Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Table Fellowship



SUPPING WITH THE LORD: A LITURGICAL THEOLOGY OF THE LDS SACRAMENT
By Kathleen Flake

A friend passed this article along to me and I am again reminded how fresh, how enlightening, and how intriguing the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is.  This article is on the Sacrament, as viewed from the LDS perspective.  It's not something you normally hear, yet it's full of truth and light.  It will add understanding to anyone who's interested in understanding more of the ordinance we participate in each week.  She says "The sacrament is an ordinance and, as such, is an instrument designed to mediate salvation. It exists to make the saving power symbolized by a past event present with us now."

It's so easy to slip into a dull and darkened mindset which excludes important truths. She describes in one part: "....They (meaning the ancients) had come to believe that God having chosen their forebears was an accomplished fact that only needed memorializing, not renewing.  Consequently, their remembering God had become only a psychological recollection of him, not an acting toward him."  I wonder if this ever happens in our day?

In speaking of the obedience aspect to the Last Supper she says: "Many Saints obey the Word of Wisdom, motivated by its benefits as a health code. It is a matter of logic to them: "If I do ths, I won't get cancer." Others pay tithing, motivated by its promise of temporal security. It becomes an investment of sort: 10 percent for a stake in the open "windows of heaven." Sometimes obedience is a matter of convenience: "If I stay home this morning, everyone will ask why I wasn't in church." Obedience hire becomes the path of least resistance; sometimes it's simply easier to obey than not to obey.  There is, of course, an enormous amount of obedience offered in fear: "If I don't do this, God will get me." Guilt and need are also common motivators: "If I don't do this, God will abandon me." Finally, some obey without thought: "Just do it," their t-shirts exhort. This obedience has virtually nothing to do with thinking of him, much less remembering "this hour."

What about testimony in the absence of memory? This seems the most impossible, yet it is just as pervasive. The same Saints who obey out of logic, perceived benefit, and fear will often rise on the first Sunday of the month to witness the rationality, the benefit, or the protection offered in various commandments. They will do so without ever relating their experience to an understanding of Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Lord."

"The essence of what we do when we, as latter-day disciples, remember the Lord's saving actions and promises at the table, is to covenant-to remember that we may be remembered, to promise that we may obtain promises, to keep our promises so that God will keep his."

The idea of a "second" meal, a second sacrament (as occurring when Jesus instituted the sacrament in the Americas) in connection with the sacrament and true fellowship, was something that had never crossed my mind. I found the idea added light. 

If you have ever felt you maybe aren't getting all that much from this ordinance, or simply want to gain more from this ordinance, read the full article here:  https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/091-18-27.pdf

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