Lord's Supper, party of one
Sacrament meetings are usually hectic for me. With three kids five and under, there's little opportunity for reverent reflection. Even when I do get a respite from the craziness, I find myself thinking more about the people I need to reach out to and the lessons I need to figure out than pondering on the words of the Sacramental prayers. But a few weeks ago, that all changed, and I had the best Sacrament experience I can remember.
My wife was out of town with our oldest son, leaving me to watch the younger two. A storm dumped a surprising amount of snow and ice on our Southern town, and Church services were canceled. The Bishop emailed the ward, authorizing us to administer the Sacrament to our families at home. So once my little ones went to bed, I broke the bread and poured the water. I had blessed the Sacrament for my family dozens of times during the pandemic, but this was my first time ever going solo.
It was really weird. I don't know about you, but I don't generally speak of myself in third person or with plural pronouns. So it was jarring to pray, "We ask thee…. they may eat… they are willing to take upon them," etc. So after I read the prayer on the bread, I tried it again. This time, not as an ordinance but as a personal, non-priesthood prayer, I recited the Sacrament blessings as if they were written just for me:
O God, the Eternal Father, I ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to my soul as I partake of it, that I may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that I am willing to take upon me the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given me; that I may always have his Spirit to be with me. Amen.
No kids were escaping, no one was waiting on me, so I took my time. I uttered each phrase slowly and carefully, and pondered between each one.
After blessing the water, I tried the same experiment, modifying the prayer and reciting it in a non-ordinance prayer:
O God, the Eternal Father, I ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this water to my soul as I drink of it, that I may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for me; that I may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that I do always remember him, that I may have his Spirit to be with me. Amen.
It was a sacred thing, to personally, directly talk to God about the portion of His Son's blood that was shed just for me. And it carried extra weight when I personally told Him that I do (present tense) always remember Him. I had to think long and hard before I could say that.
My experience of the Sacrament that night was different than any other time before. It was uniquely personal. It was uniquely intentional. For the first time in my life, I actually felt like I was making an intimate, personal covenant with God. Not as part of some collective group, not recited by a third party– this time, it truly was just me and the Lord. The Lord's Supper, party of one.
In the weeks that followed, life returned to normal. Our toddler made it two whole pews today during the prayer. Our daughter dropped her toy cat into the aisle and nearly tripped the deacons when she retrieved it. Then, our five year old loudly told us (and the rest of the congregation) about the love letter he wrote for his classmate seated on the row in front of us so we almost missed the bread shushing him.
So yeah, it's a circus again. But between racing laps around the hallway, I try to take a few moments and remember how it's supposed to be.