Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sunday Sideliners

I went to hear my brother-in-law speak at the Federal Heights Ward right down the hill from Shriners Hospital in Sale Lake City a few weeks ago.  This chapel features a layout I had never seen before.  The sacrament table was right in front of the pulpit. And it was no small table.  Front and center.  It immediately drew my attention.  Rather than being a sideliner like in most correlated chapel layouts, the sacrament table in this building architecturally was the center.  It caused its symbols to become more apparent, and as the meeting went on it helped all of us remember what the center point of the meeting really is.  Even while observing the speakers, the sacrament table remained within direct field of view.  One couldn't look at the speaker without seeing the sacrament table at the same time.  It helped keep things in proper perspective.

I thought that it was not just a great symbol, but a helpful one.  The atonement, and the sacrament should be at the heart and center of our worship services.  Sometimes they are not, and having the table off to the side of the room doesn't help the fact. It almost makes the sacrament a side topic.  Which ironically, Christ often is a side topic of our meetings.  I've visited who knows how many wards over the past few years, and this is a trend no matter where I go.  Christ gets less and less focus, while men gain more and more praise and adoration. We often know more about leaders, then we do the Lord.      

But back to the sacrament table.  With the table front and center, one can't help but see the white sheet laid over the top of the sacramental emblems and think of the Lord in the tomb.  The contours in the white linens created by the bread and water trays helps the mind reflect on the Lord's body as it lay.  He having literally given His life, body, and blood as a sacrifice for mankind.  Then as one partakes of blessed bread and water, which literally becomes part of the person who partakes, he or she can ponder on the living reality of the Lord.  No longer dead, but alive.  What great symbols the sacrament offers.  

The architecture in most buildings causes our minds to focus on the pulpit and the one speaking.  But that should not be the focus of our meetings.  I wish more churches held this ordinance in the front and center, both in architecture, and in Spirit.   

No comments:

Post a Comment