Monday, April 24, 2017

Making the Sacrament Count

I enjoyed teaching Relief Society in my new ward yesterday. I am the new TFOT teacher, and the lesson was about Elder Peter F. Meurs' October 2016 General Conference talk "The Sacrament Can Help Us Become Holy".

To start off the lesson, I had written "Easter Every Sunday" on the board. (Which is a concept I learned from my Seminary teacher who shared some of her ideas about that right here.)

To begin the lesson, we talked about what special preparations we each made for Easter Sunday (last week).  Answers such as: we made special food, wore our best/new clothes, talked about the spiritual significance of the weekend, and made sure we were at church on time, were given. I asked if Easter were every Sunday would the world go out of its way to do these things or would it become old hat?  

I then suggested that we do celebrate Easter every Sunday when we take the Sacrament. Has the Sacrament become routine and old hat?  There are, compared to Easter celebrations, relatively small/inward spiritual preparations that we should be making each week, but are we doing those things?  Or have we become relaxed and complacent about the Sacrament because it happens every week and not once a year?

I asked the class to think about what they love about partaking of the sacrament. We listed their answers on the board, which included: feeling new, opportunity to repent, to think about Jesus, and review the past and set goals for the coming week, singing the sacrament hymn, the feeling of coming to Christ and being a part of His fold.

I then asked the class to think of their best time taking the Sacrament, a time when the Sacrament was most spiritually impactful for them personally.  What factors made it so?

I then asked them to think of a time when it wasn't so spiritual or potent for them.  What factors caused this to be the case?

The class easily lead into the first of Elder Meurs five points which was personal preparation for the Sacrament.

We spent time talking about his points as follows.  In order to make partaking of the Sacrament a more powerful experience, Elder Meurs suggests trying the following:

1.  Advance Preparation (pray & repent)

2.  Arrive Early (listen to the prelude music/do not text)

3. Sing and Learn from the Sacrament Hymn

4. Participate in the Prayers

5. Ponder the Emblems

As I was preparing the lesson, I felt prompted to do two things, which we did during the lesson.  I focused on helping them appreciate that Sacrament hymns, which when sung and pondered can teach us powerful doctrine about Christ and put us in the right state of mind to partake of the Sacrament. 

I printed off copies of the Sacrament hymns and asked each sister to take a few minutes to review the hymn and then share doctrine they learned from the song as well as any testimony they might want to share.

The second thing I felt prompted to do was to create a "Sacrament Journal" using the five questions Elder Meurs asks us to consider for the sisters to use for the next month to track their Sacrament experience.  I will share that journal below, if you'd like to use it.

Elder Meurs asks us to consider these questions:

1. What will I do this week to better prepare for the sacrament?
2.  Could I contribute more to the reverence and revelation that can accompany the beginning of Sacrament meeting?
3. What doctrine was taught in the Sacrament hymn?
4. What did I hear and feel as I listened to the Sacrament prayers?
5. What did I think about as the Sacrament was passed?

I presented the women with the option of accepting 1 of 2 challenges in the coming week, which I also wrote on the back of their journals.  They could either keep their Sacrament journals for the next four weeks and either report back or journal about it--or-- they could memorize the firsts verse of one of the Sacrament hymns and then take the Sacrament the next week and journal about their experience.

Sorry this is just a quick synopsis of the lesson, but I wanted to quickly share it with you guys. I will be printing off journals for my kids to use and we will be using this for our family home evening lesson tonight!

Journal Instructions:

1. Print the journal double-sided.
2. The first page is the outer cover.
3. The second page is the inner pages for recording your thoughts.
4. Fold them in half the tall way and nestle one inside the other. Very simple.

I encouraged the women to read the sacrament prayers as they are being said and to fill in the journal each week (not necessarily during sacrament, but after).

This journal activity can be used for an extra YW Faith experience, if desired.

Download below:
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