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With all the craziness of traveling and being sick this month I once again missed the chance to go see my visiting teachers.  Oops.  Luckily, the end of the month isn’t until tomorrow so I have one last shot to get in touch with my sisters before it’s July.  So, since this coincides with a plethora of brown bananas in my freezer I’ve made those bananas into banana chocolate chip bread (seriously, that’s the best recipe I’ve found for banana bread, you should try it) which is currently in the oven and now I’m working on putting together my thoughts for my sisters right now.  I figured as long as I was doing it I might as well make a blog post out of it so that I can have it later too.

This month’s message is about the sacrament.  I love this topic because it’s something we do every single week, but sometimes we might miss the importance of what we’re doing.  The most pointed part of the message to me was the scripture in 3 Nephi 18:10, the beginning of the chapter talks about the institution of the sacrament among the Nephites.  After they’ve taken the sacrament for the first time Jesus explains to them what they’ve done –

And when the Disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you. (emphasis added)

I really liked that it says that by taking the sacrament we show that we are willing to keep the commandments.  It doesn’t mean that we will perfectly keep them 100% of the time; in fact that’s the whole point of taking the sacrament every single week.  We won’t be perfect from week to week, but each week we have the chance to sit down and say “I know I’m not perfect, but I want to be and I’m going to work my hardest and try my best to be like Christ in all that I do and say.”  By partaking of the sacrament and accepting the Atonement our shortcomings are made up for.  What a great blessing!

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the sacrament as being for things that have already passed.  Like in the Catholic Church where they talk about requiring their “last sacrament” to wipe away any sins that they might have committed since the last time they’d been in church.  I don’t think that’s the way God works.  I can’t imagine that if you were to die suddenly on a Saturday night you’re so much worse off than if you’d died on Sunday right after church – that doesn’t seem like the loving and just Heavenly Father that we have.  Instead I like to think of the sacrament as being a forward facing event.  Repentance and the atonement makes up for our past transgressions, the sacrament is for us to recommit ourselves to doing better in the time we have ahead of us.

I look at the time while the sacrament is being passed as a chance to re-commit myself to doing everything in my power to be serving the Lord.  My favorite thing to do is to think through the week ahead and find ways that I can be doing the best things.  Whether it’s being more diligent in my scripture study or attending the temple, I try to look through my calendar and task list and find specific ways I can make improvements. Perhaps I should just be sitting and pondering the Atonement, but for me I’ve found it most effective if I can actually find concrete ways to make myself a better person.

I am so grateful for the Atonement in my life and the way that it makes up for all of my many shortcomings.  I’m grateful for the sacrament and the opportunity it gives me each week to improve myself and to put the Atonement into effect in my life.  I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.