Sunday, December 13, 2009

Symbolism and the Sacrament

Just found the following in an introduction to a book named "Symbols & Shadows" by Donald W. Parry and Jay A. Parry. Also added, in italics, are some of my own thoughts and observations. The is food for thought...

"Once as I sat pondering during the sacrament, my eyes on the sacrament table, I suddenly realized that I was looking at a shroud! Under that white linen covering, used in some cultures to cover the remains of the dead, were placed the emblems, or symbols, of the body and blood of Christ. As I thought further about it, my understanding rapidly deepened, as I saw the table as an altar of sacrifice—both His and ours—and the hands that gently broke the bread of sacrifice and served the water of sacrifice as representing other hands—both His and ours.” I've had a similar thought over the years and sometimes found myself wondering if the young men breaking the bread and blessing it and the water truly appreciated that they were tending to the body of Christ. I guess that wonder should also extend to those of us partaking of the bread and water... We hear every week that they are symbols of the body and blood of Christ, but how often do we consider the meaning of literally taking Christ inside ourselves? Of making Him a part of our being? Then again, I really can't wonder for all of the congregation... I can only wonder what it means for, and to, me. And then I must act on it.

"Of all the ordinances, the sacrament has the most obvious symbolism of the atonement. When Jesus introduced the sacrament to his apostles at the Last Supper, he said regarding the bread, “Take, eat; this is in remembrance of my body which I give a ransom for you.” And regarding the wine, he said, “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” (JST Matt. 26:22, 24).

When he visited the Nephites, he said after providing the sacrament to them, “He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled” (3 Ne. 20:8).

The emblems (the word emblem means “symbol”) of the sacrament point clearly and directly to the atoning sacrifice of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. As we partake, we have the remarkable opportunity of taking into ourselves symbolic food and drink that represent the very atonement of Jesus Christ—­and by taking it into ourselves, we signify that we make that atonement part of us."

What does that mean to "make the atonement part of us?" I think we could write volumes and never touch on all the ways that the atonement can, and should, touch our lives, our actions, our thoughts, our beings... We learn in our relgious schooling, and careful observation proves, that all things testify of Christ. ALL THINGS. Notice the details around you and see if you can find the patterns that make up types and shadows of Him.

1 comment:

latter-daymom said...

Beautiful, Kathy...very profound!