Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sacrament Specifics

This post was written by me a week or two ago.  I hesitated to share it at the time, because I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable sharing after some time had passed.  I hope in sharing, someone is helped along their path.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to partake of the sacrament.  It was before my appendix decided to get all fussy.  Due to the surgery, I missed two weeks of church, and when I returned last week, I arrived several minutes late.  Walking into the church foyer, I assumed that I had missed the sacrament.  Much to my joy, out walks the deacon with the sacrament trays, and I planned on partaking of it.  He asked me, "Did you hear the prayer?"  I said, "No."  He then told me he was instructed not to allow me to partake of it if I missed the prayer.  I was ticked.

(19th century sacrament tray and cup)

So many things ran through my head.  I felt like I was suddenly Catholic, and the whole ward got to see if I partook.  My friend sat across from me in the foyer, and she was prohibited from partaking as well.  I wondered if she was as annoyed as I was, but she seemed cool and collected.

(photo source)

After he walked away, I nearly cried.  It had been weeks since I got to take the sacrament, and it's very special for me, regardless of whether or not I get to focus, hear the prayer, or juggle my kids.  It has a grounding affect, and it centers me for the week.  I don't know how, but perhaps that's part of the miracle of it.  So hearing this sweet little deacon tell me he was told not to allow me to really threw me for a loop.

All sorts of crazy things flew through my head.  Did the Priesthood leaders really instruct him not to allow me to partake?  Was this some new rule that came through the Church in a letter that I just happened to not hear read over the pulpit?  If I questioned my leadership, would I be considered apostate?  Because if they did approve this change, I would certainly have some serious beef with the new policy.

Then I heard the conducting bishopric member say over the hall speakers, "Has everyone had a chance to partake of the sacrament?"  NO!!!  I didn't!!!  I wanted to scream, but I knew storming into the chapel to make a scene would not get me far.  

Luckily enough, after the meeting was over, this same member of the bishopric brought me some photos that were taken at a recent activity.  After thanking him for the photos, I asked him if there was some new policy that the deacons were to ask me if I heard the prayer before taking the sacrament.  He looked at me with bewilderment.  He said, "No, absolutely not.  What happened?"  I explained to him the situation.  He said, "Well I asked if everyone got a chance to partake of it."  It dawned on me that him asking that abnormal question was for me.

He said he would straighten things out with the Priesthood and see what was going on.  Yesterday, he caught me by the shoulders, gave me a hug and said that what had happened should have never happened.  It brought tears to my eyes, because I knew it was true.  More than that, I knew that my leaders were not ticked that I questioned what was going on.  I had every right to do so, and they took no offense, as some may have.  But the most important part was, I gained a second witness, beyond my own knowledge and surety that GOD knew that I wanted the sacrament, and He knew that I needed a witness that my leaders were in tune with HIM.  This one, this instance, this day, was listening closely enough to the Spirit.  I was the one that was being spoken to when he said, "Has everyone had a chance to partake of the sacrament?"  Despite me not answering, God was telling me He was mindful of me.

I have so many questions about the sacrament, and I hope to have them answered.  But one thing I know for certain.  This is one ordinance that no deacon (who does not hold increased priesthood authority) has the authority to say that I am not permitted to partake.  

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