Family Home Evening Lesson 1: The Sacrament


Having been raised in an L-DS family and married to and L-DS woman, and attending an L-DS ward, family home evening is something I’m encouraged to do. I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking one night out of the week to study the gospel and spend time together as a family.

 
But I feel the same way about Family Home Evening as I do about scripture study. It does no good to regiment it. By saying you need to read your scriptures once a day relegates it to a chore, a task on a long checklist. Instead we should just be a scripture reading people. Reading scriptures shouldn’t be a task to complete everyday. Rather it should just be who we are. The use, and knowledge, of the scriptures should be a fundamental element of our daily lives.

 
So I feel that relegating activities associated with Family Home Evening to one night a week is counter productive to our ultimate goal. Instead, every day we should be involved in gospel discussion and family bonding(treats wouldn’t be that bad either). It should just be part of who we are. Not a weekly event to plan and complete.
But anyway, I’ve decided that I will do my best to hold a weekly family home evening. This is mainly for the benefit of my beloved wife. I feel at times that my lack of interest in L-DS Church promoted activities has a negative affect on her. So I feel that by doing an activity, such as Family Home Evening,  it will help her and also help me take a more active lead in the spiritual path of my family.

 

So here we go. Lesson one, about the sacrament. My daughter is almost three so these lessons will be VERY simple. So the key notes of the lesson will be in bold. The scriptural backing will be in plain text. Because there will be many people who disagree with what I teach I will back up my statements with the scriptures and words of the Prophets. This lesson should not take more than two minutes to complete. The spirit led me to expound and simplify things as I explained it to my daughter. So just go where you are led, and don’t stick to exactly what I’ve outlined.

Sacrament

What is the sacrament?

The sacrament is a way that baptized members of the church, show our love for Christ. It was a way that we remember him and show our faith in him.

Bread

To remember the body of Christ

To witness to Heavenly Father that we are willing to:

– Take upon the name of Jesus

– Always remember Jesus

– Keep the commandments

These things so that we may have the Spirit to be with us.

Wine

To remember the blood of Christ which was shed for us.

To witness to Heavenly Father that we do always remember Christ

These things so that we may have the Spirit to be with us.

D&C 20:76-79

76 And the elder or priest shall administer it; and after this manner shall he administer it—he shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying:

77 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

78 The manner of administering the wine—he shall take the cup also, and say:

79 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine 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.

How do we partake of the sacrament:

Bread and Wine

Matthew 26:22

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and brake it, and blessed it, and gave to his disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is in remembrance of my body which I give a ransom for you.

Wine

Matthew 26:23, 24

23 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.

24 For this is in remembrance of my blood of the new testament, which is shed for as many as shall believe on my name, for the remission of their sins.

D&C 89:5, 6

5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.

6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.

D&C 27:2, 3

2 For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.

3 Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine neither strong drink of your enemies;

Elders or Priests Bless the sacrament

D&C 20:38, 40, 46, 50

38 The duty of the elders, priests, teachers, deacons, and members of the church of Christ—An apostle is an elder, and it is his calling to baptize;

40 And to administer bread and wine—the emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ—

46 The priest’s duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament,

50 But when there is an elder present, he is only to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize,

Kneel when the sacrament is being blessed

Moroni 4:2

2 And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying…

D&C 20:76

76 And the elder or priest shall administer it; and after this manner shall he administer it–he shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying…

Only those who are baptized should eat of the sacrament

3 Ne. 18: 28, 29

28 And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it;

29 For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.

Eat until Filled

3 Nephi 18: 4, 5

4 And when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude.

5 And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name.

I also printed out two pictures as visual aids.


I did not use a picture of Christ because I believe that falls under the making of graven images. For me when I see an image or painting of Christ it draws me away from actually coming to know Christ. This is because an artist has already depicted Him for me. I would rather have my own image of Christ in my mind and heart rather than imagining an artist’s depiction of Him.

Finally here’s an interesting write up I found while doing research. It comes from here: http://truthseeker.tripod.com/LDSQUESTION11.html

How did we overlook that we should all kneel as the sacrament is being blessed?

Consider:
Moroni 4:2 And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying…

D&C 20:76 And the elder or priest shall administer it; and after this manner shall he administer it–he shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying…

Note that in both scriptures it says that the person blessing the sacrament will kneel WITH the church and not FOR the church or IN FRONT OF the church. No, WITH the church, that is to say WITH the members which together are the church.

This very issue was discussed in the 1890’s and was dismissed by Joseph F. Smith as being “rather impracticable”:

“I want to speak of one or two little things that have been brought to my mind here and at other places, which may be profitable to some of us. I would like to call the attention of the congregation, especially of the Bishops, to the mode of administering the sacrament. The book of Doctrine and Covenants teaches us that the Elder or Priest who administers the sacrament ‘shall kneel with the Church.’ Of course, it is quite difficult, and probably inappropriate, for a whole congregation to kneel while the blessing is being asked upon the bread and upon the water. The confusion and noise incident to kneeling and rising again would be inappropriate. Besides, the construction of our meeting houses, and the size of the congregations generally, would make that practice rather impracticable.” (Collected Discourses, Vol. 3, Joseph F. Smith, July 16, 1893)

Difficult? Probably inappropriate? Confusion and noise? Construction of our meeting houses? Size of congregations? Impracticable? Sounds a lot more like excuses rather than revelation to me.

Our meeting houses could have been built to accommodate the word of God! Catholics stand and kneel as a congregation during Mass without noise or confusion. I believe we were supposed to kneel during the sacramental prayers but this point has been over looked and is now lost.

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14 Responses to Family Home Evening Lesson 1: The Sacrament

  1. Rob says:

    As far as the kneeling, Joseph F. Smith’s statement seems to be the rational behind many changes in ordinances. At Barerecord it’s mentioned that patrons of the endowment no longer rise to their feet at times when they used to stand. (Not sure if this is in all lds temples buildings or any since I haven’t gone to one of those in a long time).

    So members don’t stand or kneel, they just sit. Which is pretty symbolic or their spiritual lives.

  2. JMW says:

    Well said Rob. I might also add that it was George Q. Cannon who came up with the idea that taking the sacrament was a renewal of your baptismal covenants. This was also a product of the 1890’s when the church thought it impractical to practice re-baptisms. Christ did and said things all the time that were impractical! http://youtu.be/lZXgdSBULUY?t=14m57s

  3. That’s interesting news about Cannon’s interpretation, JMW. And ditto to Rob.

    Mike, when I was given a tour of Reorg headquarters in Independence, there was an empty frame on the wall of the Twelve Apostles, meeting room. The frame signified a picture of Christ and it was empty so that each member of the twelve would be free to allow their minds to picture what He looked like.

    I thought that was rather odd, because the twelve are supposed to be personal witnesses of Christ, but this was back when I believed OUR twelve apostles saw him face to face all the time. I think your idea of an artist’s depiction distracting from one’s own image is a valid one.

  4. zo-ma-rah says:

    Another thing I’ve done is when visiting Salt Lake City, and we go into the room with the Christus, I will sit with my back to the statue so I can face my family. Or I will look at the ground rather than the statue. It would be interesting if someone would accuse me of turning my back on Christ. But then again they really can’t because it’s not Christ. It’s just a block of stone carved like some artist’s imagination of him. The only thing I could be accused of is rejecting a cultural tradition of staring at a carved piece of stone.

  5. love my scriptures says:

    Some of us are hoping this is a weekly event — your FHE postings. Interesting what one can teach from the scriptures (but might not fly in your average Sacrament Meeting talk!)

  6. Justin says:

    The 3 Nephi scripture you quoted doesn’t appear to say that only the baptized should partake of the sacrament. I think these verses support that idea better:

    behold
    there shall one be ordained among you
    and to him will I give power that he shall break bread
    and bless it
    and give it unto the people of my church
    unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name

    and this shall you always observe to do
    even as I have done
    even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you
    and this shall you do in remembrance of my body
    which I have shown unto you
    and it shall be a testimony unto the father that you do always remember me
    and if you do always remember me
    you shall have my Spirit to be with you

  7. zo-ma-rah says:

    I was trying to find the scripture about needing to be worthy to partake of the sacrament and that being worthy in that context means being baptized. It’s in the Doctrine and Covenants somewhere but I haven’t been able to find it.

  8. Winnie Jacobs says:

    I know there are people who would have a difficult time kneeling, eg. the infirm, the aged, etc. How would you address that?

    • Justin says:

      How would you address that?

      Lol — with a big stick.

      Let prudence dictate, I would imagine. Churches like the Catholics regularly kneel throughout their services — and pews are filled with the infirm and elderly.

      I don’t really see how it’s an issue to “address”. The scriptures say “kneel” — so the rule should be kneeling. Then, with reason, the exceptions can be excused.

  9. Wildrose says:

    1 Corinthians 11:29 speaks of not taking the sacrament unworthily. But I can find no reference limiting the ordinance to only baptized members. Only that it was for members, but that’s not the same as saying they are the only ones allowed to take it.

    When I teach my children, I grab any scripture, quote, subject, or object, whatever comes to mind or is at hand, and I start asking questions. With the scriptures and other written material it’s a listening exercise first: I read a short phrase and then ask an obvious question about it. (e.g. What kind of parents was Nephi born to?) Then I move on to definitions (What does goodly mean?) and then we delve into the doctrine (Why would Nephi mention being born to goodly parents? Why is that important? What can we learn about parents and families from Nephi?) Additional questions depend on the replies. The point of the exercise is to start a conversation where everyone who desires to participate is understood. So your role as teacher is to understand.

    This method of teaching requires no specific preparation, though a strong foundation of gospel learning is a must. You can use it anytime, with any set of people, any age, any background. Because you are not trying to :get through” a preplanned lesson, you foster a spirit of true conversation, communion, and learning. My children love to read the scriptures with me because we have truly interesting conversations that hold their attention. My oldest is 8.

    I mention this only because it seems that you are using the usual church Sunday School lesson method of picking out what to teach first along with the specific points you intend the students to go away with. I’m not sure that’s really what you are doing, but if so, I thought you’d be interested in opening your mind to another way. The preplanned teaching method makes for boring, forced learning with the rare exception by brilliant teachers. But the spontaneous teaching method allows both the students and the Spirit to guide the lessons, no teaching brilliance required!

    Works for me. I’m not that brilliant.

  10. liv435 says:

    We’re not in the mainstream church so we do sacrament different. We always kneel with everyone. It’s always the priests who administer sacrament. And they don’t have to recite the prayer over and over again if they stumble on the words a bit. I’ve actually heard of poor mormon boys crying because they couldn’t get the prayer right! There are a few things though that really gripe me. First off you’ll see people refuse sacrament regularly because they don’t want to partake “unworthily” My friend just told me last night that she won’t take sacrament if she has gossiped about someone. If sinning makes us unworthy of partaking then we shouldn’t even offer it at all because we’d never be worthy! I wonder if this way of thinking pervades the main stream church too? Also the aversion to using wine. We’ve had sacrament in our home with our family a few times. We served homemade wine and unleavened bread. The spirit was so strong at these times. We “ate until we were filled” At our Sunday meetings though there is fear of alcohol I think and when I suggested we eat until we’re filled, I was told, “that means ‘filled with the spirit.'” mmmkay…then I guess we might have to eat a LOT then. Hopefully we’re filled with the spirit before we explode!

    ps. Loved the article!

  11. liv435 says:

    Sorry I meant “elders” not “priests”

  12. Tandee says:

    Maybe you don’t know that Family Home Evening began as an encouragement to the saints to strengthen their families by studying the gospel and having fun together; it was in no way meant to be regimented or formalized. It wasn’t until 1970 that Monday was designated FHE night, and that was the Church’s effort to leave a day free of Church activities and appointments (communities with a predominantly LDS population followed suit) so that families would have at least one unencumbered night to pursue this activity. A lot of people today would just be living parallel lives in the same household if it weren’t for this tradition, and families are disintegrating around us too fast already. Kids get in trouble and their parents don’t even know where they are, leading to heartache. Lots of people don’t have this family togetherness concept at all, so when they join the Church and learn it, it is a great family healing device. I’m a convert, and once I was talking on the phone to my sister’s daughter (they are active Christians in their own church), and concluding the call I said, “I have to go now, it’s time for family prayer.” She responded, “What’s that?”

    In a perfect world we would all do these things willingly and elementally because we love to do them, but we are far from perfect and many of us are far from knowledgeable in such things; somehow they have to become second nature to us and they only do when we consistently make a point of doing them. Sometimes we do have to make a list and regiment ourselves until we get to that level. Instilling such habits in children requires perserverence as well. I wish I had grown up in an active LDS family with all these family practices; it is much more difficult for adults to incorporate these teachings in their lives consistently when they didn’t have them growing up.

    It has always been my impression that someday, when we have progressed enough, that we would have sacrament in our homes as well. Perhaps in a day when we interact with our neighbors and care for them and know them as well as ourselves. The structure we have now is just the framework for what is to come.

  13. JR says:

    Actually Catholics getting up and down to kneel is very loud, at least where I was at. They had a cushioned metal bar to kneel on, which was attached to the pew. When pulled down and put back up it made a lot of noise. While this was going on I asked myself why the LDS didn’t kneel during Sacrament.

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