Today (26 Apr 2020), under the direction of our Bishop, I held a private Sacrament Service in our home. Because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been restricted from large gatherings and limited to worshipping privately in our homes. Sister Edgar is on duty today at the hospital, so I am here at our home (“a Holy Place”) by myself.
Before I began the Sacrament Service, I covered my designated “Sacrament Table” with a clean white table cloth. Next, I placed the emblems of the Sacrament (the bread and water) in separate dishes, placed the dishes on the white cloth, and covered the emblems with another clean white cloth. Then, I stood quietly alongside the table for a few moments pondering the significance of what I was about to do …in the privacy of my own home!
In the past, I have participated many times with small groups of members gathered to administer and partake of the Holy Sacrament (e.g.: several times in Southeast Asia, Jordan, Iran, England, and Germany). We always had appointed Priesthood Leaders who were authorized to officiate at those services. But this time it was a bit different. Yes, my Bishop authorized me to conduct the service and administer the Sacrament. However, except for the influence of the Holy Spirit, I was alone and standing quietly in my home. It was just me, the influence of the Spirit, the emblems of the Sacrament, and this sacred ordinance. Knowing where I was (in my home) and what I was about to do brought a rush of emotion to my mind, body, and spirit. This was indeed a Sacred moment for me in a Holy Place, My Home! I gasped, caught my breath, and paused for yet another few moments.
As I stood there, a warm and tingling feeling came over my head, neck, shoulders, arms, and hands. I was immediately humbled and felt the confirming influence of the Holy Spirit. I have made and continue to keep sacred covenants with our God; and, I was confident the influence of the Holy Spirit and the power of the priesthood were at work that day in our home. I knew my offering would be accepted of the Lord and confirmed by the Holy Spirit.
When I felt ready, I knelt down before God the Eternal Father and humbly recited aloud the blessing on the sacramental bread (D&C 20:77). As I began, I was instantly overcome again by the influence of the Holy Spirit. Never before had I felt so profoundly the spiritual significance of this sacred act. I continued to read the words of the prayer; but, I was only able to read the prayer one phrase at a time, hesitating momentarily and thoughtfully between each phrase.
After partaking of the bread, I followed the same pattern and offered a blessing on the sacramental water (D&C 20:79). Here too, as I read the words of the prayer on the water, I was only able to read the prayer one phrase at a time, again hesitating momentarily and thoughtfully between each phrase.
In form and content, my very private and personal Sacrament Service was not unlike the typical Sacrament Services held in Sacrament Meetings throughout my life and in many parts of the world. Certainly, it had the same purpose and meaning as previous Sacrament Services. However, my takeaway from this “private” service was much clearer and more profound. I can honestly say, “I truly felt the guiding and confirming influence of the Holy Spirit in our home. And, I knew my offering had been accepted.”
Since then, two scriptural references have come to mind:
“…in the ordinances [of the priesthood] the power of godliness is manifest.” (D&C 84:20), and
“The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven.” (D&C 121:36).
This message has been about a very personal, spiritual, and private experience I had while administrating the emblems of the Holy Sacrament in our Home. The experience has strengthened my resolve to draw closer to the Lord and “Hear Him!” Plus, I more earnestly want to “…always retain a remission of my sins” (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 4:12). I do not want to loose nor forget those feelings. I never want to forget them! I have recorded this experience with as much passion and detail as I can possibly muster. Going forward, I plan to ask myself often: “What will I do to retain these tender and sacred feelings, individually and as a family?”
Scott A. Edgar
Sunday, 26 April 2020