The Sabbath Day at Church

Area Leadership Message

Elder Francisco Ruiz de Mendoza, Spain Area Seventy

With Elder Nelson's talk at the April 2015 General Conference, there has been a renewal of emphasis in the Church on making the Sabbath holy. By making the Sabbath holy we can take joy in it and experience many blessings that God is anxious to pour upon us. As Elder Nelson remarked, the Sabbath was a perpetual covenant between the Lord and the people of Israel (Exodus 31: 13, 16) and a reminder that God may sanctify his people. The Savior declared that He was the Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6: 5) and, in these latter days, He has unequivocally reminded us that we are to keep the Sabbath holy (D&C 68: 29).

An essential part of observing this commandment is to go to Church on Sundays and partake of the Sacrament: “thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day” (D&C 59: 9). Doing so is necessary so that we can keep ourselves “unspotted from the world” (D&C 59: 9). Since it hinges on the Atonement, the ordinance of the Sacrament is central to our worship thus making “the Sacrament Meeting the most sacred and important meeting in the Church” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, October 2008 General Conference). To the extent that we prepare for this ordinance and for this meeting, we will be showing to the Lord that we understand the importance of His Atonement and that we are serious about our covenants with Him. The blessings that can come from partaking of the Sacrament appropriately are countless and can have an impact on our lives and on the lives of those around us. Cooperating with the Ward Council and the bishopric to have a spiritual Sacrament Meeting is part and parcel of our personal endeavors to become more like our Savior and thereby qualify to be a light to others.

How can we make the Sacrament into a growth opportunity for us and for those around us? Let us pause for a moment and think of the kind of Sacrament Meeting that the Lord wants us to have. Isn’t it one where the Spirit will be present and we will be spiritually healed as we covenant with God that we are “willing to take upon [ourselves] the name of His Son and always remember Him and keep His commandments” so that “[we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us]” (D&C 20:77)? Wouldn’t we long for that kind meeting and prepare for it during the week? Wouldn’t we forgive others of their wrongs against us? Wouldn’t we ask for forgiveness and come to the Sacrament Meeting with a repentant soul? Wouldn’t we counsel with the members of our family as to how to make the Sacrament Meeting into a sacred experience? Wouldn’t we love to bring others to such a special meeting? The Lord has declared: “And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also” (D&C 84: 106). Isn’t an uplifting Sacrament experience a great opportunity for us to become strong so that we can help others become strong too? Shouldn’t we invite others, especially those that are less active or those that have not accepted the Gospel yet, so they may “come unto Christ” with us “and be perfected in Him” (Moroni 10:32)?

It is my prayer that we may all participate in the Sacrament Meeting in such a way that this experience will significantly contribute to making the Sabbath “a delight” (Isaiah 58: 13) not only for us but for all those for whom we are responsible as witnesses of the Lord’s work (D&C 88: 81-82).

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.