. Everything you’ve ever done wrong, every anguish or sorrow you’ve ever felt—it’s all paid for. In return, all we must do to earn our place with him, is repent.
Every time God asks us to do something—any commandment, any covenant—have you noticed that the blessings always far outweigh the pittance we put in? Our Father in Heaven and His Son are offering us glory beyond our imagination. Eternal joy and happiness. Peace. Sealed families. The exhilarating honor of being in Their presence. And all we have to do is search our hearts and humbly change for the better.
This process is not about earning something, or even measuring the discrepancy between what we give and what God gives, but being ready to accept eternal life. Too often earth life and the afterlife are viewed strategically, as if the plan of salvation is a business model, but it’s not actually about offers and exchanges. It’s about growth.
Isn’t it amazing that what they are asking is not a difficult Herculean feat? It’s not a painful sacrifice, giving up something truly dear to us. It’s to forsake our sins! It’s to give up something that was hurting us in the first place! So even the act of repenting blesses us even before God showers us with more blessings. It’s a win-win-win-win-win. There is literally no down side.
And then, after shedding His blood and being crucified, Christ rose again. His Spirit and body reconnected, just as ours will one day. The greatest event in the history of the world is the Resurrection. Every human being will now rise again, free from the grave.
The amount of love it took to shed his blood for us is beyond our mortal ability to comprehend. It exceeds any love we have experienced. But we can exercise faith that it’s real, that we can partake of it, and that we can truly remember it as we promise when we take the Sacrament.
This Easter, amid the flurry of chocolate and bunnies and eggs, let’s be sure we stop and acknowledge what we’re really celebrating: The ultimate gift of Eternal Life. It can take your breath away.
Hilton’s books, humor blog, and Youtube Mom videos can be found on her website. She currently serves as an Inter-Faith Specialist for Church Communications.